Rental Assistance Program Still Lacks Uniform Federal Requirements to Verify Income, Identity

A federal rental assistance program still lacks uniform federal requirements that states must follow to verify the income and identity of recipients, despite the findings and warnings in a Government Accountability Office report.

In a February 2021 report, the GAO found that 13 agencies administering the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program “reported using no electronic data to verify beneficiaries’ income, verifying income in other ways, such as checking beneficiaries’ documents.”

According to the GAO, the Department of Health and Human Services has “encouraged LIHEAP agencies to use electronic data to improve program integrity, but has not taken recent steps to share information that could facilitate its use.”

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Commentary: It’s an Unraveling, Not a Reset

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a shortage of fertilizer is causing farms in the developing world to fail, threatening food shortages and hunger. Ironically, the lead photo is of mounds of phosphate fertilizer in a Russian warehouse.

Modern synthetic fertilizers are typically made using natural gas or from phosphorous-bearing ores. The former provides the nitrogen that is critical to re-use of fields in commercial agriculture. They constitute more than half of all synthetic fertilizer production. 

So what happens when oil and natural gas extraction are crippled in industrialized nations? One likely outcome is that the fertilizer manufacturing industry is also crippled, leaving both large commercial growers and smaller farms around the world starved of a key substance they need to grow food for hungry populations.

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Amid Pro-Police Messaging Pivot, Biden Planning Woke Criminal Justice Push: GOP Senators

Even as President Biden strives to project a more police-friendly posture in public amid a historic surge in urban violence, his administration is quietly planning sweeping, unilateral executive action, GOP senators suspect, that is “tantamount to defunding the police” and “would only further demoralize law enforcement.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged this week that there’s been “a surge [in] crime over the last two years,” adding that the “underfunding” of police departments is partially to blame.

“The Department of Justice has announced $139 million in grants to cities for community policing, which will put 1,000 more officers on the streets,” Psaki said. “[Biden has] also proposed doubling those grants, and he’s called for an additional $750 million for federal law enforcement.”

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NCAA Officer Resigns amid Transgender Policy Controversy as Reports of Lia Thomas’ ‘Entitlement’ Surface

Dorian Rhea Debussy

Dorian Rhea Debussy, a member of the NCAA Division III LGBTQ OneTeam program, recently resigned over the organization’s updated policy on transgender athletes. 

“I’m deeply troubled by what appears to be a devolving level of active, effective, committed, and equitable support for gender diverse student-athletes within the NCAA’s leadership,” Debussy said, according to Fox News, after the national organization adopted a “sport-by-sport” approach to determining transgender athlete’s eligibility to compete on opposite-gender teams. 

According to Fox News, Debussy said, “As a non-binary, trans-feminine person, I can no longer, in good conscience, maintain my affiliation with the NCAA.”

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Report: Chinese Government Changed Ending to ‘Fight Club’ so Authorities Win

China replaced the ending to the 1999 cult classic film “Fight Club” with a message saying the authorities won, BBC News reported.

The true ending of the film depicts the narrator, portrayed by Edward Norton, killing his imaginary alter ego, played by Brad Pitt, before bombs exploded, destroying buildings in the climax of a plot to change society.

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Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson Shuts Down ‘Sold by Amazon’ Program Nationwide

Amazon has agreed to shut down its third-party seller program nationwide and pay a fine of $2.25 million after Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson investigated the company for price fixing.

Ferguson simultaneously filed a lawsuit and a legally binding resolution Wednesday in King County Superior Court. The consent decree order means that the Seattle-based company will end its “Sold by Amazon” program and provide the attorney general’s office with annual updates on its efforts to avoid violating antitrust laws.

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Zelensky Slams Biden: ‘I Think I Know the Details Deeper Than Any Other President’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday took a thinly veiled shot at Joe Biden, saying “I am the President of Ukraine. I am based here. I think I know the details deeper than any other president,” after Biden had warned him in a phone call that a Russian invasion was “imminent.”

According to a CNN report, which is disputed by the White House, Biden told Zelensky during an hour and 20 minutes long conversation on Thursday that the Capital city of Kyiv could be “sacked” by Russian forces, and to “prepare for impact.” Biden also reportedly said an invasion was “virtually certain” in February when the ground will be more frozen in Ukraine.

In response, Zelensky urged Biden to tone down his rhetoric about a potential invasion, citing concerns that it could cause panic or a run on supplies, CNN reported.

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Law Profs: Most States May Recognize ‘Multiparent Families’ in the Near Future

Two law professors this week argued that the U.S. is on the verge of seeing most states recognize “multiparent families,” a novel familial arrangement that the instructors nevertheless claimed was “hardly new.”

Professors Courtney Joslin and Douglas NeJaime of UC Davis School of Law and Yale Law School, respectively, argued in the Washington Post this week that it “soon could be unremarkable for a child to have three or more legal parents,” with that legal concession “fast becoming reality” throughout the country.

“These new laws have been spurred, in part, by the rising numbers and public profile of LGBTQ families and others with children conceived through assisted reproduction,” they write. “In many of these families, one or more parents are not genetically related to their children, and many states now legally recognize these ‘intended parents.'”

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Chicago Schools Tells Teachers Sex Is ‘Socially Constructed,’ Tells Them to Hide Students’ Gender Pronouns From Parents

A Chicago Public Schools (CPS) training program tells teachers that sex is a “socially constructed” phenomenon and instructs them to hide students’ gender pronouns from their parents, Fox News reported.

CPS told teachers that “gender and sex” are social constructs that have been “created and enforced” by society and threatened retaliatory measures if they didn’t use students’ preferred pronouns during a required teacher training program, Fox News reported.

A 104-slide PowerPoint titled “Supporting Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Students” asserted that “everyone has multiple, overlapping identities” and that “gender & sex are socially constructed, meaning they’ve been created and enforced by the people in a society,” Fox News reported.

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25 States Urge Supreme Court to Hear Case Challenging Maryland’s Strict Firearm Laws

Twenty-five states, led by Arizona and West Virginia, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Bianchi v. Frosh, which challenges Maryland’s restrictive Firearms Safety Act of 2013.

They’re asking the court to ultimately strike down the law, which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld last September, in a brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of the petitioners.

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Commentary: We Can’t Split the Difference on Culture

The United States is an outlier among established democracies in two respects: We face both falling social trust and rising polarization. I have argued that the two dynamics connect in a doom loop. Trust in others and institutions falls, leading to greater polarization, which drives trust down even more. That is why the two processes are getting worse at the same time. A nasty dynamic has taken hold in the country, and it regularly affects all of us.

Many issues polarize us, but we should prefer polarization on economics to polarization on culture. Polarization is least damaging on issues most amenable to “splitting the difference”—as many economic issues are.

Consider taxes. Progressives want higher taxes on the rich, while conservatives want lower taxes. The possibility of compromise always exists—and even if it is obscured beneath the surface of our political tempers, uncovering it is not hard. For example, we could average our preferred tax rates, and no one would come away emptyhanded. Granted, that’s not how we have handled this issue in the past, but it’s at least conceivable.

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Trump Raises Possibility of Pardons for January 6 Defendants, Slams Biden on Border

Former President Donald Trump vowed Saturday night to ensure fairness for the Jan. 6 defendants if he is voted back into office, including possible pardons for some.

“If I run, and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” Trump told a raucous rally in Conroe, Tex.

“And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons,” he added. “Because they are being treated so unfairly.”

Trump also dismissed Democrats in Washington as “raving lunatics” who put “America last” and suggested President Biden was more concerned about protecting Ukraine’s border from Russia than America’s border from illegal migrants.

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Biden-Buttigieg DOT to Tap Infrastructure Spending to Promote Speed Cameras Nationwide

Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “National Roadway Safety Strategy” includes promoting the use of speed cameras in cities and towns as a “proven safety countermeasure.”

DOT received $6 billion to issue grants to “help cities and towns” with road safety, which was part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress passed.

“That law creates a new Safe Streets and Roads for All program, providing $6 billion to help cities and towns deliver new, comprehensive safety strategies, as well as accelerate existing, successful safety initiatives,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a speech on Thursday about the launch of DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy.

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Commentary: Be Grateful for Global Warming

"It's not easy being green" sign in the middle of a crowd

Present-day warming has been termed a crisis, and modern economic development a cancer. But what if I told you that much of the recent advancement in human prosperity would have been impossible without the temperature increases of the last several hundred years?

A key to the sustenance of any society is food security. Today’s world should be grateful for today’s relative warmth as well as higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels because both have been instrumental in propelling plant growth globally.

A review of human and climate history reveals a strong link between the rise and fall of temperature and the rise and fall of civilization—just opposite of what the climate doomsayers are telling you.

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Previously Deported Illegal Immigrant Arrested for $2 Million in Pandemic Unemployment Fraud

A woman arrested in New York along with an unnamed “coconspirator” for allegedly perpetrating $1.9 million of pandemic unemployment fraud was a previously deported illegal immigrant, Just the News has learned.

Yohauris Rodriguez Hernandez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted for running a tax fraud scheme in 2014. She was deported upon her release from prison in 2017. Together, Hernandez and Gerardo Enmanuel Luna Marmolejos stole more than 40,000 identities to file fraudulent income tax returns and collect refunds from the IRS.

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Florida Joins Multi-State Lawsuit Against Biden Admin’s ‘Illegal’ Immigration Program

Florida joined a multi-state coalition led by Texas suing the Biden administration for reinstating an Obama-era program that allows illegal immigrants to enter and remain in the U.S., bypassing laws established by Congress.

In addition to Texas and Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alaska joined the lawsuit over the Biden administration’s reinstating a 2014-era Central America Minors (CAM) Program that was halted by the Trump administration in 2017.

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Eight States Sue Biden Administration over Reinstated Obama-Era Immigration Policy

Eight states are suing the Biden administration claiming it is abusing an Obama-era immigration program that allows minors who entered the U.S. illegally to seek to bring in family members from their home countries.

The lawsuit alleges President Joe Biden challenging the Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee and Parole Program was filed by the state of Texas and includes as plaintiffs the states of Arkansas, Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma.

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Commentary: Woke Capital Won’t Save the Planet – but It Will Crash the Economy

Judged by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s latest letter, January 2022 might turn out to be the highwater mark of woke capitalism. Stakeholder capitalism is not “woke,” Fink says, because capitalism is driven by mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and their stakeholders. He’s right. What Fink describes is capitalism pure and simple, the stakeholder modifier adding nothing to the uniqueness of capitalism in harnessing competition and innovation for the benefit of all.

Fink’s shift is more than rhetorical. Just three years ago, in his 2019 “Profit and Purpose” letter, Fink told CEOs that the $24 trillion of wealth Millennials expect to inherit from their Boomer parents meant that ESG (environment, social, governance) issues “will be increasingly material to corporate valuations.” Now Fink tells them that “long-term profitability” is the measure by which markets will determine their companies’ success, dumping the ESG valuation metrics he’d previously championed.

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Commentary: The Road to Vengeance

In Fall 2017, the president of Wesleyan University, Michael Roth, invited me to speak as part of a “difficult conversations” initiative. Wesleyan is a determinedly left-wing campus, and Roth saw the occasional conservative visitor as good for the intellectual climate. We were eight months into the Trump Administration, and I’d written pieces for Vox, CNN, the New York Times, and other liberal outlets that suggested I might praise President Trump in a way that would rise above naked partisanship.

I decided on a presentation of Donald Trump as a traditional American rogue figure, a model of Emersonian nonconformity, an outlandish character in a lineage of comic renegades. No other individual in my lifetime mobilized the entirety of respectable opinion in America against himself, I would tell them, and that very fact deserved analysis. Everybody in the elite denounced him—a strange uniformity for a social group that professes its admiration for thinking outside the box. Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the swamp, the art world, the media, academia . . . they hated him with a passion that revealed more about themselves than it did about the object of their enmity. He had to have something going for him to evoke such a monolithic pageant of slurs.

I laid this out before an audience of 200, and the faculty in the room more or less got the tongue-in-cheek element (though they asked some tough questions about Trump’s sexism).

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Special Counsel Durham Says Just Learning About Justice Watchdog Horowitz, Sussmann’s 2017 Meeting

Special counsel John Durham and his legal team say they’re just learning about a March 2017 meeting between Justice Department watchdog Michael Horowitz and former Hillary Clinton campaign Michael Sussmann – indicted last year for allegedly lying to the FBI while pushing now-discredited claims about the Trump Organization.

Durham’s team said Tuesday in a court filing they learned only a week ago about the meeting between Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Sussmann, who made the claims in 2016 about communications between a Russia bank and the Trump organization.

“The OIG had not previously informed the Special Counsel’s Office of this meeting with the defendant,” the filing by Durham’s legal team states.

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Federal Judge Blocks Oil and Gas Leases in Gulf of Mexico

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled against a planned sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, claiming, without evidence, that the leases would be damaging to the environment.

As reported by CNN, the Biden Administration made an effort to shut down all oil and gas leases across the country shortly after Biden came to power, with an executive order on January 27th indefinitely halting all new permits for such leases, pending a “rigorous review” of fossil fuel development programs. However, a lawsuit filed by 13 states ultimately led to a federal court in Louisiana blocking Biden’s order, allowing the sale of 80 million acres to move forward in November.

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Ukraine Warns West’s ‘Panic’ over Russian Invasion Could Sink Its Economy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned the West that its “panic” over Russia potentially invading his country risked hurting its economy, BBC News reported.

“There are signals even from respected leaders of states, they just say that tomorrow there will be war,” Zelensky told reporters at a press conference, BBC News reported. “This is panic – how much does it cost for our state?”

The Ukrainian criticized Western countries choosing to withdraw diplomats from Ukraine, calling the move a mistake, BBC News reported. “The destabilisation of the situation inside the country” is the biggest threat to Ukraine, he said.

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Jobless Claims Decrease as Labor Market Recovers Despite Surging COVID-19 Cases

Photo “Unemployment Insurance Claims Office” by Bytemarks. CC BY 2.0.

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 260,000 in the week ending Jan. 22 as the tight labor market continues to show signs of strength despite surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The Labor Department figure shows a 30,000 claim decrease compared to the week ending. Jan 15 when claims increased to 286,000. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimated that new jobless claims would fall by just 21,000 to 265,000.

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Google Kicks Dan Bongino Off Ads Platform Days After YouTube Ban

Google temporarily suspended conservative talk show host Dan Bongino’s website, Bongino.com, from its ads service, a company spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.

“We have strict publisher policies in place that explicitly prohibit misleading and harmful content around the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrably false claims about our elections,” the spokesperson said. “When publishers persistently breach our policies we stop serving Google ads on their sites. Publishers can always appeal a decision once they have addressed any violating content.”

The spokesperson added that while Google would not disclose the specific offending content on Bongino.com, the website had been subject to frequent reviews and Google had flagged content in violation of its policies.

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Connecticut Guns Sales Reach Five-Year High During Pandemic

woman in a white dress holding an AR in a gun shop

Gun sales reached a five-year high in Connecticut in 2021, the year that the FBI saw the second-highest number of recorded background checks.

According to Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there were 21 million background checks for gun sales in 2020 and 18.5 million in 2021, nationwide. Those figures are the top two highest on record.

“Background checks skyrocketed in March 2020, when there were 2.3 million background checks recorded,” Oliva told The Center Square. “That was the most ever recorded in a single month. That, of course, was the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns. People became concerned for their safety when police were warning they would not be able to respond to all emergency calls because they were seeing COVID infections rise.”

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Michigan Conservative Group Files for Declaratory Ruling on Gov. Whitmer Recall Fundraising

Gretchen Whitmer

The Michigan Freedom Fund is seeking answers from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson related to her decision to allow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to disburse questionable campaign donations to other Democratic candidates.

The conservative MFF filed a formal request Friday for a declaratory judgment from Benson – who, like Whitmer, is a Democrat – over $3.4 million collected from 119 large donors. Michigan Campaign Finance law limits individual donations to $7,150, but allows an exemption to accept unlimited contributions if a governor is facing a recall attempt.

At the time Whitmer accepted the contributions, there was no active recall effort.

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Biden Reportedly Plans to Regulate Crypto over National Security Concerns

President Joe Biden is set to announce guidelines for regulating cryptocurrencies in the coming weeks, Barron’s reported.

The initiative will involve the State Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, Council of Economic Advisers and White House National Security Council, according to Barron’s, and it will charge the agencies with developing a coherent regulatory framework for digital assets.

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Commentary: Meet the Capitol Police’s New Spy Chief

U.S. Capitol police uniform

When most Americans hear the term “Capitol Police,” they likely conjure visions of uniformed officers manning metal detectors at the numerous congressional buildings or helping tourists navigate the sprawling Capitol grounds: a D.C. version of a mall cop.

That imagery, however, is in stark contrast to reality as Democrats have weaponized yet another federal agency to target their political enemies on the Right. 

After January 6, 2021, Capitol Police officials announced plans to expand beyond the legislatively authorized purview of the agency and open offices in Florida and California, as well as in other states. Congress overwhelmingly supported a bill last year to fork over $2.1 billion in new funding to the Capitol Police. Now flush with cash and immune from any serious public oversight, the agency is returning the favor by spying on dissidents of the Biden regime.

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Facebook Exec Promises to Crack Down on ‘Falsehoods’ Targeting ‘Marginalized Communities’

Roy Austin, vice president of civil rights for Facebook parent company Meta, pledged to crack down on “misinformation” and alleged discriminatory conduct propagated by the social media platform.

“We’re living in a time and a society where there are people who propagate obvious falsehoods,” Austin said in an interview with Axios. “My position is, when those falsehoods injure historically and systemically marginalized communities, that they don’t belong.”

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Commentary: Regular Exercise Restructures the Brain

Physical activity can do wonders for the body. Exercise can trim weight, chisel muscles, and strengthen the lower back, among many other benefits. Less overt, but no less consequential, physical activity can also buff up your brain. Science is increasingly revealing that the brains of those who regularly work out can look very different compared to the brains of people who don’t.

Changes can start to occur in adolescence. Reviewing the scientific literature in 2018, researchers from the University of Southern California found that for teens aged 15-18, regular exercisers tended to have larger hippocampal volumes as well as larger rostral middle frontal volumes compared to healthy matched control teenagers. The hippocampus is most commonly associated with memory and spatial navigation, while the rostral middle frontal gyrus has been linked to emotion regulation and working memory. Studies suggest that these structural changes translate to improved cognitive performance and better academic outcomes.

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Commentary: The Contentious Battle to Replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Wednesday’s announcement by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer that he would be retiring at the end of the court’s current session has raised the obvious question of how contentious the battle over his replacement will be.

One thing is almost certain to be true: No matter who is nominated by President Joe Biden, there will be no 87-9 favorable vote – the tally when Breyer was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1994. Though there were occasional exceptions in the decade prior to Breyer, his vote totals were not unusual in that era. Antonin Scalia was approved 98-0, Anthony Kennedy 97-0, and Ruther Bader Ginsburg 96-3. However, no Supreme Court nomination since Breyer’s has received fewer than 22 negative votes, the number against Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.

That was the year Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (now majority leader) urged that senators should vote explicitly on the basis of candidates’ ideology rather than simply their qualifications. In reality, ideology had been the primary driving factor behind the rejection of Robert Bork’s nomination in 1987 and the tough, though ultimately successful, fight over Clarence Thomas’ nomination in 1991, but most opposing senators had attempted to preserve the fiction that judicial temperament or scandals were behind their “no” votes. Schumer opened the door to unabashed ideological and partisan warfare, and subsequent votes on Supreme Court nominations have shown it.

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Record Gun Sales Fueled by 5.4 Million First Time Buyers

Gun sales surged to a record high in 2021, fueled by first-time gun owners, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

At least 5.4 million people purchased firearms for the first time in 2021, with roughly 30% of all gun purchases going to first-time buyers, according to the NSSF. The figure is a 10% decrease from 2020, when approximately 8.4 million people purchased firearms for the first time.

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Alaska Joins Texas Lawsuit Against Biden Vaccine Mandate for National Guard

On Thursday, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) announced that his state would be joining a lawsuit, originally filed earlier this month by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas), against the Biden Administration for its mandate requiring vaccinations for all members of the National Guard.

Fox News reports that the lawsuit seeks to challenge the constitutionality of Biden’s mandate by claiming that it violates the sovereignty of the states and the state governors over their control of their respective National Guard units.

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Connecticut Republicans and Democrats Argue Congressional Map Case in Court

Connecticut Supreme Court Building

The state’s Supreme Court has until Feb. 15 to render a decision on how Connecticut’s congressional district maps will be drawn.

The court heard arguments Thursday from attorneys representing Republican and Democratic members of the Reapportionment Commission, who have been unable to reach agreement on how the state’s congressional districts will be drawn.

At the crux of the arguments are maps that are to be drawn with the least amount of change from current districts, with close approximations of the number of residents in each district, and how to address the “lobster claw,” a gerrymandered district that dates back to 2001.

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Fauci: ‘Three-Dose Regimen’ of Pfizer Vax for Infants and Toddlers is Coming

Young girl getting vaccine

The Biden administration is planning to recommend the experimental mRNA vaccines for babies as young as six months old, despite alarming safety signals and concerns that mass vaccination is making the pandemic worse.

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced Wednesday that Pfizer vaccines for infants and toddlers are currently being tested, and once the shots are approved, a “three-dose regimen” will be recommended.

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Swimmer Says Her Team Is Uncomfortable Sharing Locker Room with Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas

A female swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania said the school brushed off her and her teammates’ concerns about sharing locker rooms with a male swimmer, the Daily Mail reported.

She and her teammates felt uncomfortable sharing locker rooms with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who has male body parts and is reportedly “attracted to women,” according to the Daily Mail.

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Missouri Considers Pension Changes to Solve Teacher Shortage

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

Legislators are considering changes to Missouri’s teacher and non-certified school employee pension plans to alleviate pandemic-related teacher and staff shortages.

HB2114, sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, will reduce restrictions on pensions if a retired public school teacher returns to the classroom or to a non-teaching position in a public school. The legislation also increases from two to four years the length of time a retired teacher or retired non-certified public school employee can work while still receiving their pension.

During testimony before the House pensions committee, Rep. Black, the committee vice chairman, said similar legislation was passed by the House and died in the Senate last year as the legislative session ended in May. He said the legislation simplifies and improves the amount retirees can earn before their pensions are restricted.

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Iowa Schools Must Require Masking to Accommodate Students with Disabilities

 Iowa schools must require masking when necessary as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis ruled Tuesday.

The court cited the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 in its determination.

What’s more, Iowa statute currently allows masking when federal law requires it, the court ruled, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said in an explainer of the ruling.

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Michigan’s Redistricting General Counsel Resigns Amid Lawsuits

Julianne Pastula

Julianne Pastula, the general counsel of record for Michigan’s Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Committee (MICRC) resigned Wednesday night amid lawsuits over proposed maps.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the story, which was overshadowed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 State of the State address.

“The purpose of this letter is to provide official notice of my resignation as General Counsel,” Pastula wrote. “Pursuant to Section 2 of my Employment Contract 30-day written notice is required. This makes my resignation effective February 25, 2022.”

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Michigan House Approves Unemployment Insurance Reform

The Michigan House approved a range of bills that aim to reform the embattled Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) that has mishandled at least $8.5 billion since March 2020.

When the UIA acknowledged losing $4 billion of taxpayer money, it admitted: “mistakes were made.”

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Breyer’s Retirement Gives President Biden Chance to Name New Justice Before Democrats Lose Senate

The second most senior Supreme Court associate justice decided to retire from the high court bench at the end of the court’s session in June, according to multiple media reports.

There was no official statement from the Supreme Court, but White House Press Secretary Jennifer R. “Jen” Psaki Wednesday confirmed the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer on Twitter.

“It has always been the decision of any Supreme Court justice if and when they decide to retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today. We have no additional details or information to share from White House,” she said.

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Former Titans Coach Jeff Fisher Named Leader of Michigan Panthers in USFL

Former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher will have the opportunity to control a new football franchise, as he was named the coach and general manager of the Michigan Panthers in the United States Football League (USFL).

Fisher coached in the NFL for more than two decades for multiple teams. He made six playoff appearances, losing Super Bowl 34 as the leader of the Titans. Most recently, Fisher served as an advisor to Eddie George at Tennessee State for the 2021 season.

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Commentary: Many Reasons Exist Why Putin Has Not Been Deterred

Americans want an autonomous Ukraine to survive. They hope the West can stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strangulation of both Ukraine and NATO. 

Yet Americans do not want their troops to venture across the world to Europe’s backyard to fight nuclear Russia to ensure that Ukraine stays independent. 

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Democrats’ ‘America Competes’ Act Allocates Millions for ‘Diversity’ Programs

Legislation designed to make the U.S. more competitive with China includes millions in appropriations for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

The America COMPETES Act, introduced by House Democrats late Tuesday, is a companion to a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate in June 2021, though the House version lacks Republican support. The bill is designed to increase domestic technological advancement and innovation in order to make the U.S. more competitive with China, and includes $45 billion to ease supply chain disruptions and $52 billion for domestic semiconductor fabrication.

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Commentary: The Russiagate Evidence Builds

As indictments and new court filings indicate that Special Counsel John Durham is investigating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for feeding false reports to the FBI to incriminate Donald Trump and his advisers as Kremlin agents, Clinton’s role in the burgeoning scandal remains elusive. What did she know and when did she know it?

Top officials involved in her campaign have repeatedly claimed, some under oath, that they and the candidate were unaware of the foundation of their disinformation campaign: the 35-page collection of now debunked claims of Trump/Russia collusion known as the Steele dossier. Even though her campaign helped pay for the dossier, they claim she only read it after BuzzFeed News published it in 2017.

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U.S. Economy Grew Faster Than Expected at the End of 2021

The U.S. economy grew at a faster rate than was anticipated pace in the fourth quarter of 2021, benefiting from solid consumer demand before the slowdown caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant and supply chain disruptions.

U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 6.9% on a year-over-year basis in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 2.3% increase from the third quarter figure, the Commerce Department announced Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimated that U.S. GDP would grow at a just 5.5% annual rate.

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Missouri Attorney General Asks Mayorkas to End Policy Allowing Migrants to Use Arrest Warrants as ID

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to end certain immigration policies he believes have left the country less safe, suggesting the department should also consider a name change.

Schmitt urged Mayorkas to address the use of certain arrest warrants as identification for migrants going through airport security, according to a letter sent Tuesday and exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Dan Bongino Permanently Banned from YouTube

Conservative talk show host Dan Bongino had both of his YouTube accounts permanently banned Wednesday, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Bongino’s second channel, the Dan Bongino Show Clips, was initially suspended and demonetized for seven days after Bongino posted a video in which he said masks were “useless” in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, violating YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. Bongino then attempted to upload a video within the seven-day suspension period on his main channel, resulting in a permanent ban for both accounts, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed to the DCNF.

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