It was the American satirist and journalist P.J. O’Rourke who once quipped:
“It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.”
In our first story, we confirm that our Congress has been hard at work for months:
1. Biden Signs $1.2T Infrastructure Bill, but Growing Unpopularity Jeopardizes Social Spending Plan
President Joe Biden signed his infrastructure bill into law on Monday afternoon, but his Build Back Better legislation remains in jeopardy as his popularity continues to plummet.
The House is now preparing to take up part two of his so-called infrastructure plan, the $1.75 trillion social spending plan, but can he get the political support he needs as an increasingly unpopular president?
Biden’s approval rating stands at 41%, the lowest of his presidency. Fifty-five percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy, and if the midterm elections were held today, Americans would vote 51% Republican and only 41% Democrat, the widest margin since 1981.
Meanwhile, inflation is the highest in 30 years, 6.2%. In a poignant sign of the times, even Dollar Tree has announced it will be raising prices on some items by as much as $1.50.
- Loudoun County Physical Ed Teacher Wins Lawsuit After Opposing District Gender Identity Policy
From The Daily Citizen:
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys have announced a settlement bringing to a close the successful lawsuit by their client, Virginia resident Tanner Cross, who was suspended by the Loudoun County School Board after he spoke in opposition to a proposed gender identity policy at a May 25 board meeting.
Cross, a Christian who teaches physical education at Leesburg Elementary School, rose during the public comment portion of the May meeting and addressed proposed Policy 8040 which would have required all district employees to use the preferred pronouns of students, whether or not those corresponded to the students’ biological sex.
“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” Cross told the board. “We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God.
“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I’m a teacher, but I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
- CRT defender tells parents he’s got 1,000 soldiers ‘locked and loaded,’ some see it as threat
From Fox News:
Fort Worth parents told Fox News that they felt threatened when a parent who defended critical race theory turned to the crowd during a school board meeting and said, “I got over 1,000 soldiers ready to go,” before adding, “locked and loaded,” as officers escorted him out of the room.
“Absolutely, it made me feel threatened,” Hollie Plemmons, a stay-at-home mother of three, told Fox News on Sunday. “I’m scared and I’m afraid he’s going to do something.”
In the Fort Worth Independent School District board meeting on Nov. 9, Malikk Austin turned to address the parents who had spoken up about critical race theory.
“For those who got an issue with this critical race theory equity, this is something I fight for, for my children,” Austin, who is African American, began. “How dare you come out here and talk about the things that my daddy and my grandparents went through, the lynching, the oppression, Jim Crow, and my kids are still being afflicted by this.”
“We are not our ancestors,” Austin added. “I got over 1,000 soldiers ready to go.”
- North Dakota Governor Signs Bill Banning Critical Race Theory in Public Schools
From The Daily Citizen:
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed a bill banning the teaching of critical race theory (CRT).
According to the text of the bill, HB 1508 prohibits “the teaching of critical race theory in public schools.”
The brief, one-page bill defines CRT as “the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality.”
“Each school district and public school shall ensure instruction of its curriculum is factual, objective, and aligned to the kindergarten through grade twelve state content standards,” the bill states.
Schools “may not include instruction related to critical race theory in any portion of the district’s require curriculum.”
- Pro-Life Activist Tends to Practical Needs of Mothers
From the Washington Post:
Tere Haring worked the math. Already, the antiabortion nonprofit she runs had given away a record number of baby items during the pandemic. She’d helped five women a day in 2020, and she’d handed out 71 car seats, 45,569 diapers, and $71,000 in rent assistance. Then, in September, a state law banning abortions after six weeks went into effect. By late October, Haring was seeing seven or eight clients a day. The phone rang, then rang again.
That uptick was just the beginning, Haring figured. The number of abortions had fallen by half during the ban’s first month, from 5,377 statewide in August to 2,164 in September. For most antiabortion activists, that drop was a victory, proof that the restriction had saved more than 3,000 babies.
But stopping women from having abortions was the easy part, Haring often told people. What came next would be much harder. Those 3,000 babies were going to need diapers and formula and any number of more expensive items, too. The women Haring called “abortion-minded” tended to be in untenable situations. Many couldn’t afford a playpen, let alone a month’s rent.
“I always said abortion is the lack of an option,” Haring said. “They feel like they have nowhere to go, that there’s nobody for them. It’s about the help. It’s about being there for them.”
- Ohio Sues Meta Alleging Facebook Parent Misled Public About Its Products’ Effect on Children
From the Wall Street Journal:
Ohio’s attorney general is suing Meta Platforms Inc., FB 1.96% formerly known as Facebook Inc., alleging the company misled the public about how it controlled its algorithm and the effects its products have on childr
“This suit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” Joe Osborne, a Meta spokesperson, said.
The lawsuit alleges that between April 29 and Oct. 21, 2021, Facebook and its executives violated federal securities law by intentionally misleading the public about the negative impact of its products on minors in an effort to boost its stock and deceive shareholders.
“Facebook said it was looking out for our children and weeding out online trolls, but in reality was creating misery and divisiveness for profit,” Mr. Yost, a Republican, said.
7. Nearly 75% plan to keep holiday gatherings to household, poll show
From the USA Today:
Going into a second holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have a better sense for how to celebrate safely with their loved ones — and better tools to do it.
However, caution remains high when it comes to holiday gatherings, according to a new survey commissioned by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
Almost three-fourths (72%) of the poll respondents said they plan to limit their celebration to members of their household, and 51% said they will request that guests wear masks. The latter is down from 67% last year, but it still reflects a high level of concern about a virus that has infected more than 47 million and killed 760,000-plus in this country.
Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at the Wexner Medical Center, said the emergence of widely available and effective COVID-19 vaccines actually allows those wishing to get together to lower their guard a bit — provided everyone in attendance has been inoculated and doesn’t have major health risks.
8. Christians: Stop being passive
Our friend Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries writes for the Christian Post:
American people of faith are now in the unfamiliar position of having to stand against their own government to uphold their basic liberties. Many Christians are uncomfortable with this. Some say that biblical passages such as Romans 13 insist that we do whatever our government demands.
But our government authority is not the Roman Empire or a Caesar. It is the Constitution and our representative republic. As Abraham Lincoln famously stated, the United States is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Bureaucrats are not the government, weare.
In this country, if you want to obey the governmental authorities as the Bible says, you must be an involved citizen.
Christian involvement with government isn’t just an American imperative, however. A millennium and a half ago Augustine of Hippo argued that citizens of the kingdom of Heaven are the best citizens in the kingdoms of humanity because they have an allegiance to a truth that is higher than the state. Government is not God.
- How to Become Calm in America
From the Wall Street Journal:
Many philosophers, including Plato and Thomas Hobbes, thought ordinary citizens were incapable of discussing political questions calmly, so they recommended various types of oligarchy or autocracy. In the Enlightenment, several thinkers argued that in predominantly commercial societies liberty is less likely to lead to violent civil discord because making money is a relatively calm passion. According to the 18th-century historian William Robertson, “commerce tends to wear off those prejudices which maintain distinctions and animosity between nations. It softens and polishes the manners of men.” Montesquieu, Voltaire, David Hume, Adam Smith and Samuel Johnson agreed.
Were these Enlightenment thinkers right? The U.S. is a predominantly commercial nation, yet anger seems to be the coin of the realm in contemporary America. Why are so many Americans not calm? Politicians are partly to blame by igniting anger on topics about race, sex, inequality, immigration and woke culture. Many Americans, it seems, enjoy being angry.
How to become a calmer person? Cut down on your consumption of anger-producing material. Don’t search for outrageous comments by extremists on the right or left. And avoid political discussions if they are likely to become heated. Finally, spend less time reading about politics or watching political talk shows. Spend more time on calming activities. Play a sport, listen to music, learn a new language.
The 18th-century philosopher Francis Hutcheson once spoke of “the calm desire for wealth.” And maybe the way to remain calm is simply to start a business. You are likely to lose customers, after all, if you talk angrily about politics all the time. A friend of mine quit going to his regular doctor because in recent years the doctor had begun to rant about political questions.
10. Remembering the Day the First Lady of the United States Broke the Law
From The Daily Citizen:
Tim’s first store was in Denver on East Colfax, where an occasional customer back in the 1950s was Mamie Eisenhower, wife of United States President Dwight Eisenhower. Mrs. Eisenhower grew up in Denver, and on trips west, both she and the war-hero- turned-president would stay at her childhood home, located at 750 Lafayette Street.
That the president and first lady would and could vacation on a tree-lined residential street with minimal security and frequent a five and dime store, no less, points to an enviable lost era of American life. We’d all be better off if that were still the case.
Tim recalls Mamie coming into the store one day in 1954 to buy a pair of reading glasses. Her presence always created a minor buzz, and this day was no different.
“The woman who collected the cash and receipts from each register was just tickled when she saw Mrs. Eisenhower,” he remembered. “So, she asked her for an autograph. But the only thing she had for the first lady to write on was a dollar bill.”
Mrs. Eisenhower happily obliged, writing a personal note to the woman across George Washington’s image, signing her name on the one-dollar bill. With her new glasses in hand, she then exited the building with her security detail, to her car idling alongside the curb.
But no sooner had Mamie Eisenhower climbed into the automobile than one of her Secret Service agents returned back into the store. He pulled the clerk aside and demanded she hand over the dollar bill.
It turns out it’s illegal to deface United States currency (Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code).
The young woman up in Denver may have missed out on a keepsake that day in 1954, but she was given something even more notable – the distinction of having incited the first lady of the United States to break the law.
But times were gentler back then and there would be no headlines nor nitpicking – just a dutybound agent doing his job, quietly and unobtrusively in order to spare the first family of explanation or embarrassment.
We need leaders with character and honor to shepherd us through our current storms – but it wouldn’t hurt to find someone with the good sense and the common touch to shop at a store like Woolworth’s either.