Source: Tennessee Democratic Leaders Plan to Take Iraq Vet State Rep. John Mark Windle off Ballot

After bouncing five Democrats off the ballot in the 2020 cycle, a source familiar with the workings of the Tennessee Democratic Party’s executive committee told The Tennessee Star their next target is State Rep. John Mark Windle (D.-41th District).

The source said Windle, who has served in the state’s House since 1991, is on the block because he supports gun rights.

The plan, if executed, is to have the committee vote to remove Windle from the ballot, in effect declaring him no longer a valid Democrat, after the April 7 deadline for candidates to qualify for the ballot, the source said.

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Senate Noncurs with House on Residency Bill for Primary Eligibility

The Tennessee Senate has non-concurred, essentially rejecting the House-passed version of the three-year residency requirement bill for federal candidates in primary.

The bill now goes back to the House, where they have the option to conform to the Senate version, or else the legislation goes to conference committee. The state House is expected to consider the legislation again this week.

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Kerry McDonald: Parents’ Demand for More Education Options Has Been Met with Greater Innovation in Providing Alternatives to Public Schools

Kerry McDonald

Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Kerry McDonald told The Star News Network the time is ripe in America for greater innovation and entrepreneurship in providing new education models for parents exiting the government school system.

Many parents got an up-close look at what their children are learning in public schools for the first time during the pandemic school closures and subsequent remote learning, leading them to consider education alternatives.

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‘I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee’ Is Now an Official State Song

“I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee” is now an official state song.

Governor Lee signed the legislation officially designating “I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee” an official state song on March 1. The legislation was carried by State Sen. Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and State Rep. John Windle (D-Livingston). The votes in the House and Senate were unanimous with the exception of one House member voting present.

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Commentary: Expect Big Pivot from SEC to Require Climate, ESG Disclosures in Investor Filings

The biggest decision the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is likely to make this year will be on mandated disclosure of information related to climate change and corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. The Commission has been working on the issue since early last year, and a new proposed rule is now scheduled to be released on March 21st. The contents of that rule will likely determine the future direction of “responsible” investing in the United States.

In March of last year, then-Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee issued a request for information on the matter, consisting of 15 questions and described as a response to the “demand for climate change information and questions about whether current disclosures adequately inform investors.” The questions covered a wide range of topics, from how to measure greenhouse gas emissions to how climate disclosures “would complement a broader ESG disclosure standard.”

When the SEC first issued guidance on climate change-related disclosures for public companies in 2010, the standards were fairly general and advisory, but the questions from last year’s request-for-information suggests that the agency’s leadership is considering a more aggressive and prescriptive framework.

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TN-5 Republican Hopeful David Vitalli Addresses Candidacy, New York Carpetbagger Status

New York native David Vitalli, one of three carpetbagger candidates in the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District along with Morgan Ortagus and Robby Starbuck, addressed his candidacy and relocation to Tennessee.

“My wife and I fell in love with Tennessee in 2013 and spent a lot of time here. We knew that we would move here as soon as our first visit. I may not be a long-time resident of Tennessee, but I got here as soon as I could. I am invested in Tennessee’s 5th district. My home is here. I operate my business here. I didn’t come here looking for a job or to punch another notch on my move up the D.C. social ladder.” said Vitalli.

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Tennessee State Senate Aide Tres Wittum Anticipates TN-5 Announcement the First Week of April

Tennessee state Senate aide Tres Wittum is anticipating announcing his entry into the Tennessee 5th Congressional district Republican primary during the first week of April.

Tres Wittum told The Tennessee Star, “I’ve been in the exploratory phase. I’m meeting with business leaders and voters. The discussions have been overwhelmingly positive. It’s coming. I anticipate making an announcement concerning my entry into the race during the first week of April.”

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Cherokee County School Board Shuts Down Mom for Asserting That Explicit Book from School Library Is Inappropriate

A concerned parent was cut off and subsequently disallowed from speaking at a Cherokee County School Board (CCSB) meeting last week after she read a graphic passage from book that is required for some students to read. 

Michelle Brown recounted for the board the process by which a book can be removed from Cherokee County School District’s libraries or classrooms, which she said includes significant wait times, and the required purchase of 20 copies of the book at taxpayer expense for an independent committee to review. 

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Review Board Approves Pennsylvania Charter School Regulations

Girl standing up in the middle of classroom

A regulatory review panel on Monday approved numerous new administrative rules imposed by Pennsylvania’s executive branch on charter schools, a move the institutions did not welcome.

Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) Chair George Bedwick, Commissioner Murray Ufberg and Commissioner Dennis Watson, all appointed to the board by Democratic state officials, voted in favor of the new regulations. Vice Chair John Mizner and Commissioner John Soroko, both Republican appointees, voted in opposition.

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Wisconsin Professor Suspended After Publicly Criticizing University’s ‘Wokeness’

Rev. Dr. Gregory P Schulz of Concordia University of Wisconsin

Rev. Dr. Gregory P Schulz, a philosophy professor and Lutheran pastor, was suspended from Concordia University in Wisconsin following the publishing of his Feb. 14 article “Woke Dysphoria at Concordia.”

“Wokeness appears to be developing into a pathology at my ‘institution of Lutheran higher education’” Schulz wrote in Christian News article, criticizing the direction of Concordia University.

Five days later, Schulz discovered that he was suspended from the university. He apparently did not know why, even after getting locked out of his university email account and banned from all campus properties.

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Ohio Post Offices Fail to Report Undelivered Mail, Federal Audit Finds

United States Postal Service vehicle

Multiple post offices in Ohio failed to deliver thousands of pieces of mail and did not report the delayed delivery, according to a new federal audit.

Two post offices in the Columbus area were subject to the audit, as residents of the region have continued to describe issues with theft and slow delivery.

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Connecticut Gas Prices Dip Down, Remain Above National Average

gas pump

Connecticut’s gas prices have slowly dipped down after reaching historic highs following the decision from President Joe Biden to ban the import of Russian oil.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers are paying $4.337 per gallon at the pump, compared to $4.465 one week ago. 

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Florida Republicans Cool on ‘Woke’ Corporations, Let $1.2 Billion Income Tax Break Expire

During the 2022 legislative session Florida Republicans took actions to distance themselves from some of Florida’s biggest corporations – Governor DeSantis called out Disney, and the Florida Legislature let a corporate income tax break expire.

The publisher of floridapolitics.com, Peter Schorsch, tweeted that corporations “got (royally) screwed during Session.” This assessment goes against the traditional narrative that corporate political donations pad Republican campaign accounts and tax breaks and lax regulation follow.

The most public rebuke of corporate interests was on display during the controversy between Governor DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Chapek as related to the Parental Rights in Education legislation. The controversy made headlines across the U.S. and put the two powerful executives in a very public battle.

A day after Chapek publicly condemned the bill that would ban classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity before fourth grade, DeSantis ripped Disney before a roomful of supporters. He called Disney a “Woke corporation” and criticized its business interests in China.”

But Chapek should not have been surprised by the DeSantis response.

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Two Tools Track Arizona Governments, Reveal Missteps and Waste

Arizona Capitol

It is National Sunshine Week, which celebrates transparency in government, including creating awareness about requesting information from governments through FOIA public record requests. In Arizona, there are two tools provided by state agencies which allow anyone to look online at some of the government spending by state and local governments. Although it is a minimal amount of data, it reveals some missteps and waste. 

The Arizona State Treasurer manages AZCheckbook.com, which provides information about funding the state gets from all sources, including the federal government, and how much it is distributing to schools, cities, and towns. The Arizona Department of Administration operates OpenBooks.AZ.gov, which provides checkbook-level information about individual state expenditures, including on the city and county level.

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Commentary: Conspirators in Their Own Words

For the last five years, the Left—defined as the fusion of the mainstream media, Silicon Valley, the radical new Democratic Party, and the vestigial Hillary Clinton machine—has crafted all sorts of conspiracies to destroy their perceived conservative enemies.

Their method has focused on one major projection: alleging conspiracy on the part of others, which is a kind of confirmation of their own conspiracies to destroy their opponents in general, and Donald Trump in particular.

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Minnesota Business Owners See Tax Hike as Lawmakers Fail to Come to Legislative Agreement

Businesses across Minnesota are expected to see an increase in their unemployment insurance taxes after lawmakers failed to come to an agreement on the issue before the automatic tax hike went into effect.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund was depleted, and the tax hike will go to replace the funds and repay the federal government for unemployment aid.

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Gov. Whitmer Vetoes $2.5 Billion in Tax Relief

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a GOP bill that aimed to provide $2.5 billion in tax breaks by dropping the personal income tax rate from 4.25% to 3.9%, saying it would blow a “hole” in her $74 billion budget.

“It would force tax hikes on families or deep and painful cuts to services, hurt our children’s ability to catch up in school, force layoffs of cops and firefighters, and kneecap our ability to keep fixing crumbling roads,” Whitmer wrote in her veto letter.

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Potential Candidate Omar Hamada on Running for TN-5: If Andy Ogles Is In, I’ll Support Him

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed potential candidate for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional district, Omar Hamada to the newsmakers line to discuss his position on running.

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Kansas Swing Congressional District Tilts Towards GOP Takeover

Redistricting has caused a Kansas swing U.S. House district to tilt in partisan makeup towards the GOP.

Kansas’ Third Congressional district, long-considered a swing district, went from a D+4 partisan rating prior to redistricting to a R+3 according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight ratings system.

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CDC Lifted Indoor Masking Recommendations for Florida, Weeks Behind DeSantis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they no longer recommend indoor masking for residents of states like Florida. The announcement comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already been defying the CDC’s recommendations and took it a step further, saying the Florida Department of Health is recommending against COVID shots for children.

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Deep-Blue Washington State Contains Possible GOP U.S. House Seat Pickup

Deep blue Washington State contains a U.S. House district that is being targeted for Republican pickup.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has announced that it is targeting Washington’s 8th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Democrat incumbent U.S. Representative Kim Schrier.

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Far-Left PAC Spends Six Figures on Billboards Opposing Anti-Grooming Bill

A far-left Political Action Committee (PAC) is spending six figures on billboards that say “Say Gay,” in response to a Florida bill that bans kindergarten through third grade teachers from talking to students about sex, gender and sexuality. 

“Starting Wednesday these will be going up all throughout Florida. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially Ron DeSantis for being a terrible person,” left-wing activist Ally Sammarco said on Twitter. 

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Virginia Tech Swimmer Writes Letter to NCAA in Opposition to Transgender Athletes

A female swimmer at a Virginia university wrote a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) saying she was cheated out of a spot in the NCAA national championship 500-meter race because of biologically male, transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. 

Reka Gyorgy, a senior student-athlete at Virginia Tech University, called Thomas’ participation in the event “a problem.”

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Ohio Representative Jim Jordan: ‘The Laptop Was Real, the News Was Fake!’

Monday morning on ‘The Answer with Bob Frantz,’ host Frantz spoke with United States Congressman (R-OH) Jim Jordan about Hunter Biden’s laptop, Big Tech censorship, mainstream media, Ukraine, and Joe Biden’s continuing troubles.

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Sheriffs Endorse Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner

A total of 59 county sheriffs have endorsed Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) for agriculture commissioner. Simpson, an egg farmer, has a number of notable endorsements so far in his young campaign.

Simpson’s list of endorsements includes: The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), the National Rifle Association’s Unified Sportsmen of Florida (NRA-USF), the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida (Florida Builders), Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), and Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor).

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Commentary: The Next Jan. 6 Trial Might Expose Another Justice Department Lie

empty courtroom

Federal prosecutors last week scored a big victory after a Washington, D.C., jury took less than three hours to find Guy Reffitt, the first January 6 defendant to stand trial, guilty on all counts.

The Justice Department’s winning streak might be short-lived, however. Prosecutors will have a tougher task with the trial starting Monday for Couy Griffin, the “Cowboys for Trump” leader arrested for his minor and nonviolent involvement in the Capitol protest on January 6.

Griffin was the subject of my very first article over a year ago on the Justice Department’s abusive prosecution of January 6 protesters in which, coincidentally, I asked the rhetorical question, “Where is the outrage over America’s political prisoners?” as official Washington was in a tizzy over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s imprisonment of his country’s star dissident.

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Federal Court Considers Whether to Count Undated Ballots in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Election

Pennsylvania Judicial Center

A federal appeals court this week blocked certification of the election results for the contest between Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge.

Currently, Ritter is 74 votes ahead of Cohen, but the win would flip to the Democrat should the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decide to count 257 absentee ballots that lack handwritten dates on their return envelopes. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania is litigating on behalf of five of the voters who cast those ballots.

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Virginia’s State Sen. Chase Criticizes Youngkin’s Appointment of Susan Beals for Commissioner of the Department of Elections

Susan Beal and Amanda Chase

Governor Glenn Youngkin selected Chesterfield Electoral Board member Susan Beals to serve as his commissioner of the Department of Elections. The Friday announcement led to initial alarm from some Democrats, since Beals worked as an aide for Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), who has been outspoken in highlighting alleged irregularities in the 2020 presidential election in Virginia. However, Chase said she’s disappointed by the appointment, and Senate Privileges and Elections Chair Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) sounds open-minded about Beals.

“While I congratulate Susan on her appointment, it’s a huge disappointment to those of us who have spent countless hours investigating the irregularities that occurred in the 2020 presidential election,” Chase said in a statement sent to The Virginia Star.

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Fox Nation Host Tomi Lahren: We Can’t Protect the World If We’re Not Willing to Protect Our Own Nation

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Fox Nation contributor and host of ‘No Interruption,’ Tomi Lahren, to the newsmaker line to discuss the top priorities for America and Tennessee.

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Dr. Oz Addresses Dual Citizenship, Pennsylvania Residency, and More

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial hopeful Dr Mehmet Oz. joined The John Fredericks Show Monday for a wide-ranging interview covering his thoughts about endorsing former President Trump in 2022, his dual citizenship, and much more.

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Youngkin Signs Carolina Squat Vehicle Modification Ban

Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a ban on the Carolina Squat vehicle modification while visiting Lynchburg on Monday. State Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) pushed the bill through the General Assembly at the last minute after a driver in a truck with the modification hit and killed Jody ‘BJ’ Upton Jr. in February.

“I’m honored today to be here with BJ’s family, the public servants who acted quickly to move legislation to my desk to address the problem, and the law enforcement heroes who will enforce this new law and keep our roads and highways safer,” Youngkin said in a press release. “Nothing can bring BJ back, but with faith, time, and love, we can begin to heal from the pain of losing him. But the spirit of Virginia is strong, and when Virginians see a problem they come together and act.”

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David Perdue Harpoons Georgia Gov. Kemp’s Swamp Corruption

Live from Virginia Monday morning on The John Fredericks Show – weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond; WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia; WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 p.m.) – Hampton Roads; WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke; and weekdays 6-10 a.m. and 24/7 stream – host Fredericks welcomed David Perdue to discuss his enthusiastic endorsement by Donald Trump for Governor of Georgia and his attempts to talk to Brian Kemp about 2020’s election integrity.

Fredericks: David Perdue joining us now, running for governor, Georgia. That’ll be decided primary May 24th. And zero chance of that being a runoff.

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29,000 Minneapolis Kids Without School for 10th Day as Teachers Strike

First, COVID-19 disrupted classes in 2020, and now it’s teachers keeping kids out of class in 2022.

More than 29,000 Minneapolis students couldn’t attend class Monday as a teachers’ union strike entered its 10th school day.

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Republicans Focus on Jackson’s Positions on Terrorists, Sex Offenders as Nomination Hearing Opens

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Republicans are stressing the need to closely review Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record as the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin hearings on Monday for the first black woman nominated to the Supreme Court.

The GOP is already facing accusations of racism from outlets such as the Daily Kos, Slate and Vanity Fair for questioning whether Jackson should be confirmed.

Jackson has been criticized for her vehement defense of terrorism suspects as a public defender. She has also faced concerns over a paper she wrote in the 1990s criticizing “excessiveness” in punishments for sex offenders.

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Biden Administration Backtracks on Media Reports Signaling Oil, Gas Leasing Resumption

The Biden administration backtracked on reports that it is resuming the federal oil and gas leasing program in light of a recent appeals court decision.

On Friday, Reuters reported that the Department of the Interior (DOI), the agency tasked with overseeing the leasing program, was planning to resume the previously-delayed program. But a DOI spokesperson pushed back on the report, saying it overstated the administration’s position that it would begin planning the next steps, not that it had already resumed the program.

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Georgia Ballot Harvesting Probe Advances as State Elections Board Approves Subpoena

"VOTE ONE MORE TIME" sign on an electric pole in Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Elections Board has approved a subpoena to secure evidence and testimony in an ongoing investigation into whether third-party liberal activists illegally gathered thousands of absentee ballots in the 2020 general election and a subsequent runoff that determined Democrat control of the U.S. Senate.

The vote was a major win for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who announced the investigation into alleged ballot harvesting in January and was seeking the subpoena authority to assist the probe.

The subpoena power will allow Raffensperger’s team to secure evidence about a whistleblower who alleged to an election integrity group that he participated in a large operation to gather ballots in which activists were paid $10 for each ballot they delivered.

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ESPN Writer: Diversity Hiring Is Good for NCAA Coaches, but Not for Recruiting

A contributing writer for ESPN recently argued in favor of diversity hiring for NCAA coaches but told Campus Reform that the standard should not apply for recruited athletes.

Richard Lapchick, who is a former professor of sports business management at the University of Central Florida, wrote on ESPN.com that the NCAA needs to increase gender and racial representation among coaches and other senior staff on athletics teams. 

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Amid Global Energy Crunch, Biden on Track to Boost Iranian Oil, Impede Israeli Gas Exports to Europe

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has thrown the global energy market into a state of turmoil, forcing the U.S. and Europe to look for substitutes for Russian oil and gas. In that process, the Biden administration has turned to Iran as a potential supplier — just two months after effectively killing an Israeli pipeline project that would have supplied natural gas to Europe.

The administration’s decision to engage Iran, a decades-long adversary of the U.S., about supplying energy while opposing a close ally’s energy project is feeding concerns among experts that he rewards foes and punishes friends in the Middle East.

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Democratic Socialist Student Groups Are Pushing Leftist Policies on College Campuses

group of people protesting, holding megaphone

Following student pushback against a Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) flyer found at the University of California, San Diego, Campus Reform took a deep dive into what other progressive agendas the national student chapters supported.

In doing so, Campus Reform found that YDSA chapters across the country are demanding free tuition and debt forgiveness, advocating for the recognition of student employee unions, and pressing to take “community control” of police departments.

Additionally, these groups have recently hosted rallies, meetings, and book discussions on topics such as abortion, minimum wage, marijuana decriminalization, and Palestine.

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The Republican National Committee Registering New Voters at Gas Stations as Prices Surge

Mobil gas prices

The Republican National Committee (RNC) launched a voter registration initiative at gas stations across the country, drawing attention to rising gas prices under President Joe Biden’s leadership.

“We are registering voters across the country who are tired of Biden’s Gas Hike!” the RNC said Monday on Twitter. “Coming to a gas station near you!”

The effort began with a Saturday event in Arizona, according to The Hill. “Arizonans are frustrated with paying the record-high gas prices we’ve seen recently, this is an issue that affects almost every single Arizonan,” said the communications director for Arizona’s RNC, Ben Petersen, according to The Hill.

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Anti-Woke Group Targets American Express for Racial Hiring Quotas, ‘Racism’ Training

An activist group dedicated to targeting race-based “woke” policies in major American companies has set its sights on the credit card company American Express, with an ad blitz calling out the company’s recent emphasis on race-based hiring.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the group Color Us United announced on Monday that it would be launching an ad campaign against American Express, spending up to $500,000 on the public relations blitz calling out the company’s “harmful woke policies,” and branding the company as “Un-American Express.”

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Commentary: Blame Putin, Yes, But Also Blame Biden

As Ukraine coverage blankets the news nonstop, I keep asking myself: are we really so gullible as to be hoodwinked by an administration and political class covering for their massive failures at home and abroad by mustering up a frenzy of dangerously jingoistic militarism? Not only have they escalated the situation and brought us to the brink of World War III but they have also imposed—and will continue to impose—senseless costs on an American economy already grinding to a halt. 

I am not suggesting that any of Joe Biden’s major missteps, whether now or in the past, in any way excuse Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion, which is in violation of international law and being conducted with reckless indifference to—indeed, the direct intent to inflict—civilian casualties. Although there is no question (details below) that Biden majorly provoked Putin, nothing Biden did stripped Putin of his agency in doing what he is now doing, much less did it demand he do it in the manner in which he is doing it.

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Congress Considers Bill to Expose Russian, Chinese Funding of American Groups

Newly introduced legislation would require think tanks and nonprofits to reveal whether they have significant funding from governments and political groups in Russia and China.

U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, introduced the “Think Tank and Nonprofit Foreign Influence Disclosure Act” Thursday, which would require nonprofits and think tanks to disclose foreign donations over $50,000. The bill would require the U.S. Treasury Department to create a “publicly available in a searchable database information relating to such gifts and contributions received from foreign governments and political parties…”

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New Poll Is Bad News for a Californian Left-Wing DA Facing Recall

A new poll showed San Francisco voters overwhelmingly back the recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Roughly 68% of likely primary voters said they would vote to recall Boudin, including 64% of registered Democrats, according to a poll conducted by EMC Research. Nearly three out of four voters had an unfavorable opinion of Boudin, and 61% agreed he was “responsible for rising crime rates in San Francisco, especially burglaries and thefts.”

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