Running the ball better is ‘a big point of emphasis’

The Rams didn’t win the Super Bowl last year on the back of a strong running game. In fact, they won it all despite struggling to move the ball consistently on the ground. During the regular season, they ranked 25th in rushing yards, 28th in rushing touchdowns and 25th in yards per carry.

Thankfully, the passing attack was consistent, averaging the second-most net yards per pass attempt in the NFL.

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And in the postseason when Cam Akers returned, the running game didn’t improve much. They rushed for 140 yards in a blowout win over the Cardinals, but in their next three playoff games, they gained just 186 total yards on the ground. That was on 82 carries, which comes out to an average of only 2.3 yards per carry.

Leading into this season, Sean McVay knows the Rams must run the ball better and more efficiently. That’s not lost on him or the team.

“It’s been a big point of emphasis because we’ve got to be more efficient running the football,” he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio recently. “You’d love to be able to create the explosives but I think just the snap-in and snap-out efficiency. Obviously, the last game we played, credit to Cincinnati, but really throughout the playoffs – with the exception of the Arizona game – we didn’t run the football very well. That’s something we’ve taken a lot of pride in here. It starts with us being able to put our players in the right spots, giving them clarity, and then we’ve got to be able to go execute. Whether it’s Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, feel really good about those guys. And then continuing to figure out with our five linemen up front, Tyler Higbee at tight end, Kendall Blanton, Brycen Hopkins, what are the things and concepts we can activate that put them in the right spots. But it’s not lost on us that we didn’t run the football good enough, we’ve got to continue to get better in that area, and then continue to maintain a high level of execution in the pass game also.”

The Rams should benefit from Akers’ return now that he’s fully recovered from his Achilles tear, but it’s more than just the running back. The offensive line has to contribute, the tight ends must block better and the wide receivers have to seal off defenders when the run goes outside.

Matthew Stafford and the passing game are still the bread and butter of this offense, but balancing it with an efficient rushing attack will pay dividends.

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‘Atlanta’ Ep. 13, ‘Beverly Hills’ Ep. 14, and ‘Below Deck Med’ Ep. 5

Rachel kicks off this week’s Morally Corrupt by breaking down the looks and drama from Teresa and Luis’s wedding (01:50), before Rachel and Chelsea discuss Season 14, Episode 13 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (12:50). Rachel is then joined by Jodi Walker to chat about Season 12, Episode 14 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (30:44). Finally, Jodi and Callie Curry combine powers to give a riveting recap of Season 7, Episode 5 of Below Deck Mediterranean (01:01:32).

Host: Rachel Lindsay
Guests: Chelsea Stark-Jones, Jodi Walker, and Callie Curry
Producers: Devon Manze and Chelsea Stark-Jones
Theme Song: Devon Renaldo

Subscribe: Spotify

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PETITION UPDATE:  Officials Say Rocky the Coyote Won’t Move To A Sanctuary, But The Fight Continues

County staff have ruled that a wild coyote held captive in a 266-square-foot metal cage in Illinois won’t be heading to a sanctuary – but animal welfare advocates said the fight is not yet over.

Rocky, a coyote torn from the wild as a pup when passerby mistook him for an abandoned puppy, has been living at the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook since 2018 and has become the center of controversy in recent months. 

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, which runs the nature center, says Rocky is imprinted on humans and an ambassador animal. Local animal welfare organizations and activists, who have documented Rocky pacing on numerous occasions, say keeping him caged in such a small enclosure, without access to others of his own kind, is cruel and inhumane.

Lady Freethinker also sent our petition for Rocky, signed now by more than 40,000 people, to Cook County officials, advocating for Rocky’s release to a reputable wild animal sanctuary

The Forest Preserves recently announced Rocky will remain as a sole coyote at the nature center but added that a new enclosure – to measure between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet– is in the works, with anticipated completion this year.

The announcement follows an internal audit, in which one of the veterinarians consulted advised that Rocky’s enclosure should be at least 5,000 square feet and that he would benefit from having a coyote companion.

Local animal lovers who have long advocated for Rocky’s release to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado – including the Chicago Alliance for Animals (CAA) and Northbrook resident Nicole Milan – said building a bigger cage is not the answer and that keeping Rocky captive and alone also is inhumane.

“You put an animal in a cage, they’re not happy,” CAA’s Executive Director Jodie Wiederkehr told local news. “We will not stop advocating for Rocky until they do the humane thing and allow this very isolated, yet social animal to finally be on his way to a much more appropriate habitat and a much happier life.”

The veterinarians consulted for the audit were Edgar Garrett, a professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, who specializes in livestock, and Alison Kubala of the Veterinary Emergency Group in Chicago, who has worked with gorillas, elephants, and large carnivores.

Kubala’s evaluation in the audit noted Rocky should have a larger enclosure – citing a 5,000 square foot guideline from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums — and also encouraged space and opportunity for the coyote to display natural coyote behaviors, such as hunting and exploring.

The Forest Preserves instead cited the livestock expert who said Rocky’s enclosure was “adequate,” according to the report.

Milan pointed to discrepancies in the report during a recent speech to the Forest Preserves Board of Commissioners, questioning why wild canid specialists weren’t the ones to weigh in, noting the proposed cage expansion was less than half the space advised according to best practices for captive coyotes, and challenging the current conservation messaging by the nature center’s staff.

“The study demonstrates serious and disturbing failures in running the program,” Milan also told Lady Freethinker. “Keepers are saying Rocky is habituated, he sees people as his family, he cannot hunt, he sees the enclosure as his home and he doesn’t feel safe outside of it so we give him mental exercise instead of physical exercise. All incorrect information! He is not being treated like the wild animal he is.”

She added, “This ambassador program is not only teaching incorrect information, but it is selfish animal abuse to keep animals for the employees’ viewing pleasure.”

The audit also noted the nature center’s offered educational programming needed to make clear to public visitors the importance of staying away from wild coyotes.

We thank everyone who signed our petition on Rocky’s behalf and to the local animal activists who are continuing to advocate for Rocky’s well-being and maximum freedom to be the wild animal he is. We’ll keep following his journey, and urge you to sign our petition if you haven’t already. 

SIGN: Send Rocky the Coyote, Held Alone in A Tiny Cage, to A Sanctuary

Rocky the coyote

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Judge freezes federal coal leasing pending environmental review | State & Regional

The federal government must reevaluate the environmental impacts of coal mining on federal lands before it can issue any new leases, a judge ruled Friday.

Just over a week after he ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to revise its coal leasing allowances in the Powder River Basin for a second time, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Montana found that a Trump-era environmental review of coal leasing “was arbitrarily curtailed and failed to consider relevant factors.”

He reinstated an Obama-era moratorium on all federal coal leasing — which was later repealed by the Trump BLM and not reinstated when the Biden administration moved to replace the Trump-era policy — until the agency completes “sufficient” analysis.

While it’s been more than a decade since Wyoming’s last federal coal lease sale in a decade, a couple are pending.

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“This order marks a big win for our public lands and climate future,” Taylor McKinnon, a senior public lands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a written statement. “Federal coal isn’t compatible with preserving a livable climate. The Biden administration must now undertake a full environmental review to bring the federal coal program to an orderly end.”

The Biden Department of the Interior defended its decision not to reinstate the moratorium while formulating a new coal policy. Wyoming and Montana, together the source of more than 40% of the country’s coal, intervened in the case in support of continued leasing.

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Colorado urges Supreme Court to uphold its anti-discrimination law

By Jesse Bedayn, The Associated Press/Report for America

Colorado is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its anti-discrimination law in the face of a challenge by a Christian web designer who does not want to create custom wedding websites for same-sex couples and claims the state law violates her right to free speech.

In a brief filed Friday with the court, lawyers for the Colorado State Attorney’s Office said that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law only requires that a business sell its goods or services to all members of the public and does not regulate speech.

“The Act addresses what a business does and not what it says. Any burden the Act might impose on a business’s expression therefore does not violate the First Amendment,” they said.

The high court is expected to hear the case of Lorie Smith this fall. Smith, who runs a graphic and website design business in the Denver area, wants to expand into wedding website services but says her Christian beliefs prevent her from designing a wedding website or graphics for a same-sex couple.

The Supreme Court said it would only consider the free speech issue in deciding whether a law that requires an artist to speak or stay silent violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

Smith’s lawyer, Jake Warner, said that Smith has designed websites for LGBTQ+ customers in the past. The legal challenge, said Warner, is not about discriminating against same-sex couples. Instead, it’s about state law forcing Smith to design custom websites and graphics that include ideas antithetical to her beliefs.

“Lorie always serves people based on the message not the people,” said Warner, “This case has nothing to do with the person. It’s all about what the government is forcing a person to express.” Though Smith does not currently design wedding websites, Warner said that in the future she would assess whether to accept a customer only on the messaging they requested on their website.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser worries that, if the high court sides with Smith, the ruling could threaten other anti-discrimination laws across the country.

“The free speech claim advanced here we think is dangerous and is one that, if granted, would open up a range of loopholes to anti-discrimination law,” said Weiser, “Discrimination is not expression. It is illegal conduct.”

The Supreme Court has a majority of conservative judges who have recently overturned women’s constitutional right to an abortion and set a new precedent for gun control regulations in case in New York.

But Weiser is confident that the court will uphold Colorado’s law.

“We have seen over decades and decades the Supreme Court hold this line we are advancing in this case,” Weiser said. “It would be a dangerous and very problematic step to walk back from it, and we believe the court will take seriously any consequences of such action.”

In a 2-1 ruling last year, the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Smith’s attempt to overturn a lower court ruling that threw out her challenge. The judges said Colorado had a compelling interest in protecting the “dignity interests” of members of marginalized groups through the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.

The law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, is the same one at issue in the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips that was decided in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Phillips won a partial victory when the high court said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted with anti-religious bias against Phillips. But it did not rule on the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to LGBTQ people.

Last year, a Denver district judge ruled that Phillips had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a birthday cake for a transgender woman. While Phillips argued that he could not make the cake because of its message, the judge said the case was about a refusal to sell a product, not compelled speech.

We believe vital information needs to be seen by the people impacted, whether it’s a public health crisis, investigative reporting or keeping lawmakers accountable. This reporting depends on support from readers like you.

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‘A Little Night Music’ Review: A Rueful Take at Barrington Stage

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — I thought I’d seen everything you could do with “A Little Night Music,” the nearly unimprovable 1973 musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. But Barrington Stage Company’s bittersweet revival, which opened here on Wednesday, ends the first act with an especially deft touch. As the principals step forward for the final chorus of “A Weekend in the Country,” envisioning their upcoming visit to a grand estate, each carries a revealing and slightly absurd item of personal luggage.

Count Carl-Magnus Malcom, a military peacock, has a gigantic hunting bow slung over his shoulder, the better to stalk game or romantic rivals. Anne Egerman, an 18-year-old virgin married to Fredrik, a stuffy middle-aged widower, totes a bird cage. (She’s the canary.) Fredrik’s son, Henrik, struggling to reconcile his seminary ethics with his hots for his stepmom, clutches a prayer book. And Fredrik himself, perhaps not realizing he’s bringing skoals to Newcastle, bears a neatly wrapped and ribboned bottle of champagne.

“A Little Night Music” is like that champagne; when the original Broadway production opened, Clive Barnes, in The Times, called it Dom Pérignon. Bubbly it certainly is, especially Wheeler’s ingenious book, based on the 1955 Ingmar Bergman movie “Smiles of a Summer Night.” Henrik loves Anne; Anne won’t sleep with Fredrik; Fredrik longs for the actress Desiree Armfeldt; Desiree is kept by the jealous count; the count’s wife, Charlotte, is desperate for his attention — round it goes.

And even though the stage is set for what could be a tragedy (guns do come out), when they all meet for that weekend at the manse of Desiree’s mother, it ends as happily as a Shakespeare comedy — on the surface. The mismatched and damaged souls get repaired, in both senses of the word.

Despite that effervescence, though, “A Little Night Music,” in any half decent production, is also about rue. That’s even more salient in this first year following the death of Sondheim, who layered its brilliant songs so densely with varieties of regret. We feel that regret doubly now; for the characters no less than for us, pleasure is always coupled with loss.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that this Barrington Stage production, directed by Julianne Boyd, gets the rue so right. Especially in the performances of three of its central women, mixed emotion is always palpable. As the embittered Charlotte, Sierra Boggess offers a sad and hilarious sketch of a wife so steeped in the brine of her own disappointment that she actually looks pickled. And Madame Armfeldt, Desiree’s imperious mother, is no senile narcissist in Mary Beth Peil’s vivid performance; she’s a woman clinging as hard as she can, in her final days, to the thrill of a fully lived past.

But it’s Emily Skinner as Desiree, the focus of the complex romantic geometry, who most powerfully holds the show’s opposing forces in equilibrium and produces its warmest glow. She’s funny, of course; the scene in which she welcomes Fredrik (Jason Danieley) to her apartment after a performance and, despite his paeans to Anne, consents to revive their long-ago liaison — “What are old friends for?” — is a model of perfectly played situational humor.

Later, though, the humor deepens. Near the end of the weekend, when Desiree realizes that her last-ditch dream of getting Fredrik back for good has failed, Skinner offers a reading of the show’s big hit, “Send in the Clowns,” that, aside from being wonderfully sung, is as layered as a lasagna. Beneath her good-sport bravado is anger — at Fredrik, to be sure, for still being “in midair” when she’s “at last on the ground.” But beneath that is something unexpected and even richer: anger at herself for having failed to care in time about the squalid carelessness of a tossed-off, footloose life.

Vocally, the production is exceptional, with Danieley a standout among singers including Cooper Grodin as the count, Sabina Collazo as Anne and Sophie Mings as Anne’s randy maid Petra. (She scores big with “The Miller’s Son” — a showstopper but, given to a minor character, perhaps the work’s one misstep.) Every word sung is perfectly clear (the sound is by Leon Rothenberg), and the ensemble moments are gorgeous, almost overwhelming in the relatively intimate theater.

Still, on opening night, there was much that needed fine-tuning. Lighting cues went awry, scene changes were erratically paced, wet clothes didn’t drip and a shattered glass produced no sound. More substantially, the men were not yet digging as deep as the women. Danieley’s Fredrik, not stiff enough at the start, has little to unravel as the evening’s profound events bear down. And Noah Wolfe’s Henrik is so floridly agonized that it’s hard to see how his profoundness may yet be appealing.

Such problems will most likely take care of themselves before the show closes on Aug. 28. There’s nothing to be done, though, about the weak-tea watercolor set by Yoon Bae and the odd costumes by Sara Jean Tosetti. (For “Send in the Clowns,” Skinner wears a gold brocade gown with lamé sleeves that looks more like a 1970s Vegas castoff than Sweden in 1900.) And though the reduction of Jonathan Tunick’s original sumptuous orchestrations to a string quartet, two keyboards and one overtaxed reed player is sufficient to support the show’s more intimate moments, the high-spirited ones lack their Straussian oomph.

These are among the costs of putting on a very ambitious show at a regional theater without big Broadway money behind it. In that sense, they may be not just the costs but also the glory. It is, after all, no small thing to be able to see such worthy productions — and I’ve seen many here over the years — in a ragged, deindustrialized city like this one. It’s crucial to the culture that complex work be performed creditably at every level, and crucial to the local economy too. Barrington Stage appears to be one of Pittsfield’s most successful concerns.

For that, you have to thank Boyd, who along with Susan Sperber established the company in 1995 and will retire as its artistic director at the end of this season. (Alan Paul takes over in October.) Having directed “A Little Night Music” once before, in 1998, when the company performed in the auditorium of a high school arts center in nearby Sheffield, she knows all about its mixed emotions: how the promise of growth and the acceptance of limitation are often the same thing. That’s the gift she brings to the stage at the end of Act I — just as she has brought it, for 28 seasons, to us in audience.

A Little Night Music
Through Aug. 28 at the Boyd-Quinson Stage, Pittsfield, Mass.; Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes.

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Monkeypox vaccine access expanding in New York City and New Jersey

NEW YORKNew York City and New Jersey are expanding ways to get a monkeypox vaccine. 

More than 9,000 new appointments in the city are expected to go online at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Click here for information on getting a vaccine in New York City. 

New Jersey is opening more vaccine sites at these locations: 

Hudson County:

  • North Hudson Community Action Corp: Hudson County Community College (HCCC), 4800 Kennedy Blvd., Union City, NJ 07087 and HCCC, 70 Sip St., Jersey City, NJ 07306 
  • Appointment only via:

Middlesex County:

  • Eric B. Chandler Health Center, 277 George St., New Brunswick, NJ 0890
  • Appointment only via: 732-235-6733

Morris County:

  • Zufall Health Center, 18 West Blackwell St., Dover, NJ 07801
  • Appointment only via:  973-891-3419 

Passaic County:

  • Passaic County Health Department, 930 Riverview Drive, Rear, Suite 250, Totowa, NJ 07512
  • Appointment only via:  973-881-4396 

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Transcript of Speech by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Second Minister for Education Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman at the Foreign Service Scholarship Award Ceremony, 12 August 2022 – Politics News Today

Transcript of Speech by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Second Minister for Education Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman at the Foreign Service Scholarship Award Ceremony, 12 August 2022 – Politics News Today – EIN Presswire

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Jannat Zubair Shares A Cute Birthday Post Giving Heartwarming Wishes To Her Brother Ayaan Zubair

Jannat Zubair’s brother Ayaan Zubair celebrates his birthday, and she gave heartwarming wishes to him and shared cute pictures and videos

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Jannat Zubair is a social media sensation who has achieved a lot of fame and popularity for her work in the industry. She is currently seen in the famous reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi season 12. The actress has appeared in numerous television shows and has become a famous star in the industry. She is slaying the industry and has 43 million fan followers on Instagram. The Diva always entertains us with her mind-blowing content and makes her fans happy.

Jannat Zubair has a younger brother named Ayaan Zubair, who celebrates his birthday today and has turned 15 years old. The brother-sister duo is seen giving us major goals and has impressed us with their cute relationship. They are always spotted together, and the bond and relationship between them are just fab. Jannat Zubair took her fans to share a birthday post of her younger brother and has mesmerized us with numerous pictures and videos on her Instagram feed. The cutest little Ayaan has grown up to be a 15-year-old boy, and it is a very proud feeling for the sister Jannat Zubair.

The actress also wrote a beautiful caption and mesmerized us with their brother-sister duo looks. She captioned her post, “Happy 15th birthdayyyyy! You’ve grown up to become a handsome man, but I really miss the chotu you who used to come till my shoulders but now don’t even ask. I wish you all the happiness and success in life. And come what may, you will always have my back. Happy birthday to my favorite person in the whole world and best partner in crime! @ayaanzubair_12.”

Keep reading for more such updates on your favorite celebs.

Also Read: Check Out: Jannat Zubair’s Proud Moment As She Becomes One Of The 75th Cultural Ambassador Of India

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An ‘out-of-touch’ White House and other commentary

Neocon: An ‘Out-of-Touch’ White House

President Biden “triumphantly” boasts of “zero inflation last month,” notes Commentary’s Noah Rothman, yet a drop “from its sharpest increase in 40 years is the least we could hope for.” And, notably, the reasons for that decline are “inauspicious”: Much of the relief came from a 7.7% dip in gas prices due to less demand for gas. Americans are “likely opting out of that discretionary road trip to cover” the still-soaring cost of vital goods. Prices may decline in the fall “due to seasonal and macroeconomic factors,” and economists may argue over whether we’re in a recession, but “Americans are making their feelings . . . plain by putting off discretionary purchases.” By suggesting we’re finally enjoying “financial relief, the White House runs the risk of appearing out-of-touch, if not brazenly mendacious.”

Iconoclast: Don’t Single Out Trump

“You know a nation is in trouble when its security services are raiding the residence of a former president,” quips Spiked’s Tom Slater — especially if the “liberal intelligentsia seem tickled pink.” But “that’s where the United States is” after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid. “Allegations like” those against Trump “are not unprecedented, but this raid certainly is.” Indeed, many see it as “another attempt to discredit Trump if not take him off the field entirely.” Yes, “if Trump has committed crimes he should be held accountable. But at the same time he should not be singled out.”

Libertarian: More Audits of Poor, Middle Class

Democrats claim “hiring an additional 87,000 tax-collecting agents, as [their Inflation Reduction Act] calls for, will not lead to higher audit rates for middle- and upper-middle-class taxpayers,” yet if that’s true, “they shouldn’t have killed a similar assurance when it was offered in the Senate version as an amendment,” concludes Reason’s Liz Wolfe. Lawmakers also nixed oversight and reporting requirements in the bill. And IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig “hedges” on the question, saying only that “audit rates” on lower-income brackets “will not rise relative to recent years” without ruling out more audits for poorer and middle-class taxpayers. Meanwhile, “it’s hard to imagine” that an additional “stadium’s worth of agents” won’t increase audits for folks making less than $400,000, especially since it’s often easier “to go after poorer people” than those armed with teams of lawyers.

2024 watch: Newsom’s ‘Blue Bubble Syndrome’

As Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom gears up for a likely 2024 presidential bid, John J. Pitney, Jr. at The Hill suggests he “consider the fall of a rising star from yesteryear.” For starters, “pundits remember Michael Dukakis as a hapless loser,” even though the “media portrayed him as a tech-friendly problem solver.” Even more relevant: “Dukakis suffered from ‘Blue Bubble Syndrome,’ ” having “spent his entire political career in an overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic state.” “Like Dukakis, Newsom has never faced a real threat from a conservative Republican opponent.” The last four Democrats to win the presidency — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden — “all found ways of reaching outside the Blue Bubble.” If Newsom throws his hat in, “he should ask these former presidents what they did right” and Dukakis “what went wrong.”

Culture critic: The Left’s War on Religion

National Review’s Isaac Schorr takes issue with the left’s “anti-religion instinct,” which “often manifests” in “logical and legal illiteracy” — such as the view that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision “undermine[s] the bedrock concept of separation of church and state” and “promote[s] Christianity as an intrinsic component of democratic government.” “Dobbs is targeted . . . because of the emotional response it incites,” while “an actual religious-liberty case” like “Kennedy v. Bremerton School District” (where the court agreed a coach had the right to pray after public school football games) is called “astonishing” and “alarming.” “For this segment of the progressive Left . . . equality won’t be achieved until their religious countrymen are neither seen nor heard.”

Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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