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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.” Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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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.

National & World AP Stories

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Hong Kong's share benchmark has soared more than 5% as Asian shares track gains on Wall Street. New Zealand’s central bank on Wednesday hiked its benchmark interest rate to 3.5%, saying inflation remained too high and labor scarce. The half-point rate hike was the fifth in a row made by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand since February. Markets in mainland China remained closed for a holiday. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 800 points and the S&P 500 had its best day in more than two years Tuesday as the market clawed back more of the ground it lost over the past miserable several weeks.

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Aaron Judge has hit his 62nd home run of the season to break Roger Maris’ American League record. Judge hit a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesús Tinoco into the first row of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. The 30-year-old Judge had homered only once in his past 13 games. That was when he hit No. 61 in Toronto last Wednesday to match Maris. While Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, all were tainted by the stench of steroids. That includes Barry Bonds' 73 for the the San Francisco Giants in 2001, though he has denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs.

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A malfunctioning South Korean ballistic missile blew up as it plowed into the ground during a drill with the United States that was a reprisal for North Korea’s launch a day earlier of a weapon that flew over Japan and has the range to strike Guam. The explosion panicked and confused residents of the coastal city of Gangneung. Their concern that it could be a North Korean attack only grew as the military and government officials provided no explanation about the explosion for hours. The short-range Hyumoo-2 missile that crashed inside an air force base in the outskirts of Gangneung is key to South Korea’s preemptive and retaliatory strike strategies against the North.

"Best before” labels are coming under scrutiny as concerns about food waste grow around the world. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. But “best before” labels have nothing to do with safety, and some worry they encourage consumers to throw away food that’s perfectly fine to eat. Major U.K. chains like Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer recently removed “best before” labels from prepackaged fruit and vegetables. The European Union is expected to announce a revamp to its labeling laws by the end of this year. In the U.S., there’s no similar push to scrap “best before” labels. But there is growing momentum to standardize the language on date labels to help educate buyers about food waste.