Cincinnati Border Patrol Says City’s Port Is Among Busiest for Smuggling

In a Wednesday press release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a press release detailing its efforts to curb smuggling through the port in Cincinnati, which it says ranked fifth in the nation for smuggling busts in fiscal year 2021. 

“From October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, Cincinnati seized 6,738 shipments, ranking the port in fifth-place for seizures among all 328 CBP ports of entry nationwide,” the release said. “Additionally, Cincinnati agriculture specialists issued 7,240 Emergency Action Notifications (EANs), the highest number of agriculture seizures ever recorded at the port.”

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Commentary: It’s 2022, But Many Schools Are Reverting to 2020’s COVID Playbook

young girl getting face mask put on her face

It’s 2022 but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s still 2020—especially if you have children enrolled in K-12 district schooling. Some parents are grappling this week with a return to, or threat of, remote learning first introduced nearly two years ago.

Fear of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus is leading school officials across the country to once again shutter schools. In Cleveland, for example, this first week of school for the new year is entirely remote for public school students. Several districts throughout Ohio are following suit, while others are re-imposing 2020 virus-related restrictions or extending the holiday break into this week.

Newark, New Jersey public schools announced they will be fully remote for the next two weeks, as did other districts throughout the state. Public schools in Atlanta will also be closed this week, reverting back to remote learning.

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Audit Shows Clean 2021 General Election in Ohio

An audit by Ohio county boards of election showed a clean 2021 general election, according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

LaRose recently announced post-election mandatory audits from all counties were finalized for the 2021 general election, and results showed a 99.9% accuracy rate in counties that used a percentage-based audit.

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Failed Policies Has Lead to a COVID Test Shortage

President Joe Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as he departs the U.S. Capitol after addressing the House Democratic Caucus, Thursday, October 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

America has basically run out of tests for Covid-19 as lines are forming at emergency rooms, urgent care facilities and doctors’ offices, and now patients are simply being turned away nationwide. In the meantime, tests are being rationed to those with greater risk factors just a month after President Joe Biden was pushing “test to stay” in order for Americans to be allowed to go to work, school and to travel.

This comes as the Institutes for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) project an estimated 1.9 million probable Covid infections in the U.S per day — and rising. By the end of January, IHME estimates as many as 2.8 million new cases per day, largely thanks to the new omicron variant that accounts for 95 percent of all new cases, the Centers for Disease Control say.

For perspective, last year, IHME estimated cases peaked at over 500,000 a day in early Jan. 2021.

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Missouri Attorney General Sues St. Louis County After Council Enacts Mask Mandate

The day after the St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 along party lines to enact a mask mandate, Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit to stop it.

Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, filed a 17-page petition in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Last week, St. Louis and Jackson Counties filed an appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals over the November ruling by a Cole County Circuit Court stating all COVID-19 public health orders were null and void.

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Announces Intent to Regulate Lying

Jay Inslee

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Thursday to introduce legislation that would regulate candidates and elected officials from spreading lies about elections that are likely to result in violence.

The legislation, which is still being written and has yet to be released, would be “narrowly tailored” to cover “false statements” made for the “purpose of undermining the election process or results,” according to Inslee’s announcement.

“This legislation attempts to follow the relevant U.S. and state supreme court opinions on this issue. We’re talking about candidates and elected officers knowingly throwing bombs at democracy itself when doing so is likely to result in violence,” Inslee said in a statement.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Made Nearly $100 Million in 2021

Apple chief executive Tim Cook made nearly $100 million in compensation in the company’s fiscal year, according to SEC filings published Thursday.

SEC filings show that Cook took home $98.73 million in the 2021 fiscal year, more than 500% more than the previous year’s $14.8 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Cook’s $3 million base salary remained stable in 2021, but he received a $12 million bonus for hitting Apple’s financial and environmental sustainability goals, $1.39 million in other compensation and $82.35 million in stock awards.

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Jobless Claims Jump to 207,000, Higher Than Anticipated

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

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims increased to 207,000 in the week ending Jan. 1 as workers seek more attractive positions with better pay and Omicron coronavirus variant cases surge.

The Labor Department figure shows a 7,000 claim increase compared to the week ending Dec. 25, when claims reached a revised level of 200,000. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected claims would decrease to 195,000.

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Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Seem Skeptical of Biden Admin’s Workplace COVID Vaccine Rules

The Supreme Court on Friday hearing oral arguments on two major Biden administration efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 — starting with the mandate requiring large-scale employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested.

In the first case, the National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.

OSHA is more specifically requiring businesses with 100 or more workers either require them to be vaccinated or et tested weekly and wear masks while working, with exceptions for those who work outdoors.

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Rep. Davis Blasts Pelosi for Refusing to Release January 6 Evidence

The top Republican on the House committee that oversees U.S. Capitol security is blasting Speaker Nancy Pelosi for refusing to release key evidence showing the security planning prior to the Jan. 6 riots and is warning that the police force that protects lawmakers has not reformed itself enough to avoid another tragedy.

“We know there were intelligence analysis failures at the Capitol Police,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) told the John Solomon Reports podcast during an interview Thursday on the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riots. And frankly, John, I don’t think those have been corrected yet.

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Americans Ring in 2022 with Highest Mortgage Rates Since the Pandemic Started

Mortgage rates soared to their highest level since the beginning of the pandemic in the first week of 2022, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22% in the week ending on Jan. 6, up from a 3.11% average during the previous week and marking the highest level since May 2020, Freddie Mac announced Thursday. The 30-year rate dropped to 2.65% in early 2021, its lowest level on record.

“Mortage rates increased during the first week of 2022 to the highest level since May 2020 and are more than half a percentage higher than January 2021,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, according to a company release.

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Republican Leaders Slam Biden After Jobs Report Shows ‘Massive Miss’

Republican leaders slammed President Joe Biden after December’s jobs report released Friday reported numbers well below economists’ projections, highlighting the report as another example of how the president mishandled the post-pandemic recovery.

The U.S. economy added only 199,000 jobs in December while unemployment dipped to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected that the economy would add 422,000 jobs in December and that unemployment to fall to 4.1%.

“Our economy should be soaring right now, but the policies of this administration continue to stifle growth and hold back American businesses and workers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.

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Former Planned Parenthood President Says School Closures Harm Children

Dr. Leana Wen

A former Planned Parenthood president and public health professional argued in a Thursday op-ed for The Washington Post that the rise in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant is not a reason to keep schools closed.

Dr. Leana Wen argued “both sides [of the school reopening debate] are wrong,” in her op-ed. “let’s agree that schools are essential and then work to reduce risk to get students back to in-person learning,” Wen wrote.

Wen called it “astounding” that governors in states like Texas, Georgia and Iowa are fighting against school mask mandates and that Florida’s surgeon general is discouraging testing in schools, attributing ” “low vaccine uptake among children” to “rampant right-wing disinformation.”

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Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Renacci Stands with Trump After Biden’s January 6 Attacks

In a press release Thursday, Ohio gubernatorial candidate and former congressman Jim Renacci made it clear that he stands with former President Donald J. Trump after President Joe Biden’s disparaging remarks. 

“It’s a shame that Joe Biden is using this day to divide Americans, distract from his disastrously failed presidency, and take cheap shots at President Trump. The liberal media may eat it up, but Ohioans, who voted against Joe Biden and for President Trump in the biggest landslide in our state in over thirty years, see right through it,” Renacci said in a press release on the anniversary of the mostly peaceful protests at the Capitol.

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