Week-ends (07/31/21)

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of  This Just In…

HEROES OF THE WEEK

American Olympic medalists

Hidilyn Diaz

Paul Veneto

VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

The CDC

William Rhoden

Liz Cheney

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

 “The labor crisis has reached every corner of our state. Yet Democrats have the gall to tell employers there’s no supporting data and that the worker crisis is fake. The governor has finally acknowledged it but thinks more government will solve the issue. We already have programs in place to help people find jobs, what we need is to get people off the couch and go back to work, and we do that by removing the weekly federal bonus check. I had hoped my Democratic colleagues would put politics aside to fix an actual issue affecting employers across the state, but it seems they’ll stick to their marching orders no matter the cost.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. A bill Vos (R-Rochester) co-authored to help address the current worker shortage in Wisconsin passed in both houses but failed to become law via the governor’s veto. The legislature used its authority by convening for a veto override.

“Governor, I appreciate your passion for education—however, as usual, you’re trying to fix problems by throwing more money at them. That’s just lazy leadership on your part. In order to improve our schools and help our kids, we should focus on three things: consolidate school districts to one per county, end the stranglehold that the union has on MPS by allowing the state to take over, and refocus on teaching kids how to think instead of what to think.”
State Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) regarding Governor Evers’ call for a special session of the legislature to take up additional funding for education

“The initial goal of public policy was to flatten the curve so we wouldn’t overwhelm hospitals. At some point, federal agencies moved the goal posts. The initial goal was achievable. I’m not even sure what the new goal is. Time to let Americans, not federal agencies, make decisions for themselves and their children. Time to reclaim liberty and end this state of fear.”
US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on new CDC guidelines 

“The CDC hasn’t changed, and the CDC hasn’t really flip-flopped at all.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci

“So, as a matter of policy going forward, given that the Chinese government won’t allow any real investigation, do you still think the U.S. government should collaborate with labs like Wuhan, especially on research that experts consider risky?”
Jake Tapper questioning Anthony Fauci

Well, you know, Jake, if you go back to when this research really started, and look at the scientific rationale for it, it was a peer- reviewed proposal that was peer-reviewed and given a very high rating for the importance of why it should be done, to be able to go and do a survey of what was going on among the bat population, because everyone in the world was trying to figure out what the original source of the original SARS-CoV-1 was.

“And in that context, the research was done. It was very regulated. It was reviewed. It was given progress reports. It was published in the open literature.

“So, I think if you look at the ultimate backed rationale, why that was started, it was almost as if, you didn’t pursue that research, you would be negligent…because we were trying to find out how you can prevent this from happening again.”
Fauci’s response

“We have three vaccines—all are effective against the variant. Millions have been vaccinated. Some are more hesitant. That’s their choice, and to be frank—we shouldn’t blame them. First, it doesn’t solve the issue of lagging vaccination rates. Second, this was always going to be controversial as vaccinations, in general, are a topic that generates intense reactions. Third, it’s just laziness to hurl rage at people who have legitimate questions.
Matt Vespa of Townhall.com

“And while plenty of Republicans have done the ‘vaccine selfie’ routine, there’s also something to be said for taking the vaccine without much fuss or spectacle, since most Americans are probably not inclined to broadcast their private medical procedures online. Showing off a needle in your arm on social media might not be the most effective persuasion strategy, especially for those who may otherwise have reservations about the vaccine. Plus, let’s face it: the whole ‘take a selfie with a needle being inserted into your arm’ concept is a bit weird to begin with. Some may even call it creepy and invasive!”
Journalist Michael Tracey

What we’re seeing on the border is an absolute travesty, and yet my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to do nothing about that today, even as we see people coming across the border who are testing positive for COVID.

“We have a crisis at our border and we are playing footsie with mask mandates in the people’s house.

“It’s absolutely absurd what this body is doing, the people’s house. It’s an embarrassment, a mockery, and the American people are fed up. They want to go back to life. They want to go back to business. They want to go back to school without their children being forced to wear masks, to be put in the corner, to have mental health issues.

“And we’re running around here and the Speaker comes down here at 10:00 in the morning saying we gotta wear masks in the people’s house?

“While we have thousands of people pouring across our border and Democrats don’t do a darn thing about it, heavily infected with COVID… We are absolutely sick and tired of it and so are the American people.”
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy

The national average public school teacher salary for 2019-20 was $64,133. The national average one-year change in public school teacher salaries from 2018-19 to 2019-20 was 2.9 percent.”
The National Education Association. Data released by the NEA shows teacher salaries rose while schools were closed.

“He’s completely LOST it. Needs a cognitive exam NOW! This is a national security issue at this point. I think he’s either going to resign — they’re going to convince him to resign from office at some point in the near future for medical issues — or they’re going to have to use the 25th Amendment to get rid of this man.”
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), former White House physician doubts whether Joe Biden has the cognitive ability to make it through a full term

“We are run in this country, via the Democrats, via our corporate oligarchs by a bunch of child less cat ladies who are miserable at their own lives and the choices that they’ve made and so they want to make the rest of the country miserable too. It’s just a basic fact. You look at Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, AOC. The entire future of the Democrats are controlled by people without children.

“How does it make any sense we turned our country over to people who don’t really have a direct stake in it? I just wanted to ask that question and propose that maybe if we want a healthy ruling class in this country, we should invest more, we should vote more, we should support more people who actually have kids. Because those are the people who ultimately have a more direct stake in the future of this country.

“It hit a nerve. These people recognize that they’re unhappy. They live in one-bedroom apartments in New York City. They’ve played their entire lives to win a status game. They are obsessed with jobs. They are obsessed with their wealth and their fortunes and they look at middle America, people who are pretty happy with their lives and the choices they’ve made. And they hate normal Americans for choosing family over these ridiculous D.C. and New York status games.”

“I think because of that they just get so angry when somebody calls it what it is. It’s acceptable if they ignore that it never happens but if someone calls out that, look, if you are a miserable cat lady you should not force your misery on the rest of the country. They just get really upset about it.

“People who go home at night and see the face of a smiling kid, whatever their profession, I think they are happier, I think they are healthier and they are going to be better prepared to actually lead this country.”

Candidate for U.S. Senate from Ohio J.D. Vance

“People need to see that police officers go through horrible things, and Jan. 6 was a horrible thing for some of those officers. But, quite frankly, I find this whole Jan. 6 Commission, frankly, a dog and pony show. It doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Myself, like millions of Americans, sat there watching the testimony thinking, ‘Wait, where are the police officers who appeared – appeared – to let some of the protesters in? Where is the police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt? In fact, why aren’t we talking about Ashli Babbitt? I mean there’s so much more here.

“I want the American public to hear about that (riots spurred by the death of George Floyd). The American public wants to hear about that. They want to hear the testimony. You know, we have a Las Vegas police officer who is still paralyzed from the Black Lives Matter riots. We have thousands of police officers around the country who are retiring because of post-traumatic stress because of the riots.


“The 2020 riots, we can’t just say the whole George Floyd thing was bad and that’s what cops have to deal with and then watch these four weeping men talk about their experiences, ignoring thousands and thousands of police officers, ignoring their feelings and their experiences and their injuries. she said.

“It’s heartbreaking.  I have some cops who would rather go back to Iraq than continue to work on the street, just because of the massive amounts of blood and bodies and everything they deal with that people don’t see.

“It’s taking its toll. We already had a police officer mental health crisis in this country before George Floyd, and now the uptick in police officer suicides is reaching a crisis level.”

National Police Association spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith.  Brantner Smith’s comments came the day after four law enforcement officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol gave testimony to a House select committee about their experience.

“I believe it takes more strength to throw off enormous expectations than it takes to live up to them.

I don’t know what it’s like to have the eyes of the world on me or to be under the pressure that comes with having to defend being the greatest of all time. But I do know what it’s like to believe that what I have to offer doesn’t matter unless I hear an avalanche of praise. I know what it’s like to feel paralyzed by the fear of not being ‘good enough.’

“Biles’s unprecedented excellence is already an inspiration to millions to give their all in whatever they do; my hope is that now, millions know they can choose to not give their all when the pressure is on. Or to put that another way: Sometimes ‘giving your all’ isn’t a show of strength on the outside; it’s what happens within.

Ana Marie Cox, political journalist, author and host of the podcast “With Friends Like These.” After failing to land a vault she’s been nailing in competitions since 2018, gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the US women’s team at the Olympics.

I don’t like what has been done to us and what we’ve allowed. I don’t like the brainwashing. The lack of accountability. The lack of expectations for greatness. She is on the biggest stage in the world,” he said. She has the chance to represent the United States. She has the chance to represent black people. I quit. I’m not in the right headspace.”
Sports journalist Jason Whitlock on Biles

“I know nothing of gymnastics. I do know however that with sports of any level there comes a lot of pressure. Throwing in the towel as she wasn’t having a perfect performance is a good message to send young aspiring athletes. Other people would of killed for that spot.”
Former UFC champion Michael Bisping

All over the world, the best educated white people are also the most likely to be stupid. By educated, I mean the number of years spent in school, and nothing more. By stupidity, I mean a lack of common sense, as in a denial of human nature.

The latest evidence to support this observation can be found in the results of a Pew Research Center survey, published July 27. Pew found that 56% of adults surveyed believe that “gender is determined by sex assigned at birth,” and 41% believe it can be different. Who believes the latter? “Liberal Democrats are particularly likely to say gender can be different from sex assigned at birth.” In fact, 81% believe this to be true.

Also, “those with a bachelor’s degree or more education are more likely than those who do not have a college degree to say a person’s gender can be different from sex assigned at birth.” Regarding race, white people are the most likely to accept this position; blacks are the least likely.

Here are some basic biological facts that are resisted by educated white people.

A male carries the XY chromosomes; a female carries XX. Sorry, folks, there is no third combination—no XYZ exists. It’s a binary fact of life.

Males have a penis, scrotum, and testicles. Females have a vagina, uterus, and ovaries. Yes, one can pay a doctor to mutilate his genitals and construct a Lego-type replacement—though many trans persons refuse to finish the job—but this is still not a game changer.  

Educated white people who deny what nature, and nature’s God, has ordained, need to be deprogrammed. Either that or they will continue to prove just how stupid they really are.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue

OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK

FBI sexcapades

MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK

More Americans Want ‘Black Lives Matter Riots’ Investigated Than January 6 Riot

MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

Jan. 6

Aaron Rodgers arrives in Green Bay

MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK

From Super-Spreader Sex Houses to Nude Beach Fistfights, Vaccinated Partying Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

‘Sir, there is something on your chin’

Harry Potter fans party today

From the Good News Network:

Happy 56th Birthday to J.K. Rowlingthe author and humanitarian who, before writing the first of seven books in the Harry Potter series, was a single mom supported by welfare—but she transformed herself into the world’s first female billionaire novelist.

DURING the 2020 LOCKDOWN, Rowland dusted off a fairytale she’d created years earlier to read aloud for her little kids—chapter by chapter as she’d finish them. Entitled The Ickabog, it was offered the same way to children in quarantine—with each chapter released one at a time for free on her website. In November, the book was published in English (recommended for ages 7-9) and Rowling pledged all author royalties from The Ickabog to COVID-19 charities. The illustrations were even chosen from kids’ artwork submitted during lockdown.

Her artful wizarding fantasies became the best-selling book series in history, translated into 73 languages, but she’s not on the Forbes’ Billionaires list anymore because she gives so much to charity—particularly to multiple sclerosis, illiteracy, and child welfare charities—but also to the ‘tax man’, as a form of patriotism. She said, “I am indebted to the British welfare state… When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become… was there to break the fall.”

In my household Harry Potter just might be more than popular than I am.

Biden ‘accomplishments’; 18 months of COVID lies; mask mandates could backfire; COVID blood on Biden

Here are this week’s highly interesting reads:

Today’s highly interesting read (07/30/21): Biden’s ‘Accomplishments’ So Far: A Troubling Tale In 8 Charts

Today’s highly interesting read (07/29/21): Imagine If They Hadn’t Lied To Us For The Last 18 Months

Today’s highly interesting read (07/28/21): New Covid mask mandates could backfire for Democrats

Today’s highly interesting read (07/26/21): The COVID Blood On Biden’s Hands

The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (07/31/21)

The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Originally written by both my lovely wife, Jennifer and me, this blog brings you the latest news about our furry friends including articles, columns, photos and videos. Enjoy!

THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.

TODAY:  Sunny, along with a few afternoon clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High of 83. “A-”

SUNDAY:  Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High around 75. “A”

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

Week in Review: Netflix Dog-umentary, Daylight Savings & Dogs, Autumn  Dangers & More - The Dogington Post

We hear about these cases a lot. In Kentucky a woman is threatening a lawsuit over the way she and her service dog were treated…

See dog’s heartbreaking reaction after owner abandons him.

VIDEO: First-Ever Horse, Dog Showman With Disabilities From Chicago Area.

VIDEO & ARTICLE: Dixie the Praying Dog is a TV star — and a real-world hero.

REUNITED!

Do dogs really feel guilt?

Because inquiring minds want to know…why do dogs do this?

That’s it for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.

We’d really appreciate it if you forward this on to other dog lovers you know. Let them have some fun!

See ya, BARK, next Saturday!

Dog memes, part 5: The good, the sad, and the funny - DogTime

Goodnight everyone, and have a Philly sound weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

Throughout 2021 Philadelphia International Records is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1971 by songwriters and producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the record label became the birthplace, incubator and launching pad for the Philly Soul sound that came to be known as “The Sound of Philadelphia.” 

And what is that sound?

Philly soul added sweeping strings, seductive horns, and lush arrangements to the deep rhythms of soul music. And there so many stars. We look back and remember a few this week.

Let’s get started.

Frank Sinatra once said of Lou Rawls that he had the “silkiest chops in the singing game.”

His biggest recording came during the spring of 1976 in a #1 song written by the legendary songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. At the time, Gamble was going through a divorce from the singer Dee Dee Sharp.

This was the first big hit featuring the reformulated Philadelphia International Records house band MFSB, after many of the original members left for better opportunities. It was recorded live with the singer and the band with no piecemeal overdubbing as Rawls preferred to record live.

Rawls sang it live at the 1977 American Music Awards. If you were watching you may remember what happened. What a pro.

Rawls sold more than 40 million records.

He was hospitalized for treatment of lung and brain cancer before he died in early 2006 at the age of 72.

Next up, the O’Jays.

Their first hit was all about two-timing and lies.

The group’s following smash was a complete opposite, a party, a worldwide party of near perfection.

Eddie Levert was one of the vocalists.

“Everything changed in 1972, when we met Gamble and Huff,” said Levert. “They recognized our gospel roots and ability to switch between lead vocals. Kenny Gamble was a prolific songwriter, and Leon Huff could make a piano sound like a whole band. We just clicked. They had dozens of songs and we were able to pick the ones we liked. When we started recording, Love Train didn’t even have lyrics, so Kenny came up with them in five minutes, on the spot.

“At that stage, I don’t think any of us had any idea how big that song would become, but by the time we started laying down the vocals, we knew we had a hit. Love Train felt like destiny. It had such perfect, timeless lyrics that it was almost as if they’d come from God, and we had to deliver them to the people.

“To this day, people hear it and want to start a train. At one gig, we played it for 30 minutes, while the audience formed a dancing train that went all the way outside the building.”

Twin spin!

The O’Jays had 10 #1 hits and 24 Top Ten hits, are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and are still touring.

Sheila Ferguson, Fayette Pinkney, Valerie Holiday. The Three Degrees.

Lead singer Ferguson recalls the group’s smash written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

“The song was played to me by Kenny Gamble at the piano in 1973 and I threw a tantrum. I screamed and yelled and said I would never sing it. I thought it was ridiculously insulting to be given such a simple song and that it took no talent to sing it. We did do it and several million copies later, I realized that he knew more than me.”

Billboard named the song #67 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.

Listen carefully. Unique lyrics. Every line is a question.

Their first recording with the label was the US #1 hit “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” which was the theme song for the TV show Soul Train.

As for “When Will I See You Again?” the song got as high as #2, but couldn’t beat out “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas.

One last bit of trivia: Other than Nancy Reagan, The Three Degrees were the only American guests at Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981.

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featured lead vocalist and drummer Teddy Pendergrass. The group released a message song in 1975 that was #1 on the R & B chart.

Pendergrass got lots of attention and soon wanted to go solo. He left the group in 1976 and was very successful, selling tons of records and winning Billboard’s 1977 Pop Album New Artist Award and the American Music Award for best R&B performer of 1978.

A 1982 car accident left Pendergrass paralyzed from the waist down and wheelchair-bound. Not deterred Pendergrass kept recording. He had difficulty recovering from colon cancer surgery and passed away on January 13, 2010.

That’s it for this week.

Goodnight.

Sleep well.

Have a great weekend, and get on down with the Philly Sound.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: His big hits were autobiographical

1958. Elvis enters the US Army.

How utterly stupid was Uncle Sam in drafting the King? It is estimated that the U.S. Treasury lost $500,000 in federal income taxes while Elvis was in the service. He entered the service in the middle of a very successful career and the estimates are based on projections. In today’s dollars, that works out to be 3,810,086.51.

About Elvis putting his career on hold to serve his country he said, “I’m kind of proud of it. It’s a duty I’ve got to fill and I’m going to do it.”

Elvis’ induction opened the door for an army of new teen idols to take over the pop music spotlight. One of them was Canadian Paul Anka who turns 80 today.

“They are all very autobiographical,” says Anka of his early hits. “I was alone, traveling, girls screaming, and I never got near them. I’m a teenager and feeling isolated and all that. That becomes ‘Lonely Boy.’ At record hops, I’m up on stage and all these kids are holding each other with heads on each other’s shoulders. Then I have to go have dinner in my room because there are thousands of kids outside the hotel — ‘Put Your Head on My Shoulder’ was totally that experience.”

The Beatles and the subsequent British Invasion changed everything and the teen idols eventually became yesterday’s news. Anka had to adjust, and did.

“After a few hits I knew I was a writer, and with writers, the power was always in the pen. When I started writing for Buddy Holly and Connie Francis, I felt that it made me different for people — they’d say, ‘Hey, you can write, you can fall back on something’.” 

By far, Anka’s biggest writing success came with “My Way” for Frank Sinatra.

But in 1974 Anka’s pen put him back on the charts at #1 despite an uproar by feminists. The National Organization of Women (NOW) gave Anka their dubious “Keep Her In Her Place” award, and Ms. magazine named him “Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year.” Anka who had four daughters at the time insisted his song was a tribute to childbirth.

Time magazine came to Anka’s defense and wrote, “What are you getting on this guy’s case for? We’re in a war. We’ve got a drug plague. We’ve got s*** going on in our country. Give him a break, he’s writing a song about his wife.”

At some point during the controversy Anka decided to begin ending the song live by changing the lyric to “having our baby.”

Outrage over the recording didn’t prevent Anka and his duet partner Odia Coates from landing at the top of he Billboard chart for three weeks.

They perform here on NBC’s “The Midnight Special” in 1974.

Paul Anka turns 80!

BONUS!

From April in that God-awful year of 2020:



How much of its budget does the Franklin Public School district spend in the classroom?

Wisconsin schools spend almost half their revenue on overhead with only 53 percent actually going toward classroom instruction. 

That may or may not be a surprise to WI taxpayers. An average of $7,582 goes toward classroom instruction of each student. The largest part of instruction costs is the salaries and benefits of classroom teachers, teaching anything from reading and math to physical education. 

The MacIver Institute reports:

“Operations/other” is the second largest spending category by percentage statewide. That catch-all category includes line items such as central services, maintenance, debt service, insurance, and post-employment benefit debt.

Administration costs are comprised of school business offices, administrative assistants, building and grounds departments, and other related functions.

After operations/other, the next biggest spending category is pupil/staff/support. That includes expenses such as guidance counselors, school nurses, and professional development support for staff. 

Here’s data for Franklin:

Single District Comparative Cost: Franklin (2019-20)

Membership4,439Total Cost% of TotalCost Per Memb
Instruction$34,880,72055.6%$7,858
Pupil/Staff/Support$4,587,2877.3%$1,033
Admin$4,676,5427.5%$1,054
Oper/Other$8,870,40214.1%$1,998
Transportation Costs$1,876,4123.0%$423
Facility Costs$4,841,3207.7%$1,091
Food & Comm Serv Costs$2,996,6854.8%$675
TOTALS $62,729,367100.0%$14,131

Here’s statewide data:

Single District Comparative Cost: Statewide (2019-20)

Membership854,497Total Cost% of TotalCost Per Memb
Instruction$6,478,515,73053.2%$7,582
Pupil/Staff/Support$1,203,872,4339.9%$1,409
Admin$934,087,2427.7%$1,093
Oper/Other$1,577,917,59913.0%$1,847
Transportation Costs$433,459,0113.6%$507
Facility Costs$1,009,706,3198.3%$1,182
Food & Comm Serv Costs$546,994,2294.5%$640
TOTALS $12,184,552,562100.0%$14,259

“If top-heavy overhead were reduced, the teachers doing the vast majority of meaningful work in schools could perhaps be better compensated. Instead, the many secondary and tertiary roles schools have taken on directly compete with the primary reason for schools’ existence: educating children.”
—The MacIver Institute

Also from the Institute:

“What Governor Evers and other educrats seem to conveniently leave out in their demands for more funding to schools is the fact that even though we have been pumping massive increases into education over the past four budgets…

…less than half the state’s students are proficient in English and Math. How can DPI continue to demand higher amounts of funding when clearly these resources are not catching students up?”

Today’s highly interesting read (07/30/21): Biden’s ‘Accomplishments’ So Far: A Troubling Tale In 8 Charts


Today’s read is from the editorial board of Issues & Insights. Here’s an excerpt:

Months after President Joe Biden supposedly “rescued” the country from the COVID-19 pandemic and promised that he’d bring the country together, how is the nation doing? Well, there are several indicators on the rise. Unfortunately, they are all indicators of trouble.

We’ve put together seven charts that help tell this story, starting with the inflation rate.

Read it all here.

FPS: Healthy kids are not biohazards

We've Discovered the Real Reason the CDC Is Requiring All Kids Wear Masks in Schools

Today I sent the following to FPS District Administrator Judy Mueller and all members of the Franklin School Board:

One more correspondence to close out the week. It’s an excerpt from a piece by Matt Welch.

His work has appeared in The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN.com, ESPN.com, The Hardball TimesThe Columbia Journalism ReviewSalon.comCommentaryLA WeeklyOrange County Register, and many other publications. Welch is a frequent guest on MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, public radio, and AM radio stations across America.

Since the Franklin school district seems to hang on every word the CDC utters I believe this excerpt is quite appropriate:

My 13-year-old daughter, like every one of her Brooklyn friends, has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Her public school teachers, who have had access to the vaccine since mid-January, will be required by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to either show proof of vaccination come September or submit to weekly testing. Our ZIP code’s rate of fully vaccinated humans, 57.9 percent as of July 27, would rank eighth in the country if we were a state.

And yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday recommended that my daughter, her classmates, her teachers, and everyone else who sets foot inside her middle school wear masks yet again this coming year.

If the past is in any guide, this latest ratcheting up of classroom-infectiousness fear will encourage public schools to not open but close, particularly in the most restrictive districts.

When the CDC in mid-February shocked epidemiologists (and pleasured teachers unions) by keeping its global outlier of a school social-distancing recommendation at an average of 6 feet between humans, multiple school boards responded by suspending plans to reopen. (That guidance, amid near-universal outcry, was reversed less than six weeks later.)

You will see, in various discussions about this issue, variations of the following argument: Hey, what’s the cost of just a little more masking while we get this unknown delta thing under control? We’re not asking for much, here, just a piece of cloth!

But this accommodationism rests on a faith-based hunch, unsupported by available evidence—that masking vaccinated people in schools will make a damn bit of difference in the spread of COVID-19.

Consider this remarkable little paragraph, published over at the health policy/science site Stat:

An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told STAT that health experts do not have studies proving that fully vaccinated people are transmitting the virus. Rather, the official said, the updated guidance is based on studies showing that vaccinated people who contract the Delta variant have similarly high levels of virus in their airways, which suggested that they may be infectious to others.

The government’s infectious disease bureaucracy is asking vaccinated people in 46 percent of the country, and 100 percent of its schools, to apply a facial prophylactic to impede the transmission of something it does not know is being spread.

The 161 million U.S. residents who have been vaccinated, and are now being asked to re-mask, are far less likely to contract, transmit, or suffer significantly from the scary new strain.

We still know enough to say that I’m significantly more likely to get into a car crash this year.

You have a one in 2,535 chance of choking to death on food. If you drive more than 1,000 miles a year, you have a one in 366 chance of getting into an automobile accident. The odds of you dying from a lightning strike are higher than the ratio of vaccinated people who have perished while infected with COVID.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the breakthrough infection rate is as high as one in 2,000. Now imagine a middle or high school with 2,000 combined students, teachers, and staff, the vast majority of which are vaccinated. The CDC school masking guidance would have us believe that everyone in this school needs to wear masks because chances are that one vaccinated person will contract the delta variant, and we just don’t know whether that person might have the ability to spread it to any unvaccinated stragglers in the building. As (CDC Director Rochelle) Walensky said Tuesday, “In those cases, those rare cases that we have breakthrough infections, we felt it important for people to understand that they have the potential to transmit virus to others.”

This is irrational restrictionism, inflicted on a population that has suffered the most from COVID policy while suffering the least from COVID.

For all the ooga-booga about the delta variant, its main innovation is to transmit faster, not pack a deadlier punch. As the CDC points out, “To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in the case demographics or vaccine characteristics among people with reported vaccine breakthrough infections.” This finding is of particular importance when it comes to schools because the underlying case demographics of COVID are that even the unvaccinated kids rarely get it, spread it, or suffer from it.

As David Wallace-Wells put it in New York magazine July 12: “Over the course of the pandemic, 49,000 Americans under the age of 18 have died of all causes, according to the CDC. Only 331 of those deaths have been from COVID — less than half as many as have died of pneumonia.”

We are masking vaccinated people who will probably not contract COVID, to protect a population that gets it the least and suffers from it less than it suffers from the flu. At what point are we going to admit that this is crazy?

The left-of-center support for these restrictions is reminiscent of the right-of-center apologia for such post-9/11 security theater measures as having airline passengers take off their shoes in the security line. Sure, it might not be the most important precaution, but if we can prevent even one shoe-bomber, the mild inconvenience will be worth it!

But not only is the potential upside greatly exaggerated, the downside is heavily discounted, and inflicted on people with the least political power. My 6-year-old daughter has been wearing masks in school settings now for 20 percent of her life. Young kids rely on facial recognition for all kinds of early childhood development and basic social competence. Most of the developed world has not been masking elementary school children, in recognition of both the limited benefits and developmental costs.

The CDC guidance is yet another product of adults who are incapable of evaluating risk and unwilling to take seriously the downside of treating a generation of physically healthy kids like deadly biohazards.

—Matt Welch

Keep FPS mask optional this fall.

Have a good weekend.

Respectfully submitted,

Kevin Fischer