By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Banks will be ranking Republican on Jan. 6 panel

The “audition” is on for U.S. Rep. Jim Banks. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed Banks to serve as the Republican ranking member on Speaker Pelosi’s Select Committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, joined by Reps. Jim Jordan, Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong, Troy Nehls … and Liz Cheney, the ousted Republican who was chosen by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. With current No. 3 GOP leader Elise Stefanik not expected to seek the post in 2023, all Republican eyes will be on Banks.

Banks: “I have accepted Leader McCarthy's appointment to this committee because we need leaders who will force the Democrats and the media to answer questions so far ignored. Among them, why was the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack on January 6? If Democrats were serious about investigating political violence, this committee would be studying not only the January 6 riot at the Capitol, but also the hundreds of violent political riots last summer when many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked. And of course, the committee would not overlook the Good Friday murder of USCP Officer Billy Evans that was perpetrated by a far-left extremist. Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda. Even then, I will do everything possible to give the American people the facts about the lead up to January 6, the riot that day, and the responses from Capitol leadership and the Biden administration. I will not allow this committee to be turned into a forum for condemning millions of Americans because of their political beliefs.”

Meanwhile, insurrectionists are getting justice. Tampa crane operator Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, was sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of obstructing a joint session of Congress meeting to confirm the results of the 2020 president election, after carrying a red-and-white “Trump 2020” flag into the well of the abandoned Senate while others stood over the Vice President Mike Pence's chair. “The symbolism of that act was unmistakable,” U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss said. “He was staking a claim on the floor of the U.S. Senate not with an American flag, but declaring his loyalty to a single individual over the nation. In that act, he captured the threat to democracy that we all witnessed that day.” A sentencing hearing is set Oct. 12 for Donna Bissey, 52, of Bloomfield, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. 

2. Fox vax passports

Fox Corporation has quietly implemented the concept of a vaccine passport as workers slowly return back to the company's offices. Fox employees, including those who work at Fox News, received an email, obtained by CNN Business, from the company's Human Resources department in early June that said Fox had "developed a secure, voluntary way for employees to self-attest their vaccination status." On Monday, Fox host Sean Hannity urged his viewers to get vaxed: “I believe in the science of vaccination.”

3. Indiana COVID news

U.S. District Judge Damon R. Leichty sided with Indiana University in declining to issue an injunction of the school's vaccine mandate after hearing oral arguments on July 13 in South Bend. “Recognizing the students’ significant liberty to refuse unwanted medical treatment, the 14th Amendment permits Indiana University to pursue a reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty, and staff,” Leichty wrote. “Today, on this preliminary record, the university has done so for its campus communities. The students haven’t established a likelihood of success on the merits of their Fourteenth Amendment claim or the many requirements that must precede the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction.”

4. Delta variant postpones reunion

WFIE-TV: Deaconess Health Systems in Evansville has postponed their reunion events for COVID-19 survivors due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the community and the rising prevalence of the Delta variant. That reunion was scheduled for this coming Sunday and was for those survivors to reconnect with the employees who cared for them while they were in the hospital. Meanwhile, to our north, Canada will allow fully vaccinated Americans into the country beginning Aug. 9.

5. Bezos gets his wings

Billionaire Jeff Bezos got his wings this morning, just after his booster rocket touchdown. "You have a very happy crew up here," Bezos said from Blue Origin after reaching Mach 3 speeds and three minutes of weightlessness. "It was the best day, ever." Touchdown came at 9:22. Wooo-hoooo!

Thanks for reading, folks. It's T
he Atomic!