Reason Roundup

San Francisco Residents Balk at Decision To Scrub Lincoln, Washington, Feinstein from School Names

Plus: Smoking rates stop falling, ACLU defends man banned from library over Trump poem, and more...


Changes to school names in San Francisco have gone too far for even some of the city's many progressive residents. The changes—which wiped out the names of historical leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Paul Revere, and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from public school names—earned condemnation from San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

"This is an important conversation to have, and one that we should involve our communities, our families, and our students," said Breed in a Tuesday statement.

What I cannot understand is why the School Board is advancing a plan to have all these schools renamed by April, when there isn't a plan to have our kids back in the classroom by then.

Let's bring the same urgency and focus on getting our kids back in the classroom, and then we can have that longer conversation about the future of school names.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Education voted 6-1 in favor of the name changes, which affect 44 schools.

School board members said the names being removed from schools were figures who "engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings; or who oppressed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide; or who otherwise significantly diminished the opportunities of those among us to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

"This is a moral message. It's a message to our families, our students and our community. It's not just symbolic," school board member Mark Sanchez said.

A full list of figures removed from school names and the rationale behind those changes can be found here.

The New York Times collected comments from some San Franciso parents. "Liberals by definition believe that government can do good things. If we do laughable things then we make a mockery of the movement," pediatrician and parent Adam Davis, who describes himself as "a strong Elizabeth Warren liberal," told the paper. "I don't know anybody personally who doesn't think it's embarrassing. [It's] a caricature of what people think liberals in San Francisco do."

Noah Griffin told the Times he didn't object to Lincoln and Washington being excluded, but thinks Feinstein's name should be able to stay.

A petition to stop the changes has gained nearly 10,000 signatures.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana is suing the state's Jackson County over a man being banned from a public library over a pro-Trump poem. The man, Richard England, "says he was banned from the library in November after he wrote what his attorney called a 'short and unoffensive' poem about former President Donald Trump," WFYI explains.

England left the poem for a library employee with whom he was friends.

"When that individual was not there, he left it on a basket in the circulation desk," said attorney Gavin Rose.

"When he got home, he had a voicemail from an officer with the Seymour police department saying the library essentially trespassed him," Rose added.

The lawsuit, filed in Indiana's Southern District court, asks a judge to lift the ban.


Smoking rates stop falling. "Before the pandemic, U.S. cigarette unit sales had been falling at an accelerating rate, hitting 5.5% in 2019, as smokers quit or switched to alternatives like e-cigarettes," reports The Wall Street Journal. "The pandemic put the brakes on that slide. In 2020, the U.S. cigarette industry's unit sales were flat compared to the previous year, according to data released Thursday by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc."


• Requiring proof of sex reassignment surgery before someone can change their driver's license gender is unconstitutional, says a federal court ruling on a case in Alabama.

• New legislation aims to end the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine sentences.

The Secret History of Clubhouse: "The tale of a pivotal weekend for the platform and the beginning of the end of both the Burning Man ethos and a 'big tent' approach to community."

• More than 1,000 prostitution and loitering cases in Brooklyn will be dismissed, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced yesterday. "The news is a part of a formal announcement that Gonzalez's office now plans to decline to prosecute or dismiss cases on both charges," says Buzzfeed.

• In Connecticut, state Sen. Will Haskell (D–New Canaan) has "introduced a bill in the State Senate that would penalize you with a fine if you do not vote in an election."

• Eight women in Ohio were "rescued and arrested" in a "human trafficking sting."

• A new study suggesting COVID-19 can diminish male fertility is raising alarms. But "being ill from any virus such as flu can temporarily drop your sperm count (sometimes to zero) for a few weeks or months. This makes it difficult to work out how much of the reductions observed in this study were specific to COVID-19 rather than just from being ill," cautions Channa Jayasena, a researcher with Imperial College London, on CNN.

• Protecting and serving:

• South Carolina's Senate just voted in favor of outlawing almost all abortion in the state.

• In a new lawsuit backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), plaintiffs are trying to get a Maryland handgun licensing law declared unconstitutional.

• A Woman's Strike event in Poland saw "thousands of women [taking] to the streets of Polish cities after an extensive ban on abortion took effect, three months after a court ruled that it was unconstitutional to terminate pregnancies because of fetal abnormalities."

• Thailand is legalizing early-term abortion.

• Are rent control laws unconstitutional?

• The Supreme Court's next big free speech showdown.