Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Dead at 95

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who shaped Catholic doctrine for decades before surprising the church by resigning as pontiff, died Saturday at age 95, the Vatican announced.

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” Vatican press secretary Matteo Bruni told media.

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Ohio Self-Serve Betting Machines to Be First in Nation

Beginning on January 1st, 2023, sports betting will be legal in Ohio. Betting will be legal to take place through smartphone applications, at casinos, racinos, sports stadiums, and other retail sportsbook facilities. However, Ohio will also be the first state in the nation to offer over 1,000 self-service betting machines in bars, restaurants, grocery, and convenience stores around the state.

Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29, which legalized sports betting in Ohio, authorizing the move and giving oversight to the Casino Control Commission.

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As Ohio Legalizes Sports Betting, Cuyahoga County Courts Offering Gambling Addiction Counseling

As Ohio prepares for the legalization of sports betting in January, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas is launching its first-of-its-kind gambling addiction counseling for individuals who are convicted of a crime related to gambling. This is one of the first such court programs in the state and the largest in the country.

According to Judge Brendan Sheehan, the court moved quickly to get its Problem Gambling Addiction Program operative prior to the state’s new sports betting laws going into effect on January 1st.

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Hudson Councilwoman Kowalski Files Civil Suit over Council Censure

Hudson City Councilwoman Nicole Kowalski filed a civil suit against the city council’s recent decision to censure her over her expenditure of money that required legislative approval without the council’s knowledge or consent.

According to Hudson City Council President Chris Foster, Kowalski launched an investigation of a citizen’s complaint about an alleged campaign finance violation without the knowledge or consent of the council. Foster said that Kowalski also spent money that required legislative approval without informing the rest of the council.

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Poll: Small Businesses See Signs of Hope After Brutal 2022

Despite a historically tight labor market, small business owners reported that hiring difficulties had eased in December, markedly improving compared to November, according to a poll conducted by Vistage Worldwide for the Wall Street Journal published Friday.

Of the roughly 650 small business owners polled, almost 25% reported that hiring was easier in December than at the start of the year, while just 20% said it was harder, according to the WSJ. In November, those numbers were 18% and 25% respectively, and some small business owners reported success thanks to pay raises and hiring freezes or layoffs at larger firms.

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U.S. House Committee Releases Trump’s Tax Returns

The House Ways and Means Committee that is controlled by Democrats released six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Friday.

The New York Post reported the returns cover the years 2015 to 2020. The Trumps reported positive income of $24.3 million in 2018 and $4.4 million in 2019 and had negative income in four of the six years in which tax returns were released.

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Colleges Offered Classes on Topics Like Porn, Queer Dance, and Whiteness in 2022

Colleges offered students the opportunity to enroll in unique courses during the 2022 semesters, the Daily Caller News Foundation found.

These courses tackled a variety of topics including “whiteness” and queerness, while others focused on subjects such as pornography and pop culture. Some of the courses sparked national backlash, forcing the schools to either defend or reconsider what they teach students in the classroom.

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Akron Schoolteachers Prepare to Strike over Violent Student Behavior

After many allegations of campus violence, Akron Public School teachers declared they would strike mere days after kids are expected to return from winter break. According to a Thursday news release, safety was one of their primary concerns.

The union scheduled the strike to begin on January 9th, 2023, while students return to classrooms on January 6th, 2023. Following incidents of aggressive behavior by kids, Akron Educational Association (AEA) union members asserted that school safety was one of their main concerns. The AEA represents around 2,800 licensed teachers and staff members, with about 20,000 students in the district.

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Commentary: Rachel Levine Targets Transgender Heresy for Big Tech Suppression

Dr. Rachel Levine, a man who identifies as a woman, urged doctors at state medical boards to pressure Big Tech to stifle “medical misinformation” right after he declared that there is no “scientific or medical dispute” about the benefits of using experimental drugs and surgeries to force male bodies to resemble female bodies or vice versa.

Levine, the assistant secretary of health at the federal Department of Health and Human Services, presented an extremely dubious worldview as the established position of science, and acted as though no rational person would dare dissent.

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Oxford Dictionary Adds 18 New LGBTQ Words in 2022

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added 18 new LGBTQ+ entries in 2022, including words like gender-affirming, multisexual, top and bottom.

The OED added nearly 2,000 words in the past year, according to announcements from March, June and September, with 18 of those words updated or added to specifically define ever-evolving LGBTQ+ terms. In March, OED added anti-gay and anti-homosexual, with the former receiving a specific definition while anti-homosexual was listed only as a subcategory.

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Conservatives Scored Massive Victories in the Battle over Education in 2022

In 2022, conservatives flipped dozens of school boards across the county, enacting conservative priorities and amending school policies to increase transparency in the classroom.

Moms for Liberty, an organization of conservative parents and school board candidates working towards parental rights in education, and the 1776 Project PAC, a political group that helps school board members against Critical Race Theory (CRT) get elected, endorsed candidates that won many of their races to flip school boards in 2022. School boards throughout the country also banned CRT, adopted new gender identity policies to involve parents and ousted administration in favor of mask mandates.

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Buttigieg Warned Before Holidays by Own Party of Looming Airlines Crisis

Like a slow-motion train wreck that wasn’t thwarted, the Christmas holiday travel disaster was forewarned to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg a month ago by members of his own party who pleaded he take more aggressive action to force airlines to address wary consumer concerns about growing flight cancelations, delays and ticket refunds.

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Suspect Arrested in Connection with Fatal Stabbing of Four University of Idaho Students

A 28-year-old man has been arrested in Pennsylvania in connection with the stabbing deaths last month of four University of Idaho students, according to several news reports Friday.

Paperwork filed by Pennsylvania State Police show Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was being held for extradition in a criminal homicide investigation based on an active arrest warrant for first-degree murder issued by the Moscow, Idaho, Police Department and Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, according to the Associated Press.

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Ohio Governor Dispatches ODOT to Aid New York in Deadly Weather Disaster

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that he dispatched support from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to aid in emergency snow removal efforts in the state of New York following an “epic, once-in-a-lifetime” weather disaster responsible for killing over two dozen people.

A convoy of 28 ODOT workers, 12 tandem dump trucks, two utility mechanic trucks, and four crew cab pick-up trucks departed from Ashtabula Wednesday morning for a six-day deployment. The ODOT crew consists of highway technicians, mechanics, and managers from District 4 (Akron), District 11 (New Philadelphia), and District 12 (Cleveland).

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Biden Admin to Expand Trump-Era Border Policy to Expel More Illegal Immigrants: Report

Border surge

The Biden administration is considering expanding the Trump-era illegal immigrant expulsion policy known as Title 42, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The plan includes adding Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians to the list of nationalities expelled under the policy, according to Reuters. The change in policy will also add a humanitarian pathway for migrants of those countries to enter the U.S. if they have sponsors and are vetted at ports of entry.

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CDC Pressures Teachers to Increase ‘LGBTQ Inclusivity’ in Classroom Instruction

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been forcing teachers across the country to follow certain guidelines demonstrating their commitment to “LGBTQ inclusivity” in their classroom instructions.

As reported by Breitbart, the CDC-issued “assessment tool” asks teachers numerous questions about school employees and their loyalty to the concept of “queer theory,” and forcing sexual education teachers to use gender-neutral language, forbidding them from using terms such as “boy” and “girl.”

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Biden’s ATF Continues Its Crackdown on ‘Ghost Guns’

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) specified Tuesday that Gun Control Act (GCA) regulations cover types of incomplete pistol frames used in “ghost guns.”

The bureau argued in its open letter to federal firearms licensees that partially complete Polymer80, Lone Wolf and similar striker-fired semi-automatic pistol frames “may readily be completed, assembled, restored, or otherwise converted” to a functional frame and thus fall under GCA jurisdiction based on the Justice Department’s (DOJ) “Frame or Receiver” rule. The rule, which became effective in August, says regulations for completed firearms also apply to gun parts kits that can be readily converted into them.

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Report: Ohio Ranks in America’s Bottom 20 States for Economic Freedom

A new report from several free-market think tanks ranks Ohio 35th out of the 50 states in terms of economic freedom. 

The Columbus-based Buckeye Institute issued the Economic Freedom of North America 2022 report in collaboration with the Canadian Fraser Institute, the Puerto Rican Instituto de Libertad Económica and the Mexican Caminos de la Libertad. The study factors in government spending levels, taxation and labor-market flexibility when ranking all states and provinces across the continent. 

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Ohio GOP Vice Chairman Announces Candidacy to Lead Party

Summit County Republican Party Chairman and statewide party Vice-Chair Bryan Williams officially announced his candidacy for chairman of the Ohio Republican Party on Wednesday in a letter to state central committee (SCC) members.

The Ohio Republican Party’s central committee is meeting on January 6th to consider selecting a replacement for current Chairman Bob Paduchik who announced after the November 8th general election that he would not be seeking another term.

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Commentary: Congress Should Investigate ‘Gain-of-Function’ Research

I fear that the investigations Republicans have promised in the House next year will be little more than another round of toxic partisan gamesmanship. But there is one investigation Congress should undertake, and that is into so-called “gain-of-function” research.

Before the pandemic, I suspect that most of you, like me, had never heard of gain-of-function research. What we learned during the pandemic is that scientists around the world routinely tinker with the genome of viruses to see how the induced changes will affect replication of the virus (contagiousness) and the effects it has on its host (lethality). Such research has apparently been going on for decades and is routinely funded by governments, including ours.

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Tall Tales: Before George Santos, Politicians from Biden to Clinton Fibbed About Their Past

Well before Rep.-elect George Santos (R-N.Y.) admitted to fabricating key details of his biography, lying about one’s past was a rich political exercise. President Joe Biden got caught boasting about bogus academic credentials, Hillary Clinton made up a sniper attack in Bosnia, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren had to apologize for claiming Native American heritage.

Santos made headlines this week for admitting to the New York Post and WABC radio that he lied on the campaign trail about his education and work experience – specifically about where he attended college and his alleged employment history with high-profile Wall Street firms.

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Universities Have Ban TikTok from School-Owned Devices

Several universities across the country have banned TikTok from campus-owned devices or wifi after their prospective states approved similar bans throughout the month.

Sixteen states have banned TikTok, a Chinese-owned company and alleged national security threat, from being used on state-owned devices, according to Government Technology. Four states have banned the app on “some” state-owned devices, while Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita of Indiana filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly making false claims about its content.

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Cuba Announces That It Will Receive Deported Cubans and Blames the ‘Blockade’ for the Mass Exodus

Johana Tablada, deputy director general for the United States of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview for OnCuba that the United States will begin the deportation of the Cubans it has detained and who have not passed the credible fear interview, whom she calls “inadmissible.”

These deportations come after an unprecedented wave of Cuban immigrants in history, in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans have left the island and made long and dangerous journeys from South and Central America to reach the United States through the border with Mexico.

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Commentary: Younger Parents Say Their Kids Are Indifferent to the Flag

A new survey suggests that younger parents don’t share the same values or priorities for civics education as their older peers. According to the survey, conducted by RealClear Opinion Research and funded by the conservative Jack Miller Center, nearly nine out of ten Americans agree that teaching children about our nation’s founding principles is “very important.” But seven out of ten don’t think schools are doing a good job of it.

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Ohio Bar to Remove Mental Health Disclosure Next Year

Prospective attorneys in Ohio have to fill out a questionnaire, undergo a background check, and participate in an interview to ascertain if they meet the necessary ethical and moral standards to practice law in the state. After January 17th, 2023, Ohioans will no longer have to list a mental or psychological disorder on the questionnaire.

According to the changes to Rule I of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, a person’s mental health would only be relevant as part of an application when there is conduct that could be detected during the investigation, such as a criminal offense, substance use issues, or financial irresponsibility.

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Ohio Governor Signs Bills Approved During Lame-Duck into Law

As the year ends, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is reviewing the legislation approved throughout the lame-duck session and deciding to either veto or sign it into law.

Before the holiday break, DeWine signed two bills into law Senate Bill (SB) 210 and House Bill (HB) 223.

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Pandemic Learning Loss Could Cost Students $70,000 Each in Their Lifetimes

Students enrolled during the pandemic could earn up to $70,000 less in income throughout their lifetime compared to peers who graduated before schools were temporarily closed, according to a study by a Stanford University economist.

The study, conducted by Eric A. Hanushek, found that the hiccup in steady education could cause students to earn 5.6% less than they would have before the pandemic as these students are more likely to be less educated and more underprepared for adulthood. This results from time lost in the classroom during the pandemic as schools were forced to close and/or operate online.

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Pope Francis Asks for Prayers for ‘Very Sick’ Benedict as Vatican Says Health Has ‘Worsened’

Pope Francis on Wednesday asked for prayers for his 95-year-old predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who the Vatican said is constantly receiving medical care.

At the end of his weekly general audience, Francis said in Italian: “I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church,” as translated by Reuters.

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10 Major Revelations Exposing Extent of Government Pressure on Big Tech to Censor Americans

Two hundred and thirty-one years ago this month, America’s founders enshrined free speech as the first protection in the ratified Bill of Rights with a declaration that the government could not infringe expression. A series of blockbuster revelations at the end of 2022 show just how imperiled those protections have become in the era of Big Tech.

From Elon Musk’s “Twitter files” to an FBI agent’s candid testimony, Americans have gotten a glimpse into a once-hidden enterprise where federal agencies pressured social media platforms – directly and through proxies – to censor content under their terms of service. The goal, it appears, was to preserve the ruling elite’s favored narratives on everything from the pandemic to election integrity.

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Governor DeWine Nominates Anne Vogel for Director of the Ohio EPA

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that he is nominating Republican Anne Vogel to become the next director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA). If the Ohio Senate confirms the nomination, Vogel will replace current director Laurie Stevenson who announced her retirement at the end of this year.

The Ohio EPA protects the environment and public health by enforcing environmental laws. According to DeWine, Vogel has the right experience for the job, and due to their history working together, she understands his priorities for the state.

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Commentary: 2022 Is the Year ESG Fell to Earth

The year 2022 brings an end to an era of illusions: a year that saw the end of the post–Cold War era and the return of geopolitics; the first energy crisis of the enforced energy transition to net zero; and the year that brought environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing down to earth with a thump—for the year to date, BlackRock’s ESG Screened S&P 500 ETF lost 22.2% of its value, and the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index rose 54.0%. The three are linked. By restricting investment in production of oil and gas by Western producers, ESG increases the market power of non-Western producers, thereby enabling Putin’s weaponization of energy supplies. Net zero—the holy grail of ESG—has turned out to be Russia’s most potent ally.

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Kari Lake Appeals Dismissal of Arizona Election Lawsuit

Kari Lake, the Arizona Republican nominee for governor, is appealing a Maricopa County judge’s dismissal of her lawsuit challenging her defeat to Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is currently serving as secretary of state. 

In a notice of appeal filed Tuesday, Lake asked the Arizona Superior Court to reconsider all 10 counts that she brought up in her original lawsuit as well as the attorneys’ fees she was ordered to pay.

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Commentary: New Study Shows the Striking Correlation Between School Attendance and Youth Suicides

A lot of us likely remember the glee we felt as children at the onset of summer vacation, followed by the anxious anticipation of back-to-school time. For some children and teenagers, the start of a new school year generates intolerable levels of anxiety and depression. For a desperate portion of these young people, suicide seems like the only exit.

A new study, published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), finds a striking correlation between attendance in school and incidences of youth suicides. Analyzing several pre- and post-pandemic data sets, the researchers conclude “that youth suicides are closely tied with in-person school attendance.” According to the paper’s authors, youth suicides fall during the summer months and rise again when school begins. Notably, they found that in areas of the US where school begins in August, youth suicide rates also increase in August, while in areas that begin school in September, the youth suicide rate doesn’t increase until then. 

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ICE Admits It Has ‘No Records’ for Hundreds of Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Released with Electronic Monitors

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) admitted it has “no records” of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants released into the country with electronic tracking devices, the agency said in a Dec. 22 letter to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

ICE informed TRAC that it had “no records” of the 377,980 individuals monitored by the agency’s “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) program used to electronically track illegal immigrants released into the country. TRAC had asked for data via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on those in ATD custody from the start of fiscal year 2019 to August 2022.

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Residents Seek to Vote on a Waterville Entertainment Venue’s Fate

Waterville residents turned in a petition to overturn a city council resolution to construct a large amphitheater and concert venue on the city’s western edge. They plan to put the project on the ballot as a public referendum.

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Trump Says He Told Ivanka, Jared Kushner, to Not Help with 2024 Campaign

Former President Donald Trump said he asked his daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, to not be involved in his 2024 reelection campaign. 

“Contrary to Fake News reporting, I never asked Jared or Ivanka to be part of the 2024 Campaign for President and, in fact, specifically asked them not to do it – too mean and nasty with the Fake & Corrupt News and having to deal with some absolutely horrendous SleazeBags in the world of politics, and beyond,” Trump wrote Tuesday on Truth Social.

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Text Messages Reveal Lax Security Response to Threat to Crash Plane into Capitol Before January 6 Riot

A day before the fateful Jan. 6 riot rocked the U.S. Capitol, security officials in the House and Senate received a warning of a possible aviation terror threat to the seat of Congress but shrugged off the concerns until congressional leadership found out from news media and began pressing for answers.

“Are you making any notification regarding the intel that I’m told is going public?” then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving texted Michael Stenger, his counterpart in the Senate, about the aviation security threat early on the evening of Jan. 5, 2021, according to text messages reviewed by Just the News.

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Asylum Backlog Reaches New Record Under Biden

There are a record number of asylum cases backlogging U.S. immigration courts under President Joe Biden, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

There are roughly 1.6 million asylum cases, a record number, backlogging the system, according to TRAC, which analyzes and compiles government data. The wait times for court appearances have increased to an average of 4.3 years nationwide, TRAC reported.

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Hamilton County GOP to Fill Vacant Prosecutor Seat

Now that Governor Mike DeWine appointed Republican Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to fill a vacancy on the Ohio Supreme Court (OSC), his former long-time position as prosecutor will become vacant on January 7th, 2023, when he is sworn into the OSC.

Throughout his tenure, Deters has gained a reputation in a crucial office for being a “tough on crime” prosecutor, believing in strict punishments for violent crime, including the death penalty, bail reform boundaries, and policing in general.

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Commentary: With New Pricing Law, the Feds Can Make Drug Firms Offers They Really Can’t Refuse

President Biden has promised that the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law this August, will “lower the cost of prescription drugs and health care for families” thanks to provisions that allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the price of some medications directly with pharmaceutical companies. 

Critics are decidedly less enthusiastic. They say the IRA’s new drug price provisions are more akin to government price-fixing than negotiation – an unprecedented power grab in health care. 

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Commentary: The ‘Reparations’ Scam

California is considering paying “reparations” to black Californians who are directly descended from enslaved people, which may surprise most Californians. After all, slavery was never legal in the Golden State. 

Governor Gavin Newsom, heedless of the fiasco he’s inviting, formed a “Reparations Task Force,” no doubt with his future presidential aspirations in mind. The task force issued an interim report in June, detailing California’s “history of slavery and racism and recommending ways the Legislature might begin a process of redress for Black Californians, including proposals to offer housing grants, free tuition, and to raise the minimum wage.”

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Christians Face Genocide amid Rise in Persecution in at Least 18 Countries, Report Warns

Christians are facing genocide in several countries as the persecution of followers of the religion has increased in at least 18 nations, according to recent research. 

The Catholic group Aid to the Church In Need released a report earlier this year titled, “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report On Christians Oppressed For Their Faith 2020-22,” which highlighted “human rights violations” against Christians in 24 countries.

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Supreme Court Hands Border States Big Win, Orders Title 42 to Remain in Place During Legal Challenge

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that a COVID-19 era immigration order remain in place.

Title 42 is an order allowing border authorities to swiftly deport migrants if they hail from a country known to host a communicable disease such as COVID-19. Border officials have deported an estimated 2.5 million migrants under the order since its implementation. Many detractors of the Biden administration’s approach fear that its end could prompt an even greater surge.

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Ohio Students Closer to Getting Religious Accomodations

Ohio colleges and universities could soon be required to develop a policy that would provide religious accommodations for students following the General Assembly’s passage of bipartisan legislation.

The Testing Your Faith Act, which now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine, also prohibits institutions of higher learning from imposing academic penalties on students due to an absence under the policy.

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Liberal Students, Academics Seek to Revoke Conservatives’ Honorary Degrees

Multiple universities across the country have rescinded honorary degrees, which are given to recognize the achievements of individuals who were not students at the university, from prominent members of the Trump administration.

Last month, Syracuse University put wheels in motion to rescind an honorary degree from former New York City mayor and lawyer to former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Business Insider reported. The university has not revoked an honorary degree in its 152-year history.

Giuliani argued that there was widespread election fraud during the 2020 election. He faced a criminal probe in Georgia regarding the presidential election results and appeared before a grand jury in August.

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Gallup: Americans Report Mental Health at New Lows with Young Adults Ranking Worst

Americans are rating their mental health at an all-time low, including nearly one-in-five young adults who describe their mental health as “poor,” according to a new poll released Wednesday. 

Overall, three-fourths of Americans say their mental health is “good” or “excellent,” which is the lowest number on record for Gallup. The polling outlet has conducted an annual mental health survey since 2001. In 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, 85% of Americans described their mental health as good or excellent.

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Soros-Backed Nonprofits Gave Tens of Millions to Anti-Police Groups in 2021

Tax forms have revealed that, over the course of 2021, numerous nonprofit groups backed by far-left billionaire George Soros donated tens of millions of dollars to groups and initiatives that actively campaigned against the police.

Fox News reports that nonprofit groups that are members of Soros’ Open Society Foundations network collectively gave at least $55 million to such anti-police movements. This included groups utilized by progressives to actively dismantle law enforcement, as well as databases that track donations to police departments and police unions.

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