RICHMOND, Virginia – Republican legislators say that Democrats are leaving them out of the process of vetting candidates to fill eight Virginia Court of Appeals seats. Next week, legislators are expected to appoint judges to the newly-expanded court. But Democrats privately interviewed the candidates on Wednesday and only intend to advance eight candidates to be approved by the General Assembly, as first reported by The Virginia Mercury and The Richmond Times-Dispatch. On Thursday, Republican and Democratic senators went back-and-forth on the Senate floor about the process.
“I am confident that there were no Republicans who were invited to participate in those interviews and I just want to point out that it seems to be a little bit of a theme that has developed during the course of this session,” Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) said. “There is way too much business that’s being conducted behind closed doors, out of the view of the public.”
Well, isn’t this interesting.
Recall Roe v. Wade? The famous abortion decision from the U.S. Supreme Court that was issued in January of 1973? It said this:
This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment‘s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or … in the Ninth Amendment‘s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” — Roe, 410 U.S. at 153
In the vernacular, this quickly was reduced to a pro-Roe movement that self-identified as “pro-choice.” Or, as the saying goes, “abortion rights” boosters supported the idea of “my body, my choice.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it had intercepted 834 unaccompanied illegal alien minors at the southern border, the single largest such number of children apprehended under the Biden Administration thus far, the New York Post reports.
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had previously estimated that over 19,000 illegal minors were caught at the border over the month of July, surpassing the previous record of 18,877 in the month of March. The months seen then have seen numbers ranging from 14,000 to 17,000, marking a total of over 84,000 from March to July.
In addition, the number of illegal minors being held in CBP custody has more than quadrupled since May, when only around 635 children were being held; by Wednesday, that number has risen to over 2,784. The 30-day average of child apprehensions has increased to 512 per day.
Over the last few months, the U.S. has engaged in intense discussion over “critical race theory.” As Americans have debated the impact of CRT, several states have banned CRT from the public school curriculum, while other states are using it as part of that curriculum. The debate over CRT’s merits or dangers has prompted ideological battles in school board elections. This article looks at the increased activism around school board elections and its broader ramifications.
Past politicization of school board elections
Though school board elections may not seem as exciting as a presidential or even congressional race, they have taken on greater importance in recent years. In 2005, the city of Dover, Pennsylvania faced a contentious court case known as Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which ruled that the school district’s teaching of intelligent design violated the separation of church and state. Shortly after the trial concluded, the district held its school board elections, and all the school board members who favored the teaching of intelligent design lost their reelection bids, at least in part due to their position on the issue. The election generated much discussion.
In the early 2010s, school board races saw partisan involvement through the Tea Party movement. Generally, candidates affiliated with the Tea Party ran on platforms of greater political accountability and lower property taxes. Carl Paladino, a former Republican nominee for governor in New York, won a race for the Buffalo school board on a Tea Party-type platform. The school board later ousted Paladino for making offensive comments about former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The U.S. economy reported an increase of 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons decreased to 8.7 million. Economists projected 845,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The jobs recovery is continuing, but it’s different in character to any we’ve seen before,” payroll software firm ADP economist Nela Richardson told the WSJ. “I had been looking at September as a point when we could gain momentum—with schools back in session and vaccines widely available. But with the delta variant, we need to rethink that.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set up a critical vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill Saturday after talks to expedite the process fell apart late Thursday.
Both Republicans and Democrats engaged in marathon talks Thursday in a bid to vote on a package of amendments and to advance the sweeping public works package. Doing so, however, required approval from all 100 senators, and Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Haggerty refused to go along even as his Republican colleagues urged him to do so.
In a statement, Hagerty attributed his objection to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation that the bill would add $256 billion to the national debt over 10 years.
The $3.5 trillion spending bill set up to follow the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill (which has little to do with infrastructure) should be called what it really is: The Higher Inflation and Bigger Debt Act.
The Democrats would like you to believe it is only a reconciliation bill. This is vital to them because a reconciliation bill only takes 50 senators and the vice president to pass the U.S. Senate.
However, this additional $3.5 trillion comes after trillions of emergency spending prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider what the Congressional Budget Office has written about the fiscal situation before the $1.1 trillion and $3.5 trillion bills are passed:
Here is what the Congressional Budget Office forecasts (not counting Biden’s enormous spending plan):
“By the end of 2021, federal debt held by the public is projected to equal 102 percent of GDP. Debt would reach 107 percent of GDP (surpassing its historical high) in 2031 and would almost double to 202 percent of GDP by 2051. Debt that is high and rising as a percentage of GDP boosts federal and private borrowing costs, slows the growth of economic output, and increases interest payments abroad. A growing debt burden could increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar, making it more costly to finance public and private activity in international markets.”
Wisconsin State Representative Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) on Friday issued subpoenas for a host of election materials, including all ballots and voting machines in two Wisconsin counties.
Brandtjen called the efforts a “top-to-bottom investigation of the 2020 Presidential General Election,” after the probe was initiated by Assembly Resolution 15.
A new executive order from the Biden administration has accelerated the timeline for electric vehicles and raised questions about the economic impacts of the transition away from gas-powered vehicles.
President Joe Biden signed the executive order Thursday aimed at making 50% of vehicles zero emission in the U.S. by 2030, an aggressive push toward electric vehicles. About 2% of new cars sold each year in the U.S. are currently electric, according to the Pew Research Center.
“The Executive Order also kicks off development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards to save consumers money, cut pollution, boost public health, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis,” the White House said.
Facebook has been courting partnerships with religious groups in hopes of becoming their virtual home, the New York Times reported in late July. Experts and religious leaders told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the social media platform’s interest in shaping the future of religious experience should be closely monitored to protect religious freedom.
Though it is unlikely that a virtual religious experience will replace in-person religious services, the Times acknowledged, Facebook’s partnerships with religious groups expose Facebook’s plans to shape the future of the religious experience — as it has done with both political and social life.
“I just want people to know that Facebook is a place where, when they do feel discouraged or depressed or isolated, that they could go to Facebook and they could immediately connect with a group of people that care about them,” Nona Jones, a nondenominational minister and Facebook’s director for global faith partnerships, told the Times.
Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday that all state employees will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or take COVID-19 tests every week. Local governments and private employers are considering similar moves
“Governor Northam’s action comes as the highly transmissible Delta variant is driving up cases across the Commonwealth and around the country, primarily among unvaccinated people,” Northam’s press release explains.