Arizona election officials are “deeply concerned” after two armed “vigilantes” were found outside a ballot drop box in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer released a joint statement sounding the alarm.
“We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box. Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints,” the statement read.
“Although monitoring and transparency in our elections is critical, voter intimidation is unlawful. For those who want to be involved in election integrity, become a poll worker or an official observer with your political party. Don’t dress in body armor to intimidate voters as they are legally returning their ballots,” the statement continued.
Officials said that the two armed individuals left the ballot drop box after a response from Maricopa County law enforcement.
“No matter how you choose to vote in Arizona, you should feel safe doing so,” the elections officials said in their statement.
“We will do everything possible in our roles to protect voters, election workers, and our free and fair elections,” they added.
Last week, the Arizona secretary of state referred a report of possible voter intimidation to the Justice Department and the Arizona attorney general after a voter was allegedly “approached and followed by a group of individuals” when attempting to cast their ballot.
Source: The Hill
Michelle Obama Earns $750,000 for One-Hour Speech
Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently commanded a staggering $750,000 for delivering a one-hour speech at a tech fair in Munich. This lucrative speaking engagement was held on the sidelines of the annual Oktoberfest beer festival.
Mrs. Obama addressed around 5,000 attendees, discussing pushing past self-doubt and emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and diversity.
According to sources close to the conference organizers, the former First Lady “topped the list” of desired participants “year after year,” prompting the organizers to “pull out all the stops” to secure her presence.
This massive sum is nearly double the annual earnings of the current President, Joe Biden, illuminating the high demand and esteem for Mrs. Obama in the international speaking circuit.
The event, named ‘Bits and Pretzels’, is a three-day gathering focused on entrepreneurial endeavors and features speakers who share their success stories. It brings together founders of national and international companies and has hosted other notable figures, including former German soccer star turned entrepreneur, Oliver Kahn. Michelle Obama’s fellow speakers at the event revered her presence, noting it as a significant highlight.
Senator Ted Cruz has been vocal about his speculations regarding Mrs. Obama’s political future, especially considering her enduring popularity and high approval ratings.
He stated on his podcast, “In August of 2024, the Democrat kingmakers [may] jettison Joe Biden and parachute in Michelle Obama.”
This statement comes amidst the circulating concerns about President Biden’s age and cognitive abilities, making the possibility of Mrs. Obama’s candidacy a tantalizing scenario for many.
Michelle Obama’s enduring appeal is evident from her consistent high approval ratings during her White House years and beyond. A recent YouGov poll highlighted that 77 percent of people still have a favorable opinion of her, compared to a mere 15 percent unfavorable.
This wide support stems from her initiatives and engagements during her tenure as the First Lady and her ongoing work promoting inclusivity and diversity.
Since leaving the White House, the Obamas have engaged in numerous lucrative speaking engagements and signed a $65 million publishing deal with Penguin for their memoirs. They have also ventured into production with their company ‘Higher Ground’, signing a significant contract with Netflix.
Michelle Obama continues to influence and inspire through her work, and her high-profile appearances are eagerly anticipated and well-compensated, as demonstrated by her recent engagement in Munich.
While the former First Lady has denied any intentions to run for office, her widespread popularity and the high demand for her insights keep the rumors alive.
The considerable fee for her recent speaking engagement underscores her enduring influence and the significant impact she continues to have on discussions about diversity and inclusivity globally.
Despite her high earnings and popularity, Michelle Obama and her family continue to receive Secret Service protection, a provision reinstated by President Obama in 2013. The law ensures lifetime protection for former presidential spouses and their family members, reversing a 1994 statute that capped such protection at ten years.
Michelle Obama remains a figure of immense influence and respect, commanding significant attention and compensation for her appearances. Her ongoing work and the discussions around her possible future political endeavors keep her at the forefront of national and global conversations.
Chicago Eyes First Government-Run Grocery Store
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced a potential game-changer. The city is exploring creating a government-owned grocery store. This is to help “historically underserved communities.”
Mayor Johnson emphasized that every resident deserves convenient, affordable, and healthy grocery options. “A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive,” he said.
The mayor’s commitment is to bring innovative, whole-of-government solutions to tackle existing inequities. “I am proud to work alongside partners to take this step in envisioning what a municipally owned grocery store in Chicago could look like,” stated Johnson.
He noted that this project promotes “food equity.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimates reveal significant disparities in access to grocery stores in different areas of the city.
If realized, this would make Chicago the first major US city to have a government-owned grocery store to address “food inequity.”
Ameya Pawar from the Economic Security Project pointed out the transformative potential of this project. “The City of Chicago is reimagining the role government can play in our lives by exploring a public option for grocery stores via a municipally owned grocery store and market,” he said.
Pawar drew parallels with libraries and the postal service, saying a public option brings economic choice and power to communities. He sees a city-owned grocery store as a viable way to restore access to healthy food in neglected areas.
Currently, the administration is conducting a feasibility study. It’s determining how the new store can operate successfully in addressing the community needs and disparities in food access.
What We Think:
This move by Chicago to start a government-run grocery store is surely an interesting one. It’s about giving all folks, no matter where they live, access to good food. Now, we’ve seen government-run things before, like the post office.
So, the big question is, can the government really run a store efficiently and help the folks on the South and West sides?
It’s a noble goal to bring good food to every part of the city, especially where folks have had it tough. But, will this actually work or just end up being another failed government experiment? Only time will tell.
Fetterman Mocks GOP Colleagues in Crude Statement
In a striking twist amid the ongoing dress code controversy in the Senate, Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., has concurred to don a suit on the Senate floor, asserting this move as one to “save democracy.”
The decision, marked with vehement language, emerges amidst a wave of bipartisan discontent over Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer’s lenient modification to the Senate’s longstanding dress norms.
Fetterman’s consent to align with traditional Senate attire is tethered to explicit conditions. He has demanded that House Republicans orchestrate the passage of a government funding bill and proclaim unwavering support for Ukraine.
“If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor,” Fetterman asserted in a public statement.
If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week.— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) September 20, 2023
Fetterman’s distinctive apparel choices and Schumer’s leniency have sparked a tumult of debates over standards and institutional respect for the Senate. The Pennsylvanian Democrat, often spotted in casual attire, has embraced the altered rules, while openly mocking the disapproval emanating from Republican quarters.
Nevertheless, prominent Democrats, including Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., have vocalized concerns, highlighting the urgent need for maintaining decorum on the Senate floor.
“I’m concerned about it…I think we need to have standards when it comes to what we’re wearing on the floor of the Senate,” Durbin expressed during a SiriusXM interview, revealing discussions underway regarding the reinstatement of sartorial standards.
Further, moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is spearheading a proposal aiming to restore the Senate’s dress code, underscoring bipartisan unrest surrounding Schumer’s alterations.
The proposal has received backing from “the coalition of the rational,” as termed by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and seeks to delineate clear dress norms.
What We Think
This Senate dress code debacle is reflective of a deeper issue— it underscores a blatant disregard for the traditions and decorums that have long stood as the backbone of our esteemed institutions.
Fetterman’s casual approach to Senate attire and Schumer’s ensuing acquiescence are not just about clothes; they’re indicative of a waning respect for the Senate and its time-honored norms.
While it’s reassuring to witness bipartisan support to uphold Senate traditions, it’s disheartening that we’ve reached a juncture where a dress code sparks such controversies.
This scenario is emblematic of a broader societal shift towards casualness and a diminishing reverence for institutions that deserve our utmost respect. The ongoing dialogues and proposals to reestablish dress norms are crucial for preserving the dignity and decorum of the Senate.
The conditions set forth by Fetterman reveal another layer of the political tussle and emphasize the importance of maintaining unity, especially in matters concerning international affairs and governmental functions.
It’s high time that all senators, regardless of their party affiliations, unite to uphold the sanctity and dignity of the Senate, displaying a united front that resonates with responsibility, respect, and patriotic duty.
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