Oklahoma National Guard Defies Pentagon, Won’t Impose COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

The newly installed head of the Oklahoma National Guard has ordered that troops under his command will not be forced to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the armed forces.

“No Oklahoma Guardsman will be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a Thursday memo. The memo was at odds with a Defense Department directive that the “total force” – including the National Guard – must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Georgia Senate Committee Learns Private-Sector Workers’ Retirement Savings Low

According to data presented Friday to the Senate Retirement Security for Georgians Study Committee, about half of Peach State residents—and Americans generally—aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Jessica Eckman, a senior legislative representative with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), told the committee that about 50 percent of U.S. households are at risk of accumulating insufficient retirement savings, up from 31 percent three decades earlier.

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Commentary: Dr. Fauci Warned About Coronaviruses in 2003 – But Didn’t Act on It

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Few would argue the United States, or any country for that matter, was prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, even though, starting in 2003, the U.S. devoted $5.6 billion to fund Project Bioshield, running through 2013, and another $2.8 billion of funding through 2018. Project Bioshield was designed to prepare the United States against a bio attack, including provisions for the stockpiling and distribution of vaccines.

Though Covid-19 was a new virus, congressional testimony from 2003 paints a concerning picture about what we knew – and when – about the family of viruses from which it originated.

“I am particularly interested in learning how Project BioShield would assist in addressing the current public health emergency created by the epidemic known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome [SARS],” said Tom Davis, chairman of the Committee on Government Reform. “More than 2,000 suspected cases of this mysterious disease have been reported in 17 nations, including the United States, with 78 fatalities. So far, there is no effective treatment or vaccine to combat this deadly syndrome.”

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Federal Appeals Court Orders Biden Not to Enforce Vaccine Mandate for Private Firms

A federal appeals court on Friday reaffirmed its early ruling temporarily halting President Biden’s national vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees.

In its ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals called the mandate “fatally flawed,” while ordering OSHA to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”

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FBI Director Told Former Agents the Bureau Will ‘Stay in Its Own Lane’ and Won’t Be Attending School Board Meetings

FBI Director Christopher Wray “made it clear” during an October speech that FBI agents “would not be attending school board meetings” and the Bureau “would stay in its own lane,” a former agent who saw the speech told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Cecil Moses, a retired FBI special agent and former police chief in Alabama, was in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the national conference for the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, where he said Wray met with former agents on Oct. 22 and assured them that the Bureau would not be monitoring school board meetings.

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Home Prices Soar in Third Quarter as Housing Market Remains Hot

Median home prices surged in the third quarter of 2021 in almost every housing market in the U.S., the National Association of Realtors said in a report Wednesday.

The median price of a single-family home increased in 182 out of the 183 markets tracked by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Prices grew by 10% from the previous year in 78% of the 182 markets.

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Commentary: ‘Unprecedented’ Capitol Protest Sets New Precedents

Capitol protest

Unprecedented: It is the word most often applied to the events at the Capitol on January 6.

In his remarks that afternoon, as the chaos was still ongoing, Joe Biden warned that “our democracy is under unprecedented attack.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Attorney General Merrick Garland, and leaders of both political parties also describe the four-hour mostly nonviolent disturbance at the Capitol complex as something without precedent. 

“On January 6, 2021, the world witnessed a violent and unprecedented attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Vice President, Members of Congress, and the democratic process,” wrote Republican and Democratic senators in a joint committee report released earlier this year.

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Thousands of DHS Employees Won’t Be Vaccinated Before the Federal Deadline

Around 30% of Department of Homeland Security employees won’t be fully vaccinated before the federal deadline, My RGV reported on Tuesday.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees needed to receive their second COVID-19 vaccination shot or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Monday, two weeks before President Joe Biden’s executive order goes into effect, to be considered fully vaccinated, according to My RGV.

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Obama Judge Sides with January 6 Committee, Denies Trump’s Executive Privilege Claims

In a 34-page ruling issued Tuesday night, D.C. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan denied Donald Trump’s request for injunctive relief to prevent the January 6 Select Committee from obtaining privileged information currently housed at the National Archives. In August, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, demanded “a wide range of White House records of the previous administration . . . [related to] how the January 6th events fit in the continuum of efforts to subvert the rule of law, overturn the results of the November 3, 2020 election, or otherwise impede the peaceful transfer of power.” 

The National Archives notified the committee a few days later it would comply with the request for documents; Joe Biden twice denied Trump’s claims of executive privilege, something without precedent, which Chutkan noted: “This case presents the first instance . . . in which a former President asserts executive privilege over records for which the sitting President has refused to assert executive privilege.”

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UN Climate Conference Carbon Footprint Doubles Previous Summit

The carbon footprint of COP26, the ongoing United Nations climate summit, is expected to double that of the previous conference held in 2019, according to a report.

The two-week COP26 conference, which is entering its final days in Scotland, is projected to lead to about 102,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide in emissions, according to a preliminary assessment commissioned by the UN from British professional services firm ARUP. That’s the equivalent of more than 225.9 million pounds of carbon emissions.

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National School Boards Association Coordinated with White House on Letter Calling Parents ‘Domestic Terrorists’

A new timeline of events in the controversial National School Boards Association (NSBA) letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland shows that the NSBA was in contact with the White House before sending the letter to President Joe Biden.

Emails obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the group called Parents Defending Education request show that NSBA President Viola Garcia sent a memo to state NSBA chapters on October 12 describing its work against parents who were protesting at school board meetings nationwide. Some of those protests regarded mask mandates and liberal activism within schools.

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A Record Number of Workers Quit Their Jobs in September as Labor Shortage Worsens

A record 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September, and job openings remained near a record high as labor shortages continue throughout the country.

Roughly 3.0% of U.S. workers left their jobs in September, a jump from August, when 4.3 million people left the workforce, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday. The number of job openings remained near its August level of 10.4 million.

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The Feds Appear to Have Leaked O’Keefe’s Privileged Legal Communications to the New York Times

Someone from the Department of Justice appears to have tipped off the New York Times about recent raids on current and former employees of Project Veritas, and leaked privileged communications between founder James O’Keefe and his lawyers to the paper.

These potentially illegal actions come amid a Project Veritas defamation lawsuit against the NYTs that claims the paper’s coverage of a Veritas video was incorrect, defamatory and driven by resentment on the part of the newspaper’s reporters.

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Commentary: Six Ways the CDC Failed During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the national public health agency of the United States, so it made sense that during a once-in-a-century pandemic the agency would be given a leading role. With that leadership, however, came limelight. And in so many ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC, under the spotlight, undeniably flopped.

In his recently published book, Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb critiqued numerous aspects of the worldwide response to COVID-19. Many CDC actions garnered forceful rebukes. While Gottlieb recognizes that a lot of talented, smart, and dedicated individuals work within the CDC, he says it’s hard to deny that the respected governmental agency failed in a lot of vital respects. Here are six of them:

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Explosive Growth: Yale Now Has as Many Administrators as Students

Yale University nearly doubled its number of administrators from 2003 to 2019 while only bringing in an additional 600 students, according to the Yale Daily News.

Yale now has an approximately equal number of students and administrators, the Daily News reported. Yale professors expressed concern about the impact of the school’s massive bureaucracy on teaching, students’ lives and university costs.

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Commentary: Parents Are Students’ First Teachers and Greatest Advocates

It is not a novel concept that family engagement is one of the strongest predictors of children’s school success. Studies over the past 50 years demonstrate a positive relationship between family engagement and student achievement for students of all backgrounds. Children are most successful when supported by families and schools working together collaboratively. As a parent, I understand the unique needs and learning behaviors of my children more than anyone. Through my respective roles as an educator and a federal K-12 policy professional, I also understand the nuances of balancing parental input with a safe and effective education for all students.

For years, parental involvement in education has been supported by Republican and Democratic leaders as integral to student success and as a guiding principle for federal and state education policy. The Every Student Succeeds ‎Act (ESSA), the bipartisan K-12 federal education law, explicitly requires that parents be meaningfully involved and consulted in the ‎development of state and school district education plans. These plans provide the ‎framework for how states and school districts will deliver education to elementary and high ‎school students. Additionally, the law requires that parents be involved in the creation of “state ‎report cards,” providing information on how schools in each state are performing – including ‎student achievement levels. The report cards ‎must be written and in an accessible way so that parents can take action to engage with their child’s school.

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Increased Federal Spending Gets Fresh Scrutiny with Ongoing Spike in Inflation, Consumer Costs

Skyrocketing inflation and consumer costs are hurting President Joe Biden’s and Congressional Democrats’ hopes to pass another major spending bill through the reconciliation process.

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics this week reported an 8.6% increase in wholesale prices over the past 12 months, the highest increase in years. The federal agency also said this week that the consumer price index, another key tracker of inflation, is rising at the fastest rate in decades.

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Facebook Blocks Search Results for ‘Kyle Rittenhouse’

Person looking on Facebook with trending topics

Despite massive public interest in the court proceedings in Kenosha, Wisconsin,  this week, Facebook has blocked search results for the name “Kyle Rittenhouse.” Facebook shows zero posts when the query “Kyle Rittenhouse” is entered into the social media platform’s search bar. A message appears that states that “832,000 people are talking about this,” but no results show up.

An attempt to find Kyle Rittenhouse posts brings up a message informing the user that Facebook did not find any results with a prompt to make sure your spelling is correct.

Rittenhouse, 18, is currently on trial for shooting three people in Kenosha, Wisconsin,  killing two of them outright during a riot in August 2020. He is charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

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Music Spotlight: Gracee Shriver

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Belmont student and former NBC’s The Voice contestant Gracee Shriver hails from Owasso, Oklahoma.

Shriver started singing lessons at age nine to give herself something to do. About a year after starting lessons, she got her first guitar and began writing songs.

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Georgia Department of Education Announces Priorities for the 2022 General Assembly

Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta

Members of the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) have announced their priorities for the 2022 session of the Georgia General Assembly. The GDOE, among other things, wants Georgia students to focus more on civics and to give parents more power to decide what’s best for their children’s health.

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Georgia Fruit Grower Warns Food Supply Chain in Danger

The nation’s supply chain crisis has strained Georgia’s farmers, so much so they’re unsure they can produce their crops on time. This, according to Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, Inc. Executive Officer Jon Schwalls. The organization is based out of Norman Park.

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