Monthly Archives: September 2021

Florida Children and Covid

Florida Says Many Students Don’t Need To Quarantine After Exposure To COVID-19 Cases



Written By Nick Visser

Posted in the Huffington Post 9/23/21

The state’s new surgeon general said it would be up to parents to decide if their kids could return to class.

Florida’s new surgeon general on Wednesday signed new rules allowing parents to send their children to school rather than quarantine if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and remain asymptomatic.

Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo was sworn in Tuesday by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as the state continues to battle a surge in coronavirus cases linked to the highly transmissible delta variant. Ladapo, like the governor, has been critical of many measures meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including lockdowns and mask-wearing.

The new rules signed Wednesday allow students to continue going to class on-campus “without restrictions” as long as they are asymptomatic. Ladapo’s provisions do give students the option to quarantine if parents choose, but for no longer than seven days.

(A previous rule required students to quarantine at home for at least four days after exposure to someone with the coronavirus.)

The measures are at odds with the recommendations released by federal health officials and have already drawn criticism from education groups in Florida. It’s unclear if all school districts in the state will follow the mandates, and the Miami Herald reported Wednesday that some planned to adhere to stricter COVID-19 protocols.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long urged those who are exposed to COVID-19 to get tested even if they show no symptoms. Those infected with the virus can spread the disease even if they are asymptomatic, and the CDC currently recommends students who are exposed to a positive case quarantine for 14 days if they are unvaccinated. Students that are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine, the CDC says, but should be tested.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, but Pfizer said this week its vaccine was shown to be safe and highly effective in children aged 5 to 11 in clinical trials.

DeSantis told media outlets Wednesday: “I trust parents and families, and I don’t think they are going to go around lying.”

“In-person education is important for a students’ wellbeing, their educational advancement, and their social development,” the governor said in a statement. “The idea that schools are somehow a big problem when it comes to spread of the virus has been refuted yet again. Not only is the forced quarantining of healthy children disruptive to a student’s education, but many folks in Florida are not able to work from home.”

Ladapo echoed DeSantis, saying the decision would allow the state to do “what is right for parents and for students.

“There’s not a single high-quality study that shows that any child has ever benefited from forced quarantining policies, but we have seen demonstrable and considerable harm to children,” he said in a statement. “It’s important to respect the rights of parents.”

In fact, the delta strain has upended reopening plans, and children have been infected with the virus and hospitalized at much higher rates during this wave of the pandemic. The return to school this fall, when many kids are yet to be vaccinated, has troubled public health officials, who have urged schools to adopt social distancing measures and encouraged all students to wear masks indoors.

Students that do test positive for COVID-19 in Florida will still be required to abide by health measures that include a mandatory quarantine of 10 days, a negative test and the subsidence of symptoms, or a doctor’s note granting permission to return to class.

Antimaskers and personal choice

This Thing Was Never About Personal Choice

Anti-maskers are looking for an excuse.

Written by Jessica Wildfire and published in 9/18/2021

The waitress sat down and asked the young couple to take off their masks. They weren’t allowed to wear them inside the restaurant. The couple said they couldn’t. Their son had a compromised immune system.

He was four months old.

There was no discussion or debate. The staff didn’t defend their personal choice. The manager didn’t come over to listen to their side. He told them to leave. Later, the owner went on local television to defend himself. He said it was his restaurant. “I don’t want to see them.”

That’s it. That’s the only reason he gave.

He doesn’t like masks.

That’s odd. I mean, I thought this whole mask controversy was about personal choice. Wasn’t it? That’s what anti-maskers have been saying for the last year. Same thing for vaccines. You can wear a mask if you want. You can get vaccinated if you feel like it. Don’t make them do any of that. Don’t expect their kids to, either. America’s a free country.

So, where did all this go down?

Of course, Texas.

The capital of personal freedom and accountability.

It’s not the first time, either. Lots of people are getting bullied, harassed, and threatened simply for wearing masks — all around the country, especially in states that zealously protect our personal freedoms. It happens a hundred times a day. It doesn’t always make the news.

What’s up with that?

Anti-maskers are supremacists.

Let’s get real for a minute.

We know why anti-maskers are harassing anyone who wears a mask now. It’s because masks themselves have come to symbolize oppression. Liberals didn’t make this happen. Conservative politicians did. Fox News did. They conspired to politicize a public health protocol.

There’s only one halfway logical reason why someone would spend the last two years absolutely refusing to wear a mask.

Here it is:

They believe they have superior genes.

Despite everything, these far-right extremists sincerely believe in their genetic supremacy. They believe their lineage makes them and their offspring invulnerable to disease. Many of them actually want to catch covid. That way, they can prove to everyone how resilient they are. They believe masks are useless strips of cloth that make them uncomfortable and possibly rob their superior brains of precious oxygen.

They believe vaccines will contaminate their DNA.

They don’t care about grandma and whether or not she needs a medical exemption to go maskless. Anti-maskers have routinely posted tweets, memes, and videos bragging about how they exploit loopholes in medical exemption policies in order to get around mandates.

They think it’s cute.

Politicians defy mask mandates in public while secretly sending their own children to private schools that require masks. They know they’re being hypocritical. They want to appear strong to their radical, white supremacist base. So they lie. They hide behind “personal choice.”

It’s appealing. It looks innocent.

It also makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Every single day, we encounter hundreds of examples of how our actions impact other people. Nobody ever disputes this until we start talking about things like guns and (now) masks.

There’s one thing I’ve learned about far-right extremists. When something doesn’t make any sense…

It means they’re lying.

Anti-maskers don’t believe in personal choice.

We’re starting to learn the truth about these anti-maskers. They don’t care about “personal choice,” except when it serves them.

They know this.

Go to any back channel web forum where far-right extremists gather to talk about rhetorical strategies. They know how awful their real views sound to everyone else. They know they can’t just come out and say what they really think. Guess what they really think:

We should let the virus circulate unrestricted and cull the weak from the herd. Let the strong go about their normal lives.

Again, that sounds horrible.

It is horrible.

But if you’re a supremacist, it makes perfect sense. Sick people with weak immune systems cost a lot of money. It is a pain to wear a mask everywhere you go. It does suck to stay away from bars and restaurants. Life has been extremely inconvenient for the last 18 months.

But guess what?

Even those of us who exercise and eat healthy (like me) aren’t so overwhelmingly arrogant to think we can rush headfirst into battle with a novel virus, putting our “good genes” to the test.

That’s how a supremacist thinks.

To a reasonable person, it makes a lot more sense to do what we’ve been doing. Assume everyone faces the same amount of risk. Band together and make collective sacrifices for everyone’s sake. That’s how an actual patriot thinks. That’s how democracy works. This hyper-individualistic, “personal choice” stuff is bullshit. Everyone knows it.

But “personal choice” sounds good.

It sounds a lot better than:

I’m going to take my chances with a deadly virus because I think my genes are better than yours. If you die, that’s your fault. If you wind up with long-covid and never fully recover, it means you’re weak.

That is, essentially, what “personal choice” means in this situation. This is the core belief under all the anti-masking, anti-vaxxer arguments that otherwise make absolutely no sense, including the continued insistence that the virus somehow isn’t actually that bad.

They really mean it’s not that bad for them.


They could care less.

Anti-maskers don’t care about your freedoms.

Here’s something I’ve noticed…

Anti-maskers are never satisfied after getting their way. When a school drops their mask mandate, anti-maskers start pressuring everyone to take their masks off. They say things like, “You know you don’t have to wear that thing, right?” They make fun of masks. They violate your personal space. They frequently remind you how dumb you look.

Consider this:

Children respond to peer pressure.

When their anti-masking friends start pestering and harassing them about their masks, you know what they do?

They cave.

They conform.

They take off their mask, because they want to fit in. This is how young, undeveloped brains work. Far-right extremists aren’t that stupid. They know the ins and outs of groupthink.

Peer pressure works well on adults, too.

The right knows how to manipulate the perception of personal choice, as well as the power of peer pressure. It was the whole idea behind Reagan’s “Just Say No” to drugs campaign, which was a catastrophic failure if you were actually trying to stop drug use, and a huge success if you simply wanted to convince everyone drug use was a personal, moral failure. See, the right insists on personal responsibility when it makes their lives easier, like coming up with an excuse for our drug crisis. They also know how well peer pressure works, and how easy it is to push for conformity.

They work both angles.

They push for personal freedom to get rid of laws they don’t like, then they start pressuring everyone to conform to their position.

It’s a win-win.

So when anti-masking, anti-vaxxer parents flood school board meetings and demand “personal choice,” they know it won’t stop there. It never does. They use their freedom as a platform to start forcing their own views on everyone around them. You don’t get personal choice. You simply get their version of it shoved down your throat.

It’s the same way with everything. Guns. Abortion. Healthcare. Taxes. They get their way. You deal with it.

That’s freedom.

Anti-maskers lie about “both sides.”

Let’s revisit a point I’ve made before:

Some issues don’t have two valid sides. They have a right side, and a wrong side. If you light up a cigarette in a public restaurant, you aren’t just killing yourself. You’re killing everyone else. If you refuse to get vaccinated and ditch your mask in public, then there’s a high chance you’ll catch covid and then spread your germs to lots of people, including strangers.

That makes you a threat to public health.

That’s how “personal choice” works in this situation. You’ve made a personal decision that hurts everyone around you.

That makes you a piece of shit.

Let’s consider Texas, the anti-masking, anti-vaxxing capital of the free world. No state talks more about “personal choice” than Texas.

The loudest advocates in Texas have willfully appropriated slogans like “my body, my choice” from the pro-choice movement. They did it while actively depriving women of their rights.

It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t lack of awareness.

They’re trolling us.

Anti-maskers weaponize mild disapproval.

This same group frequently appeals to moderates when liberals stand up to them. They fall back on “both sides” and “civil discourse.” They talk about the importance of respecting different opinions.

When liberals get fed up with having our rights trampled on, they go to great lengths to cast us as the bad guys.

Wake up, people.

They don’t believe any of this stuff about “sides.”

Case in point: A Texas restaurant owner threw a couple out for wearing a mask, and nobody on the “side” of personal freedom gave a shit. Their perceived rights weren’t violated. They waited until the rest of us got upset. Then they expressed mild disapproval.

The expression of mild disapproval is a widely used tactic.

Anti-maskers never truly get upset when someone in their group harasses or threatens healthcare workers or teachers or school board members. They don’t leap to defend your right to wear a mask or get a vaccine. They don’t get angry when any of your rights are violated.

They gently disapprove of what happened in order to look moderate. Then they move on to their key point:

Not all of us act like that.

See the problem here? It’s a defensive move. They’re not taking responsibility. They’re not managing their own house. They care more about how the vocal, indiscreet members of their club make them appear.

That’s a big tell.

Appearance is all that matters to far-right extremists, whether we’re talking about anti-maskers or anyone else. They only care about assaults on our rights enough to restore their reputation as “very fine people.” Then they go right back to pursuing their own ulterior agenda.

This is why you see so many anti-maskers appealing to “personal freedoms” and “respecting everyone’s opinion.”

Here’s their real opinion:

They don’t care.

They know “personal choice” makes them look much more reasonable. Meanwhile, they go around without masks, believing in their superior genes and going about their mission to cull the weak.

This was never about personal choice.

It was always about domination.

Wake up.

Are We Up for Handling Climate Change

Will 195 Independent Nations Solve Climate Change?

Written by Gary Janosz and published in

Our World

The Earth is divided into 195 independent nations and 39 dependencies. Those nations are further complicated by 6,500 languages. There are 4,300 religions practiced around the world, the two largest Christianity and Islam appear to hate one another. Both are actively cheering for the end of the world. They are fundamentally in opposition to one another, so somebody’s got it dead wrong — the ultimate Biggest Loser.

What about the remainder of humanity who are not rooting for Armageddon? Can we pull it together to stave off climate change?

Is there any chance for us? Is there any hope that reason and science might prevail? What about a bit of worldwide cooperation? How do we bring this diverse world together to solve our global problems? It’s a bigger problem than any one country can face on its own. Without a united effort, we are doomed to whatever ravages of climate change has in store for us.

Could the United States Take the Lead in the Fight Against Climate Change?

The country that was once the leader of the free world is leading the world in new COVID cases. It feels like we are being pulled into a reincarnation of the Dark Ages. Superstition and conspiracies seem more commanding than scientific reason. Look at how many in the US latched on to the QAnon Conspiracy Theory. QAnon has become more popular than some major religions. Look at how quickly a large percentage of our population dismissed the results of the presidential election — in the absence of any supporting evidence.

Even though the US was first with the COVID vaccine, we languish at a forty-nine percent vaccination rate. Instead of trusting the nation’s scientific experts, many Americans turn to Facebook for their medical advice. Ivermectin is a popular alternative pushed by America’s Frontline Doctors.

Ivermectin is a medication typically used to treat parasitic worms in livestock, but it’s touted as a “safe and effective treatment” for COVID-19 according to America’s Frontline Doctors

Who are America’s Frontline Doctors? They appear to be a group of physicians who practice medicine on social media. In the most advanced nation in the world, citizens would rather use a treatment for parasitic worms in animals than trusting our scientific community to recommend the most effective safest course of action.

For four years we were led by an imbecile president who suggested that drinking chlorine bleach might be effective in killing the virus. He belittled the pandemic from the onset and made ignoring mask mandates a political statement. Now he’ll likely be elected for another four-year term.

If we don’t trust our scientific experts to battle a public health crisis, how do we ever trust them to solve our global climate problem?

At a critical time, the supposed world leader is crippled by ignorance and paralyzed by greed. As Americans, we consume more than the rest of the world, much more than our share and we are not about to give that up. Our corporations will fight tooth and nail to rape every last resource from the Earth while squeezing every remaining penny of profit. Corporate America will never be satisfied. Capitalism is an insatiable beast. It demands growth, ever-expanding markets, endless consumer spending, and the constant desire for more.

Trash this phone because the new one with the cool features comes out tomorrow — endless fodder for the nation’s dumps

Between our ignorance, our greed, and total lack of leadership the US is a hopeless candidate to lead the fight against climate change. Clearly, the US is the biggest obstacle blocking any meaningful changes that could make a difference.

Given the size and power of America’s economy coupled with the might of our military, it’s probably game over right now unless Americans rise up in mass and demand change — very unlikely.

If the World’s Foremost Superpower Won’t Take the Lead, What Choices Remain?

Perhaps a coalition of the largest progressive countries could lead the charge. If enough world leaders began to make the sacrifices necessary to actually make a difference maybe they could guilt the rest of the world into following along.

The biggest obstacle is competition, countries are fighting for a slice of the world economy for the benefit of their own citizens. There is no mechanism that moves nations toward cooperation, while there is a long history of nations looking out for its own best interests. As our population continues to grow unchecked nations are left to compete for the Earth’s remaining finite resources. Basic necessities like water are being relocated globally by climate change. Some areas have suffered years of drought while others are slogging through unseasonable rains. As equatorial regions become uninhabitable vast numbers will migrate to less affected areas of Earth.

How do 195 independent nations deal with global problems while they are all looking out for their own best interests? We have not evolved that far from warring tribes — war and conflict are our default solutions to everything. There are many in the US eager to build a wall to keep everyone out. I suppose we can devolve into warring city-states as resources dwindle, each building higher walls to insulate ourselves from the others.

If climate change is as dire as predicted, walls are just a stop-gap measure forestalling the end, ensuring the comfort of some while the majority suffer. Isolation and exclusion are will not solve the long-term problems, they are just selfish means to continue our unsustainable practices.

The Solution is Worldwide Cooperation

But cooperation is so foreign, so alien that it’s almost incomprehensible. I can visualize the anger engendered at the very idea. Dominate, conquer, invade control, force, coerce are all options immensely preferable to cooperation. The concept of one world, one people, one common purpose, that’s unthinkable. That means we’d have to give something up, to make a sacrifice, to cede control and that’s just never going to happen.

Yet when you look at the immensity of the problem, what other solution is there? The rich nations, fat and happy behind a big wall while everyone else suffers — doable but it does not fix a thing. It draws out some people’s comfort and other people’s agony, but the end is the same.

“We couldn’t save our own life sustaining environment because we failed to make the sacrifices — in the end we were far too selfish” — the Earth’s final epitaph?

We have a governing body, the United Nations, we have the science — but we must submit to the solution. Sacred cows will be gored. Fossil fuel use needs to be curtailed. If that’s the basket that holds all your eggs, you should have diversified long ago. We can no longer drive and fly around the planet as we please. We can no longer eat as much meat as we want. We can no longer use as much energy as we choose. It’s time for sacrifice and drastic change, change that will never happen on a voluntary basis. We need to strictly ration items that ensure humanity’s survival— water, food, fuel, energy, and meat at levels that will guarantee a global impact to heal our planet.

Instead, resistance will mount. Climate change is not that dire. We have time. We need our automobiles. We need to fly. Nobody can tell me what to eat!

We can’t even stay focused on the problem. “Biden blunders destroy America,” climate change blunders, no, ending 20 years of senseless fighting in Afghanistan, ruining our economy, allowing unchecked immigration. “Idaho Has Started to Ration Medical Care,” we can’t bring an end to a pandemic because our population prefers death over a simple shot. “United States Civil War II,” many in the US would prefer civil war to cooperation within our own borders.

I’d like to end on an optimistic note, but it seems the logical solutions are contrary to human nature. We need to join hands, one planet, one people, one overriding common purpose, but laugh out loud at the absurdity — we just don’t have it in us.