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Weekly News Bites #013 | Biden proposes rule that will redefine Title XI
All of the top stories of the week in small bites.
It’s FRIDAY, April 7 ! YAY
Some of the stories this week!
On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump was arrested and arraigned in a Manhattan court.
The Biden administration has proposed a rule that would prohibit schools and colleges across the US from enacting outright bans on transgender athletes.
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to let West Virginia enforce a state law banning transgender athletes from female sports teams at public schools.
Authorities in Colorado have arrested a former student who was allegedly planning a shooting at Timberview Middle School.
China has removed references to all ideologies except those of Communist Party leader Xi Jinping from the State Council's "Working Procedures" document.
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has denied allegations made in a lawsuit that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old in 1973 and forced her to get an abortion.
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podcast The Quiet Out Loud, where we discuss the increase of including children in drag events. It is a long conversation between two friends trying to counter the proliferation of gender ideology.
By the way, I was recently a guest on
I hope you can join us in the conversation.
If you want more in-the-moment daily news and culture breakdowns, follow me on Instagram. 😉 I publish breaking news and live updates in my stories every day.
Ok, that is enough. Time for some news bites!
➖ On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump was arrested and arraigned in a Manhattan court, making history as the first former president to face a judge in such a setting. The court appearance was a media spectacle, with widespread street attention and protests. Trump faces 34 charges related to falsifying business records, each carrying a maximum sentence of four years in prison. While legal analysts have pointed out the lack of specific crime cited in the indictment, Trump's team insists that he is innocent and the charges are politically motivated. Despite some privileges afforded him during the proceedings, Trump was arrested and forbidden from leaving the courtroom for roughly half an hour.
➖ The Biden administration has proposed a rule that would prohibit schools and colleges across the US from enacting outright bans on transgender athletes, with the exception of team eligibility rules that could ensure fairness in competition and reduce injury risks. The rule would become part of Title IX, the landmark gender equity legislation enacted in 1972. However, it still needs to undergo a lengthy approval process and is likely to face opposition. The proposed rule comes in response to a wave of Republican-led states that have sought to ban trans athletes from competing in school sports that align with their gender identities. The Biden administration has made it a priority to bolster the rights of trans students and last year proposed a separate federal rule that would extend Title IX rights to LGBTQ students, broadly protecting them from discrimination in education
➖The Republican-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives has expelled two out of three Democratic state lawmakers, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, for participating in a protest against gun violence on the House floor. The lawmakers were expelled for leading chants during the recent protests. The House failed to meet the necessary two-thirds majority to expel Gloria Johnson, who demonstrated alongside Jones and Pearson. The gun safety advocacy group March for Our Lives and other groups tagged the trio of state lawmakers as “The Tennessee Three.” The White House has condemned the move to expel the lawmakers. While Republicans say they are holding Democrats to their own standards. Jones and any other lawmaker who is expelled would be able to be appointed back into the seat in the interim before a special election and could then run in the special election to regain their seat.
➖ A Chinese spy balloon that was shot down two months ago did collect sensitive data from American military installations, according to U.S. officials, contradicting previous claims from the Biden administration. The balloon entered U.S. airspace over Alaska and drifted across the continental U.S. before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina. The Biden administration had claimed that the balloon wasn't transmitting sensitive information and posed no military threat. However, the balloon was primarily collecting electronic signals, including communication between military personnel and signals from weapons systems from military sites. The craft flew over four military sites, including Malmstrom Air Force Base, where some of the most sensitive nuclear assets are housed. China appeared to be controlling the craft throughout its time in American airspace.
➖ Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaccine activist and environmentalist has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to launch his 2024 presidential campaign as a Democrat, challenging President Biden. Kennedy Jr. is the son of former US attorney general, senator, and 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. He is known for his opposition to vaccines, which has only intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was recently kicked off Instagram for spreading false information about the COVID-19 vaccine. His anti-vaccine charity, Children's Health Defense, saw revenues double in 2020 to $6.8 million.
➖ North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham has announced that she has become a Republican, stating that the Left cannot tolerate her being an independent thinker in a world of cancel culture that has taken over the Democratic Party. Cotham revealed that she had been attacked with a call for resignation and prohibited from wearing camo or praying. Her decision to switch party affiliations has handed the North Carolina GOP a supermajority in both state legislative chambers, giving them immense power to enact the legislation they want. The North Carolina Republicans have already filed legislation that includes bills to limit policies touted by transgender activists.
➖The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to let West Virginia enforce a state law banning transgender athletes from female sports teams at public schools. The law designates sports teams according to "biological sex" and prohibits male students from female athletic teams based on reproductive biology and genetics at birth. In a lawsuit challenging the law's legality, a 12-year-old transgender girl, Becky Pepper-Jackson, and her mother argued that it discriminates based on sex and transgender status in violation of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law and Title IX. Republicans in various states have pursued laws directed at LGBT people, limiting transgender participation in sports, access to gender-affirming medical care and teaching related to gender identity or sexual orientation.
➖ Authorities in Colorado have arrested a former student who was allegedly planning a shooting at Timberview Middle School. William Whitworth, who is transgender and identifies as Lilly, had floor plans for the school and admitted to wanting to shoot up the building. The 19-year-old was arrested on March 31 after his sister called authorities to report he was lashing out and making school shooting references. According to a spokesperson for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Whitworth was transitioning to a woman. Investigators found a manifesto listing firearms and how to 3D-print them, as well as a list of people "to be killed" in a notebook. Whitworth is facing charges including first-degree criminal attempt to commit murder and interference with educational institutions. The planned shooting was allegedly in the works for “a month or two.”
➖ House Republicans are investigating the withdrawal, including the bombing at the airport in Kabul that killed 13 U.S. service members. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has defended President Joe Biden's handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, arguing that the president was constrained by the Trump administration's rushed May 2021 withdrawal date and downsizing of troops. Kirby denied that the Biden administration was responsible for poor planning and messy policymaking in the withdrawal and credited the president with successfully evacuating more than 124,000 people out of the country. Kirby said there were lessons learned from the withdrawal about being more aggressive in information sharing and preparing for evacuations.
➖Twitter labeled NPR (National Public Radio) as “state-affiliated media,” a description that does not apply to NPR, according to the organization's president and CEO, John Lansing. Twitter defines state-affiliated media as "outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution." Lansing said that NPR and its member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on them for their independent, fact-based journalism. The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, also came to NPR's aid, saying there was no doubt about the independence of NPR’s journalists.
➖A report published by the Maryland Attorney General's office has revealed that over 80 years, at least 150 clergy members and other Archdiocese personnel in Baltimore sexually abused more than 600 children. The Archdiocese allegedly protected accused clergy members and covered up scandals rather than vulnerable children in their communities. The report, which is nearly 500 pages long, shows that the majority of the alleged abusers will not face prosecution, as most have passed away. Victims of the abuse have called the report a "long-overdue public reckoning with shameful accusations the church has been facing for decades." The report comes after a Pennsylvania Attorney General investigation in 2018, which found that over 300 Catholic priests had sexually abused more than 1,000 children, and a Portuguese independent panel report, which revealed that members of the church had sexually abused more than 4,800 children over the past 70 years.
➖ A violent storm with high winds and heavy rains hit Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States on Saturday, leaving at least 22 people dead and many others injured. Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana were among the hardest-hit states, with Tennessee reporting seven weather-related deaths in McNairy County. In addition to tornadoes, thunderstorms with gusts of over 60 mph caused power outages and downed trees in the eastern third of the country. President Joe Biden spoke with Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offered support to the affected areas. This extreme weather came just one week after a tornado devastated Rolling Fork, Mississippi, killing 26 people.
➖ Major oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia, including Russia, have announced they will cut oil production by over 1 million barrels a day to stabilize oil prices that have been hit by a slowing global economy. The decision by oil producers to cut production comes after prices for international benchmark crude slumped. The production cut will boost gasoline prices for drivers and could boost inflation. The production cut may help Russia weather Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
➖ Ontario's NDP is pushing for the creation of community safety zones to protect drag artists and the LGBTQ community from harassment and intimidation during performances. The bill, proposed by Kristyn Wong-Tam, NDP's critic on 2SLGBTQ+ issues, calls for 100-meter zones around show venues designated by the attorney general as community safety zones, with anti-LGBTQ harassment, intimidation, and hate speech subject to a $25,000 fine. The rise of hate crimes against the 2SLGBTQI-plus communities, including drag artists, has been alarming, according to Wong-Tam, with Statistics Canada reporting a 64% increase in police-reported hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation from 2020 to 2021.
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➖ The number of illegal border crossings in the snowy area between New York and Canada has increased dramatically in the last five months, with around 2,000 migrants crossing the border between Canada and New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. This is compared to just 200 crossings in the previous year's period. The migrants, mainly from Mexico, can travel to Canada without visas before crossing illegally into the US, often to reunite with their families. Last weekend, in Clinton County, New York, Sheriff David Favro’s team assisted Border Patrol in rescuing 39 migrants, some of whom had frozen clothes. Responding to these rescues has stretched his department's resources, which are already thin. The locals are calling for more manpower from the US Border Patrol to tackle the growing crisis.
➖ French President Emmanuel Macron has warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping against providing military support to Russia in its war against Ukraine, ahead of their meeting in China. China is Russia's most significant partner and an increasingly important economic lifeline as it faces Western sanctions. Still, Macron and other European leaders want to prevent China from crossing the West's red line of providing weapons on a large scale to Moscow. Many European officials believe they have some leverage over China as the EU and China have close to $1.1 billion in trade a day, and the EU's trade ties with China could be affected by its actions.
➖China has removed references to all ideologies except those of Communist Party leader Xi Jinping from the State Council's "Working Procedures" document. The changes reflect a consolidation of executive power in the hands of Communist Party working groups as Xi begins a third indefinite term in office. The State Council must now defer to the highest-ranking Communist Party leaders on all major decisions, and officials are required to report any significant developments to the Central Committee. The removal of references to Marxism-Leninism and the political ideologies of previous leaders suggests little room for independent decision-making at the State Council.
➖ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that he believes a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, arrested in Russia last week and accused of espionage, has been wrongfully detained. Mr. Blinken explained that a formal determination of wrongful detention would lead to a shift in the supervision of the case and could trigger the involvement of the State Department's Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. The move would also allow the State Department to use diplomatic, media, and intelligence resources to pressure the host country to release the journalist Evan Gershkovich and other Americans classified as wrongfully detained in foreign countries. Mr. Blinken told reporters that the US had made a proposal to Russia several months ago to release another American, Paul Whelan, but that Moscow had not acted on it.
➖ Thai immigration police detained 63 Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church members and two Americans assisting them. The self-exiled congregation of Chinese Christians had been seeking United Nations protection from religious persecution. The group may face potential deportation from Thailand, despite concerns they would be persecuted if returned to China. The U.S. State Department is aware of the detentions and is "closely tracking" the situation. The church's pastor has expressed the hope that the U.N. refugee agency can help ensure his followers' safety as soon as possible. The congregation has been seeking resettlement in the U.S. or Texas, and some U.S. politicians have urged the State Department to prevent their repatriation.
➖ Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has denied allegations made in a lawsuit that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old in 1973 and forced her to get an abortion. Tyler argued that the plaintiff consented to their sexual relationship and that he had immunity as her legal guardian at the time. The musician also asked to dismiss the lawsuit, citing 24 affirmative defenses denying the allegations. The response comes three months after Julia Misley accused Tyler of sexual assault, sexual battery, and forcing her to get an abortion during their relationship in the 1970s. Misley alleges Tyler “coerced and persuaded” her into believing they had “a romantic love affair,” which started when she was 16 and he was 25.
➖ Don Lemon’s misogyny at CNN, exposed. According to an article in Variety, several former and current colleagues of Don Lemon, a journalist, and anchor for CNN, have spoken out about his troubling treatment of women and unprofessional behavior, dating back to his time at CNN in 2008. Lemon has been accused of flouting rules and cozying up to power while displaying hostility to many female co-workers. He has also been accused of mistreating his co-anchor Kyra Phillips, tearing up her pictures and notes on her desk while she was on assignment in Iraq and sending her threatening text messages. An HR investigation was launched, and Lemon was demoted from his co-anchor duties with Phillips and moved to the weekends. The article also mentioned Lemon's recent controversial comments about Nikki Haley. Lemon has denied any wrongdoing, and CNN has not corroborated the allegations against him.