Williamson County made national news yesterday after the school board voted to mandate masks for children under the age of 12. The vote was heavily contested. A large group of parents opposing the mandate gathered outside the building and provided viral fodder for aggrieved and out-of-work Twitter junkies. Soon, the noble institutions of journalism cranked into motion as slovenly journalists watched clips on Twitter depicting upset parents yelling at cowering bureaucrats.
Vox wrote an article on the fracas titled 'Anti-mask hysterics at Tennessee school board meeting show how basic public health is now polarizing'.
A headline from Mediaite castigating the protest read '"We Will Find You": Angry Parents Harass Doctors After Chaotic School Board Meeting for Promoting Masks'.
David Plazas of the Tennessean even offered his milquetoast assessment that opposition to mask mandates for 8-year-olds come from a place of selfishness and ignorance.
I understand that it's old-hat and even controversial to have an opinion about what your children are taught and told to do, but the subversion of parental authority is not something to celebrate or gloat about. When you offer your child up to public institutions, you are supposed to trust that institution. What we're witnessing at our public schools and elsewhere is political policy creeping closer and closer to our minds and bodies. People do not trust these institutions, and why would they? Over the past year, as schools have pioneered new genders, slashed standards, engaged with radicalized curriculums, and enforced byzantine safety standards on children, one begins to wonder if school administrators and teachers are more interested in protecting their plush union jobs than in educating children.
As for the mask mandate, in particular, more on that below.
📰 General News
- What’s in Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan—and How They Plan to Pay for It (WSJ)
- "President Biden has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, tightening the net on U.S. companies’ foreign earnings and raising the top capital-gains tax rate to 43.4% from 23.8%."
- Government shut down incoming.
- Remember that movie Blank Check? (Watch)
- Inflation settles at high rate as prices leap 5.4 percent from year ago (NY Post)
- Texas Republicans order the arrest of Democrats who fled to block G.O.P. voting bill. (NYT)
- In response, runaway Texas Democrats file lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott for causing them 'anxiety and distress' by threatening to arrest them on their return to the state (Daily Mail)
⏰ The More Things Change...
- Sending Smiley Emojis? They Now Mean Different Things to Different People (WSJ)
- Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft (The Hill)
- What are the benefits of this?
🎽 Can't Believe It's Not Racist!
- 'That's a Eurocentric Concept': Nick Cannon Responds to Criticism Over Having Kids With Multiple Women (Yahoo)
- ...also happens to be the basis for all enduring and successful civilizations across time.
- Lie of Credit — American Express Tells Its Workers Capitalism Is Racist (NY Post)
- “If American Express cares about racial justice in the world, it can’t simply say the market’s going to define how we price certain customers, who happen to come from low-income communities,” he said. “If you want to do good, then you’re going to have to set up products and product lines that don’t maximize profit.”
- I mean, money isn't real if you, like, really think about it.
- Kroger, The Wokest Supermarket (AmCon)
- You should be buying from a farmer anyway.
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- Dems call for transparency, community input for redistricting process (TNJ)
- House Republicans urge Lee to call special session to restrict COVID-19 response (TNJ)
- Report showed Tennessee bounced back from COVID better than Kentucky, Michigan (Beacon)
- "The report measured the economic and health impacts of COVID policies in four states – Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Michigan. Those states were chosen to see how states that imposed tougher economic restrictions in the name of public safety fared compared to states that tried a more balanced approach."
- "The data suggest that Tennessee and Georgia lost fewer jobs, suffered fewer economic losses, and have retained higher labor force participation rates than either Kentucky or Michigan. Policies such as focusing on safe versus unsafe rather than essential versus nonessential, allowing for increased capacity sooner, and providing certainty by not reinstating restrictions during subsequent waves of infection paid economic dividends for these two states."
- Brentwood High School Students Allegedly Asked About Their Gender Pronouns (Star)
- Majesty/Majesties for me
- Petition urges lawmakers to prioritize ‘party bus’ safety (WSMV)
- Wouldn't mind it if they outright banned these things
- More Nashville Venues Announce Vaccination Protocols (Scene)
- A move of entrepreneurial genius by Nashville's struggling independent music venues.
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- Hilton Tapestry hotel in SoBro secures construction loan (Biz Journal)
- Cheekwood completes six-year fundraising campaign, surpasses goal by $7 million (Biz Journal)
- SoBro hotel lands American cuisine restaurant (Post)
The mask mandate argument has come to the fore again as schools institute mandates for children. Setting aside, for the moment, the objective fact that American children under the age of 18 are the least at-risk demographic on the entire planet, it's worth digging into what fuels opinions for and against masks.
Nassim Taleb argues that the benefits of masks compound and, even if they offer a small reduction in each person's likelihood of spreading the virus, these benefits accrue across an entire population to "save money and lives." If we were to follow Taleb's suggestions to their bitter end, everyone would be masked from birth to prevent the spread of any virus. If one were a CDC health official, such an argument would be convincing, but it's important to remember that what Taleb offers is simply an abstraction by which to understand viral spread as if it took place in a vacuum and people handled their masks with surgical, antiseptic precision.
Data, however, does not bear out his point. Taking Los Angeles County as an example, mask mandates appear to have no noticeable effect on the spread of the virus. Taleb and other mask enthusiasts' rebuttal to this point might be that we didn't "do it right". What's more likely is that viral spread and human behavior do not follow the dictates of spreadsheet statistics. Though such analysis is useful when gauging how to respond to complex situations, it does not hold a mirror to reality. A mask mandate falls into the big red bucket of well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided and refuted by reality policies.
- YouTube suspends Sen. Rand Paul over a video falsely claiming masks are ineffective (NBC)
- France, Italy Require Proof of Covid-19 Status for Restaurants, Bars (WSJ)
- Nurse in Germany suspected of replacing Covid vaccines with saline solution (Guardian)
- YouTube suspends Rand Paul for a week over a video disputing the effectiveness of masks. (NY Times)
- Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene for 7 days over vaccine misinformation. (NY Times)
- Fresh U.K. Covid-19 Data Boosts Hopes That Delta Variant Can Be Held in Check (WSJ)
- Australia's NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant: "Whenever you leave your house... don't start up a conversation. Do not come in contact with anyone who would pose a risk." (Twitter)
- Australia is treating COVID like the Bubonic Plague, an actual plague.
- A solid rebuttal of a study claiming masks for children work (@davidzweig)
- Covid incompetence (Grumpy Economist)
- You’re struggling to understand where all this vaccine hesitancy comes from. Let me help you. (Tablet)
- The same people who told you Brexit would never happen, that Trump would never win, that when he did win it was because of Russian collusion but also because of racism, that you must follow lockdowns while they don’t, that masks don’t work, that masks do work, that social justice protests during pandemic lockdowns are a form of “health intervention,” that ransacking African American communities in the name of fighting racism is a “mostly peaceful” form of protest, that poor and underserved children locked out of shuttered schools are “still learning,” that Jussie Smollett was a victim of a hate crime, that men are toxic, that there is an infinite number of genders, that COVID couldn’t have come from a lab until maybe it did, that closing borders is racist until maybe it isn’t, that you shouldn’t take Trump’s vaccine, that you must take the vaccine developed during the Trump administration, that Andrew Cuomo is a great leader, that Andrew Cuomo is a granny killer, that the number of COVID deaths is one thing and then another … are the same people telling you now that the vaccine is safe, that you must take it, and that if you don’t, you will be a second-class citizen.
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And the Study Says...
🎶 A group of researchers determined that stock market returns correlated with the sentiment of popular music by analyzing Spotify listening habits. On the Music Sentiment scale, September by Earth, Wind, & Fire ranks highest and Legion Inoculant by TOOL the lowest. Music Sentiment is more positive during sunnier days and lengthening days, which prior research has shown to be high-mood periods, as well as when COVID restrictions become weaker. On sunny days, when people listen to more positive music, markets tended to perform better. (Read)