Arbitrary and Capricious Rules for Thanksgiving

by Kerry Dougherty

I missed Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID press conference yesterday. That’s OK, his pressers always fill me with dread.

Yet I had a legit reason for skipping this one: I was getting my hair done. In case Northam decided that the only way to “slow the spread” was to put Virginia’s hair stylists out of business. Again.

He didn’t. But Northam was clear that “everything is on the table” if our COVID numbers don’t come down.

“Do the right thing,” he said sternly.

Is there anything more annoying than a governor lecturing the people and blaming them for a virus?

News flash: We ARE doing the right thing, governor. And the virus is doing its thing. Stop blaming people for a virus that you and your wife caught. Were you two doing the wrong thing? Or did you discover that no matter what precautions you take, anyone can be infected? A little self-awareness would be nice.

Oh, and just like almost everyone who catches COVID-19 you and the wife seem to be doing just fine now. Thank goodness.

All across the nation, panicked governors and some mayors are bringing the hammer down on Americans, stomping on their constitutional rights, putting people out of work and kids out of school over a contagion that the vast majority of people will recover from. Worse, they’re doing this based on PCR testing so sensitive that it causes lots of false positives.

Don’t take my word for it. Read this eye-opening piece from The New York Times, “Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive: Maybe It Shouldn’t Be.”

With America’s most beloved holiday just a week away, some power-mad politicians seem determined to stick their noses into our dining rooms to count our noses.

An outrageous invasion of privacy.

In Virginia, there’s a 25-person limit. In New York it’s 10. In Oregon, where Gov. Kate Hill sat on her derriere all summer while anarchists rioted in the streets with no social distancing, it’s six. Oh, and if you get caught with more than six people at your Thanksgiving dinner you face 30 days in an Oregon jail and a $1,250 fine.

But guess what? Hill decided NOT to crack down on Black Friday sales, so while you can’t have more than half a dozen people at your Thanksgiving table, you can join the throngs of shoppers bursting through the doors of Walmart at midnight.

Can you spell arbitrary and capricious?

In Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tom Wolf in September was slapped around by a federal judge for his unconstitutional stay-at-home order, the governor has now ordered people to wear masks inside their houses if anyone outside of their household is present.

Seriously? Government is now telling us what to put on our faces in our own homes?

How far must governors go before even the most sheep-like people scream “Enough!”

Please let there be another lawsuit. And let it get to the Supreme Court. I’d love the Supremes to weigh in on the appalling abuses of civil rights that are taking place across the country in the name of COVID-19.

Justice Samuel Alito signaled his discomfort with the gubernatorial power grabs during a speech to the Federalist Society two weeks ago.

“The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” Alito said, adding that he wasn’t “diminishing the severity of the virus’ threat to public health.”

He added that it is an “indisputable statement of fact that we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.”

Prolonged is right. Seems only the courts can save us from these tyrants.

The most delicious irony, of course, is watching these despots flout the same rules they’re imposing on ordinary decent people.

Ralph Northam leaning in for selfies on the boardwalk this summer, for instance. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closing down hair salons but sneaking out for a haircut herself. And Nancy Pelosi getting a closed San Francisco salon to open just for her so she could get her hair done, maskless of course.

Then there’s California Gov. Gavin Newsom. A basket of hypocrisy. He was the first governor to issue dreary, unenforceable Thanksgiving regulations. We’ve listed them before: the meal must be consumed outdoors, food cannot be passed from person to person, guests must sit six feet apart and the meal needs to wrap up in two hours.

Last week, photos surfaced of Newsom and his wife at a large party at the French Laundry in Napa, one of California’s most expensive restaurants. (The prix fixe menu there is $295.)

Remember when Newsom ordered people in restaurants to wear masks between bites, pulling them down only to shovel food in their mouths? Well, there were the Newsoms, maskless and shoulder to shoulder with other guests in what was clearly an indoor restaurant.

The gibberish he offered as an excuse was pathetic: It was a pal’s 50th birthday, lots of planning had gone into it, the party was early in the evening (Is this virus nocturnal? Why all the bans on late-night dining?) And he paid for his meal. As if that made a difference.

When authoritarian governors issue orders that make no sense, compliance becomes an issue. In New York State a number of sheriffs have said they will not enforce the Thanksgiving limits. I suspect most law enforcement officers have better things to do than peer into private homes, counting people seated around a table.

And that’s one thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

UPDATE: The governor of Minnesota has banned all social gatherings of people not in the same household. Indoors and outdoors.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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25 responses to “Arbitrary and Capricious Rules for Thanksgiving

  1. “News flash: We ARE doing the right thing, governor.”

    Exactly right. See below from Arne Duncan:

    “I so appreciate everyone’s good wishers!
    How did we catch it?
    I don’t know

    We wore masks
    We socially distanced
    We avoided crowds
    We haven’t had people in our house

    And, I’m sure whoever gave it to us felt they did the same
    COVID is in the air now- in almost every room you enter”

  2. The criticisms of Newsom are fair. Governors and other political leaders lose their credibility when they don’t follow their own rules. And, just so that folks know, it is not only the conservatives pointing this out, that great bastion of liberalism (at least in some people’s eyes) , the New York Times, has also reported on the hypocrisy.

    But, it is interesting that Kerry has focused only on Democratic governors. She needs to look also at what some Republican governors have done to curtail the liberty of folks to infect others:



    North Dakota:


    Finally, the fatality rate may be relatively low, but the hospitals are filling up.

    • Dick, Dick, Dick… that’s whataboutism. Our guy is suppose to be perfect and when he isn’t, their job is to complain.

      “America Made Great Again”

      Mission misunderaccomplished!

  3. The big issue in NoVA is that, for some crazy reason, Dulles Expo Center allowed the Gun Show to schedule for this coming weekend. Now the show’s success is seriously impacted by Northam’s new orders. The Courts are burning the midnite oil to resolve the issue, one way or the other.

    I am not happy with Pa. Gov Wolfe. Earlier months he closed the state liquor stores which negatively impacted my 92-old parent in a big way. Now he is banning entry to Pa. without COVID test or quarantine. So I don’t know how I am going to get back in there, but I already escaped Pa. with a 92-yr old parent. My elderly parent does not handle lock-down well, so I cannot really say “sorry” you’re on your own ad infinitum.

    So Northam seems mild to me compared to Pa.

    • The fact that other governors may be worse is not justification for Governor Northam. Additionally, other governors aren’t accountable to Virginia residents. Governor Northam should be accountable. We are his fellow citizens, not his subjects.

      I hope the exhibitors prevail in their lawsuit against Northam’s irresponsible last minute actions.

      “The evening of Friday November 13th, an Executive Order by the Governor was posted that would essentially shut down the Nation’s Gun Show. The lawsuit hearing is taking place at 10 AM on Thursday. Most of the work on the lawsuit has already taken place and the two teams of lawyers continue to work. We have filed a lawsuit in Fairfax County to get a temporary injunction to allow the show to continue this weekend. It is our hope to get this building opened back up so that more events for the community can take place. The legal expenses are estimated to cost roughly $35,000.”

      “The show takes months to put together and it is too late a notice for most of these businesses to recoup their losses. It will cause irreparable damage to all involved from the building, auxiliary businesses, the exhibitors, the promoter, the hotel, convenience stores, restaurants, and the strip mall. Exhibitors have significant investments in inventory, as do restaurants and convenience stores, much of which cannot be recouped. Please donate to the GoFundMe below to help us fight to protect these businesses.”

      “We, the exhibitors, building staff and public have been very vigilant and gone above and beyond the state required COVID-19 safety measures. We have already had two shows with no known spread of COVID to exhibitors, staff or public. We are in a building more than 50,000 Sq. Ft. larger than the Walmart across the parking lot which remains open. We operate as a similar business model only temporarily in retail commercial business.”

  4. Del Bigtree (Emmy Award Winning producer of the daytime show Doctors) goes through the casedemic. I know some people don’t like Del, but listen as he painstakingly goes through the numbers, tests, and science. This all ends when we say it ends. This lockdown and the outrageous rules surrounding it are beyond ridiculous. Remember the un-constitutional 18th Amendment – the prohibition of alcohol? Yeah, read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the Anti-Federalists Papers. Let’s go back to the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists as to how much power the federal government should have. In Federalist 84 Alexander Hamilton addresses concerns regarding the lack of a Bill of Rights, and he cites many examples of how the Constitution does address certain rights. Then he goes on to state that adding a bill of rights is not only unnecessary but could “even be dangerous” as “no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed.” Thank goodness the Anti-Federalists won this debate and a Bill of Rights was added to the federal government (and then the 14th Amendment applied the Bill of Rights to the states). The much-ignored 9th Amendment was meant to secure the rights of the people not enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The point is that the government doesn’t have the right to tell you that you can’t drink alcohol, can’t eat unhealthy foods, can’t congregate when you are healthy. (yeah, I understand that all rights have qualifiers, such as can’t yell fire in a theatre). Prohibition was repealed due to the inability of the government to enforce its tyrannical edict. The Annals of Internal Medicine just concluded, “The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.” Simply put, it means masks are not effective. None of this is adding up. Courts have already ruled in various states (MI, PA and WI) about the un-constitutionality of the lockdowns. Justice Alito has warned against pandemic restrictions. There are Republican states such as Fl, TX, MS, SD are not locking down. People need full information to be able to assess what is going on and think about whether it’s time to really push back on the narrative.

  5. If Northam spent half as much time worrying about the economic consequences of his lockdown orders as he spends worrying about 100 year old Confederate statues we’d all be better off.

    First, set out measurable guidelines that let people understand what is coming. While I disagree with the action, diBlasio’s rule that schools would be closed if NYC exceeded a 3% positivity rate at least gave some predictability to what restrictions were coming and when. Parents could watch the positivity rate and start to make plans as it rose. This kind of clear thinking ai obviously beyong our hapless governor.

    Second, bend the non-health rules to accommodate businesses. Close streets around mealtime and let restaurants expand outdoor dining. Let restaurants sell beer and liquor by the drink to go. Establish a jobs exchange so that out of work waiters and waitresses, for example, can get temporary jobs providing curbside pickup at supermarkets.

    Instead of a measured and understandable plan we get Northam tearing up over temporary morgues in Kalamazoo (or wherever) while he rambles on about the court case to remove the Robert E Lee statue.

  6. Some of this is a little like this:

    VDOT: ” Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to – the roads are very hazardous”

    Incredulous Lout: ” Just HOW hazardous? And if I don’t like your answer, I’m going out anyhow”.


    There are endless variations to this. Just add the pandemic.

    • ‘DOT: ” Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to – the roads are very hazardous”’

      The aforementioned statement is a suggestion to which each individual makes their own personal decision. If they are involved in an accident where they have been determined to have not been driving OAW conditions they will be cited.

      That’s based upon Law that was enacted by Legislature, not a singular individual beholden to none under the current standards.

      • It’s also based on who makes the designation of emergency conditions which the DOT and local law enforcement can also do when conditions are harazrdous.

        If you have a contagious disease and you KNOW you have it and you still engage in conduct that can cause others to contract the disease – you do have culpability.

        • “It’s also based on who makes the designation of emergency conditions which the DOT and local law enforcement can also do when conditions are (sic) harazrdous.”

          No, no it’s not. Unless a road is deemed closed you are free to traverse it at your own risk.

          “If you have a contagious disease and you KNOW you have it and you still engage in conduct that can cause others to contract the disease – you do have culpability.”

          Well unless you’ve been tested and don’t display any symptoms you aren’t culpable. However, that’s not what Gov. Northam is doing, he’s restricting the freedom of movement and business to those who aren’t infected, as neither yourself nor her knows the medical status of anyone who hasn’t been tested.

          Analogy, fail.

        • Are you intentionally conflating “emergency conditions” with a “State of Emergency” as declared under state law, or do you really not know there is a difference? Or were just hoping no one would notice?

          • I’m confused by your comment. I know there is a distinct difference between the two which is why I stated his analogy doesn’t hold water.

            Maybe I’m missing what you’re trying to say.

          • My comment was a reply to Larry the G.

          • Oh got ya.

            What you commented on, is what I’ve been trying to explain. Probably not in the best manner, but trying at any rate.

  7. Wait! Didn’t Kerry tell us Scott Taylor would win? How’d the rest of her declarations come out?

    Clearly an expert.

  8. Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Tu Quoque. You could look it up.

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