US & World News

from the Associated Press

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Walmart is requiring that all workers at its headquarters as well as managers who travel within the U.S. be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is also reversing its mask policy for its employees, including vaccinated ones, who work in stores, clubs and various facilities. Going forward, they will be required to wear masks in areas with high infection rates. The moves are part of a series of sweeping measures the nation’s largest retailer and private employer announced Friday to help curb the spread of the virus and drive more of its workers to get the shot in the arm.

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One of Fox News' most visible advertisers, Mike Lindell and his MyPillow line of products, has pulled his commercials from the network because it would not air his ad promoting discredited claims of election fraud. Fox confirmed the move, which was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. Lindell has become a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump and his false claims of widespread voter fraud. Lindell wanted to promote a symposium on the topic being held next month. Fox called the move unfortunate, given Lindell's success in building his brand on the network. A Lindell representative was not immediately available for comment.

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Chinese companies hoping to sell their shares in the United States must start making more disclosures about their potential risks before U.S. regulators will allow them to list their stock. The move announced on Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission comes after Beijing said it would step up its supervision of Chinese companies listed overseas, including cybersecurity reviews. Many of the new U.S. requirements focus on Chinese businesses that uses shell companies to get around Chinese rules blocking foreign ownership for their industries. 

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Congress is trying to extend the nation's eviction moratorium just hours before it is set to expire. It's a long-shot effort to prevent millions of Americans from being forced from their homes during a COVID-19 surge. With quick congressional action difficult, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to step in. President Joe Biden has called on Congress to act, wary of challenging a Supreme Court decision. Biden announced Thursday that he would allow the moratorium to expire Saturday. With passage unlikely in the split Congress, more than 3.6 million Americans are at risk of eviction.

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COVID-19 vaccinations and masks will be required for all Broadway audience members when theaters reopen in the coming weeks. The Broadway League announced Friday that audience members will have to wear face coverings and show proof they're fully vaccinated when they enter the theaters. There'll be exceptions to the vaccine rule for children under 12 and for people with a medical condition or religious belief that prevents vaccination. Those individuals will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Vaccinations will also be required for performers, crew members and theater employees.

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U.S. stock indexes slipped on Friday, with much of the downward weight coming from a stumble for high-flying Amazon. The S&P 500 was down 0.4% in late trading. But it’s still on pace to wrap up its sixth straight month of gains, its longest such streak since 2018, and it remains within 0.5% of its record high set on Monday. Amazon alone accounted for nearly two thirds of the S&P 500's drop after it reported sales growth that was big but not as big as Wall Street expected. The Dow and Nasdaq were also down modestly. 

California’s largest wildfire so far this year is flaring up, but authorities say it's because flames are chewing through unburned islands of vegetation within a perimeter that firefighters have built. It produced a huge fire cloud Thursday, which is a towering column of smoke and ash that can pose a danger to firefighters. The Dixie Fire in the mountains of Northern California has destroyed more than 40 homes and other buildings and threatened over 10,000 on Friday. In southern Oregon, the nation’s largest wildfire also is burning interior pockets of vegetation. The U.S. Drought Monitor says critically dry conditions persist across Northern California and the Northwest, where there has been an expansion of exceptional drought. 

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The firm managing an oil tanker attacked off Oman's coast says two of its crew were killed in the assault. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the Thursday night raid targeting the Liberian-flagged tanker Mercer Street. However, a U.S. official said a so-called suicide drone was used. An Israeli security official alleged, without providing evidence, that an Iranian drone had attacked the ship. The company managing the Liberian-flagged Mercer Street said the two slain crew members came from the United Kingdom and Romania. The assault represented the worst-known maritime violence so far in regional attacks over the past two years that the U.S., Israel and others have blamed on Iran. 

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she has no plans to ratchet up her messaging to urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Other Republican leaders across the country are trying to persuade vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves and take the shots as a new, more contagious variant sends caseloads soaring in some parts of the country. The Republican governor says she believes her messaging has reached “a saturation level where people start to tune you out.” But it has been months since the governor used her position to encourage the vaccine. Infections in the state are on the rise again.

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The first flight evacuating Afghans who worked alongside Americans in Afghanistan has brought more than 200 people to new lives in the United States. Friday's arrival at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., brought Afghan translators and close family members, including scores of children and babies in arms, to new lives in the United States. The U.S. plans several more flights for Afghan translators who fear retaliation from the Taliban as U.S. forces leave Afghanistan. President Joe Biden has issued a statement saying he was proud to welcome them home.

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Roberto Calasso, an Italian literary figure and the driving force behind an esteemed Milan-based publishing house, has died at 80. Italian news media, quoting his publisher Adelphi, said Calasso died Thursday in Milan after a long illness. For decades, an essential leader of Adelphi, and its chairman from 1999, Calasso adhered to the philosophy of choosing books to publish not on how they might sell but whether they had something important to say. A native of Florence, Calasso also wrote many books, using a fountain pen for all but the final draft. His 1988  “Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony” explored Greek mythology. 

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Top congressional Democrats will huddle with President Joe Biden, looking to salvage their push to enact voting rights legislation. The meeting Friday between Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer comes after Democrats were forced back to the drawing board with their signature voting bill, after Senate Republicans blocked it with a filibuster last month. They've retooled the proposal and will present a framework to Biden. They are also expected to discuss a separate bill that would restore key portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

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Comedians Tess Barker and Barbara Gray used to scrutinize Britney Spears' Instagram account on a podcast called “Britney's Gram,” but changed course in 2019 to do a deep dive into the singer's conservatorship. They also began attending each conservatorship court hearing. They now co-host a new 10-part podcast called “Toxic: The Britney Spears Story” and have spent hours dissecting the case. Barker and Gray are hopeful public pressure will lead to more independence for Spears. The singer's new attorney, Matthew Rosengart, has petitioned to oust her father from the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years and replace him with a professional accountant. 

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President Joe Biden is sounding the alarm about the need for more resources to fight a series of wildfires in Western states. The president met Friday with governors of western states to discuss the resulting supply shortages as the fires have worsened.  Biden says climate change is to blame for the spread and ferocity of the blazes. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the president must ultimately pass measures through Congress to limit climate change.

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The Senate has advanced a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a bipartisan group of senators helping it clear one more hurdle on Friday. They are now bracing to see if support can hold during the next few days of debate and efforts to amend it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says that the chamber should be able to process the legislation quickly given the bipartisan support. Whether the number of Republican senators willing to pass a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda grows or shrinks in the days ahead will determine if the president’s signature issue can make it across the finish line.

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Saginaw Grant, a prolific Native American character actor and hereditary chief of the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma, has died. He was 85. Grant's publicist, Lani Carmichael, says Grant died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on Wednesday at a private-care facility in Hollywood, California. Born July 20, 1936, in Pawnee, Oklahoma, Grant was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He began acting in the late 1980s and played character roles in dozens of movies and television shows over the last three decades, including The Lone Ranger, The World’s Fastest Indian and Breaking Bad.

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Families are starting to spend the money from the expanded child tax credit. Many say they are using the money to pay rent, supplement their grocery budgets and for catching up on bills, including cellphone and car payments. President Joe Biden increased the amounts going to families and he expanded it to include those whose income is so little they don’t owe taxes. The benefits begin to phase out at incomes of $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples. Higher-income families with incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples can still receive the previous $2,000 credit. 

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The Justice Department says the Treasury Department must provide the House Ways and Means Committee former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, apparently ending a long legal showdown over the records. During the Trump administration, then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he wouldn’t turn over the tax returns because he concluded they were being sought by Democrats who control the House of Representatives for partisan reasons. The committee sued for the records under a federal law that says the Internal Revenue Service “shall furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers. The committee said it needed Trump’s taxes for an investigation into whether he complied with tax law.

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A Russian space official has blamed a software problem on a newly docked science lab that briefly knocked the International Space Station out of position. The 22-ton (20-metric-ton) Russian lab unexpectedly fired its jet thrusters after docking Thursday. The space station was knocked out of its proper position for 47 minutes before NASA and Russian controllers regained control. The flight director of the space station’s Russian segment said Friday that “a short-term software failure” was responsible and a direct command to turn on the lab’s engines was mistakenly implemented. He said the station is in its normal orientation at the moment. He added that the crew planned to open the hatch to the lab later Friday.

A judge has ruled that he won't kick one of Jussie Smollett's attorneys off his case but that the attorney won't be allowed to question two key witnesses if the case goes to trial. In a ruling released on Friday, Cook County Judge James Linn says the special prosecutor's concerns are legitimate that attorney Nenye Uche had a conflict of interest when he talked to two brothers who the actor allegedly paid to carry out a phony racist and homophobic attack on the actor. But he also says that the actor's ability to hire the attorney of his choice “when his liberty is at at stake" outweighs those concerns. 

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The United Nations children’s agency says more than 100,000 children in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region could face the most extreme and life-threatening form of malnutrition in the next year. That's while humanitarian aid remains blocked from the region of some 6 million people. The U.N. estimate is a tenfold increase over the usual caseload in Tigray. The warning comes as officials from the U.N. and United States visit Ethiopia over the coming days to press the government to lift what the U.S. has called a “siege” of Tigray. Some 200 food-laden trucks are stuck on the only remaining road into the region.  

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Exxon Mobil swung back to a second-quarter profit as demand for fuel recovered from lows reached earlier in the pandemic. Exxon earned $4.69 billion in the second quarter, beating analyst expectations. The oil giant brought in $67.74 billion in revenue, more than double the amount at the same time last year. The recovery came during a politically tumultuous time for the oil industry. Exxon’s shareholders recently voted to replace three of the company’s 12 board members with directors they said were better equipped to handle climate change.

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Belarus’ authoritarian president says he's prepared to invite Russian troops into the country, if necessary, to ensure security of both Belarus and Russia. But at the moment he says “there is absolutely no need” to do that. President Alexander Lukashenko stressed Friday that he had dealt with last year’s anti-government protests without involving other countries’ armed forces. Russia and Belarus have close military and defense ties. Lukashenko faced months of protests triggered by his being announced the winner of a presidential vote last year that the opposition and the West saw as rigged. He responded to demonstrations with a massive, violent crackdown on protesters. 

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Frustrated would-be travelers are overwhelming U.S. offices as easing COVID-19 travel restrictions have unleashed a pent-up demand for passports. At the West Los Angeles Federal Building, hundreds of passport applicants camped out overnight this week for same-day appointments — only to be told that walk-ins were no longer being taken. Wait times for new passports and renewals are now up to 18 weeks, causing many to seek expedited appointments at understaffed agencies for travel in the next few weeks. But even expedited appointments can take up to 12 weeks. Officials encouraged those without immediate travel plans to renew their passports by mail.  

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The new television series “Johnson” is being viewed as the male version of “Sex in the City” and “Insecure.” The project co-executive produced by Cedric the Entertainer revolves around four lifelong friends, all sharing the same last name but not related. Series creator Deji LaRay says a lack of TV shows detailing the Black male's perspective compelled him to create the project with retired NFL running back-turned-actor Thomas Q. Jones. The lead characters make decisions that revolve around friendships, love and heartbreak. The series premieres Sunday on Bounce TV.

U.S. President Joe Biden says he is moved by Kosovo’s awarding of a medal to his late son Beau, who was in the Balkan country 20 years ago to help establish the rule of law there as it became independent from Yugoslavia. In a pre-recorded speech published Friday on Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani’s Facebook page, Biden said: “The nation of Kosovo is in the hearts of the entire Biden family.” Osmani will host a ceremony Sunday to award a posthumous Presidential Medal on the Rule of Law to Beau Biden. He worked in Kosovo after its 1998-1999 war. 

Bosnian Serb lawmakers have rejected a ban on genocide denial, defying the top international official in Bosnia and fueling tensions in the ethnically-divided Balkan country. The assembly of Republika Srpska, the Serb-run entity in Bosnia, on Friday also passed legal changes, introducing prison terms of up to 15 years for calling the Serb territory a “genocidal creation” or disrespect of its symbols. The move reflects Serb opposition to the Bosnian law amendments imposed last week by Valentin Inzko, the outgoing High Representative in Bosnia, that outlawed attempts to minimize the scope of the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, Europe’s only post-war genocide.

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A small city on Colombia’s Caribbean shore is being crowded with migrants from Haiti and Africa making what they hope will be a journey toward the United States. Local official say that more than 10,000 migrants have massed recently in Necocli, a city of some 20,000 people better known for its beaches, coconuts and burbling mud volcanos that has become a bottleneck on the global migrant trail that winds through South and Central America, to Mexico and then the U.S. southern border. For many, that journey runs from the Ecuadorian border through Colombia to Necocli.

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A man who accosted England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty in a London park has pleaded guilty to assault. Lewis Hughes and another man filmed themselves harassing Whitty, who has become a nationally recognized figure through appearances at televised coronavirus briefings. One man is seen on video putting his arm around Whitty as they apparently drunkenly ask him for a photograph. Prosecutor Kalsoom Shah said the incident was ”completely unacceptable" and Hughes’ behavior “was both shocking and disgraceful.” Hughes pleaded guilty Friday to assault by beating. He received an eight-week suspended prison sentence and was told to pay Whitty 100 pounds ($140). The second defendant, Jonathan Chew, denied guilt and is scheduled to stand trial in November.

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Amanda Knox is speaking out about her name being associated with the new film “Stillwater,” saying any connection rips off “my story without my consent at the expense of my reputation.” “Stillwater” stars Matt Damon as a father who flies to France to help his estranged daughter, who has been convicted of murdering her girlfriend. Knox is never named on screen, but in interviews the filmmakers have noted her sensational case was an initial jumping off point for the script. In tweets and an essay on the site Medium, Knox called out various publications and director Tom McCarthy for using her name to promote the movie.

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New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus. Recommending masks for everyone and requiring vaccines for doctors and other health care providers are among measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering. That's according to internal documents obtained by the Washington Post. The presentation for CDC staff tells them to “acknowledge the war has changed.” It also notes that infections in vaccinated people may be as transmissible as in the unvaccinated.

The United States is pressing Albania’s main opposition Democratic Party to exclude from its lawmakers in the new parliament its former leader Sali Berisha. He is barred by Washington from entering the U.S. due to alleged corruption. U.S. Ambassador Yuri Kim visited Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha on Friday to emphasize "the responsibility that party leaders have to ensure that when they walk into parliament, they walk in accompanied by members who are worthy of representing Albania.” The ambassador did not mention Berisha’s name but he has been at the center of a dispute between Washington and Albania’s Democratic Party over allegedly corrupt acts.

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The Biden administration is expected to announce new sanctions on Cuba as President Joe Biden meets with Cuban-American leaders at the White House to discuss a U.S. response to recent social protests on the island. The administration has been weighing additional penalties as well as initiatives to open up internet access to the Cubans since the protests began. Friday's meeting will take place almost three weeks after protests in which thousands of Cubans took to the streets in Havana and other cities to protest shortages power outages and government policies. They were the first such protests since the 1990s.

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Poland's president says he sees the need for changes to the law on disciplining judges that has been criticized by the European Union. President Andrzej Duda was commenting Friday on a letter from the head of Poland’s top court appealing to Duda and other senior figures to initiate such changes. The EU Court of Justice said earlier this month that the way Poland is disciplining its judges undermines judicial independence and contravenes EU law. The EU has told Poland’s government, which drew up the regulations, to immediately suspend the disciplinary body at the Supreme Court and introduce changes, under threat of financial and other sanctions.

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Greek authorities are ordering additional fire patrols and infrastructure maintenance inspections as the country grapples with a heat wave expected to last more than a week. The emergency measures adopted Friday also include creating additional air-conditioned areas for the public in cities around Greece and at refugee camps. Temperatures in Greece and surrounding countries in southeast Europe are expected to reach 42 C (107.6 F) on Monday and ease only later in the week. Hot air from Africa is feeding the heat. Authorities said their was a clear link between climate change and a steadily increasing risk of heat waves and wildfires. 

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The beheading of a young woman in an upscale neighborhood of Pakistan’s capital has shone a spotlight on the relentless violence against women in the country. Rights activists say such gender-based assaults are on the rise as Pakistan barrels toward greater religious extremism. A Human Rights Watch report says data collected from domestic violence hotlines across the country showed a 200% increase in domestic violence between January and March last year. The numbers were even worse after March, when COVID-19 lockdowns began. An expert says the rise in violence is accompanied by an increase in ultraconservative and even extremist religious values in Pakistan.

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American consumers increased their spending by 1% in June — a dose of energy for an economy that is quickly rebounding from the pandemic recession but is facing new risks led by the delta variant of the coronavirus. At the same time, a key inflation barometer that is closely followed by the Federal Reserve surged 3.5% last month from a year earlier. That was the fastest such 12-month surge since 1991. June’s solid increase in consumer spending provided further evidence that consumers are driving a strengthening recovery from the pandemic recession. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department also showed that personal incomes, which provide the fuel for spending, edged up 0.1% in June after two months of big declines, reflecting the waning of several government support programs.

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Singapore and Vietnam next month on a trip focused on strengthening economic ties and celebrating America’s cultural connection with the Indo-Pacific region. It will be Harris' first overseas travel and second foreign trip, after she visited Guatemala and Mexico in June as part of her role leading diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration to the United States. It'll be the first time a U.S. vice president has visited Vietnam. Harris will be the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Asia. A spokesperson said Friday that Harris will discuss regional security, the coronavirus and climate change with the leaders of Singapore and Vietnam.

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Cyprus will start the voluntary COVID-19 vaccination of children over 12 next week using mRNA shots produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The health minister said Friday that Cyprus is following other European Union countries that began vaccinating children between 12 and 15. The consent of parents and guardians is a prerequisite for all children's vaccinations in Cyprus. The health minister urged young people to get the shot as authorities report that the median age of those infected in the last 14 days is 28. 

News and Analysis

from RealClearWire

Over the last few months, Republicans in states such as Texas and Georgia have attracted national attention for passing legislation that puts stricter requirements on voting. Other states have considered legislation aiming to expand voting rights. Virginia passed a law that the New York Times said would turn the state into “a voting rights bastion.” Illinois recently enacted an expansive voting-rights bill. In New Jersey, Democrats made changes to establish early voting. Just about any bill on voting is likely to attract partisan views on both sides, as the Texas and Georgia bills did. This article looks at newly enacted laws in Virginia, Illinois, and New Jersey and how they contrast with the legislation in Georgia and Texas.

On July 19, Hillsdale College released the 1776 Curriculum, a package of American history and civics materials for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The curriculum offers students and teachers a more traditional and patriotic approach to American history than the critical alternatives now prevalent in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.

The timing was a coincidence. The contrast, unmistakable.

For 25 years, I traded U.S. Treasury debt for financial institutions on Wall Street. For the last 20 years, since 9/11, America has borrowed a staggering amount of money. First to finance the War on Terror, then to bail out the housing sector, and most recently to fund enormous COVID pandemic expenses. Like a lot of bond market pros, I always wondered when America would hit the break point, when the borrowing binge would finally become painful.

Britney Spears has gained attention in her conservatorship case because she is a pop star, but usually it is an elderly grandma or grandpa who suffers from abuse in the system. This attention, fortunately, is bringing needed scrutiny to the crisis, which will hopefully bring relief to the elderly caught in the conservatorship trap as well.  

The most recent term of the Supreme Court left plenty of liberals lamenting how conservative that tribunal had become. And while the court conversely left plenty of conservatives happy, there has been some grumbling in right-leaning circles over whatever part of the glass appears to be empty. Those critics do not point to any constitutional apostasy, but complain because of the occasional praiseworthy judgment that did not carry more sweeping pronouncements of law.

The fundamental problem in how teachers approach U.S. history and civics in the classroom is the failure to understand contextual history. Without that cornerstone, any attempt at analysis or application of history’s lessons is little more than bathroom gossip designed to sway students toward a particular political ideology.

It is strangely ironic to see some in this country jump at the opportunity to condemn Jeff Bezos for his investments in astronautics and space technology. One tweet inquired why he would spend his own money on space when people don't have access to fresh water. Another suggested that Bezos could single-handedly end world hunger somehow. My personal favorite is the tried and true complaint that Mr. Bezos is not paying his “fair share” in taxes.

Bad weather is wreaking havoc in parts of the world. The cynical climate alarmist community hopes it will help get Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar climate agenda through Congress.

After a grueling sports match or a brutal workout, there's often nothing more refreshing than a nice cold beer... But what about the drink's intoxicating effects? When the human body requires recovery after strenuous exercise, will downing a beer actually backfire?

It was Madison Cawthorn’s turn to pay for lunch, and because the freshman congressman bought the barbeque Wednesday, he got to make a short speech behind closed doors.

If there was any doubt that President Biden wants to ban the vast majority of guns in the United States, he again clarified his position last week. “The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon — whether it’s a — whether it’s a 9-millimeter pistol or whether it’s a rifle — is ridiculous,” Biden said at a televised CNN townhall meeting. “I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things, but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term.”

Did Donald Trump dissuade or invite more celebrity political candidates? Although celebrity candidates are not a new phenomenon, we are on the verge of a bumper crop. This is another of Trump’s unlikely legacies—depending on the success of his imitators.

This fall, in-person school attendance and activities that take place will be back to nearly normal. While masks will mercifully disappear, other precautions will remain in place. In particular, hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers will become the mainstay of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens. To facilitate preventive measures to protect students, teachers and other school personnel, the Food and Drug Administration should swiftly begin enforcing safer standards for hand sanitizers and partnering with suppliers and customers to remove subpar products from the market.

Civic education in grades K-12 finds itself at the center of a heated debate over how we teach the American citizens of the future. While the current trends in education are harmful to students, the inhumane ideas behind them were developed more than a generation ago. Yet with considerable hard work from all of us, the current spasm in education can become the last in a series of convulsions of ultimately doomed ideologies. America is, after all, a land of hope.

A turning point in U.S. racial politics came in 1986 at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts, shown.  There, race-consciousness won out over color-blindness, profoundly changing American society.

The Democratic National Committee this week launched a digital ad campaign in Florida highlighting President Biden’s actions to support Cubans rising up against that nation’s repressive government.

It has been six months since Congress certified the results of the 2020 election, but many Republicans remain unconvinced. Some Republican officials have decided to conduct audits of the 2020 election results in their state. While Arizona has received most of the attention, several other states are potentially pursuing audits. This article takes a look at the process in each state.

Above left, RCI writer Aaron Maté in a tense 2017 interview with Luke Harding of the Guardian (full video below). Harding was lead author on a supposed blockbuster this month ignored by major news outlets -- but that article illustrates their malfeasance in the Trump-Russia saga too.

The debate has heated up over whether, or how, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being taught in school. It obscures the real debate over how race and racism should or shouldn’t be taught in K-12 education and discussed in the broader society.

Democrats appear to be on a suicide mission, determined to pass trillions in new spending and embracing a host of far-left positions on social issues despite warnings that this could cost them control of Congress. One might expect Democrats to be more careful considering the shellacking they endured in response to similarly aggressive pursuits of left-wing legislation in the midterms following Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s elections.

The crazy, convoluted, mixed up messaging from the CDC – it's been this way from the beginning of the pandemic until now – has taken yet another turn. Now the CDC is recommending masks not just for the unvaccinated but for the vaccinated too. This is supposedly because of the discovery that the variant known as Delta is making an end-run around the vaccines, causing not only infections but infectious spread. 

So far, the Biden administration has taken the focus of Joe Biden the candidate on climate issues seriously, especially the campaign commitment he made to the realization of a net-zero power grid by 2035. This commitment, reiterated at the Climate Leaders’ Summit in April, is particularly ambitious.

An influential subset of philosophers has been debating 'zombies' for decades, and not the sort you see in horror movies and television shows.

Imagine you own a modest boat that you like to take out on the lake when you go fishing. Your boat serves its purpose — it has space for a case of cold ones and enough room for you and your fishing buddies. It takes some work, but you’re able to maintain her and make repairs pretty much on your own.

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Flight attendants' and teachers' unions whose members are on the front lines of disputed covid safety protocols are ardent enforcers of mask mandates for the public but do not require their members to get vaccinated. Such inoculation is widely acknowledged as the most effective measure in stopping the spread of the highly infectious new Delta variant, while masking is viewed as of secondary importance and many are highly skeptical of its effectiveness and critical of its inconvenience.

This president has a habit of repeating himself, but he might wish he hadn’t done so in one recent instance.

Afghanistan will soon be chiseled into the history books as another in the long list of strategic failures for the United States of America. This ever-growing collection of losses would typically be a cause for concern for a global superpower. Yet, it engenders no radical reaction amongst the populace, the military, the national security bureaucracy, or elected leaders. Only gentle concern is expressed along with desperate attempts to claim even “a modicum of success” for this state of affairs. For all the hand-wringing that will occur as the Taliban claim victory, the lack of concern, let alone action, to avoid this fate again is conspicuous. The question must therefore be asked: does America like losing wars?

A few days before the Indian Point nuclear plant was permanently shuttered on April 30 of this year, I warned New Yorkers to prepare for power outages this summer.  The plant had provided one-fourth of NYC’s electricity.  Shutting it down created a cavernous hole in electricity supplies, which have only been partially replaced with two new generating plants running on natural gas, supplied by pipelines that Governor Cuomo won’t allow to be built.

As what you’re presently reading is being typed, your typist is wearing a $9.99 pair of reading glasses purchased last week at Safeway. These are +1.25 glasses, after the +1.00 pairs stopped working very well. Roughly five pairs of glasses are about to meet their demise thanks to increasingly farsighted eyes that require more powerful lenses.

This year’s federal deficit is set to match the entire 1996 federal budget, adjusted for inflation. Despite such overwhelming spending, Democrats in Congress have proposed an unprecedented $3.5 trillion budget, in addition to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that failed its first Senate vote last week.

Most conservatives have found little to like in President Biden’s agenda. But now, Biden is encouraging cities and states to use their federal COVID-relief funds to buttress policing and public safety. This is the right move — no matter what one thinks of the COVID-relief bill itself, about Biden’s broader goals, or even about Biden’s political motivations in making this push. 

As bipartisan negotiations continue in Washington over a physical infrastructure package, the question should not be whether to follow it up with an investment in “intellectual infrastructure,” but rather how broadly to do so.

With infrastructure talks continuing to hit snags, many Democrats don’t believe Republicans are negotiating in good faith. And why should they? During the Obama presidency, when some Republicans initially expressed interest in compromising on major Democratic priorities including health care, climate change and immigration, they would always find some excuse to bail. Why should we expect Republican behavior during the Biden presidency to be any different?