Commentary: The Top Five Cities with the Highest Inflation in America

My wife and I recently were out for our morning walk and she commented on how weird inflation is. Some prices are sky high, she observed, while others have barely budged.

A carton of eggs is up 33 percent over the last year, while tomatoes haven’t changed at all. Airline flights are through the roof, but the cabin we rented on our last vacation was several hundred dollars less than in previous years. Our electric bill is soaring, but her personal care products and my son’s new sneakers were about the same (or less) than what she had previously paid.

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Commentary: America Needs Help for Its China Addiction

With China’s decision to close negotiations with the U.S. following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, it’s fair to ask how the U.S.’s rapport with the People’s Republic got to this tense point in the first place.

The actor Dennis Quaid said his involvement with cocaine had three stages: “the fun, the fun with problems, and then just the problems.”

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Republican Governor Sues Biden Admin for Refusing to Clean Up Native Americans’ Contaminated Lands

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska filed a complaint in Alaska’s United States District Court to compel the Department of the Interior (DOI) to take responsibility for hundreds of contaminated areas that the federal government transferred to Alaska Natives.

Dunleavy and the state of Alaska filed the lawsuit in mid-July as a last resort after the DOI allegedly ignored calls to identify and clean up 650 former federal military installations, oil drilling sites and other projects that are contaminating Native Alaskan lands, according to court filings. Despite the Biden administration’s emphasis on securing “environmental justice” for minority communities, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), nor any other associated federal agency, is taking responsibility, the lawsuit alleges, allowing pollution and toxic waste to creep into natives’ food and water systems.

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China Rations Energy Supplies Amid Severe Drought

China imposed sweeping power cuts to households and factories in Sichuan province, including those belonging to major electronics companies where drought conditions have strained the region’s hydropower-based energy production capacity.

Water levels at hydropower reservoirs that supply the province of 94 million people have fallen by as much as 50% in August as China faces its largest heatwave since 1961, the AP reported, citing data from the Sichuan Provincial Department of Economics and Information Technology. After the provincial government ordered solar panel, cement, electronics and fertilizer factories to reduce power consumption, many shut down or reduced operations.

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Federal Court Allows Biden to Once Again Pause Oil and Gas Drilling

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday threw out a lower court’s order that would have stopped the Biden administration’s moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, according to court filings.

The 5th Circuit court appeals court vacated the Louisiana district court’s decision to block the Interior Department’s (DOI) leasing pause after Louisiana and a dozen other states filed a lawsuit against the administration, arguing that they would suffer injury from the policy, according to legal documents. The federal court determined that the lower court’s directive does not specifically outline what the Biden administration is and is not permitted to do.

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Tennessee Department of Education Sends First Approval Letters to Families Applying for Education Savings Accounts

The Tennessee Department of Education has sent out its first approval letters to families applying for the state’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program, with 46 applicants approved thus far, out of a total number of 517, as of Wednesday.

“To note, an award for an Education Savings Account does not mean that a student is accepted to a participating private school,” said Brian Blackley, director of media for the department. “A student must still apply to a participating private school. A participating private school’s decision to accept or reject a student is the sole decision of the school.”

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Judge Chastises DoD, Marine Corps in Order Granting Class Action Status in Vaccine Mandate Case

U.S District Court Judge Steven Merryday issued a blistering rebuke of the Department of Defense and Marine Corps for refusing to grant religious accommodation requests to service members.

Merryday did so when issuing a 48-page ruling Thursday in which he granted class action status for all active and reserve U.S. Marine Corps service men and women in a lawsuit filed against the Secretary of Defense over the department’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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White House Equity Initiative Celebrates ‘B.L.A.C.K. to School’ Event to Recruit and Retain Black K-12 Teachers

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans is featuring a “roundtable” event that seeks to promote K-12 public school systems that recruit and retain black teachers.

The invitation for the event, scheduled for Tuesday, August 23, says “B.L.A.C.K. to School” seeks to support “Black school, district, and state educational leaders and creating K12 systems that effectively recruit and retain Black teachers.”

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Nashville Stadium Committee Members Spar Over Use of Taxpayer Funds for $2.2B Dome

Thursday’s Nashville East Bank Committee Meeting was scheduled to be about the city’s capital improvement obligations at Nissan Stadium.

But a portion of the meeting was ultimately a preview of a central point of the Metro City Council’s ultimate debate on approving nearly $2 billion in bonds that will be paid for with an estimated $1.5 billion in public funds for a new estimated $2.2 billion stadium.

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State Senator Kerry Roberts Set to Embark on 100-Mile Bike Ride to Raise Money for Humphreys County Flood Victims One Year Later

Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) announced that he will embark on a 100-mile bicycle ride on the one-year anniversary of the devastating flooding in Waverly and Humphreys County to raise money and awareness for the flood victims.

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Tennessee Representative John Rose to Host Second Annual Rose Family Farm Fish Fry on September 17

Tennessee Representative John Rose (R-TN-06) announced in a Thursday press release that he will host his Second Annual Rose Family Farm Fish Fry on September 17th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rose Family Farm in Lancaster.

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Tennessee Businesses Received $370M in Federal Shuttered Venue Grants for COVID-19 Relief

Tennessee businesses were granted more than $370 million in federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant in a program that closed last month.

The grants attempted to provide funding for entertainment venues, theaters, museums, aquariums, talent representatives and similar businesses that were forced to shut down — partially or completely — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Planned Parenthood to Spend $50 Million on 2022 Midterm Elections

On Wednesday, the far-left pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood that it would be spending a record total of $50 million on the midterm elections this year, with the stated goal of electing as many pro-abortion candidates to office as possible.

The Daily Caller reports that the statement was released by Planned Parenthood Votes, one of the political advocacy groups in the broader orbit of the main Planned Parenthood organization. The statement declared that the historic sum would be “strategically used to elect abortion rights champions” in the aftermath of the decision earlier this year by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which returned the issue of abortion back to the individual states to be decided.

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Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Announces Multiple Personnel Changes

A new general counsel, a senior advisor, and two deputy directors have been appointed to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The agency announced on recently that Frank Fiss has been named deputy director of business operations. In his new role as deputy director, he will oversee administrative responsibilities including TWRA’s budget, marketing, and human resources, the agency notes.

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Commentary: Ahead of Midterms, 14 States Improve Election Integrity Laws

by Jack Fitzhenry and Hans von Spakovsky   With primaries underway and with midterms and other fall ballot contests looming, multiple states are demonstrating a commitment to ensuring that their elections remain worthy of public confidence. Since 2021, The Heritage Foundation has been tracking the content of every state’s laws…

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Commentary: What We Know about the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago Raid (So Far)

“There’s so much we don’t know!” says any liberal losing an argument about the dramatic FBI raid last week on Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Palm Beach residence and private club.

There are, indeed, some things that we do not know, but what we do know is already quite revealing. We know that the raid – which involved 30 FBI agents and three Justice Department lawyers – lasted over nine hours and was by day’s end reclassified as a “search” by all government agencies and the entire legacy media. We know that this supposed “search” was personally ordered not by FBI Director Christopher Wray, but by Attorney General Merrick Garland, a highly partisan Biden Administration appointee who has implied that parents objecting to critical race theory in public schools are domestic terrorists, and who refused to provide home security protection to Supreme Court justices in the majority of the recent ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

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Florida A&M University Pushes Policies in Tension with the State University System’s ‘Statement on Free Expression’

According to official Florida A&M University (FAMU) student residential policy, “[b]ehavior and/or activities that are considered offensive to others that do not constitute ones freedom of expression is prohibited, while in public areas of the residential facilities.”

This is just one of a multitude of FAMU policies that, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), are in tension with the freedom of speech and expression at the school.

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U.S. Attorney: Crime Epidemic ‘Far More Disturbing’ Than Numbers Show

U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger headed a press conference on Friday to give updates on a joint violent crime strategy which has been in place in Minnesota and the Twin Cities since spring.

Luger said several arrests have recently been made of high-risk violent offenders, including a sweep that took place on Thursday in Minneapolis and St. Paul that netted five offenders and involved a specialized team of ATF agents.

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Study: Connecticut’s Disabled Residents Struggle to Make Ends Meet

A recent report reveals that many Connecticut residents living with disabilities are unable to afford basic necessities.

The United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut released a study that shows 48% of disabled residents in the state are living in ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or poverty-level conditions and struggle to afford basic housing, child care, health care, and transportation.

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Donald Trump to Hold Rally in Pennsylvania, where Dr. Oz Faces Tough Prospects in Senate Race

Former President Donald Trump will hold a rally on Saturday, Sept. 3, in Pennsylvania to support the campaigns of Doug Mastriano for governor and Dr. Mehmet Oz for Senate.

The rally will take place in Wilkes-Barre and Trump will deliver his remarks at 7:00 p.m.

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Judges Reject Arguments Challenging Two Progressive Initiatives on Arizona’s Fall Ballot

Two initiatives sponsored by progressives are still on the ballot for now, after judges rejected challenges from conservative groups challenging them. The “Voters Right to Know Act” (VRKA), which adds new disclosure requirements regarding campaign spending, was challenged over submitting incorrect campaign addresses. The “Protection from Predatory Debt Collection Act” (PPDCA), which is backed by a California-based employee union and makes broad changes to debt collecting laws, was challenged for an “inaccurate and misleading” ballot description. Despite the adverse rulings, attorneys say they plan to appeal. 

President Scot Mussi, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club which filed the lawsuit against VRKA, said there is another reason the ballot initiative may ultimately fail. “The practical implications of it is that this information will be used to dox, harass and intimidate anyone for supporting various organizations,” he said Monday. He cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year that rejected California’s effort to have nonprofits identify their major donors.

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Virginia Student Assessments Show Improvement but Still Below Pre-COVID Levels

Standards of learning tests (SOL) for the 2021-2022 school year show improvement across most subjects from the previous academic year, but the administration is warning that there’s still an achievement gap compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. In a virtual press conference Thursday, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) officials said that gap shows the impact of virtual learning.

“The research is becoming clearer and clearer: students whose schools were closed for in-person instruction suffered the most. Being in person for school matters,”  Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow said.

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Columbus Schools, Teachers at Impasse; Strike Vote Scheduled Sunday

Teachers in Ohio’s largest school district are prepared to continue negotiations over the weekend but have scheduled a Sunday meeting for a vote on a potential strike.

After 12 hours of negotiating Thursday, the Columbus City Board of Education made what it called its final contract offer, which teachers called substantially unchanged from their most recent.

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Debate: Ann Arbor to Traverse City Passenger Rail Feasibility

Two prominent Michigan economists, a county zoning administrator, and a nonprofit program manager scrutinized the details of a proposed Ann Arbor to Traverse City passenger rail system for The Center Square.

The feasibility of the A2TC project was discussed in separate conversations with University of MI-Flint economics professor Chris Douglas; Mackinac Center for Public Policy Fiscal Policy Director James Hohman; certified land use planner Kevon Martis, a zoning administrator in Deerfield Township, Lenawee County; and Caroline Ulstad, transportation program manager at Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

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Stacey Abrams Admits to Being Pro-life until She Went to College

Former Georgia House representative and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams admitted during an Aug. 7 interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that she was pro-life until she went to college.

Abrams credited her college experience with flipping her stance on abortion. According to the gubernatorial candidate, she began to reposition her beliefs after having conversations with a “friend” who used faith to ground her pro-abortion argument.

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State Residents Likely to Pay Higher Rates as Georgia Power Continues Push Toward Decarbonization

Like power companies nationwide, Georgia Power is working to “decarbonize” its power generation and has committed to adding more green energy over the next decade.

Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company that traces its origins to 1902 as an operator of streetcars in Atlanta, has more than 2.6 million customers across The Peach State, including customers in 155 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

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Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Bribing CBP Agent, Human Smuggling Conspiracy

A Mexican national has pleaded guilty in federal court for his role in a scheme to bribe a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of smuggling illegal aliens into the country.

“Luis Alfredo Quintero-Gonzalez, 36, of Mexico, pleaded guilty on August 11, 2022, for Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and Alien Smuggling, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). “Evidence gathered during the investigation established that Quintero-Gonzalez paid former United States Border Patrol (USBP) agent Carlos Passapera thousands of dollars in cash bribes for smuggling undocumented noncitizens into the United States between August and December 2019.”

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$4.3M Minnesota Taxpayer Subsidies Expected to Create 321 Jobs

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will give $4.3 million of taxpayer money to five private businesses through the Minnesota Job Creation Fund and the Minnesota Investment Fund.

The state says these projects will create 321 jobs over the next three years and will eventually boost the local tax base.

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Florida’s Job Growth Continues Surge as Unemployment Rate Hits Historic Low

Florida’s job growth continued to surge in July while its unemployment rate also dropped to an historic low 2.7%.

“Florida continues to outperform the nation because freedom first policies work,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “July’s job numbers represent one of the largest month’s job gains over the past generation and Florida continues to outpace the nation in labor force growth.”

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Biden Administration to Stop Buying COVID Vaccines, Treatments and Tests

The Biden administration plans to stop buying vaccines, treatments and tests as early as this fall, with the hope of full commercialization of the products in 2023, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha revealed on Tuesday.

Speaking at an event sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Jha said that the administration needs to get past the crisis phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in order for this to happen.

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FDA Approves Most Expensive Drug in History

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday approved a gene therapy for a rare blood disease which is set to reach the market at a record $2.8 million for a single dose, according to a press release by the therapy’s creator, Bluebird Bio.

Beta-thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes a patient’s blood to fail to circulate oxygen through the body, according to the FDA press release concerning the approval. Bluebird’s new therapy, Zynteglo, infuses patients with cells that have a working copy of the gene responsible for the disorder, allowing the patient to produce blood that functions properly, according to a Bluebird press release.

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Report: Americans Spend Thousands to Get Their Names Written on Ukrainian Munitions

Americans are spending as much as $3,000 to get their names on Ukrainian weapons and munitions, according to a report by the Washington Post.

Ukrainian forces will scrawl messages on munitions used against Russian forces invading the country for as little as $30 on an 82mm mortar round, the Post reported. $3,000 could earn the donor a Ukrainian T-72 main battle tank named in their honor.

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Sources Say Tennessee Has Withdrawn From Cooperation with Democrat Run National Academy for State Health Policy

Sources have told The Tennessee Star that the state of Tennessee has withdrawn from cooperation with the Democrat-run National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP).

The NASHP brands itself on its website as a non-partisan group, saying: “For over 35 years, The National Academy for State Health Policy has been a nonpartisan organization committed to developing and advancing state health policy innovations and solutions. NASHP provides a unique forum for the productive exchange of strategies across state government, including the executive and legislative branches.”

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