Vaxxed Army Pilot Denied Promotion, While Alleged Military Clinic Sexual Harasser Keeps Job

A vaccinated Army pilot, who was reprimanded after his initial hesitation to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, is still being denied promotion and might not be able to retire, while a woman who allegedly sexually harassed him at a military medical clinic retains her employment.

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China Chreatens U.S. for Popping Balloon as American Military Begins Recovery Operation

China on Sunday threatened to respond after the United States shot down a suspected spy balloon that flew over sensitive military sites while U.S. armed forces are currently recovering the aircraft.

“China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has insisted the balloon was a civilian research airship that went off course, said.

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After Legal Challenge, Local Library Allow Christian Book Story Hour

An Arizona library that censored a local resident from hosting a Christian book reading is backing down after a religious liberty law firm’s demand letter.

“We appreciate the county’s quick response to our letter and are working with the library staff on scheduling a time when our client can host story time,” Andy Gould, senior counsel with the First Liberty Institute, told The Daily Signal.

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Koch-Backed Americans for Prosperity Indicates It Won’t Back Trump Again in 2024

The Americans for Prosperity Action, the campaign arm of billionaire Charles Koch, indicated Sunday it will not support former President Donald Trump’s reelection efforts. 

“So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter,” Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel said in a memo addressed to staff and activists at her agency. “AFP Action is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward, and who can win.”

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The United Nations Looking to Push Religious Communities to ‘Fully Comply’ with LGBTQ Agenda

The United Nations is releasing a report in June regarding the “perceived contradictions” between religious freedom and sexual orientation and gender identity, or SOGI, laws and is looking to push governments to “fully comply with their obligations under international human rights law to protect and empower LGBT+ persons,” according to a U.N. announcement.

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Tennessee Department of Education Releases Findings from the 2022 Tennessee Educator Survey

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA) released key findings and responses from the 2022 Tennessee Educator Survey on Friday.

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Sanders Tapped to Give Republican Response to State of the Union

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will give the Republican address following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week. 

“Americans are still struggling from inflation, a border crisis, record crime, and a failing school system,” said Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy in a news release. “As House Republicans work to fix these problems in Congress with our Commitment to America, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is addressing them head-on with her conservative agenda outside of Washington.”

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House Judiciary GOP Subpoena FBI’s Christopher Wray, AG Merrick Garland

The House Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding they provide the committee with documents pertaining to FVI investigations of school board meetings.

In October of 2021, Garland issued a memo highlighting “violent threats” against school officials amid a rise in parental opposition to the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools. That memo, directing law enforcement to address the issue, attracted considerable scrutiny from conservatives who categorized it as part of the Biden administration’s alleged “weaponization” of federal agencies.

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In-N-Out Burger to Receive $2.75 Million Incentive from Tennessee Economic and Community Development for Franklin Office

Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development has agreed to give In-N-Out Burgers a $2.75 million incentive payment as it creates an eastern territory office in Franklin.

A press release on the agreement said In-N-Out plans to invest $125.5 million in the state and it will open its first restaurants in Nashville in 2026. The restaurant group said there will be 277 jobs in Williamson County at a 100,000-square-foot office, set to begin construction in 2024 and finish by 2026.

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Charges Dropped Against Pro-Life Advocate Arrested for Silently Praying Outside Abortion Clinic

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a pro-life advocate and charity volunteer arrested for allegedly praying outside an abortion clinic, is continuing to seek legal action against United Kingdom authorities after prosecutors dropped charges against her.

Vaughan-Spruce was arrested in December 2022 after officers accused her of silently praying outside an abortion clinic in violation of England’s Public Protection Order zones that prohibit any kind of demonstration or “anti-social behavior” to protect abortion clinics. On Friday, the United Kingdom’s chapter of Alliance Defending Freedom, a public interest legal group, announced in a press release that prosecutors had dropped the charges, but Vaughan-Spruce intends to pursue legal action anyway to get a “clear verdict.”

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Lawmakers Clash over Definition of ‘Work’ in Pennsylvania

Legislators in Pennsylvania traditionally spend off-session weeks in their districts, but this time the “work” of constituent relations itself seems contested in the narrowly divided House.

In one corner, Republicans protest loud and often that House Speaker Mark Rozzi, D-Temple, and the rest of his party won’t show up for work. After all, they argue, it was his decision to adjourn session until the last day of February, marking nearly two months without any legislative action – or even operating rules – at all.

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Center for Christian Virtue Announces Second Statewide Ohio March for Life

Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) and the March for Life Education and Defense Fund are teaming up once more to organize another march in Columbus following the tremendous success of the first Ohio March for Life.

Ohio residents on October 6th can participate in the second statewide Ohio March for Life at the State Capitol in Columbus.

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Report Finds ‘Pervasive Noncompliance’ in Minnesota Grant Management

Minnesota issues an average of $514 million in state-funded grants to nonprofits each year but demonstrates “pervasive noncompliance” with oversight measures, according to a new report published Thursday.

The report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) specifically looked at whether the Minnesota Department of Education and the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice Programs are complying with grants management policies.

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Ohio Auditor Backs Anti-Corruption Training and Quick Reporting

Republican Ohio Auditor Keith Faber wants to improve the state’s capacity to identify and pursue wrongdoers, prosecute them, and recover taxpayer money by requiring public employees to receive more training on spotting government fraud and corruption and requiring them to promptly report suspected crimes.

Faber claimed on Thursday that his office has upped the threshold for capturing public servants who are attempting to steal from the public coffers at all levels of government.

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Arizona Lawmakers Propose Ban on Taxing Rent Payments

The Arizona House Ways and Means Committee voted to move forward a bill that would scrap the rent tax at the city, town and county levels.

If enacted, House Bill 2067 would not allow someone to face a tax if they’re leasing property for residential purposes, starting on Jan. 1, 2024. 

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Detroit Gets $24 Million to Reduce Traffic Deaths

The city of Detroit will receive $24.8 million to redesign existing transportation infrastructure in high crash areas to reduce traffic fatalities.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the money is part of $800 million in grant awards for 510 projects through the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program.

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Robert Kiyosaki Responds to Arizona State University Faculty Members Condemning Event Featuring Him, Dennis Prager, and Charlie Kirk

Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College is sponsoring a “Health, Wealth & Happiness” panel discussion on February 8 featuring Rich Dad Poor Dad bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki, conservative leaders Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk, and wellness expert Dr. Radha Gopalan. Most of the faculty at Barrett — 37 of 47 members as of February 2 — denounced Kiyosaki, Prager, and Kirk in a February 1 letter addressed to the dean. Kiyosaki spoke to The Arizona Sun Times about the criticism.

“If they picket me, this won’t be the first time I’ve been received like this,” he said. Kiyosaki served in the Marines as a gunship pilot during the Vietnam War, and when he returned home, protesters targeted him and his fellow Marines and spit on them. Kiyosaki has written over 26 books related to finance, and Rich Dad Poor Dad is the best-selling personal financial book of all time. 

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Commentary: As Refugees Flood into U.S., Chinese Christians Told to Wait

On Christmas Eve, members of Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, who fled China several years ago, had their celebrations abruptly cut short.

The congregation had initially sought refuge in South Korea, but was denied a haven there after three years of immigration court proceedings. The next port of call was Thailand, which they hoped would be a peaceful, if temporary, home before being granted sanctuary in the United States. But on December 24, the landlord for the apartments where the 64 church members – roughly half adults and half children – were staying suddenly informed them that Thai police had demanded copies of all their passports, IDs, and visas.

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DeSantis Admin Moves to Revoke Liquor License of Venue Which Allowed Kids to See ‘Sexual’ Drag Show

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration moved to revoke an Orlando venue’s liquor license after it allowed minors to attend a “sexual” drag performance, according to a complaint filed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

The department said Friday that the venue violated Florida statute and would move, therefore, to “enter a penalty revoking [its] license,” according to the complaint. The decision came after the DeSantis administration warned in December it would revoke the venue’s liquor license if it did not age-restrict its “A Drag Queen Christmas” show which featured “sexual” acts.

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Emails Show Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee Knew About Union Grove Troubles Years Ago

Gov. Evers’ pick to head Wisconsin’s Department of Veterans Affairs will have some questions to answer regarding what he knew about the troubles at the state’s veterans home at Union Grove, and just what he did to address the issues.

Emails obtained by The MacIver Institute’s news service and shared with The Center Square show current VA secretary nominee James Bond was first alerted of the staffing shortage and problems with care at Union Grove back in 2019.

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Georgia Republican Lawmakers File Public Safety Bills

Georgia Republicans are moving forward with a series of bills they say will help protect residents and hold prosecutors in the state accountable.

“We’re seeing a pattern around the state of people who are committing violent crimes,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones, a Republican, told The Center Square. “They’re being processed through basically signature bonds, and a signature bond is nothing more than … a promissory note, and we believe that it’s happening on a lot larger scale than a lot of people realize.”

State Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, introduced Senate Bill 63 to expand the list of offenses that require bail or surety and will require many repeat offenders to post bail or surety.

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Virginia House Panel Advances Key Energy Bills

A Virginia House of Delegates panel advanced bipartisan legislation Thursday allowing a state agency to reduce utility rates when it determines utility providers are bringing in excess revenues, a move supporters say will help protect ratepayers from soaring energy bills. 

A panel of lawmakers on the House Commerce and Energy Committee voted unanimously Thursday to advance a bipartisan proposal giving the State Corporation Commission authority to order reductions to utility base rates – meaning rates for generation and distribution services – “produce revenues in excess of the utility’s authorized rate of return.” 

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Legislation Would Give Rural Arizona More Power in Ballot Initiative Process

An Arizona State Senate resolution would fundamentally change how initiatives would make it to the ballot.

SCR1015 would require 10% of voters in each legislative district to sign onto a petition to get a statewide measure proposition on the general election ballot, as opposed to the 10% statewide that’s currently needed.

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Katie Hobbs Refuses to State Her Position on the Death Penalty, Jokes About Removing Reporter

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) refused to answer a question regarding her stance on the death penalty while speaking with reporters.

“I don’t necessarily think that’s relevant here. We just want to make sure we’re studying the practices,” Hobbs said in response to a reporter’s question.

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Bill Seeks to Cap Pay for Diversity Employees at Department of Defense

Two Republican Congressmen have filed legislation that would limit the pay of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion employees at the Department of Defense to that of front-line soldiers. 

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, introduced legislation Wednesday that would cap the amount of compensation for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion employees at the Department of Defense to the rank of E-5, which is $31,000 a year. U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, introduced companion legislation in the House.

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Music Spotlight: Siena

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- One of my favorite things is discovering new talent, often ahead of the labels and music industry. PR teams pitch me an artist, and if I like what I hear, I schedule an interview. When Dead Horse Branding sent the song, “Sass” by new country artist Siena (Paglia), I was hooked by the title alone.

It turns out that this real-life Las Vegas cowgirl can sing quite well. With her debut single, she has just enough twang to keep us old-timers interested, but with lyrics that are fresh and relatable to the younger set.

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Marines Continue Fight with Department of Defense over Vaccine Mandate

Several members of the U.S. Marines are still fighting the U.S. Department of Defense in a lawsuit they filed over its August 2021 COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The DOD asked the court to dismiss the case after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was forced to drop the mandate by Congress. President Joe Biden, who strongly opposed repealing the mandate, agreed to repealing it when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law in December.

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Watchdog Unveils Top 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech

A free speech watchdog group Thursday morning named several prominent colleges and universities to its list of the top ten worst colleges in the country for freedom of speech based on specific times the institutions reportedly violated students’ and faculties’ rights.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) named Hamline University, Collin College, Emerson University, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Loyola University New Orleans (NOLA), Texas A&M, Pennsylvania State University, Emporia State University, Tennessee Tech University and the University of Oregon as the worst institutions for free speech in its 12th annual report, shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. The report detailed the worst cases of censorship the watchdog faced at higher education institutions in 2022. 

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Commentary: The Confused ‘Gender Queer’ World the Left Is Making for Children

One of my favorite current sources of unintentional humor, NPR, provided another comedy jewel the other day.

It was an interview with Maia Kobabe, the author of Gender Queer: A Memoir, a book NPR describes as a “graphic memoir” (meaning it includes illustrations throughout like a comic book). This book has been getting critical attention from some groups, including concerned parents, who are not entirely ideologically on board with current woke protocols on gender and sexuality. And, indeed, considering the book contains pornographic images, it is alarming that it can be found in school libraries.

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Commentary: The U.S. Postal Service’s Religious Liberty Fiasco

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been hauled into court plenty of times, having experienced its fair share of administrative and election law cases. But now, America’s mail carrier faces fundamental questions over religious tolerance at the post office.

USA Today Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze reports: “Gerald Groff, a former mail carrier in Pennsylvania, sued the U.S. Postal Service after it required him to work Sunday shifts delivering packages. Groff, who resigned in 2019, is a Christian and believes Sundays should be dedicated to worship, court records show.” The Supreme Court has chosen to take up the case, and the holding could expand employees’ rights to obtain religious accommodations.

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