Florida Health Department Updates COVID Testing Guidelines

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has updated their COVID testing guidelines prioritizing certain demographics for testing. FDOH made the announcement with a news release.

In the announcement, the FDOH said the older demographics as well as certain Floridians in younger age brackets with immunocompromised circumstances.

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Commentary: We Must Never Cede Language to the Left

In 2001, I served in the Michigan State Senate. One morning our then-governor, John Engler, met with our Republican caucus to promote his idea of consolidating several state entities within a single department by executive order. Characteristic of his transformational tenure, Engler was endeavoring to further streamline the Michigan bureaucracy to provide more efficient and effective services, promote accountability within state government, and save taxpayers’ money. 

When the governor finished his convincing pitch for the Department of History, Arts, and Culture, I raised my hand: “Governor, you know the new department’s acronym will be hack (HAC)?”

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Commentary: CNN Is Winding Down Its COVID-19 Dashboard Again

Since March 20, 2020, CNN has displayed a live Covid-19 dashboard in the upper-right of its daily news programming tracking the latest pandemic numbers, including infection and death counts, as seen in the image below.

The timeline below records the total seconds of airtime each day since the start of last year in which this dashboard was visible, tracking its ebbs and flows. With the start of 2021, CNN largely phased out its dashboard, bringing it briefly back during the spread of the Delta variant and again with Omicron, but since December 23, 2021 has begun winding down its dashboard once again.

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Trump’s Social Network TRUTH Sets February Launch Date

The social network being launched by former President Trump has announced Feb 21 as the official release date for its app.

The platform, which is being called TRUTH Social, will become available on Presidents Day, according to its listing in the App Store, where it is currently available for preorder.

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Iowa Awards Two-Thirds of Strengthening Communities Grants to YMCA or YWCA Projects

Kids at a table, wearing masks, with teacher who is wearing a mask

Projects in the rural communities of Clinton, Hampton, Keokuk, Lake City, Maquoketa, Red Oak and Stanton will all together receive $250,000 in Strengthening Communities grants, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced Thursday.

The Iowa legislature appropriated funding for the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for the Strengthening Communities grants. The grants support communities of fewer than 28,000 residents (based on the 2010 Census) that are renovating facilities or undertaking construction projects that promote “youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” Organizations must present a minimum of 50% of the grant amount they request. The funding must be secured, dedicated to eligible expenses, raised through public and private funding (not including state funding), and be spent between 2022 and 2024.

The funding will support the following projects:

$65,000 for the YWCA in Clinton’s reconfiguration of childcare spaces and youth classrooms to expand capacity and improve efficiency to help increase child care accessibility and provide a safe environment.

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Poll: Majority Supports Blocking Biden’s Private Sector Vaccine Mandate as U.S. Supreme Court Weighs Challenges

The majority of Americans support Congressional efforts to block President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates for large businesses ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on that very issue, according to a new poll.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released the poll, which found that 51.1% of surveyed voters support a bill in Congress to stop Biden’s vaccine mandates for large businesses. The poll reports that 40.6% of voters do not support the bill while 8.3% of voters are unsure.

The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan measure in December to block Biden’s mandate, which requires employers with at least 100 workers to ensure they are vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Businesses that do not comply face hefty fines. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would enforce the mandate.

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Commentary: Shrinking the State Versus Draining the Swamp

The Republican Party is divided. An older generation supports limited government. A younger generation wants to use a large government to pursue unapologetically conservative ends.

Less than a decade ago, the Republican Party seemed wholly committed to limited government, and 2016 was thought to be a “libertarian moment.” Then Donald Trump changed everything.

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Poll: Majorities of Republicans and Democrats Say the U.S. Is ‘in a State of Decay’

More than three-quarters of likely voters believe the United States is “in a state of decay,” according to a new poll by the Trafalgar Group for Convention of States Action, a grassroots organization aimed at convening a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.

The poll, conducted in December, asked a single question: “Do you believe American society and culture is in a state of decay or a state of decay?” Just over 76 percent of respondents answered “state of decay,” while 9.8 percent answered “state of progress.” Another 13.4 percent said they were unsure. 

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Hospitals Are Getting Away with Ignoring Price Transparency Rules, Experts Say

Many hospitals are not complying with laws requiring them to make their healthcare prices publicly available, according to multiple reports, and the Biden administration has so far refrained from issuing penalties.

The Hospital Price Transparency rule, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2021, is designed to promote competition in healthcare markets by requiring hospitals to post their prices, so that consumers can compare and shop between hospitals. The law mandates hospitals to post their pricing data “as a comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services” as well as “in a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.”

However, according to recent reports, many hospitals have yet to comply with the rules a year after they have been in effect. An investigation by The Wall Street Journal last week found that many of the nation’s largest hospital chains were not complying with the new rules.

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U.S. Softens Position on Threatened Iranian Sanctions

The United States reportedly wants to apply “snapback sanctions” to deter Iran from continuing to enrich weapons-grade-uranium, a strategy that was part of the original JCPOA established in 2015.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told Israelis this week that the Biden administration is looking at the sanctions as a way to stop Iran from enriching uranium to 90% purity, a softer stance than has previously been taken by the administration.

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U.S. Economy Adds Just 199,000 Jobs in December, Far Below Expectations

Man in a hard hat pointing his finger

The U.S. economy recorded an increase of 199,000 jobs in December and the unemployment dipped to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 199,000 in December, according to the BLS, and the number of unemployed Americans dipped to 6.3 million. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the economy to add 422,000 jobs in December and for unemployment to fall to 4.1%.

December’s jobs report leaves the U.S. economy with roughly 6.5 million more jobs than at the end of 2020 but still 3.5 million short of pre-pandemic levels.

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Missouri Secretary of State Ashcroft Urges Governor to Hold Elections for Six Vacant Missouri House Seats

After four resignations, a death and an expulsion, the seats of six members of Missouri’s House of Representatives – all Republicans – are vacant.

About 236,000 Missourians live in the six districts, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, or 4% of the state’s population.

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Nikki Fried’s Campaign to Accept Crypto, Money Laundering Questions Raised

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) announced on Twitter that her political committee for governor is now accepting cryptocurrency as a contribution to the campaign. Fried made the announcement by video posted to social media.

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