Over a Year into the Pandemic, Politicians Are Still Getting Caught Ignoring Their Own COVID Restrictions

Mask with smartphone that reads "COVID-19"

Many lawmakers who have ordered or urged citizens not to leave their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic have not followed their own advice.

The Daily Caller News Foundation has kept track of those politicians or local lawmakers who spurned their own COVID-19 rules to attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration and the lawmakers who flouted their own advice and then excused their behavior as essential, compiling lists of the biggest offenders such as Democrats New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many more.

The DCNF searched for, but did not find, examples of prominent Republicans who urged citizens to stay home due to COVID-19 and then did not follow their own advice. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, sparked a backlash when he traveled to Cancun in February as Texans struggled without power under heavy ice storms.

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Jobless Claims Hit New Pandemic Low, Drop to 473,000

Photo “Unemployment Insurance Claims Office” by Bytemarks. CC BY 2.0.

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims dropped to 473,000 last week as the economy continues to slowly recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending May 1, when 507,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 498,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in at 500,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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‘Too Risky’: Progressives Are Upset CDC Lifted Mask Mandate

mask in persons hand

Progressives voiced their dismay following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Progressives and medical experts immediately criticized the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask guidelines, arguing that the alteration was extreme and would be harmful to certain parts of the population. Others said the new guidance is confusing and disincentivizes people to get vaccinated.

“The CDC has done an about-face that’s shockingly abrupt: it’s confusing & could actually disincentivize vaccines,” Dr. Leana Wen, a George Washington University public health professor, tweeted after the announcement Thursday.

“Yes, vaccinated people are well-protected and not a threat to others,” she said in a later tweet. “But do we trust that the honor system—won’t unvaccinated people pretend to be vaccinated & stop wearing masks?”

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South Carolina, Montana to Stop Providing Pandemic-Related Welfare

"Come in, we're open" business sign

The states of South Carolina and Montana have both decided in recent days to put an end to their handouts of federal unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to encourage residents to return to the workforce, as per CNN.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) said in his announcement that “incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to return to the workforce.” Instead, Governor Gianforte announced that the state government will be providing $1,200 checks as bonuses to every citizen who returns to work, using the state’s share of the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package to pay for it.

In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster (R-S.C.) announced on Thursday that the state would be ending their share of federal unemployment benefits, since “what was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace.”

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Commentary: The Vatican Museums and Persevering Through a Pandemic

Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica at dusk

On Monday, May 3, the Vatican Museums will reopen to the public.  The Vatican Museums were founded in 1506, when Pope Julius II discovered and acquired the sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons.  Today, the Vatican Museums house one of the oldest and most important art collections in the world.

The Vatican’s impressive collection consists of over 200,000 works spanning five millennia.  The collection includes remarkable 15th and 16th century frescoes by Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as stunning masterpieces by Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.  Reflecting upon her work, Vatican Museums Director Dr. Barbara Jatta said, “It’s a cultural duty undertaken with a conviction that beauty can lead to faith.” 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums were the 3rd most visited museum in the world, hosting an average of 6 million visitors per year and generating essential funding for the Vatican. 

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Target CEO Made Nearly $20 Million, 805 Times More Than Median Employee in 2020 Amid Pandemic

Brian Cornell

Target CEO Brian Cornell received a pay raise amid the pandemic last year, boosting his total compensation to 805 times the salary of a median Target employee, Axios reported.

Target paid Cornell $19.75 million in 2020, an increase of nearly $800,000 from the year before, regulatory filings showed, Axios reported. The average Target employee’s salary, meanwhile, was $24,535.

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Medical Experts Predict an Increase in Cancer Deaths Due to COVID

National Cancer Institute

Delayed diagnoses and missed screenings due to the coronavirus pandemic will likely result in increased cancer deaths, medical experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We have not yet seen the real impact of COVID-19 on cancer diagnosis and deaths,” warned Dr. Julie Gralow, executive vice president and chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “Screening for cancer (mainly breast, cervical, and colon) clearly dropped dramatically early in the pandemic, which will likely contribute to a later stage at diagnosis due to the delay/omission of screening that will be seen in the future.”

Lawmakers, health officials, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called on health care providers to cancel non-essential or routine appointments, surgeries, and procedures to preserve personal protective equipment and prevent the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

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U.S. Issues ‘Do Not Travel’ Guidance to 80 Percent of Countries, Cites COVID-19

Airplane in the sky

The State Department is expanding the “Do Not Travel” guidelines for U.S. citizens to include nearly 80% of countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced Monday.

The travel advisories will be updated to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) health notices as travelers are at risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department said in a statement.

“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement.

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Commentary: New Census Data Show Homeschooling Tripled During the Pandemic—And One Key Group Is Driving the Surge

My daughter had a friend over this week whose parents just took her out of public school for homeschooling, and my neighbor recently unenrolled her child from public school to homeschool for the rest of the academic year. These families are much more than local anecdotes—they are representative of a national trend.

New Census Bureau data show that 11.1 percent of K-12 students are now being independently homeschooled. This is a large uptick from 5.4 percent at the start of the school shutdowns last spring, and 3.3 percent in the years preceding the pandemic.

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Social Media Doesn’t Allow Posts That Break COVID-19 Narratives, Even Though Health Organizations Keep Backtracking Previous Findings

Social media companies have policed coronavirus-related content based on information from top health organizations, even as those organizations have contradicted themselves.

Facebook and Google instituted policies early in the pandemic restricting user content shared on their platforms to information that doesn’t contradict World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. However, the organizations have contradicted, backtracked or retracted their own findings throughout the pandemic.

Facebook’s policy states that the site “will debunk common myths that have been identified by the World Health Organization.” Shortly after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Facebook announced its “Coronavirus Information Center,” which curates updates from “organizations such as the World Health Organization.”

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Vaccinations Slow After Storms Delay Shipments of 6 Million COVID-19 Doses

The extreme cold weather across much of the country has delayed 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, slowing a vaccination rate that has been steadily rising since the Biden administration took office last month.

The backlogged doses account for roughly three days’ of delayed shipments affecting all 50 states, due to road closures, snowed-in workers and power outages, said Andy Slavitt, senior adviser on the White House’s COVID-19 response, during a news conference Friday.

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Victor Davis Hanson Commentary: If You Thought 2020 Was Hard, Wait Until You Get a Load of 2021

The proper conservative response to last Wednesday’s violent entry into the Capitol and vandalism, as well as assaults on law-enforcement, is to identify the guilty parties and ensure they are arrested.

Such deterrence will prevent any future devolution from legal popular protests into thuggery. No constitutional republic can tolerate its iconic heart stormed, breached, and defiled.

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Dave Portnoy’s ‘Barstool Fund’ Raises $20M, Helps More Than 90 Small Businesses

The Barstool Fund, created by Dave Portnoy, has helped raise more than $20 million, helping nearly 100 small businesses hurt during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Portnoy started the Barstool Fund one month ago with his own $500,000 to help small businesses.

The fundraiser has raised $20,119,270 from more than 156,000 donors and has aided 92 small businesses across the country as of Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day, Portnoy announced his fundraising success on Twitter, but stressed that their mission is far from over.

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Tennessee Nurse Who Fainted After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine Says It Was Due to Underlying Condition

The nurse who appeared to faint after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in a viral video has recovered, according to a statement issued by her employer. Tiffany Dover, a nurse at CHI Memorial Hospital, reportedly came close to passing out due to a medical condition unrelated to the vaccination.

The hospital also cited information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, which stated that fainting sometimes occurs after all types of vaccinations.

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Survey: Mental Health Continues to Plummet Amid Pandemic, Hits 20-Year Low

Americans’ mental health has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures remain in effect across the country, according to a survey published Monday.

Mental health is worse than any other point in the last two decades, Gallup reported on Monday. A survey conducted by Gallup showed 76% of Americans reported their mental health as either excellent or good, a decline from past surveys in which more than 80% of Americans reported positive mental health.

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Michigan Restaurant Owner Loses Franchise with Big Boy for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

The owner of a restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, says it is being “forced to terminate” its contract with the Big Boy franchise over its decision to stay open despite pandemic restrictions. 

A recent order from the state of Michigan has closed indoor restaurant dining in the state from November 18 to December 8. It also closed in-person learning for college and high schools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. The order additionally cancels group fitness classes and organized sports. 

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Parents and Members of Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club Protest Distance Learning

A gathering of parked cars blared their horns as dusk fell over the parking lot. Parents arrived once more on a Tuesday evening to protest against distance learning at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting.

After parents finished honking, they joined the meeting so that they can speak to the board directly. November 10th marked the fourth “Honk for Back-to-School” that parents and community members have attended. These individuals continue to protest the total distance learning at LCPS. 

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Fact-Checkers Rate Viral Video Alleging Whitmer Used Health Officials to Block Poll Challengers As ‘Partly False’

Fact-checkers have ruled a viral video “partly false” after it alleged that Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent health officials to bar poll challengers. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was present during ballot counting at TCF Center on Wednesday.

It is reported that Whitmer sent MDHHS because the 40,000 square foot building was at capacity for COVID-19 restrictions. In the video, the woman stood alone on the second floor of the building. On camera, MDHHS officials were removing and barring entry to poll challengers.

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Commentary: Government Can’t Count Ballots, So How Can It Possibly Manage a Pandemic or Our Health Care?

Elections are a nasty business, but sometimes they can be clarifying.

We don’t yet know who won the US presidential election, and we may not for days or weeks to come. This stems largely from the ineptitude Americans witnessed on Election Tuesday.

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New Research Shows Excess of Non-COVID Deaths Increased Over Course of Pandemic

New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.

Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia. 

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CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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VA Democrats Want To Issue Mandatory ‘Vaccination Cards’ Costing $121 Million

Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.

Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”

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Commentary: Trump Is Now One with Countless Essential Workers

Joe Biden has redefined mask wearing. It is now the thinking man’s patriotism, what every “scientific” and “refined” mind naturally does.

Biden, the media, and the progressive party all blame the now ill Trump for becoming infected. They accuse the president of becoming sick because he was selfish. You see, he was not always wearing a mask, or not always isolating in social-distancing fashion, or not always staying inside except for essential expeditionary trips.

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Rip Off: Over $1.7 Million of CARES Funding Wasted on COVID-19 Exposure App Used by Only 13.5 Percent of Cell Phone Users

The Virginia government will reportedly have spent over $1.7 million for the COVID-19 exposure reporting app COVIDWISE, which 13.5% of cell phone users have downloaded. Approximately $1.5 million was spent on marketing alone.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and SpringML Inc. received $229,000 in CARES federal emergency funding to co-develop and launch COVIDWISE. The app allows users to upload their positive test results, which allows other users to receive exposure notifications. Users will only be notified if they have been within a 6 foot vicinity for over 15 minutes.

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Outbreak in the NFL: Three Tennessee Titans Players, Five Personnel Test Positive for COVID-19

The Tennessee Titans suspended in-person activities through Friday after the NFL says three Titans players and five personnel tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first COVID-19 outbreak of the NFL season in Week 4.

The outbreak threatened to jeopardize the Titans’ game this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers and posed the first significant in-season test to the league’s coronavirus protocols.

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Governor and First Lady Northam Test Positive for COVID-19

Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that he and his wife, First Lady Pamela Northam, have tested positive for COVID-19. The Northams received testing after learning that one of the governor’s staff members tested positive. 
Northam reports that he is asymptomatic; his wife is experiencing “mild symptoms.” The pair plan to isolate for ten days and then undergo another examination, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines.

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Gade Abandons Trump on Key Immigration Policy in First Debate U.S. Senate with Warner

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Republican challenger Daniel Gade appeared virtually on NBC4 for their first debate. NBC News’ Chuck Todd moderated the debate from Washington, D.C. with a live Zoom audience.
Topics included the Supreme Court nominations, COVID-19, the digital divide, policing, racial justice, immigration, and the election.

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Trump Intends to Visit Virginia After Denouncing Gov. Northam and Endorsing Bob Good

President Donald Trump announced his intentions to visit Virginia after denouncing Governor Ralph Northam and endorsing congressional candidate Bob Good.

Trump tweeted his remarks on the first day of Virginia’s early voting and submission of absentee ballots, September 18.

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Metro Nashville Coronavirus Task Force Chair Dr. Alex Jahangir on July 2: ‘Saturday I Got A Call . . . 30 People Confirmed That Have Tested Positive . . . So This Was Atypical, Right?’

As The Tennessee Star reported on Monday, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced at a July 2 press conference he was turning the city back to Phase Two from Phase Three, shutting all bars down for 14 days, temporarily shutting down all entertainment and event venues, and reducing restaurant capacity from to 75 percent to 50 percent due to “record numbers” of COVID-19 cases traceable back to bars and restaurants.

Mayor Cooper did not provide any specific details to substantiate his assertion of “record numbers.”

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Commentary: America’s Clown Conference

The latest act in the clown show that is the Big Ten Conference’s postponement of football this fall occurred on Thursday afternoon when Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer green-lighted high school football in the state.
Twitter erupted into paroxysms of hope, and the Internet haruspices crouched down to read the chicken entrails. Might the decision of this control-freak governor, who a little more than a week earlier had expressed glee that the Big Ten was scrubbing football for the fall, augur a reversal of opinion among decision makers in the Upper Midwest and thus a possible revocation of the conference suspension of fall sports?

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Commentary: Trump Takes on the Real Pandemic of ‘Critical Race Theory’

At long last, the president tackles the “critical race theory” infecting the federal workforce.
To be a freedom-loving individual in the year 2020, and to have a proper understanding of modern history and current events, is to be terrifyingly aware of just how much the liberty, prosperity, and stability of America and the free world depend on one thing and one thing alone—namely, the continued physical and intellectual health of a certain preternaturally brave, brilliant, and energetic 74-year-old named Donald Trump.

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Coalition Argues Taxpayer Dollars Should Fund Students, Not Institutions

More than 60 organizations in the U.S. have created a movement – “Yes. Every kid” – promoting policies and funding at a national and local level that focus on the needs of families and students over institutions.

At a time when tens of millions of students face nearly six months without consistent schooling, and while many schools are not reopening, the coalition argues that tax and other dollars should be sent directly to families to determine which educational opportunities are best for them.

“Families have already paid for the ability to access public education” through tax dollars, the coalition says. “Any additional funds should be provided directly to families via grants, stipends, rebates, or other mechanisms designed to help cover the schooling, courses, devices, connectivity, tutoring, socialization, extracurricular activities, and other forms of learning that have been left to parents to pay for.”

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Coronavirus Worries Force Election Officials to Get Creative

The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.

Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.

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Players Unite in Push to Save College Season, Create Union

Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

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The Status of the Coronavirus Vaccine Continues to Advance Rapidly

Researchers, governments and pharmaceutical companies worldwide have been working rapidly to develop an effective vaccine against coronavirus, which has infected over 4.5 million and killed over 150,000 people in the United States alone.

Testing has advanced quickly and there’s optimism that a vaccine will be developed before 2021. But there are also concerns that a vaccine won’t be sufficiently stockpiled or efficiently distributed. There’s additional worry that the growing distrust in vaccines will result in large numbers refusing the injection, making it less beneficial.

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Wealthy Donors Pour Millions into Fight over Mail-In Voting

Deep-pocketed and often anonymous donors are pouring over $100 million into an intensifying dispute about whether it should be easier to vote by mail, a fight that could determine President Donald Trump’s fate in the November election.

In the battleground of Wisconsin, cash-strapped cities have received $6.3 million from an organization with ties to left-wing philanthropy to help expand vote by mail. Meanwhile, a well-funded conservative group best known for its focus on judicial appointments is spending heavily to fight cases related to mail-in balloting procedures in court.

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New Durable-Goods Orders Rise Again in June

New orders for durable goods posted a second consecutive month of rebound in June, rising 7.3 percent following a gain of 15.1 percent in May. The two gains followed drops of 18.3 percent in April and 16.7 percent in March. If transportation equipment is excluded, new orders for durable goods increased 3.3 percent in June following a 3.6 percent rise in May. Durable-goods orders had been holding above the $200 billion level since May 2011 before posting sharp declines in March and April (see first chart). New orders for June are back above the $200 billion threshold, totaling $206.9 billion, but are still 21.9 percent below June 2019.

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Democrats Seek Coronavirus Aid Bill Provision to Limit Federal Agents from Patrolling Cities

Senate Democrats are planning to insert a provision in the coronavirus relief bill that would place restrictions on the Trump administration’s ability to send federal agents to help quell protests in cities across the country.

The provision would require federal agents to identify themselves, use marked vehicles and stay on federal property rather than patrol city streets, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday, according to NBC News. Local officials including mayors and governors would need to approve the use of federal agents patrolling streets.

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Movie Theater Owners to Studios: Release the Blockbusters!

by Jack Coyle   NEW YORK, New York (AP) — A long time ago in a pre-COVID universe far, far away, blockbusters opened around the globe simultaneously or nearly so. In 1975, “Jaws” set the blueprint. Concentrate marketing. Open wide. Pack them in. Since then, Hollywood has turned opening weekends into…

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Commentary: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

Dr. Carl Sagan was one of the premier scientists when it came to trying to bridge the gap of hard science with general public understanding. In the process, his personal enthusiasm for the wonder of science became evident to all. He also understood that science could be hijacked and that the highest standards of evidence were required when fantastic claims were being made.

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Judge Theodore Chuang Rules Women Can Get Abortion Pill Without Doctor Visit

A federal judge agreed Monday to suspend a rule that requires women during the COVID-19 pandemic to visit a hospital, clinic or medical office to obtain an abortion pill.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, an Obama appointee based in Maryland, concluded that the “in-person requirements” for patients seeking medication abortion care impose a “substantial obstacle” to abortion patients and are likely unconstitutional under the circumstances of the pandemic.

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Slow Processing, Lost Markets Mean New Challenges for Livestock Farmers

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many sectors of the economy and livestock farming is one of them.

Closures of public spaces such as schools, restaurants, bars, and hotels mean decreased demand for meat products. In addition, outbreaks of coronavirus-caused illness at meatpacking plants caused some large operations to shut down temporarily, swamping small mom-and-pop operations that are now booked into spring 2021.

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Students Sue Harvard Citing ‘Subpar Online Learning Options’ During Coronavirus Pandemic

On Wednesday, students sued Harvard University for not refunding tuition and fees after the coronavirus pandemic forced classes online.

This makes Harvard at least the fourth Ivy League school to be targeted for failing to reimburse educational costs, following Brown, Columbia, and Cornell. The school is facing a $5 million federal class-action lawsuit.  Students chose to pursue legal action as a result of not having “received the benefit of in-person instruction or equivalent access to university facilities and services.” 

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Commentary: COVID-19 Proves America Needs Economic Nationalism

by Spencer P. Morrison   Reports of a deadly new virus began trickling out of China in December. The infection spread rapidly. By March 12, the World Health Organization deemed COVID-19 a global pandemic. The next day President Trump declared COVID-19 a “national emergency” that would require the “full power…

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