House Democrats pass bill against gas price gouging with no votes from Republicans

The U.S. House on Thursday passed a bill to prevent gasoline price gouging with a vote of 217-207; no Republican voted in favor of the bill.

Sponsored by Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., and Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., the bill would make it illegal to sell gas at an excessive price during an energy emergency. Schrier said in a statement: “At a time when people in my district and across the country are feeling the pain of high prices at the gas pump, Congress needs to be doing all we can to bring down costs.”  She added that the FTC needs to have the power to investigate and crack down when there’s evidence of real gouging.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise wrote to Republican members that the bill was an “attempt by the Majority to distract and shift blame” for high gas prices, saying that there was no evidence of gas price gouging.

The Consumer Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2022 would give the president the power to issue an emergency declaration that would make it unlawful to hike gasoline and home energy prices “in an excessive or exploitative manner.”  It would also give the FTC more tools to crack down on price gouging, allowing the FTC to prioritize enforcement action on big oil and gas companies. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Texas, was one of four Democrats who voted against the bill, saying: “The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act would not fix high gasoline prices at the pump, and has the potential to exacerbate the supply shortage our country is facing, leading to even worse outcome. For these reasons, I voted no on this legislation today.”

The national average gas price by Thursday afternoon was $4.58 cents per gallon for regular; the price for diesel was $5.57 per gallon. Market analysts have said Russia’s Ukraine invasion and the pandemic recovery are the primary drivers of higher gas prices.

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Grand jury indicts suspect in Buffalo, N.Y. supermarket mass shooting

The white teenager accused of killing 10 black people at a Buffalo, New York supermarket appeared briefly in court on Thursday, after a grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge. Assistant district attorney Gary Hackbush said the indictment of the suspect, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, was handed up Wednesday. At his initial court appearance last week, the suspect’s court-appointed lawyer entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf.

Gendron, wearing orange clothing and mask, was silent throughout the proceeding and sent back to jail.  In New York, prosecutors can charge a defendant with first-degree murder only under special circumstances, which includes multiple people being killed in one single incident.  Thirteen people were shot Saturday at the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo. Authorities are continuing to investigate the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges.

Gendron live-streamed the attack from a helmet camera before surrendering to police outside the grocery store. Prior to the deadly attack, he had posted hundreds of pages of writings to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault and his racist motivation. Investigators have been examining those documents, which included a private diary he kept on the chat platform Discord. The accused gunman’s online writings said he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with white supremacist ideology he encountered online. Discord confirmed Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began, but it remains unclear how many read what he had written or logged on to view the assault live. It also unclear whether anyone tried to alert law enforcement.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has authorized the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate social media platforms used by the suspect to determine if they were liable for “providing a platform to plan and promote violence.”

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NY Mets ace pitcher Max Scherzer sidelined for 6-8 weeks due to oblique strain

NY Mets right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a strained oblique muscle in his left side.  Scherzer had an MRI on Thursday, one day after he pulled himself from a start against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 1-1 count on Albert Pujols in the sixth inning after feeling “a zing” in his left side. New York said the MRI detected a moderate-to-high grade strain.

The 37-year-old, three-time Cy Young Award winner is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts. The eight-time All-Star has struck out 59 and walked 11 in 49 2/3 innings. Scherzer recently signed a $130 million, three-year contract with the team.  Said Mets manager Buck Showalter: “He’s been pitching with a blister issue, the thing with the baseball — the seams are different. That’s one of the reasons why he really struggled with his breaking ball, to command it, because he was trying to keep from ripping that open again.”

The Mets began the day with a six-game lead in the NL East.  Losing Scherzer is the latest blow to a New York pitching staff already missing ace Jacob deGrom. DeGrom has been out since spring training because of a right scapula stress reaction, and he is not likely to pitch for the Mets until late June or July at the earliest. Tylor Megill also went on the 15-day injured list Sunday with right biceps inflammation. In addition, catcher James McCann is sidelined until late June or early July while recovering from a broken hamate in his left wrist, and relievers Sean Reid-Foley (Tommy John surgery) and Trevor May (right triceps inflammation) are also injured.

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2022 PGA Championship: Tiger Woods struggles, as Rory McIlroy sets the pace in opening round

Tiger Woods had a rough showing in the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Woods got off to a strong start through the first five holes. However, from there as he carded seven bogeys and just one more birdie to close out the first round, finishing four-over 74 and toward the bottom of the leaderboard. More concerning on the 18th tee was Woods limping after hitting a tee shot; the 46-year-old sustained significant leg injuries in a February 2021 car crash. Speaking with reporters, Woods said his leg “is not feeling as good as I’d like it to be. I just can’t load it. Loading hurts. Pressing off it hurts. Walking hurts. Twisting hurts. It’s just golf. If I don’t do that, I’ll be OK.”

Rory McIlroy set the pace with a a five-under 65, taking a one-shot lead on Thursday.  A run of four consecutive birdies for the 33-year-old McIlroy on his opening nine holes helped propel him to the top of the leaderboard. McIlroy said to reporters that it was a “great start to the tournament” for him, adding: “I’ve been playing well coming in here. I’ve been carrying some good form. Obviously that took a lot from that last round at Augusta, played well up in D.C. at the Wells Fargo there, and played good in the practice rounds earlier this week. I think when your game is feeling like that, it’s just a matter of going out there and really sticking to your game plan, executing as well as you possibly can, and just sort of staying in your own little world. I did that really well today. It was nice to get off to that good start and sorta keep it going. I feel like this course, it lets you be pretty aggressive off the tee if you want to be, so I hit quite a lot of drivers out there and took advantage of my length and finished that off with some nice iron play and some nice putting.”

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Reba McEntire lands role in Season 3 of ABC’s ‘Big Sky’

Reba McEntire has landed a role as a series regular on Season 3 of ABC’s Big Sky. Big Sky is based on “The Highway” book series by C.J. Box and stars Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury. The show follows a pair of private detectives (Winnick and Bunbury) as they investigate local crimes involving missing women, stolen drugs and money and more. McEntire will portray the role of character Sunny Brick, described as a  “successful backcountry outfitter with a secret history of missing customers.”

This is not Reba’s first time on the small screen.  She starred in her own sitcom, Reba, for six seasons and later appeared in Malibu Country, Baby Daddy, Last Man Standing, and Young Sheldon. McEntire has also appeared in movies such as Tremors and The Little Rascals and voiced characters for Charlotte’s Web, The Land Before Time XIV, PJ Masks, and more.

McEntire’s casting in Big Sky comes after Jensen Ackles was added to the show as a series regular, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler was confirmed to return for Season 3.

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Wynonna Judd announces star-studded lineup of women as guests for The Judds’ Final Tour

Wynonna Judd will continue on with the planned “The Judds: The Final Tour” that was announced prior to the passing of Naomi Judd, who died by suicide in April at the age of 76.

On Thursday, a revised tour ‘celebrating the life and legacy of Naomi Judd’ was announced on The Judd’s official social media accounts. The tour will include appearances by fellow artists Brandi Carlile, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Ashley McBryde, Trisha Yearwood and others to be announced at a later date.

Wynonna Judd said in a statement: “I am humbled, once again, by the loyalty of the fans who have been with us for 38+ years, who continue to show up for me when I need them the most I am grateful that we will continue to honor The Judds legacy, together.”

The 11-date arena tour will launch on September 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and run through October, wrapping up in The Judd’s home-state of Kentucky. Larry Strickland, Naomi’s longtime husband, also shared a statement in support of the tour:  “I am so happy that in this time of grief for us all, Wynonna has agreed to move forward with this tour as my sweet wife Naomi would have wanted her to do.” 

For ticket information, head to TheJudds.com

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Take a look at the Season 2 trailer of Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building’

Hulu has shared a teaser trailer for ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 2, featuring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez.

Season 2 follows neighbors Charles-Haden Savage (Martin), Oliver Putnam (Short) and Mabel Mora (Gomez) as they attempt to solve the murder of Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell), the board president of their building in New York. In the teaser, Charles, Oliver and Mabel are being framed for Bunny’s murder and must search for the real killer. The trailer also features new cast members Cara Delevingne, Amy Schumer and Shirley MacLaine. Delevingne plays Alice, an art world insider who becomes entangled in the mystery.

Only Murders in the Building is created by Martin and John Hoffman. Season 2 premieres June 28 on Hulu.

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Rihanna welcomes a baby boy with A$AP Rocky

Rihanna is officially a mom, giving birth to her first child – a baby boy – with her boyfriend A$AP Rocky on May 13 in Los Angeles, according to TMZ. Rihanna and A$AP have been dating since early 2020. They went public with their romance in November of that same year.

Rihanna’s pregnancy was revealed in late January after photographs emerged of the singer, 34, showing off her baby bump as she went for a stroll with Rocky, 33, in Harlem. A month before revealing the pregnancy, Rihanna had sparked rumors while dining at Carbone, with a source telling us she was “quite clearly drinking sparkling water and openly rubbing her baby bump.” The Fenty Beauty founder attempted to hide her pregnancy with oversize jackets and baggy clothes but began flaunting her baby bump with her trendy, maternity fashion.

A$AP Rocky — real name Rakim Mayers — opened up about one day becoming a dad during a May 2021 interview with GQ, saying, “I think I’d be an incredible, remarkably overall amazing dad. I would have a very fly child. Very.”

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Golden State Warriors defeat Dallas Mavericks 112-87 in Game 1 of Western Conference finals

Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night, giving them a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. The Mavericks Luka Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep, and Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s.  The two helped bring Dallas back into the game late in the first half to get within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Klay Thompson pushed the Warriors towards domination in the second half.

Game 2 between the Warriors and Mavericks in the best-of-seven series will take place Friday night at Chase Center.

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House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on the future of abortion care access

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on abortion rights in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating five justices are poised to reverse Roe vs. Wade. Abortion-rights supporters said that right is an individual liberty; while anti-abortion activists said there is no individual liberty unless government prevents abortions.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. said in opening remarks: “The decision to become a parent belongs to the individual. She may consult with her doctor or her loved ones to inform that decision, but the decision belongs to her.” Nadler said overturning Roe vs. Wade would take that power away from women and give it to the state: “Bodily autonomy is a prerequisite for liberty.”

Committee ranking member Rep Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, disagreed, stating in his opening remarks: “You never have a real liberty, you never have true freedom, if government won’t protect your most fundamental right, your right to live.”  Jordan also said Democrats in the House have blocked the House from considering a Senate-passed measure providing extra security for Supreme Court justices as the justices face protests at their homes over the leaked opinion.

Americans United For Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster told the House Judiciary Committee: “The truth is, abortion is always damaging and deadly. To speak for the violence of abortion is to speak for injustice.” Foster said the anti-abortion rights movement wants “a true constitutional order that equally protects all members of the human family.”

University of California Irvine School of Law Professor Michelle Goodwin told the House Judiciary Committee that if Roe vs. Wade abortion rights are lost, poor women will suffer most: “For poor women, particularly women of color, the loss will be deadly. This is the coming of the new Jane Crow.”  Professor Goodwin said that over the past 15 years there have been nearly 50 bombings of abortion clinics, where doctors, nurses and security guards have been killed. in addition to threats and mass shootings at abortion clinics.

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