Commentary: Behold DeSantis, Destroyer of Narratives

Ron DeSantis

Those who are looking for someone who could be a post-Trump bearer of the MAGA standard within the Republican Party have had a keen eye on Ron DeSantis for a while now.

And this week it’s becoming perfectly clear why.

DeSantis was the subject of a tired and constant phenomenon in American politics: the 60 Minutes hit piece. That happened on Sunday, with a report by Sharyn Alfonsi alleging that DeSantis was running a “pay-for-play” scheme surrounding the state of Florida’s vaccine distribution.

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Gas Tax Increase, Budget Cuts Give Ohio $2 Billion for Road Projects

Ohio Department of Transportation worker

Despite traffic on state highways, roads and bridges decreasing significantly in 2020, the Ohio Department of Transportation expects to spend nearly $2 billion in the next year on nearly 1,000 projects.

Traffic volume fell by 15.5% during the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic limited road travel, ODOT said. More people worked from home. Stay-at-home health orders, capacity limits, business closures and statewide curfews also reigned in optional travel.

Despite the limited driving, which also leads to less fuel consumption and less taxpayer money available, ODOT pointed to a 2019 gas tax increase, along with budget cuts, for staving off what could have billon a $3 billion swing in taxpayer money for the department.

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McAuliffe, Chase, and Cox Announce Significant Endorsements

Governor Ralph Northam endorsed his predecessor to be his successor. Gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe received Northam’s endorsement in a week with several key gubernatorial endorsements. On Thursday, the governor appeared with the former governor in Norfolk.

“We need a leader that can continue this progress. We need a leader that will bring us out of COVID-19, a leader that will help small businesses. A leader that will promote equity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe will do that,” Northam said.

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Poll: Majority of Michigan Voters Favor Ballot Proposal to Restrict Governor’s Emergency Powers

Gov. Whitmer

A poll released Tuesday by Michigan Rising Action (MRA), a Lansing-based organization dedicated to advancing conservative principles, asserts Michigan strongly supports a ballot proposal to limit the use of gubernatorial emergency powers.

MRA commissioned the poll from Marketing Resource Group, which conducted research between March 15-18, and skews +4 Democrat.

A majority of the 610 likely voters polled within each age group supported restricting the governor’s unilateral use of emergency powers.

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CDC Director Wants Stricter COVID-19 Measures in Michigan as Cases Surge

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that the Michigan should implement stricter COVID-19 measures as hospitalizations from the deadly virus surge in the state.

“I would advocate for sort of stronger mitigation strategies, as you know, to sort of decrease the community activity, ensure mask-wearing, and we’re working closely with the state to try and work towards that,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky reportedly said regarding Michigan in a Wednesday briefing. 

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Tennessee Senate Pulls Back on Bill Removing Local Health Authority Powers, Rendering Them Advisory Bodies During Health Emergencies

A bill which proposed removing local health authorities’ powers during health emergencies was re-referred to the Senate Calendar Committee on Thursday. State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) requested this action without explanation during the bill’s third and final hearing.

If passed, the bill would specify that county mayors have the authority to establish and implement health policies during county-wide health emergencies – not local health officials or bodies. Instead, all county health directors, health officers, and boards of health could only serve in an advisory capacity to the mayor.

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Cuomo Repeals His Nursing Home Legal Immunity Measure Amid FBI Investigation And Impeachment Probe

Gov. Andrew Cuomo repealed a measure on Tuesday he had originally signed into law in April 2020 that shielded nursing homes from COVID-19 lawsuits.

The New York Democrat repealed the law as he faces an FBI investigation into his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. FBI investigators are looking into how the nursing home legal immunity bill made it into the state’s budget legislation just before Cuomo signed it into law, according to THE CITY.

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Tennessee Senate Committee Approves Amended Bill Making County Health Boards Advisory Only, Prohibiting Vaccine Passports

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved a bill to make county health boards as advisory bodies only, and to prohibit mandatory vaccine passports. The bill was introduced by State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), and also sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

Currently, the components limiting county health boards’ powers and prohibiting vaccine passport mandates aren’t listed as part of the bill. They were introduced as an amendment in the House on Tuesday. Additionally, the bill would relegate local health authority to the state and limit county health officers’ quarantine-mandating powers – individuals and places that aren’t known to have contributed to the spread of a disease may not be quarantined.

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Restricted Michigan Has More COVID Hospitalizations than Open Texas

Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, including social distancing, limited capacity inside businesses, and mask mandates, Michigan has more COVID-19 hospitalizations than Texas, which dropped all of its COVID-19 restrictions about one month ago.

Associated Press reporter David Eggert attended a ceremony at Ford Field on Tuesday where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was vaccinated. He reported that the state has 3100 hospitalizations for COVID-19, an increase from 2600 last Friday. 

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Sponsor Pulls Bill Making Discrimination Based on COVID-19 Vaccine Status a Punishable Offense

State Representative Iris Rudder (R-Winchester) pulled a bill making it a punishable offense for discriminating against another based on COVID-19 vaccine status. The legislation was scheduled to appear before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday, but Rudder requested that the bill be pulled. She didn’t provide any explanation as to why. 

The bill aimed to limit any “direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or other practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons[.]” This would have extended to any entity open to the public, which includes businesses, airlines, public transit systems, and schools. They would’ve been prohibited from following through on actions or policies regarding COVID-19 vaccines – even if they were adhering to local, state, or federal statutes or orders.

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Delayed Again: Bill to Exempt Houses of Worship from Emergency Closures

A bill prohibiting government-mandated emergency closures for worship services has been delayed once again, as the Tennessee General Assembly floor session on Monday. State Representative Chris Todd (R-Madison County) delivered the news on behalf of the sponsor, State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), requesting that the bill be placed on the next available calendar. No explanation was given for this delay.

As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Grills delayed the bill initially due to concerns from legislators opposed to prohibiting church closures. Two Democratic legislators, State Representatives London Lamar (D-Memphis) and Harold Love, Jr. (D-Nashville) expressed concerns that the bill constrained government authorities from stopping church gatherings during a pandemic or other emergencies.

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Ten Percent of Migrant Minors Held in San Diego Convention Center Test Positive for COVID-19

San Diego Convention Center

Of the more than 700 unaccompanied migrant minors who were transported to the San Diego Convention Center from Texas, roughly 10% have tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple news reports citing health officials.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported on March 30 that 70 of these minors tested positive; none required hospitalization.

The San Diego Convention Center is currently holding 723 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 – all of whom were transferred from federal shelters in Texas.

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Tennessee House Passes Bill to Cancel Excise Tax for Certain COVID-19 Relief Payments to Businesses

The Tennessee House passed a bill cancelling the excise tax on certain COVID-19 payments given to businesses. The legislation would cover all payments from March 1 to December 31 of last year. 

If passed, the bill would apply to payments from the Tennessee Business Relief Program, the Tennessee Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant Program, the Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business Fund, the Hospital Staffing Assistance Program, the Emergency Medical Services Ambulance Assistance Program, the Tennessee Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants Program, or the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant.

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Bill Aims to Ban Minnesota Vaccine Passports

Senator Michelle Benson

As Minnesota returns to a semblance of normalcy with an increasing number of injected COVID-19 vaccines, one Republican aims to ban “vaccine passports.”

 SF 1589 aims to ban forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced digital contact tracing, and required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering a government business.

“Your personal health information should not be made public. I stand against the special interests that want your private health information,” Senate Health Committee Chair Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, posted on Facebook.

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Commentary: Will Students Returning to the Classroom Remember How to Learn?

by Larry Sand   According to the Burbio school tracker, 53 percent of schools nationwide are now fully open for business. With the new Centers for Disease Control guidelines having determined that three-feet is a safe distance for students, one would think the other 47 percent would embrace the chance to…

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Commentary: Just Say No to Vaccine Passports

We all desperately want normal lives again. And I’m not talking about the finnicky “new normal” that accommodates Aunt Karen’s irrational fear of leaving her house. I’m talking about “normal normal,” where people crowd into concert halls with standing room only, restaurants operate crowded tables at 120 percent capacity, and cruise ship buffets shove food and alcohol down my throat like it’s Fat Tuesday, all day, every day. Ah … don’t you miss 2019? I sure do.

It was only a matter of time before some in our society turned the national COVID experiment into an excuse to say, “Papers, please.” That’s right — the so-called vaccine passport is now emerging in the United States. It’s an app that is advertised as a way to help people do the things they miss doing from pre-pandemic times. Want to feel completely safe in your favorite store, and surround yourself with others who, like you, have rolled up their sleeve and gotten the vaccine? There’s an app for that. Just scan your QR code and enter feeling sanctimoniously sanitized.

Last week, New York became the first state to offer such a vaccine verification app. The state-sanctioned app, called Excelsior Pass, claims to let participants “Attend sporting events, arts performances and more! Excelsior Pass supports a safe reopening of New York by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Well that sounds fun to me! Sign me up!

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Minnesota Breweries Take Expansions to Other States Because of Outdated Alcohol Laws

Twenty miles means a world of difference for Minnesota breweries that have grown as much as state law allows.

Minnesota’s alcohol laws are pushing breweries to expand in other states, Brad Glynn, Lift Bridge Brewing cofounder and vice president of marketing told The Center Square in a phone interview.

In May, Lift Bridge Brewing Co plans to expand to a New Richmond, Wisconsin location.

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Survey: Michiganders Support Metric-Driven Plan to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions on Restaurants

Justin Winslow

A restaurant survey indicates 74% of respondents supported a required metric-driven plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) released a statewide survey indicating public support to resume indoor dining and travel.

The survey also indicated wide support for hospitality workers receiving prioritized vaccination as well as for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to produce a metric-driven plan to retain control over COVID-19 restrictions.

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Factory Mixup Ruins 15 Million Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Workers at a Baltimore plant responsible for producing two separate coronavirus vaccines mistakenly mixed up their respective ingredients, ruining approximately 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and pausing all production at the plant, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The facility, run by Emergent BioSolutions, had partnered with both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to produce vaccines. Federal officials said that the mistake was a result of human error, according to The New York Times, which first reported the mix up that reportedly occurred several weeks ago.

A quality control review “identified one batch of drug substance that did not meet quality standards at Emergent BioSolutions, a site not yet authorized to manufacture drug substance for our COVID-19 vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. “This batch was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process.”

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Knoxville Marks One Year of ‘Safer-at-Home’ Order; Other Tennessee Counties Allow Mask Mandates to Expire

April Fool’s Day marks one year since Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon issued the “safer-at-home” order, after three counties dropped their mask mandates. The counties of Hamblen, Roane, and Claiborn allowed their mandates to expire on Wednesday. Similar “15 days to slow the spread” practices turned into weeks, then months, and now, for many across Tennessee and the country.

Kincannon’s Safer at Home order lasted for nearly a month. It prohibited gatherings over 10 and forced closure of all “nonessential” businesses. The order empowered city officials with regulatory authority to take action against anyone who violated the order. The city even made available a non-compliance reporting process to enforce the order – which is still active.

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Bill to Exempt Houses of Worship from Emergency Closures Delayed

Final voting on a bill addressing government control over worship services during public emergencies, already heavily altered, will be delayed by one week for further potential changes. The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), indicated Monday that he would review the bill further to consider the concerns of Democratic State Representatives London Lamar (D-Memphis) and Harold Love, Jr. (D-Nashville). Lamar and Love raised concerns that governments couldn’t do enough to curb church activity during pandemics under the bill; Lamar argued that religious institutions would be fine if they were ordered to meet virtually.

The adopted amendment has already altered the bill entirely. The original provisions prohibited closures and limitations of churches or religious organizations, including their religious services or activities. In the amended version, the bill would only prohibit state and local governments and agencies from closing churches or religious organizations. It wouldn’t protect houses of worship from any governmental restrictions or limitations.

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Biden’s First 100 Days: Polling Versus Media Coverage of Getting the Pandemic Under Control

RealClear Opinion Research recently conducted a poll about Biden’s first 100 days in office. One of the questions asked was how important it was to get the pandemic under control and public satisfaction with results to date.

The timeline below shows total daily mentions of the pandemic across television news, showing that starting with December 31, 2020, CNN and MSNBC sharply reduced their coverage and have mentioned the pandemic this year far less than last year, while Fox News is largely mentioning it the same number of times each day.

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Fraternities Say Duke’s Latest Action Poses ‘Existential Threat’ to Greek Life

After Duke University decided to end recruitment of freshmen by Greek and non-Greek selective living groups, nine fraternities decided to disaffiliate from the Interfraternity Council, and thus from the university itself.

Duke University has made several changes to Greek life since the hiring of former Tufts University dean of student affairs Mary Pat McMahon. McMahon is now the vice president and vice provost for student affairs at Duke.

McMahon collaborated with the Office of Undergraduate Education to create a new committee called the Next Generation Living and Learning 2.0 Committee in 2020. The committee seeks to “build a joyful and intentional 4-year residential experience that promotes growth, meaningful inclusion, and health, and that is distinctly Duke.”

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Georgia Woman Admits to Using COVID-19 Relief Program to Swindle Federal Government

Tracy Kirkland

A Georgia woman has admitted to creating a fake business and using it to receive funding from a federal COVID-19 small business relief program.

This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia published this month.

Tracy Kirkland, 40, of Swainsboro, pled guilty to an Information charging her with wire fraud, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

“As described in court documents and testimony, in August 2020 Kirkland received a federally guaranteed loan for $66,400 under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program comprised of funds appropriated by the CARES Act,” the press release said.

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Fed Up with COVID: 44 Percent Increase in Michigan Teacher Retirements

teacher in the classroom

Michigan has seen a huge spike in teacher retirements during the past year, with many of those teachers citing COVID-19 restrictions as the reason for calling it quits. 

“From August through February, there was a 44 percent increase in midyear retirements compared with the same period in 2019-2020 as 749 teachers left public school classrooms in the middle of the school year, state data show,” Crain’s Business Detroit reported. 

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‘Normalcy is on the Horizon’ Gov. Walz Touts COVID-19 Recovery in State of State Address

Gov. Tim Walz

“Normalcy is on the horizon,” Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesotans in his 2021 State of the State speech.

Walz delivered his speech Sunday night from his old Mankato classroom.

The state is recovering quickly from the global pandemic, he said, with 80% of seniors having a single vaccine dose and two-thirds of school personnel vaccinated. Starting Tuesday, he said, all Minnesotans ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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WHO Delays Report on COVID’s Origins as China ‘Fights Tooth & Nail Over Each Sentence,’ WHO Advisor Says

China has delayed the release of a World Health Organization report on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic as it reviews the document, according to a World Health Organization advisor.

A team of scientists led by the WHO was expected to release the report this week, after an investigation in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first known cases of COVID-19 were found.

“Just received confirmation that release of the @WHO-organized int’l committee/Chinese gov’t report on #COVID19 origins has again been delayed, apparently as the Chinese side fights tooth & nail over each sentence. Anyone believe this compromise report can possibly be credible?” World Health Organization advisory committee member Jamie Metzl said Friday in a tweet.

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Social Media Doesn’t Allow Posts That Break COVID-19 Narratives, Even Though Health Organizations Keep Backtracking Previous Findings

Social media companies have policed coronavirus-related content based on information from top health organizations, even as those organizations have contradicted themselves.

Facebook and Google instituted policies early in the pandemic restricting user content shared on their platforms to information that doesn’t contradict World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. However, the organizations have contradicted, backtracked or retracted their own findings throughout the pandemic.

Facebook’s policy states that the site “will debunk common myths that have been identified by the World Health Organization.” Shortly after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Facebook announced its “Coronavirus Information Center,” which curates updates from “organizations such as the World Health Organization.”

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Michigan Business Groups Oppose Some House Health Care Reform Bills

A health care reform package the House passed Wednesday is creating a rift between the state’s business groups and the GOP.

Michigan business leaders formed a new Michigan Affordable Healthcare Coalition that aims to reduce health care costs without raising costs on small businesses.

In a Thursday afternoon press conference, business leaders voiced opposition to House bills 4346 and 4354, claiming they would raise health insurance premiums that are already a heavy burden for many businesses.

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84 Percent of Texas Facilities Holding Unaccompanied Migrant Children Have Seen Positive COVID-19 Tests

Border surge

Thirty-seven of 44 shelters, or 87 percent, currently housing unaccompanied migrant minors in Texas reported positive COVID-19 test results between March 5 and 23, according to data collected by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Cases are identified by shelter facilities and foster care providers, which are then reported to officials at the agency.

“The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane. From a lack of safe drinking water in one location to a COVID-19 outbreak in another, the Biden Administration has no excuse for subjecting these children to these kinds of conditions.

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Members of Andrew Cuomo’s Family Received Special Priority for Coronavirus Testing

In yet another potential scandal for the already-embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), a new report claims that his family members and others with close ties to his administration were given special priority with regards to early testing procedures for the coronavirus, according to The Hill.

The report, which first came from the Albany Times Union, says that Cuomo’s Health Commissioner Howard Zucker ordered the New York State Department of Health to give priority to those who Cuomo himself specifically designated, which included his brother, his mother, and one of his sisters. Such testing was conducted in their own private residences, with the officials from the Health Department going out of their way to travel to their homes just to give them the tests.

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CBP Detaining as Many as 9,000 Migrants Daily, Around Half of Them Are Unaccompanied Minors and Families

border surge

Customs and Border Protection is detaining as many as 9,000 migrants daily and over half of them are unaccompanied minors and families, a senior U.S. Border Patrol official said Friday.

Around 6,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended Thursday including 1,900 unaccompanied migrant minors and families who were processed under Title 8, according to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) senior official. Title 42 is still used to expel most single migrant adults and U.S. officials are working with other countries to identify the migrants coming into the U.S., the official said.

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Commentary: Following the ‘Science’ Amongst COVID-19 to Protect Unscientific Bias

Throughout the Trump years and in particular during the 2020 COVID pandemic crisis, the nation was lectured by the Left “to follow the data,” as the Democrats proclaimed themselves the “party of science.” As sober and judicious children of the enlightenment, they alone offered the necessary disinterested correctives to Trump’s supposed bluster and exaggeration—and to his anti-scientific deplorable following (often dismissed by Biden as dregs, chumps, and Neanderthals).

In truth, leftists and Democrats have become the purveyors of superstition. Their creation of a fantasy world is not because they do not believe in science per se, but because they believe more in the primacy of ideology that should shape and warp science in the proper fashion for the greater good. What prompted Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, or Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hysterically and wrongly to forecast widespread demographic or climatological catastrophe in just a few years was not ignorance of science per se, but a desire to massage science for our own good.

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Commentary: The Nature of Chinese Communist Party’s Contempt for Us

Last week in Anchorage, Alaska, Chinese diplomats dressed down Biden Administration Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Both seem stunned by the Chinese broadsides. 

Apparently, as elite Americans readily confess to inherent white supremacy and racism—highlighting the complaints of BLM and Antifa—the Chinese are happy to agree that such admittedly toxic Americans should not dare to criticize China’s racist policies. 

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Whitmer Vetoes Bill That Would Have Curbed Agency’s Emergency Powers

Embattled Michigan Gov. Gretchen Wilson (D), facing scrutiny for secret deals made with departing state employees and her COVID-19 nursing home policies, vetoed a bill that would have limited the executive power of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Senate Bill 1 would have capped emergency pandemic orders by MDHHS at 28 days, causing them to automically expire unless they were ectended by the legislature. But Whitmer, who was long ago stripped of her emergency pandemic powers by the Michigan Supreme Court, veteod the bill, ensuring that her executive branch has unfettered power to give mandate emergency orders. 

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COVID Vaccine Available for All Tennessee Adults on April 5

According to Gov. Bill Lee (R), all people over age 16 will be eligible to receive the coveted COVID-19 vaccine no later than April 5.

“The federal government has asked us to make sure every adult can receive access by May 1, and Tennessee will beat that deadline,” Lee said in a Monday press conference. 

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Georgia Democrats Push for More Gun Control, Hate Crime Laws

Democrats who represent Georgia in the state’s general assembly as well as the U.S. Congress said this week that recent mass shootings, including the one in Atlanta, necessitate either more gun control or hate crimes laws. State Sen. Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek), for instance, filed SB 309, a bill this week that would, if enacted into law, mandate a five-day waiting period for anyone who wants to purchase or transfer certain firearms.

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Commentary: Today’s Real Systemic Injustice with COVID and Our Kids

Black Lives Matter. Believe All Women. Everybody wants to be on the right side of contentious civil rights issues — that’s why the debate over what that “right side” is becomes so intense. But the most quantifiable systemic injustice in our nation today is not black versus white, or male versus female. It’s old against young.

During the coronavirus pandemic, abandonment of adult responsibility in respected institutions — medical, educational, and parental — is indicative of sweeping moral collapse. Making sacrifices for future generations used to make sense in a grown-up world. But baby boomers, those children of the ’60s who have controlled the country for 30 years, have desensitized our culture with their apathy and entitlement. Why should healthy children be held to the same medical standard as a 70-year-old “boomer” with multiple comorbidities? Why have young people, who beat COVID-19 quicker than the annual flu, been forced to surrender a year of their lives to satisfy the anxieties of a paranoid gerontocracy? The calculated hysteria of our politicians has accelerated institutional fragility, a condition of paralysis in which medical and educational leaders refuse to acknowledge prejudicial restrictions on the young and the healthy.

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Americans Are Starting to Reemerge from Their ‘COVID Bunkers’ as Vaccinations Accelerate

As coronavirus vaccinations accelerate across the country, more and more Americans are seeing their friends in public, eating at restaurants and shopping in retail stores, according to a Tuesday Axios/Ipsos poll.

Almost 50% of Americans said that they had visited family or friends in the past month, according to the poll, up from just 39% in February. And 45% said that they had gone out to eat, up 12 points from the past month as well.

Additionally, 90% of respondents said they knew someone who had already been vaccinated, and 36% said that they had been vaccinated themselves.

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Michigan Business Owner Arrested After Flouting COVID-19 Restrictions, Food License Suspended

by Scott McClallen   The state has arrested a business owner for violating the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, including operating her restaurant nearly two months after the state suspended her food license. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday morning that Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland,…

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Pfizer: Israeli Data Finds Vaccine Prevents 94 Percent of Asymptomatic Infections

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was over 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, according to real-world Israeli data released late Thursday.

The latest analysis suggests that Pfizer’s vaccine could overwhelmingly halt asymptomatic spread — a main driver of infections since asymptomatic people are often unaware they have the virus. The data also showed that the vaccine was 97% effective in preventing symptomatic cases, hospitalizations and deaths, slightly higher than the 95% effectiveness found in its clinical trials.

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‘Americans Must Be Prepared for What Is Coming’: Pro-Life Lawmakers, Activists Condemn Becerra’s Confirmation to Health and Human Services

Pro-life lawmakers and activists condemned news Thursday that the senate confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as health and human services secretary, warning that Becerra is both “a culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”

“Becerra is a culture warrior who made his name in bloody-knuckled politics by bullying nuns,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Thursday, referring to Becerra’s battles with the Little Sisters of the Poor over an Obama-era contraception mandate.

The Nebraska senator added that Health and Human Services (HHS) should be focused on health during the pandemic — not Becerra’s progressive priorities.

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Biden Calls Kamala Harris ‘President Harris’

President Joe Biden referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “President Harris” on Thursday.

“Now, when President Harris and I took a virtual tour of a vaccination center in Arizona not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people and giving vaccinations said that each shot was like administering a dose of hope,” Biden said during an announcement at the White House.

Biden previously appeared to forget Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s name during a March 8 speech over the nomination of two female Air Force generals.

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Virginia Gov. Northam Releases Draft Plan Allowing up to 5,000 People at Outdoor Graduations

Schools will be able to hold in-person graduations this year, according to a draft of preliminary guidance announced by Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday. Outdoor graduations can have the lesser of 5,000 people or 30 percent capacity, while indoor graduations can have the lesser of 500 people or 30 percent capacity.

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Democrats Block GOP Bill to Test Illegal Immigrants for COVID-19

Illegal Alien Detention center

Democrats blocked a bill sponsored by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), which would require the Department of Homeland Security to test all migrants crossing illegally into the country for COVID-19, Breitbart reports.

Republicans put forward a motion to block the previous question on a piece of legislation Tuesday that would allow for the consideration of Miller-Meeks’ legislation, the Requiring Every Alien to Receive a COVID-19 Test (REACT) Act. This bill would mandate that the Homeland Security Department (DHS) test all migrants crossing the border illegally that the DHS releases into the country, Breitbart reported.

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Michigan County Experimenting with Social Distancing Guidelines in Schools

After a damning New York Times report in which a Virginia Tech virologist said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) six-foot social distancing guidelines appeared to be pulled out of “thin air,” one Michigan county is experimenting with three feet of social distancing in schools.

“The Kent County Health Department is in the middle of a study that officials hope will reduce the social distance requirements in all pre-k through 8th grade classrooms,” a WZZM report said. “During the six-week pilot study, any student that has been within three feet of a COVID-positive student for 15 minutes or more — within 48 hours — must quarantine at home for 10 days. Before that, quarantine was triggered at a distance of six feet.”

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