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Top South Dakota Republicans face investigation for appearing to be drunk during crucial coronavirus session

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Lawmakers in South Dakota are investigating whether or not Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer (R) was drunk during a meeting earlier this week — a meeting that dealt with new legislation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Another South Dakota Republican, Brock Greenfield, is also under investigation for his conduct during the meeting.

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“Langer and Greenfield oversaw the Senate proceedings from a conference room in the Capitol as lawmakers convened through teleconference to decide on a series of emergency bills for the coronavirus outbreak,” the Journal reports. “As the Senate prepared to adjourn Tuesday morning, Sen. Phil Jensen, a Rapid City Republican, said he had heard Langer was intoxicated and had interrupted meetings in the House and Senate. He then attempted to move to create a disciplinary committee.”

Jensen says he noticed in a video feed of the meeting that both Langer and Greenfield’s speech was slurred.

The committee conducting the investigation will be comprised of five Republicans and four Democrats. They have a June 30 deadline to come to a conclusion.

Read the full report at the Rapid City Journal.


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Major hospital chains reap billions in federal bailout money while sitting on piles of cash: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, a substantial amount of federal funds that were designated to support hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic ended up being shipped off to major hospital chains already flush with cash in the bank.

The report begins by noting that Providence Health System, one of the country’s largest and richest hospital chains, was the recipient of $509 million in government aide even though the company is loaded with so much money it invests its excess cash and reaps big rewards.

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Tolerance and violence: The fate of religious minorities during the plague under Christianity and Islam

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Pandemics are nothing new—they scythed through the ancient world as they did the pre-modern and, as we know to our grief and confusion, they are still mowing us down today.

We might think that human nature is fairly invariant across time and space, and expect the response to these catastrophes to be perennially the same. Certainly, in the 21st century there are disturbing echoes of the way Jews were blamed by European Christians of the 14th century for the Black Death. From the US to the UK, from Iran to Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world), there has recently been an escalation of abuse and violence against Chinese and Asian-looking people. And not just Asians. Political groups and politicians have latched on to coronavirus as a weapon in their anti-immigration policies, urging their partisans to hunker down and suspect the alien minority. In a bid for votes President Trump seems to be using coronavirus to whip up anti-Chinese feeling. In India, egged on by the BJP, the ruling Hindu nationalist party, Muslims have been viciously attacked and accused of conspiring to kill Hindus by deliberately spreading the disease.

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‘It’s always Republicans’: Conservative bashes his own party’s hostility to democracy

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Conservative David Frum blamed the Republican Party for undermining U.S. democratic institutions.

The former speechwriter for George W. Bush told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that President Donald Trump's hardcore base was hostile to democracy, and both they and the president pose a real threat to constitutional law even if he loses in November.

"I think he'll issue a spate of pardons to his intimates, relatives and to himself," Frum warned, if Trump loses the election. "We've never had to test the question, whether a president can pardon himself. I imagine, I expect that we will be testing that question."

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