Biden to Direct States to Make All U.S. Adults Eligible for COVID Vaccine by May 1

President Joe Biden said Thursday night that he is directing U.S. states to open COVID-19 vaccinations to all American adults by May 1 in an effort to more quickly reopen the country and prop up the staggering U.S. economy.

“To do this we’re going to go from a million shots a day … to 2 million shots a day,” he said.

In most U.S. states currently, only older Americans, front-line workers and those with pre-existing conditions are eligible, though getting scheduled for a first dose has been problematic in many states even for the most at-risk.

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Commentary: Federal ‘COVID’ Spending Just Hit $41,870 Per Taxpayer

President Biden just signed his sweeping $1.9 trillion spending package into law. Once this bill hits the books, total taxpayer expenditure on (ostensibly) COVID relief will hit $6 trillion—which, roughly estimated, comes out to $41,870 in spending per federal taxpayer. 

Did you see anywhere near that much in benefit? 

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Commentary: U.S. Territories Are the Frontlines of Global Competition with China

Not since the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis has an adversarial foreign power posed a direct military threat in close proximity to the U.S. mainland. Yet as the United States and the People’s Republic of China deepen their long-term competition, U.S. territories and possessions in the Pacific and the Caribbean find themselves on the front lines of Beijing’s malign influence, economic predation, and military ambitions. Washington policymakers have thus far barely recognized the growing threat to vital American interests on our own territory or in adjacent waters. 

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New York Assembly Speaker Authorizes Impeachment Investigation into Cuomo

The speaker of the New York Assembly announced Thursday he authorized an impeachment investigation into allegations of misconduct against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a press release.

“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” Heastie, a Democrat, said. “The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution.”

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Pfizer Says Its Vaccine Significantly Halts COVID-19’s Spread, Effective Against UK Variant

Pfizer said Wednesday that real-world data suggests its coronavirus vaccine is 94% effective in halting asymptomatic infections and effective against a highly transmissible variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.

Israeli analysis of vaccine distribution shows the vaccine being over 97% effective in preventing symptomatic cases and death, higher than the 90% efficiency that was reported in the vaccine’s Phase III trials, Pfizer said in a press release Thursday. Over 80% of the tested specimens were against the UK variant known as B.1.1.7.

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National Guard General Opposed Keeping Troops in DC, Overruled by Austin

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reportedly overruled a memo from the commanding general of the National Guard who objected to keeping troops in D.C., according to Fox News.

The memo, written by Gen. Daniel Hokanson, was disseminated among the White House National Security Council last week and cited concerns over the National Guard already being overburdened with coronavirus issues, civil disturbances and wildfires, according to a report from Fox News.

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Oklahoma Passes Bill to Grant Immunity to Drivers Who Hit Rioters Engaging in Violence

The Oklahoma House passed a bill Wednesday that extends punishments for rioters and grants immunity to drivers who injure or kill someone while fleeing a riot, USA Today reported.

House Bill 1674, introduced by Republican state Rep. Kevin West, would allow prosecutors to charge rioters with a misdemeanor for interfering with traffic and endangering drivers. If passed, motor vehicle operators would not face criminal or civil charges for hitting a rioter if they were fleeing for safety or exercised “due care” at the time of the injury or death.

The bill defines a rioter as anyone committing violence or robbery during the protest, according to the Courthouse News Service. Rioters can face a criminal charge and imprisonment.

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Music Spotlight: Emily Brooke

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  No one in Emily Brooke’s family was musical. Young Brooke was a cheerleader, not a singer. But like many preteen girls twelve years ago, Brooke was super into Taylor Swift and Hannah Montana. She wanted to learn to play guitar as they did.

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Atlantic Council Ignored Anti-Corruption Activist’s Warnings About Burisma, the Ukrainian Firm Linked to Hunter Biden

A top foreign policy think tank in Washington, D.C. rejected warnings from a Ukrainian anti-corruption activist against forming a partnership with Burisma Holdings, the energy firm linked to Hunter Biden that has faced allegations of corruption.

Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of a Ukrainian group called the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), contacted John Herbst, a director at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, on Jan. 20, 2017, and asked him to reconsider plans to work with Burisma, newly released State Department emails show.

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Ohio AG Files Lawsuit Against Health Care Giant for Overcharging Medicaid

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost claims in lawsuit filed Thursday a health care giant raised prices for taxpayer-funded care to maximize company profits.

Yost said Ohio sued Centene Corp. in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, alleging its subsidiary, Buckeye Health Plan, used a web of subcontractors for the provision of pharmacy benefits to be able to misrepresent pharmacy costs. That, Yost said, resulted in millions of dollars of overpayments by the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

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