Senate Caps History-Making Day by Rejecting Filibuster Change

The Senate late Thursday rejected a Democratic effort to alter the filibuster in order to pass their long-sought voting bills over unanimous Republican opposition, capping one of the most consequential days in the history of the chamber.

The vote failed 48-52 after Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema voted as they said they would for months, joining a unanimous Republican caucus in opposition and denying their party the necessary support for the change to take effect. The change, had it been adopted, would have established a “talking filibuster” pertaining to the voting bills only, allowing any senator to speak for or against them for as long as they wanted but lowering the 60-vote threshold for passage to a simple majority.

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Commentary: America Might Be Heading for a Systems Collapse

In modern times, as in ancient Rome, several nations have suffered a “systems collapse.” The term describes the sudden inability of once prosperous populations to continue with what had ensured the good life as they knew it. 

Abruptly, the population cannot buy, or even find, once plentiful necessities. They feel their streets are unsafe. Laws go unenforced or are enforced inequitably. Everyday things stop working. The government turns from reliable to capricious if not hostile. 

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Michigan Rep. Tlaib and Minnesota Rep. Omar Participated with Groups Calling for Release of ‘Lady al-Qaeda’

Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota participated in events with Muslim-American advocacy groups that have called for Aafia Siddiqui’s release from a Texas prison.

The gunman who took hostages inside a Texas synagogue on Tuesday demanded the release of Siddiqui, who has often been referred to in the counterterrorism world as “Lady al-Qaeda.” Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 of attempting to murder U.S. nationals, according to the FBI.

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January 6 Committee Asks Ivanka Trump to Voluntarily Cooperate in Probe

The House Jan. 6 select committee is asking former President Trump’s daughter and senior Trump White House adviser Ivanka Trump to voluntary cooperate with its probe, committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said Thursday.

The committee announced its plans in a statement following remarks from Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, according to CNN.

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Nine Months into Operation Lone Star, Texas DPS Reports Record Interdiction Numbers

Since March 2021, when Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star (OLS), Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state troopers have been working around the clock to help defend the southern border. Nine months later, its chief reports a record for state interdiction efforts.

Since OLS began, state troopers have arrested more than 10,000 illegal immigrants, including smugglers and drug traffickers, Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw said Wednesday at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event in Austin. They’ve seized over 5 tons of methamphetamine, over $17 million in cash, and enough fentanyl to kill over 260 million people.

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Music Spotlight: Rob Mayes

I attended RomaDrama Live! last year initially because several of the artists I had featured in my column were part of the entertainment. And of course, it was fun to see and meet the popular actors of favorite romance dramas and Hallmark movies. But what I wasn’t expecting was for one of the actors to be a genuinely talented country music singer/songwriter.

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Commentary: Durham vs. Horowitz and the FBI’s Trump-Russia Reckoning

As he documents the role of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in generating false allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, Special Counsel John Durham has also previewed a challenge to the FBI’s claims about how and why its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign began. At stake is the completeness of the official reckoning within the U.S. government over the Russiagate scandal – and whether there will be an accounting commensurate with the offense: the abuse of the nation’s highest law enforcement and intelligence powers to damage an opposition presidential candidate turned president, at the behest of his opponent from the governing party he defeated.

The drama is playing out against the clashing approaches of the two Justice Department officials tasked with scrutinizing the Russia probe’s origins and unearthing any misconduct: Durham, the Sphinx-like prosecutor with a reputation for toughness whose work continues; and Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, whose December 2019 report faulted the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe but nonetheless concluded that it was launched in good faith.

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NCAA Updates Trans Athlete Policy After Lia Thomas Swept Up Women’s Swimming Titles

The NCAA changed its policy on transgender athlete participation Wednesday as concern mounted over swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, identifying as a woman and immediately dominating the sport.

Transgender athletes will need to show testosterone levels within their sport’s approved range four weeks before championship selections, according to the new rules. They will need to document their testosterone levels at the beginning of the season as well as four weeks before championship selections in the coming academic year.

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Reassigns Entire Staff of Rep Gathering Evidence of Election Fraud

Following an election integrity hearing in Wisconsin, Wednesday, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos reportedly sent his Chief of Staff into the office of Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) to tell him that all of his full-time staff had been reassigned.

For many months, Ramthun has been gathering hard evidence of election irregularities and crimes, including the installation of over 500 drop boxes throughout the state, which a Wisconsin judge last week ruled were illegal.

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Arizona State Sen. Carter Introduces Bill to Make it Illegal to Discriminate Based on Vaccine Status

The Arizona Legislature began its 2022 session on Jan. 10, and legislators are dropping lots of bills related to COVID-19, in part due to a Maricopa County Superior Court judge striking down much of that legislation last year. Recently appointed State Rep. Neil Carter (R-Casa Grande) introduced HB 2452, which would make it illegal to discriminate against any person based on their vaccination status in employment, housing, or public accommodations. 

“At this time when our nation is facing a critical hiring and employee shortage, it doesn’t make sense to further restrict the labor market through imposition of mandatory medical procedures as a condition of employment,” he said in a statement. “Moreover, the idea that a mandatory medical procedure should be a requirement of continued employment is offensive to freedom of conscience, economic security, and medical integrity. No person should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and the integrity of his or her body.” 

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