Nashville Has Arrested 11 Hosts of Large Home Parties During Pandemic, Tennessean Says

Under emergency health orders, Nashville police have arrested 47 people as of mid-November, including 11 accused of hosting large gatherings, The Tennessean newspaper said.

The newspaper said it based its report on its research of court documents and other data. Reportedly, 79 percent were in violation of Metro Health orders by failing to wear a mask in public. Some of the hosts allegedly held house parties of up to 600 people at a time, according to police, which could result in up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

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Blount County Mayor Shares Comparison of Mask and No-Mask Counties in Tennessee

Mayor of Blount County Ed Mitchell took to Facebook last week sharing a comparison of how Tennessee counties have fared under mask and no-mask mandates.

Blount County, which is not under a mask mandate by Mitchell, has Maryville as its county seat and largest city.  It lies in Tennessee’s eastern grand division adjacent to Knox and Sevier counties, both of which have mask mandates in place.

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Metro Nashville Schools Sending All Students to Distance-Learning After Thanksgiving

Citing the “the alarming increase in the spread of COVID-19,” Metro Nashville Public Schools will move all students to distance-learning after the Thanksgiving break.

The district on Monday evening tweeted, “Metro Schools is returning to all-virtual learning following the Thanksgiving break on November 30 through the end of the semester, December 17.”

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‘Not Interfering with People’s Thanksgiving Dinners’: New Jersey Police Chief Vows to Limit Enforcement of Governor’s COVID-19 Orders

by Jake Dima   A New Jersey police chief vowed to limit enforcement of a recent string of coronavirus orders from Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy ahead of Thanksgiving. Howell Township Police Chief Andrew Kudrick Jr. said he would rely primarily on community judgment rather than law enforcement intervention in response…

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Nevada Governor Orders Indoor Mask Mandate, Limits Private Gatherings Ahead of Thanksgiving

Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Sunday strengthened the state’s mask mandate and limited attendees in private gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving.

Residents must wear face coverings whether gathering indoors or outside if any member that’s not in their household is present, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Private gatherings are limited to 10 people from a maximum of two separate households and public events will be capped at 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less, the order, which will last a total of three weeks, read.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Temperature Requirements Could Create Logistics Challenge

Many states in the U.S. are hinging their COVID-19 mitigation strategies on the availability of a widely available vaccine. An issue bound to arise is the extremely cold temperatures the most promising experimental vaccines need to be kept at and the logistics of delivering them across the country. 

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is estimated to remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 36° to 46°F for 30 days. Longer storage means a required temperature of mRNA-1273 needs -4°F for up to six months. 

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Faith and Freedom Rally Protests Mayor Cooper Rule of 8: ‘Make America Godly Again’

Monday afternoon in downtown Nashville, a rally of just over 100 people protested the latest gathering limit from Mayor John Cooper. None of the police were present at the Legislative Plaza steps where everyone gathered.

Cooper coined the term “Rule of 8” for the city’s latest pandemic-related order ahead of Thanksgiving. The event description on Facebook described the rule as “ridiculous and unconstitutional.”

Pastor Greg Locke hosted the protest. Locke announced the event during the third “Stop the Steal” rally last Saturday – Trump supporters have pledged to gather every weekend until the general election lawsuits are resolved.

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Ohio Governor Sees Growing Criticism from Fellow Republicans

For months, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine steered cleared of publicly second-guessing President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, despite their differences in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, following the governor’s move to shutdown the state over rising COVID cases and remarks urging a swift conclusion to the challenges to the 2020 election irregularities, President Trump suggested another Republican should challenge him in Ohio’s 2022 election.

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Follow the Money: CARES Act Update

Congress passed the CARES Act last March, sending many taxpayers $1,200, giving $100 billion to health providers, and boosting unemployment benefits by $600 a week, according to Govtrack. The $2 trillion stimulus bill also sent $150 billion to states and localities across the country. Virginia received about $3.1 billion dollars, with a separate $200 million sent directly to Fairfax County.

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Knox County Not ‘Following the Science’ in Limiting Restaurant Business, UTK Law Professor Glenn Reynolds Says

University of Tennessee at Knoxville Law Professor Glenn Reynolds is calling out the Metro Nashville Department of Health’s claims over COVID-19 closures, saying they are “not following the science.”

Starting Monday, Nov. 30, Nashville will limit bars and restaurants to 50 percent capacity, NewsChannel 5 reported Monday. They must operate at half capacity with 6 feet of social distancing for a maximum of 100 customers per floor, whichever is less.

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Ohio State Representative Cross Records His Hometown at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday

In a video that ends with a plea from Ohio State Representative Jon Cross (R-Kenton) to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Cross asks for Ohio to be opened and his district to be relieved from measures that are choking out businesses and workers.

Cross represents Ohio’s 83rd District, comprised of Findlay, Kenton and an area with over 119,000 Ohioans.

“This is not an attack on the Governor. This is my artistic way of drawing attention to the situation.”

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Virginia Schools Backtrack on Reopening

Facing pressure from teacher’s advocacy groups, school districts across Virginia are reconsidering plans to return to in-person learning. Districts including Henrico County, Fairfax County, and Virginia Beach are canceling or postponing in-person learning options, according to reporting by NBC12 and Wavy.com. Other districts, including Chesterfield County and Loudoun County, are considering similar moves, according to ABC7 and WRIC. On Sunday, a group of Northern Virginia teachers’ associations wrote a letter citing rising COVID-19 cases and state guidance about limiting group size as a reason for postponing plans.

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Extended Unemployment Benefits Federal Program Ending in Virginia

Approximately 20,000 Virginians who have been relying on extended unemployment benefits over the last several months amidst the coronavirus pandemic will no longer receive those payments come Saturday. 

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced Wednesday that it has been notified by the U.S. Department of Labor that the Extended Benefits Program in Virginia will end on November 21. 

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Mayor John Cooper’s Latest Coronavirus Limit on Gatherings Is Similar to ‘Game of Duck Duck Goose,’ Conservative Watchdog Says

Nashville Mayor John Cooper has placed new limits on gatherings just in time for Thanksgiving, leading one conservative watchdog to liken all the mayor’s decrees to a “game of duck duck goose.”

With the dramatically named “Rule of 8,” Cooper announced a limit of eight for public and private gatherings. The limits start Monday.

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UVA Students Create Website for Easy Access to Virginia Colleges’ COVID-19 News

Four University of Virginia (UVA) undergraduates have created a website called The Collegepedia that aims to make the process of finding the latest reliable, college-specific news about COVID-19 at universities throughout the Commonwealth easier.

“[Journalists] have been working tirelessly to keep communities informed about their health and safety, but there is no single media outlet or aggregator that compiles all of these stories, searchable by community, in an easy to read and straight to the point format. So, we wanted to fill that void.” UVA senior Nik Popli, one of the website’s creators, told The Virginia Star.

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Troy, Ohio Fire Chief Is Concerned About Negative Effect of Governor’s COVID Policies

Troy Fire Chief Matt Simmons has watched Ohio’s COVID response and the statewide statistics since Ohio began responding to the virus.

“We had the local health department come in and talk with us back in the beginning. What they were saying was pretty grim,” said Simmons.

Fast-forward to November and according to the state cite, COVID cases have gone up exponentially in previous weeks and hospitalizations for COVID patients have climbed to all-time highs.

But the statistics that Chief Simmons keeps mulling over are that Miami County (where Troy is located) has seen overdose calls increase by 137%, while suicide calls have spiked an alarming 500%.

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Fairfax County Delays Return to Classroom for Latest Group of Students

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is delaying the return to in-person instruction for thousands of younger students, Superintendent Scott Braband announced in a letter to parents and staff on Monday.

The largest school system in Virginia had planned to send 6,800 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and special education students (Group 5) back to school on Tuesday, but decided to put the move on pause because the current community health metrics for coronavirus cases are exceeding the threshold to expand in-person education, according to Braband.

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Pfizer Chooses Tennessee as One of Four States for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Pilot Program

Tennessee is one of four states chosen by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to help refine plans for the delivery and deployment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine if it receives approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer announced Tuesday.

The pilot program will help support states’ planning, deployment and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and adapt findings for use in other states to support vaccine distribution. Tennessee released its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan last month.

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Virginia Restaurant Owners React to New COVID-19 Restrictions

Governor Ralph Northam announced new statewide coronavirus restrictions last weekend, which went into effect Monday, that will impact a number of retail businesses throughout the Commonwealth.

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” the governor said in a press release.

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Michigan Republicans Call to Impeach Gov. Whitmer Over Latest Shutdown Order

Hours after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used her health department to shut down some businesses statewide for three weeks, State Representative Matt Maddock, (R-Milford), and roughly nine other Republican lawmakers called for impeachment hearings for the first-term Democrat.

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DeWine Says He Does Not Want Second Lockdown, Calls for ‘Slow Down’

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a press conference on Monday that he is not planning to impose a second full lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, instead calling for a “slow down” in the state.

Ohio is currently seeing thousands of new cases of COVID-19 each day, with nearly 8,000 new cases added on Monday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

“Instead of shutting down, we have to slow down,” DeWine said at a conference from the Tri-State Airport in West Virginia, according to Fox8. “We have to slow down in our individual lives and our decisions in what we are doing.”

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Dustin Johnson Buries Some Major Memories, Wins the Masters

by Doug Ferguson   AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) — In this one-of-a-kind Masters that had no fans and no roars, Dustin Johnson made sure it had no drama. And when he polished off his five-shot victory Sunday with lowest score in tournament history, he had no words. Only tears. Looking smart…

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Richmond Public Schools Will Not Play Winter Sports this Year, Superintendent Says

In a newsletter last Monday Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Superintendent Jason Kamras said the school system will not play high school or middle school winter sports this year.

“Athletics are important for many reasons: they motivate and inspire, improve student health, and can even lead to college scholarships. I am deeply sensitive to this,” Kamras wrote in his daily RPS direct newsletter. “At the same time, given our decision to go 100% virtual for the first semester, and given rapidly rising infection rates, we will unfortunately not be fielding any teams this winter.”

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Another Hospital Blocks a Priest from Visiting a Patient

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital prevented Father Steve McNally from visiting COVID-19 patient Eugene Conti in the ICU for two weeks after Conti was admitted in September, according to The Roanoke Times. Conti died without receiving last rites.

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827 Votes Disappear from Official Results in Richmond City Council Second District Race

Updates this week to the State Department of Elections website show vote totals in Richmond’s second district council race dropping from 14,086 to 13,259 — a difference of 827 votes. While earlier results showed candidate Tavarris Spinks leading Katherine Jordan by 26 votes, the change saw Spinks’ vote totals drop from 7,056 to 5,961. Jordan gained 165 votes, giving her 7,195. Spinks announced Thursday that he has filed a FOIA with the registrar.

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Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball Releases 2020-21 Schedule, Looks to Improve After Less than Stellar 2019

After a lackluster 2019 season, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team is aiming to improve in the second season under head coach Mike Young and show they can compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), arguably college basketball’s best league.

When asked by media if the team can improve in the ACC, Young said: “I do, but you’ve heard me say it, you’ll hear me say it again, every year [has] the same goal: to take this team as far as I can take them and see them grow and develop and come together as a unit in a bizarre time for all of us.

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Williamson County Teacher Blasts School System Over COVID-19 Mask Policy

A Williamson County public school teacher on indefinite suspension for refusing to wear a COVID-19 mask on school grounds told school system officials Thursday that science and public opinion are not on their side.

That teacher, Aundrea Laramee-Gomez, said this in an open letter to all 12 Williamson County School Board members and Superintendent Jason Golden.

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Republican Delegates Call for In-Person Meetings During January General Assembly Session

Two Republican state delegates released a joint statement on Tuesday calling for the Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) to work with members on finding a way to hold in-person meetings during January’s regular General Assembly session.

Delegates Christopher Head (R-Roanoke) and Joseph McNamara (R-Roanoke County) said in the statement they are preparing to be in Richmond for the start of the regular session.

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Parents and Members of Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club Protest Distance Learning

A gathering of parked cars blared their horns as dusk fell over the parking lot. Parents arrived once more on a Tuesday evening to protest against distance learning at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting.

After parents finished honking, they joined the meeting so that they can speak to the board directly. November 10th marked the fourth “Honk for Back-to-School” that parents and community members have attended. These individuals continue to protest the total distance learning at LCPS. 

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Virginia COVID-19 Update: Coronavirus Numbers Rising Throughout the State, Vaccine Expected by Year End, Officials Say

As the winter months, colder weather and the holiday season are approaching, the coronavirus numbers, encompassing a number of different metrics, have been increasing throughout Virginia over the last month or so, according to government officials.

At a televised briefing Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam said the state is seeing a rise in cases, percent positivity – now at 6.2 percent – and hospitalizations.

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COVID-19 Outbreak in Richmond Registrar’s Office Delays Election Results

Candidates in Richmond’s close elections will have to wait a little longer for certainty after three staffers in the Registrar’s office were diagnosed with COVID-19. Registrar Kirk Showalter said most ballots would be counted by Tuesday, but 975 provisional ballots remain to be evaluated and counted. At a Monday press conference, Showalter said she hoped results for those ballots would be available on Friday.

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UVA Men’s Basketball Team Prepares for Season Full of Unknowns

As the return of college basketball quickly approaches, the University of Virginia (UVA) men’s basketball team is preparing for what could be one of the most challenging and unique seasons in the history of the sport due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cavaliers, just like every other team, have been attempting to navigate through an odd preseason full of new protocols and adjustments, and trying to get ready for the regular season with many aspects still unknown.

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Gov DeWine Calls Special Presser Alongside Medical Advisors – Hospitalizations the Focus

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio’s incoming Medical Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff (formerly Chief Medical Officer at Ohio Health) conducted a 2:00 p.m. briefing.

The press conference was set to address the recent increase in hospitalizations and how the state plans to handle the matter.

“We are seeing in this state an unprecedented spike in hospital utilization,” said Dr. Vanderhoff.

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Gov. Walz Signals Tightening of COVID-19 restrictions on Bars and Restaurants

Gov. Tim Walz hinted Monday he would enact targeted restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 but didn’t describe the new rules planned. 

Walz said the state health department had identified three major infection sources of spread: social gatherings, bars and restaurants.

It appears as if those restrictions will mostly affect bars and restaurants. 

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Fact-Checkers Rate Viral Video Alleging Whitmer Used Health Officials to Block Poll Challengers As ‘Partly False’

Fact-checkers have ruled a viral video “partly false” after it alleged that Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent health officials to bar poll challengers. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was present during ballot counting at TCF Center on Wednesday.

It is reported that Whitmer sent MDHHS because the 40,000 square foot building was at capacity for COVID-19 restrictions. In the video, the woman stood alone on the second floor of the building. On camera, MDHHS officials were removing and barring entry to poll challengers.

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UVA-Louisville Football Game Postponed Due to COVID-19 Outbreak in Cardinals Program

The University of Virginia (UVA) and University of Louisville football game set to take place Saturday has been tentatively rescheduled to November 14, after several Cardinals players and support staff tested positive for the coronavirus this week, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced Wednesday.

This is the second time a UVA football game has needed to be moved from its original date because of COVID-19 this season.

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Governor Lee Grants $5 Million to Charter Schools Based on ‘Significant Academic Growth’

Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday a $5 million grant for charter schools that had exhibited academic growth. The governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) will source the funds.

These grant will be referred to as “Charter School Support Grants.” Lee’s decision marked the first grant for charter schools during COVID-19.

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Wins Re-election

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has won another term in office with 38.07 percent of voters, just ahead of the 35.72 percent of voters he won in 2016, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) and the City of Richmond. That upper-30s range is also the percent of support the mayor had in recent 2020 polls. In his first term, the mayor faced challenges including poor graduation rates in Richmond schools, controversy over his coliseum project, COVID-19 health and economic concerns, and questions of racial equity around policing and Confederate monuments. Those issues still face the mayor as he enters a second term.

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More Evidence That Nashville Mayor John Cooper Misled Public About COVID-19 Data Is Forthcoming, Metro Council Member Says

Even more emails are coming that reveal how Nashville Mayor John Cooper and members of his staff mishandled the COVID-19 emergency, Metro Council Member At-Large Steve Glover told The Tennessee Star Wednesday.

This, on the same week that the Nashville-based FOX 17 published emails showing that Cooper’s staff downplayed the number of COVID-19 cases coming from the city’s bars and restaurants. Cooper later ordered those bars and restaurants closed.

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Incumbent Democrat Rep. Elaine Luria Defends Seat Against Republican Scott Taylor

Incumbent Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) retained her seat in a battle against Republican candidate Scott Taylor that was similar to 2018. 

In the first hour after polls closed, Taylor started out with a 23 point lead in the 17 percent of votes reported. From there on out, Taylor’s lead dwindled. Two hours after polls closed, Taylor was up by 18 points with 36 percent of the votes reported. An hour later, Taylor dropped to lead Luria by 10 points with 48 percent of votes. By 1 in the morning, Luria made her first gain ahead of Taylor, leading by 3 points with 85 percent of the vote.

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John Rich to Host Election Night Watch Party in Downtown Nashville

Big and Rich country singer John Rich will host an election night watch party at his downtown bar, Redneck Riviera. The Tennessee Republican Party emailed invitations to the event on Monday.

Currently, President Donald Trump is favored to win Tennessee. The same holds true for Republican Bill Hagerty in his senate race against Democrat Marquita Bradshaw. 

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Commentary: COVID Panic Porn is Meant to Suppress Trump Vote, But It May Do the Opposite

Right on schedule, the panic pornsters are shrieking in unison that COVID-19 cases in the United States are on the rise. Virtually overnight, dozens of stories have appeared in the press, on the internet, or broadcast on the nightly news about the renewed danger.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times was one of the first out of the gate, warning us that “The U.S. Just Recorded Its Worst Week Yet for Coronavirus Cases: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths across much of the country are the highest they have been during the pandemic.”

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Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Triggers End to Federal Unemployment Benefit

Jeff McCord

Because of progress made lowering Tennessee’s unemployment rate, 3,000 Tennesseans receiving unemployment payments through the federal Extended Benefits program no longer will receive those funds beginning Nov. 7.

The U.S. Department of Labor administers the Extended Benefits program based on each state’s unemployment metrics. Tennessee crossed the threshold of economic recovery earlier this month, triggering the end of the program, the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development (TDLWD) announced Friday.

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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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Former Obama-Biden Admin Official Behind Chicago’s $66M COVID Hospital That Treated Just 38 People

The city of Chicago spent $66 million turning McCormick Place — the largest convention center in North America — into a coronavirus hospital.

Although the facility treated a mere 38 patients during its month of operation, Chicago’s deputy mayor for economic development and Northwestern University trustee and former Obama administration official Samir Mayekar doubled down on his support of the hospital.

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Federal Government Defends Eviction Ban in Court Hearing

The federal government defended its national eviction ban before a judge Friday, arguing that the moratorium had helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 and did not overstep the authority provided by Congress.

The arguments are part of a federal lawsuit filed by a handful of landlords in Memphis earlier this year, which claims the eviction moratorium has unfairly strained their finances and violated their property rights.

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Get Ready for College Football in the Spring

After many conferences and schools decided in late summer to postpone or outright cancel its football seasons because of coronavirus concerns, spring college football will arrive sooner than you think. Recently, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and the Southern Conference (SoCon) released its football schedules for the upcoming season.

The schedules for both conferences have been modified from what a normal season would look like in an attempt to squeeze in enough regular season games and the NCAA Football Championship.

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In an Open Letter to Ohioans, Gov DeWine Calls for ‘Unity’ and for a Renewed Commitment to Fight the Coronavirus

Two days before the Election Day 2020, Governor Mike DeWine delivered an open letter to Ohioans. In it, he called for unity and for the people of the Buckeye State to renew their commitment to “fight the coronavirus.”

“On this Sunday before Election Day, I encourage you to vote if you have not already done so. Exercise and enjoy this sacred right that we, as Americans, hold so dear,” the letter begins.

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