In 1933, Winston Churchill said, “We ought to rejoice at the responsibilities with which destiny has honored us, and be proud that we are guardians of our country in an age when her life is at stake.”
Anyone who consumes even a small amount of news today is guaranteed to wonder and worry about where our world is headed. But we start today’s headlines off with some good news.
- Tennessee Requirement for Schools to Post ‘In God We Trust’ Upheld by Federal Court
From The Daily Citizen:
Congress established our national motto – “In God We Trust” – in 1956, although it first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864. Legal challenges to its constitutionality at the federal level have frequently been brushed aside by federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
But no one had ever challenged the constitutionality of state laws requiring the motto’s posting in public schools, which Tennessee and 14 other states have on their books.
Until now. A father of a young girl entering kindergarten at a public charter school in Nashville, Tennessee, objected to the national motto displayed in the entryway of the school and sued. He argued he was bringing up his daughter to be non-religious, and the motto’s presence was a religious statement that violated her constitutional rights.
The good news, however, is United States District Judge Aleta A. Trauger considered and rejected that father’s challenge to Tennessee’s 2018 law, the “National Motto in the Classroom Act.” The law requires local public schools to display the motto in “a prominent location,” defined as “a school entryway, cafeteria, or common area where students are likely to see the national motto display.”
- Supreme Court rejects parents seeking religious exemption from school vaccinations
From The Christian Post:
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from parents challenging New York’s repeal of religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates.
In an order released Monday morning, the nation’s high court declined to hear arguments in the case of F.F., as parent of Y.F. v. New York, which centers on a lawsuit challenging a 2019 law repealing religious exemptions for vaccines.
The denial of certiorari lets stand a lower court decision that concluded that the parents’ arguments lacked merit.
In June 2019, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill removing religious exemptions for vaccines in schoolchildren. Under the law, children may not attend school or day care in New York without certification from a healthcare provider that the child has received all mandated vaccinations.
The law was passed amid a Measles outbreak impacting dozens of states. While providing medical exemptions, the law no longer allows exemptions for students whose parents or guardians hold genuine religious beliefs that do not permit the child to receive the vaccinations.
- Like a Good Neighbor: State Farm Wants to Teach Your Children About ‘Being Transgender, Inclusive and Non-Binary’
From The Daily Citizen:
Florida State Farm agents were invited to participate in a project to place books about “Being Transgender, Inclusive and Non-binary” into classrooms, community centers and libraries, Consumers’ Research reported.
According to a letter from State Farm Corporate Responsibility Analyst Jose Soto, “The project’s goal is to increase representation of LGBTQ+ books and support our communities in having challenging, important and empowering conversations with children Age 5+.”
Soto’s letter continued, “Nationwide, approximately 550 State Farm agents and employees will have the opportunity to donate this 3 book bundle to their local teacher, community center or library of their choice.”
- Has the cost of Disney World become unaffordable for the average American family?
From Fox Business:
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has been a go-to destination for generations of American families, but the skyrocketing costs of admission, accommodations, and even spending inside the park are leaving many visitors wondering if a Disney vacation is now only reserved for the rich.
A family of four from New Jersey reached out to FOX News Digital after taking a recent trip to Disney World, saying they had sticker shock over what they spent on their visit and noticed changes at the park from times past.
Gone is the Magical Express that previously served as a courtesy shuttle, so the family shelled out $200 for private transportation to get to and from the airport.
Park hopper tickets cost $2,550 for the five days they attended. Their four nights of lodging inside the resort cost $3,780 for the parents and two kids.
Once inside the park, they spent $300 on Genie plus passes for their entire trip to skip lines in order to avoid spending all their time waiting for rides. The parents said they paid $950 on sit-down meals and another $700 or so for snacks and souvenirs. All told, the cost of the visit rounded out to $8,480, and airfare pushed the price of their vacation upwards of $10,000.
“I feel like Disney is pricing people out, can the average working American family really afford this?” the mother said in remarks to FOX Business. “I’ve been coming to Disney since I was six years old. I’m 39 now. My kids thought Disney was magical and so for me the cost was worth it, but I see that it’s not the same Disney it was.”
- Appeals court: Florida law on social media unconstitutional
From The Associated Press:
A Florida law intended to punish social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, dealing a major victory to companies who had been accused by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis of discriminating against conservative thought.
A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that it was overreach for DeSantis and the Republican-led Florida Legislature to tell the social media companies how to conduct their work under the Constitution’s free speech guarantee.
“Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it,” said Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, in the opinion. “We hold that it is substantially likely that social media companies — even the biggest ones — are private actors whose rights the First Amendment protects.”
- National School Boards Association Draft Letter Requested Military Deployment to Quell Parent Protests
From National Review:
A draft version of the National School Boards Association’s September 2021 letter to the Biden administration requesting federal intervention to investigate and potentially penalize “threats” leveled by protesting parents also asked that the Army National Guard and military police be deployed to certain school districts.
“We ask that the Army National Guard and its Military Police be deployed to certain school districts and related events where students and school personnel have been subjected to acts and threats of violence,” the draft read, according to the organization’s independent review of the incident released Friday.
The NSBA enlisted a law firm to do a deep-dive into the circumstances behind the letter, which the headquarters redacted many months ago after it led to nationwide backlash and a wave of state chapter exits. In a subsequent apology, the NSBA said there “was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance.”
In former executive director Chip Slaven’s final petition to the White House, which had the active coordination of White House Senior Advisor to the President on education Mary Wall, the NSBA requested that the federal government target and potentially prosecute parents who demonstrated at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists,” a phrase which the letter used twice, under the Patriot Act. Slaven resigned from the NSBA after his role was revealed in the scandal.
- Does Having More Kids Make You Lose Your Mind?
From The Daily Citizen:
There have been a number of stories in the news of late purportedly concluding that research now says having more than two children can make you lose your mind. Of course, such dramatic findings tend to get plenty of sensational media attention and can be alarming to pro-family citizens. But is it true? There are very good reasons to be doubtful.
What does this new research actually say? The New York Post reported bluntly, “Having lots of kids could make you literally lose your mind, Columbia University researchers say.” The more sober Science Daily explains, “a new study found that having three or more versus two children has a negative effect on late-life cognition.”
But reading the actual study in full, as The Daily Citizen did, tells a very different story, giving plenty of reason to be skeptical of such a finding.
First, the author’s disdain for families larger than two children is clearly communicated, warning, “having an additional child often incurs considerable financial costs, such as the cost of extra food, clothes, leisure activities, transportation, schooling, and a car with more space or a larger house … and increased the likelihood of falling below the poverty line.” They add having more children is “related to women’s lower labor market participation” and “lower earnings.” These scholars conclude, “parents with more children can experience more stress, have less time to invest in cognitively stimulating leisure activities, and have less time to relax” and increased “sleep deprivation for the parents.” Yes, they are unapologetic in their negative picture of having kids. The only positive things the authors mention about having larger families is “having children decreases the risk of social isolation among older individuals” and “could raise the level of social interaction and support…” That’s it, the only positive thing they have to say about having children is it could protect against loneliness. They couldn’t come up with any other life benefits of having more than two children. At least they didn’t hide their anti-natalist cards.
Second, the study makes the very curious statement that having two children, one of each sex, can be very fulfilling. But parents who have two kids of the same sex can end up putting themselves at risk by having more children in order to finally attain their missing boy or girl. They assume this is a very bad thing. The authors make this statement as if it is a completely reasonable conclusion,
In sum, the sex composition of the first two children is a reasonable instrument for establishing the causal effect of having three or more children versus two children on late-life cognition.
The inherent value of children and their enriching effect on the life of the family and larger community does not even figure to them.
- The coming food catastrophe
From The Economist:
By invading ukraine, Vladimir Putin will destroy the lives of people far from the battlefield—and on a scale even he may regret. The war is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19, climate change and an energy shock. Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. Together, the two countries supply 12% of traded calories. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of an alarming heatwave.
The widely accepted idea of a cost-of-living crisis does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead. António Guterres, the un secretary general, warned on May 18th that the coming months threaten “the spectre of a global food shortage” that could last for years. The high cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people who cannot be sure of getting enough to eat by 440m, to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine. If, as is likely, the war drags on and supplies from Russia and Ukraine are limited, hundreds of millions more people could fall into poverty. Political unrest will spread, children will be stunted and people will starve.
Mr Putin must not use food as a weapon. Shortages are not the inevitable outcome of war. World leaders should see hunger as a global problem urgently requiring a global solution.
Russia and Ukraine supply 28% of globally traded wheat, 29% of the barley, 15% of the maize and 75% of the sunflower oil. Russia and Ukraine contribute about half the cereals imported by Lebanon and Tunisia; for Libya and Egypt the figure is two-thirds. Ukraine’s food exports provide the calories to feed 400m people. The war is disrupting these supplies because Ukraine has mined its waters to deter an assault, and Russia is blockading the port of Odessa.
- Adventurous play outdoors leads to stronger mental health for kids
From Study Finds:
Excitement and exploration help kids avoid anxiety, according to researchers from the University of Exeter. Their study finds children who spend more time playing adventurously show fewer signs of anxiety and depression. Moreover, adventurous kids also tended to be happier during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Researchers surveyed nearly 2,500 parents of children between five and 11 years-old for this project. Some parents (427) were living in Northern Ireland, while the majority (1,919) hailed from the United Kingdom (England, Wales, and Scotland).
Each parent was asked how often their children engaged in play considered “thrilling and exciting.” Examples include climbing trees, riding bikes, or exploring a wooded area. Study authors point out that such activities are often unpredictable and may even lead to a scary or uncertain moment or two.
- ‘He Has a Gift,’ American Idol Winner Noah Thompson’s Victory Proves Power of Friendship
From The Daily Citizen:
Without his best friend, Arthur, newly crowned American Idol Season 20 winner Noah Thompson would still be hanging sheetrock as an unknown and unassuming construction worker.
He’d be a hidden music star, with his dream of playing music just that: a dream.
After over 16 million votes were cast late on Sunday night, show host Ryan Seacrest officially declared Thompson as the newest American Idol, just nudging out fellow country star Hunter Girl.
Becoming the 20th American Idol is the culmination of an unlikely journey for a young man from the small southern town of Louisa, Kentucky (population 2,852).
In fact, Thompson’s journey from installing drywall to American Idol champ nearly never began.
While working alongside his fellow construction workers, Thompson would sing while he worked.
Noticing his friend’s raw talent, Noah’s best friend and coworker Arthur signed him up for the “Idol Across America” virtual audition and recorded him singing.
“We [were] actually hanging up sheetrock at work and he told me he was going to sign me up for it. I say, ‘No, you’re not.’ But he did it anyway.”