Associated Press File Photo / California Gov. Gavin Newsom scrutinizes a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles in December.

Governor says new normal needed

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told state residents last week the coronavirus pandemic will end soon, but Californians will never be "going back to normal."

"When this pandemic ends — and it will end soon — we're not going back to normal," he said, speaking from empty Dodger Stadium. "Normal was never good enough. Normal accepts inequity.

"It's why Latinos are dying from COVID at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group, why essential workers' wages aren't enough for them to afford the essentials, and why mothers have been leaving the workforce in staggering numbers."

What Newsom, whose detractors say they have enough signatures to force his recall election, did not say was why he and his Democratic Party have allowed such inequities to go on for so long.

Democrats, after all, have held the governorship of the state 14 of the last 22 years and have controlled the state Assembly for 58 of the last 62 years and the state Senate for 57 of the last 62 years. In three of those years, the number of Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate was split.

And, for the record, between July 2019 and July 2020, 135,000 more people left the state than moved there. Evidently, the "normal" there is not what people had in mind.


'Extended "folksy" ad-lib'

The pseudo fact-checking industry must miss former President Donald Trump because last week left-wing fact-checker Snopes found itself giving a "mixed" rating to the claim that President Joe Biden forgot the name of his secretary of defense at an International Women's Day speech.

The 78-year-old Biden clearly forgot Secretary Lloyd Austin's name, and even Snopes admitted the video shows the president "fumbling his words and apparently blanking on [the] name." But in order not to rate the claim "true," and give rise to public concern about the president's health, Snopes said Biden didn't really blank on the name but "got stuck doing an extended 'folksy' ad-lib after initially tripping over his words."

In the video, Biden says, "I want to thank Sec- ... the, the, uh, former general — I keep calling him 'General.' My ... my, uh, ... the guy who runs that outfit over there. Uh, I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he's done to try to implement what we've just talked about, and for recommending these two women for promotion."


Reparations plan called anti-Black

A vote later this month will decide if Evanston, Illinois, becomes the first city in the country to fund reparations for some of its Black residents. But some residents already say the proposal doesn't go far enough and needs more work before being classified as true reparations.

The current plan would give Black residents who lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969 (when the city passed a fair housing ordinance), or who are direct descendants of residents who lived there during that time, $25,000 to use toward home ownership, home improvement or mortgage assistance.

The money would come from community donations and revenue from a 3% tax collected on the sale of recreational marijuana. From that, Evanston hopes to distribute about $10 million over 10 years.

However, the plan is not good enough for some, including the Evanston Rejects Racist Reparations group, which says the proposal is "inherently anti-Black" and could end up helping "historically racist financial institutions like banks, corporations and various individuals."

Sebastian Nalls, a 20-year-old member of the group, says the city, instead, should give residents "direct payments so they can choose [however] they want to use the money."


You mean I can't graduate?

Baltimore has the fifth highest funding per pupil of the 100 largest school districts in the country, according to a 2020 U.S. Census report, but it didn't do one student at the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts much good.

The student, who ranks near the top half of his class with a 0.13 grade point average, failed all but three classes over four years and was late or absent 272 days over his first three years of high school. Yet, his mother, Tiffany France, thought her son was on track to graduate this spring.

Over the previous four years, apparently only one teacher had asked for a parent-teacher conference. But the student's mom said that didn't happen.

Fortunately, someone finally intervened, according to a Fox News summation of a local report. Instead of graduating, the student will be sent back to start the ninth grade over again, though he was ranked 62nd in his class of 120.

France, though, wasn't happy with the result and wondered why "the school failed him."