Connect with us

U.S.

NBA Players Decide to Resume Playoffs Following Strike

Published

on

  • The NBA announced on Thursday that it will be continuing its playoff season. Thursday’s games have still been postponed, but players could be back on the court as soon as Friday.
  • The NBA was previously forced to postpone its Wednesday games after the Milwaukee Bucks and several other teams decided not to play in protest over the killing of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times by an officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Whether or not the season would go on was up in the air Wednesday night and early Thursday. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers initially said they wanted to end the season, with Lakers star LeBron James even walking out of a Wednesday meeting. 
  • NBA reporters have said that James ultimately decided going forward was in the best interest of the players. According to those reporters, his change of mind helped lead to the NBA’s final decision. 

NBA Will Resume Season

The National Basketball Association will resume its playoff season after striking on Wednesday in protest of police brutality.

The decision was made during a Thursday meeting among players in the NBA bubble. While Thursday’s games will still be postponed, playing could resume as early as Friday. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after some teams seemed split on the issue during a meeting that was later described as “heated.” 

During that meeting, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers both expressed an interest in ending the season. Other teams wanted to move forward. Sources told NBA reporters that Lakers star LeBron James ended up walking out of the meeting with his teammates and Clippers players behind him.

However, James seemed to change his position, which carved the path for the season to continue. According to NBA reporter Chris Haynes, several players, including James, found it was “in their best interest to finish out the season.”

The NBA’s strike began on Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks opted to not take the court against the Orlando Magic. This choice came following the killing of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake’s lawyer and family say the shooting left him paralyzed from the waist down. 

Other teams were set to follow the Bucks’ lead. Under pressure from its athletes, the NBA postponed all of Wednesday’s games. The National Basketball Players Association released a statement in support of the Bucks and the league’s choice to take a stand for justice. 

“Throughout the season restart, our players have been unwavering in their demands for systemic justice,” The NBPA said. “This week we witnessed another horrific, shocking and all too familiar act of brutality in the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The players have, once again, made it clear – they will not be silent on this issue.” 

Other Leagues Postpone Games

The NBA is not the only athletic league taking a stand. The WNBA, which has dedicated its season to Breonna Taylor and efforts to fight for racial justice, also canceled their Wednesday games. 

Some players took to the court kneeling and locking arms. Many wore shirts that spelled out Blake’s name. The backs of those shirts had seven bullet holes in them.

“We also have the opportunity to keep the focus on the issues and demand change,” Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams said. “These moments are why it’s important for our fans to stay focused, hear our voices, know our hearts and connect the dots from what we say to what we do.”

Both the NBA and WNBA were praised by former president Barack Obama for their actions. 

The WNBA’s Thursday games have also been postponed as they players have deemed it a day of reflection, informed action, and mobilization. They have not announced their plans to continue their season yet. 

Three MLB games were also postponed on Wednesday. 

“Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight,” the league said in a statement. “Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.” 

Several other games still went on as scheduled. While games still went on in the NHL on Wednesday, the league postponed its Thursday playoff games to take a stand.

See what others are saying: (ESPN) (CBS Sports) (NBC Sports)

U.S.

Survey and Census Data Shows Record Number of Americans are Struggling Financially

Published

on

Americans are choosing not to pursue medical treatment more and more frequently as they encounter money troubles.


A recent federal survey shows that a record number of Americans were worse off financially in 2022 than a year prior.

Coupled with recent census data showing pervasive poverty across much of the country, Americans are forced to make difficult decisions, like foregoing expensive healthcare. 

According to a recent Federal Reserve Bureau survey, 35% of adults say they were worse off in 2022 than 2021, which is the highest share ever recorded since the question was raised in 2014. 

Additionally, half of adults reported their budget was majorly affected by rising prices across the country, and that number is even higher among minority communities and parents living with their children.

According to recent census data, more than 10% of the counties in the U.S. are experiencing persistent poverty, meaning the area has had a poverty rate of 20% or higher between 1989 and 2019. 

16 states report at least 10% of their population living in persistent poverty. But most of the suffering counties were found in the South — which accounts for over half the people living in persistent poverty, despite making up less than 40% of the population. 

These financial realities have placed many Americans in the unfortunate situation of choosing between medical treatment and survival. The Federal Reserve study found that the share of Americans who skipped medical treatment because of the cost has drastically increased since 2020. 

The reflection of this can be found in the overall health of households in different income brackets. 75% of households with an income of $25,000 or less report being in good health – compared to the 91% of households with $100,000 or more income. 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (Federal Reserve)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Montana Governor Signs TikTok Ban

Published

on

The ban will likely face legal challenges before it is officially enacted next year. 


First Statewide Ban of TikTok

Montana became the first state to ban TikTok on Wednesday after Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation aimed at protecting “Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

The ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, though the law will likely face a handful of legal challenges before that date. 

Under the law, citizens of the state will not be held liable for using the app, but companies that offer the app on their platforms, like Apple and Google, will face a $10,000 fine per day of violations. TikTok would also be subject to the hefty daily fine. 

Questions remain about how tech companies will practically enforce this law. During a hearing earlier this year, a representative from TechNet said that these platforms don’t have the ability to “geofence” apps by state.

Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, told the Associated Press that app stores could have the capability to enforce the restriction, but it would be difficult to carry out and there would be a variety of loopholes by tools like VPNs.

Montana’s law comes as U.S. politicians have taken aim at TikTok over its alleged ties to the CCP. Earlier this year, the White House directed federal agencies to remove TikTok from government devices. Conservatives, in particular, have been increasingly working to restrict the app.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gov. Gianforte said in a Wednesday statement. 

Criticism of Montana Law

TikTok, however, has repeatedly denied that it gives user data to the government. The company released a statement claiming Montana’s law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people” in the state. 

“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” the company said. 

The American Civil Liberties Union condemned Montana’s law for similar reasons. 

“This law tramples on our free speech rights under the guise of national security and lays the groundwork for excessive government control over the internet,” the ACLU tweeted. “Elected officials do not have the right to selectively censor entire social media apps based on their country of origin.”

Per the AP, there are 200,000 TikTok users in Montana, and another 6,000 businesses use the platform as well. Lawsuits are expected to be filed against the law in the near future.

See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Fast Company) (CBS News)

Continue Reading

U.S.

How a Disney-Loving Former Youth Pastor Landed on The FBI’s “Most Wanted” List

Published

on

 “Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Chris Burns’ 19-year-old son pleaded to his father via The Daily Beast. 


Multi-Million Dollar Scheme 

Former youth pastor turned financial advisor Chris Burns remains at large since going on the run in September of 2020 to avoid a Securities Exchange Commission investigation into his businesses.

Despite his fugitive status, the Justice Department recently indicted Burns with several more charges on top of the $12 million default judgment he received from the SEC. 

Burns allegedly sold false promissory notes to investors across Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. The SEC claims he told the investors they were participating in a “peer to peer” lending program where businesses that needed capital would borrow money and then repay it with interest as high as 20%. Burns allegedly also reassured investors that the businesses had collateral so the investment was low-risk. 

The SEC says that Burns instead took that money for personal use. 

Burns’ History 

Burns began his adult life as a youth pastor back in 2007 before transitioning into financial planning a few years later.  By 2017, he launched his own radio show, The Chris Burns Show, which was funded by one of his companies, Dynamic Money – where every week Burns would “unpack how this week’s headlines practically impact your life, wallet, and future,” according to the description. He also frequently appeared on television and online, talking about finances and politics. 

The SEC alleges that he used his public appearances to elevate his status as a financial advisor and maximize his reach to investors.

His family told The Daily Beast that he became obsessed with success and he reportedly bought hand-made clothes, a million-dollar lakehouse, a boat, several cars, and took his family on several trips to Disney World. His eldest son and wife said that Burns was paying thousands of dollars a day for VIP tours and once paid for the neighbors to come along. 

Then in September 2020, he reportedly told his wife that he was being investigated by the Securities Exchange Commission but he told her not to worry. 

The day that he was supposed to turn over his business documents to the SEC, he disappeared, telling his wife he was just going to take a trip to North Carolina to tell his parents about the investigation. Then, the car was found abandoned in a parking lot with several cashier’s checks totaling $78,000

FBI’s Most Wanted

The default judgment in the SEC complaint orders Burns, if he’s ever found, to pay $12 million to his victims, as well as over $650,000 in a civil penalty. Additionally, a federal criminal complaint charged him with mail fraud. Burns is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. 

Last week, the Justice Department indicted him on several other charges including 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. 

“Burns is charged for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from clients in an illegal investment fraud scheme,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Financial crimes of this nature can cause significant disruptions to the lives of those who are victimized, and the FBI is dedicated to holding these criminals accountable.”

His family maintains that they knew nothing of Burns’ schemes. His wife reportedly returned over $300,000 that he had given to her. 

She and their eldest son, who is now 19, told The Daily Beast they just want Burns to turn himself in, take responsibility for his actions, and try to help the people he hurt. 

“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Burns’ son said in a message to his father via The Daily Beast. 

See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (Fox 5) (Wealth Management)

Continue Reading