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Deborah Simmons — Life As It Happens

Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons was a senior correspondent who reported on City Hall and wrote about education, culture, sports and family-related topics.

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This April 13, 2014, file photo shows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters building in Washington. On Friday, April 17, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting that one can call a 1-800 number and enter your social security number to check on the status of the relief check the federal government is sending as part of the $2.2 trillion economic recovery bill in response to the coronavirus. The IRS isn’t currently accepting calls by phone because of the coronavirus. The IRS has warned Americans of scam artists who might try to swindle you out of your relief check through fraudulent emails, text messages, websites or social media posts that request your banking or personal information. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File  **FILE**

COVID-19 fever

- The Washington Times

Keep away from the fly-by-night crews, those tax "experts" that pop up online and along strip malls. They've got COVID-19 fever, too, and can't wait to get their hands on your Social Security number, bank account info, date of birth and other personal info.

Loralie Lombardo, center, eats lunch with her family at an outdoor seafood restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. on June 15, 2020, the first day New Jersey allowed outdoor dining to resume during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)  **FILE**

Tend to faith, family and food in the kitchen

- The Washington Times

2020, it seems, is the year of upsetting apple carts, by any means necessary, which is why it's time to take a leap. Redirect that energy, soothe the soul. Get in the kitchen, boil a pot of potatoes, peel them, add milk and butter, and whip away for you and your family. If that sounds too simple that's because it is, and that's why mashed potatoes is considered a "comfort food."

In this file photo, a Washington, D.C., man rides the escalator up at the Metro subway Congress Heights train station in Washington, Friday, March 13, 2020.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

Metro must brace for spending cuts ASAP

- The Washington Times

Money doesn't grow on trees, as most average Americans have learned during the era of COVID-19. And it doesn't matter whether the tree is growing in Brooklyn, burning in California or standing tall in a cul-de-sac in suburban Virginia or Maryland.

In this file photo, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference on Sept. 4, 2020 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)  ** FILE **

Single dads and moms need child care, too

- The Washington Times

While such facts of life could challenge normal everyday living, COVID-19 and government shutdowns created a new "unnormal" by shuttering school buildings and child care services, and mandating virtual schooling.

In this July 31, 2019, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listens as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden has chosen Harris as his running mate. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)  **FILE**

Will D.C. statehood spark partisan fire at the debates?

- The Washington Times

The Republican nominees, Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and their Democratic counterparts, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, are preparing for their upcoming debates. So, as a note, in case you're looking for candor and civility, look to Mr. Pence, who likely will be the lone grownup at the debate podiums. Even on such gnawing issues as D.C. statehood and congressional voting rights.

This June 22, 2018, photo shows a Skydio R1 drone in Redwood City, Calif. Skateboarders, surfers and YouTube stars used to be the target customers for California drone startup Skydio, which builds sophisticated self-flying machines that can follow people around and capture their best moves on video. Now it's police officers and soldiers getting equipped with the pricey drones. U.S. political and security concerns about the world's dominant consumer drone-maker, China-based DJI, have opened the door for Skydio and other companies to pitch their drones for government and business customers. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  **FILE**

The nefarious nature of Chinese drones

Chinese corporations are legally obligated to serve the purposes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has used every collection method and form of technology at its disposal to collect or even steal government, corporate, and private data. The latest technological opportunity is small drones.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, left, stands next to community members during a news conference in Los Angeles Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Villanueva said Thursday that deputies fatally shot a man after he allegedly opened fire when they tried to serve a search warrant in Compton. The killing comes less than two weeks after other deputies fatally shot 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee, whose death has sparked several days of protests in South Los Angeles where demonstrators claim authorities have violently pushed back against the protesters. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)  **FILE**

If Black lives really do matter, prove it

- The Washington Times

You would think that when a toddler, a Black toddler, is shot an all-hands-on-deck situation would grab the media's attention and the protesters' attention. But, no. They'd rather continue to go ape crazy over police tactics for enforcing the law.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)  **FILE**

Rand Paul's SCHOOL Act is spot on

- The Washington Times

Sen. Rand Paul gets it. He understands that when it comes to the health, education and welfare of children, few things are more important to a family. Enter the SCHOOL Act, legislation Mr. Paul introduced in early August that encourages parents to opt their kids out of public schools and hands them the money to pay for tutoring, nonpublic schooling and education items, among other things.

FILE - In this June 7, 2020, file photo, visitors watch sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial steps in Washington, the morning after massive protests over the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Key messages, messengers of Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Rally

- The Washington Times

If you're keeping even the mildest interest in disruptions these days, weeks and months since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, then you probably know that the Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Rally is scheduled for Aug. 28, the 57th anniversary of the peacefully successful March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Student's chairs are stacked on top of desks in an empty classroom at closed Robertson Elementary School, March 16, 2020, in Yakima, Wash. (Amanda Ray/Yakima Herald-Republic via AP)

COVID-19 unmasks NEA smoke screen

- The Washington Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many U.S. vulnerabilities, from dependence on China for health and medical raw material to such major industries as movies, clothing and household items.

Des Moines Public Schools custodian Joel Cruz cleans a desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks. In Iowa, among other places, where Democratic-leaning cities like Des Moines and Iowa City have required masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, while smaller, more conservative communities have left the decision to parents. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  **FILE**

Coronavirus upends one-size-fits-all public schools

- The Washington Times

For decades, the playbook for K-12 public education has been titled "One Size Fits All," with academics and elected politicians on the East and West coasts and in the blue states in the Midwest making the calls to uphold the status quo. My, my how things are changing. Consider the COVID-19 pandemic as the game-changer.