Tag Archives: mask mandate

Ex-top doc sounds off

Now that he is free of the wrath that could come from the Oval Office, a former U.S. surgeon general has spoken out against a ruling that came from a federal judge that he says was delivered out of “animus” against the current president of the United States.

So said Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general during the Donald Trump administration. Adams said the ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Mizzelle, a Trump appointee, was not based on the law, but was based instead on her anger toward President Biden.

Mizelle ruled that the government’s mask mandate was illegal, allowing passengers on public transportation can travel without having to wear masks … even as COVID cases are ticking up yet again.

Dr. Adams wrote this on Twitter: Remind me – which schoolhouse rock explains to kids how a single unelected judge has the power to endanger their lives in public settings? I’m just a judge- I’m just a judge, and I’m hurting you cuz I’ve got a grudge…

Judge Mizelle came under intense criticism after she tossed aside the Biden administration mask mandate, chiefly because the American Bar Association had determined her to be “not qualified” to occupy a federal judgeship. Trump nominated her anyway, even after he lost the 2020 presidential election. Hey, I don’t begrudge Trump for fulfilling a duty to which he was still duly constituted to do. It’s just that he found a jurist with minimal experience for a lifetime appointment.

And if we are to believe the musings of the man who served as surgeon general — and I am inclined to do so — then we have a so-called judicial “conservative” who decided to “legislate from the bench.”

Aren’t conservative judges supposed to avoid crossing such a line?

There once was a time when even a medical professional, such as Dr. Adams, would have incurred the relentless wrath of a president for speaking the truth to the public. Jerome Adams faced that probability when he served at the pleasure of Donald Trump.

Those days are gone. Thank goodness … and thanks to Dr. Adams for speaking out.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Election consequence plays out

I cannot let this item go without a brief comment.

Federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled this past week that President Biden’s mask mandate violated the Constitution. Then the Transportation Security Administration decided to forgo its mask mandate — related to the COVID pandemic — on public transportation, such as airplanes, trains and buses.

So, who is Judge Mizelle? She is a judge whom Donald J. Trump nominated to the federal bench after losing the 2020 election and after he began challenging the veracity of that result with his baseless claims of voter fraud. You know … The Big Lie!

Mizelle also is just 33 years of age; I have no problem with her youth. However, she graduated from law school just eight years before becoming a judge.

Furthermore, the American Bar Association determined that Mizelle is “not qualified” to adjudicate from the federal bench.

Let that sink in for a moment: not qualified, according to the ABA.

Sheesh!

To think, therefore, that critics of Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee — Ketanji Brown Jackson — were quick to label a stellar jurist as somehow unfit for the nation’s highest court are now standing behind someone who tossed out a mask mandate while COVID infection rates are increasing in most of the states of this vast nation.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Masks become a political weapon

There once was a time when the government told us to do something to protect our health, most of us would comply in relative silence. Few of us griped out loud.

No more, folks!

A federal judge this week overturned a mandate from the federal government to require airline passengers to wear masks to protect themselves against the COVID-19 virus. The Transportation Safety Administration has just decided it won’t require passengers to mask up before boarding planes.

I will go to my grave failing to grasp what in the world has happened to us. I will wonder forever and ever why we have begun fighting back with such anger at government’s desire to keep us safe from a disease that has killed nearly 1 million Americans.

Sigh …

It’s not entirely the “American way” to fight these efforts. Sure, we are a nation born from dissent against tyranny. Now we hear from those on the far-right wing of our political divide that “tyranny” has returned to government. It comes in the form of government ordering us to wear masks.

I scratch my noggin over that anger. Maybe I am just too passive. Some of you might think I’m a patsy, that I don’t stand up for my “rights” against an intrusive government.

I simply just comply with these mandates understanding that none of them lasts forever.

That anger has spread to visceral antagonism against medical professionals who advise the president on these matters. I have lost count of the rants I have read on social media from right-wing politicians who vow to prosecute Dr. Anthony Fauci over alleged “crimes” he supposedly has committed.

Crimes? What the … ?

It’s a new day, all right.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Mandates: political decision?

Now we hear at least one governor, from a so-called “blue state,” urging civility as fellow blue-state governors lift mask mandates as the COVID pandemic starts to loosen its grip on American lives.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, whose state voted for Joe Biden in 2020, is one of the governors who has decided the mask mandates need to go, although Colorado has been mandate-free for more than a year.

My point is that politics now swirl around these decisions, just as politics swirled when some states issued mandates and other states — those that voted for Donald Trump in 2020 — did not.

Colorado governor calls for ‘civility and respect’ as blue states ease mask mandates | TheHill

OK, so the mandates are being lifted across the board. I welcome the apparent return to a normal life, if it holds up. I do worry about another variant emerging to send us into another tizzy over the pandemic. Then again, the Omicron variant has turned out to be less deadly even as it has infected more people more rapidly.

How about we continue to be careful?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

No return to ‘normal’ … yet

Have we arrived at that place I will refer to as Post-Pandemic Nirvana? I am not yet willing to kick up my heels, break out into a song and shout from the roof of my North Texas home that we’re there … at least not yet.

Several states have declared their intention to lift mandates on masks in indoor places. One of them — my home state of Oregon — has caused a lifted eyebrow or two, given that state’s political climate and the aggressive nature of Gov. Kate Brown’s desire to impose mandates.

Texas isn’t one of the states to lift any mandates. Why is that? Because we haven’t had any mandates. I am sure Gov. Greg Abbott is going to take credit for the declining infection and hospitalization rate from the COVID-19 virus. Save it, governor. I am going to credit the vaccines and Texans’ willingness to adhere to mask “requests” along with social distancing recommendations.

I am going to continue to mask up for the foreseeable future. I don’t trust total strangers’ vaccine status. Nor do I trust their hygiene habits or their willingness to stay the hell away from me in closed locations.

I will join the rest of the country in cheering the decline in infection rates from the Omicron variant and the various sub-variants that haven’t yet been branded with a name. However, we shouldn’t yet return to what we used to define as “normal” behavior.

I am keeping my masks handy.

And you?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What’s wrong with mandates?

So help me I don’t understand how the vaccination campaign against a killer virus has become such a political debate point.

Republicans keep slamming the nation’s top Democrat, President Joe Biden, because he wants to enforce mandates on companies to require employees and customers to (a) wear masks and/or (b) be fully vaccinated.

I mean, holy crap, man! We’re in the midst of a pandemic that’s still killing us!

I happen to be one American who doesn’t object for a single moment to the efforts the government is making to protect my family and me from the ravages of this disease. It has killed 800,000 Americans already and the number is sure to climb.

Let us remember, too, this little factoid: The United States comprises about 5 percent of the world’s population, but our infection, hospitalization and death rates far exceed that percentage. We can thank the inept, ignorant and cowardly government response to the initial reports of the pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020.

President Biden is trying to make amends by imposing these limits. Yet he’s getting push back from Republican politicians who keep hiding behind some phony mantra about “too much government control over people’s lives.” What a pile of sh**!

Too many people’s lives are ending prematurely because they aren’t doing what they should to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Yet the mandates continue to take their place as a political talking point when we should be rallying behind the effort to protect us from the killer.

Ridiculous.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas AG sues districts … for seeking to keep everyone safe?

There’s a lot of things that get past me. Not this item.

Masks help prevent the spread of a deadly virus. Local Texas school districts are defying a governor’s order that bans them from issuing “mask mandates.” The Texas attorney general, who’s under felony indictment, has sued six Texas school districts for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s order prohibiting them from issuing mask mandates.

So, wait. Does that mean that Abbott and the AG, Ken Paxton, don’t want districts to do what they can to protect teachers, students, parents and staffers? Really?

Two of the districts — Sherman and Richardson — are in North Texas. This is a ridiculous waste of time and money. Why? Because the governor is flat wrong to ban local officials from doing what they can to protect their constituents against the COVID-19 virus.

The Texas Tribune reports: Some 85 school districts and six counties have instituted mask mandates of some kind in defiance of Abbott’s ban — citing the need to protect schoolchildren too young to get the vaccine amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.

Texas AG sues Sherman, Richardson, other ISDs over masking (ketr.org)

This is preposterous in the extreme. School districts have an obligation to do what they can to protect children, teachers and anyone who enters these public buildings. They shouldn’t be fighting the governor — for crying out loud! — in that effort.

As for the AG, he’s got his own legal battles to fight, as he is awaiting trial on a Collin County indictment that he committed securities fraud.

Abbott and Paxton are managing to enrage me more each day.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A rebellion takes hold

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a schoolhouse rebellion.

Nearly 50 independent school districts in Texas have decided to defy Gov. Greg Abbott’s no-local-measures mandate and declared that their students, faculty and staff will mask up when they enter these educational institutions.

That’s good news, at least it is to me. The even better news is that the state is not going to dig in and force the school districts to abide by Gov. Abbott’s ridiculous — and dangerous — executive order.

It is ridiculous because it flies directly against the traditional Republican political mantra that declares local control is the better way to manage public policy issues.

It is dangerous because situations differ from community to community and for the governor to issue an order prohibiting school districts from requiring masks puts everyone in potentially dire peril of being infected by the COVID-19 virus or the Delta variant that has sprung forth.

You want more good news? The Food and Drug Administration this morning gave full authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to be used to inoculate human beings against the coronavirus.

President Biden has declared that vaccination rates are climbing again.

Yes, there remain the fearmongers out there who continue to spread lies about the vaccines. Hospitals are at or over capacity. Children are getting sick. Fully vaccinated Americans are coming down with the virus. So it’s not all peaches and cream, right?

In Texas, though, there appears to be some semblance of sanity and reason taking root in classrooms throughout the state.

Thank goodness.

Paris ISD swims against the tide

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have ruminated over the past several days — privately and on this blog — about the political realities in play as school districts defy Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandate banning local governments from issuing orders such as mask mandates in this COVID virus era.

The reality is this: School districts that have taken action in defiance generally represent constituencies that lean toward Democratic politicians and away from Republican pols, such as the former POTUS, No. 45.

Then we have Paris, Texas, where the public school board has voted 5-1 to impose mask mandates for students, faculty and staff. Why is that noteworthy? Because Paris sits in a community that voted overwhelmingly for POTUS 45 in the 2020 presidential election.

The Paris school board’s decision to include face masks as part of the students’ dress code was an inspired and creative way to outflank Gov. Abbott’s ridiculous no-mandate mantra.

They are more concerned in the Paris Independent School District about children’s safety and health than about whatever push back they might get from their constituents.

I simply want to offer this: Bravo!

Paris ISD has a solution

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When in doubt, just change the in-house rules to counter external pressure. So seems to be the mantra at the Paris (Texas) Independent School District.

Paris ISD has just decided to add masks to the district’s student dress code. thus defying the no-mask mandate order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Hmm. Creative, don’t you think?

Abbott has been pushing back against school districts issuing mask mandates to battle the COVID outbreak caused by the Delta variant. Paris ISD — a small district up yonder next to the Red River — decided to perform an end-around the governor.

KETR-FM radio reports: “The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district,” a release from Paris ISD said after the meeting. “Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.”

Paris ISD, Defying Abbott, Adds Masks To Dress Code | 88.9 KETR

Therein lies a template for other school districts to follow. It well might withstand any court challenge that Abbott or Attorney General Ken Paxton file decide to pursue to keep Abbott’s ridiculous no-mandate rule in effect.

I am going to offer a quiet, but still enthusiastic, hand-clap to Paris ISD for showing the way around what I continue to believe is the governor’s power grab.