More than half of Americans have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the unvaccinated portion of the population is driving the staggering increase in hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus in recent days. You would think the promise of avoiding death or serious illness would be a sufficient lure to get vaccinated, but even lotteries, prizes, days off work and other incentives have failed to get the stubbornly unvaccinated off the sidelines. But the Canadian province of Quebec might have found the key to motivating them. It saw appointments for first doses quadruple last week after proof of vaccination became a requirement for entering liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. It’s enough to make you wonder if Harrisburg’s aggravating and outmoded stranglehold on alcohol sales in the state could, at least in this instance, yield something very beneficial to Pennsylvania’s citizens.
Anyone who teaches in the state of Indiana right now might well be pondering other career options. Aside from extreme burnout after two years of COVID-19, lawmakers are trying to impose new restrictions on what instructors can teach in the classroom. A state Senate bill would, among other things, set up curriculum review committees led by parents and have teachers post lesson plans online, yet another burden already overburdened teachers would have to confront. It also strenuously pleads that teachers remain neutral when discussing political or social issues, to the point where, according to one lawmaker, instructors should remain “impartial” when discussing even Marxism, fascism or Nazism. He later walked back those remarks, but that lawmaker is not the first person in recent weeks to make headlines suggesting there’s some sort of middle ground to be found in discussing Nazism – one school administrator in Texas recommended teachers present “opposing views” of the Holocaust. One Indiana teacher fired back, musing on Twitter, “Is 2022 really the year that we’ll punish teachers, maybe even strip them of their license, for opposing hateful ideologies?”
Starting in 2023, residents of New York City who are not U.S. citizens will be eligible to vote in municipal elections, as per a law that went into effect this week. Individuals with work visas, legal permanent residents, and the children of undocumented immigrants who have called Gotham home for at least a month will be able to vote for City Council members and, if the law stays in place by 2025, mayor. While we support getting as many people as possible involved in the democratic process, we’re inclined to agree with columnist Mona Charen that this is “bad policy and terrible politics.” She wrote that the new law “cheapens the meaning of citizenship” and that “simply living and working here is not an expression of commitment to the future of this country.”
Pittsburgh has never hosted a political convention by one of the two major parties, despite comparably-sized cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Kansas City having done so, and despite Pennsylvania being a hotly contested swing state. That could change in 2024, however, since Pittsburgh is one of four finalists to host the Republican National Convention, along with Milwaukee, Salt Lake City and Nashville, Tenn. The Democrats have yet to announce their finalists. If either party comes to Pittsburgh two years from now, it would likely be a boon to the region, with an estimated economic impact of $100 million to $200 million. Plus, it would tell Pittsburgh’s story to a national and international audience, and let them know the region is no longer defined by its heritage of smokestacks and smog.