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Democrat leaders have failed to do their basic job of passing a budget and spending/appropriations bills via Regular Order or for that matter even as a Continuing Resolution once again. It is quite apparent that Democrats are just too busy with other pressing matters like producing the “Trump Reality Show.”

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In his successful 1980 campaign for the presidency, Ronald Reagan prominently featured the prospect of welfare fraud, citing the case of a Chicago “welfare queen” who had defrauded the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since then, policing and preventing welfare cheats has been a standard plank on the right, a reliable go-to for conservative politicians portraying themselves as upright stewards of the public purse.

Thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico are without power after Hurricane Fiona roared through last week. Idling off the island’s coast is a ship that reportedly carries 300,000 barrels of diesel fuel from Texas. Yet unloading that fuel is illegal without a Jones Act waiver, which the Biden Administration hasn’t granted.

“In the ’50s, you just say n—–, n—–, n—-,” admitted Lee Atwater, South Carolina Republican consultant and architect of George H. W. Bush’s 1988 campaign for the presidency. Later, on his deathbed, Atwater expressed remorse for using race hatred in the pursuit of political power. But from Atwater’s penance we seem to have come full circle. If ’50s demagogues cried the n-word, so does the 45th president of the United States.

Features

I was talking with a dear friend just today who was feeling extremely stressed and beat up by other church members. I reminded my friend that ministry could often be thankless work. There are certainly people in the church world who are quicker to tear others down than they are to build them…

State AP Stories

President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival. He's even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can help restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. It’s a commitment made in a GOP congressional district that Biden and the company credited to the recently enacted $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden's goal is to keep opening new factories in states where Democrats’ footholds are shaky at best.

In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

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Advocates say schools increasingly are removing children with disabilities from the classroom because of behavior issues related to their disability but not recording the actions as suspension. The practice is known as informal removal, which advocates say amounts to a form of off-the-books, de facto denial of education that evades accountability. Because the removals aren’t recorded, there’s no way to quantify how often they happen. But the assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, says the practice has "taken hold in a way that is dangerous for students and needs to be addressed.”

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A Delaware judge says cigarette manufacturer ITG Brands assumed liability for tobacco settlement payments to the state of Florida when it acquired four brands from Reynolds American in 2015. Vice Chancellor Lori Will also said in Friday's ruling that ITG must compensate Reynolds American for losses due to that assumed liability. Reynolds sold the Kool, Winston, Salem and Maverick brands to ITG in 2014 to gain federal regulators' approval of Reynolds’ acquisition of Lorillard Inc. Before the sale closed, Reynolds American affiliate R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was making payments under a preexisting settlement agreement with Florida for reimbursement of smoking-related health care costs.

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North Carolina’s State Board of Elections is directing county election officials not to engage in signature matching when reviewing absentee ballot envelopes this fall after a judge rejected the GOP appeal of a state board ruling prohibiting the practice. According to a directive sent to county election directors from the board’s legal counsel Paul Cox, the judge’s ruling maintains the status quo outlined in state law. Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell ruled from the bench Monday afternoon, denying the party’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preventing the use of signature matching in the 2022 general election, state board spokesperson Pat Gannon said.

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Emergency responders are seeking to evacuate residents from the largest barrier island off Florida's Gulf Coast, and survivors there spoke of the terror of riding out Hurricane Ian in flooded homes and howling winds. A volunteer group, Medic Corps, was flying residents off Pine island by helicopter on Saturday. The bridge to Pine Island was heavily damaged by the hurricane, leaving it reachable only by boat or air. Some residents said they hadn’t seen anyone from outside the island for days and spoke of being trapped in flooded homes as boats and other debris crashed around their houses in the storm surge. Some feared they wouldn't make it.

Local election officials across the United States are bracing for a wave of confrontations on Election Day in November. Emboldened Republican poll watchers, including many who embrace former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election, are expected to flood election offices and polling places. The Republican Party and conservative activists have been holding poll watcher training sessions, but in many states they've barred the media from observing those sessions. Some Republican-led states passed laws after the 2020 election that require local election offices to allow poll watchers and give them expanded access to observe and challenge ballots.

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The remnants of Hurricane Ian have downed trees and power lines across North Carolina, and at least four storm-related fatalities.. The Johnston County Sheriff's Office says a woman found her husband dead early Saturday morning after he went to check on a generator running in their garage overnight. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's office says there were also two storm-related traffic fatalities in Johnston County on Friday, and a drowning in Martin County. Damage reports across the state were less severe than in South Carolina and Florida. But over 90,000 people statewide were without power Saturday afternoon. That was down from over 330,000 earlier in the day.

National & World AP Stories

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ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Alone in his apartment in the Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar in southeastern Ukraine, nuclear plant security guard Serhiy Shvets looked out his kitchen window in late May and saw gunmen approaching on the street below. When his buzzer rang, he was sure he was…

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the final papers to annex four regions of Ukraine while his military struggled to control the new territory. The documents finalizing the annexation were published Wednesday on a Russian government website. In a defiant move, the Kremlin held the door open for further land grabs in Ukraine. Speaking in a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “certain territories will be reclaimed" and that Russia would continue “consulting” residents about joining Russia. He did not specify which additional Ukrainian territories Moscow is eyeing. The four annexed regions were added in violation of international laws.

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A late burst of buying on Wall Street has the market on pace to add to its big gains this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.4% in late-afternoon trading Wednesday. It’s coming off its best two-day rally since the spring of 2020, spurred in part by hopes a softening economy may convince central banks to take it easier on interest-rate hikes. But analysts have said such hopes may be premature. A report on U.S. job growth at private employers came in stronger than expected Wednesday, as did a report on the service sector.

A Democratic congressman who has made his opponent’s questionable record fighting the opioid epidemic a central theme of his campaign for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat has accepted campaign donations over the years from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis. An Associated Press review found the $27,000 in combined contributions to U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan from the nation's three largest drug distributors rolled in between 2007 and this August. The giving represents a fraction of Ryan's campaign contributions over the years, but it's notable because he's hammered Republican opponent JD Vance over the spotty record of his anti-opioid nonprofit.

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This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to Americans Carolyn R. Bertozzi and K. Barry Sharpless, and Danish scientist Morten Meldal for developing a way of “snapping molecules together" that can be used to design better medicines. They were cited for their work on click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions, which are used to make cancer drugs, map DNA and create materials that are tailored to a specific purpose. Hans Ellegren, secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, announced the winners Wednesday at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

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The OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting countries has decided to sharply cut production to support sagging oil prices. The move Wednesday could deal the struggling global economy another blow and raise politically sensitive pump prices for U.S. drivers just ahead of key national elections. Energy ministers meeting at the Vienna headquarters of the OPEC oil cartel cut production by 2 million barrels per day at their first face-to-face meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides a token trim in oil production last month, the major cut is an abrupt turnaround from months of restoring deep cuts made during the depths of the pandemic and could help alliance member Russia weather a looming European ban on oil imports.

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A Russian cosmonaut has rocketed from the U.S. for the first time in 20 years, catching a ride with SpaceX. She launched to the International Space Station from Florida on Wednesday alongside two NASA astronauts and one from Japan. Their flight was delayed a couple days by Hurricane Ian. Leading the crew is Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman orbit Earth. She says despite their different backgrounds and the war in Ukraine, she and her crewmates are united in their mission. They should reach the orbiting lab Thursday for a five-month stay.

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Hosting World Cup matches in 2030 would be “the dream of people who survived the horrors of war,” Ukrainian soccer federation president Andriy Pavelko said Wednesday after his country launched a joint bid with Spain and Portugal amid the invasion and occupation by Russia.