Reported Hacking of Ohio’s Unemployment System Raises Concerns

An Ohio lawmaker wants the state to provide more answers quickly as to why personal information and online portal accounts were compromised on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ website.

Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, wrote to ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder after witness testimony reported the hacking of personal, online portal accounts allowed bank routing information to be changed and unemployment funds to be redirected.

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Commentary: Teacher Codes of Conduct Offer Alternative to Critical Race Theory Bans

The firing of Matthew Hawn, a high school teacher in Sullivan County, Tennessee, recently made national news and seemed to confirm fears that newly-enacted state bans on critical race theory (CRT) would have a chilling effect on teacher speech. Hawn, a 16-year veteran tenured teacher and baseball coach, had assigned students in his contemporary issues class Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay, “The First White President,” and a spoken word poem from Kyla Jenée Lacey called “White Privilege.” One headline declared, “A Tennessee teacher taught a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and a poem about white privilege. He was fired for it.” A Georgetown professor tweeted, “This really seems extreme and a harbinger of what is to come.”

But contrary to news coverage and social media chatter, Hawn wasn’t fired for violating the state’s newly passed CRT ban. Really, he was dismissed for failing to adhere to the Tennessee “Teacher Code of Ethics,” a seldom-invoked but sensible state requirement for teachers to provide students access to varying points of view on controversial topics. Not only did Hawn fail to follow this code when he assigned the contentious poem and Coates’ essay from The Atlantic, which contains claims such as, “With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness,” he also later asserted that “there is no credible source for a differing point of view.” (Hawn recently denied making such a claim, though he declined to explain why the district attributed this statement to him.)

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Commentary: Distrust in Television Ratings

While they may not agree on nearly anything else, one issue manages to unite Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN: an archaic television ratings system that is known to wildly misrepresent viewership.

At a time when cord-cutting has brought about many new ways to consume television news and entertainment, the industry’s primary measurement tool, Nielsen Ratings, seems stuck in another era. Those chosen as “Nielsen families” have complained for years about the cumbersome, almost primitive methods used to track their viewership.

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Judge Blocks Massive Alaskan Oil Drilling Project Backed by Trump and Biden

A federal judge blocked a massive Alaskan oil drilling project Wednesday after ruling that the Interior Department inadequately measured its environmental impact.

Judge Sharon Gleason of the U.S. District Court of the District of Alaska wrote in her opinion that the Bureau of Land Management’s assessment of the ConocoPhillips’ Willow project was “arbitrary and capricious,” noting that it did not even include the likely level of greenhouse gas emissions in its environmental impact report.

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Analysis: Republican Officials Leave Their Voters Behind over Not Supporting Monthly Child Tax Credits

As tens of millions of American families across the country began to see the second round of monthly cash payments appear in their bank accounts Friday, Republicans in Congress remained oddly quiet.

The checks were the result of an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which was part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package President Joe Biden signed into law in March. While every Republican in Congress voted against the bill, the credit itself is overwhelmingly popular among registered Republicans and Americans overall, creating a rift between reliable conservative voters and the GOP lawmakers who represent them.

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States Banning Mask Mandates Could Face Civil Rights Probes, on Biden’s Directive

President Biden is ratcheting up opposition to Republican governors blocking COVID mask mandates in schools, putting in charge the Education Department, which is raising the possibility of using its civil rights arm to oppose such policies.

Biden on Wednesday ordered Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to “assess all available tools” that can be used against states that fail to protect students amid surging coronavirus cases.

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Commentary: Distrust and Verify

Every member of America’s expert class possessing even a modicum of integrity and self-awareness has long been aware of a simple truth: Only a fool would trust the emanations of America’s leading experts.

Worse, the more prestigious the job title, the less trustworthy the pronouncement. Official experts who speak for the government are the most suspect of all. Worse still, you can’t write off anything they say because a great deal of it is informed and valid.

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Amazon Plans to Open Department Stores

Amazon is planning to open department stores where consumers can purchase a variety of goods like clothing and electronics, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The planned expansion of Amazon brick-and-mortar stores is the online retail giant’s latest attempt to disrupt the industry, according to a WSJ report Thursday. The Seattle-based company has recently expanded its brick-and-mortar grocery store footprint, opening 17 Amazon Fresh stores nationwide, and is developing at least 20 more, Bloomberg reported.

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Fort Bliss in Texas Becomes Ground Zero for Resettling Afghan Refugees During Chaotic Exit

Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, is best known as home to the Army’s tank division, the revered Old Ironsides military insignia and the country’s largest military-controlled airspace. But the Biden administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan is turning the vast installation into ground zero for the evacuation of Afghans who spent two decades helping the United States fight the war against terror.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn says the fort is preparing to receive 10,000 Afghan refugees, and military officials have hinted that number could reach much higher.

It’s the second major wave of civilian guests to be hosted at the fort, which began this spring helping the Homeland Security and Health and Human Services Departments to house thousands of unaccompanied minor children who were brought across the border.

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Obama-Appointed Judge Says It Is Unconstitutional and ‘Racist’ to Prosecute Previously-Deported Illegal Aliens

On Wednesday, a judge appointed by Barack Obama argued that it is “racist” to prosecute illegal aliens who return to the country after being deported and commit crimes on American soil, as reported by Breitbart.

Judge Miranda Du, appointed by Obama to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada in 2012, made the statements in a ruling in favor of a previously-deported illegal named Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez. Lopez had filed a motion to dismiss an indictment against him for the crime of illegally re-entering the country, baselessly claiming that such a charge was “discriminatory.” He claimed, without evidence, that federal law allowing for the deportation of illegals is in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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Biden State Dept. Quashed Trump-Era Program Designed to Evacuate Americans from Crisis Zones

The Biden Administration quashed a critical State Department program designed to help Americans evacuate safely out of crisis zones just months prior to the fall of Kabul, the National Pulse reported Wednesday.

The “Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau” was established late last year to handle medical, diplomatic, and logistical support involving Americans overseas.

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Wisconsin Leaders React to Afghan Refugees Coming to the State

There are more questions than answers about the likely thousands of Afghans who are coming to Wisconsin.

The Pentagon on Tuesday said 22,000 Afghan refugees will be sent to military bases in Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin base is Fort McCoy.

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Michigan Bill Aims to Ban Employers from Requiring Vaccines, Masks

Lawmakers heard testimony on House Bill 4471, which aims to ban employers from requiring certain vaccines and wearing masks.

The bill aims to ban employers from firing or discriminating against employees who choose not to get certain vaccinations, including tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, or COVID-19, or making them wear masks or disclosing vaccination status.

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Ohio County Sherriff’s Office Says It Will Not Enforce Local City’s Indoor Mask Mandate

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that it will not enforce the indoor mask mandate that Gambier passed this week.

“If you have read information from the Gambier ordinance concerning the mask mandate, it indicates a $25 fine and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is the enforcing body,” the sheriff’s office said. “I have spoken with Mayor [Leeman] Kessler and informed him that deputies will not be citing anyone for violations. We will not put deputies in that situation. We have not enforced mask mandates in the past, and we will not enforce this mandate.”

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