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    Washington (CNN)The nation's public education system could be transformed under President Joe Biden's plan to create free, universal pre-K, which would make preschool available and affordable for 6 million more children.But if passed by Congress as part of a sweeping social safety net bill, one major challenge to implementation is hiring tens of thousands of new teachers at a time when schools are already struggling to fill existing positions. Between 40,000 and 50,000 new teachers are needed to enroll just 70% of 3- and 4-year-olds, according to an estimate from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. That doesn't include any additional classroom assistants, paraprofessionals or other staff that might be needed. Hiring so many teachers and staff is going to take time. Some states and localities that currently fund some form of public preschool, like West Virginia and Washington, DC, already report teacher shortages. The average number of college graduates who completed teacher preparation programs fell 24% between the 2009-10 and 2018-19 academic years, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Plus, some...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An Edgewater man who is a convicted sex offender pleaded guilty Friday to accessing with intent to view child pornography, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Erek Barron’s office. William Carl Eikenberg, 51, previously pleaded in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in August 2016 to distributing child pornography, according to the statement. He admitted he used BitTorrent through a personal cell phone to download and trade child pornography and was required to register as a sex offender. BitTorrent is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing network that enables users to distribute electronic files over the internet. READ MORE: CNN Fires Chris Cuomo On SaturdayAccording to his plea Friday, Eikenberg between April 2017 and September 2017 knowingly possessed and accessed with intent to view child pornography, including content depicting the exploitation of prepubescent minors being used to engage in sexual conduct. This included at least 94 video files and 80 images of child pornography.  He admitted he knew the production of the depictions involved minors engaged in sexual activity, according to the statement. On July 3,...
    A head healthcare worker in South Carolina may face more than a decade in prison if convicted of charges from a grand jury that she created fraudulent coronavirus vaccine cards. The office of Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart said Thursday a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Tammy McDonald, 53, of Columbia, WLTX reported. There were two counts of producing fraudulent vaccination record cards and one count of lying to federal investigators. “Although the indictment speaks for itself, creating fraudulent or fake vaccine cards for those who have not been vaccinated poses a direct threat to the health of the people of South Carolina,” DeHart said in a statement. Nursing Director Indicted for Producing Fraudulent COVID Vaccine Cardshttps://t.co/zORQnPWZgr — U.S. Attorney SC (@USAO_SC) December 3, 2021 McDonald, who was described in the statement as “the Director of Nursing Services at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Columbia,” pleaded not guilty to the charges. But prosecutors claimed she produced the fraudulent cards on June 20 and July 28. The attorney’s office press release continued: The indictment further...
    CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A Florida man was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison Friday for bilking more than a dozen investors out of nearly $5 million. Phillip W. Conley of Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced in federal court in Clarksburg for his guilty plea to one count of securities fraud. READ MORE: State Police Searching For Ray Shetler For Probation ViolationsConley, 38, admitted to scheming 18 people from 2014 to 2019. The victims were from several states, including West Virginia. Prosecutors said Conley’s investment broker’s license was suspended in December 2015 but that he portrayed himself as an investment adviser. Conley mailed false statements to victims that claimed a positive rate of return for their investments, even though he invested little or none of the money. READ MORE: Port Authority Operating Two-Car Trains For Steelers Ravens GameInstead, he spent much of it on private jet flights, expensive meals, clothes, jewelry, housing, and living expenses for himself. Conley’s victims included small business owners along with churches in Charleston, Parkersburg, and Morgantown, prosecutors said. Conley previously agreed to forfeit...
    A Maryland man has been charged after he allegedly sent fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards through the mail, according to authorities. A criminal complaint was filed charging Amar Salim Shabazz, 23, of Owings Mills, for the federal charges of mail fraud and obstruction of justice in connection with his alleged distribution of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. According to the criminal complaint, since June 2021, Shabazz purchased over 600 fraudulent COVID-19 vaccinations cards through a foreign online marketplace and had the cards illegally shipped into the U.S., the release said. More Crime News More Coronavirus News More Maryland News Once Shabazz received the fake vaccination cards, he advertised them for sale on several popular social media platforms and distributed them through the United Parcel Service, according to the press release. The complaint alleges that Shabazz ordered over 600 vaccination cards on multiple occasions which were delivered to his Owings Mills home. According to the complaint, on June 10, Shabazz allegedly searched the phrase “fake covid...
    Former federal prosecutor and current MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner told radio host Dean Obeidallah that he could “guarantee” a conviction given the current evidence against former President Donald Trump. On Friday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Dean Obeidallah Show, the host and Kirschner talked about federal law as it applies to Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. Kirschner was enthusiastic about the chances of convicting Trump if he ever gets in front of a jury: Dean: If there was real election fraud, you might say “Hey what are our legal options because there is fraud.” But the predicate for all these actions is a lie. There was no fraud, so ask a lawyer, John Eastman, draft a memo if there’s fraud. Well first you take a step back: there is no fraud. We know there’s no fraud, they still can’t find it- we are a year out there still looking for it. So Trump completely manufactured that and lied about. So the seed of this whole thing is bad faith. It is “corruptly” under federal law isn’t it? Glenn: It is, and let’s...
    A federal grand jury on Friday indicted a South Carolina nurse on two counts of producing fake vaccine cards, the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Carolina announced. Tammy McDonald, 53, of Columbia, was also charged with lying to federal investigators, according to a press release from the attorney's office.  McDonald was arraigned Friday and released on a $10,000 bond. She faces up to 15 years in prison for both counts of producing fake vaccine cards and up to five years for lying to investigators.  The charges against McDonald are the first in the state, according to the attorney's press release.  Derrick Jackson, Special Agent in Charge with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General, said his office remains "committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate individuals who are exploiting the pandemic and people for personal gain.” “The indictment alleges McDonald defrauded and endangered the public by creating and distributing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards," he said in a statement. "Engaging in such illegal activities undermines the ongoing pandemic response efforts." McDonald was the director of nursing...
    The entire edifice of Donald Trump's Big Lie about the 2020 election — that it was stolen from him through illegal votes cast by Democrats — now seems to rest on the unprepossessing business-suit-clad shoulders of one man: Jeffrey Clark, a former official in the Trump Department of Justice. He has informed the HouseSelect Committee on the Jan. 6 uprising that he is willing to be interviewed by investigators and if called upon, to testify with one condition. He intends to invoke his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. "The Fifth." That's what defense lawyers call it. Donald Trump himself spoke disdainfully of those protections during the 2016 presidential campaign, in reference to Clinton campaign staffers who had taken the Fifth to avoid testifying about Clinton's famed email server. At an Iowa campaign rally he said, "The mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" Donald Trump himself provided one answer during his bitter and very public divorce from his first wife, Ivana. According to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett's book,...
              moreby Madison Hirneisen   The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office this week suspended all exemptions that allowed businesses, governmental agencies, schools and other employers to impose COVID-19 vaccination as a condition to receive federal funds. The decision, which Comptroller Jason E. Mumpower announced Wednesday, came after federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions on Tuesday. It also follows a sweeping bill signed by Gov. Bill Lee on Nov. 12 that says government entities cannot require private businesses to instate COVID-19 mandates. A district judge from the Eastern District of Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday that bars the federal government from enforcing a vaccine mandate for federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Under this ruling, the Comptroller said it can “no longer find that compliance with Public Chapter 6 would result in a loss of federal funding.” On the same day, a district judge from the Western District of Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that restrains the federal government from implementing a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid vaccine mandate for certain healthcare workers. The Comptroller’s Office said Wednesday that...
              moreby Eric Lendrum   On Thursday, the state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit to exempt members of the state’s National Guard from the nationwide coronavirus vaccine mandate, The Hill reports. The suit, filed in federal court by Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) and Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Okla.), names Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as defendants. The suit requests that the courts declare the national vaccine mandate for all members of the armed services to be unconstitutional, and thus enjoin the federal government from enforcing it on the Oklahoma National Guard; the suit also seeks to prevent the federal government from imposing its penalty for refusal to comply, which would include withholding federal funds from the state’s National Guard. “This mandate ensures that many Oklahoma National Guard members will simply quit instead of getting a vaccine,” the suit reads in part, “a situation that will irreparably harm Oklahomans’ safety and security.” Austin, a former Raytheon executive, ordered the entirety of the military to get vaccinated back in August. Among the various deadlines for individual branches was December 2nd, the final...
              more   Five U.S. House Republicans from Ohio Thursday voted in favor of a bill that, according to its critics, will fund a federal vaccination database. H.R. 550, also known as the Immunization Modernization Act, will modernize and expand “a confidential, population-based, computerized database that records immunization doses administered by any health care provider to persons within the geographic area covered by that database,” according to its text. The upgrade to the system will also cost $400 million. The five Ohio Republicans that voted in favor of the legislation are Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH-06), Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) and Michael Turner (R-OH-10). But some of those Republicans say the bill is not nearly as ominous as it sounds. “There is some misinformation going around about a piece of legislation recently passed by the House (H.R. 550 – Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act),” Johnson told The Ohio Star by email. “Simply put: There is no creation of a national vaccine database. None!” “There are no names or private information collected. And this bill actually makes it harder...
    CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — When it was time for Winona James to return to school, her family hid her in brush near their home in the Carson Valley to prevent officials from the Stewart Indian School from finding her. James, a member of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, was among the more than 20,000 students who were sent to the boarding school as part of a federal program designed to forcibly assimilate Native Americans into dominant Euro-American culture. She attended for one year, but her family feared for her life. “I can remember that my grandmother didn’t want me to come back to Stewart because she thought I would never, ever go back home again,” she said in interview for a University of Nevada, Reno history initiative in 1984. The Stewart School in Carson City is among more than 350 residential schools that the U.S. Interior Department plans to examine as part of the Federal Boarding School Initiative Review, which includes an investigation into student deaths and known and possible burial sites. On Friday, Nevada Gov. Steve...
    DUBLIN — In what has become a recurring theme for the lone women’s federal prison in the Bay Area, a corrections officer there has been charged with sexual abuse of an incarcerated woman. John Bellhouse, 39, was charged with sexual abuse of a ward, a federal offense that carries a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. At his first court appearance Friday, Bellhouse was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond, which prosecutors did not oppose. As part of Bellhouse’s release, a federal magistrate ordered him to stay in the Bay Area, and attend all court dates. He is not allowed to contact alleged victims or other FCI Dublin employees. Bellhouse now joins two other FCI Dublin employees, including the prison’s former warden, who’ve been charged with sexually abusing prisoners within the past year. Just two months ago, then-warden Ray J. Garcia, 54, was charged with sexually abusing one woman based on a criminal complaint that accused him of sexually harassing multiple incarcerated women and taking steps to cover his tracks, including by telling the alleged victims he...
    If Roe goes down, there will be more at stake than access to abortion. In the absence of federal protections, state governments would be free to regulate trans rights, “sodomy” and even condoms. “Once you pull on the loose thread of Roe,” Editorial Board contributor Anthony Michael Kreis said on Thursday, “the rest of the stitches holding the right to privacy and sexual liberty together are easier to unravel.” The threat to individual rights doesn’t end there. All civil liberties are in danger. Roe’s death would signal a high court prepared to restore the power of states to discriminate against their residents, wrote historian Heather Cox Richardson. “Make no mistake,” she said this week, “it is not just reproductive rights that are under siege. If the Supreme Court returns power to the states to legislate as they wish, any right currently protected by the federal government is at risk.” Such threats should goad us into being clear about the language we use to describe what’s going on in the United States. Our democracy is not “backsliding.” What’s backsliding is a...
    CERES (CBS13) — A Ceres man has pleaded guilty to running an operation that bred birds for cockfighting, prosecutors announced on Friday. The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California says 74-year-old Joseph D. Sanford was the owner and operator of Joe Sanford Gamefarm in Ceres. Prosecutors said Sanford bred and sold birds for cockfighting. READ MORE: Rain Back In The Forecast For California Next WeekAn undercover agent was able to buy a trio of fighting game birds from Sanford, prosecutors say, prompting federal agents to raid the operation. A total of 2,956 gamefowls were seized during the raid, federal officials say. Sanford has since pleaded guilty to violating the Animal Welfare Act – a crime that has him facing a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. READ MORE: Downtown Sacramento Street Closures Begin Ahead Of California International Marathon“The gruesome act of animal fighting has no place in a civilized society and will not be tolerated,” said Dusty Cladis, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture...
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown could face federal charges for submitting a fake vaccination card to his team. In the latest COVID scandal to shock the NFL landscape, a league investigation revealed that Antonio Brown did indeed falsify his vaccine card earlier this season, misleading his organization to believe that he was fully vaccinated. The NFL revealed that they will be suspending Brown and two other players who committed the same offense for three games, a blow that significantly affects the Buccaneers season. Brady has a much easier time moving the ball downfield with Brown, who is one of the best route-runners the league has seen in the past decade. While an NFL suspension and the subsequent loss of funds is a heavy blow to Brown, the punishment doesn’t necessarily stop there. As CBS NFL reporter Jonathan Jones points out, forging a vaccine card is a federal offense. A reminder: Forging a vaccination card is a federal criminal offense. Jail time is extremely unlikely but probation + fine all in play for someone who does it. — Jonathan...
    The largest parts of Minnesota’s $6.8 billion share of the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are headed to roads, bridges and public transportation. But the biggest slice after that will help address an issue that affects cities and towns throughout Minnesota: clean water. The state expects to get $680 million over the next five years to make infrastructure upgrades that improve wastewater discharge and drinking water. In total, the Environmental Protection Agency will allocate $7.4 billion to states, tribes and U.S. territories for 2022.  State officials and advocates say the money won’t solve longstanding problems with treatment plants and clean water distribution, issues the state has thrown hundreds of millions of dollars at in recent years to help fix. It also won’t accomplish a stated goal of President Joe Biden: remove all lead service lines, which connect water mains to people’s homes. But the cash is still significant, and will help Minnesota make health and safety upgrades like replacing many service lines and cleaning up water contaminated with PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break...
    SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A 45-year-old Santa Cruz man has been sentenced to 6 years in federal prison for committing a federal hate crime in connection with stabbing a Black man 10-20 times while yelling the racial slurs during a vicious assault with a knife on a city street in 2020. Ole Hougen was convicted of the crime on April 9 and was sentenced on Thursday. READ MORE: Smash-And-Grab Thieves Hit San Jose Eastridge Mall Jewelry Store; 5 SoughtAccording to evidence presented at trial, Hougen confronted a 29-year-old Black man who was crossing the street in Santa Cruz. Hougen began screaming racial slurs at him and then brandished a nine-inch knife and slashed multiple times at the man’s head, chest and stomach, while yelling the racial slurs. A witness testified that Hougen slashed and stabbed at the victim’s head and chest approximately 10-20 times. At the time of the attack, Hougen was on probation after pleading no contest to state charges that he committed a racially motivated assault on a different Black man in 2018. The trial also included...
    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin came out against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large businesses late Thursday, saying he would vote against the measure when it likely comes up next week. “Let me be clear, I do not support any government vaccine mandate on private businesses,” Manchin said in a statement. “That’s why I have cosponsored and will strongly support a bill to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses.” “I have long said we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their employees from COVID-19,” Manchin said, going on to strongly encourage West Virginians to get vaccinated and touting the shots’ safety and efficacy. Manchin’s opposition to the mandate may give the measure enough votes to pass the 50-50 Senate, given that Republicans are unanimously against it. But even if it garnered enough support to pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, Biden could still veto the block on his mandate if it lands on his desk. (RELATED: Republican Objections To Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Could Force Weeklong Government Shutdown) Tonight I...
    (CNN)President Joe Biden expressed optimism for the future of the country during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony yesterday in Washington, telling the American people that "we have so much ahead of us." Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)1. CoronavirusNew, stricter Covid-19 testing requirements for all travelers coming to the US are set to take effect Monday. The new rules will require travelers coming to the US to test negative one day before departure instead of up to three days before entering the country. The shift in policy -- which Biden announced yesterday alongside a slate of new steps to combat Covid-19 this winter -- underscores the potential threat posed by the newly discovered Omicron variant. Separately, several GOP-led states are expanding unemployment benefits to unvaccinated residents who lose their jobs due to vaccine mandates. ​​And in Europe, Germany announced a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated yesterday as its leaders backed...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A bar in Federal Hill and a Ravens legend are featured in a whiskey commercial seen on national airwaves. Crown Royal picked the Outpost American Tavern in Federal Hill as one of their backdrops for a commercial featuring Ed Reed, a former Ravens Hall of Fame safety who spent most of his NFL career with the team. READ MORE: Charging Documents Say Evelyn Player Died Defending Herself, Police Found Suspect Through DNA“He is quite the character,” bar manager Roxy Williams said. “He lightened the atmosphere for everybody.” The theme of the commercial surrounds NFL kickoff, small businesses and of course, the popular whiskey company. READ MORE: Baltimore Man, 62, Charged In Murder Of Evelyn PlayerThe company transformed the inside of the bar to feature Ravens decor and it took several hours to shoot the clips, Williams said. She was also featured as a cocktail waitress in the ad. “At least once a day people say ‘oh I saw you guys on Sunday night football,’” she said. MORE NEWS: Mervo High School Football Wins First State Title...
    "The Ingraham Angle" host Laura Ingraham questioned the normalization of remote work in the show's opening monologue Tuesday night, chiding "many" federal employees in particular for not having "returned to work full-time since the pandemic began." For example, the vacant offices of the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and Transportation are "a complete travesty." That is "especially [the case] amidst an inflationary spiral, a supply chain crisis and a new Covid variant….," she continued. "…[I]n the twisted liberal mind, in-person work is expected for…store clerks, baristas…[,]janitors, [and] airport personnel but the average federal worker apparently believes staying home is their right." GOP SENATORS CALL ON FEDERAL EMPLOYEES TO RETURN TO OFFICE, CITING 'WIDESPREAD LACK OF RESPONSIVENESS' Ingraham called federal workers President Biden's "electoral bread and butter," citing a Biden administration plan to make telework permanent for federal employees.  According to the United States Office of Personnel Management's latest guidance, federal workers who have to commute at least twice a pay period should still be paid relative to the location of their in-person office. "No one believes that...
    BELLEAIR BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A serial Florida bank robber once dubbed the “I-4 bandit” was arrested Tuesday for a new holdup just months after his release from prison, police said. David Marc Ratcliff, 55, was caught after a brief chase in the Gulf Coast town of Belleair Beach following a robbery at a Wells Fargo branch in nearby Clearwater, authorities said. Ratcliff was released from federal custody in June after serving most of a 25-year prison sentence for committing a string of bank robberies in the late 1990s, according to federal Bureau of Prisons records. Those earlier 19 robberies were linked by Interstate 4, which bisects central Florida, giving him the “bandit” nickname. Ratcliff was convicted in six of those crimes but federal prosecutors say he was responsible for many others. Clearwater police got a call about 10:44 a.m. Tuesday about a robbery at the Wells Fargo branch. A witness saw the suspect get into a red Dodge Magnum and drive away. Moments later, police said, a detective spotted the vehicle getting gas at a station and attempted a...
    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A deadline is approaching for New Jersey residents who suffered property damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The storm caused widespread destruction when it tore through a dozen counties in September. WEB EXTRA: How To Report Storm Damage, Find Shelter, Food, Mental Health Support & More FEMA says homeowners and residents in those counties have until Dec. 6 to apply for federal disaster assistance. The money can be used to help with rent, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
    CHICAGO (WLS) -- With only hours to spare before a midnight deadline, defrocked and disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday asked a U.S. judge to delay his own federal lawsuit that challenges the state's impeachment process."This motion is necessitated not by lack of diligence, but in part due to plaintiff's work on other matters," Blagojevich submitted in a motion that he prepared and submitted.EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says new lawsuit would open door to run for officeThe motion for a 30-day delay in Blagojevich's response to a state motion to dismiss his lawsuit does not specify his "work on other matters." Whatever has jammed up Blagojevich's schedule is preventing his federal court filing, which was already delayed once and had been due by the end of the day Tuesday. The lawsuit could determine whether Blagojevich may run again for public office in Illinois.RELATED: What ex-governor whispered on plane ride home from prison after sentence commutedAlthough not mentioned, his work on the ABC7/Hulu docuseries "Being Blago" released in early November, did occupy the ex-governor for many days and...
    The Biden administration is considering whether to force all travelers returning to the U.S. to quarantine for seven days to curb the spread of the potentially dangerous omicron variant – and may fine those who refuse, three federal health officials told the Washington Post. Travelers would not be able to forgo the potential quarantine mandate, even with a negative Covid test. It comes as Biden deliberates his winter Covid strategy and would be the first time federal fines are linked to quarantine and testing measures for U.S. travelers. Biden's tentative plan would also require everyone entering the country to be tested one day before boarding flights, regardless of their vaccination status or country from which they’re leaving. Another requirement could force all travelers to get tested again within three to five days of arrival. Biden is considering whether to mandate a seven-day quarantine for all travelers returning to the U.S.  Developing story, check back for updates.
    By Lindsay Whitehurst | Associated Press The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire. Emma Coronel Aispuro also helped her husband plan a dramatic escape through a tunnel dug underneath a prison in Mexico in 2015 by smuggling a GPS watch to him disguised as a food item, prosecutors said during a hearing in federal court in Washington. That helped those digging the tunnel pinpoint his location and reach him. The leader of the Sinaloa cartel was recaptured the following year. Prosecutors had asked for four years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras imposed a shorter term, saying her role was a small piece of a much larger organization. Her arrest doesn’t seem to have reduced the harm caused by the cartel, he said. “There appears to be no shortage of willing participants,” he said. She had faced a minimum of 10 years in prison, but was subject to a so-called “safety valve” provision because she...
    A federal judge in Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Tuesday against President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers. Judge Terry A. Doughty in the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana ruled in favor of a request from Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to block an emergency regulation issued Nov. 4 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that required the COVID shot for nearly every full-time employee, part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicaid funding. Louisiana was joined in the lawsuit by attorneys general in 13 other states. OSHA SUSPENDS ENFORCEMENT OF COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATE FOR LARGE BUSINESSES Doughty argued in his ruling that the Biden administration does not have the constitutional authority to go around Congress by issuing such a mandate. "If the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands," he wrote. "If human nature and history teach anything, it...
    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration said it wants lawmakers to quickly allocate $300 million in federal pandemic rescue funding to support COVID-19 testing at schools amid a fourth surge of infections in Michigan. The money was included in the relief law approved by Congress and President Joe Biden in March. It is set to expire next summer and is part of a $2.5 billion supplemental spending request that state budget director Christopher Harkins sent to the Republican chairmen of legislative appropriations committees on Nov. 19. READ MORE: 3 Students Killed, 6 Others Shot At Oxford High School; 15-Year-Old Suspect In CustodyThe GOP-led Legislature returned to session Tuesday after a two-week break. READ MORE: 34-Year-Old Warren Man Charged In Death Of Girlfriend“We’d really like to get that school testing money appropriated sooner rather than later,” said Kurt Weiss, spokesman for the state budget office. “We would love to be able to help school districts isolate cases more quickly so that the schools don’t have to reduce in-person instructional days due to outbreaks.” The Senate plans to begin advancing...
    The wife of notorious drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced to three years in prison for helping to run the Sinaloa Cartel. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras sentenced Emma Coronel Aispuro, 32, to three years in prison followed by four years supervised release and fined her $1.5 million as part of her plea deal with federal prosecutors. Coronel pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges, but prosecutors sought a four-year sentence and fine due to her clean record and show of remorse. CHINESE NATIONALS PLEAD GUILTY IN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME CONNECTED TO EL CHAPO'S CARTEL “We’re pleased with the result, and we’re pleased with the court recognizing her very minimal role,” said Jeffrey Lichtman, Coronel’s lawyer. At the Tuesday sentencing hearing, she asked the judge to show her mercy. Emma Coronel Aispuro, wife of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, arrives to federal court in New York, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig/AP "With all due respect, I address you today to express my true regret for any...
    (CNN)A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Covid-19 vaccine requirement for federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee -- the third time in recent weeks that President Joe Biden's federal mandate has been blocked in some capacity in certain parts of the country."The question presented here is narrow. Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors?" US District Judge Gregory Frederick Van Tatenhove, a President George W. Bush appointee, in Kentucky said in the 29-page opinion. "In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no."The judge said the President had exceeded his authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act in issuing the requirement. "While the statute grants to the president great discretion, it strains credulity that Congress intended the FPASA, a procurement statute, to be the basis for promulgating a public health measure such as mandatory vaccination," the judge said.He also said he was "concerned that the vaccine mandate intrudes on an area that is traditionally reserved to...
    SACRAMENTO (AP) — A new California policy could send dozens of quadriplegic, paraplegic or otherwise permanently incapacitated inmates from nursing homes back to state prisons. Prison officials say a change in federal rules led them to limit medical parole to inmates so ill they are hooked to ventilators to breathe, meaning their movement is so limited they are not a public danger. The state previously included a much broader range of permanent incapacities allowing inmates to be cared for in nursing homes outside prison walls. READ MORE: Coyote Likely Behind ‘Suspicious’ Animal Deaths In Citrus Heights, Police SaySteve Fama, an attorney with the nonprofit Prison Law Office, said the court-appointed federal office that controls health care in California prisons told him the change could affect about 70 of the 210 inmates approved for medical parole under the current system, started in 2014. “It’d be an awful shame if those people were returned to prison,” Fama said. “Those patients have been proven not to need a prison setting given their medical conditions.” The policy shift comes as the state has been...
    Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)The Governor of Nigeria's Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said Tuesday that his government will not inflame already heightened tensions that stemmed from a report by a judicial panel that probed the October 2020 shooting of protesters at the state's Lekki Toll gate.The Lagos-appointed panel concluded the shooting of peaceful protesters at the toll gate by the military could be described as a massacre. But the report was fiercely discredited by the country's federal government with Information Minister Lai Mohammed describing it as "nothing but the triumph of fake news."Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu called for "a walk for peace" next month for reconciliation."In December, I will be leading a walk for peace to herald the healing of our land," he said. "Let me use this occasion to extend an open invitation to our youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students, and the media as well as other stakeholders to join me." Nigerian judicial panel condemns 2020 Lekki toll gate shooting as a massacreThe Lagos governor did not directly comment on the federal...
    President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE is reportedly considering nominating former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray as the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported on Tuesday that Biden is mulling tapping Cordray to serve as the vice chairman of banking supervision at the Federal Reserve, which would make him the most powerful person watching over the U.S. banking system. He would succeed Randal Quarles, who served in the post for four years before his term ended last month. Biden appointed Cordray to serve as chief operating officer of the Federal Student Aid in May, giving him oversight over the Education Department’s $1.6 trillion loan portfolio. Cordray, a Democrat, was the first person to serve as the full-time director of the CFPB, the consumer watchdog agency that was established through the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. He headed the agency from 2012 until 2017,...
    "Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact the this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires," he declared.What was the reaction?Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R), who led the lawsuit, celebrated the ruling. "Our system of checks & balances, federalism, separation of powers was meant to protect individual liberty. The belief in individual rights is one of America’s great legacies," he said. "Our win today vs. the Biden healthcare worker vaccine mandate is a win for workers & a win for liberty." CMS has not yet issued a statement. The agency, however, told Reuters it is reviewing the ruling and continued to claim that unvaccinated health care workers pose a threat to safety.
    "Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact the this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires," he declared.What was the reaction?Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R), who led the lawsuit, celebrated the ruling. "Our system of checks & balances, federalism, separation of powers was meant to protect individual liberty. The belief in individual rights is one of America’s great legacies," he said. "Our win today vs. the Biden healthcare worker vaccine mandate is a win for workers & a win for liberty." CMS has not yet issued a statement. The agency, however, told Reuters it is reviewing the ruling and continued to claim that unvaccinated health care workers pose a threat to safety.
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The four officers who are federally charged in the death of George Floyd will be tried together, after a motion was denied to sever three of the officers from Derek Chauvin, who has already been convicted of murder in Floyd’s death. A federal grand jury indicted Chauvin, Kueng, Thao and Lane in May, alleging they violated Floyd’s rights while acting under government authority as Floyd was restrained face-down, handcuffed and not resisting. READ MORE: Dave Chappelle's George Floyd-Inspired '8:46' Nominated For GrammyIn August, attorneys for J. Kueng and Tou Thao argued that their clients would be unfairly prejudiced if they went to trial alongside Chauvin. An attorney for Thomas Lane filed a motion asking to join in his co-defendants’ request. Keung’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, said evidence against Chauvin would confuse the jury and deprive Kueng of his right to a fair trial. He also said there is a conflict of interest due to Chauvin’s level of culpability in Floyd’s death, saying “the jurors will not be able to follow the Court’s instructions and compartmentalize the evidence as...
    ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — Air Force nurses and doctors began their work Monday at St. Cloud Hospital, in an area of central Minnesota that has struggled with climbing COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity. In Stearns County, where St. Cloud is located, the positivity rate is nearly at 18%, among the highest in the state. A sense of frustration and burn-out led to a call for federal help. READ MORE: COVID Took His Wife And Left Him Hospitalized, Now He's Urging Others To Get VaccinatedTwenty-three members of the federal joint task force — U.S. Air Force doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists — spent their Thanksgiving weekend training for what’s ahead in St. Cloud. From the emergency room to surgical units, the team will work alongside CentraCare staff. “The damage that COVID is causing is continuing to grow,” said Dr. George Morris, CentraCare’s incident commander for COVID-19 response. “We’re seeing numbers now that we haven’t seen since the last surge in November and December of 2020.” This time last year, CentraCare’s hospitals saw 175 COVID-19 patients — 40...
    (CBS/AP) — A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states, including New Hampshire, that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement. The court order said that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for providers participating in the two government health care programs for the elderly, disabled and poor. READ MORE: Local Researchers Test COVID Samples To Determine Prevalence Of Omicron Variant In Massachusetts“This is a big win for New Hampshire’s health care system,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu wrote on Twitter Monday. “Nursing homes were at risk of closure if the Biden mandate remained in place. This helps maintain the staff New Hampshire needs to care for our loved ones.” The preliminary injunction by St. Louis-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp applies to a coalition of suing states that, along with New Hampshire, includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. All those states...
    WASHINGTON -- A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden's administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement.The court order said that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for providers participating in the two government health care programs for the elderly, disabled and poor.The preliminary injunction by St. Louis-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp applies to a coalition of suing states that includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. All those states have either a Republican attorney general or governor. Similar lawsuits also are pending in other states.The federal rule requires COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 17 million workers nationwide in about 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers that get funding from the government health programs. Workers are to receive their first dose by Dec. 6 and their second shot by Jan. 4The court order against the health...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A federal judge, pointing to a new state law, is reconsidering Florida’s request for an injunction against the Biden administration’s health care shots mandate. But lawyers in Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office and the Biden administration indicated they would rather fight it out at a federal appeals court. READ MORE: Holiday Celebrations In Broward This Week, Here's The Forecast For Spreading Holiday CheerThe legal wrangling came as the vaccination requirement for health-care workers is poised to take effect Dec. 6 – and after U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers on Nov. 20 denied a motion by the state for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the requirement. The state last week took the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and requested that Rodgers issue an emergency injunction against the vaccination requirement while the Atlanta-based appellate court considers the issues. Rodgers on Saturday refused to issue the emergency injunction but said she would reconsider the state’s original request for a preliminary injunction. The reason: Florida lawmakers on Nov. 17 passed a bill...
    A federal court on Monday blocked President Joe Biden's administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in 10 states. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued a preliminary injunction on the mandate, which requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated by Jan. 4. The temporary ruling stems from the case Missouri v. Biden . The preliminary injunction applies to medical facilities for "Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers within the States of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming," according to court records. If the injunction is appealed, it will head for the 8th Circuit, which has one active or senior status judge appointed by a Democratic president out of 14 total. This is a developing article and will be updated. News Missouri Vaccination Federal Courts
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement. The court order said that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for providers participating in the two government health care programs for the elderly, disabled and poor. The preliminary injunction by St. Louis-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp applies to a coalition of suing states that includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Similar lawsuits also are pending in other states. The federal rule requires COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 17 million workers nationwide in about 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers that get funding from the government health programs. Workers are to receive their first dose by Dec. 6 and their second shot by Jan. 4 The court order against the health care...
    Ghislaine Maxwell sits at the defense table during a hearing to discuss which expert witnesses will be able to testify at Maxwell's upcoming sex crimes trial in New York, in this courtroom sketch on November 10, 2021.Jane Rosenberg | Reuters The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was set to begin Monday afternoon with a federal prosecutor's opening statement laying out the case against the British socialite accused of acting as a procurer of underage girls to be sexually abused by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Testimony of at least one witness may be heard later Monday after opening statements are completed. Maxwell's federal trial comes almost 17 months after her arrest in New Hampshire, and more than two years after the 66-year-old Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail while awaiting his own trial on federal child sex trafficking charges. Maxwell, who has been held without bail since her arrest, has pleaded not guilty in the case, where she is charged with conspiracy to entice and coerce minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, sex trafficking and other charges. "I...
    According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, Hakim Amal Archible has been sentenced for filing false liens against federal government officials, including former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “Harassing federal officials through the filing of false liens is serious criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine.  “Congress enacted the retaliatory lien statute to address the problem of frivolous retaliatory liens, too often used by tax defiers and sovereign citizens to obstruct the tax laws and harass government employees.” “TIGTA’s statutory mission includes investigating individuals who interfere with the lawful collection of taxes by filing frivolous liens against public officials,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  “Attempts to interfere with IRS employees engaged in the performance of their official duties will be aggressively pursued.  We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in working with TIGTA to protect the integrity of Federal tax administration.” According to U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other...
    The incoming left-wing coalition government in Germany is set to push for a so-called ‘United States of Europe’ through the creation of a federal EU superstate, confirming concerns long expressed by Brexiteers. Germany’s incoming Europhile left-wing government has begun a push for a federalized European Union superstate and the creation of what has been unofficially dubbed the “United States of Europe”. The campaign for the creation of the superstate was enshrined in the coalition agreement between the three soon-to-be ruling parties, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Free Femocrats (FPD), and the Greens,  according to a report by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the German language paper of record in Switzerland. The agreement outlines the coalition’s commitment to supporting the “necessary treaty changes” needed to “lead developments to a European federal state”. This is something Germany clearly sees itself as being responsible for doing, with the document nodding “our special responsibility” for “the EU as a whole” as the bloc’s “largest member state”. It also voices the coalition’s support for trans-national candidate lists for European elections, which would allow EU citizens to vote for candidates outside...
    (CNN)Federal health officials are bracing for the first cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant to be detected in the US and say there are likely far more cases worldwide than is currently known. Officials briefed President Joe Biden for approximately 45 minutes Sunday on the new variant, with a heavy dose of caution about what's still unknown. Biden on Monday will provide a public update following a third briefing on the Omicron variant and plans to tell the American people directly what the government does and doesn't know, according to a person familiar with the remarks. Biden's speech will be more of a reassurance not to panic as scientists evaluate the threat than a specific update on the variant itself. He's expected to push Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and promote booster shots for those who are already full vaccinated.Biden's team told him it will likely take one to two weeks to know more about the variant, including whether antibodies handle it effectively. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently sequencing coronavirus genomes and working...
    President Joe Biden 's administration announced its 10th round of judicial nominees last week in an aim to fill vacancies left by a pair of retiring judges from the 2nd and 6th Courts of Appeals, continuing a fast-paced trend of nominations to offset the judicial legacy left by his predecessor. Across the federal court system, a total of 78 vacancies are available for the president to fill as of Nov. 24. The president, along with the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, has already nominated 64 individuals to federal judgeships, with nine confirmations of circuit judges and 19 district judges. Political pundits see this as Biden's chance to nudge the courts to the left, while the White House has described the president's latest nominations as a continuation of the "promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity." The president's record-setting pace of confirmations effectively serves as a direct rebuff to former President Donald Trump and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's efforts to move the federal judiciary to the right. Trump notably confirmed more than...
              more   Florida’s lawmakers are considering expanding state-funded health insurance for children. The idea has gained traction among Republicans and Democrats, and two competing proposals would increase the amount of money beneficiaries can make. Currently, families making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for the state’s program, KidCare. However, the same families do not qualify for Medicaid. State Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-FL-104) has filed legislation to increase the income threshold by 10 percent every year for the next five years. Households making less than 250 percent of the federal poverty would now be eligible for the state program. Her proposal would require families to pay a $40 per family premium. “What are you going to choose (to pay for) food, child care, which has gone up 200%, or health care?” Bartleman asked. Similarly, Florida Republicans Rep. Chip LaMarca (R-FL-93), Rep. Ardian Zika (R-FL-37), and Sen. Ed Hooper (R-FL-16) has filed legislation to increase the income threshold to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. However, the Republicans’ proposal would also require families to pay premiums...
              more   Arizona Corporation Commissioners (ACC) Jim O’Connor and Justin Olson want to hold a meeting to vote on whether utilities, known as Public Service Corporations (PSCs), can force their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They sent a letter to their fellow commissioners on November 18 expressing their concerns. O’Connor and Olson cite the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on November 12 putting a stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. They quoted the opinion where it said the mandate “raises constitutional concerns” and “grossly exceeds [its] statutory authority.” Since “the decision to receive a COVID-19 vaccination is an ‘intensely personal decision[]’ that should be made ‘according to [one’s] own convictions’ — as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized — employees of PSCs should not be vaccinated to keep their jobs. This is especially true when the federal government is intimidating companies to develop, implement and enforce such mandatory vaccine policies,” they said in the letter. However, the part of Biden’s mandate applying to federal contractors has not been put...