Tennessee House OKs new transgender ‘bathroom bill’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee House lawmakers on Monday passed a bill that would put public schools and districts at risk of civil lawsuits if they let transgender students or employees use multi-person bathrooms or locker rooms that don’t reflect their gender at birth.

The proposal must now pass the Senate before it can head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk, with senators expected to vote on the proposal later this week. The bill is one of several LGTBQ-related measures that the GOP-controlled General Assembly have introduced this year that critics have slammed as discriminatory. Most notably, Lee, a Republican, signed a different proposal this year that bars transgender athletes from playing girls’ public high school or middle school sports.

Under the proposed measure — which passed 65-24 on Monday — a student or employee could sue in an effort to claim monetary damages “for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” if school officials allow a transgender person into the bathroom or locker room when others are in there, or if they require staying in the same sleeping quarters as a member of the opposite sex at birth, unless that person is a family member.

The proposal also says schools must try to offer a bathroom or changing facility that is single-occupancy or that is for employees if a student or employee “desires greater privacy when using a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility designated for the person’s sex” at birth.

Opponents of the bill, including business entities, point to North Carolina’s experience with the enactment of its 2016 version of a “bathroom bill,” which was signed by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and in part required transgender people to use public bathrooms aligned with the gender on their birth certificate.

Several large corporations and sports leagues relocated events to other states or reconsidered expanding in North Carolina due to the law, which was partially repealed in 2017.

A federal judge eventually approved a consent decree in 2019 between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and transgender plaintiffs that affirms their right to use restrooms matching their gender identity in many public buildings.

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New playwrights announced for Art House INKubator project

Art House Productions has officially announced the 2020-2021 cohort of its INKubator Program, a year-long process for a select group of six playwrights in residence at Art House Productions. This year’s playwrights are Andrea Coleman, Izzi D’Esposito, Madeline Dennis-Yates, Nathaniel Foster, Aja Nisenson, and SMJ. This will be the 3rd Annual INKubator New Play Festival, a six-day marathon festival scheduled to take place in May 2021.

Playwrights will meet virtually over the next several months with program director Alex Tobey to share new work, receive feedback, and develop a first draft of a new play. Meetings are expected to be in-person when it’s safer to do so. Each writer will team up with a director and actors to present a public reading in May as a part of INKubator.

In addition to monthly meetings, playwrights will receive free admission to performances, mixers, and other events at Art House Productions. Audiences will also have the opportunity to participate in conversations with the writers, directors, and actors following each performance.

Andrea Coleman is a Brooklyn based writer, performer and lawyer originally from Virginia. She writes sketch comedy, standup comedy, screenplays, stageplays, and her Medium articles have been viewed online over half a million times. The law comedy show she created and stars in, Woke Laws, has been featured in The New York Times, TimeOut NY, NPR, and aired on PBS. She has toured her standup at SF Sketchfest and written and executive produced five short films which have been selections at 16 film festivals.

Izzi D’Esposito (she/her) is a New York based playwright and songwriter. Her work has been produced or developed at The Playwrights Realm, Workshop Theater, Homegrown Theater, the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Ars Nova, Arts Tristate, Carnegie Mellon University, Horizon Theater, Boise Contemporary Theater and more. She has a podcast called lowercase sober about being sober in your 20′s and she releases new music under the name Bizzi.

Madeline Dennis-Yates (she/her) is a playwright and screenwriter whose most recent project, this is not the reunion, was a commissioned play for Stagefemmes at Kenyon College. She’s worked in the literary office at the O’Neill, as well as at Abingdon Theatre Company. Her work has received readings at the New Short Play Festival, the Source Festival, New York Winterfest, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and the D.C. Shorts Film Festival. She attended George Washington University in D.C., where she was an art history major and captain of the equestrian team.

Nathaniel Foster is a New York City-based playwright, performer, and dramaturg. He is a 2017 Kennedy Center New Play Dramaturgy Fellow, 2018 ASTEP Artist as Citizens Fellow, a 2018 Cape Cod Theatre Project New Play Development Fellow and a 2019 New Play Development Apprentice at The Public Theater, served as an associate producer for Loading Dock Theatre’s 2020 Forklift season, and is currently an associate producer for Black Lives, Black Words.

Aja Nisenson is a playwright and performer from New Jersey. Her plays include Slap, Park Slope Under Water, The Wait, Funk, Piccola

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Mary Cavanagh For State House

Mary Cavanagh, a Redford resident is running for State House District 10.

Age: 29
Party affiliation: Democratic Party
Family:I am the grand-daughter of the former Mayor of Detroit back in the 60s, Mayor Jerome Cavanagh. I am the cousin of current Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh, as well as, the daughter of former Wayne County Commissioner and Michigan State Representative Phil Cavanagh.
Occupation:Director of Project Development for New Start Construction Company, 5 years
Previous elected experience:I was previously elected as Precinct Delegate for my hometown, Redford Township
Family members in government:Yes, my mom is the current Treasurer of Redford Township and I have an Uncle on the Circuit Court and the Appeals Court.
Campaign website: http://www.MaryforMichigan.com

The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
COVID is the most pressing issue facing our state today. I will bring much-needed resources and the basic necessities of housing, air quality, clean water, and affordable healthcare to the residents of Michigan. I will begin to ensure a healthy workforce through rapid testing and contact training, fight for instant small business relief, unemployment expansion, raised minimum wage, and create a district-wide plan that brings new businesses to my district while working with current businesses owners to open their doors safely with PPE equipment and customer health accountability. I will fight for our children to stay safe while being educated by redirecting funding from for-profit schools, demand higher state allocations and fight for the latest learning tools-from Internet and laptops to ongoing social and emotional support for students, teachers, and families.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
The other candidate is a Republican candidate. Although I would like to compare her actual stance on issues such as healthcare, affordable housing, equality for all, social justice reform, Earned Income Tax Credit, and making more resources available to hard working families, due to her inaccessibility of information, I am unable to. With no website, mailers, questionnaires, or information on her position or what she would like to do for District 10 (and Michigan), it is hard to compare the critical differences at all. I do know I have been deeply involved in public service and social activism for over 19 years in both my community and all of Wayne County, from serving with the AmeriCorps in Detroit public schools, being a direct-care provider for developmentally disabled persons, to developing projects with Mental Health Facilities, non-profits, and a construction company to revitalize communities, create jail diversion programs, offer vocational trainings, and affordable housing opportunities. I am currently an AFL-CIO advocate, an Executive Board Member for the Michigan Women’s Democratic Caucus, and a life-long member of the Michigan Democratic Party and well as the Redford Democratic Party since I was elected Precinct Delegate in 2016.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
While working in AmeriCorps,

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Minnesota House to reconvene for vote on $1.4B bonding bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House reconvenes Wednesday for what could be its last chance to pass a $1.37 billion public works construction borrowing package, but it requires at least six Republican votes.

The legislation, known as a bonding bill, requires a 60% supermajority to pass. And the Democratic-controlled House must approve it before the Republican-controlled Senate can take it up, which could happen Thursday.

The bonding bill is the biggest piece of unfinished business left over from the 2020 regular session, which ended in May. With less than three weeks to go until the election, this is seen as the Legislature’s last chance for the year.


House Speaker Melissa Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, said Monday that she was confident of getting the six GOP votes needed by Wednesday.

The bonding bill would finance $1.87 billion in public infrastructure projects statewide once other funding sources are counted. The House version also includes some new spending and a business tax break.

House Republicans blocked previous attempts to approve the package. They wanted Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to give up the emergency powers that he’s used to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve dropped that demand but are now seeking budget cuts to offset the debt service costs of the bonding bill.

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White House officials promote herd immunity declaration signed by fake names: report

White House officials have promoted a declaration supporting herd immunity that has reportedly been signed by fake names, The New York Times reported Tuesday.



a man wearing a suit and tie: White House officials promote herd immunity declaration signed by fake names: report


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White House officials promote herd immunity declaration signed by fake names: report

In a Monday phone call, White House officials cited the Great Barrington Declaration, which argues that the government should push for herd immunity with more infections among the healthy population, according to two senior administration officials.

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Supporters of the declaration use it to argue against lockdowns and more reopenings during the pandemic.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states.

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

The declaration has been signed by 445,902 concerned citizens, 9,510 medical and public health scientists and 25,049 medical practitioners, according to its website. But Sky News found last week that dozens of fake names had signed the document, including Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename and Dr. Johnny Bananas.

Another signatory called himself Dr. Harold Shipman, a general practitioner in the United Kingdom. In 1998, a man named Harold Shipman was arrested after killing more than 200 of his patients.

The declaration was also signed by at least 18 self-declared homeopaths who signed as medical practitioners and 100 therapists, including massage therapists, hypnotherapists and psychotherapists.

Several health experts expressed concerns that the declaration is misrepresenting the size of the medical community’s support for the herd immunity approach, according to Sky News.

Experts predict that 85 to 90 percent of the U.S. population has not developed coronavirus antibodies to fight the virus, countering the argument that the U.S. has reached or is close to reaching herd immunity, according to the Times.

In the past, herd immunity has been achieved with a vaccine, but the Great Barrington Declaration advocates using infections among young, healthy people, instead of elderly or vulnerable people, to reach immunity.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Great Barrington Declaration was created after a meeting hosted by the American Institute for Economic Research and led by professor Martin Kulldorff, professor Jay Bhattacharya and professor Sunetra Gupta.

Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told Sky News that the declaration’s creators don’t have the resources “to audit each signature.”

“It is unfortunate that some people have abused our trust by adding false names, but I suppose it is inevitable,” he said.

“Still – given the volume of correspondence I have received from medical and public health professionals, as well as scientists and epidemiologists, it is clear that a very large number of experts resonate with the message of the declaration and its call for a focused protection policy,” he added.

World Health Organization Director-General

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House Democrats target Hispanic voters in battlegrounds with new barrage of ads

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Wednesday announced a seven-figure ad campaign targeting Hispanic voters in battleground districts throughout the country.

The digital, print and radio ads seek to promote mail voting and to support candidates in tough races.

“We are not taking anything or anyone for granted and our latest investment in digital, print, and radio advertising will reach voters where they get their news,” said DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosRepublican fears grow over rising Democratic tide Biden, Democrats see late opportunity in Texas The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally MORE (D-Ill.) in a statement.

“These investments are only possible because of the early commitment we made to research in critical Latino communities, and build on our on-the-ground work to engage and mobilize Latino voters across the House battlefield,” added Bustos.

The digital ads will run on platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, Snapchat and YouTube.

They will target voters in five districts in California; two each in Arizona, Nevada and New York; one each in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia, New Jersey, Utah and Florida; and eight districts in Texas.

Similarly, radio ads will target nine Texas districts, three in California, two in New York and one each in New Mexico and New Jersey.

Print ads will focus more heavily on California. They will be aimed at voters in six of the state’s districts, as well as in four Texas districts and one each in Florida and New York.

The distribution of ads reflects the DCCC’s battleground map. It is defending substantial gains made in 2018 in California, and hoping to replicate that election this year in Texas.

The latest ad barrage follows an independent expenditure TV campaign — ads that weren’t coordinated with individual campaigns and don’t count against campaign spending — released to prop up candidates in California, New Mexico, Florida and Texas.

The content of the ads reflects wildly different realities on the ground across the country.

The video, radio and generic Spanish-language print ads relay a message generally supporting Democratic House candidates and instructions on how to vote by mail.

Early voting has traditionally been favored by Hispanic voters, but they have been slow to adopt mail voting in previous elections.

Initial data seems to show Hispanic voter participation could build on its 2018 surge, despite the difficulties posed by voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats are pushing two websites, IWillVote.com and VoyAVotar.com, hoping to turn voter interest into effective voter participation.

But the latest ads follow the independent expenditure campaign targeting individual races, such as the one in Florida’s 26th congressional district, where Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellDisinformation, QAnon efforts targeting Latino voters ramp up ahead of presidential election Florida Democrat asks FBI to investigate anti-Semitic, racist disinformation Hispanic Caucus members embark on ‘virtual bus tour’ with Biden campaign MORE (D) is fighting off a challenge from Miami-Dade

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House Hunting in Croatia: A Modern Mountain Villa for $1.2 Million

This three-bedroom vacation home sits in the heart of Croatia’s mountainous Gorski Kotar region, a northwestern pocket of the country — known as the “green lungs” of Croatia — that stretches down to the Adriatic Sea.

Completed in 2019, the three-story house sits on a sloped quarter-acre lot and features the traditional wood construction often found in Gorski Kotar, which is known for its woodworking. The primary materials are locally sourced Siberian larch and iron, in keeping with the owner’s wish that the 2,368-square-foot house be constructed with sustainable materials by local laborers. Even the furniture and shelving were made by local craftsmen from solid wood. The exterior cladding is meant to shield the home from harsh Croatian winters.

“My guiding idea was longevity and resistance to the extreme weather conditions, because it’s Gorski Kotar after all,” said the owner, who asked not to be named for privacy reasons. “But I wanted it to be as natural as possible, with as few chemicals as possible, so that it blends into the pristine nature of the area.”

Designed with a minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic, the house features moss-covered cladding and floor-to-ceiling reflective glass windows that open the main living areas to views of the mountains. “It’s truly a Croatian product,” said Mirjana Micetic, a broker with Croatia Sotheby’s International Realty who has the listing.

Entering through the lower-level two-car garage, the basement has an entertainment lounge, sauna, bathroom and a wine cellar designed in the style of a Croatian tavern, Ms. Micetic said.

A pathway ascends from the driveway past a landscaped garden to the main entrance. On the ground floor, an iron fireplace separates the kitchen from the living room, which has wall-to-wall windows and a door that opens to the platform deck, heated pool and spa. The kitchen, also accessible through glass doors on the side of the house, has a table that seats 10.

The second floor, which cantilevers slightly over the deck, has three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, the largest of which looks out to the forest through a wall of windows. A fire pit, barbecue, open dining area and garden are in the backyard.

The property is in the village of Ravna Gora, which sits between the larger towns of Delnice and Vrbovsko. Risnjak National Park is about 30 minutes away; Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular hiking destination, is within an hour and half. Rijeka, a port city about 45 minutes west, is a melting pot of European influences with a growing tourism scene and an international airport. Zagreb, the Croatian capital, is about an hour northeast.

Croatia was one of a few European countries to react quickly to the coronavirus, ordering a full quarantine in mid-March that successfully tamped down the spread of the virus. The lockdown was lifted in May, and in June a flood of tourists and buyers poured into the country,

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Unemployment benefits extension passed in Michigan House

LANSING, MI – State lawmakers have struck a deal with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on unemployment benefits reform.

The Michigan House voted 101-0 after midnight during its Wednesday, Oct. 14 session to approve Senate bills 886 and 911, which closely mirror Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-76. The legislation would put temporary pandemic measures in place for Michigan’s unemployment system until the end of the year.

The Senate unanimously passed both bills with technical language substitutes later Wednesday morning. Negotiations between Whitmer, the House and the Senate started Tuesday, Oct. 13 and lasted into the wee hours of the next morning.

Read more: Michigan unemployment pitfalls following Supreme Court ruling could be fixed with Senate bill

After the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Whitmer’s emergency powers, she charged the legislature with ensuring unemployment benefits remain in place. An issue that held up negotiations between Whitmer, the House and Senate involved the unemployment bills being tie-barred to a package on COVID-19 lawsuit liability.

House bills 6030, 6031, 6032 and 6101 provide lawsuit standards for COVID-19 exposure for businesses, employees and people visiting said businesses. Whitmer has previously called the package “a solution in search of a problem.”

Related: Michigan House approves bills establishing COVID-19 lawsuit standards

Both sides dropped the tie-bar requirement, and both sets of legislation were approved separately.

The deal is “great news for working families and small businesses,” tweeted Speaker of the House Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering.

“We have a deal on unemployment benefits and liability reform,” he said via Twitter. “The tie bar is no longer necessary, because we found common ground.”

The COVID-19 liability package passed in the Michigan Senate, some with bipartisan support and some on partisan lines.

State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, sponsored the Senate bills and said Tuesday afternoon that he was optimistic the Governor would sign both, as both his and her staffs worked together during bill review.

“They (were) tie-barred because together they bring great balance in protecting both employees and employers, both public and private sector,” Horn told MLive.

Horn had previously said Whitmer should stop making “snarky, condescending speeches about us not working with her” and work with Republican lawmakers.

Just like Whitmer’s executive order, Senate Bill 866 extends the maximum unemployment benefit period from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, doesn’t make employers pay for benefits when someone is laid off due to COVID-19, allows employers to use the work-share program even if not normally eligible and allows people to receive benefits while taking time off work for a COVID-19-related cause.

Also, all benefits paid out during the pandemic are deemed valid, except in fraud cases.

The bill doesn’t mention waiving the requirement for people to actively search for work – like the executive order did – meaning recipients may need to prove they’re looking for a job to get paid, if the bill is passed as is.

Another excluded piece: It doesn’t include the provision from the executive order that makes the agency only look at a person’s most

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Donald Trump has turned the White House into a bribe factory

For years now it has been clear that Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in American history. No previous president has continued to operate a vast personal business empire while in office — creating more than 3,000 identifiable conflicts of interest. As I predicted three days before he was inaugurated, he has constantly jammed taxpayer money into his own pockets, corruptly bullied foreign powers into doing him political favors, and turned the Department of Justice into an arm of his campaign.

Now that The New York Times has gotten access to many years of Trump’s tax returns, we have new confirmed details about one particular aspect of his corruption — getting paid for political favors. In essence, he has turned the American executive branch into a giant bribery scheme. Wealthy people with business before the state stuff money into Trump’s pockets through his many properties, and in return he gives them the contracts or policy concessions they want.

Here’s how the bribery machine works: an interested party spends tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at one of Trump’s hotels, or golf resorts, or at Mar-a-Lago. That gets them in front of Trump — as he has spent nearly 400 days as president at those locations — and in his good graces, because he is exceptionally greedy. Then he is easily convinced to help them on some matter of policy.

Just 60 customers with interests at stake before the Trump administration brought his family business nearly $12 million during the first two years of his presidency, The Times found. Almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by Mr. Trump or his government. [New York Times]

AAR Corp., a government contractor fighting off a rival in court, held two retreats at the Trump National Doral resort, paying the president $120,746. It kept its contract and got new ones. The GEO Group, a private prison contractor, hired Trump’s personal lobbyist, paid at least $32,100 to Mar-a-Lago, and saw its government contracting rise from $500 million per year to $900 million. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University spent $75,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and got a bill passed removing restrictions on land it owns. And those are just three of over 100 companies that spent bigly at Trump’s various properties.

Various right-wing religious groups paid six-figure sums to Trump through his properties, and received “an array of favorable policies from the administration, including appointments of anti-abortion judges and measures exempting religious groups from anti-discrimination laws.” He also offered five members of his clubs ambassadorships.

Ironically, Trump is such an inept businessman that it appears he is not even making enough money off all these bribes to make his businesses profitable. The Times’ overall coverage of his tax returns show that he experienced a steep decline in income after 2014 or so, in part because his newly toxic political reputation killed off most of his brand deals. Massive loans that he personally secured are due for repayment

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House collapses, record rains kill 15 in southern India

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Record rains and heavy flooding in the southern Indian state of Telangana collapsed houses and killed at least 15 people, police said Wednesday.

Four other people were injured in Hyderabad, the state’s capital, when a house’s boundary wall fell on a neighboring house, which collapsed with the impact, police officer Gaja Bhopal Rao said.

The first house to collapse in Hyderabad was in a hilly area of the city where the soil was loosened by more than 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) of rain in the past 24 hours, said Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar. That left eight people dead.

Five other people were killed in two other house collapses in the city, Kumar said. Two other people were swept away by flood waters elsewhere in the state.


The rain washed away part of the highway linking the city to the airport.

Thirty cars and trucks were washed away when a lake in the city overflowed, district administrator Amoy Kumar said.

The heavy rain in Hyderabad, caused by a deep

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