Trish Rooney

Republicans celebrate Rittenhouse verdict

Friday's acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who traveled to a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August of 2020 and fatally shot two men, was met with jubilation on the right.

A jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on the homicide charges for the killings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and not guilty of attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz. Republicans celebrated online.

The House Judiciary GOP account tweeted "Justice."

Lauren Southern, a Canadian alt-right activist, tweeted that Rittenhouse "falls to the ground sobbing a free man. What an incredible moment."

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-NC, offered Rittenhouse an internship in his office, and told his followers to "be armed, and be dangerous."

Cawthorn is not the only Representative to offer Rittenhouse an internship. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, has also said he would offer one to Rittenhouse upon his acquittal, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-AZ, offered to "arm wrestle Matt Gaetz" for "dibs" on Rittenhouse.

Ann Coulter posted a meme of superheroes bowing to Rittenhouse, carrying his weapon, flanked by two nurses in scrubs with eagles for heads.

Tomi Lahren tweeted "Justice has been served!!"

"Now Kyle should spend the next year suing the absolute pants off of every news outlet and person, including our president, who slandered him!!"

Others echoed the sentiment that Rittenhouse should pursue legal action for alleged defamation by news outlets and President Biden. Bryan Dean Wright, a Fox News contributor, who tweeted that he would "like to contribute to the legal fund of Kyle Rittenhouse, as he sues the shit out of Leftist media."

Senator Tom Cotton, R-AK, called on President Joe Biden to "apologize" to Rittenhouse.

Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany retweeted Cotton, and posted "Kyle Rittenhouse found NOT GUILTY on all charges!"

GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that Biden "prejudged the Rittenhouse case. He smeared a teenager… Biden needs to apologize and ACT NOW before the left uses his lies to fuel violence."

Others praised the jury for their decision. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that "The Rittenhouse jury just gave Biden his second colonoscopy of the day."

Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, tweeted, "This acquittal isn't just about Kyle Rittenhouse."


Buzz Patterson, a former Republican candidate for Congress from California, wrote on Twitter that "The American justice system was on trial as well. The jurors were bold and brave in not submitting to the media spin and potential threats."

Lisa Boothe, a Fox News contributor, tweeted "The Kyle Rittenhouse jury gives me hope for America. Even when faced with a violent and hate-filled mob, they still did what was just and right"

Candace Owens tweeted "NOT GUILTY….Justice wins the day"

Wendy Rogers, a state Senator from Arizona, tweeted that Rittenhouse's pronouns were "NOT GUILTY"

Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic presidential candidate and congressperson, wrote on Twitter that "The jury got it right... the government was motivated by politics, which itself should be considered criminal."

Outside of the courthouse, people erupted in cheers at the not guilty verdict.

Rittenhouse's family, in a statement through their spokesperson, said that "Kyle's a free man, and rightfully so. It's been a hard year."

Republicans have a new idea to fix the labor shortage: Loosen child labor laws

Republican-controlled legislatures in several states have come up with a novel way to stem the effects of an ongoing labor shortage: loosen child labor laws governing the number of hours and times that teenagers are allowed to work.

It's not exactly a new strategy. Businesses hiring minimum-wage employees across the country have advertised their use of teenagers to plug the holes in their workforce for months, especially fast-food chains like Chipotle, Burger King and McDonalds, among others. Seasonal work in tourism-heavy industries like amusement parks have also doubled-down on the strategy.

But at least two states, Wisconsin and Ohio, are now pushing for new laws that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work longer hours — the most brazen attempts to expand American businesses' use of teenage labor in decades.

In Ohio, the Republican-controlled state legislature took up a measure last month to allow businesses to keep teenagers under the age of 16 at work until 9 p.m., with a parent's permission. Previously, they had only been allowed to work until 7 p.m. The bill was introduced by two Republicans and one Democrat.

Likewise, the Wisconsin Senate last month also passed a bill which would allow businesses to hire 14- and 15-year-olds to work from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weeknights or 11 p.m. on weekends. The measure would only apply to businesses which run less than $500,000 in sales annually and aren't governed by a federal statute known as the Fair Labor Standards Act.

If approved by the state Assembly, which appears likely, its fate will lie with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. It remains unclear whether he will veto the measure or not.

It's just the latest attempt in a long line of Republican-led changes to the state's child labor code over the last decade, according to an analysis in The Guardian. In 2011, Wisconsin eliminated limits on the number of hours — and days — that minors aged 16-17 could work, and even replaced the phrase "child labor" in state law with "employment of minors" in 2017.

The most recent changes have attracted support from a number of powerful service-industry lobbies, such as the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, who say it will help to solve businesses' staffing issues and teach teenagers a healthy work ethic.

On the other side, the measure has attracted ire from the AFL-CIO and a number of the state's high-profile Democrats, who uniformly appear to oppose the bill.

"It's a nice workaround," state Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, told WISN-TV last month. "I think in reality if those employers are looking for workers, what frankly the market should dictate is they should be raising wages, offering additional benefits."

A number of high-profile progressives have echoed those sentiments — with some even pushing back against the mainstream narrative that a widespread worker shortage exists in the first place. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said on her Instagram recently that what America is confronting isn't a labor shortage, but a "dignified job shortage."

Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist and co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, told Salon that the larger issue at play is why kids would have to work in the first place.

"A lot of families are in such dire economic conditions that they might agree to send their kids to work because of necessity." she said. "But that's the problem. If you get up and go to work every day, you shouldn't be living in poverty, you shouldn't be living in such dire situations."

The increasing reliance on American teenagers to work more hours is also leading to a number of negative outcomes for children who are forced into the labor market at younger ages — including increasing rates of substance abuse and high school dropouts, research shows.

In an op-ed for the Bucks County Courier Times, a local Pennsylvania newspaper, high school junior Darcy Leight wrote that she and her peers were experiencing burnout at much higher rates due to the increasing pressure to work longer hours in recent months.

"A job I intended to work strictly during the summer has somehow found its way into my fall schedule and has become almost equivalent to academics on my priority list. And I don't even know how it happened," she wrote. "The coupling of a job anywhere from five to 35 hours a week along with being a student is extremely stressful."

Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes accused of defrauding Betsy DeVos' family out of $100 million

The billionaire family investment firm of Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, was misled by former Theranos executive Elizabeth Holmes when it made a more than $100 million investment in the failed startup, a representative for the family said during testimony in Holmes' fraud trial on Tuesday, reports said.

Holmes, the charismatic founder of Silicon Valley's onetime biotech darling, is currently on trial in San Jose, California, for wire fraud. Lisa Peterson, the DeVos family's private equity investment manager, said during her testimony that the family even doubled its investment, from $50 million to nearly $100 million, after Holmes dazzled them during a pitch meeting.

Peterson also said that Holmes was "handpicking" super-wealthy families to invest in the company, despite the fact that she knew the blood testing equipment that Theranos manufactured didn't work, according to the Washington Post. When prosecutors asked if Peterson believed that Holmes singled out the DeVos family, Peterson answered, "very much so."

Last week in court, one former project manager for Theranos testified that international media mogul Rupert Murdoch had also been targeted by Holmes. He, in turn, invested $125 million into Theranos.

In 2014 the DeVos family toured the company's facility in Palo Alto, an event that culminated with DeVos' sister getting "tested" by one of the company's machines. Peterson testified that she did receive results from that test, but whether or not it was actually completed with a Theranos machine is unclear.

Peterson also acknowledged that the DeVos family investment firm never hired regulatory experts, counsel, or medical experts in the due diligence process, explaining that "we didn't think we needed it."

This is the eighth week of trial proceedings for Holmes — with the case expected to last at least three to four months. Her former business and romantic partner, Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, is also slated for a trial in 2022.

Trump blasts Meghan McCain as 'lowlife' — and says he gave John McCain 'world's longest funeral'

Donald Trump hasn't tired of ribbing his old rival, the late Sen. John McCain — or his daughter for that matter.

In a statement released Friday, the former president attacked Meghan McCain, calling her a "lowlife" and "a bully," adding that he gave her father "the world's longest funeral."

The statement was apparently in response to McCain's new book, in which she claims that she was bullied off of The View by her co-hosts while dealing with postnatal anxiety.

Trump also took the opportunity to say that he had won Arizona "by a lot" in 2016, and by "even more" in 2020, continuing his long-running crusade to overturn the results of last year's election by nodding at nonexistent reports of widespread voter fraud.

A Republican-backed review of the Arizona election found no proof that the election was fraudulent.

Trump also attacked Sen. McCain's choice to hand over the now-infamous Steele dossier, an intelligence report on then-candidate Trump compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele, to the FBI. More than four years and a presidential administration removed from the incident, Trump wrote Friday that Sen. McCain only made the move to stop "the Trump Train."

Trump concluded the statement by saying that Meghan McCain should "fight the Communists" rather than fellow conservatives.

"She should fight back against the Losers of The View the way she fights against very good and well-meaning Republicans."

McCain responded to the statement on Twitter with a plug for her book, writing, "Thanks for the publicity boomer."

Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper takes down anti-mask protesters at North Carolina school board meeting

If a frontline has emerged in the new culture war, it's surely local school board meetings — where right-wing activists in dozens of municipalities have staged scenes over everything from COVID-19 safety measures to anti-racist lessons.

It was into this "thunderdome" — a school board meeting in Johnston County, North Carolina — that The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper stepped this week in an attempt to better understand the psyche of anti-maskers who had gathered for a protest against school COVID-19 prevention measures. Leading the protest just a few paces away was Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a Republican from the state who has emerged as a key figure in the conservative war on public health measures to tamp down on the surging virus.

It's hard to say what exactly Klepper was able to learn from the segment — except for the fact that not many of his interviewees knew what they were talking about.

One attendee, in an "I Don't Co-Parent With The Government" T-shirt, the slogan du jour of the protest, said that she was against "all mandates."

Klepper pointed out that co-parenting with the government is sort of the point of public schools, to no avail. "If you don't want to co-parent with the government, don't get pregnant in Texas," he added.

Another said that her son had developed acne from wearing his mask "But has he had COVID?" Klepper asks — the answer, of course, was no.

The segment features footage of parents holding signs with anti-mask slogans, children draped in "Don't Tread on Me" flags, and others waving American flags. One self-identified parent even says that he'd been to the ICU three times this past year, floating wild conspiracies about hospitals faking COVID cases for… well, it's not entirely clear."I've walked through the hospitals, I've videoed inside hospitals, and guess what? They aren't full of COVID patients."

Klepper also stumps another attendee, who said that it was dangerous to use masks because it causes people to "breathe in toxins," by asking how surgeons manage hours-long procedures while wearing even more extensive protective equipment.

A particularly wild exchange featured one woman who claimed that in her "research," she found that Satanists stand six feet apart and wear masks during rituals. "Is it coincidence?" she says shrugging, "I don't know."

The Church of Satan responded to the video on Twitter, saying "As Satanists, we can assure you the lady at the end has no idea what she's talking about."

The protest comes as more than 16,000 North Carolinians have died since the start of the pandemic. As of Friday, there were over 1.3 million cases reported in the state.

Watch the full clip below via Twitter:

Why everyone is mad at Mark Zuckerberg

It's been a rough week for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Ire against the 37-year-old Harvard dropout and his social media platform has been one of the rare points of bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill this week as revelation after revelation about Facebook's pitfalls continues to trickle out, many from a series of internal documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

Lawmakers are now calling for Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, in particular about a number of internal reports cited by the Journal that determined Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, had a marked negative impact on young women.

Researchers for the company reportedly found in March of 2020 that "32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse." In another study, Facebook found that more than 40% of teenage Instagram users in the U.S. and U.K. reported feeling "unattractive", and said the feeling began on the app.

This information was allegedly shared with Zuckerberg personally last year during a presentation — though he didn't mention any of those findings at a Congressional hearing just a few months ago on the impacts of social media on children, saying simply, "Social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits."

When asked point-blank whether Facebook researches the effects of social media he added, "I believe the answer is yes."

A group of Democrats, including Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Reps. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., and Lori Trahan, D-Mass., wrote a letter to Zuckerberg asking him to scrap plans to roll out a version of Instagram specifically for children.

Another bipartisan group of Senators, announced a probe of told CNBC Tuesday they are "in touch with a Facebook whistleblower and will use every resource at our disposal to investigate what Facebook knew and when they knew it — including seeking further documents and pursuing witness testimony."

The head of public policy at Instagram, Karina Newton, responded to the allegations in a blog post highlighting research by Pew Internet on teens in the US that stated "81% of teens said that social media makes them feel more connected to their friends, while 26% reported social media makes them feel worse about their lives." Newton also said the company is researching ways to shift users away from repeatedly looking at certain topics that might "contribute to negative social comparison."

Among the other pitfalls the Journal uncovered at Facebook include reports that cartel activity on both Facebook and Instagram has gone unchecked, and that worldwide, the response to posts that are against the terms of use is "inadequate" at best and at worst, is non-existent. Other reports found that while Zuckerberg himself wanted to use Facebook to get America vaccinated, the platform was a breeding ground for anti-vaxxers, who "swarmed" the WHO and UNICEF pages with comments against the vaccine. The MIT Technology Review also obtained an internal report that foreign troll farms were able to reach more than 140 million Americans a month with misinformation leading up to last year's election, a development that surely had an effect on the millions of Americans who still believe, without any real evidence, that President Joe Biden's victory was somehow illegitimate.

The news also highlights how the ownership structure of Facebook essentially allows Zuckerberg to rule by decree — despite the protests of others both within and outside the publicly traded company. Zuckerberg holds 57.9% of the voting power at the company and is both chairman of the board and CEO, meaning there's not much anyone else can do to promote greater transparency or big-picture changes that they believe may be better for society.

"At Facebook, the annual general meeting is largely just theater," Robert Bartlett, a law professor at UC Berkeley who teaches securities regulation and corporate finance, told Marketwatch this week.

But even without voting power, shareholders of the company are still pushing the company to make changes that would benefit society as a whole — part of a trend that has seen "activist investors" take greater control over behemoth companies that have long operated with one goal and one goal only: profit.

The most high profile example came earlier this year when an "activist" hedge fund managed to win three seats on the board of ExxonMobil — the result of continued backlash against the company for the role it plays in climate change.

It remains unclear whether Mark Zuckerberg will make any changes at Facebook as a result of this week's news.

BRAND NEW STORIES

Happy Holidays!