Biden faces new pressure to choose a running mate as Trump hints at shortlist; Louisiana makes own version of a 'culture war'

Louisiana Governor Pushes Cultural Agenda With Commandments Bill

During his first six months in office, Gov. Jeff Landry has pushed a broad conservative agenda from abortion rights to criminal justice to education. But the Ten Commandments display would have been unlikely in Louisiana even when a Republican last held the office eight years ago.

In June, Republican Gov. Edwards signed into law a measure that requires each classroom in public schools and colleges to display the Ten Commandments. In doing so, Edwards stated that the bill's objective is to "help students understand that the laws governing society are derived from the divine laws" and "that religious freedom is an inalienable right."

The law, which came into effect this month, has sparked criticism with some accusing the state of pushing a religious agenda.  Others have noted that the state's Department of Education must foot the bill for displays in public school classrooms, which will cost an estimated $28,000 for the initial batch of posters.

 Gov. Landry, a Republican, has been described as a "culture warrior" for his focus on pushing conservative cultural policies since taking office. Aside from the Ten Commandments law, he also signed a bill last month that puts two medications used to induce abortions on the state's list of controlled dangerous substances.

 Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana, said: "He sees this cultural struggle. He s this culture warrior, and he believes that being attacked or having to defend on these particular issues is a good thing. It demonstrates his bona fides because he is taking on the woke left."

In an interview with NBC News, Landry said that "God is integral to the founding of this country," adding that "it isn't disrespecting anything else to talk about God." He described the criticism of the bill as "ludicrous" and "foolish."

Title: CDC: "Employer-led" COVID vaccine mandates can resume; Israel strikes in Gaza

Content: CDC says it's safe for employers to mandate COVID vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on COVID-19 vaccines to say it's safe for Americans to receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The agency also said Thursday that health care workers and others who are at high risk for getting the virus should get a booster shot.

The move came after the Food and Drug Administration authorized third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Americans 65 and older or who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The FDA's decision applies only to the Pfizer vaccine, but the agency is expected to authorize booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well.

The CDC's new guidance paves the way for more colleges and businesses to require vaccines. Many companies and institutions, including the University of Indiana, have already begun requiring vaccinations, but others have held off, awaiting guidance from the CDC.

The agency had previously stopped short of endorsing booster shots, although it said it was reasonable for individuals to do so.

Title: Trump hints at VP shortlist as Biden prepares for debate

Content: Biden pushes back on Trump hinting at VP shortlist

As Trump hints at a VP shortlist, Biden faces increased pressure to make his decision on who will join him on the Democratic ticket

Trump, who is not attending the first presidential debate on Wednesday, indicated that his choice of running mate will likely attend the second debate on Thursday. He told a weekend rally that "nobody knows" his choice yet, but added that "it will be a person that will help us tremendously, a person that will take care of our country."

Biden, meanwhile, pushed back on Trump's comments, with campaign chair Jeff Zheng saying the campaign has "no intention of letting Donald Trump dictate the Democratic Party's agenda or choices." Zheng added that "we'll let the American people hear from those candidates themselves."

Trump's shortlist is thought to consist of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Biden's campaign, meanwhile, pushed back on the notion that the party 'needs' a vice presidential candidate who will 'help him win,' with campaign co-chair Mitch Landrieu saying that "we're gonna win with or without" a running mate.

The Biden campaign and its allies are planning on holding 1,600 events and running a new slate of ads ahead of the debate on Wednesday.

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