Tropical Storm Elsa Heading to Florida

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to make landfall in Cuba and part of the Florida Keys before heading to mainland Florida. The storm will be bringing approximately 60 mile-per-hour winds and will drop five to ten inches of rain in Cuba.  

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 15 Florida counties, with nine million Floridians being under tropical storm watches and warnings.

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Biden Nominates Former Florida State Senator for U.S. Labor Department Appointment

Jose Javier Rodriguez

A former Florida Senator and Democrat, José Javier Rodriguez, was nominated by President Joe Biden for Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for the U.S. Department of Labor.

 Rodriquez served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2012 to 2016, and served on the Florida Senate from 2016 to 2020, representing Districts 112 and 37 respectively.

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Commentary: As President Biden’s Deputy Secretary of Labor, Julie Su Would Take California’s Small-Business Nightmare National

Last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture on the nomination of Julie Su, California’s top labor official, to become President Joe Biden’s deputy secretary of labor.

Su’s confirmation vote will likely occur soon after the Independence Day Senate recess. That’s bad news.

After all, Su leads California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency, presiding over one of the most anti-small business regimes in the country. If confirmed as second-in-command at the Department of Labor, she would use her position to expand California’s war on small businesses nationwide. On behalf of their small business constituents, Senators must oppose Su’s confirmation.

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Democratic Rep. Cori Bush Tweets Independence Day is Only ‘For White People’

Progressive firebrand and Democratic lawmaker, Representative Cori Bush (D-MO-01) tweeted on Sunday that the only people who should celebrate Independence Day are “white people.”

“When they say that the 4th of July is about American freedom, remember this: the freedom they’re referring to is for white people. This land is stolen land and Black people still aren’t free,” her full tweet read.

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Amazon Demands Recusal of Federal Trade Commission Chair from Any Antitrust Investigations

Federal Trade Commission

Tech giant Amazon recently demanded that the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission be recused from any antitrust investigations into the company, according to the Daily Caller.

Amazon filed the petition with the FTC on Wednesday, accusing Chairwoman Lina Khan of being biased due to the fact that she “has, on numerous occasions, argued that Amazon is guilty of antitrust violations and should be broken up.” The petition continued by declaring that “these statements convey to any reasonable observer the clear impression that she has already made up her mind about many material facts relevant to Amazon’s antitrust culpability as well as about the ultimate issue of culpability itself.”

The FTC is already conducting several antitrust investigations, including against Amazon; their most recent efforts are focusing on Amazon’s possible acquisition of the film studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), a purchase of nearly $9 billion announced last month.

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Law School Introduces Required Course on Race, ‘White Supremacy,’ and ‘Racial Hierarchy’

The Roger Williams University School of Law recently announced it will be requiring a course on race and law in the upcoming fall semester as part of its second-year curriculum.

“Race & the Foundations of American Law” had been taught as an elective in the spring, but will now be a requirement starting next semester after its initial pilot phase.

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Over 100 Countries Agree to Back Global Minimum Corporate Tax

A view of the North entrance of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington D.C.

A total of 130 nations representing more than 90 percent of global GDP have agreed to a global minimum corporate tax, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced Thursday.

The tax, proposed by Yellen and the Biden administration during the G7 conference, would establish a minimum corporate tax rate across all participating countries to prevent corporations from avoiding taxes by incorporating offshore, according to Barron’s. The plan is also intended to prevent countries from competitively lowering their tax rates to attract investment, according to a Treasury Department statement.

“For decades, the United States has participated in a self-defeating international tax competition, lowering our corporate tax rates only to watch other nations lower theirs in response,” Yellen said in the statement.

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Arizona State University Debuts New Degree in Social Justice Activism

Arizona State University (ASU) debuted a new undergraduate degree geared toward social justice activism, called community development. The course description describes education on the basics of activism, citing concepts like diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, equity, and social and environmental justice. If students enjoy studying community development, they may also earn a graduate degree in it.

“The BA program in community development equips students with tools to collaborate with, empower and educate diverse community constituents by drawing on grassroots and inclusive frameworks such as sustainable development, social and environmental justice, participatory democracy, social and economic equity and social accounting,” reads the course description.

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U.S. Group Connected to Wuhan Lab Is Stonewalling Congressional Investigation of Pandemic Origins, Committee Ranking Member Says

COVID-19

Months after its initial requests, a congressional committee investigating COVID-19’s origins is still awaiting answers from a U.S.-funded group that worked with a Wuhan lab considered a possible origin of COVID-19.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak answer questions about his group’s work with the Wuhan lab in a letter on April 16, and have still received no response, a committee aide confirmed Thursday.

Only the chair of the committee, Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., of New Jersey, can use subpoena power to require a witness’ attendance, testimony and related documents.

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61 Percent of U.S. Counties now Second Amendment Sanctuaries: Analysis

The majority of all U.S. counties have been designated as Second Amendment sanctuaries, according to an analysis by SanctuaryCounties.com.

As of June 20, there are 1,930 counties “protected by Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation at either the state or county level,” representing 61% of 3,141 counties and county equivalents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Texas was the 21st state to pass a constitutional carry bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law, and becomes effective Sept. 1. And while some state legislatures are not taking the same action, county officials have chosen to enact their own legislation. Roughly 1,137 counties “have taken it upon themselves to pass Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation and likely hundreds of cities, townships, boroughs, etc. have done so at their level as well,” the site states.

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Lack of Drivers Is a ‘Reckoning’ for Uber, Executive Says

Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft have been using incentives to make the gig economy more attractive in an attempt to recruit drivers as a shortage of drivers pushes prices up, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Incentives for drivers to return are an attempt to rectify rising fare prices and a lack of drivers in the market, but the labor scarcity isn’t supposed to end soon, the WSJ reported. Long term solutions might be needed in the gig-economy as a result.

“This is a moment of deep introspection and reflection for a company like ours to pause and say, ‘How do we make the proposition for drivers more attractive longer term?” Carrol Chang, Uber’s chief of driver operations for the U.S. and Canada told the WSJ. “It is absolutely a reckoning.”

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Border Patrol’s Fentanyl Seizures Increase by 4,000 Percent Amid Crisis, Officials Say

Twitter post that states "Officers at #CBPLaredo remain at the forefront of border security operations to protect the public of lethal narcotics, as seen in this seizure of fentanyl worth $384K."

Border officials seized 4,000% more fentanyl in 2021 than in 2018 as the border crisis continues, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Cartels have taken advantage of increased federal resources allocated for migrant encounters to smuggle fentanyl into the U.S. between ports of entry, according to NBC News. Border officials have found 41 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2021, compared with nine pounds in 2020, two pounds in 2019 and one pound in 2018.

“For the first time, we’re starting to see these tactics where fentanyl is being smuggled between ports of entry,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said, NBC News reported. “Cartels are very creative. They find ways to intimidate migrants and find ways to illegally have them transport that narcotic into the United States.”

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America’s First Black Billionaire Calls for $14 Trillion in Reparations — and Wants His Own Check, Too

Robert L. Johnson

America’s first black billionaire proposed $14 trillion in reparations from the U.S. government, which he says is enough to close to black-white wealth gap, VICE reported.

Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, owns several homes, leads an asset management firm and is the first black person to own a majority stake in an NBA team, but wants cash reparations himself, VICE reported. Along with the check Johnson wants an apology for racism, including slavery and Jim Crow laws, he told VICE in an interview.

He believes the new reparations are Critical Race Theory (CRT) in education, COVID-19 relief solely for black farmers, local reparations for housing in Evanston, Illinois and pledges from corporations the past year, following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

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Commentary: Researchers Urge Americans to Focus on Loneliness Epidemic

Woman sitting in a chair, looking out the window, alone

As the pandemic recedes and Americans re-enter public life, the surgeon general and other public health experts are urging the country to focus on another national crisis, one that has lingered for decades and worsened in recent years: loneliness.

For many, pandemic-related lockdowns, social distancing, and physical isolation resulted in their most severe experiences of loneliness. Studies have shown that an uptick in loneliness and other mental health issues coincided with the pandemic, and that lockdown requirements almost certainly exacerbated pre-existing mental conditions. But for researchers who have studied loneliness, the recent increase is only one notable event in an extensive history.

Loneliness is not just a crisis in America, but also in Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Australia and, increasingly, South America and Africa. Loneliness also occurs regardless of race, class, culture, and religion. Even before the lockdowns, tens of millions of people throughout the world felt isolated.

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Commentary: The U.S. Needs Measured Confrontation with China

Policeman holding a rifle - in uniform

With the election of Joe Biden, there is increasing pressure for the United States to accommodate the global ambitions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Such a policy will weaken the strategic position of the United States and embolden the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which seeks to transform the rules of international politics, and has demonstrated its willingness to employ coercive measures, including threats and open conflict, to achieve its aims. 

As it has done for decades, and does so now with the Biden Administration, the CCP makes appeals for accommodation while emphasizing the need to turn away from more confrontational policies, like those most recently advanced by the Trump Administration. And as always, China’s words must be seen as tactical measures it deploys in pursuit of its objectives. Thus, it is only a matter of time before attempts to cooperate with China fail. However tempting, accommodation will not succeed for the stark reason that China does not want it. 

Party Chairman Xi Jinping has made clear that what China seeks is world hegemony. And it is upon the pursuit of this hegemony that his power in the regime depends. 

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Florida State Lawmakers Open to Regulation Changes After Building Collapse

Two Florida state lawmakers predicted that the multi-story building that collapsed in Surfside, Florida may lead to regulation changes at the state level.

The legislators, who represent coastal cities in the state, both said that they want to wait for the results of the investigation into the cause of the collapse that turned the condominiums into rubble.

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