Daily Headlines | Wednesday January 26, 2022

Good Morning! 

The term “mass formation psychosis” has been introduced into the national conversation by Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist and immunologist.  

“When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere.” 

We begin today with a series of related stories:  

Kids Shouldn’t Have to Be Resilient 

From The Atlantic: 

When newly elected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin rescinded an executive order from his predecessor requiring universal masking in schools, and giving parents the power to choose, the same districts whose overcautious policies kept children out of classrooms for a year vowed to continue keeping them out if they show up without face coverings. Although the science on the benefits of child masking is uncertain, and the downsides are becoming clear, the districts presumed that allowing parents to come to their own conclusions would cause great harm. 

“Kids are resilient” has been a refrain of the pandemic, used to justify the removal of regular school, birthday parties, and talking with friends at lunch. But it’s not a kid’s job to be resilient. It’s a parent’s job to be resilient for them, to spare them from our fears and worries. The longer we abdicate, the more damage we will do. 

RELATED: 

Fairfax Schools Suspend Kids, Call Police As System Defies Virginia Governor On Masks  

From the Daily Wire: 

Fairfax County Public Schools made a show of defying Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s order that schools respect parental rights on masking on Tuesday, with an assistant principal standing in front of the school to suspend students without masks, and a public relations staffer who said the media was not allowed to watch the conflict between state and local governments play out. 

At one classroom exterior door, a teacher in a dark mask and a full-face plastic shield resembled Darth Vader as she peered through the glass and, after seeing a masked child out front, opened the door a crack to let him in. 

Providing muscle was a large security guard who inadvertently illustrated parents’ concerns by removing his mask to lecture a parent because “I can’t speak with this thing.” At another point, the security guard lashed out at a former school board member after his own mask caused his glasses to fog up to the point that he could not see who he was talking to. 

Parent Carrie Lukas walked her two children to the front door of Forestville Elementary, their smiling faces visible on school grounds for the first time in two years. She did not make it to the doorway before she was confronted by an assistant principal, who said the children would not be allowed in the school. Security guard Christian Fuller followed as they retreated to their car.  

Boston patient removed from heart-transplant list because he’s not vaccinated against COVID: report 

From Fox News: 

The parents of a 31-year-old in need of a heart transplant at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital said their son has been removed from the transplant list because he has not been vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a report. 

The hospital told CBS Boston that its policy is in line with other transplant programs in the U.S. that require the vaccine because it fits under the lifestyle behaviors of the candidates. The statement said it is the hospital’s goal to “create both the best chance for successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation.” 

David Ferguson, the father of the patient, DJ Ferguson, told the station that his son was at the front of the line to receive the organ, but was removed because he refuses to take the vaccine. 

His son is still at the hospital. The family praised the care the 31-year-old has been receiving. The report did not indicate why the 31-year-old needs a transplant. The hospital did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News. 

RELATED: 

Biden Administration Withdraws Vaccine/Testing Mandate for Large Employers 

From Fox Business: 

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration announced it is ending the COVID-19 vaccination and testing rules that were struck down by the Supreme Court but vowed to continue efforts to make the rules permanent in the future.

“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is withdrawing the vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard issued on Nov. 5, 2021, to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers with 100 or more employees from workplace exposure to coronavirus,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday, noting that the withdrawal will go into effect Wednesday. 

RELATED: 

Federal Agencies Storing, Sharing Information on Employees with Religious Objections to Vaccination Mandates 

From The Daily Citizen: 

There appears to be a “coordinated data collection” effort being undertaken across a wide spectrum of federal agencies, concerning employees who have requested a religious exemption to federal vaccination mandates, according to the Heritage Foundation. 

In a report entitled “18 More Federal Agencies Eye Making Vaccine Religious-Objector Lists” published on January 18, Sarah Parshall Perry and GianCarlo Canaparo followed up on a story they broke on January 11 for The Daily Signal concerning one obscure federal agency, the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia, which announced it would be storing the names and “personal religious information” of all employees who make “religious accommodation requests for religious exception from the federal mandated vaccination requirement.” 

Upon further investigation, the pair unearthed a widespread data-collection effort across 19 federal agencies – including Cabinet-level agencies such as the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of the Treasury. 

Noting that the federal government is the nation’s largest employer, with over four million civilian and military employees, and has received tens of thousands of religious exemption requests, the Heritage report asks why the federal government is keeping and preserving those individuals’ names, religious information, personally identifying information, and other data stored in lists across multiple government agencies. 

Pro-Lifers Must Go on the Offensive 

From First Things:

There are the messages we should uphold in the next year.  

Unborn children are human and feel pain by at least fifteen weeks’ gestation. 

Overturning Roe won’t automatically ban abortion nationwide, but will allow the people and their representativesin states and Congressto debate and find consensus.  

Support for abortion on demandeven brutal late-term abortions when unborn children feel excruciating painis extreme. 

The pro-life movement cares about both mother and child and provides the resources necessary to choose life

America’s 2,700 pregnancy centers provide vital services to millions of people each year at virtually no cost. Another good example is Texas’s $100-million-per-year Alternatives to Abortion program. Of course, some women will still seek abortions after Roe, if it’s overturned. But we will continue to strengthen the pro-life safety net, while pushing for the most ambitious legal protections possible. 

The Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, once said: “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” Right now, many Americans in the “mushy middle” don’t have to confront the reality of abortion. The outcome is almost invariably predetermined—legislatures pass laws, the abortion lobby sues, courts block laws under Roe. In a post-Roe America, pro-life leaders would forge a consensus. Unlike pro-abortion elitists who have to hide the violence of abortion from the public eye, we need not fear the people. Life is a winning issue, and by putting it front and center in the political arena, we can change the culture and save countless lives. Now is the time to lean in, not back down. 

What are Republicans For? 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

In President Biden’s diffuse, platitudinous and often flat-out erroneous press conference of last week, one question stood out as potent and still awaits an answer. Mr. Biden asked—was it three or four times?—what his opponents, the Republicans, were for, apart from denying him credit for any accomplishments he might have had during his first year in office. 

In an essay titled “Governing Rightly,” included in his collection “Confessions of a Heretic,” [the late Roger] Scruton makes the case for conservatism as the party of freedom. He writes: “Those tasks that only governments can perform—defense of the realm, the maintenance of law and order, the repair of infrastructure and the coordination of relief in emergencies—are forced to compete for their budgets with activities that free citizens, left to themselves, might have managed far more efficiently through the association of volunteers, backed up when necessary by private insurance.” 

Scruton adds: “Wasn’t it those associations of volunteers that redeemed, for Alexis de Tocqueville, the American experiment, by showing that democracy is not a form of disorder but another kind of order, and one that could reconcile the freedom of the individual with an obedience to an overarching law.” America, in this reading, was the land of the free, though today, led by people attempting to impose ideas that feel alien to many of its citizens, it feels less and less free all the time. 

For Scruton it is crucial that citizens recognize not only the bad side of government but also the good. Government after all isn’t exclusively a “system of power and domination,” but “a search for order, and for power only in so far as power is required by order.” Order is crucial, “for it is simply the other side of freedom, the thing that makes freedom possible.” Scruton’s point is that while we may have a deep suspicion of government, we yet “have a deeper need for it.” 

“Conservatism should be a defense of government,” Scruton argues, “against its abuse by liberals.” The growth of the welfare state is one notable such abuse, causing people to “turn their backs on freedom and become locked in social pathologies that undermine the cohesion of society.” One sees this above all in the countries of the European Union, where government is no longer felt to be owned by the people but is the property of “an anonymous bureaucracy” on which all depend for their comforts. In the U.S., this is still only true of those who depend on government welfare, but their number is growing. 

The role of conservatism, and by extension of the Republican Party, is, in Scruton’s words, “to map out the true domain of government, and the limits beyond which action by the government is a trespass on the freedom of the citizen.” The true message of the Republican Party, then, should be not that it is the enemy of government but the advocate of a far better government, one that is both necessary and yet comports with the freedom of its citizens. 

School Choice Resolution Introduced in U.S. Senate 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Senator James Lankford has introduced a resolution advocating for school choice along with several other senators, just in time for National School Choice Week. 

The resolution recognizes “the necessity of school choice as a tool to empower all parents with the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their children and to combat destructive ideologies like Critical Race Theory promoted by many public schools.” 

“The idea that any race, ethnicity, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior should not be forced into any required curriculum,” the resolution states. 

“Parents should have the ability to choose a school for their child based on their child’s individual needs, academic goals, and personal and religious beliefs.” 

SAT exam is going digital, will be shorter by 2024 

From the NY Post: 

The SAT exam is ditching paper and pencils to move online and will now be shorter, the College Board revealed on Tuesday. 

The upcoming changes, which will be rolled out in the US in 2024, will boost the exam’s relevancy as more colleges make standardized tests optional for admission, according to the administrators. 

Those taking the college entrance exam will be allowed to use their own laptops or tablets, but will still have to sit the test at a monitored testing site or school when the changes go into effect, the College Board said. 

The new online version will also shave an hour off the current exam time, bringing the reading, writing and math assessment from three hours to roughly two. 

7.  Modern motherhood has a major PR problem 

From the Deseret News: 

Motherhood has a major PR problem. Every time we’ve announced a pregnancy (and we’ve done it five times now), married or coupled friends of my age will often reply in a somewhat strange manner. They’ll congratulate me, and then go into detail about why they haven’t yet had children. They’ll usually have some variation of the following explanation: “I don’t feel ready to walk away from my life. There’s so much else I want to do. So much more I want to accomplish, before I put a stop to it.” 

It’s fairly insulting, though I’ve never told them. 

The implication is that eight years ago, when I had my first, I stopped living my life. I stopped accomplishing anything. I am now in a static state of being, living only for my children, and not for myself. 

How do we push back against this perception of parenthood and change the PR narrative around it? 

It starts with you and me. My husband taught my kids a Bing Crosby song recently when there was too much whining and arguing happening in the backseat. The lyrics go like this: “Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark / What did they do / Just when everything looked so dark / Man, they said we better, accentuate the positive / Eliminate the negative / Latch on to the affirmative / Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.” 

And here’s the secret: Talking about the joys of parenthood isn’t just some slick spin to get people to produce more human capital. No, it’s the truth. There is no higher joy, no greater euphoria, no more thrilling or exalted accomplishment than bringing a unique soul, all their own, into the world and orienting them toward virtue. 

There’s a contagion quality to how we depict life with children, and it sets a tone that influences whether the next generation continues the great unbroken chain. We must communicate this reality when we talk about parenthood both online and in person. Parenthood is sublime. It is the greatest and most transcendent of human achievements. This isn’t sugarcoating, this isn’t hyperbole, it’s just truth telling. And we need more of it. 

8. Gen Z more socially disconnected, less likely to seek organized religion’s solace, survey finds 

From the Washington Times: 

Members of Generation Z — people between 13 and 25 years old — are more socially disconnected but less likely to find solace in faith, a new survey finds. 

The Springtide Research Institute, which focuses its sociological studies on teenagers and young adults, found that 63% of respondents report being “unsettled, uncomfortable, or stressed” over uncertainties about their lives, while 19% say involvement with a faith community “helped them cope.” 

Gen Z members are more likely to report overall happiness if they’re either “flourishing a lot” (73%) or “somewhat flourishing” (65%) in their religious lives. Only 44% of those who say they’re “not flourishing” report such happiness. 

Workers Care More About Flexible Hours Than Remote Work 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

Workers, flush with power as employers raise wages and scramble to fill open jobs, say they care even more about flexible schedules than whether or not they go into an office. 

Ninety-five percent of people surveyed want flexible hours, compared with 78% of workers who want location flexibility, according to a new report from Future Forum, a consortium focused on reimagining the future of work led by Slack Technologies Inc. 

The new data, collected in November 2021 from a survey of more than 10,000 knowledge workers, offers a snapshot into just how popular hybrid arrangements have become in the second year of the pandemic, how virtually all workers prize schedule flexibility above all and the growing concerns that many bosses have about how to keep promotions and pay fair when some employees are in the office while others stay home. 

The survey also found that 72% of workers who weren’t happy with their level of flexibility—whether time or location—are likely to seek out a new opportunity in the next year. 

Report: Terrible Schools Most Likely To Resist School Choice 

From the Babylon Bee (Satire. Sort of. OK, not really.): 

As more states pass laws promoting school choice, several reports have revealed that the most terrible schools are the ones most likely to oppose school choice for parents. 

Local teachers from Cobb County Schools are frantically doing everything in their power to make sure that school choice is not implemented in their community. Looking out for the child’s best interests, they argue that students should have absolutely no say in where they go to public school. 

“They are trying to defund public schools! They want all the kids to leave our school and go to other schools—but uh, not because those schools are any better.” said Peggy Layton laughing nervously. “With school choice, the kids will go wherever all the good teachers are, which is um…right here, with us… so uh we have nothing to worry about.” 

Sources say the changes proposed by Governors around the nation are designed to empower families to make the best decision for their kids regardless of location or income. 

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