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‘ Straight Up Communist Censorship ‘: Virginia Dems Push Bill to Free Speech Criminalization



' Straight Up Communist Censorship ': Virginia Dems Push Bill to Free Speech Criminalization

Not only are the Virginia Democrats trying to dismantle the second amendment to the US Constitution, they are now trying to do away with the first amendment.

Even though on Monday, Virginia’s huge and strong gun rights rally failed to slow down its bid for dictatorship.

Then, they hit the trigger and pass a bill through the legislature to criminalize ways of opposition from Governor Ralph Northam and other state officials.

Delegate Jeffrey M. Bourne introduced House Bill 1627 last week. The law provides that, if the person who is a victim is a governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant-Governor-elect, Attorney General or Attorney General-elect, a Member or an employee of the General Assembly, a judge of the Supreme Court of Virginia or a judge of the Court of Appeal of Virginia, there are some criminal offenses concerning threats and harassment in the City of Richmond.

“If any person who uses a computer or computer network to coercion, intimidate or harass any person, is guilty of a Class 1 malpractice, or is to use obscene, vulgar, profane, lazy or unlawful language or to make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or to threaten any illegal or immoral act.

The law would essentially also establish an Elite Ruling Class with additional legal rights in comparison to other residents.

This law states that it is applicable specifically to: “the Governor, governor-elect, governor-elect, lieutenant-governor-elect, the procurator-general or procurator-elect of the General Assembly, a member or staff, the judge of the Court of Appeal of Virginia or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.”

Tina Freitas, the wife of Republican Delegate Nick Freitas, in a Facebook post on Tuesday night, called attention to that tyrannical act.

“Wow, they’re after the 1A now! To protect yourself from criticism, Dems is trying to create special rules exclusively for the elite ruling class.”Fridas has written.

“What is abuse considered? Will Governor Infanticide / KKK Hood attempt to prevent accountability? Should we no longer demand justice for LG Fairfax’s suspected viol victims? This is communist censorship straight up!”She added.” She added.

The gun rights rally on Monday in the least did not dissuade Virginia Democrats. Just one day later, they passed red flag legislation through the legislature and then quashed Republicans’ pro-gun bills.

Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said that “The Governor and the leaders of the Democrats have war on law-abiding citizens and gun owners and today their votes confirm that we are going there.”

Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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UMD woodcock study examines game bird’s habitat needs



UMD woodcock study examines game bird’s habitat needs

DULUTH — The little birds with the long bills need lots of logs and branches on the ground to hide from predators.

That’s one of the findings in a study by the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute that deciphered the type of forest that woodcock need to raise their young.

The study used the keen noses of Gordon setter hunting dogs to find woodcock nests in Itasca County and then place tiny transmitters on woodcock chicks, which allowed researchers to track their movements during their first weeks of life.

The study, first featured in a News Tribune story in June 2019, and led by NRRI’s Alexis Grinde, was funded with state conservation grants. It also looked at the golden-winged warbler and the veery — small songbirds that frequent the same habitat as woodcock.

The goal of the study was to find out why the three birds are doing fairly well in northern Minnesota forests but are declining steadily across much of their U.S. range.

“Across their range (in the U.S.) there has been a pretty significant, long-term decline of woodcock,” Grinde said. “But in Minnesota, where we have ample young forest due to active forest management, the birds have been pretty stable for about the last decade.”

Grinde said the birds seem to do best where they can get to multiple different types of forest in close proximity — young, medium and old trees, big and small, used for feeding, nesting and cover at various times of summer and early fall.

If scientists can figure out what types of forest habitat promote better nesting and survival among the three species, then they can provide those results to foresters and land managers to help conserve the species, Grinde said.

Small changes in logging practices, such as leaving more bigger logs and more branches spread out on the ground, could have a big impact on the birds. The key for woodcock chicks is that the logs are fairly large and are well-spaced, not in piles. Piles of slash or branches can be hiding spots for predators.

Killer chipmunks

In a 2019 file photo, Debbie Petersen holds a woodcock chick out for her dog, Riley, to sniff after the pair found the bird’s nest in Itasca County, Minn. Petersen and Riley have been helping researchers track woodcock chicks to determine what habitat they need to sustain their population. (Tyler Schank / Duluth News Tribune)

The key to the woodcock research has been Debbie Petersen and her Gordon setter hunting dogs, who teamed up to find the little birds between the time the chicks hatched but before they could fly.

Petersen and the highly trained bird dogs found and flushed the hens. Then Petersen slowly scoured the ground nearby to find the chicks. Once the chicks were fitted with their transmitters, they were set free to rejoin the hen, which is usually just a few feet away, squawking loudly about the intrusion.

For the first 30 days they were being tracked, the hen kept the chicks near logs on the ground. Because in early June, the forest is still pretty open, with fewer leaves on brush and trees than later in summer, scientists think the logs on the ground served as hiding places from predators. But they also could be using the logs and locations to look for their mainstay food — earthworms — which are common under rotting logs.

Believe it or not, chipmunks were the top predator of woodcock chicks in the study, although scientists say red squirrels, weasels and red fox are eating the birds, too. They found one of the transmitters in a pile of fox scat. Barred owls, goshawks and sharp-shinned hawks also are woodcock predators.

“We probably wouldn’t have believed chipmunks either if we hadn’t actually got lucky and seen it happening,” Grinde said. “There’s no shortage of things out there that want to eat a little woodcock.”

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Field hockey notebook: Establishing a family tradition at Dover-Sherborn



Field hockey notebook: Establishing a family tradition at Dover-Sherborn

Molly McGill has wanted to be head coach at Dover-Sherborn ever since she was a junior playing for legendary coach Dara Johnson.

Over the next eight years — from finishing high school, to playing at Holy Cross, to coaching the Raiders’ junior varsity squad — she had a running joke with her father that if she took control, he would be her first choice as an assistant.

When Johnson surprisingly decided to step down and hand the reigns over just a week into practices, though, Molly figured out how little she meant it as a joke. And just as quickly as she asked him to join her, Thom McGill said yes.

“He’s always just kind of been a soundboard behind the scenes with me as a player,” Molly said. “When I stepped into this role this season, it was a no-brainer. I’m like, ‘Yup, easy money. Thom — my dad — (he’s) coming in.’”

“It’s just incredible,” Thom added. “It’s really just a dream come true for actually both of us. It’s awesome.”

The Raiders started the year 3-0 entering Friday while defending their Div. 2 state title from 2019. They have a young team, but there is plenty of the talent you would expect from a squad that just went the distance two years ago. Dover-Sherborn is buzzing.

What makes it even more exciting for the McGills, though, is how well the team is doing despite the frenzy the year started with.

Molly entered the year expecting to be a part-time JV coach while in a graduate program at Framingham State. Just like that, she was vaulted into the leading role. Molly has wanted it for a good while, but it caught her by surprise as she navigates a hectic schedule that prevents her from coaching on Mondays.

Bringing on Thom has been a stabilizing force. She is still working out kinks as a first-year varsity coach, so the support and trust of the team and having her father there has made a world of a difference.

“It’s just super supportive and somebody comfortable, and I can give my crazy ideas behind the scenes and not feel judged,” Molly said. “It’s definitely a little crazy. But the girls have been great, my dad — again — I’ve been leaning on him heavily.”

Thom has never officially coached, but has mentored Molly very closely throughout her entire athletic career. He quickly transformed from No. 1 cheerleader to field hockey fanatic as he helped Molly transform her game, so much that Molly never doubted his potential to be an effective coach alongside her.

Neither has the team.

“He’s super knowledgeable of the game, he’s watched more field hockey than anyone I can think of, and I think he’s got great perspective,” Molly said. “(The players) enjoy his humor, they seek his feedback sometimes even before mine. … I’ve just been so blown away with how articulate he is with the girls and he’s just got a good demeanor.”

For Thom, he loves every part of coaching with Molly. He loves doing it for the school he graduated from, too. But he’s equally excited for the opportunity his daughter and Dover-Sherborn has to continue growing together.

“The team is young and everything, but what an opportunity,” he said. “The girls are awesome, they’re really receptive.”

Quick Spotlights:

Before Nauset senior Lauren Knight committed to Quinnipiac, she was asked who her role model was. She was quick to bring Falmouth star Katie Shanahan’s name up. Little did Knight know then that she was talking up a future Div. 1 teammate, and as the two battle it out in a loaded Cape and Islands League, they can each look forward to teaming up at Quinnipiac after spending four years together playing for Cape Cod Field Hockey Club. The competition between the two of them is fierce for now, though, with Shanahan’s Clippers already having a leg up with a 3-0 win over the Warriors. As each team keeps pace with Monomoy and Sandwich as well, the Cape Cod standouts are enjoying competing against each other for now while still looking forward to joining forces down the road.

“We’ve always had a great dynamic,” Knight said. “I’m just really excited to play with her, she’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

“It’s great that we’re going to the same school. … To go in already knowing I have a friend of the team (is comforting),” added Shanahan. “It’s always fun playing high school though because there’s the rivalry along with the friendship.”

They’ll play each other again Oct. 20.

Maggie Sturgis is on fire for an equally scorching Masconomet team, blasting out the gates for a 4-0-1 start and a 32-3 goal differential entering Friday. Sturgis has erupted for 18 of those goals, including a career-high six scores in a 6-0 win over Marblehead.

• After five years of varsity play, a young Bishop Feehan program finally got over the hump against the school’s longtime rival by beating Attleboro 3-1 for the first time. Sophomores Kay Murphy and Ava Meehan have starred in a 6-0-2 start, leaving plenty of room for growth while the Shamrocks play at a high level.

• The first Hockomock League bout between King Philip and Franklin on Oct. 8 looks like a must-watch. Panthers head coach Michelle Hess praised her strong defense before the season but wasn’t expecting the offense to take the flight it has. Kaitlyn Carney and Payten Crandall are two of many pieces flourishing for Franklin (5-0) as it rivals King Philip (6-1).

• In its 20th anniversary, Bentley honored the 2001 Division II national champion Falcons team on Saturday. The team had 18 former local stars, led by captains Allyson Bunce (Dennis-Yarmouth) and Alicia Cabrera (Lexington).

• Methuen is making some noise in the Merrimack Valley Conference alongside Andover and Central Catholic, cruising to a 3-1-1 start entering Friday. Natalia Fiato has seven goals over her last three games to lead the way.

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Scheduling your work makes it more enjoyable



Week 2 high school football schedule

You’ve heard it before: To be more productive, schedule your work. Actually put it in your calendar. Carve out the time. But have you heard that scheduling your work makes it more enjoyable too? It does.

Let’s consider the alternatives. It’s late afternoon, and you’re low-energy. You have a report due in the morning. “If you try and force your ‘A’ game in those moments, it’s just a very frustrating experience,” said Kelly Nolan, a time management strategist who works mostly with high-achieving women. “You dread it more because you’re not in the right frame of mind, and the creative juices aren’t there.”

Or, say, it’s 9 a.m., and your deadline is tomorrow. You try to squeeze in writing paragraphs between the emails and calls and web surfing (let’s be real). Now you’re overly busy and overwhelmed, and you guiltily cancel your afternoon meetings and a dinner date with a friend. Cue your “I hate myself” inner monologue.

But! Let’s imagine that you clear out 90 minutes, turn off your internet and phone, and just barrel through as many paragraphs as you can. Yes, they will be awful paragraphs, which is nearly always the case on first drafts (voice of experience here), “but you’ll feel more in control of your day, and feel more accomplishment because you are actually moving the ball forward on a big project, which makes you feel more sane,” Nolan said.

Sanity is invaluable. As we all move into a new routine of work from home and back-to-office, where distractions will be aplenty, discipline and scheduling are all the more important.

A few pointers:

Set start and finish times. Not doing so means that you’re waiting for the universe to magically birth a project time for you, which is delusional. The universe births asteroids and viruses, not personalized time.

Avoid a last-minute surge. Many office workers let emails and busywork fill the day, and then try to churn out focus work from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. — or, worse yet, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the prime-time misery hours of lawyers and writers and coders. Of course those hours are wretched. “You’ll feel like you’re banging your head against a wall,” Nolan said.

Plan focus work when you’re energetic. It’ll feel easier when you’re most alert. The time will vary based on activity. For example, you might opt for writing from 9 to 11 a.m., or practicing a speech from 2 to 4 p.m., or writing a song at 9 p.m.

Shut the door. “Distractions are the No. 1 killer of getting into flow state,” said keynote speaker Diane Allen, of that blissful work state where time moves quickly, and you forget yourself and your worries. Flow is incited by work that engages your skills while simultaneously providing a challenge. Not all work assignments fit that description, but distractions end any chance of flow entering the experience.

I’m telling you now: Turn off your damn email, and carve out time for focus work. You can thank me later. You’ll quickly discover that by doing so, you’re also freeing up the rest of your time. You can now leave at 4:30 p.m. without guilt, and not need to think about work on evenings or weekends.

— News Service

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Pediatrician’s advice: How to deal with tantrums



Pediatrician’s advice: How to deal with tantrums

Our son seems easily stressed out and has awful tantrums. What can we do to deal with this?

As a behavioral pediatrician, I have seen and heard it all. Children who have tantrums to end all tantrums in the middle of a store. Children who refuse to eat or won’t sit still at a restaurant, which quickly escalates to screaming and throwing food. Children who unbuckle themselves from car seats or kick other children at school for no apparent reason.

It can be scary, overwhelming and challenging to confess these situations out loud. Parents often feel confused, bewildered and embarrassed. “Why won’t my child listen to me? What did I do wrong? Is there something wrong with my child?”

Sometimes a child’s behavior is because of something that has been happening or has happened to the child or to someone in the family.

For children who have tantrums, it can be because they don’t yet have the words to tell you what is bothering them. Or maybe they can’t make sense of what is happening around them and the strong feelings are hard to control.

For many families, unpredictable events happen, which can be traumatic and affect how a child feels and behaves. For example, when parents make the hard decision to separate or divorce, it can be very confusing for young children. They may act out, cry or feel sad, lose developmental skills or have trouble sleeping. Some have problems concentrating and have a hard time at school.

Potentially traumatic events like these are referred to as adverse childhood experiences. They can include neglect, parental substance abuse, domestic violence or a death in the family.

Experiences of social inequities also can be traumatic and trigger toxic stress responses. Examples include living in poverty, family separation, being the target of racism or rejection because of sexual orientation or gender identity. And, certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused children many troubling losses. Our body has stress systems to protect us so that when faced with a scary situation, we are ready to run and hide. This fight-or-flight response can be triggered whenever a child is scared of any number of things such as dogs, the dark or spiders. This same system can also be turned on when a child has any adverse experience.

However, adverse childhood experiences are likely to last longer than a single moment, which causes children’s stress systems to be turned on for a long time. When this happens, the stress becomes toxic to their overall health. The more ACEs children face, the more harm they can have over time. Likewise, chronic ongoing adversity can have an equally negative effect. Adults who’ve experienced one or more ACEs as a child or are exposed to ongoing chronic social inequities over time are at higher risk of depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions during their lifetime.

The good news is parents can help buffer children from this stress before it becomes toxic. Providing safe, secure and nurturing relationships (sometimes called “relational health”) helps reset the body’s stress system. In addition, research suggests positive childhood experiences are just as important.

One of the most important is to spark moments of connection. This may be through shared book reading, for example, or participating in family routines and community traditions. You can also model how to accept all emotions. Relational health is key to combating adversity, and promoting skills like collaboration, connection and communication that are essential to help children develop resilience and thrive.

When parenthood gets challenging, talking with your child’s pediatrician is a great first step. Pediatricians are trained to not only monitor your child’s physical growth, but also their social-emotional health.

We want to ensure all children, and their families, have the resources and skills needed to thrive. To do that, we will always be ready to listen, without judgment and with compassion.

Dr. Nerissa S. Bauer is a behavioral pediatrician in Indianapolis and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This column provided by Tribune News Service.

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King: Gig economy focuses on worker independence



King: Gig economy focuses on worker independence

Napoleon didn’t deride the English as “a nation of shopkeepers,” although that phrase is commonly attributed to him. In fact, it was Bertrand Barere de Vieuzac, a French revolutionary who used it when attacking the achievements of British Prime Minister William Pitt, the Younger.

I think Napoleon was too smart not to have realized that a nation of shopkeepers is a strong nation, and that if the English of the time were indeed a nation of shopkeepers, they would constitute a more formidable enemy.

A nation of shopkeepers, to my mind, is an ideal: self-motivated people who know the value of work, money and enterprise; and who are almost by definition individualists. So, I regret the constant threats to small business coming from chains, economies of scale, high rents and some social stigma.

But mostly I regret that in our education system, self-employment isn’t celebrated and venerated as being equivalent to work at larger enterprises. We define too many by where they work, not by what they do.

I have always believed that one should aspire to work for oneself, to eschew the temptations of the big, enveloping corporation and to strike out with whatever skills one has to test them in the market and to have the customer, not the boss, tell you what to do.

Our education system produces people tailored to be employed, not self-employed.

But things are changing. The gig economy was well underway before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and now it is roaring. Many employees found that the servitude of conventional employment wasn’t for them.

The gig world differs from the small business world that I have described in that it is small business refined to its absolute core: a one-person business, true self-employment.

There are many advantages in self-employment for society and for the larger business world. Hiring a self-employed contractor is easier for a company, not having to create a staff position and pay all the costs that go with it. Laying off a contractor isn’t as traumatic. The worker is more respected, and is asked to do things not commanded. The system gains efficiency.

But if employers come to see the gig economy as just cheap, dispensable labor, then the gig economy has failed.

The gig worker shouldn’t expect security but should be treated in a business-to-business environment. He or she needs to know how to drive a bargain and to have the moral courage to ask for a contract that is fair and recognizes the value that is intrinsic in the gig relationship.

I am a fan of Lyft and Uber. They offer self-employment to anyone with a driver’s license and a car — and the companies will even get you into a car. But the bargain is one-sided. The driver has the freedom to work what hours he or she chooses but not to negotiate the terms of their engagement. That is decided by a computer in San Francisco.

This gig worker can’t hope to hire other drivers and start a small business: It doesn’t pass the gig contract concept. I have talked to many ride-share drivers. They revel in the freedom but not the income.

Gig workers can be, well, anything from a plumber to a computer programmer, from a dog walker to an actuary.

But for the free new world of gig working to become part of our business fabric, the social structure needs to be adjusted by the government to allow for the gig worker to enroll in Social Security and to charge expenses against taxes as would an incorporated business. Jane Doe, who makes a living designing websites, needs to know that she is a business, not just freelancing between jobs.

Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS. This column was provided by InsideSources.

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‘Ordinary Joe’ star riffs on show’s ‘what if’ premise



‘Ordinary Joe’ star riffs on show’s ‘what if’ premise

The new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe” stars James Wolk and envisions one character’s life as it progresses along three different career paths: as a cop, a nurse or a famous musician.

“The show is a ‘what if?’ premise,” said Wolk. “What if you had made a certain career choice, and how does that drastically affect your life? In our story, I play Joe Kimbreau and you see him on the day he’s about to graduate college and he’s faced with three very different paths.”

Had Wolk’s life taken a different direction, he might have gone to law school, he said. But acting it was, and for many audiences one of his more memorable roles was on “Mad Men” as the upbeat account man Bob Benson, aka the guy on the receiving end of Pete Campbell’s indignant “Not great, Bob!” mini-tantrum.

Wolk’s credits also include “Lone Star,” “Political Animals,” “Goliath” and “Watchmen.” When asked about a cringeworthy moment from his career, he told a story about the CBS drama “Zoo,” about a global animal uprising. Wolk starred as a zoologist who is running safaris in Africa when the show begins.

It ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2017. But his first day at work was one for the dogs.

His worst moment: “I was playing a character who had spent 10 years in South Africa, and when I got the role I called my friend who is South African and I said, ‘OK, I want to come in with a strong South African accent. Because this guy grew up there, he’s been living there for 10 or 15 years — don’t you think he’d have a South African accent?” And my friend said, ‘Yeah, of course he would.’

“He lives in the States now, so he put me on the phone with a bunch of his friends who he grew up with in South Africa. And I’m going through hours on the phone with these guys. I’m getting the lingo, I’m getting their slang, I’m working on the accent. I’m going deep into it.

“And I go down to Louisiana, where we filmed the show. And my wife had said to me prior to the first table read, ‘Jimmy, did you do the South African accent at any other point, like when you read for the role or when you met with anyone?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And she said, ‘Well, did they tell you should have a South African accent?’ And I said, ‘No. No, no, no — but this guy has been living in South Africa for 10 or 15 years, you don’t understand, he would have a South African accent. I’m a serious actor, I’m going to have this accent.’

“So I ignored her advice and went to the table read. And because it’s the first day, people from the network are there, the producers are there, the writers are there. I was playing the lead of the show, so I had a lot of lines. It wasn’t just one scene. So I did the entire script with a South African accent. And slang, like: ‘I’m from Joburg!’ (Slang for Johannesburg.) I just went for it. Every scene.

“We finish the table read. And afterward our creator-executive producer slowly walked over to me and he goes, ‘Hey.’ And I go, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ I’m thinking: I nailed that.

“And he goes, ‘So … what’s going on with your voice?’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he was like, ‘You’re kind of saying certain words certain ways.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m doing a South African accent.’

“And he goes, ‘Yeah. Don’t do that.’ ”

— Tribune News Service

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Finding cause of pup’s upset tummy



Finding cause of pup’s upset tummy

As luck would have it, my dog finally stopped throwing up after a few days, but I wonder if you might add some insight into the cause. My dog is just under a year old and is a pitbull cross. She is spayed and fully vaccinated. Two weekends ago, I took her to a large outdoor festival where there were a lot of dogs with their owners. Many of the dogs drank water from the same bowls as we made sure to hydrate them during a hot day. The following day, I gave her some treats with some of the meat trimmings left over from our barbecue. It was the next day that she started vomiting some yellow bile in the early morning and this happened a few times as well as the next day. Could either the shared water or the meat been the cause of her vomiting? I want to make sure that I avoid exposing her again to whatever made her sick. Lastly, should I be concerned? Could she have picked up a parasite?

Sometimes we do not know what causes a dog to vomit. Vomiting may occur immediately after ingesting something that does not sit right with the stomach, or it can occur some time later. What you describe is called bilious vomiting, which is sometimes seen with an empty stomach, more often in the morning hours due to stomach acidity and a lack of food. It is usually not problematic and can be corrected by changing diet, time of feeding or medications as needed.

As such, it may be that neither the shared water bowls nor the meat trimmings caused what you observed and since it seems to have resolved there is little need for concern. There can always be some small amount of risk associated with many dogs being together, including parasitism, so having a fecal sample tested for that might be worthwhile. Giving a dog meat trimmings needs to be done carefully since some dogs have sensitive stomachs and too much fat can lead to a bout of pancreatitis.

Between your two events, there is always the possibility that your dog may have also ingested anything else that might have triggered an upset stomach but luckily it sounds as if things have resolved. Should the vomiting return, I would have your veterinarian take a look at your dog.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.

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Franks: Fine members of Congress for not doing their jobs



Franks:  Fine members of Congress for not doing their jobs

The last time Congress successfully fulfilled its administrative duties was during my third term in Congress in 1996 for fiscal year 1997. At that time, all 12 regular appropriation bills to fund the federal government were enacted before the start of the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Since then, we have been relying on continuing resolutions to fund the government. How can we stop the madness?

Just imagine if you failed to perform your job for 25 years, but still boldly requested a new service agreement every two to six years, per House or Senate re-election. Your boss may be impressed by your chutzpah, but he or she would likely laugh in your face and suggest you admit yourself into some other type of institution other than Congress.

This is a bipartisan problem. The mainstream media should be screaming daily about this, demanding that members of Congress do the basics and informing Americans of their negligence in doing so.

Americans should also know that Congress has only 15 cents to every annual dollar to spend on discretionary items once massive spending for our military/national defense is removed. It was not this way when I was in college. We had more than 60% of our federal budget for discretionary items and federal government agencies.

What has changed? Our national debt for one thing. It is out of control. As of today, our debt has ballooned to more than $28 trillion. It first eclipsed $1 trillion in 1981 when Reagan was president and Joe Biden was a senator. Our national debt is a bipartisan failure.

Of the $4.4 trillion federal budget of 2019, most of the dollars spent went toward mandatory entitlements, which accounted for nearly 62% of the whole. These entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid being the largest — must be paid to those eligible to receive them.

Then we must attend to our massive debt, which grows by the second. This debt accounts for about 8% of our entire budget. Defaulting on our debt payments is not an option.

That leaves 30% for discretionary spending. Remember, about 15% of the 30% is spent on our national defense. That leaves us with a dime and five pennies, or, if you prefer, three nickels. Not good.


1. Make the funding of the government and all budgetary matter biennial. Congress has more than proven that it cannot do the job on an annual basis. With an additional 12 months, hopefully, it can be accomplished on time via regular order and frequent open rules on the House floor for rigorous debate.

2. Seriously discuss entitlements, the elephant in the room. They cannot be allowed to eat up most of our yearly budget, despite the obligations to our fellow Americans, who did nothing to deserve ill treatment or a severely diminished quality of life.

3. The people who deserve admonishment are our politicians. Today, yet another potential federal government shutdown looms.

Congress and the White House should be able to at least complete the basics of governing smoothly or be forced to do so by risk of a personal penalty or fine.

The three triggers for punishing members of Congress should be related to the three most basic parts of their job — passing a budget, funding the federal government under regular order and managing the debt status of the United States.

A fine should be a percentage of their adjusted gross income from their most recent federal tax return. This would make it fair. Make the fine equal to 10, 15 or 20% of their AGI payable to a nonprofit like the United Way of America.

The result? Congressional gridlock would end. There would be a rebirth of compromise and bipartisanship. The work in Congress would get done.

Gary Franks is a former U.S. representative from Connecticut and visiting professor/adjunct at Hampton University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia. He is now a public policy consultant and columnist. This column provided by Tribune News Service.

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McCaughey: Biden stabbing non-union workers in the back



McCaughey: Biden stabbing non-union workers in the back

Nonunion workers make up nearly 90% of the U.S. workforce. President Joe Biden is stabbing them in the back.

The massive $3.5 trillion budget bill Biden and Democratic lawmakers are trying to ram through Congress discriminates against nonunion workers and even forces some of them to pay higher taxes than union workers.

Union membership in the U.S. has been declining for over 50 years. Biden is bent on reversing the trend, using the federal government to rig the system in favor of organizers and twist the arms of nonunion workers and employers.

Biden said that unions “brung me to the dance,” and he has promised to be “the most pro-union president” ever. Nonunion workers are in for a raw deal, starting with the budget bill.

The bill offers an up to $7,500 tax credit to almost all buyers of electric vehicles, but adds a $4,500 sweetener for buying a union-made vehicle. That sweetener discriminates against nonunion auto workers and threatens their jobs.

Toyota objects that it pits “one American autoworker over another.” But Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who took the lead in drafting this provision, says that “in a time when we’ve seen decreased rates of unionization,” he wants to “tilt the scale.”

Coercive tactics such as this don’t belong in legislation. But Biden and his party are determined to make the renewable energy sector unionized. Workers’ rights be damned.

The bill’s tax provisions slam workers who refuse to support a union’s political activities. Union members can write off a portion of their dues even if they take a standard deduction. But some workers in unions choose not to join and instead pay an “agency fee.” That gives them representation without compelling them to support union politicking. The bill punishes that, barring any deduction for agency fees. Workers get stuck with higher taxes for refusing to fund union politics.

It’s a scheme to coerce workers into paying into the union’s political kitty, which — you guessed it — almost always end up filling Democratic campaign chests, no matter what the rank and file want. A whopping 88% of labor union donations went to Democrats in 2020, though Biden got only 57% of the union vote.

The Democrats’ budget bill also threatens hefty penalties on employers who “misrepresent” employees as independent contractors. It’s a backdoor attempt to discourage employers from using freelancers and gig economy workers such as Uber drivers. Why? Because employees can be organized and made to pay dues. Congressional Democrats would like to eliminate independent contracting altogether, but legislation of that nature can’t be crammed into a budget bill under Senate rules.

Also slipped into the Democrats’ colossal bill are new limits on what employers can do when a union tries to organize, though these changes will probably be stripped from the bill by the Senate parliamentarian for failing to be budgetary in nature. Even without them, the bill stacks the deck for unions.

In February, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union launched a campaign to organize Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Biden got behind the effort, blasting out a pro-union video and offering to send the first lady.

The White House pulled out the stops, but Amazon workers still voted 1,798 to 738 against unionization. However, there’s an ongoing appeal to the National Labor Relations Board.

Unfortunately, Biden and the Democratic Party won’t take no for an answer. They’re also pushing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would outlaw right-to-work laws in 27 states, forcing workers to fall into line and pay dues once their workplace is organized. And in April, the White House announced a task force to identify other ways the federal government can push union membership.

Biden claims it’s to build the middle class. In truth, it’s to benefit the Democratic Party. That’s an outrage.

Workers should be free to choose whether to join a union or not, without Uncle Sam strong-arming them.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic.”

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Artistic Heily, 11, is a fan of sloths



Artistic Heily, 11, is a fan of sloths

Heily is a bright and engaging young girl of Hispanic descent. Heily is very creative and expresses herself well. She likes being creative, doing arts/crafts, dying her hair with paint, baking and listening to music. Heily also enjoys being out in her community. She also loves animals and is very caring towards them. She is a personable child who cares deeply about the people in her life. She is able to build strong connections with both peers and adults. Heily does well academically and enjoys being in a school setting.

Legally freed for adoption, Heily will do best with a local family who can keep her in contact with her siblings and those she is close with. She will thrive in a two-parent family or in an experienced one-parent household that is structured, energetic and can give her the attention and support that she needs. A family with either much older children or no other children in the home would be best for Heily. She may also benefit from having a visiting resource.

Who can adopt?

Can you provide the guidance, love and stability that a child needs?  If you’re at least 18 years old, have a stable source of income and room in your heart, you may be a perfect match to adopt a waiting child. Adoptive parents can be single, married or partnered; experienced or not; renters or homeowners; LGBTQ singles and couples.

The process to adopt a child from foster care requires training, interviews, and home visits to determine if adoption is right for you, and if so, to help connect you with a child or sibling group that your family will be a good match for.

To learn more about adoption from foster care, call the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange at 617-964-6273 or go to The sooner you call, the sooner a waiting child will have a permanent place to call home.

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