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President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address Tuesday to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi looked on. His speech was split between attention to war abroad and worries at home. Addressing a concerned nation and anxious world, President Joe Biden vowed to check Russian aggression in Ukraine, tame soaring U.S. inflation, and deal with the fading but still dangerous coronavirus. Biden declared that he and all members of Congress, whatever their political differences, are joined “with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.”

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Selma, Alabama, to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to mark the 57th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a key moment in the civil rights movement. Bloody Sunday commemorates when, in 1965, 600 people began a march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, demanding an end to discrimination in voter registration. At the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state and local lawmen attacked the marchers with billy clubs and tear gas, driving them back to Selma. 

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is facing intense pushback from all corners of Washington after calling for the Russian people to end the Ukraine war by assassinating President Vladimir Putin. Graham, a former Air Force lawyer, and longtime defense hawk, tweeted Thursday evening that “the only people who can fix this” are Russians. “The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out,” Graham tweeted. “You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that it is “not the position of the United States government.”

The White House Counsel’s Office has informed former President Donald Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and trade adviser Peter Navarro that President Joe Biden would not back claims of executive privilege to shield them from testifying before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Committee Chair Dick Durbin announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson will begin March 21. The hearings will last four days, with opening statements on March 21 and testimony and questioning the next two days. The fourth day is for outside testimony.

The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence against the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, The Associated Press reported. Tsarnaev was convicted after he set off two pressure-cooker bombs at the end of the 2013 Boston Marathon, NBC News reported. Three people were killed in the attack and hundreds of people were hurt. 

A federal judge ruled that Georgia’s redrawn political maps can remain in place for this year’s elections, deciding that it’s too close to the state’s May 24 primary election to make court-ordered redistricting changes. The decision allows this year’s elections to proceed with new congressional districts designed for Republicans to gain a north metro Atlanta seat. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones’ ruling denied an effort by plaintiffs who argued that Georgia’s redistricting discriminated against Black voters by weakening their ability to elect candidates who represent them. “The court finds that the public interest of the state of Georgia would be significantly undermined by altering the election calendar and unwinding the electoral process at this point,” Jones wrote in a 238-page order released Tuesday. “Elections are complex and election calendars are finely calibrated processes, and significant upheaval and voter confusion can result if changes are made late in the process.”

A Louisville jury on Thursday cleared a former police officer of charges that he endangered neighbors when he fired shots into an apartment during the 2020 drug raid that ended with Breonna Taylor’s death. Brett Hankison had been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing through sliding-glass side doors and a window of Taylor’s apartment during the raid that left the 26-year-old Black woman dead. Hankison was fired by Louisville Police for shooting blindly during the raid. Taylor, who had been settling down for bed when officers broke through her door, was shot multiple times and died March 13, 2020.

Cobb County Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale will brief the school board Monday on recent communication from the district’s accreditor, Cognia. The district said the board would meet Monday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss “Cognia communication regarding accreditation status.” The report Cognia released in November called for changes to the way the district and school board conduct business.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler isn’t running for a fourth term, a decision that will leave another open office on the statewide ballot in November. The Republican told his office’s staffers in a memo Monday that his wife’s ongoing battle with cancer led him to reassess his political future. “While I still enjoy developing good public policy, I no longer desire to be an elected official,” Butler wrote in the memo.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis admonished high school students for wearing masks at an indoor news conference Wednesday, saying it was time to stop what he called “this COVID theater.” The Republican governor approached the students and asked them to remove their masks as they waited for him at the media event, which was in an area where the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends indoor masking due to high COVID-19 risk. Kevin Brown Sr., the father of one of the students, told WFLA-TV that he would advise DeSantis to “stop bullying kids.” 

A biotech firm that has been a leader in making COVID-19 vaccines has announced plans to locate a 150-job office in Atlanta, officials said Thursday. Moderna Inc., a 12-year old, Massachusetts-based company, expects to start operations in the second quarter of this year, according to a statement from the company and government officials. The company specializes in messenger RNA products — mRNA — which are used in therapies and vaccines, most notably the shots made widely available last year to immunize people against the coronavirus that has now killed more than 900,000 Americans. 

Visa and Mastercard are joining other companies in pulling out of Russia, but Coke has been resistant which has led to calls to boycott Coca-Cola products. The beverage company reportedly signaled it would continue doing business in Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine. #BoycottCocaCola became the No. 1 national trending Twitter topic Friday afternoon after a spokesperson for the beverage company’s exclusive bottler in Russia reportedly told a Russian state-owned news agency that it would continue all business operations in the country.“This shameless company continues to work for the invaders in full strength,” the Ukrainian supermarket chain Novus said in a statement, according to the Kyiv Independent.  PepsiCo joins Coca-Cola and fast-food chains like McDonald’s as being some of the companies protestors are targeting. They are facing growing pressure on social media platforms and from large investors to halt operations in Russia.

The moon was walloped by three tons of space junk, a punch that left a crater that could hold several semi tractor-trailers. The leftover rocket smashed into the far side of the moon at 5,800 mph on Saturday. It may take weeks, even months, to confirm the impact through satellite images. It has been tumbling haphazardly through space, experts believe, since China launched it nearly a decade ago.

Entertainment mogul and philanthropist Tyler Perry will be Emory University’s keynote speaker at its May commencement ceremony, school officials announced Tuesday. Perry, who did not complete high school, but later earned his General Education Development (GED) degree, will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree from Emory at the May 9 ceremony on its Druid Hills campus.

WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested last month at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges. The Russian Customs Service said Saturday that the cartridges were identified as containing oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Griner, who plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, has played in Russia for the last seven years in the winter, earning over $1 million per season — more than quadruple her WNBA salary. She last played for her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on Jan. 29 before the league took a two-week break in early February for the FIBA World Cup.

On Saturday, the State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory for Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine and urged all U.S. citizens to depart immediately, citing factors including “the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials” and “the Embassy’s limited ability to assist”

Black retired football players who were denied payments for dementia in the NFL’s $1 billion concussion settlement can seek to be retested or have their claims rescored to eliminate racial bias in the testing and payout formula, according to a revised plan finalized Friday. Outrage over the use of “race-norming” in the dementia testing — which assumed that Black people have a lower cognitive baseline score, making it harder for them to show mental declines linked to football — forced the NFL and players’ lawyers back to the negotiating table last year. The revisions could allow many retired players to resubmit their claims and add $100 million or more to the NFL’s legal tab. The NFL, through the fund, has paid out more than $800 million to date, nearly half for dementia claims. The dementia awards average about $600,000. “Thousands of Black players stand to benefit from these changes to the settlement,” said the lawyer for the players. 

The bad blood between Major League Baseball players and owners remains as the lockout continues with the same issues. Players want to make more money. Owners want to pay less money. Fans just want to see baseball played.

Metro Atlanta customers of Carvana, the trendy car dealership, are speaking out against the company after they say the company is putting them at risk of getting pulled over by police because they can’t prove they own the cars they bought. Carvana has not sent customers the title to their cars, even though some bought their cars in 2021. A class-action lawsuit over the issues has been filed by lawyers in Pennsylvania. Other Carvana customers across the country say they’ve experienced the same issue as well.

General Motors will need to recall more than 725,000 GMC Terrains to fix a problem with the SUVs’ headlights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been collecting information on GMC Terrains from the 2010 through 2017 model years and claims that the headlights can create “glare to other motorists driving in proximity” in certain weather conditions, including snow and fog. GM will recall the vehicles and fix the headlights at no cost to vehicle owners. NHTSA said that approximately 726,959 Terrains manufactured between May 21, 2009, and July 13, 2017, are potentially involved in this recall.

The Food and Drug Administration has recalled two kinds of deodorants after concerns were raised about a cancer-causing chemical found inside the cans. HRB Brands is recalling four types of Brutdeodorant sprays and two types of Sure antiperspirant sprays. Officials are concerned about the presence of the chemical benzene. It is not an ingredient in the products but unexpected levels of cancer-causing substances were discovered in the propellant used for the spray cans. Retailers are being notified of the recall, and consumers with questions can contact TCP HOT Acquisition LLC by calling 866-615-0976 Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. HRB Brands has set up a website you can get more information on the recall and possible refunds.

Have a wonderful week…


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