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Howie Carr: Massachusetts vaccine mandate debacle is another Charlie Baker special



Howie Carr: Massachusetts vaccine mandate debacle is another Charlie Baker special

This epic mishandling of the vaccine mandate for state workers is classic Gov. Charlie Baker — a toxic combination of overweening arrogance and breathtaking incompetence.

First, state employees had to get jabbed by the end of this weekend or they were gone, or at least had to start using vacation/sick time if they wanted to keep getting paid. That’s what the “COVID-19 Response Team” told the State Police anyway.

“Employees who … have not received a response by Oct. 17 will be required to use accrued leave time until a response is rendered.”

In other words, you’re suspended.

But Friday morning, the State Police did a 180 and issued a “CORRECTION” for everyone seeking an exemption.

“You may continue to work until a decision has been rendered.”

In other words, never mind!

Naturally, confusion ensued — it goes with the territory if you work for the bust-out governor Dementia Joe Biden calls “Charlie Parker.”

So by mid-afternoon, another missive was sent out, this time by a $177,760-a-year hack from “Human Resources Division” named Jeffrey McCue, who got his job after a nationwide search — and his two $500 checks to Charlie Parker cleared the bank.

To make sure everyone got the message that the dithering idiot in the Corner Office had flip-flopped yet again, payroll patriot McCue put his message in boldface:

“Unless expressly directed not to report to work by your manager or Agency Head, all Executive Branch employees should report for work on their regularly scheduled shift on Oct. 18, 2021.”

In other words, bluff called. At least for the time being, Charlie Parker has folded.

Like everything else in Charlie Parker-world, this has been a total bleep show from the beginning.

Next, let’s visit the Department of Correction — specifically, the prison guards, whose union has in the past endorsed Parker and his lieutenant governor, Karyn “Pay to Play” Polito.

Initially the guards seeking a medical or religious exemption from the jab had to apply to a female manager, who had sole discretion to grant them. Apparently she was handing them out routinely until she suddenly vanished from DOC headquarters in Milford.

After her disappearance, all her exemptions were suddenly rescinded — “disgraceful,” the union said in a memo to its members Friday night, “nothing short of a scandal.”

Let’s let the guards explain what Parker and Polito did after reversing all the exemptions:

“Not holding interviews at all for previous approvals and subsequent denials, not having a process for appeal, not even a signature indicating who ultimately made such important decisions and so on are appalling.”

How appalling is it? Well, here’s the (unsigned) letter one guard received Wednesday telling him his exemption had been “issued in error,” and that a “Secretariat-level panel” had decided to rescind his exemption after “a careful examination of the reasons you provided.”

The following is a direct quote:

“You represented that your objection was based on fetal cells being used in the production of the vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did not use fetal cells in their production and are therefore their use would not be consistent with your stated religious belief.”

Huh? First of all, what’s that word “are” doing in that sentence? I guess the person who forgot to sign the letter also forgot to proof-read it.

But more significantly, if the use would not be “consistent” with the guard’s religion, then shouldn’t he be approved for the exemption? Are the DOC hacks so stupid they don’t know the difference between “consistent” and “inconsistent?”

Finally, didn’t the anonymous Parker-Polito DOC hack say fetal cells weren’t used, before he said they were used?

Remember, this illiterate screed is not some silly invitation to Polito’s annual summer hackfest at the Scandinavian AC in Shrewsbury. This is a formal notice to a CO essentially telling him he’s fired if he doesn’t do what he’s told.

So much for their “careful examination?”

As the union said in the Friday night message to the guards:

“You may be asking how a public safety crisis has been created in order to solve a problem that does not exist in the state prison system.”

Or pretty much anywhere else, for that matter. But let’s stick to the prisons. On Friday the union asked the administration how many inmates (who by the way are not required to get the shot) are sick.

“ZERO inmates in the state prison system have Covid or are symptomatic for Covid.”

The union added: “Firing you is no way to thank vital first responders once hailed as heroes by this same administration.”

One final point: the guards’ union was turned down in their request for a preliminary injunction by federal judge Timothy Hillman. Would you care to guess if Judge Hillman, in addition to his $175,000-a-year federal salary, also collects a state pension from Charlie Parker?

Only one guess. The answer is: Judge Hillman has 88,952 reasons every year to adore the worst governor in state history, and all of them have George Washington’s picture on them.

As always, in the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls.

(If you know anything more about these state mandates, please email us at [email protected] Anonymity guaranteed.)

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Former Minnesota school principal sues, alleging retaliation over rainbow flag in support of LGBT students



Former Minnesota school principal sues, alleging retaliation over rainbow flag in support of LGBT students

MARSHALL, Minn. — A southwest Minnesota middle school principal who lost her job after she displayed a rainbow pride flag in a school cafeteria filed a lawsuit this week alleging the district retaliated against her for supporting LGBT students.

A complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court claims Marshall Public Schools ousted middle school principal Mary Kay Thomas earlier this year after a heated disagreement in the community about a flag she displayed in a cafeteria in early 2020 as part of an inclusiveness campaign at the school.

According to the lawsuit, a small group of “anti-LGBTQ middle-school staff, parents, students, and local clergy” pressured the school to remove the flag, which is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride. In response to the push to remove the flag, Thomas began distributing rainbow stickers at the school.

The school eventually removed the flag in August 2021, after Thomas was forced from her position, the complaint said. She had been principal for 16 years.

Thomas claims the Marshall School District targeted her with an investigation, placed her on administrative leave, suspended her without pay and eventually drove her to quit after the district removed her as principal and placed her in a “demeaning” special projects position. She also claims school staff hostile to LGBT causes played a role in her removal and that Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams told her he could “make this all go away” if she stepped down.

In a statement, Williams said Marshall Public Schools has strong policies against discrimination to protect students and staff and is committed to creating a respectful and inclusive learning environment.

“While the school cannot comment about the specific allegations made in the complaint, the school district strongly denies any allegation of discriminatory conduct,” Williams said. “The school will vigorously defend itself against these allegations.”

Thomas had a long record of good performance reviews as principal, according to the lawsuit. In 2019, former Superintendent Scott Monson called her a “Champion of Students,” particularly the underrepresented and marginalized. But after complaints from staff stemming from the flag controversy, Williams in March placed Thomas on administrative leave pending an investigation into nonspecific workplace allegations, according to the lawsuit.

The investigation was supposed to last only two or three weeks, the complaint said, but lasted into May. Thomas, who remained on leave until the summer, filed a discrimination complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Thomas’ lawsuit seeks monetary damages from the district and to reinstate her as principal of the middle school. It comes after a group of local residents, Marshall Concerned Citizens, sued the district in April, alleging school officials unfairly targeted a group of students petitioning for the removal of the pride flag. Their complaint claimed the school violated students’ First Amendment rights by suppressing speech in an environment “invited” by school officials.

U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in August dismissed the Marshall Concerned Citizens lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the group cannot bring another lawsuit in the matter.

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The last county in Minnesota without a COVID-19 death has reported its first



The last county in Minnesota without a COVID-19 death has reported its first

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — Cook County reported its first COVID-19-related death on Wednesday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The person who died in the county, located at the far end of northeastern Minnesota’s Arrowhead, was between ages 75 and 79.

Cook County still has the fewest number of COVID-19 deaths of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

The next-lowest totals are in Big Stone, Lake of the Woods and Lincoln counties, which each have five deaths.

Minnesota reported 100 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, a backlog from over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, pushing the state’s death toll to 9,482 since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Cook County’s vaccination rates are the highest in Minnesota, with 82.6% of the total population having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 76.8% fully vaccinated. Ninety-nine percent of Cook County residents age 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the county’s total population to be 5,736 in 2019.

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Women’s basketball: North Carolina holds off Gophers in ACC/Big Ten Challenge



No. 6 Gophers beat UMD for first victory of the season

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team fell short in the ACC/Big Challenge on Wednesday, falling 82-76 against a good team from North Carolina at Williams Arena. It was disappointing, but there was a silver lining — freshman forward Alanna Micheaux.

Micheaux was a revelation, scoring a career-high 23 points with five rebounds.

Coach Lindsay Whalen raved about the freshman from suburban Detroit before the season started, and now everyone knows why.

“She has some of the best touch I think I’ve ever seen around the paint, and she knocked down her free throws,” Whalen said. “That was a heck of a game from her — timing, positioning, getting to her spots, but then being able to score through people and finish with finesse like she does.”

The 6-foot-2 post shot 8 for 10 from the field and 7 for 8 from the free-throw line and kept Minnesota close in a torrid second half. Her three-point play with 6:24 remaining pulled the Gophers to within 67-60, and her inside basket cut the deficit to 67-65 with 4:39 remaining.

Her miss on the ensuing free throw was her only miss from the stripe, and the Tar Heels scored the next nine points — six by Kennedy Todd Williams — to help North Carolina pull away.

Alyssa Ustby led five Tar Heels in double figures with 19 points, and Deja Kelly and Carrie Littlefield added 15 points apiece as North Carolina remained undefeated (8-0). The Gophers were never completely out of it, but they spent most of their effort trying to rally back from deficits as large as 12.

The Gophers trailed 39-29 at intermission.

Minnesota pulled ahead, 55-54, on a drive by Gadiva Hubbard with 35 seconds left in the third quarter, but Todd-Williams hit one free throw after an offensive rebound, and Kelly hit a half-court shot with a second remaining to give the Tar Heels a 58-55 lead heading into the fourth quarter — the beginning of a 9-0 run.

“It seemed like in the second half there was just a better flow for us and a lot of it started defensively. We were able to run and get some easy stuff,” Whalen said. “It’s hard when you spot a team 10 points in the second quarter. We did it, but that’s when you need those key two or three stops in a row.

“Then maybe it’s a different ballgame, but give them credit.”

Deja Winters’ three-point play pulled Minnesota to within 75-71 with 1:12 remaining, but Todd-Williams answered with a layup and free throw for a 78-71 lead with 51 seconds left, and the Gophers were never able to catch up.

Winters scored 17 points and Gadiva Hubbard added 14 for the Gophers, who fell to 6-4. The Gophers begin the Big Ten season Monday against Nebraska at Williams Arena.

The Gophers didn’t have a player like Micheaux last season, and she could make a big difference this season as the Gophers take aim at an NCAA tournament berth.

“A game like this really boosted my confidence. It helped me out a lot,” Micheaux said. “But I can’t lie: I couldn’t have done it without the team. If it wasn’t for them setting up the plays, telling me how to get through and what screens to set, it would have never happened.”

The Gophers’ offense was sharp early. The team had six assists on seven first-quarter baskets and was tied 17-17 going into the second quarter. But things soon began unraveling. By intermission, Minnesota had taken 19 3-point shots and made just three (15.8 percent).

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