Surfside Shows We’re No Longer Baby Jessica’s America

 

I’m too young to remember Baby Jessica, who fell down a well in 1987. We’re actually roughly the same age, though, and her story has been referenced in pop culture so often I feel as though I remember it even if I didn’t watch the coverage myself live. From what I’ve always heard described, America was absolutely transfixed by the story of the toddler who fell down the well, and the rescue attempts to bring her to the surface safely. I have seen variations of the same kind of human interest story take hold of the nation’s consciousness: the Chilean miners, the Malaysian airplane, the Thai junior football team trapped in the cave. But here in America, it’s been a while since we’ve had a human interest story like these. In a rational world, the Surfside apartment collapse would have been that; with rescuers working tirelessly to try to find any survivors in the wreckage where over 150 people are reported missing.

The morning after the collapse, when I first saw the news, I assumed that the building was uninhabited, perhaps under construction, given the muted response by the national media to the disaster. Soon, I realized this was a very large building packed with residents that pancaked in seconds with no warning and no time to escape. And yet, the wall-to-wall coverage I was expecting never materialized. As they do, partisans have used the collapse to score any political points they can find:

Witnessing Legal Child Abuse

 

Today was one of those miserable days in Washington D.C. where you wonder what on Earth those who settled this actual swamp were thinking placing our nation’s capital city here. Honestly, just truly disgusting in every way, completely and utterly unbearable to be outside for more than five minutes at a time. Just as long as it takes to get from your car to the door of your destination, that’s how long you wanted to stay outside today in the D.C. area. Don’t take my word for it, this is what our local weather service reported this evening before those promised thunderstorms rolled through:

In This Pandemic We Learned Kids Come Last

 

We’re nearing the end of the pandemic, with case rates and hospitalizations across the country dropping to lows we haven’t seen since the spring of 2020. We were blessed with a virus that has almost entirely spared young people; the greatest tragedies we saw were relegated to those who lived full lives and were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Any death is a tragedy, but we’re lucky that almost no healthy infants, children, or teenagers found themselves gravely ill or dead because of the COVID-19 virus.

Infuriatingly, despite the fact they were spared from the ravages of the virus, kids have faced the full brunt of the effects of our mitigation efforts. Millions of American schoolchildren haven’t seen inside a classroom in over a year, and millions more are the only citizens still expected to be wearing masks. As a result, you’re seeing parents walking around mask-free and their kids still hiding behind them:

How to Handle the Mob: Oil & Gas vs. Ellie Kemper

 

Last week, I wrote about how a ludicrous cancel mob came for actress Ellie Kemper over a pageant she participated in while she was still a teenager. I gave her advice here on Ricochet about how to handle it, full knowing there wasn’t a chance she’d follow it. And she didn’t, naturally. She capitulated and apologized because that’s what her Hollywood handlers told her to do. Friend of Ricochet Bridget also had some great advice for Kemper when her apology came across the wire:

How the Bigotry of Low Expectations Hurts the Poor: Library Edition

 

In the middle of the pandemic, after a year of no access to the public library in the midst of stay-at-home orders and canceled in-person school, our public library did something particularly inane for the sake of “equity.”

This Isn’t About COVID Anymore (Or Ever)

 

Today as I was sitting in a park pavilion with some friends, the education director of the nature center we were visiting approached. She wanted to do some market research and ask us what we want from the nature center as they reopen their doors and reopen programming. She mentioned that they were unsure when certain parts of the building would reopen because they weren’t sure how they could possibly clean the surfaces, which are all-natural materials like wood, not plastic. As nicely as I could I countered, “We’re talking about fall, and as of now we see less than nine cases per day in our county of a million people. And COVID doesn’t spread on surfaces anyway, so I’m not sure why cleaning should be a factor when you consider how and if to reopen xyz parts of the nature center.” She nodded, clearly exasperated not with my question, but with the fact that she knew I was right. Here’s the real answer why they’re dragging their feet on opening huge swaths of the nature center: They just don’t want to.

Everywhere I turn, it’s a similar story. I haven’t been allowed to bring my kids to pediatrician visits for over a year if they aren’t the actual patient. It used to be extremely inconvenient while my husband was working from home, now the situation is downright impossible. If a kid gets sick, I can’t leave their sibling behind at home alone, nor is it easy to find a sitter for the sibling of a sick kid even during non-COVID times. What’s the reasoning for making kids stay home? If one of my kids has COVID, the likelihood is all of them do. Keeping one kid at home doesn’t “stop the spread,” it’s just a massive inconvenience. But for the pediatrician’s office, this is the ideal. They’ve always said that they hate having extra kids milling about, and during well visits, they will only see two kids per appointment block in order to discourage it. It was never really about COVID before, but it definitely isn’t now.

Nobody is Safe

 

For the last two days, actress Elie Kemper has been trending on Twitter, with the following explanation:

In 1999, actor Ellie Kemper was named the Queen of Love and Beauty at the Veiled Prophet Ball, a debutante ball held in St. Louis, Missouri, which was founded by wealthy White elites in 1878 and ’emphasized the existing power structure’, according to The Atlantic’s Scott Beauchamp

A Disappointing Week to Be a Rutgers Graduate

 

I’ll preface this post by saying I’ve never held much in the way of warm feelings for my alma mater. While other folks cheer on their team and wear sweatshirts emblazoned with their logo, I’ve never been that kind of graduate. I found Rutgers to be too large, too impersonal, too unfeeling, and too bureaucratic. I never went to a single football game or even to my own graduation; I was glad to be gone when I completed my last semester.

Why did I go there, you may wonder? Namely, for its Jewish scene; the enormous Jewish community, and the robust Jewish Studies program. I didn’t have much in the way of Jewish education growing up, and I decided that college would be the place where I made that up (and I did). I was soon a regular at Shabbat meals at both the Hillel and Chabad, became involved a great deal at the Hillel, and came one class away from a double major in Jewish Studies (that one class was extremely labor-intensive, so I settled for a minor instead).

The Time For Kids Returning to Normalcy Was a Year Ago

 

Over the last few weeks, as vaccinations have ramped up and as a result we’ve seen record low numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations, the consensus that it’s time to allow kids to return to normal is picking up steam. In the Washington Post today, several medical professionals made a strong case for the return to normalcy, which Brown University Professor Emily Oster called “brave.” Which it is, because the consensus just isn’t there among liberal elites yet.

Today, Just TODAY, Anti-Semitism Matters

 

If you blink, you might miss it. Today and today only, we have a media and political class willing to talk about anti-Semitism. No, it’s not due to the violent attacks on Jews in the streets from Los Angeles to New York or the spike in anti-Semitic language online (I wrote about that for a cover piece in the New York Post today, in fact). No, it’s because a Republican said something stupid, distasteful, and anti-Semitic. That’s what it takes to get anyone to care about anti-Semitism, when it can be used as a political football against Republicans.

Asking “Why” When People Say “Because COVID”

 

The pandemic is quickly coming to a close thanks to herd immunity brought on by vaccines and infections. It’s a tough pill to swallow for those who want to live in “forever pandemic” land, wearing masks and social distancing into the rest of the decade, but for those of us who actually enjoy living, it’s a welcome development. But here’s the problem with our return to normalcy: There are people who are trying to hold us back in “forever pandemic” land, due to either their own paranoias or opportunism.

I’ve become a bit of a nag over the last six months, but I’m doing it for the greater good. Hear me out.

“You Should Get Vaccinated.”

 

I’m really tired of hearing complaints from people who have spent the last year+ telling me to “trust the science.” Now, as mask mandates wind down nationwide, they’re complaining that there are people around them unmasked. Why is it that they trust a piece of cloth over someone else’s face more than they trust the vaccine that they had injected into them? The instance of people in the media and political class to mask despite being vaccinated should be called what it is: anti-vaccine propaganda.

The Last Frontier in the Mask Battles: Kids

 

Following the surprise announcement from the CDC, many states (including my own of Maryland and nearby Virginia) have dropped their mask mandate basically overnight. So masks are over, right? We can all go back to normal? Nope. Because in their infinite wisdom, the last possible people forced to wear masks are those who are the least contagious and the least at risk: kids. Just look at this shameful scene at the White House:

On the Anniversary of “Grandma Killer” and Empathy

 

One year ago today, my name trended on Twitter for a full day with the phrase “Grandma killer” because of this thread:

Caitlyn Jenner’s Run at Newsom

 

Yesterday, former reality star and athlete Caitlyn Jenner (born Bruce Jenner) announced her candidacy for Governor of California, thanks to a recall effort aimed at current Governor Gavin Newsom. Jenner is working with a team of former Trump communications strategists, and it appears Brad Parscale helped produce this breathtaking first advertisement announcing her candidacy:

The Coming Summer Camp Crisis

 

When I signed my kids up for camp over the winter, I made clear to the camp administrators that their registration was contingent upon my kids not having to wear masks during the day. At the time, neither I nor the administrators thought that the camp would have to require masks, especially considering the fact that they didn’t have to last year. But we underestimated to sheer idiocy bordering on evil of the CDC and our deep-blue county. The CDC announced it recommended that kids age two and over wear a mask all day, and could only remove them in order to eat or drink or when they’re swimming. My county adopted these recommendations, passing them down to camps recently.

My concern about masking is somewhat unique among my fellow parents in the area; most people in my community have been sending their kids to school all day in a mask all year. But summer camp is another animal, it’s one thing to sit at a desk in a temperate classroom with a mask on, but it’s quite another running around on a soccer field in 100% humidity in 90+ degrees.

Government Pre-K, Because Government Schools Are Working Out Great

 

Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” That’s the story with the majority of progressive plans for more and more government: Let’s keep piling more and more money into the government solving our problems, because one day, one day, they’ll get it right.

Enter: President Joe Biden’s new plan to make parenthood more affordable, with yet another government-funded program for universal pre-K. The plan would give: $109 billion for free community college, $200 billion to make free prekindergarten regardless of income, $225 billion each for national paid leave and child care.

As the Pandemic Wanes, Government Authorities Take One Last Aim at Kids

 

We’re watching the hopeful end of this pandemic as the last spike recedes, thanks in large part to our robust vaccination efforts.

Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Jason Smith Take a Stand for Kids

 

For the two months, I’ve spent a great deal of time advocating for American kids to have the same freedoms kids around the world have: To breathe freely, to get on a plane, to walk into a store, and more. Unlike the rest of the world, where the World Health Organization (WHO) sets the guidelines for the ages and circumstances in which kids are recommended to mask, the CDC here in America has set much more stringent guidelines. It’s unclear where they come from, and unfortunately due to the nature of unelected bureaucrats, there’s little we as parents can do to get clear answers on why our children are required to mask starting at age 2 (vs. age 6 in Europe and Asia), and why the expectations are so much more strict here than they are when the WHO sets the bar. I wrote about some of this research for Ricochet last month.

Today, we had some great news on this front, with thirty Members of Congress signing onto a letter spearheaded by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Jason Smith (R-MO) to ask the CDC to explain their reasoning for masking young children. You can find that letter and the signatories here. They wrote,