Stembridge News Digest

  • Pastor faces backlash after dressing in drag on HBO show Wed, 08 Dec 2021 04:33:17 +0000

    Pastor Craig Duke, who faced backlash after dressing in drag on the HBO program "We're Here," has been relieved of his pastoral duties at Newburgh United Methodist Church in Indiana.

    Emails from congregants started not long after the program aired Nov. 8, Duke said, according to Religion News Service, which noted that some of the comments that Duke got were positive. But others were not.

    "Enough were so negative that — at the 'insistence' of Newburgh’s Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Duke said — he requested a new assignment from Bishop Julius C. Trimble of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church," RNS reported.

    Duke intended to head a six-week Bible study regarding sexuality at the church, according to the outlet. But Duke said an additional "negative, bullying, attacking email from a church person" that came on Nov. 14 "flipped the tide."

    “It just got to the point where the conflict, the anger grew too much, and so for my mental health, too, I started to back away, and I told my district superintendent that the conflict was so much, it was at such a level from some, that I was unable to be an effective leader,” Duke said.

    Mitch Gieselman, the superintendent of the South and Southwest District of the Indiana Conference, discussed the situation in a November note to the congregation.

    "Rev. Duke is being relieved from pastoral duties effective December 1, 2021. He will not be available to perform any pastoral functions at NUMC. He and Linda will continue to reside in the parsonage until no later than February 28, 2022, but he will not be at the church in any capacity," Gieselman wrote. "Duke will continue with a significantly reduced salary until no later than February 28."

    Here's more from the letter:

    Craig has not “resigned,” nor has he been “fired,” as these are not actions that are consistent with our appointment system. While there is a diversity of opinion regarding the moral implications of Rev. Duke’s actions, he has not been found to have committed any chargeable offense or other violation of the United Methodist Book of Discipline.

    In short, Craig has reached a place where he feels unable to continue to serve in parish ministry at present. During his time of being relieved from pastoral duties, he will be engaging in a process of renewal, reflection, and recovery that will be monitored by our conference Director of Leadership Development, Bishop Trimble, and myself. Our desire is to provide an opportunity for Craig to again be able to utilize his numerous gifts as a pastor in a local congregation. He will not, however, be returning to the NUMC pulpit.

    A crowdfunding campaign meant to benefit Duke has already raised tens of thousands of dollars.

    “The outpouring of support — not just in emails and Facebook and all those experiences, but also financially, which a group started and it’s just really been incredible and unbelievable — may lead us a different direction. We really just don’t know at this point,” Duke said, according to RNS.

  • Mental health poll finds regular churchgoers and Republicans doing far better than Democrats Wed, 08 Dec 2021 04:23:47 +0000

    An annual poll of mental health found that the pandemic is taking its toll, but regular churchgoers are faring far better than Democrats, who rate their mental health very low.

    The report found that only 34% of Americans rated their mental health as "excellent," which is a 21-year-low for the report. It's also about the same rate as a year ago.

    But among those that reported high rates of mental health were those who regularly went to church, at about 44%. That subgroup reported the highest rate of mental health among those measured by the poll.

    One of the subgroups that reported the lowest levels of mental health, at 28%, was Democrats.

    Another subgroup reporting lower mental health wa low-income earners.

    42% of Republicans reported "excellent" mental health, while 33% of independent voters reported "excellent" mental health. Prior to the pandemic, 56% of Republicans reported the same in 2019, while 44% reported the same that year.

    “The wellbeing of most groups mirrors the national trend, with their mental health scores worsening last year followed by little to no improvement this year,” said the analysis of the report by Gallup.

    “However, Democrats’ mental health rating has been steady at a relatively low level since 2019 while frequent churchgoers’ has been steadily high," it continued.

    The report found that men rated their mental health better than women did, and older Americans rated theirs better than younger Americans.

    Also on Tuesday, the surgeon general released a rare public health advisory warning that young people were experiencing high stress as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said that symptoms of depression and anxiety have doubled throughout the pandemic.

    “Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread," said Murthy. "But most importantly, they are treatable, and often preventable.”

    Here's more about mental health under the pandemic:

    Surgeon General Issues Rare Public Health Advisory Over Youth Mental Health Crisis

  • Man kills himself and his family over fears from his employer discovering fake vaccine card, German police say Wed, 08 Dec 2021 03:00:05 +0000

    A man reportedly killed himself and his family over fears of his fake vaccine card being discovered by the man's employer.

    German police said they were called to a gruesome scene at the man's home on Saturday by witnesses who saw lifeless bodies through the windows.

    They discovered five members of a family killed at the home in the town of Königs Wusterhausen, outside of Berlin. The 40-year-old parents were found with their three children aged 10, 8, and 4-years-old.

    Police said they found a suicide note that explained that the man had obtained fake vaccine cards for himself and his wife, but that the employer had discovered the false documents. The parents were afraid that their children might be taken away from them, said Chief Public Prosecutor Gernot Bantleon, because the employer had threatened to report them.

    Investigators believe the man killed his wife and the children, and then killed himself. Police found a gun in the home, but reports were unclear on whether the family died from gun wounds or knife wounds.

    It's also believed that the man was despairing because he lost his job over the fake vaccine card incident.

    German media reported that the family had been under quarantine. Germany has raised social distancing restrictions after coronavirus cases have soared in recent weeks. The government has implemented a vaccine mandate for all workers in the country.

    Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the increased restrictions last week after the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic.

    "The fourth wave must be broken and this has not yet been achieved," said Merkel. "Given the situation, I think it is appropriate to adopt compulsory vaccination."

    Here's news video of the scene of the horrible incident:

    German man kills family in murder-suicide after being busted over fake vaccine card | New York Post

  • Poll: Just 37% of Dems want to see Biden top the 2024 Democratic ticket Wed, 08 Dec 2021 02:34:35 +0000

    A meager 37% of Democrats want to see President Joe Biden run for re-election on the 2024 Democratic ticket, according to an I&I/TIPP poll of registered voters, which also found that less than a quarter of voters overall want Biden at the top of that ticket.

    The poll asked, "Who do you want to see run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2024?" and listed Biden as well as a variety of other figures. It was carried out online from Dec. 1-4 by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, and it has a +/-3.2 percentage point margin of error, according to Issues & Insights.

    The poll found that overall, 22% wanted Biden to run for president on his party's 2024 ticket, while 12% wanted Vice President Kamala Harris, 4% wanted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and even smaller percentages wanted one of the other figures who were listed. Nearly a third (31%) were not sure who they want to see leading the Democratic ticket.

    The poll appears to indicate that even among Democrats, Biden is not inspiring enthusiasm.

    Just 37% of Democrats in the poll picked Biden, while Harris came in a distant second place with just 16%, and other figures listed in the poll garnered even less support. The poll found that 13% of Democrats were not sure who they wanted to see head the ticket.

    Just 8% of independents and other non-major party voters wanted to see Biden lead the 2024 Democratic ticket, while 10% selected Harris, and 37% were not sure.

    Less than a year into the president's term, the Biden administration has already faced criticism on a variety of fronts, among them, the supply chain crisis, rising inflation, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the border crisis along the nation's southern border.

    The president has been struggling with poor job approval ratings, with many polls indicating that his job approval rating is underwater.

    Last month, a Hill-HarrisX poll of registered voters found that 24% thought Biden should run for re-election in 2024, while 61% believed that he should make way for someone else. Among Democrats, 45% thought Biden should pursue the presidency again, while 37% thought he should make way for someone else.

  • Biden nominee drops bid to lead banking regulation office after Republicans object to her extremist views Wed, 08 Dec 2021 01:00:00 +0000

    President Joe Biden's nominee for the Comptroller of the Currency dropped her bid after Republicans assailed her for past comments and writings expressing extremist economic views.

    Saule Omarova said in a statement Tuesday that she was withdrawing her name from consideration because “at this point in the process … it is no longer tenable for me to continue" as a nominee.

    “I am writing to you today with a request to withdraw my candidacy from further consideration for the position of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency,” Omarova wrote. “It was a great honor and a true privilege to be nominated by President Biden to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency overseeing the U.S. national banking system.”

    Omarova was born in Kazakhstan when it was still under Soviet control. Her great-grandparents had been labeled enemies of the state under Josef Stalin, and sent to Siberia. Omarova was studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when the Soviet Union collapsed.

    She later worked in the Treasury Department under George W. Bush, but Republicans opposing her nomination found evidence that she had ideological sympathies for Marxism and communism.

    "Here what I'm thinking about is primarily the coal and oil and gas industry. A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to probably go bankrupt in short order, at least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change," said Omarova in a video conference about social wealth in March.

    Another piece of evidence used against Omarova was a tweet where she complained about the gender inequity in the U.S. economic system ascompared to the centralized system of the Soviet Union.

    "Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there," she claimed in the 2019 tweet.

    Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania released a statement responding to the withdrawal of Omarova's nomination.

    "During the confirmation process, a bipartisan consensus emerged that Professor Omarova’s self-proclaimed radical ideas for America’s financial system were not suitable for our nation’s top banking regulator," wrote Toomey.

    "I hope the Biden administration will select a nominee with mainstream views about the American economy," he added.

    Biden also released a statement decrying Republicans and claiming that "Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale."

    Here's part of the Senate hearing on Omarova's nomination:

    'You Scared The Heck Out Of Them': GOP Senator Bashes Saule Omarova Over Her Views On Banks

  • Teen in India arrested for decapitating his sister as their mother allegedly held the young woman's legs Wed, 08 Dec 2021 00:30:06 +0000

    A teenager has been arrested in India for decapitating his pregnant sister as their mother allegedly held the victim's legs, according to police, CNN reported.

    The 19-year-old had wed contrary to her parent's wishes. She was two months pregnant, police told the outlet, citing the woman's husband.

    "The girl (19) went against her parents' wishes and got married five months ago. They had a court marriage and since then she had not been in contact with her family and was living with her husband," police official Kailash Prajapati informed the outlet.

    The gruesome execution occurred on Sunday. The relatives went to the young woman's residence and she invited them in for tea, Prajapati noted, according to CNN.

    "That is when the brother took a scythe and struck her four times and beheaded her. They then picked up the head and kept it outside the house in the yard and left the body inside," he said. "The mother was holding her legs during the incident and was equally complicit."

    The slain woman's spouse, who had been sleeping, awoke when he heard the sound, police noted, according to CNN. "The accused attacked him as well but he was able to escape," Prajapati said.

    Authorities said the duo went to a police station and admitted to the slaying.

    While the two have not been formally charged, Prajapati noted that the police report identified murder as the charge for each of them, pending an investigation, according to CNN.

    Police were waiting for an autopsy to verify if the deceased was pregnant, the outlet noted.

    The BBC reported that police suspect the individuals took a selfie photo with the head.

    The outlet also said that the victim did not contact her family much after getting married, but tha the mother visited a week prior to the killing. Police said the mother was aware of the daughter's pregnancy, the BBC noted.

  • NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio calls on every governor and mayor to issue vaccine mandates to avoid shutdowns Wed, 08 Dec 2021 00:00:00 +0000

    Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a vaccine mandate, and called on all governors and mayors to do the same in order to avoid more economically damaging shutdowns.

    De Blasio appeared on CNN beseeching leaders to follow his lead on vaccine mandates.

    "We had experience already with private sector, with as I said, with restaurants and others, indoor entertainment, we had almost no fines. There was a lot of cooperation, our department of health is gonna work with the business sector, we're gonna come out with specific protocols by December 15th, so that people have time," de Blasio explained.

    "And look, in the end, we know we can't just sit here and let things get worse. lives are at stake, and the last thing we could possibly allow in this city or in this country, is to go backwards, because that's a danger. I mean Germany, a very advanced nation, they're going through those restrictions and shutdowns," he added.

    "Look, my message to every governor, every mayor in America," de Blasio said, "is get in place some mandates now before it's too late, because we cannot — people's livelihoods, people's lives, we can't go through more shutdowns and restrictions."

    De Blasio said that his administration was trying to get ahead of a possible surge in coronavirus cases due to the Omicron variant and the winter season. Four cases of micron have been documented in New York City already.

    "This omicron variant moves fast, we have to move faster!" said De Blasio.

    The vaccine mandate will be enforced in New York City starting Dec. 27, just days before de Blasio leaves the mayor's office to make way for the next mayor, Eric Adams. De Blasio was term-limited and ineligible to run for re-election.

    Here's the video of de Blasio's comments:

    De Blasio defends New York City vaccine mandate

  • Urogynecologist issues mea culpa after using the word 'women,' says he should have referred to 'folks who may need gynecologic care' Tue, 07 Dec 2021 23:30:00 +0000

    Urogynecologist Ryan Stewart backpedaled on Twitter after using the word "women," saying that he should have instead referred to "folks who may need gynecologic care."

    Stewart had initially asked for women's opinions, before backtracking on his word choice.

    "I have the opportunity to design my office from scratch," Stewart tweeted. "I’m asking women. How would you design/optimize a visit to the gynecologist’s office?"

    But later, he issued a mea culpa, saying that he should not have referred to "women."

    "Folks have [correctly] pointed out that I [incorrectly] said 'women' when what I should have said was 'folks who may need gynecologic care,' Stewart tweeted. "I named the practice with this in mind @midwestpelvis, but I find that I still have a lot of internalized/implicit bias."

    Some people left comments highlighting the preposterousness of a medical professional in the field of gynecology avoiding the word "women."

    "That internal bias is called science, Ryan," Sam Janney (The FOO) of Twitchy tweeted.

    "I would design/optimize a visit to a gynaecologist’s office by making sure that gynaecologist knew what a woman was, and wouldn’t avoid using the word ‘woman’ just to get woke points," another person tweeted.

    "It’s good that you’re letting potential patients know you don’t understand basic biology so they can move on," another person commented.

    "I’d 'optimize' my visit to an OBGYN who doesn’t minimize my sex and use ridiculous language like this," another person wrote.

    According to, "Dr. Ryan Stewart is a fellowship trained pelvic surgeon specializing in treatment of women with pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and pelvic floor dysfunction."

  • 'You can't heal until you feel': Nick Cannon shares about the tragic death of his son Tue, 07 Dec 2021 22:57:32 +0000

    Actor/TV host Nick Cannon revealed Tuesday that tragedy struck his family over the weekend with the passing of his son, Zen.

    The 41-year-old made the tragic announcement on his television show, "The Nick Cannon Show."

    Cannon told his television audience that his 5-month-old son suffered from a condition called "hydrocephalus."

    Hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid in the cavities of the brain, resulting in the swelling of brain tissue, which causes brain damage as the organ is forced against the inside of the skull.

    Cannon broke down in tears as he told the audience about his son's medical condition.

    “I always noticed he had a cough, and so I wanted to check it out,” he said. He told his audience that he thought everything would be fine because his son had always had a round head like himself, which he jokingly called "a Cannon head." He and the child's mother, Alyssa Scott, thought that their son had little more than a cough and a sinus infection due to the child's abnormal breathing.

    When doctors discovered that Zen had fluid in the brain, they did emergency surgery and put in a shunt to drain the fluid.

    Zen's condition worsened over Thanksgiving, and by that time, the couple discovered that a tumor had also grown in their son's brain.

    The TV host broke down in tears as he described holding his son for the last time over the weekend, telling his audience that Sunday was usually his day to handle family business before flying to New York to be on the show.


    "I was preparing my day as it normally went. I didn’t know what it was going to be. But even by the time I got in the car headed for the airport, I had to turn around," Cannon said. The actor told the television audience that he was able to watch the sunset as he held his youngest son for the last time.

    Visibly shaken and in tears, Cannon dedicated his show on Tuesday to his baby boy.

    "You can’t heal until you feel," Cannon said to his audience. "I have so much faith in the Lord; I have so much faith in God," he said. "People kept telling me I should pray for miracles, and I did. I prayed for the miracle of God's strength, and that's why I'm here with you today," Cannon told his audience.

    The television host shares 10-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe Cannon with singer Mariah Carey; 4-year-old son Golden and 11-month-old daughter Powerful Queen Bell with Brittany Bell; and 5-month-old twins Zion Mixolydian Cannon and Zillion Heir Cannon with Abby De La Rosa, according to ABC News.

  • Dan Crenshaw blasts House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters' and 'performance artists' Tue, 07 Dec 2021 22:40:00 +0000

    U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) blasted members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus as "grifters" and "performance artists" at an event with Houston-area Republican congressional candidates on Sunday.

    "I've been in Congress for almost three years now. There's two types of members in Congress: There's performance artists, there's legislators," Crenshaw told the audience at a campaign event featuring GOP candidates Wesley Hunt and Morgan Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL and the twin brother of Marcus Luttrell.

    "Now, the performance artists are the ones that get all the attention, the ones you think are more 'conservative' because they know how to say slogans real well. They know how to recite the lines that they know that our voters want to hear," he continued.

    Without naming anyone specifically, Crenshaw criticized Freedom Caucus conservatives for voting against some bills that former President Donald Trump and a majority of the House GOP conference supported. He also defended Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a vocal Trump critic, as a House member that "voted with Trump almost 99%. He was number 2."

    "You know who was at the bottom? Everybody in the Freedom Caucus. All of them," Crenshaw said.

    "We have grifters in our midst ... I mean in the conservative movement. Lie after lie after lie, because they know something psychologically about the conservative heart — we’re worried about what people are going to do to us, what they’re going to infringe upon us,” Crenshaw said.

    Crenshaw's comments drew returning fire from at least one Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who called Crenshaw a "Neo-Conservative" and criticized the Texas Republican's voting record.

    "Every actual conservative scorecard exposes these lies. Actual conservatives oppose bankrupting America, spying on Americans, and crony surveillance capitalism," Davidson tweeted.

    The Freedom Caucus is a group of GOP lawmakers in the House of Representatives who are generally considered to be among the most conservative Republicans. The group was formed in January 2015 by several members who were first elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave, in response to the perception that more mainstream Republicans weren't keeping the promises made to voters. Its members include several controversial and headline-making lawmakers including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

    The group played a key role in opposing former House Speaker John Boehner in 2015, leading multiple efforts to oust him from leadership. The Freedom Caucus also initially opposed the House Republican bill to repeal Obamacare in 2017, whic former President Donald Trump supported, arguing it left too much of the Affordable Care Act intact. Their opposition to the Obamacare repeal bill led Trump to publicly rebuke the caucus on Twitter, going as far to declare "war" on Freedom Caucus members who wouldn't be team players.

    But the group became considerably more Trump-friendly after Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare. Former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows went on to serve as Trump's chief of staff, and the group was described as "Trump's main defender" by the Wall Street Journal during the first impeachment proceedings against Trump.

  • Man released without bail after allegedly beating up two women in random NYC attacks. He was set free last year due to bail reform after another alleged attack. Tue, 07 Dec 2021 22:25:00 +0000

    A man with a lengthy rap sheet, who allegedly beat up two women on Thursday in random New York City attacks, was set free with no bail due to the state's controversial bail reform law, the New York Post reported.

    Law enforcement sources said that 23-year-old Darrell Johnson — who's been arrested more than a dozen times since 2014 — beat one of his victims so badly that she suffered a “disfiguring laceration” to her face, the Post added.

    What's more, the homeless suspect was charged last year for a similar beatdown on a man — and set free due to bail reform as well, the paper said.

    What's the background?

    On Aug. 3, 2020, Johnson was charged with assault and harassment after punching his male victim in the face multiple times in a Harlem building, the Post said, citing a court complaint.

    Johnson then allegedly “used his feet to kick and stomp” the man, the paper said.

    But the Post said a Manhattan judge had to release the suspect without bail since the charges weren't eligible for the restriction connected to the reformed state bail laws. The paper said that before the laws were changed, judges could use their own discretion in regard to setting bail.

    The aforementioned case against Johnson is still pending, the Post said.

    What happened next?

    Which brings us to Thursday morning, when Johnson allegedly went on the attack in Manhattan once again.

    The paper, citing sources, said he allegedly approached a 50-year-old woman at Broadway and West 79th Street around 9:20 a.m. and carried out a “violent, unprovoked” attack on her. She's the previously noted victim who suffered a “disfiguring laceration” to her face, the Post said.

    Then three minutes later, Johnson allegedly assaulted a 32-year-old woman a block away on West 80th Street, walking up to her and punching her in the face, which caused “redness and swelling,” the paper said, citing the complaint.

    Both women were taken to St. Luke’s Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the Post said.

    What happened in court?

    Manhattan prosecutors in court Friday recommended Johnson's release under supervised monitoring in connection to the attacks on the women, the paper said — and the judge granted the request.

    The district attorney's office told the Post that none of the charges against Johnson in this latest case were serious enough to let the judge order Johnson held on bail.

    New York Defender Services, which represent Johnson, declined to comment Monday, the paper said.

  • Piers Morgan tears into transgender college swimmer: 'If Michael Phelps began competing as a transgender woman, all hell would break loose' Tue, 07 Dec 2021 22:10:00 +0000

    British broadcaster Piers Morgan blasted transgender college swimmer Lia Thomas after she dominated earlier this week in collegiate meets, smashing records previously held by biological women.

    Thomas, a 22-year-old enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, previously competed for three years in men's swimming under the name Will Thomas.

    She was required to undergo one year of testosterone suppression treatment in order to qualify for the women's events.

    What are the details?

    In a lengthy essay published in the Daily Mail, Morgan said that if Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps decided to compete as a transgender woman, "all hell would break loose."

    "If Michael Phelps began competing as a transgender woman, all hell would break loose," Morgan began, "so why is nothing being done to stop trans athletes like Lia Thomas from destroying women's sport?"

    According to Morgan, Phelps, who won 28 Olympic medals — including 23 gold medals — "achieved this staggering statistical dominance through a combination of physical prowess, dazzling skill, and a uniquely steely work ethic and determination to be the very best."

    In short, Phelps was an incredibly talented, young, fit male who trained seven days a week and competed against fellow male swimmers who — while undoubtedly talented — were simply not in his league.

    "Now imagine what would have happened if Phelps had transitioned into a female when at the peak of his powers?" Morgan added. "He, now she, wouldn't have just dominated women's swimming – he, now she, would have smashed all the women's records by such vast margins that no woman born with a female biological body would have ever come close to beating any of them ever again."

    This, according to Morgan, is happening on a much smaller stage.

    Thomas on Sunday competed at an event in Akron, Ohio, demolishing her fellow swimmers in the 1,650-yard freestyle event. Thomas took a 38-second lead by even her nearest rival, collegiate swimmer Anna Sofia Kalandaze, setting a pool, meet, and program record all in one shot.

    Saturday saw Thomas clinch the 200-yard freestyle at 1:41:93 — seven seconds ahead of her closest rival — which has been the fastest finish in the United States.

    On Friday, she won the 500-yard freestyle event by 14 seconds, setting a new Ivy League record.

    Morgan added that Thomas has an obvious — and grossly unfair — advantage over her female rivals who are now no longer able to swim at the same competitive level in their sport.

    Allowing transgender women born in male bodies — which Morgan insisted have "hugely superior physical advantage[s]" — to compete in women's sports will do nothing more than vaporize the viability of natural-born women's records.

    "It's happening in myriad sports now including sprinting, cycling and weight-lifting — and I don't care how loudly the woke brigade squeals, it's just plain unfair and is crushing the hopes, dreams, and hard work of so many female athletes," Morgan added.

    Thomas, Morgan pointed out, will continue to demolish women's swimming records not because she's a brilliant and talented swimmer, but because she's a man competing against women.

    "Lia Thomas is on her way to irrevocably disintegrating women's swimming records," he wrote. "Not because she's a natural-born brilliant swimmer, because when she competed as a man, she was mediocre at best. No, she will do it because she's got a hugely advantageous physique over her female rivals."

    He reasoned, "What will it take to stop this transgender sporting madness? Does Floyd Mayweather have to identify as a woman and get into the ring as a female boxer? Or Usain Bolt come out of retirement to compete on the women's springing circuit? Or perhaps Michael Phelps really should transition and jump in the pool against women half his size and with a fraction of his speed?

    The broadcaster concluded with a warning: "Stop this insanity now, before it's too late."

    Anything else?

    In June, Thomas told the school newspaper that being able to continue swimming despite transitioning is "very rewarding."

    "The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that's usually really solid," Thomas said at the time. "Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like? ... Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding."

    Trans Athlete Shatters Records In This Sport, Can Women's Sports Survive? | DM CLIPS | Rubin Report

  • Good Samaritan chases down and restrains man robbing elderly woman: ‘God wasn’t letting me let this guy get away’ Tue, 07 Dec 2021 21:55:00 +0000

    A good Samaritan in Butler County, Ohio, jumped into action this week by chasing down and restraining a burglar who had snatched an elderly woman's purse.

    What happened?

    Deshawn Pressley was shopping with his family at a Lemon Township Kroger grocery store on Sunday when he heard screams coming from the aisle next to him, WKRC-TV reported.

    Moments later, the 27-year-old saw a burglar running past him while an elderly woman, 87-year-old Pat Goins, lay on the ground — and that's when his instincts kicked in.

    “I seen him run right past me and after I seen him run past me I ran after him,” the local hero recalled to the news outlet, adding, “God wasn’t letting me let this guy get away.”

    Pressley chased the suspect into the parking lot, reportedly pulling him out of his truck and restraining him until police arrived on the scene.

    "I just knew I had to do something," he said later.

    Cincinnati man steps in to catch purse snatcher at local Kroger

    The suspect, 58-year-old Derek Vaughn, was arrested on felony charges of third-degree robbery and fifth-degree theft from the elderly, which combined could result in six years in prison. He is being held in Middletown City Jail.

    Pressley walked away with only minor scratches on his arm.

    What else?

    In a news release, the Butler County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Pressley had "wrestled with the suspect" until law enforcement arrived. And during that time, Goins was able to get up and walk out to the parking lot where she found Vaughn under Pressley's knee.

    Goins told WLWT-TV that she was shocked by what had just happened and a little hurt, but she mustered up the energy to give the burglar a lecture: "I told him, I pointed at him and said, 'You know, if you needed something, all you had to do was ask.'"

    She added that she was a target from the minute she walked into the store due to her age and the fact that she was alone, and shared just how thankful she was that Pressley was so quick to jump into action in her defense.

    “You are truly a great person," she said in reference to Pressley. "I owe you more than I could ever thank you for and I want you to have a great life, a great year, and love that baby girl.”

    Anything else?

    Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy James Davenport noted Pressley's actions were all the more courageous because he didn't know whether the suspect was carrying a weapon.

    “He’s a hero there especially this time, the time we’re living in here,” Davenport said, according to WKRC. “He’s a hero there to get involved like he did.”

    Pressley, who was raised by his grandmother, said it was second nature to come to the aid of an elderly woman in need.

    “Elderly people, like, I have all respect for,” he said. “Basically, I love old people to be honest.”

  • Mitch McConnell wants ten Republicans to help Democrats raise the debt limit Tue, 07 Dec 2021 21:20:00 +0000

    Senate Republicans may be on the verge of helping Democrats raise the debt limit by temporarily changing the rules of the Senate to fast-track the process.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly seeking at least ten Republicans to agree to a strategy that would permit the Democratic majority to raise the debt limit with a simple majority vote. In a deal struck with Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Republicans would give Democrats enough votes to change the rules, and then Democrats will pass the debt limit increase without Republican support.

    A total of 60 votes are required to change the Senate rules, so at least ten Republicans must agree to McConnell's strategy to get it done.

    This is all an attempt to circumvent the 60-vote legislative filibuster on a debt-limit increase. Under the plan, the filibuster rules will be suspended for about one month, specifically for the debt limit. Democrats would then be required to raise the debt ceiling by a specific amount, somewhere in the range of $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion, which would forestall another debt limit vote until after next year's elections.

    The deal negotiated between McConnell and Schumer would solve two political problems: Raising the debt limit and giving Republicans cover to claim they opposed doing so.

    Every time the federal government nears its lawful limit on borrowing to cover its spending obligations, Congress votes to increase debt limit to enable the government to borrow more money. If Congress did not do this, the government would not have enough money to pay its bills and also make interest payments on the national debt.

    In a hypothetical scenario where Congress does not raise the debt limit, the federal government would be forced to prioritize its spending such that expenses are not greater than revenues. This could mean drastic cuts to popular programs. It could also risk default, should the government be incapable of making its interest payments on the national debt, which economists warn would have severe economic consequences for the rest of the nation.

    Even though Republicans say they are opposed to excessive government borrowing and spending, a significant number of GOP lawmakers always vote for debt limit increases to avoid the political consequences of the government being unable to borrow more money.

    If Democrats were able to pass a debt limit increase with a simple majority, this would free every Republican in the minority to vote against the debt limit increase. Democrats win because the government can continue to borrow money to fund President Joe Biden's agenda. Republicans win because they will claim they voted "no" on the debt limit increase, even though ten of them will have to vote with Democrats on the procedural vote to change the rules and enable this strategy.

    But will te Republicans go along with McConnell's plan? According to Politico, some of his leading GOP voices in the Senate were receptive to the strategy.

    “I’m going to support Democrats raising the debt ceiling without Republican votes,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and longtime McConnell ally said. “To have Democrats raise the debt ceiling and be held accountable for racking up the debt is my goal. And this helps us accomplish it.”

    "Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also sounded warm on McConnell’s plan at the leadership meeting," Politico reported.

    Other moderate Republicans sounded less enthused. And the conservatives in the conference will almost certainly oppose helping the Democratic majority do anything. But Schumer expressed confidence that McConnell will find the votes he needs in an uncharacteristically polite comment about the minority.

    “I’m optimistic that we will be able to prevent the awful prospect of the U.S. defaulting,” Schumer said. “I continue to thank all of my colleagues for cooperating in good faith.”

  • Texas takes on critical race theory with new law Tue, 07 Dec 2021 21:05:00 +0000

    Texas Senate Bill 3 went into effect on Dec. 2, after being signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 17, in an effort to combat "critical race theory" in the state of Texas.

    Among its many stipulations, S.B. 3 states, "that a teacher may not be compelled to discuss a controversial issue of public policy or social affairs."

    The law also indicates that if the teacher does feel inclined to discuss such an issue, they must do so, providing "diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective." The new law prohibits teachers from working for any lobbies or policy advocacy groups on the federal, state, or local level. S.B.3 further forbids teaching that one race is superior to another, that an individual's moral character or worth is determined by their sex or race, or that an individual should bear the consequences of past acts committed by the respective sex or race.

    After signing the bill into law, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “more must be done to abolish critical race theory in Texas," according to the Texas Tribune.

    S.B. 3 will guide the State Board of Education's social studies curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12.

    Deputy Director of Policy for the Intercultural Development Research Association, Dr. Chloe Latham-Sikes, takes issue with the new law calling it "a huge state overreach" that seeks to monitor how social studies is taught in individual classrooms across the state, according to the Houston Chronicle.

    Dr. Sykes claims that S.B. 3 is too broad in scope and would regulate classroom conversations regarding race, gender, sex, and other social issues that she feels should be discussed in a classroom setting. Dr. Sykes feels that intrusions into the classroom by the state government will create more significant problems with education.

    "What's happening is a broader interpretation and confusion about how we talk about race, and really important conversations are being silenced," Dr. Sykes said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

    In light of the new law, Sykes says, "What would be really helpful is guidance from the TEA about how teachers can and in fact should talk about race, racism and racial justice," according to the Houston Chronicle.

    Dr. Sykes says that bills like S.B. 3 are "punitive and oriented toward restricting teachers," according to The Houston Chronicle. She further indicated that she was uncertain about the future of teachers, saying, "it certainly doesn't feel good."

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