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Johns Hopkins professor rips CDC for ‘absurdly restrictive’ guidelines for vaccinated people: Agency is ‘paralyzed by fear’

Dr. Marty Makary is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus.

And he is none too impressed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest recommendation for Americans who get the vaccine. He made his disdain for the agency’s latest “absurdly restrictive” guidelines clear in a Wednesday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, “Covid Prescription: Get the Vaccine, Wait a Month, Return to Normal,” in which he noted that though the CDC claims to be “following the science,” the truth is “its advice suggests it’s still paralyzed by fear.”

What did he say?

In the wake of the CDC’s announcement that it’s now safe for fully vaccinated people to mingle indoors with some other people without masks or social distancing — a move CNN described as the agency “giving limited freedoms” to people — but not to travel, Makary stated that this is just another instance of the CDC being late or wrong when it comes to COVID-19. Which fits a pattern, the doctor said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lost a lot of credibility during the Covid-19 pandemic by being late or wrong on testing, masks, vaccine allocation and school reopening. Staying consistent with that pattern, this week—three months after the vaccine rollout began—the CDC finally started telling vaccinated people that they can have normal interactions with other vaccinated people—but only in highly limited circumstances. Given the impressive effectiveness of the vaccine, that should have been immediately obvious by applying scientific inference and common sense.

Parts of the new guidelines are absurdly restrictive. For example, the CDC didn’t withdraw its advice to avoid air travel after vaccination. A year of prevaccine experience has demonstrated that airplanes aren’t a source of spread. A study conducted for the defense department found that commercial planes have HEPA filtration and airflow that exceed the standards of a hospital operating room.

Makary added that instead of running scared from encouraging a return to normal, the agency should take a look at the available data, including that vaccination reduces transmission 89% to 94% and almost totally prevents hospitalization and death, according to a study from Israel.

Full immunity kicks in around the four-week mark after the first dose, he added, making the vaccinated patient “essentially bulletproof.” Combine that with wearing a mask indoors “for a few more weeks or months,” and there is “little a vaccinated person should be discouraged from doing.”

Instead, Makary said, the CDC has been wasting time and tests and is being “ridiculously cautious” about the virus while ignoring the dangers that come from the isolation that has been forced on the American people:

On a positive note, the CDC did say that fully vaccinated people who are asymptomatic don’t need to be tested. But that obvious recommendation should have come two months ago, before wasting so many tests on people who have high levels of circulating antibodies from vaccination.

In its guidance the CDC says the risks of infection in vaccinated people “cannot be completely eliminated.” True, we don’t have conclusive data that guarantees vaccination reduces risk to zero. We never will. We are operating in the realm of medical discretion based on the best available data, as practicing physicians have always done. The CDC highlights the vaccines’ stunning success but is ridiculously cautious about its implications. Public-health officials focus myopically on transmission risk while all but ignoring the broader health crisis stemming from isolation. The CDC acknowledges “potential” risks of isolation, but doesn’t go into details.

It’s time to liberate vaccinated people to restore their relationships and rebuild their lives.

Being too cautious about the virus has been the hallmark of “authorities” as hospitals stood in the way of family members being with loved ones as they suffered and died, Makary said, calling the separation of families “excessive and cruel, driven by narrow thinking that focused singularly on reducing viral transmission risk, heedless of the harm to the quality of human life.”

The doctor urged the CDC to not repeat its mistakes. Instead of exaggerating the public-health threat that crushes the human spirit, he said, it’s time to use “common sense” and tell Americans to “go back to normal” a month after they have received their first shot.

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Texas school district has never required masks or distancing — and students are thriving: ‘It’s not that difficult if you really put the needs of kids first’

A rural school district in Texas defied the experts and orders from its government masters when it came to face masks and social distancing in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of bowing to pressure, the district worked with parents to open schools in August without COVID restrictions or mandates — and by all accounts, the students are thriving.

What happened?

Peaster Independent School District has had no distancing, no required face masks, and no mandatory quarantines since school started last August, KTVT-TV reported Monday. The students have had a “100% normal school experience” this school year – nothing has been canceled and no one has been quarantined.

“And the kids in Peaster, Texas, have thrived,” Superintendent Lance Johnson told the outlet.

It all goes back to a decision last year that virtual schooling would not be successful for this community, KTVT said.

PISD surveyed families to see what they wanted for their kids and what they would be comfortable with. According to KTVT, 55% of parents said they would send their students to school if masks and social distancing were required for all grades. When the district asked about offering a school year as close to normal as possible, that number jumped to 86%.

And it appears to have paid off. The school year started on time in August, and nobody has looked back.

In the district of more than 1,400 students, only eight students are still learning online.

Daily attendance now is higher than it was a year ago.

There were only about a dozen more teacher absences in the fall over a year ago, but no cases of COVID-19 in the first 10 weeks of the school year among students or staff. Only a few COVID cases were recorded by the end of 2020 — and no cases have been recorded this year, KTVT said.

District data shows that most students in PISD will finish the year at grade level, the station noted, as the district has closed the learning gaps that were created when schools shut down in the spring.

How’d they do it?

According to Johnson, the teachers, school board, and community “stood in solidarity to … do what is best for kids — and what’s best for kids is having them in school in front of that teacher learning in a traditional school model.”

Personal responsibility played a big part, Johnson said. Any students or teachers who felt ill stayed home, recovered, and came back when they were healthy.

It all comes down to doing their jobs, the superintendent said.

“It’s real simple. We’ve just done it,” he said. “It’s not that difficult if you really put the needs of kids first.”

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Fewer churches hold in-person services now than at end of last summer, and attendance is way down for those that are open

A new poll from Lifeway Research revealed that though most Protestant churches have continued to meet despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the share of churches meeting now is down significantly from the end of last summer.

According to Lifeway, 87% of Protestant pastors said their churches were meeting in person last September. That number dropped 11 points to 76% in January.

Compounding the bad news, churches that are meeting in person have reported markedly lower attendance numbers.

Nearly a third (31%) of pastors told Lifeway that their attendance in January 2021 is less than half of what it was just one year ago.

More than a third of pastors (37%) said their current congregations are between 50% and 70% of their January 2020 sizes.

Another 3 in 10 said their weekly numbers were between 70% and 100% of last year’s numbers.

Just 2% said their churches’ attendance has grown since the start of the pandemic.

The survey reported that 39% of mainline pastors said their churches did not meet in January, while just 12% of evangelical pastors said the same.

Impact on kids

Lifeway’s poll also showed that kids’ lives are being disrupted more than just when it comes to schools being closed. Children’s and student ministries programs have also been heavily impacted, with about half of churches moving to online-only for ministry to kids and teens — or cancelling the ministries altogether.

About one-third (32%) of youth ministry and a quarter (25%) of kids’ ministry programs are conducting all activities in person. Another 25% of youth ministries and 24% of kids’ ministries are doing some activities in person.

More than a fifth (22%) of student programming and a fifth (21%) of children’s programming is happening only online.

A fifth (21%) of churches said they have held no activities — online or in-person — for students. And a third (30%) said the same of kids’ activities.

(H/T: The Christian Post)

Biden administration Covid lockdowns Florida Intelwars Marco Rubio Ron DeSantis travel ban Travel Restrictions

White House reportedly considering Florida travel restrictions; Marco Rubio points out Biden’s hypocrisy

The Biden administration is reportedly considering domestic travel restrictions in Florida, which has prompted Republicans to slam the potential domestic travel ban.

Officials with the Biden administration are considering imposing domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

“Outbreaks of the new variants — including a highly contagious one first identified in the United Kingdom, as well as others from South Africa and Brazil that scientists worry can evade existing vaccines — have lent urgency to a review of potential travel restrictions within the United States,” a federal official told the Miami Herald.

“There are active conversations about what could help mitigate spread here, but we have to follow the data and what’s going to work. We did this with South Africa, we did this with Brazil, because we got clear guidance,” a White House official said.

The potential travel restrictions could reportedly target multiple states, including Florida and California.

In the United States, Florida has the most cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of the COVID-19 virus, mostly known as the ‘”U.K. variant.” Florida has 343 cases of the U.K. variant, followed by California with 156 cases, and 59 cases in New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 34 states reporting, there are 932 total cases of the B.1.1.7 variant as of Tuesday.

Two federal government officials stressed that “no policy announcements are imminent,” “all options are on the table,” and any travel restrictions “would be taken in partnership with state and local governments.”

Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association, has been communicating with Biden administration officials on how to deal with the new variants.

“The variants are certainly of concern obviously to the CDC, and I think that the uncertainty around the variants has put other proposals on the table,” Barnes said.

Earlier this week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the administration is considering a requirement that passengers must provide a negative COVID-19 test before they can travel on domestic flights.

Overall in Florida, cases of coronavirus cases were down 21.3% last week compared to the previous week.

“Current COVID-19 hospitalizations have been declining from a high of more than 7,600 in January,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The U.K. variant now accounts for up to 15% of new cases in Florida, up from approximately 1% at the beginning of January.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the possible travel restrictions “absurd” and a “political attack against the people of Florida.”

“I think it’s an absurd report that they would be doing that, I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise and it would be unjust,” DeSantis said at a news conference Thursday morning. “Any attempt to restrict or lock down Florida by the federal government would be an attack on our state done purely for political purposes.

“If you think about it, restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout our country while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested would be a ridiculous but very damaging farce,” the Republican governor said. “So we will oppose it 100%. It would not be based in science, it would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida.”

DeSantis is referring to President Joe Biden rescinding former President Donald Trump’s national emergency proclamation to secure the U.S. southern border.

Biden wrote a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday stating, “I have also announced that it shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall, and that I am directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.”

DeSantis, who ripped the media for a perceived double standard in coronavirus coverage this week, noted that since December, Florida is 28th in the U.S. for COVID-19 cases per capita, 30th in coronavirus hospitalizations, and 42nd in COVID-19 deaths per capita, according to WTVJ.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote a letter to President Biden where he blasted the potential travel restrictions in Florida as “an outrageous, authoritarian move that has no basis in law or science.”

“Instituting a travel ban, or any restriction of movement between the states, would be an outrageous, authoritarian move that has no basis in law or science. Instead, it would only serve to inflict severe and devastating economic pain on an already damaged economy,” Rubio said in a statement.

“If you are concerned about the coronavirus spread in Florida, I urge you to fast track additional vaccines to the state instead of attempting to cripple our economy,” the Republican senator said. “Instead of dictating where Americans can, or cannot travel, your administration should instead focus on increasing supply and availability of vaccines, especially to Florida, the third most populous state and a winter retreat.”

Rubio labeled the potential travel restrictions as “reckless and economically harmful” to the “state and country as a whole.”

On Twitter, Rubio called out President Biden for his hypocrisy on travel bans.

“Biden opposed a #Covid travel ban on #China But is considering a travel ban on #Florida? Unreal,” he tweeted.

“Day after Trump issued a #Covid travel ban on #China Joe Biden accused him of ‘hysteria, xenophobia, and fear mongering,'” Rubio wrote on Thursday morning. “The following month he said banning travel from any part of the world will not stop coronavirus. But now he is considering restrictions on #Florida travel.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) also slammed the possible travel restrictions.

“This is nothing short of political payback and tyranny towards a state with exceptional leadership and a common-sense, scientific approach to COVID-19,” Biggs wrote on Twitter. “The Biden administration must stop these considerations.”

Covid lockdowns Gretchen Whitmer Hair stylists Intelwars Michigan Operation haircut

Judge dismisses charges against Michigan hair stylists who defied and protested Gov. Whitmer’s lockdown orders

Last spring, hair stylists gathered at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing for “Operation Haircut” to support 77-year-old barber Karl Manke, who faced charges after defying Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown orders by keeping his barbershop open.

During the May 20 protest, about 20 hair stylists gave haircuts on the Capitol lawn, and a number of them were cited by state police for their actions.

Though the charges against Manke were dropped in October shortly after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer’s executive orders were unconstitutional, the hair stylists who dared protest the governor were still facing charges of disorderly conduct for operating an illegal profession or business.

Attorney David Kallman, who represented six of the stylists, said the disorderly conduct misdemeanor is one usually filed against people connected to illegal gambling operations, prostitution rings, or bootlegging alcohol, the Detroit News reported.

The charge carried a punishment of a $500 fine or 90 days in jail.

On Monday, a Michigan district judge dismissed the charges against the stylists after the attorneys representing the attorney general’s office didn’t bother to show up, MLive reported.

When Monday’s hearing began, Lansing District Court Judge Kristen Simmons said, “No one from the Attorney General’s Office has appeared,” MLive said, which led Kallman to request that the charges be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning the charges cannot be filed again later.

Kallman said he had already filed a brief on the motion to dismiss with Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office that had gone unanswered, MLive reported.

“I guess I would take from that, that they don’t oppose our motion,” Kallman noted.

Judge Simmons agreed.

“They failed to appear so they failed to prosecute on this matter, so I will grant your motion to dismiss,” she said, according to MLive.

Afterward, Kallman offered a parting shot at Whitmer.

“If a person protests certain issues, the governor will ignore her own orders and walk with you,” he said, referring to Whitmer’s participation in at least one BLM protest. “But if a person protests the governor, she will prosecute you and attempt to destroy your business.”

MLive said the attorney general’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Covid lockdowns Intelwars New York City Reopen schools Reopen schools movement School reopening teachers unions

Female columnist wants to know: The ‘anti-science’ school closings are hitting women extra hard, so where are the feminists?

New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz has been leading the charge in New York media to get schools reopened. All of her research and campaigning and networking have led her to an important question:

“Where are all the feminists when women need them?”

In a new op-ed, “Feminists are MIA as anti-science school closings brutally slam women,” Markowicz took a look at the recently posted job numbers that showed the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. According to the National Women’s Law Center, Markowicz noted, “women lost 156,000 jobs while men actually gained 16,000.”

One of the leading factors in female unemployment, the writer said, is the fact that tens of millions of children are stuck at home as state and local governments buckle to teachers’ unions’ demands and refuse to reopen classrooms.

For example, in New York City, tens of thousands of middle and high school students who go to public school have not been in a classroom since November, when the district was offering part-time in-person instruction. This despite the fact that Gotham prioritized teachers for the COVID vaccine — at the behest of the unions — in order to get classrooms reopened. Yet the teachers have refused to go back full-time, and United Federation of Teachers is threatening that the schools might not even be able to reopen full-time by September.

And who is bearing the economic brunt of teachers’ recalcitrance? Markowicz asked rhetorically.


Yet feminists are nowhere to be found:

Even more female workers may have felt forced to “voluntarily” give up their jobs to be home looking after kids exiled from their school buildings at the behest of powerful teachers’ unions. Oh, and as CNN reports, the job losses hit black and Hispanic women disproportionately. Feminists are supposed to care about minorities, along with women, aren’t they?

The giant, roof-busting elephant in the room: Women have been hit especially hard by the pandemic in large part because school, in many major American cities, has all but ceased to exist. And yet that deafening sound no one hears is the tragic silence of a feminist movement that has chosen to side with teachers’ unions instead of with women throughout the country who are bearing the brunt of these school closures.

When kids have to be home, the workload of child care, meal preparation and playing Zoom Sherpa lands squarely on moms. Some kids attend schools that have been closed for in-person learning since March. Other kids, the lucky ones, attend schools operating on an extremely truncated schedule, one to three days a week.

Markowicz’s stance is backed up by more than just the recent jobs numbers. A recently published Gallup survey showed the impact school closures have had on unemployment. The report revealed that parents of students learning remotely are more than twice as likely to be either working only part-time or unemployed as the parents of students who are in the classroom full-time.

The survey found that a clear majority (57%) of women with kids in school full-time are employed full-time, while just over a third (38%) of women with kids learning remotely are employed full-time. Moms with kids stuck at home are far more likely to be employed only part-time, unemployed, or out of the labor force altogether.

Right or wrong, feminists are often characterized as shrieking whenever they detect even the slightest affront to women. So where are they now? Markowicz wants to know.

“This should be feminism’s moment,” she wrote. “Activists on behalf of women should be screaming their heads off that we must follow the science and open schools.”

But no, they’re not daring to take a stand, demonstrating once again that the feminist movement is selectively pro-woman.

“These supposed champions for women sit silently by as moms crumble in the face of all that is expected of them,” Markowicz concluded. “A real pro-woman movement would urge action. That action begins with opening our schools.”

California California lockdowns California schools Coronavirus Lockdowns Covid lockdowns Gavin Newsom Intelwars Isaiah navarro

High school football player bashes Newsom in viral rant against lockdowns: ‘What a wasted final year of school’

A California high school football player went viral for his compelling rant against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictive COVID-19 lockdowns that have shut down team sports. Isaiah Navarro, who attends Paraclete High School in Lancaster, voiced his frustrations on all of the paramount life experiences that he was robbed of in his “wasted final year of school.”

“Zero offers, zero looks, zero commitments, zero time on campus, zero homecoming, zero prom, zero traditional graduation,” Navarro tweeted this week. “What a wasted final year of school.”

“Worked hard and dedicated for absolutely ZERO. Big shout out to @GavinNewsom! You got what you wanted,” the young man wrote, and tagged the Democratic governor of California.

After the tweet went viral with over 12,000 retweets and nearly 60,000 likes, Navarro remarked that he was “honestly humbled by the retweets and positive comments.”

“I know there are thousands in my shoes across this State,” the football player stated. “I do not want anything given to me, just a chance to show my value and be an asset. Gray shirt, red shirt, grass, turf or dirt. I will play anywhere, God willing.”

Navarro was invited to appear on “Fox & Friends,” where he said his plans for this fall are “working on myself” since the future of high school sports is in question in the Golden State.

His previous plans for his senior year during football were to win another defensive lineman of the year award and to be named MVP.

Navarro called out Newsom’s double standard coronavirus lockdowns that allow private schools to participate in sports, but public schools are barred from athletics — putting kids at a disadvantage in being awarded athletic scholarships.

When asked if Newsom hurt him financially by costing him a scholarship, Navarro responded by saying, “Yeah, he did, with a lot of opportunities that could have come along with the process of going towards offers and scholarships. With that being taken away was a huge thing taken away from high school students. It’s a big thing for us student athletes.”

“This is our only chance to help our family,” Navarro stated. “We want to support our family and relatives.”

“We love the sport, but being that taken away is a huge part of our lives,” he said.

Navarro said the reaction to his viral tweet has been “ridiculous.”

“I didn’t think I’d get this big of an audience to side with me and get this out,” Navarro said.

Newsom lifted the mandatory stay-at-home orders on Jan. 25, which allowed certain sports to return: cross country, golf, tennis, swimming, and diving.

However, time is running out on the 2021 high school football season. The California Interscholastic Federation said football’s end date this spring can be as late as May 1, but leagues around the state say the final date is April 17, according to CBS Sports.

“You go from the end date and work backwards,” Junipero Serra High School’s football coach Patrick Walsh said. “If we can start sometime in early March that gives us 5-8 games. I think all reasonable players and coaches would be happy with that.”

On Wednesday, Newsom defended his position.

“As I said, I not only have four kids who want to be educated, but they love sports,” Newsom stated. “So I recognize all of the benefits — physical and mental — as well as the benefits to teachers and parents who have kids who are engaged in physical activities in terms of our responsibility to support those children as well. We want to see this happen.”

“We want to do it safely and a lot of great data has been provided by the same groups that are suing us,” the governor said. “If I was concerned about lawsuits, I would have collapsed a year ago. We receive dozens of them every week. And some of them are from folks who are very close to us. It’s clarifying. It allows for focus. Some are specious, political. Others like this I think are quite legitimate in terms of what they ultimately want to achieve.”

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Commentary: Remember when the Biden administration was going to listen to the experts at the CDC? That lasted two weeks.

One of the more frequent complaints leveled by the Biden campaign was that the Trump administration was exerting improper pressure on experts from public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shape their opinions to match what President Trump’s base wanted to hear.

“I think it’s important to follow the science. Listen to the experts. Do what they tell you,” Biden said in April — a refrain that he would repeat often on the campaign trail.

Immediately after being inaugurated, Biden bragged, “We’re going to make sure [scientists] work free from political interference and they make decisions strictly based on science and health care alone.”

Well, the experts have spoken. Earlier this week, Biden’s hand-picked director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, stated unequivocally, “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely. Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools.”

Walensky made these comments at a CDC briefing, standing at a podium and answering questions from reporters in her official capacity as the director of the CDC. There was absolutely no reason for anyone to believe that Walensky’s comments constituted anything other than the CDC’s official position on school reopening. Nor, for that matter, is there any reason to suspect that Walensky was speaking off the cuff or out of pocket. Indeed, her comments merely echoed what public health experts have been saying since the beginning of the pandemic: that schools are extremely low-risk environments for the spread of COVID-19.

In fact, even the liberal Democrats who run the city of Chicago (and Chicago Public Schools) cited Walensky’s comments while attempting to convince the recalcitrant Chicago Teachers Union to return to the classrooms they were hired to instruct in.

Suffice it to say, however, that the teachers unions do not agree with this assessment. Across the country, enabled and emboldened by the elected Democrats that they have donated millions to, they have claimed that they alone, for some reason, should be exempt from having to return to their workplaces, while workers in other, more dangerous industries (like the food processing industries) have been back at work for months.

Rather than listen to the public health experts who have universally concluded that their workplaces already are safe, they have demanded that their schools meet a series of impractical or non-germane metrics before they will return to work — for example, until all children are vaccinated with a vaccine that has not been approved for use on children, or until racial and “equity needs” are met.

Until then, they insist, they will do their jobs from home, and receive deliveries at home from Amazon workers who have been forced to go back to work, and eat food that has been prepared and packaged by people whose lives are apparently worth less than theirs, because they were forced to go back to work months ago. These teachers who have hypocritically refused to re-enter a classroom during the pandemic and have accused people who insist that they do so of trying to kill them have continued, during the last year, to enjoy the benefits of a society that continues to more or less function because of people who, unlike them, have willingly returned to their places of employment, and also unlike them do not have the benefit of a union that donates heavily to the dominant political party in their state.

And so Biden, whose election campaign was bolstered by the teachers unions enormous war chests, found that he was not so enamored of the idea of “mak[ing] sure [scientists] work free from political interference,” after all. Almost immediately, the Biden administration claimed, contrary to the evidence, that Walensky was speaking in her “personal capacity” when she spoke as the director of the CDC at a CDC news conference.

Now, the agency has made it official: Walensky’s comments will be walked back and replaced with new comments next week.

Walensky, who is one of the most respected infectious disease experts in the nation, has already indicated what she believes, based on the science and the evidence. Dismissing her advice, given less than two weeks into her term, as remarks made in her “personal capacity” does not bode well for the principle of allowing the CDC to make decisions “strictly based on science and health care alone,” as Biden promised.

Make no mistake: The Biden administration has already telegraphed, less than two weeks into his presidency, that he, too, will allow political considerations to govern the advice given by the CDC. It’s just that under his administration, the people who dominate the political considerations will be the people who donated to and supported his campaign, not Trump’s.

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San Francisco sues its own school district over failure to come up with a reopening plan: ‘Get your act together’

What is a left-wing city to do when its own, union-dominated school district refuses to even come up with a plan to reopen, which is required by state law?

In San Francisco, city leaders are suing their own school district and board of education, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

A California state law passed last year, months before the 2020-21 school year began, requires all school districts to created and adopt a clear plan during the pandemic detailing actions they “will take to offer classroom-based instruction whenever possible,” the newspaper said.

But the San Francisco Unified School District, thanks at least in part to the teachers’ union, has failed to even start coming up with a plan, much less adopt one.

Therefore, City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Wednesday that “he has sued the San Francisco Board of Education and the San Francisco Unified School District for failing to come up with a reopening plan that meets state requirements,” according to an announcement on his city attorney website.

The lawsuit alleges that board and district’s reopening plan is “woefully inadequate and doesn’t meet the basic requirements set by the state.” The suit seeks to have the San Francisco Superior Court order the district “to prepare to offer in-person instruction now that it is possible to do so safely,” the announcement said.

The city has “squandered months of opportunity” to address the issue, Herrera’s site said — all the while the district’s 54,000 students have not seen the inside of a classroom for nearly 11 months, the Chronicle reported.

Still, Herrera noted, the SFUSD “does not have an adequate plan to reopen classrooms” and the city’s kids are “facing a widening achievement gap & threats to their mental health.”

Despite the fact that “students and their families are suffering,” the school board has refused to stay focused on the need to reopen and instead spent their time on “renaming empty schools” and other less pressing needs.

Herrera noted that the city’s rules have allowed schools to be in-person since September and that scientific consensus shows schools can safely reopen.

Yet, San Francisco’s schools remain shuttered.

The city attorney knew exactly at whom to point the finger of blame: district leadership and the teachers’ union.

“It’s a shame it has come to this,” Herrera said in his office’s announcement. “The City has offered resources, logistical help and public health expertise. Unfortunately, the leadership of the school district and the educators’ union can’t seem to get their act together. The Board of Education and the school district have had more than 10 months to roll out a concrete plan to get these kids back in school. So far they have earned an F. Having a plan to make a plan doesn’t cut it.”

Union officials thwarted an effort by the district to “gradually open schools for severely disabled children” in January, the Chronicle reported. Several other unions continue to stand in the way of reopening, the newspaper said:

Six unions representing workers in the San Francisco Unified School District are circulating a petition among their members calling for a dozen requirements that go far beyond the Department of Public Health’s requirements. For example, they’re requesting reliable transportation for students and staff even though Muni service has been slashed due to the pandemic.

Separately, a group of union educators have formed a committee called Strike Ready that is urging a strike if reopening proceeds without all school employees having access to the COVID-19 vaccine, adequate personal protective equipment, ventilation, purifiers and training.

Herrera took his accusations and complaints to social media, writing on Twitter, “SFUSD and teachers’ union leadership need to step up. Get your act together,” adding, “[district] leadership has earned an F. It’s unfortunate we have to take them to court to get it sorted out, but enough is enough.”

And Herrera isn’t doing this on his own, he’s got the full support of left-wing Democratic Mayor London Breed.

“This is not the path we would have chosen, but nothing matters more right now than getting our kids back in school,” Breed said. “The city has offered resources and staff to get our school facilities ready and to support testing for our educators. We’ve offered the guidance and expertise of the Department of Public Health. We are ready and willing to do our part to get our kids back in the classroom.”

She went on to note the impact closed schools are having on students who have “lost ground academically” as well has how the situation is “hurting the mental health of our kids and our families.”

“[T]his isn’t working for anyone,” Breed added. “And we know we can do this safely. We’ve seen our private schools open and our City-run community learning hubs serve our most at-need kids for months without any outbreaks. We need to get our schools open.”

Covid lockdowns Intelwars Iowa Reopen schools

Iowa Legislature passes law requiring all Iowa schools to offer full time, in-person instruction by Feb. 15

Responding to frustration from Iowa parents, the Republican-dominated Legislature in Iowa passed a measure Thursday that would require all school districts in the state to reopen by no later than Feb. 15.

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who made the legislation the top priority of the 2021 legislative session, promptly signed the bill, saying, “It’s time to put local control into the hands of the parents where it belongs. So that they can choose what is best for their children.”

All Iowa schools have offered at least partial in-person learning since last summer, when Reynolds signed a proclamation mandating that school districts must be open for in-person learning at least 50% of the time. Any school that wanted to offer less than 50% in-person learning was required to apply for a waiver from the state Department of Education and were permitted to apply only if the COVID-19 positivity rate in their area was over 15%. Only one school district in the state is currently operating under such a waiver.

Most schools in the state were operating with 100% in-person learning prior to the law’s passage, with the exception of some of the larger districts like Des Moines, Urbandale, and Iowa City. Those districts have indicated that they will comply with the new law, but will likely drop their “hybrid” learning models and require students to choose either full-time in-person learning, or full-time remote learning.

The vote in the Iowa Legislature fell largely along party lines, with Republicans overwhelmingly supporting the bill, and Democrats overwhelmingly opposing it. Democrats attempted to add a number of amendments to weaken the bill or provide waivers for recalcitrant districts, but those efforts were defeated by the Republican majorities.

Nationwide, leaders of both political parties — including notable lockdown proponents like California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) — have followed the science and attempted to encourage school districts to reopen for in-person learning as soon as possible. However, many Democratic politicians have been cowed into opposing measures like the new Iowa law by teachers’ unions, which are often major donors to their campaigns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that in-person learning in schools has been linked to only a very scant amount of spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and has strongly encouraged schools to reopen for in-person learning.

In addition to being a source of frustration for students and parents, online-only learning has been linked to increases in unreported child abuse, childhood obesity, and child suicide.

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‘I feel like I’m going to f***ing shoot myself!’: NYC restaurant owners furious over Gov. Cuomo’s ‘joke’ plan to let city eateries open at only 25%

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not made friends this week.

First, after months of criticism for Cuomo’s lousy handling of COVID-19 that led to a surge in nursing home deaths, the state’s attorney general revealed that things were actually worse — way worse — than what the governor had claimed.

Turns out the Cuomo administration undercounted COVID nursing home deaths by 50%, Democratic Attorney General Letitia James reported Thursday.

It was so bad that even CNN finally noticed.

And then there’s the economy.

The governor shut down his state during the pandemic, and his subjects have suffered. Businesses have been forced to close and nearly 2 million jobs have been lost. It’s so bad, that Cuomo’s own budget plan forecasted that the state would not reach pre-pandemic employment levels until sometime in 2025.

New York City has been hit exceptionally hard — especially the hospitality and entertainment sectors where restaurants have been forced to offer only outdoor dining or takeout since mid-December. But have no fear, Gothamites, Cuomo said this week that he had a plan to deal with some of the problems.

He’s going to allow restaurants to reopen for indoor dining at 25% capacity, he teased Wednesday, the New York Post reported.

This, naturally, is not sitting well with Big Apple restauranteurs who understand that they cannot survive with three-quarters of their seats forced to be off-limits.

These businessmen told the Post that they see the 25% restrictions as “outrageous,” both because one-quarter capacity isn’t viable and because fellow restaurant owners in other parts of the state — including areas neighboring New York City — have already been allowed to be open at 50%.

For example, Nassau County, which borders Queens, has a 6.5% positivity rate for coronavirus tests, but Queens’ rate is 5.8%, the Post reported, citing state data.

“The restaurants are packed in Nassau and I feel like I’m going to f***ing shoot myself!” Rocco Sacramento, the owner of Trattoria L’Incontro in Astoria, Queens, told the Post. “Are you f***ing kidding me?!”

New York City Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie told the Post that he’s pushing the governor to go beyond 25%, especially considering that the city has better numbers than several other areas that have been allowed to have far more customers.

“New York City has lower infection and hospitalization rates than nearly all counties in the rest of the state where indoor dining is open at 50 percent occupancy,” he said. “Our city’s restaurants must be treated equitably and reopened safely.”

Syed Hossain, who owns Tikka Indian Grill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which seats just 32 people, scoffed at the idea of opening for eight people, saying, “Twenty-five percent? We can’t! It’s stupid — I’d be losing money.”

Vincent Malerba, the owner of four Staten Island restaurants, really let Cuomo have it for his inconsistencies.

“What are we going to do with 25 percent? It’s a joke!” he told the Post. “It’s disgusting. I go to the gym, touch everything, get a haircut, but nobody can go to dinner? You can go to New Jersey, my friends’ restaurants have an hour wait on a Tuesday.”

Malerba had a theory about why Cuomo was being cruel to eateries.

“His ex-girlfriend was a celebrity chef,” he said, referring to Cuomo’s 14-year relationship with Sandra Lee that came crashing down last year. “Maybe that’s why he hates our industry.”

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Chicago Teachers Union ?tells members to not return to the classroom Wednesday, threatens illegal strike if any teachers are disciplined

The Chicago Teachers Union has escalated its ongoing fit over its members being asked to return to their workplaces, telling all its members to refuse to return to the classroom Wednesday, including those teachers who had voluntarily returned to work on Monday as they were initially ordered to do. The move forced Chicago Public Schools to tell parents at the last minute that all classes would once again be remote on Wednesday.

The union further threatened that if any teachers were disciplined for refusing to report to their classrooms as they were ordered to do, that their members would stop working altogether and picket, which would almost certainly constitute an illegal strike. Under Illinois law; teachers are permitted to strike only if they do not have an active contract. Currently, CTU has a contract with CPS.

The CTU’s stated reason for striking is that they believe the district has not done enough to make their classrooms safe for reopening. They also say that they want the district to set clear metrics that will determine when schools will be open for in-person learning and when they will close. They also claim that the district’s teacher vaccination schedule is unsatisfactory.

In response, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has pointed out that the city has paid more than $100 million to make schools able to safely operate. Additionally, numerous researchers and studies, including the CDC, have found that schools are an extremely low-risk environment for the spread of the coronavirus.

“I am deeply disappointed that after all this time, all these sessions, all the work to make our CPS school buildings are safe, no agreement has yet been reached,” Lightfoot said.

According to WBBM-TV, negotiations between the CTU and CPS are continuing, and the current plan is for all K-8 students in Chicago to have the option for a return to in-person learning on Feb. 1; however, the union’s bluster and threat of an illegal strike has raised the possibility that Chicago parents may have to endure distance learning for a substantially longer period of time.

A member of the executive board of the CTU was lambasted on social media in January for encouraging teachers to refuse to return to schools while she vacationed in the Caribbean.

Chicago teachers last went on strike in October 2019. That strike lasted 11 days and threw the community into disarray.

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Another reason to reopen schools: Parents with kids stuck learning remotely are twice as likely to be unemployed or working only part-time

For the last several months, Americans have had a nationwide debate on the need to reopen schools. The intensity of that debate has picked up over the last few weeks with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The fight over returning to schools has centered largely on the well-being of students. Is it safe for kids to be in the classroom? Are kids learning as well with remote learning as they would be in the classroom? How is not being at school impacting their mental and emotional health?

Naturally, there also have been discussions about teacher safety. Which, of course, brought the unions to the forefront of the fight over reopening and exposed their role in keeping schools closed.

But one group heavily impacted by school closures has not received nearly as much attention: parents, specifically working (or formerly working) parents.

A new Gallup survey revealed this week that parents of students learning remotely are twice as likely to be either working only part time or unemployed as the parents of students who are in the classroom full time.

What did the survey say?

According to Gallup’s report, nearly three-quarters of parents said their student is doing the remote-learning thing at least part time. Some 55% of parents said their student is full-time remote, and 18% said their child is part-time remote.

Only 26% of parents with kids in school said their child is learning in person full-time.

It turns out being forced to have kids at home for remote learning may well have a negative impact on employment.

Parents whose children are doing remote learning full or part time are two times more likely to be either unemployed or employed part time than those whose kids have daily in-person learning. Plus, parents of remote learners are markedly more likely to not even be in the labor force.

From Gallup:

Parents whose children are engaged in distance learning are significantly more likely than those whose kids are at school full time to be out of the labor force altogether — 24% vs. 15%. They are also about twice as likely to be working part time (18% vs. 9%) or unemployed (11% vs. 5%).

Broken down by moms and dads, the survey found that a clear majority (57%) of women with kids in school full time are employed full time, while just over a third (38%) of women with kids learning remotely are employed full time.

Women with kids learning remotely are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed or employed part time.

The impact on men’s employment is equally profound.

Just 61% of men with kids stuck with remote learning are employed full time while 87% of men with kids at school every day are fully employed.

Men with children learning remotely are more than twice as likely to be employed part time and four times more likely to be unemployed.

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Commentary: Here’s what teachers’ unions’ refusal to permit a return to classroom learning says about how important they think teachers really are

The Chicago Teachers Union became the latest large teachers’ union to object to teachers returning to the classroom on Monday, going so far as to authorize members to flatly refuse to return to the classroom as ordered by the Chicago Public School system. Less than two weeks ago, the Los Angeles School Board voted to authorize the district to sue California Governor Gavin Newsom rather than reopen even partially for in-person learning. The United Federation of Teachers has staged a months-long legal war against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in order to prevent its teachers from having to return to classrooms in Gotham.

It’s important to realize who these teachers’ unions are fighting. It’s not against governors like Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) or Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who have argued for aggressive early reopening plans. It’s against the public, Democratic faces of excessive caution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic — like Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, and Lori Lightfoot.

That’s right, even the public officials who have systematically crushed businesses and churches with far-reaching COVID-19 edicts that may or may not have been effective have reached the point where it has become obvious: It’s time for teachers to go back to the classroom. But the unions will not budge.

Now listen, it’s obvious that no one wants to catch COVID-19. In the middle of an infectious disease pandemic, I am sure that there are a great many people who would strongly prefer not to have to go in to workplaces where they will have to be in close, indoor proximity with their fellow workers (and customers), some of whom might have been reckless in terms of their own potential exposure to COVID-19.

But here’s the thing: For the last 11 months, a huge sector of the economy has been required to do it anyway. To name just a few: fast-food workers, grocery store employees, employees in the food production sector, employees who work in distribution warehouses for companies like Amazon, public transportation employees, and the like. We did this because, in the estimation of policymakers, it was deemed that their jobs were “essential” to the continued functioning of an orderly society. So we marched them off to work, in many cases before their workplaces were adjusted even in the slightest way to prevent them from unnecessary exposure to the virus.

Now come the teachers’ unions, months after COVID-19 protocols have been developed and after millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to make their workplaces as safe as possible, to demand that they not be made to return to work, even after being afforded the COVID-19 vaccine. One Virginia teachers’ union head even demanded that teachers not be made to go back to work until students have all been vaccinated. By way of reminder, neither of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines is approved for use on anyone under the age of 16.

Let us set aside for a second the fact that the science is clear and overwhelming, and even accepted by the most pro-lockdown Democratic politicians, that return to classroom learning is extremely low-risk. Let us also set aside the fact that their refusal to return to in-person learning is affecting the ability of other, vital sectors of the economy to function properly, as parents who previously had careers have been trapped inside their homes for weeks acting as de facto classroom teachers for their children, who are simply not getting the same learning experience by staring at a computer screen all day and being continually distracted by their normal in-home activities.

It’s important to realize what, exactly, these teachers’ unions are saying about the job of teaching. What they are saying, without realizing it, is that teaching is a much less essential function for the continuation of an orderly society than unions have been saying for years. Prior to 2020, the teachers’ unions’ public position was that teachers ranked somewhere between the Navy Seals and Batman on the scale of importance to society.

Now that the time has come for them to return to the job for which they are paid taxpayer money, however, the message is that they are (apparently) less important to society than Walmart employees, fast-food workers, bus drivers, and warehouse employees. After all, we required those people to go back to work, whether they wanted to or not, or else face replacement by someone who would do the job, on the basis that they were “essential.”

By saying that their members should not likewise be forced to return to work — under conditions that are much, much safer than any conditions that existed last March and April — they are admitting that the function they perform is simply not as essential as any of these jobs. And that reality ought perhaps to be reflected in the relative amount of taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits they should be entitled to.

Make no mistake: There are many good teachers throughout the country who believe that their job is truly important and have acted like it by providing the best in-person learning experience they could under trying conditions. But there are a great many more who are playing the part of the hypocrite; after all, I would assume that when the pandemic broke out last year, they did not go out and live on farms where they grew their own food and manufactured all the goods they needed in their own home.

No, the vast majority of teachers have continued to eat food procured from grocery stores and restaurants and ordered all their usual life needs and luxury goods from internet companies and possibly even from stores. They have thus maintained some sort of normalcy in their lives on the backs of employees of companies who have been put in harm’s way so that they could continue to have their preferred household items delivered to their doorsteps. But when the call came for them to release millions of parents from doing their jobs — jobs that many parents are not qualified or trained to perform — they have recoiled in horror. “Surely not us! Returning to a workplace is for other people.

If that is their perspective, they are entitled to it. But we should remember it the next time the unions complain that their teachers are underpaid and unappreciated. If they are less important than all these other employees, as they are inadvertently stating by their actions, then it stands to reason that they should be paid less, as well.

And it also ought to inform how afraid politicians should be of the power of teachers’ unions. Gavin Newsom has already apparently been cowed by the unions in his state, and Chicago Public Schools have thus far balked at following through on their completely justified threat to treat teachers’ refusal to return to classroom learning as an illegal strike. These Democratic politicians ought perhaps to re-evaluate how simmering anger from parents has changed the public’s perception of teachers’ unions in the last year and whether it is worth it to kowtow to them any longer.

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After locking down New York, Gov. Cuomo forecasts state’s decimated job market won’t recover from COVID-19 until 2025

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has bad news for his people: It will be literally years before the state’s job market recovers from the hit it took during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The massive loss of jobs the Empire State experienced came largely as a result of COVID-19 lockdown policies instituted at the hands of the left-wing executive.

What did Cuomo say?

In his annual budget plan submitted this week, Cuomo made it clear that there are rough times ahead for New York’s workers.

His subjects should not expect the state’s employment levels to recover to pre-pandemic levels until sometime in 2025, he stated in his “Economic Revenue and Outlook” outline of his $192.9 billion budget.

The document noted that actions taken by the government to “slow the spread” of the virus brought the economy to a stop, with nearly 2 million jobs lost in New York alone. Though there has been some recovery in the employment numbers, things are still way behind where they should be: November’s employment levels were 10.3% below pre-pandemic levels.

And the state has fallen behind the national pace.

The measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 brought the State economy to a virtual standstill in March and April of 2020. More than 1.9 million jobs were lost in these two months alone. Based on the most recent Current Employment Statistics (CES) seasonally adjusted data, almost half of those jobs have been recovered as of this publication. However, the November level of employment remains 10.3 percent below its February (pre-pandemic) level. As illustrated in the figure below, the pace of the national labor market recovery initially outperformed that of the State. With the easing of the most stringent phase of the New York lockdown on pause in May, the State initiated a staged reopening in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-issued guidelines. The national labor market made a strong and immediate comeback, adding 9.3 million jobs in the three months through July, or 41.8 percent of jobs lost. That compares to the 533,000 jobs New York recovered over the same period, or 27.4 percent of jobs lost.

Image source:, “FY 2022 Economic and Review Outlook” screenshot

With Cuomo’s orders killing restaurant dining and colder weather making any sort of outdoor dining options for most New York eateries not possible, the recovery of the labor market has suffered even more.

The governor’s office now predicts job growth to be a mere 5.4% for 2021, after declining 9.9% in 2020.

Which means, according to Cuomo’s own budget outline, the state of New York should not expect to reach its pre-pandemic employment levels until 2025.

With the onset of colder autumn weather, and virus-safe practices such as outdoor dining no longer feasible in many areas of the State, the labor market recovery has since slowed to a trickle, as the State added only 29,500 total jobs and 36,300 private sector jobs in November. With COVID-19 transmission intensifying across both the State and the nation, job growth is expected to slow even further over the winter months until vaccines become widely available. Job growth of 5.4 percent is now projected for 2021, following a decline of 9.9 percent for 2020. Private sector job growth of 6.2 percent is projected for 2021, following an estimated decline of 11.1 percent for 2020. These projections compare to national declines of 5.7 percent for total employment and 6.2 percent for private employment for 2020, followed by growth of 2.7 percent for total employment and 3.4 percent for private employment for 2021. New York State employment is not expected to reach its pre-pandemic peak until 2025.

And, as the New York Post noted, things are even worse in New York City, where unemployment is still 12.2% below February’s pre-pandemic levels.

The Cuomo budget out noted that Gotham has recouped only 39.4% of jobs lost during the COVID outbreak in the spring, which, the Post reported, contrasts significantly with the more than 60% recovery in the surrounding Long Island and Westchester-Rockland-Orange counties.

Image source:, “FY 2022 Economic and Review Outlook” screenshot

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Los Angeles school board authorizes district to sue Gavin Newsom over his plan to reopen schools

Teachers’ unions in California have been remarkably successful thus far at using public pressure to keep the government from forcing them to return to their classrooms on even a part-time basis, as workers in virtually every other field in America have done, and as teachers across most of the rest of the country have done.

However, the patience of California parents with the travails of distance-learning has reached such a critical point that even Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), one of the nation’s foremost proponents of COVID-19-inspired lockdowns, has begun to apply pressure on schools to reopen under a “California’s Safe Schools for All” framework.

Still, although Newsom has insisted that his plan will allow schools to reopen safely, he has been so effectively cowed by the teachers’ unions that he has already publicly declared that if the unions won’t allow their teachers to go back to the classroom, he won’t attempt to force them. Instead, his plan will merely provide additional funding that will provide for hiring additional teachers and purchasing additional safety equipment for schools that do choose to reopen.

Even this milquetoast and completely inoffensive plan was egregious enough, however, to cause the Los Angeles Unified school board to vote on Tuesday to authorize the district to sue Newsom over the plan. To re-emphasize, the plan the district plans to file a lawsuit over does not require Los Angeles schools to reopen for in-person learning, it merely provides extra money and resources to the district in case they voluntarily decide to.

Apparently, the Los Angeles Unified School District wants the money the governor has touted in his plan, regardless of whether classrooms are reopened or not. Additionally, Los Angeles school superintendent Austin Beutner has criticized the plan for allegedly not doing enough to address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on low-income communities.

According to Beutner, “The Governor’s plan does not address the disproportionate impact the virus is having on low-income communities of color,. “It leaves the definition of a ‘safe school environment’ and the ‘standard for reopening classrooms’ up to the individual discretion of 1,037 school districts across the state, creating a patchwork of safety standards in the face of a statewide health crisis. And it reverses a statewide commitment to equity-based funding of schools.”

Politico notes that the district has not yet filed suit because there is not an official law or program yet to sue over, and further notes that the district hopes to avoid litigation on the matter.

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Tom Cruise takes COVID protocol enforcement to the next level a month after infamous rant: UK paper says he bought 2 robots to patrol the movie set

Remember Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise’s expletive-laden rant against workers reportedly violating COVID-19 protocols on the set of his “Mission: Impossible 7” movie last month — the one where he screamed about how the “motherf***ers” who violated on-set pandemic policies would be fired if they ever did it again?

A refresher: “They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us! Because they believe in us and what we’re doing! And I’m on the phone with every f***ing studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies!” he screamed in December. “We are creating thousands of jobs you motherf***ers!”

It’s the rant he followed up with a second foul-mouthed shaming when his first diatribe made international headlines and was splashed on tabloid covers.

Well, it turns out he was super serious about making sure everyone follows every protocol put into place and has reportedly gone beyond just threatening that if he happens to see violators, they’re “f***ing gone”

Since he can’t be everywhere at once to police each employee’s’ every move, he has purchased robots to be his eyes and ears to keep an eye on scofflaws, the U.K.’s Sun reported Wednesday.

According to the Sun’s entertainment guru, Simon Boyle, sources revealed that Cruise paid big bucks for two robots to patrol the movie set in England and make sure workers are following COVID-19 directives.

“Tom is so serious about making sure the shoot isn’t shut down that he’s splashed out on these robots as he can’t be everywhere to ensure people are behaving themselves,” a source said.

The source told Boyle that the robots can also administer “on-the-spot” COVID-19 tests to workers.

“The robots are really sophisticated and rather intimidating. It’s like the Terminator only not as violent.”

Noting that the rant was probably over the top, the source admitted that Cruise was right on principle and that many observers sympathized with the star.

“He gets paid a lot for these films but he also knows that he is lucky to be working and staff on the film from top to bottom rely on this film going ahead,” the person added. “You don’t have to go far to see how just how much the pandemic has affected jobs.”

Cruise’s seemingly unhinged behavior during his multiple rants reportedly led at least five “Mission: Impossible” staffers to quit the movie.

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Despite draconian lockdown measures, Los Angeles is now the nation’s hottest spot for COVID-19 infections

By all accounts, Los Angeles and its surrounding areas have consistently had some of the strictest — if not the strictest — lockdown measures in the country. They were one of the first areas of the country to institute a “stay at home order,” one of the last areas of the country to partially reopen this summer, and one of the first areas to institute mask mandates and strict lockdown measures when COVID-19 began to see a resurgence in the winter.

In fact, while most of the rest of the country has at least resumed some of the activity that was paused by lockdowns even as winter has driven case numbers higher, California instituted a nighttime curfew in late November and Los Angeles instituted a second stay-at-home order on Nov. 27, making it one of the few jurisdictions in America to do so.

While almost every other county in America has had some measure of in-person learning in schools, Los Angeles schools (as well as schools in the rest of the state) have remained stubbornly closed.

Los Angeles has also taken harsher enforcement measures against individuals and businesses who do not comply with the coronavirus lockdown orders, levying huge fines and even threatening utility cutoffs for businesses and residents who don’t comply.

None of it has helped — nor, for that matter, has Los Angeles’ famously moderate climate. Los Angeles has experienced a 1,000% increase in COVID-19 cases since Nov. 1, according to the Los Angeles County director of health, and the virus shows no sign of slowing down. Hospitals in the county report that they are overflowing with COVID-19 cases.

Los Angeles County is, by all accounts, the current epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

County officials seem mostly content to double down on the measures that have thus far failed to contain the spread of the virus, even going so far as to issue recommendations for Los Angeles residents to wear masks inside their homes. They are also mounting a full-court press to convince the public to actually abide by the coronavirus guidelines, even though their most prominent leaders have not.

According to most recent estimates, as many as 1 in 3 Los Angeles County residents have been infected with the novel coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. Los Angeles public health experts have blamed the area’s soaring infection rate on its population density, as well as massive “pandemic fatigue” and refusal to comply with regulations on the part of the public.

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‘Get back on the job’: New York Post demands that all schools reopen full-time now that teachers have been given vaccines, pulls no punches on unions

In a scathing editorial posted Monday night, the New York Post editorial board demanded that teachers get back in the classrooms for in-person learning and unions get out of the way now that New York City is vaccinating teachers against COVID.

What’s happening?

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced over the weekend that teachers and education workers are being prioritized for vaccinations and urged all education employees to make appointments to get their shots.

With that news, many advocates, parents, and members of the media began to call for all Big Apple schools to be fully reopened instead of the part-time and/or hybrid schedules the city elected to employ last fall.

The Post made its position clear in a staff editorial titled “Teacher vaccinations mean all schools should reopen full-time ASAP.”

The piece began by going after the teachers’ unions that have stood in the way of a return to full-time in-person instruction:

Good news: New York City began vaccinating teachers against COVID-19 on Monday. That leaves the teachers’ union no excuse for continuing to oppose in-person learning: Classrooms at all grade levels must reopen so our kids can get the education they’re entitled to — but have lost out on for nearly a year.

The United Federation of Teachers has long stood in the way of getting back into classrooms daily, despite the fact that experts repeatedly stated that kids are a very low-risk population for catching or transmitting the coronavirus. But, in the words of the Post, the union “doesn’t care about the science — or the students.”

The UFT, the paper said, threatened lawsuits and strikes to avoid getting back into the classrooms before the school year started. The union agreed to go back to work only after Mayor Bill de Blasio was forced to offer new concessions. But the UFT wasn’t done there, the editorial noted; it has repeatedly tried to get schools closed and to avoid any reopenings — even some “more radical factions” demanded that all Gotham schools remain closed “until the whole city is basically virus-free.”

The need to get back into the schools is obvious to the Post’s editorial board:

Middle- and high-school students haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since the city shut schools on Nov. 19. Though even that was only part-time. Pre-kindergarten and elementary students resumed a “hybrid” learning last month, while special-needs kids returned to classrooms full-time. Kudos to de Blasio for getting that much done; children needing special ed are particularly ill-served by remote classes.

But all kids need to go back, full-time. “Without in-person instruction, schools risk children falling behind academically and exacerbating educational inequities,” warned a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report last year. Nathaniel Beers, coauthor of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ report, explained that all children suffer under remote learning, even teens: “Adolescence is a period of time in life when you are to be exploring your own sense of self and developing your identity,” he said. “It’s difficult to do that if you are at home with your parents all the time.”

It’s far past time, the paper said, for students to get back into the classroom — and with vaccines in the arms of teachers, there’s no longer any reason not to.

“New York’s children have lost nearly a year of education,” the Post said. “It’s long past time they get to learn in a classroom again.”

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California liberals extend Bay Area ‘stay-at-home’ order indefinitely

California’s Bay Area has had its share of COVID shutdown woes and controversies — and the hits just keep on coming. Now the region’s residents will be under an indefinite stay-at-home lockdown order.

What is happening?

No one will forget Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hypocritical decision to dine at a Napa wine country restaurant in the northern part of the Bay Area while businesses in his state were suffering due to coronavirus restrictions and families were being told not to gather for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

And the day after Newsom pulled his stunt, San Francisco’s own Democratic Mayor London Breed was caught dining in the same restaurant despite having previously admonished her subjects to curtail their activities and “do their part” to stop the spread of the virus.

Two weeks after those left-wing politicos were caught betraying their own instructions to Californians, the Golden State announced it would be locking down again with new regional stay-at-home orders.

The new lockdown orders forced more people to stay at home, business owners to close their shops, and sports — even without crowds — to be canceled or moved. The San Francisco 49ers were forced to play the remainder of their home games in Arizona because Santa Clara County, in an effort to try to meet state standards under the lockdown mandates, banned all contact sports.

Now things are getting worse for folks in the Bay Area: State officials announced over the weekend that the region’s COVID lockdown orders have been extended indefinitely, KNTV-TV reported.

With a continuing surge in cases, state public health officials declared citizens must stay home except for work, shopping, or other activities deemed essential until the region’s projected four-week ICU bed capacity is at least 15%.

The Bay Area’s most recent four-week ICU projection is 3%, according to the Contra Costa Herald. The region’s current actual ICU availability is just 0.7%, the state’s COVID tracking page said.

The region’s counties currently have wildly varying ICU capacity — but they’re all in under the same lockdown order.

In Sonoma County, KNTV said, ICU capacity is 27.6%. Interestingly, the county is experiencing almost double the rate of cases than before the stay-at-home order was first implemented.

But the ICU situation in Santa Clara County is a different story. The ICU capacity is at just 6%.

Leaders in both counties are seeking ways to both “slow the spread” and get their economies rolling again.

“Sonoma County residents and businesses have endured so much over the past year, and I know that everyone is anxiously awaiting the time when we can finally return to a sense of normalcy and safely reopen our economy,” Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, told KNTV. “While we are hopeful that the vaccine will soon provide the means to end this pandemic, the virus is still raging through our community. We are asking everyone for a little more patience while we slow the spread and work through our vaccine distribution plan.”

Officials from Santa Clara County told the outlet, “With the current surge of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, the County expects to be under the restrictions of this State order for some time. Tt is more critical than ever to stay at home, wear a mask if you must leave home for essential activities, and keep a distance from those outside your households.”

Andrew Cuomo Covid lockdowns Intelwars

Even Andrew Cuomo admits: ‘We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass.’

Democratic politicians have been studiously pushing back the goalposts for reopening businesses in their jurisdictions ever since the American people were told last March that a two- or four-week shutdown was necessary to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. Lately, the stated goalpost has been moved all the way back to “until a vaccine is widely available.”

Now, one of the prime offenders, the disastrously ineffective governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is even sounding the alarm that adhering to this goalpost will mean the total destruction of the American economy.

In a Monday tweet, Cuomo declared, “We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open.”

The governor elaborated further in his State of the State address Monday, saying that the state would heavily rely on testing to get businesses open again, but not further elaborating on how that would be different from what the state is already doing and has been doing for months. The governor’s office did not respond to a request from Fox News for further elaboration on this point.

Cuomo also went on to state that the lockdowns he imposed on businesses created a budget shortfall of a record $15 billion, and he pleaded for aid from the federal government. Under the administration of President Donald Trump, the federal government was hesitant to patch budget holes created by states that imposed lockdown measures stricter than federal guidance required; however, Cuomo is likely to find a more sympathetic ear in President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office next week.

New York has had, by almost any measure, the worst coronavirus outcomes in the country, leading the nation in total deaths and second in deaths per 100,000 residents, behind only New Jersey. Both states have imposed some of the strictest lockdown measures in the country. The lockdowns have devastated New York’s economy and led to a mass exodus of New Yorkers. Hundreds of thousands have moved out of New York City alone since the pandemic began.

In spite of his administration’s objectively poor handling of the virus, Cuomo has been showered with praise by media figures and pundits and was even given an Emmy award for his coronavirus briefings, in which he managed to appear competent on television in spite of his administration’s many failures.

Covid lockdowns Covid vaccine Intelwars Los Angeles schools

Students in Los Angeles will be required to get COVID vaccine before returning to school

The Los Angeles Unified School District has announced that students will be required to show proof that they have received a vaccine for the novel coronavirus before returning to in-person learning, according to a report from Fox News. According to District Superintendent Austin Beutner, parents who have concerns about the safety of the vaccine will be required to keep their children in remote learning, presumably indefinitely.

Beutner’s comments, as first reported in the Los Angeles Times, caused concern in light of the fact that neither of the currently approved vaccines for the coronavirus have been tested for use in teenagers, much less small children. Additionally, school-aged children are likely to be the last in line to receive the vaccine, since children generally have far milder symptoms and are much less likely to experience serious complications from COVID-19 than adults.

However, Beutner told the Times that he did not mean to advocate that schools should remain closed until all students are vaccinated. Instead, he said, the state should set standards for reopening all schools and require schools to reopen once all directives have been achieved. In his view, once the vaccine has become available to children, the COVID-19 vaccination requirement would be no different from the mumps/measles requirement, which the district already has.

In spite of having perhaps the strictest lockdown measures in the country, and one of the nation’s most temperate climates, California has seen COVID-19 cases skyrocket, particularly of late. California public schools have lagged behind most of the rest of the country already in in-person learning, due largely to the influence of teachers’ unions.

In fact, California schools’ recalcitrance to open for in-person learning has been so acute that even Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, a strong (if hypocritical) proponent of lockdown measures has publicly urged schools in his state to reopen as quickly as possible and even provided financial incentives to help schools modify their facilities as needed to make them safer for operation during the pandemic. Predictably, however, school districts and teachers’ unions balked at the plan.

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California city bans public sitting, removes seats from public property in attempt to battle COVID-19 spike

The city of Manhattan Beach, California, is really worried about a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

In fact, city fathers are so worried that they have issued a new edict for their subjects: No sitting on public property.

That’s right: Residents will no longer be permitted to use the city’s seating on publicly owned lands — the officials had all of the seats removed this weekend, the New York Post reported Sunday night.

What are they doing?

The coastal city, located about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and inside L.A. County, saw its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nearly double over the last two months.

According to the Manhattan Beach Twitter feed, the city had 425 cases on Nov. 1. As of last Saturday, the city had 821 cases. And the daily number of new cases set record highs on Dec. 31 (21 cases) and Jan. 1 (26 cases).

So city officials decided it was time to take action. That action came in the form of a sitting ban.

Image source: Twitter/Manhattan Beach City

As of 10 p.m. Sunday night, all outdoor seating on public property was closed to the public. The tables and chairs were removed until further notice.

Image source: Twitter/Manhattan Beach City

Mayor Suzanne Hadley said in the tweeted statement from the city, that people should stay home — except to go to work, pick up “essentials,” or exercise.

There was no word from the city on where people outside exercising might sit and rest if they need a break.

But officials who have helped cripple local businesses with their restrictions were quick to encourage citizens — whom they simultaneously told to stay home — to go out and support “our local businesses that are offering pick-up, curbside, take-out, and delivery services.”

More from the mayor:

We must continue to respond to the ever-changing dynamics of this pandemic. We are asking residents to stay home if possible, and mainly go out for work and essentials, or to exercise outdoors.

This recent spike in the virus is significant, despite the good news last month of our Manhattan Beach firefighters receiving some of the first COVID-19 vaccinations. Although public seating areas will be closed temporarily, please continue supporting our local businesses that offer pick-up, curbside, take-out, and delivery services.

Image source: Twitter/Manhattan Beach City

(H/T: HotAir)

Coronavirus lockdown Covid lockdowns Intelwars Lasd Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Super-spreader task force Superspreader task force

LA ‘Super-Spreader Task Force’ detains over 900, arrests and fines nearly 100 revelers during NYE raids

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department cracked down on New Year’s Eve parties by deploying its “Super-Spreader Task Force.” The strict clampdown resulted in hundreds of partygoers being detained, arrested, and fined.

The Superspreader Task Force was comprised of “hundreds of detectives, patrol deputies, and Specialized Response Teams.” The coronavirus lockdown enforcers crashed five large NYE parties in Los Angeles, Malibu, Hawthorne, and Pomona. The “illegal” celebrations were held in speakeasy locations such as upscale homes, vacant warehouses, a DoubleTree hotel, and shuttered businesses.

Los Angeles news station
KTTV-TV was on the scene on many of the parties that were broken up by police. Based on the footage, most of the offenders appeared to be in their late teens and early 20s.

Over 900 people were detained, 90 were arrested and/or given citations. Law enforcement announced that they recovered at least six guns.

“I have made it clear that we will seek out and take law enforcement action against all ‘Super-Spreader’ events occurring anywhere within Los Angeles County,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “The goal of these enforcement actions is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the risk to our vulnerable populations.”

LASD Captain Holly Francisco said, “We are actively enforcing the superspreaders to protect against COVID. Once we confirmed there was a party here, we had our super spreader task force respond and detain the occupants.”

Lt. John Satterfield stated, “We’re going ahead and writing citations to the people that knowingly placed others in jeopardy by having a large gathering. There was no social distancing, there were no masks, it was unsafe and irresponsible.”

One frustrated New Year’s Eve reveler told
KTTV, “We’re tired of closing this sh** down, my people have lost businesses and all that sh**, and we really just wanted some fresh air, man, that’s what’s going on we wanted some fresh air, they come out with the tanks and all man, sh** is crazy.”

Last month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) told his constituents to expect more COVID-19 lockdowns, going so far as to say, ”
It’s time to cancel everything.”