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Author: T. Thompson

February 3, 2023

DeSantis Responds to Trump’s Criticism: I Was Reelected

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1870: Iowa ratifies the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution, allowing suffrage for all races and ethnicities.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to former President Donald Trump’s criticism of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that he won a substantial reelection victory.

During a press conference in Bradenton, Florida, DeSantis was asked about Trump’s recent jabs at him.

“I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles, it’s been happening for many, many years,” DeSantis responded.

“The good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that whether they re-elect you or not. And I’m happy to say — you know in my case — not only did we win re-election, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida. … That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”

During campaign stops over the weekend, Trump took a few swings at DeSantis. Trump accused the governor of “trying to rewrite history” regarding his response to the pandemic, including his decision to permit lockdowns in the beginning stages and that he “promoted the vaccine as much as anyone.”

Trump also addressed the possibility of DeSantis entering the 2024 presidential race, saying: “When I hear that he might [run] I think it’s very disloyal.”

So far, Trump is the only major Republican candidate to enter the race. POLITICO noted that DeSantis will likely join the race later this year, possibly in or around May, after the Florida Legislature’s annual session.


Source: POLITICO

February 2, 2023

Eagles Player Indicted on Felony Charges Ahead of Super Bowl

A player on the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles has been indicted on felony rape and kidnapping charges in his home state of Ohio, less than two weeks before his team is set to play in the Super Bowl.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced the indictment against Eagles offensive lineman Josh Sills, 25, on charges stemming from an incident that took place on Dec. 5, 2019.

The Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident, and a grand jury indicted Sills on one felony count of rape and one felony count of kidnapping.

Prosecutors said that Sills “did engage in sexual conduct” with a victim and “purposely compelled her to submit by force or threat of force.”

According to the indictment, the NFL rookie also allegedly “did, by force, threat, or deception, remove” the victim from “the place where she was found or restrain the liberty of her for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a felony.”

Sills is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 16 in Cambridge, Ohio — four days after the Eagles face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in Arizona.

“The organization is aware of the legal matter involving Josh Sills,” the Eagles said in a statement. “We have been in communication with the league office and are in the process of gathering more information. We have no further comment at this time.”

The Eagles signed Sills in 2022 as an undrafted free agent. He played one game this season in Week 5.


Source: People

February 2, 2023

WATCH: Biden Grabs Reporter’s Hand in Bizarre Interaction

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican–American War. The U.S. acquires Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona for $15 million.

President Joe Biden awkwardly grabbed a reporter’s hand and squeezed under her umbrella after being asked about his recent decision to end the federal COVID-19 emergency.

The up-close-and-personal interaction came Tuesday afternoon, shortly before the 80-year-old president departed the White House for a trip to New York City.

As Biden was approaching the Marine One helicopter, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Kristen Welker asked: “What’s behind your decision to end the COVID emergency?”

Welker was referring to an announcement made on Monday, wherein Biden said that his administration was ending the public health emergency declaration that the Trump administration put in place at the start of the pandemic.

At that point, Biden approached Welker, grabbed her hand, and pulled her umbrella towards him. He asked her to repeat the question, as it was drowned out by noise from the helicopter.

“What’s behind your decision to end the COVID emergency?” Welker repeated.

“The COVID emergency will end when the Supreme Court ends it,” Biden answered. “We’ve extended it to May the 15th to make sure we get everything done. That’s all. There’s nothing behind it at all.”

He continued to address other reporters that shouted questions, keeping his hand firmly on top of Welker’s hand.

Watch the interaction below:


Source: Daily Mail

February 1, 2023

Bill Gates Rattled By Jeffrey Epstein Questions in Awkward Interview

Bill Gates is clearly tired of being asked about his connection to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as evidenced by an awkward interview with Australia’s ABC 7.30.

The Microsoft cofounder stammered and stumbled over his words as host Sarah Ferguson grilled him over his relationship with Epstein.

The backstory

Gates first started meeting with Epstein in 2011 — three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida — the New York Times reported. In 2019, Gates told The Wall Street Journal that he didn’t have a business relationship or friendship with Epstein.

In July 2019, New York federal prosecutors unsealed a criminal indictment against Epstein, accusing the wealthy financial manager of operating a sex trafficking ring where he sexually abused dozens of underage girls.

The following month, Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell; the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said his cause of death was suicide by hanging.

Melinda Gates, Bill’s ex-wife, told CBS’s Gayle King that his continued meetings with Epstein had contributed to their divorce, which was finalized in 2021.

The awkward interview

Ferguson noted that one of the issues that “dogged” Gates was his connection to Epstein.

“Do you regret the relationship that you maintained with him against Melinda’s advice and wishes?” she asked.

Gates, apparently taken aback by the question, stammered a bit and replied: “You’re going way back in time, but yeah, I will say for the over a hundredth time that, yeah, I shouldn’t have had dinners with him.”

Ferguson pressed on with a follow-up question: “Epstein had a way of sexually compromising people. Is that what Melinda was warning you about?”

“No,” Gates responded. “No, I had dinner with him, and that’s all.”

Gates also denied there was a relationship of any sort between Epstein and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Source: Fox News

February 1, 2023

IRS Shares Unfortunate News About This Year’s Tax Refunds

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
2003: Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

While rising prices continue to wreak havoc, many people may be depending on their tax refunds to tide them over. Unfortunately, this year’s refunds may be significantly smaller than expected.

The IRS warned that many Americans will receive a smaller tax refund this year, amid the expiration of several pandemic-era policies.

Last year, the average tax refund was $3,039 — a 7.5% increase from 2021. But now, things are set to trend in the opposite direction as key tax breaks implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic come to an end.

For instance, the child tax credit is no longer available. Eligible parents previously received $3,600 per child, and now that number is back down to $2,000. Similarly, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which alleviates childcare costs for working parents, drops from a maximum of $8,000 to $2,100.

During the pandemic, even taxpayers who took a standard deduction could also take a $600 deduction for charitable donations. Now, those charitable payments can only be deducted by those who itemize.

For childless taxpayers, the Earned Income Tax Credit is lower this year.

Americans who purchased an electric vehicle in 2022 could qualify for a $7,500 tax credit. But now, there’s a caveat. In order to qualify for the credit, EVs purchased on or after August 16, 2022, must have been assembled in North America.

The IRS is now accepting tax returns

Tax returns are typically due on April 15, but Americans get a few extra days this year, since that date falls on a weekend. Returns are due on April 18. Additionally, those impacted by storms in Alabama, California and Georgia have until May 15 to file.

The IRS said that those who file electronically should expect to receive their refund via direct deposit within three weeks.

Keep in mind, financial experts warn against rushing to file. Make sure you’ve gathered all the relevant forms, and wait for any slow companies to mail out any 1099s or W-2s.


Source: Axios

January 31, 2023

Teen Playing Hide-and-Seek Found Days Later in Another Country

A game of hide-and-seek took a turn when a 15-year-old boy accidentally locked himself inside a shipping container and ended up in another country.

The teen, identified only by his first name, Fahim, was playing hide-and-seek with a group of friends in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Jan. 11 when he hid inside a shipping container and fell asleep.

Fahim was discovered six days later in West Port, Malaysia, after the container arrived via a commercial ship.

“The boy was just believed to have entered the container, fell asleep, and found himself here,” Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said. “He was the only one found in the container. A police report was lodged and as he was having a fever.”

Ismail said the boy received medical attention and that authorities “are in the process of repatriating him through the legal channel.”

At first, officials were concerned that Fahim had wound up approximately 2,300 miles away after being human trafficked, but an investigation determined that he entered the shipping container during a game of hide-and-seek.

“The relevant authorities have investigated the case and their investigations found no elements of human trafficking,” Ismail said.


Source: Fox 13

January 31, 2023

Top Republican Says Odds ‘Very High’ of Military Conflict with China

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1950: U.S. President Harry Truman publicly announces support for the development of a hydrogen bomb.

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the odds of a military conflict with China “are very high.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) was agreeing with a comment made by Air Force General Mike Minihan, who reportedly sent a memo to troops on Friday predicting that the US will be at war with China in two years.

In the memo, which was obtained by NBC News, Minihan wrote: “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025.”

Minihan noted that both the U.S. and Taiwan will hold presidential elections in 2024, which presents a potential opportunity for China to take military action.

McCaul, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was asked to weigh in on the prediction during an interview with Fox News.

“I hope he’s wrong, as well. I think he’s right, though, unfortunately,” McCaul said on Fox News Sunday.

“I think as long as Biden is in office projecting weakness as he did with Afghanistan that led to Putin invading Ukraine, that the odds are very high that we could see a conflict with China and Taiwan and the Indo Pacific,” he said.

However, a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee disagreed with the notion of an impending war with China.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) told Fox News Sunday that while “anything is possible,” he’s concerned “when anyone starts talking about war with China being inevitable.”

“I want to be completely clear. It’s not only not inevitable, it’s highly unlikely,” Smith said. “We have interests, we have to be in a position to deter China. War is not inevitable. It’s a very dangerous situation that we need to be prepared for, but I’m fully confident that we can avoid that conflict if we take the right approach.”


Source: Fox News | NBC News

January 30, 2023

5 Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Dollar Tree

Every item at Dollar Tree costs $1.25. With that low price, it might seem like any purchase would be a bargain. But that catch-all price can actually make some things overpriced. And in the worst cases, some of the products offered at Dollar Tree simply aren’t up to par. Read on to learn what you should avoid buying at Dollar Tree.

1. Nonperishable foods

When Dollar Tree upped the price of their products from $1 to $1.25 in Nov. 2021, some savvy shoppers realized that 25 cents actually made a big difference.

“[Dollar Tree’s] cereals tend to come in three-ounce bags,” popular YouTuber Bargain Bethany explained. “With the 25-cent increase, you’re paying even more per ounce. For the same three-ounce bag that I’m going to pay $1.25 for, I can go to Walgreens and get 11 ounces for $1.99; or I can go to Target and get a family-size that has 15 ounces and pay $3.59.”

For instance, the price per ounce of Lucky Charms at Dollar Tree was almost double that at Target, per Best Life.

2. Anything that plugs in

Unfortunately, cheaper electronics can pose a safety issue.

Last April, Dollar Tree recalled over one million hot glue guns due to fire and burn hazards. The glue guns malfunctioned when plugged in, resulting in four fires and the burning of one person’s skin, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Per the Washington Post, “Off-brand electronics can be risky purchases, as their supply chains are not as consistent as the name brands you find at other retailers. Power strips and chargers are likely to be cheaply made and could damage your devices.”

3. Frozen meat and fish

While some frozen foods at discount chains might be ok, you should avoid buying unprocessed food, such as meat or seafood.

“I don’t eat any of the frozen fish or rib eyes because I don’t trust frozen seafood or meat that costs a dollar,” a Dollar Tree manager told Mental Floss.

Another Dollar Tree manager said he “would never buy the steak” because he “heard from more than one person that it doesn’t cook [well] and it feels like rubber.”

In fact, Cincinnati television station WCPO conducted a taste test with the local fire department in 2016. The $1 steaks weren’t very popular, with one firefighter declaring it “not terrible” and another saying, “I guess it was meat.”

4. Laundry detergent

While laundry detergent initially seems like a better deal at the Dollar Tree, it ends up costing more in the long run.

“Dollar Tree has Tide detergent for $1.25 for 10 fluid ounces—that’s about 17 cents a fluid ounce,” Bargain Bethany explained. “The same type [of detergent] at Walmart is $0.11 per fluid ounce or $3.29 for 31 fluid ounces. So yes, I’m going to pay more initially, but in the long run, I am saving money.”

The same is also true for name-brand fabric softeners and dryer sheets, the YouTuber said. Inflation aside, buying these items elsewhere in larger quantities will cost you less money.

5. Vitamins and supplements

According to Consumer Reports, supplements “aren’t regulated as carefully as OTC drugs.”

If you plan on purchasing vitamins and supplements at Dollar Tree, Consumer Reports recommends checking “to see whether they bear the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) seal or the seal of another independent testing group, such as NSF International.”

Additionally, the outlet conducted a test in 2012, finding that some dollar store multivitamins didn’t actually contain the number of nutrients listed on the labels.


Source: Best Life

January 30, 2023

WATCH: Jill Biden Stops Joe from Answering Questions About Document Scandal

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1815: Burned U.S. Library of Congress re-established with Thomas Jefferson’s 6,500 volumes.

First lady Jill Biden shielded President Joe Biden from questions about his classified documents scandal, quickly ushering him away from reporters before he could offer any answers.

A widely-shared video clip shows the Bidens at the White House during a Lunar New Year celebration. In the video, a reporter asks Biden if he will allow the FBI to search his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for classified documents after sensitive materials were discovered at the president’s home in Wilmington.

The president doesn’t stop to answer the question, as Jill Biden walks up beside him and the pair turns and walks away.

Jill Biden “expertly walked between her husband and reporters as they shouted questions about the documents debacle,” per the Daily Mail.

According to the RNC Research Twitter account, Biden responded to the reporter’s question with a “blank stare.”

The president is under a special counsel investigation after his lawyers first discovered classified documents from the Obama administration at Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2.

Several more batches of classified materials have been recovered since then. A second stash was found in the garage at Biden’s home in Wilmington on Dec. 20. More classified materials were found earlier this month, during subsequent searches on Jan. 12 and Jan. 20.


Source: Newsweek | Daily Mail

January 29, 2023

29-Year-Old Woman Arrested After Enrolling as High School Freshman

Police arrested a 29-year-old woman after she allegedly used fraudulent documents to enroll as a student at a high school in New Jersey.

The woman, Hyejeong Shin, provided a false birth certificate to the New Brunswick Board of Education in order to enroll as a “juvenile” high school student, the New Brunswick Police Department said in a news release.

Shin was charged with one count of providing a false government document with the intent to verify one’s identity or age, police said.

The department noted that in New Jersey, schools are required “to immediately enroll unaccompanied children, even in the absence of records normally required for enrollment.”

“Proof of guardianship is not necessary to immediately enroll an unaccompanied child or youth,” police said. “Although a school district might request documents such as a birth certificate to verify a child’s age, a school district may not prevent or discourage a child, including an unaccompanied child, from enrolling in or attending school because he or she lacks a birth certificate or has records that indicate a foreign place of birth, such as a foreign birth certificate.”

New Brunswick High School officials said Shin attended classes for four days before they caught onto her and booted her from the property.

“She was pretending to be a freshman, which is more surprising because I don’t believe she looks like a freshman,” one student told CBS News. “At the same time, it was very unsafe for the school and most of the students in there.”

Students fear the woman had a terrifying motive

The incident rattled the local community, and New Brunswick High School (NBHS) students fear that Shin may have been attempting to lure students into sex trafficking.

“I think she was really trying to traffic young women which is what anybody who hears about this needs to be aware of your surroundings,” NBHS senior Abrianna Martin told NBC New York. “I heard she was still trying to contact some of the young girls here even after we found out.”

“From what I’ve been told, [the woman’s] intentions were to lure kids to a specific street in New Brunswick and possibly traffic them,” community member Michael Castro told New Brunswick Today. “It was so easy for her to engage with these students, teachers, and faculty members because no one ever did a thorough investigation of where this woman came from.”

Some students said Shin sent them text messages asking to hang out.

“Some of the girls I know, [Shin] did ask them to hang out at Commercial Avenue, but they never showed up, and she started acting weird with them,” one student said. “It’s scary because you never know what could happen.”

A police investigation is currently underway. In the meantime, superintendent Aubrey Johnson said that administrators will review their enrollment process to determine ways to better identify falsified documents in the future.


Sources: CBS News | CBS New York | New Brunswick Today | NBC New York

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