Al’s Afternoon Tea: COVID-19 Mandate Suit Moves Forward in California, While Minimum-Wage Hike Moves Jobs in the Golden State Backward

By Al Perrotta Published on June 10, 2024

Welcome back in for Al’s Afternoon Tea. Today we’re serving up some California sunshine.

Appeals Court Rules Employees Can Sue LAUSD Over Vax Mandate

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday revived a lawsuit brought by employees against the L.A. Unified School District over a past vaccine mandate. The suit accuses the district of violating worker’s rights by firing those who refused to be injected with the experimental COVID-19 vaccines. Even though the mandate is no longer in effect — as of 2023 — the court overruled a district court decision, saying LAUSD showed a pattern of “withdrawing and reinstating its vaccine policies” over the course of the lawsuit, which has been ongoing for three years. Thus, “LAUSD has not carried its heavy burden to show that there is no reasonable possibility that it will again revert to imposing a similar policy,” the justices wrote. The decision was split 2-1 by a three-judge panel; the two prevailing justices were both Trump appointees.

The plaintiffs also argue over the effectiveness and nature of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it’s a “treatment,” not a traditional vaccine. And that by forcing employees to take the vax, LAUSD was interfering with a worker’s right to refuse medical treatment.

Perhaps more notably, as presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. noted, the court accepted the plaintiffs’ argument that the vaccines don’t actually stop the spread of the virus. Said Kennedy, “The ranks of the conspiracy theorists now include the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Jewish Students Sue UCLA Over “Jew Exclusion Zone”

Three Jewish students are suing UCLA after school-sponsored security guards refused to allow them to walk through a “Jew Exclusion Zone” set up by anti-Israel protesters on campus this spring. Just the News reports the suit accuses UCLA of violating their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, their civil rights, and even a state-level anti-mask law initially enacted to prevent anonymous people (at the time, the Klu Klux Klan) from harassing minorities.

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The religious liberty law firm Becket is representing the students. CEO Mark Rienz said, “If masked agitators had excluded any other marginalized group at UCLA, Governor [Gavin] Newsom rightly would have sent in the National Guard immediately.” Instead, UCLA allowed its Jewish students to be segregated from the heart of their own campus.”

Well, Done, Newsom. Only Killed Off Tens of Thousands of Jobs

As sure as sand gets in your bathing suit at the beach, jacking the minimum wage to $20 was going to kill jobs, especially in the food-service industry. But California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill anyway a few months ago, and now the impact is too big to ignore. A new report shows nearly 10,000 fast food workers have lost their jobs since the law took effect (appropriately enough, on April Fools Day).

Caitlin Clark Class Act After Being Snubbed for U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team

Days after an opposing player shoved her to the floor from behind, Caitlin Clark has been hit with another cheap shot: She’s been denied a spot on the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team, despite posting historic numbers in her first weeks as a pro and being the biggest thing to hit women’s basketball since James Naismith mailed up that first peach basket.

However, Clark was a good sport about the snub.

“I know it’s the most competitive team in the world, and I know it could’ve gone either way, me being on the team or me not being on the team,” she said. “I’m excited for them, gonna be rooting them on to win gold.” Clark dreams of playing in the Olympics and sees being left off the 2024 squad as “a bit more motivation” for 2028.

Brittney Griner did make the Olympic squad despite only playing in one game this year, after spending a year in a Russian prison for bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. 

Well, As a Matter of Fact …

I don’t know who has the tougher job, Joe Biden’s spokespeople or his sign-language interpreter. Today, I’m going with spokespeople. 

Biden campaign spokeswoman Adrienne Elron was on MSNBC Sunday, talking about foreign policy and actually said — out loud, in front of a national audience, after all the chaos we’ve seen the past three years — “During these challenging times on the foreign policy front, on the global front, can you imagine having Donald Trump back in the White House trying to manage all of this?”

As opposed to the guy who created all of this? It’s easy to imagine Trump managing chaos, because for four years he did exactly that.

Elron’s statement is on par with someone on ESPN saying, “Can you imagine Caitlin Clark sinking a bunch of three-pointers from another ZIP code with a player in her face?”

It’s also on par with something that happened early in the 2016 GOP primary: In one of his many questionable moves, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ran ads (and may even have said during a debate), “Can you imagine Donald Trump behind the desk in the Oval Office?”

Let’s see. Could we imagine Donald Trump in command, sitting behind a big desk? You mean like he did for years in primetime on The Apprentice? “Gee, he may be kind of a jerk, but now that you mention it, yeah, we can imagine it. Thanks for the help, Jeb!”

Why You Don’t Want to Get Too Happy About Polls

After benefitting from massive fundraisers, thousands of supporters lining the streets, and even a boat parade in Newport Beach, California, Donald Trump got some early birthday greetings from the thousands of people who flocked to his campaign rally Sunday in the sweltering heat of Las Vegas, where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.

Trump sweetened the pot in a state loaded with leisure and hospitality workers by announcing he would eliminate taxes on tips if reelected.

Vegas was Trump’s first public rally since being convicted of altering business records in New York City on May 31. And it doesn’t look like that verdict has slowed the momentum down. A Fox News poll taken afterward shows Trump has opened up a five-point lead over Biden in Nevada (who took the state in both 2016 and 2020). A new CBS News poll shows the race is now in a dead heat both nationally and in the swing states. Rasmussen concludes the verdict had “no measurable impact” on the 2024 race. Before the verdict, Rasmussen had Biden and Trump tied at 42% apiece; since then, Trump has been up one point, 43%-42%.

What was Joe Biden doing over the weekend? Once again, confusing Ukraine with Iraq.

However, Team Trump can’t get cocky. They should play this video whenever they feel tempted to measure for White House curtains.


On the Stream Menu

Hot off the presses, John Zmirak comes to us with “Imprison Steve Bannon Until the Election is Over? Legal Scapegoat Sidney Powell Speaks Out.”

Stream contributor Jim Tonkowich offers a jolly “Cure for Our Crankiness: Lighthearted Mirth.”


Al Perrotta is The Stream’s Washington bureau chief, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration, and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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