House Adjourns After 11th Failed Vote to Elect McCarthy Speaker, Deal Reportedly in the Works

The House of Representatives has adjourned for the evening after California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy failed to win the speaker’s gavel for the 11th time.

The speaker election started Tuesday but McCarthy has fallen short of reaching the simple majority threshold needed to win in the 222-212 GOP-led House.

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Damar Hamlin Doctors: ‘Appears His Neurological Condition and Function Is Intact’

Doctors treating Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin said Thursday his neurological condition and function appears “intact” and that he’s made “remarkable improvement” after having gone into cardiac arrest three days earlier on the football field after making a tackle.

The doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Hamlin was taken Monday night after being injured in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, gave an update early Thursday through the Bills, then in a news conference.

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State Representative Merrin Loses Ohio Speakership to Moderate Stephens

As the 135th General Assembly gets underway, lawmakers elected moderate Republican Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) as the new Speaker of the Ohio House on Tuesday to succeed State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima).

The choice comes despite the Republican Caucus’ previous selection in November of State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Moncolva) as the new Speaker.

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Blystone to Surrender $105,000, Admit Violations, Not Run Again for Five Years

Joe Blystone

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Election Commission had a full hearing scheduled for today and tomorrow to investigate multiple election law violation complaints filed by three separate parties against former gubernatorial candidate Joe Blystone. Instead of a hearing, the session turned into a settlement conference that resulted in an agreement.

That agreement orders Blystone to surrender his campaign cash of approximately $105,000 and shut down his campaign fund.  The funds are to be distributed by paying $75,000 to an escrow account for a case Blystone started in Delaware County against his former campaign co-manager; turning over the remaining balance to the Ohio Election Commission in the form of a fine.  Additionally, Blystone stipulates that the allegations made in the complaints are fact and commits to not seek office for five years.

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Ohio Attorney General Ties Nonprofit Grant Money to Completion of Charitable University

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday, the completion of Charitable University, also known as CharitableU, is now mandatory for nonprofits who want to seek grant money from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to promote organizations to be fraud-free this year.

According to Yost, CharitableU is a new training and accountability tool for Ohio charity organizations. The program ensures that they run their companies properly and prevent the squandering of crucial donations due to incompetence, carelessness, or fraud.

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Latest Twitter Files Reveal Adam Schiff’s Collusion with Platform to Censor Opponents

On Tuesday, the eleventh and twelfth installments of the Twitter Files highlighted the role that Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) played in censoring conservative accounts on the platform.

As reported by Fox News, the two back-to-back threads posted by journalist Matt Taibbi revealed that Twitter “received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned.” One example was in November of 2020, when Schiff’s office emailed Twitter demanding the banning of several “QAnon conspiracists” on Twitter, which they claimed were responsible for “harassment” against Schiff aide Sean Misko.

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Grassroots Parents Organization Files Complaints Claiming Discrimination in Schools Separating Students Based on Race

Parents Defending Education (PDE), a grassroots parental rights organization, filed three complaints Tuesday with the Biden Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that allege discrimination in schools that formed “racial affinity” groups or “community circles” to separate students based on their race.

The complaints allege that discrimination occurred in schools in Oregon, Maine, and Vermont where students were organized according to their race, which, the complaints argue, is in violation of the 14th Amendment.

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Left-Wing Tech Group Doles Out $500K in Grants to Jurisdictions for Future Elections

Although about half the states ban private dollars from funding local governing of elections as a response to Mark Zuckerberg’s controversial grants in 2020, a tech-aligned group will dole out individual $500,000 grants to jurisdictions for future elections. 

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, established in April,  will award individual grants of $500,000 to at least two local jurisdictions out of 10 that the organization accepted into the program.

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Governor DeWine Says Sports Betting Operations Have Already Crossed the Line in Ohio

A mere two days since the legalization of sports betting in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine is already questioning the legality of some companies’ practices.

In his first remarks on the matter since the state’s legalized sports betting on Sunday, DeWine said he had taken a personal interest in upholding state laws governing gambling organizations’ advertising.

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Another Record: Nearly 314,000 Apprehensions, Gotaways at Southern Border in December

December was another record month for Border Patrol agents tasked with apprehending foreign nationals illegally entering the U.S. through the southwest border.

Agents apprehended at least 226,050 people and reported at least 87,631 who evaded capture by law enforcement last month. Combined, they total at least 313,681 – an increase from November’s record breaking number of 306,069.

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Commentary: With Schools Ditching Merit for Diversity, Families of High Achievers Head for the Door

Alex Shilkrut has deep roots in Manhattan, where he has lived for 16 years, works as a physician, and sends his daughter to a public elementary school for gifted students in coveted District 2. 

It’s a good life. But Shilkrut regretfully says he may leave the city, as well as a job he likes in a Manhattan hospital, because of sweeping changes in October that ended selective admissions in most New York City middle schools. 

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Judge Completely Blocks Oregon’s Restrictive Gun Law

A judge on Tuesday placed a hold on a portion of Oregon’s recently passed gun law that enhances background check requirements for firearm purchases, leaving the legislation completely blocked.

The ruling is another setback for the law, Ballot Measure 114, which is now entirely paused as legal challenges to various portions of the law make their way through Oregon’s court system. The judge determined that the law’s heightened background check requirement could not be implemented while the court continues to debate the other portions of the law, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, as plaintiffs argue the law violates the state’s constitution.

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Regulator Fines Tech Giant Millions for Showing Targeted Ads Based on User Activity

An Irish data privacy regulator has issued fines totaling €390 million — roughly $410 million — against Facebook and Instagram parent Meta over practices related to its monitoring of users’ behavior on its services in order to create targeted ads, according to a Wednesday press release by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC).

Meta had previously argued to the commission that it had the right to tailor ads to users based on their online activity because the Terms of Service that users agreed to to use the service amounted to a contract, and that gathering this personalized data was a core part of that contract, according to the DPC. Although the DPC originally agreed with this argument, it reversed its position after other European regulators challenged this view during a standard peer review process, finding that Meta was “not entitled” to consider the Terms of Service agreement as sufficient legal basis for its actions.

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Commentary: The Truth Behind George Santos’ Lies

The uproar over George Santos and his crude fabrications has given official Washington an opportunity to do what it does best: moralize and deflect. It is all a little amusing to watch. Who are these scoundrels to hold forth on truth and transparency? Are we meant to be astonished that a politician lied to secure public office? The freshman congressman from New York is distinguished only by the chutzpah of his act. His dishonesty, in an ironic way, is more truthful than the posturing of the preening hypocrites denouncing him.  

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Kentucky Becomes Latest State to Take on Woke Banks, Asset Managers

The state of Kentucky announced Tuesday that it may pull funds from JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and nine other financial firms that “boycott” fossil fuel companies.

Kentucky passed a law in April 2022 that directs the state treasurer to publish a yearly list of banks and asset managers that are found to be boycotting energy companies. Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball published a list of 11 financial firms that are now subject to divestment under the law unless they change their investment policies within 90 days.

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Biden Admin to Hike Fees on Legal Immigrants to Fund Processing of Illegal Migrants Who Claim Asylum

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The Biden administration will increase the costs for legal immigrants to apply for permits, visas and green cards to help mitigate the backlog of asylum cases due to record surges of illegal immigration at the southern border, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Tuesday.

The recent surge in illegal immigration has contributed to the years-long asylum backlogs, where applicants wait an average of 4.3 years nationwide to appear in court, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Under the proposed new rules, H-1B application fees for skilled workers will jump from $60 to $780, fees for non-agricultural workers will jump from $460 to $1080 and fees for green card applicants will jump from $1,140 $1,540, USCIS said.

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