Bill Allowing Religious Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Considered Again by General Assembly

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed and administered across the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Republican state Senator is looking to revisit the topic of religious exemptions to immunizations when the General Assembly convenes for its regular session in ten days.

Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) has introduced and pre-filed Senate Bill 1116, which would allow for a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination of a child on the grounds that immunization conflicts with their religious practices or tenets, even during an emergency declared by the state board of health.

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Richmond, Virginia Offering Utility Relief Assistance to Residents

Richmond residents struggling to keep up with their utility bills or already several months behind as a result of economic hardships from the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for assistance from the city.

The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has received funding from the COVID-19 Municipal Utility Relief Program – originally provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – to make this assistance possible.

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Commentary: COVID-19 Lockdowns Have Created a New Feudalism

On February 28, the idea of locking down and smashing economies and human rights the world over was unthinkable to most of us but lustily imagined by intellectuals hoping to conduct a new social/political experiment. On that day, New York Times reporter Donald McNeil released a shocking article: To Take On the Coronavirus, Go Medieval on It. 

He was serious. Most all governments – with few exceptions like Sweden and the Dakotas in the US – did exactly that. The result has been shocking. I’ve previously called it the new totalitarianism. 

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Commentary: Will Maximum COVID Fear Keep Democrats at Home on Election Day?

In the closing days of the presidential campaign, amid a surge in support for President Donald Trump in many battleground state polls, media outlets are reporting rising confirmed Covid cases in states like Wisconsin and New Mexico but also nationally as the cold and flu season kicks into gear.

“Wisconsin faces Covid-19 crisis as coronavirus cases continue to rise, governor says,” reads one headline from CNN.

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Politics, Competition With Religious Schools, Far Outweighed Science in School Shutdown Decisions, Analysis Found

In response to state and local government shutdowns reportedly designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, schools districts and local governments implemented different reopening guidelines and timelines – but did so more because of politics or competition with private schools than because of science, a new report published by Brown University found.

The EdWorking Paper published by The Annenberg Institute at Brown University authored by Michael T. Hartney from Boston College and Leslie K. Finger from the University of North Texas found that “the most critical decision facing the nation’s school boards – whether or not to re-open in person and to what degree – appears to be closely related to the partisanship of a local school district.”

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Commentary: How Big Tech Masks COVID-19 Realities

Since the early stages of the coronavirus crisis, any viewpoint or research running afoul of the accepted doctrine conceived by the credentialed class has been censored.

Social media platforms, internet search engines, and other monopolistic guardians of information decided at the very beginning that they would determine which content would be available for public consumption; “false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them” would be subjected to Facebook’s reject button, according to a January 2020 statement released by the company.

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Trump To Seniors: I Will Protect, Defend, and Fight for You With Every Ounce of Energy I Have

President Donald Trump traveled to Fort Myers, Florida Friday to give a speech focusing on health care costs, Social Security and other issues that impact senior citizens. In his speech, the president sought to reassure elderly voters, who have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, that he cares about them, and is doing do everything he can to protect and defend them.

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Boeing Says Pandemic Will Cut Demand for Planes for a Decade

Boeing is lowering its expectations around demand for new planes over the next decade as the coronavirus pandemic continues to undercut air travel.

The company on Tuesday predicted that the world will need 18,350 new commercial airplanes in the next decade, a drop of 11% from its 2019 forecast. The value of that market will slide by about $200 billion from last year’s forecast, to $2.9 trillion.

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Trump Signs Executive Order Establishing Coronavirus Mental Health Working Group

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Saturday aimed at “saving lives” of those suffering from mental and behavioral health needs, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Through the executive order issued Monday morning, Trump called for more crisis-intervention services to those in “immediate life-threatening situations,” and encouraged increased availability of continuing care after crises, nurture mentorship programs, expanded availability of telehealth, and more.

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As European Schools Stay Open Amid Rising Cases, Many U.S. Schools Remain Shuttered

Leaders in Western Europe remain committed to continuing in-person instruction for young students — in some cases relaxing restrictions like face mask requirements and social distancing rules — even as caseloads throughout the region continue to explode. 

It’s a sharp contrast from many school districts in the United States, including some of the largest and most populous, where governmental authorities and teachers’ unions continue to insist that children be barred from face-to-face instruction, that any in-person learning be accompanied by strict distancing and face covering rules, and that even modest upticks in coronavirus cases should necessitate a complete shutdown of face-to-face learning.

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Ohio Schools Among the Safest to Reopen According to Report

As schools around the country continue to struggle with opening to in-person learning, a new report shows Ohio as one of the top places in the nation for schools to reopen safely.

As some students learn online, through a hybrid model or in person in classrooms because of COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on the safest schools to reopen. It ranked Ohio as seventh.

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Federal Judge Tosses Wolf Administration’s Limits on Gatherings, Orders Closing Businesses

A federal judge on Monday threw out portions of the Wolf administration’s orders that restricted activity during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the governor had exceeded his authority.
The ruling by Judge William Stickman in the Western District of Pennsylvania court delivers to Gov. Tom Wolf’s political opponents what they had failed to achieve for months in the Legislature as bill after bill to curtail the governor’s power was passed, only to be vetoed.

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Survey: Families in Four Largest U.S. Cities Facing Significant Financial, Health, Education Setbacks

More than half of the households surveyed in the four largest U.S. cities are facing serious financial problems as a result of their state and city shutdowns, a new five-part polling series conducted by NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found.

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Gov Walz’s Sixth Extension of COVID Peacetime Emergency Follows Legislation’s Heated, Divided Vote

Governor Tim Walz extended Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency for the sixth time after a heated, divided vote in the special legislative session. 
Walz stated in a press release that the coronavirus is still a danger to Minnesotans.

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Coffee Shop Owners Expose Reality of Forced Closures Under Minnesota’s Gov Walz’s Executive Orders

A viral post from The Coffee Nest shared it was forced to close after the state threatened the local business with imprisonment, fines, and more. They have since deleted the post, citing an influx of private hate messages.
Most commenters expressed frustration over the negative impacts of Governor Walz’s executive orders.

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State Orders Public Colleges and Universities to Create COVID-19 Quarantine Shelters

Ohio will now mandate public colleges and universities to create non-congregate sheltering space for quarantining coronavirus patients.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order Sunday “to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” alongside Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.

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Joint Legislative Committee Will Meet to Study Emergency Executive Powers in Tennessee Thursday

The Tennessee General Assembly Joint Ad Hoc Committee studying emergency powers of the executive branch will include presentations from by retired U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch, Jr.

The meeting to be held at the legislature’s home of the Cordell Hull Building is scheduled for Thursday.

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Apple Is the First American Company to be Valued at $2 Trillion

Apple is the first U.S. company to boast a market value of $2 trillion, just two years after it became the first to reach $1 trillion.

Apple shares have gained nearly 60% this year as the company overcame the shutdown of factories in China that produce the iPhone and the closure of its retail sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Minnesota Department of Health to Allow Visitors into Nursing Homes at the End of August

People wanting to visit their loved ones residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be able to starting August 29, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Monday.

This will be the first time visitors have been allowed into long-term care facilities since March 31.

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Governor Walz Will Extend COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency Again

Governor Walz announced in a press release Friday that he will extend Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency again by 30 days. The state’s peacetime emergency first went into effect March 13 – this is the fifth extension to date.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down,” stated Walz.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, Sen. Bernie Sanders Push Bill Taxing Billionaires 60 Percent to Fund One Year of Healthcare for All

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a bill Friday to tax billionaires sixty percent of their pandemic-earned assets. The proposed bill, “Make Billionaires Pay Act,” would use the tax money to cover individual healthcare expenses for one year.

In a tweeted video, Sanders argued billionaires have profited off the coronavirus pandemic while the rest of the country has suffered.

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Small Business Administration Gave Loans to Multi-Million Dollar Companies

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Treasury Department this week released the names of 4.9 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipient businesses and nonprofits that received $150,000 or more.

The mostly forgivable PPP loans were funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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Americans to Get Second Stimulus Check in August, Trump Says

Congress is preparing another coronavirus relief package, President Donald Trump said, which includes another direct cash payment to Americans.

“Yeah, we are … We will be doing another stimulus package. It’ll be very good, it’ll be very generous,” Trump told a Scripps reporter Monday. “I think over the next, I think it’s going to be bi-partisan, I think it’s going to be over the couple of weeks, probably.”

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Fed Says ‘Full Range of Tools’ in Play to Counter Pandemic

The Federal Reserve is promising to use its “full range of tools” to pull the country out of a recession brought on by a global pandemic, signaling that it would keep interest rates low through 2022.

In its semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress, the central bank said Friday that the COVID-19 outbreak was causing “tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world.”

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