The Corner

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21 Things That Caught My Eye Today: Ida, Afghanistan, Children & More

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2. New York Times: At Birth, She Already Had a Case File. At 7 Years Old, She Was Dead

She was just a little girl, 7 years old, and alone.

. . .

It appeared that, under her pink mask, she had a bruise under one eye. Mr. Slade realized that to get to the store, she must have crossed a busy four-lane intersection of East 138th Street by herself. He thought about the police precinct nearby, and considered walking her there. No. Better not to interfere in other people’s business.

Days later, the girl, Julissia Batties, would be found dead in her apartment around the corner from the bodega, beaten to death. Her short life, in its final months, played out like that walk to the bodega — in plain sight and in danger at the same time.

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4.  Buzzfeed News: UN Peacekeepers Fathered Dozens of Children In Haiti. The Women They Exploited Are Trying To Get Child Support

Dominic Antonio Cortez’s tawny skin and the 2-inch-high nest of curls on his head stood out in stark contrast to the darker complexion and buzz cuts of the other boys in the neighborhood. At school, he said, classmates whispered about him behind his back and taunted him to his face, disparagingly calling him “Little Minustah,” after the name of the UN’s mission to Haiti: MINUSTAH.

“The teachers don’t like me,” he said. “Other children don’t want me in the school.”

The 9-year-old said he prefers to be at home, where he sleeps on a thin mattress he shares with his two siblings in the living room and often goes to bed with an empty stomach.

In a fit of anger, Dominic recently accused his mother, Becheline Appoliner, of preventing him from finding his father, and threatened to harm himself. The boy says he wants to be a UN peacekeeper when he grows up.

5. The Washington Post Magazine: The Mystery of 9/11 and Dementia

6. New York Times: On Death Row in Texas, a Last Request: A Prayer and ‘Human Contact’

Rev. Moore, the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, has been visiting Mr. Ramirez in prison for more than four years, driving 300 miles northwest to the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, where Mr. Ramirez has been on death row for more than a decade.

. . .

Now, the men are planning one last meeting, in the death chamber where the state of Texas plans to execute Mr. Ramirez by lethal injection on Sept. 8. And Mr. Ramirez is asking for something unusual: He wants Mr. Moore to lay hands on him at the moment of his death.

. . .

On Aug. 10, Mr. Ramirez filed a federal lawsuit against prison officials for denying his request. The suit claims that the state’s refusal to allow Rev. Moore to lay hands on him burdens his free exercise of religion at the exact moment “when most Christians believe they will either ascend to heaven or descend to hell — in other words, when religious instruction and practice is most needed.”

7. Stephen Eide: Turning the Page on Mental Health

In June 2021, Eric Adams told City & State, “My administration will increase the number of inpatient psychiatric beds.” To make good on that commitment, New York’s likely next mayor must bring pressure to bear not only on state and federal partners but also on nonprofits. General hospitals run by nonprofit health systems, such as New York Presbyterian, remain important providers of inpatient care. But their commitment has been wavering, as shown by a 2017 Independent Budget Office report and protests over the planned closure of Allen Hospital in Inwood. Presuming he wins the mayor’s office in November, Adams should make clear to local health systems that the city needs their continued commitment to inpatient psychiatric care.

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9. Alejandro Bermudez: 5 things you need to know about Christians in Afghanistan now

“It is impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan,” concluded the Open Doors report. “Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed.”

. . .

Already last week Christian media reported Afghan Christians were being killed on the spot after identifying as Christian. Reports from Afghan civilians near airport gates said the Taliban was searching the crowds to find Christians.

10. Reuters: Wedding certificate and cell phone: How a U.S. veteran’s wife fled Afghanistan

Unknown numbers of U.S.-affiliated families fearing Taliban retribution have been split up in the chaotic scramble for flights before the U.S. evacuation operation ends by Tuesday, said people involved in ad hoc networks racing to help extricate at-risk Afghans.

With U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration prioritizing U.S. passport and green card holders, many streaming to the airport through Taliban checkpoints with Afghan families have faced an agonizing choice: leave relatives behind or risk their own lives by staying, these people said.

11. Abigail Shrier: Should Public Schools be Allowed to Deceive Parents?

A “gender support plan” isn’t merely a secret held between child and teacher, which might be bad enough. This is no private student confession, the silent whisperings of a troubled teenage heart. A Gender Support Plan, or any similar scheme, effects a schoolwide conspiracy to create a secret name and gender identity specifically withheld from parents. I’ve talked to a mom whose middle school daughter slept in the boys’ bunk on the school overnight before she learned her daughter’s school had, for more than a year, called her by a different name and openly referred to her as a boy.

Teachers and activists who support this policy typically make two arguments in its favor. The first is that the very fact that a teen would want to keep her new gender identity a secret from parents is proof that home is an “unsafe” place for her; that is, her parents, if they knew, would abuse her. The second is that this gender declaration is a deeply held and personal decision of the child’s. The school, in this scenario, is merely a polite bystander—at most, a kindly chaperone. It’s not the school’s job to ask mom and dad for their approval.

The first is absurd; the second, dishonest.

. . .

This is where the most critical cultural battle will be fought. Not with reckless doctors, for whom lawsuits are coming. Not even with the therapists—in many cases, a luxury, parents can walk away from. It will be fought with America’s activist teachers. Will we allow the activists among them unaccountable access to the next generation of America’s children

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13.  The Daily Signal: Judge Denies Mom Custody of Son Because She’s Unvaccinated

For seven years, Firlit shared custody of her child with her ex-husband, the mother’s attorney, Annette Fernholz, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Firlit’s ex-husband did not ask the judge to consider Firlit’s vaccination status, and the judge’s decision surprised even the father’s attorney.

“The father did not even bring this issue before the court,” Fernholz told The Washington Post. “So it’s the judge on his own and making this decision that you can’t see your child until you’re vaccinated.”

14. Fox News: Australia to end ‘covid zero’ policy: ‘Not a sustainable way to live’

The government will drop most restrictions once 80% of adults are vaccinated, which the government believes could happen by the end of the year, The Economist reported. Any further action would occur only after hospitals reached a point at which they could no longer cope with new cases, but will otherwise handle what they can. 

15. Arthur Chrenkoff: No Liberty? No Problem. Australia’s Crazy Covid response

A powerful coalition of those with the most to lose and those who have not lost anything is driving the official “zero Covid” fantasy. The media has piled on, helping the government to terrify the population. The Fauci Syndrome is strong in Australia, too: health experts and bureaucrats have tasted unprecedented fame, power, and influence, and continue to be among the main drivers of the most ridiculous restrictions. The ever-growing section of society directly or indirectly dependent on taxpayers for its livelihood has been well care for during Covid-related upheavals. Those most at risk of death or serious complications remain strongly supportive of government “protecting” them from the virus. And the so-called laptop class also hasn’t had a bad pandemic, with many enjoying being able to work from home.

This leaves a minority of Australians driven to despair by isolation, lockdowns, travel restrictions, and the disappearance of their livelihoods.

16. John McWhorter: The Neoracists

Third Wave Antiracism is losing innocent people jobs. It is coloring, detouring, and sometimes strangling academic inquiry. It forces us to render a great deal of our public discussion of urgent issues in doubletalk any 10-year-old can see through. It forces us to start teaching our actual 10-year-olds, in order to hold them off from spoiling the show in that way, to believe in sophistry in the name of enlightenment. On that, the Third Wave Antiracism guru Ibram X. Kendi has written a book on how to raise antiracist children called Antiracist Baby. You couldn’t imagine it better: Are we in a Christopher Guest movie? This and so much else is a sign that Third Wave Antiracism forces us to pretend that performance art is politics. It forces us to spend endless amounts of time listening to nonsense presented as wisdom, and pretend to like it.

17. Naomi Schaefer Riley: ‘Baby, Unplugged’ review

[Journalist Sophie Brickman] acknowledges that working parents—really, most parents—must occasionally make use of screens. But she doesn’t allow herself (the book’s subtitle is “One Mother’s Search for Balance, Reason, and Sanity in the Digital Age”) or any of her parent-readers to give up on the task of setting screen limits simply because they are stuck in an apartment or house all day with small, needy children.

18. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: This New Book Clarifies Today’s Muddled View of What It Means to Be a Woman

This term the Supreme Court is set to take another look at its abortion jurisprudence. Scholars like Bachiochi have filed an amicus brief with the court explaining that easy access to abortion has not rendered women freer or more equal. Instead, as she explains in The Rights of Women, “it has distorted the shared responsibilities that adhere in male-female sexual relationships, promoted a view of childbearing as one consumer choice among many, and has greatly contributed to the dim view of caregiving ever since.” 

Whether the Court overrules Roe and its progeny or significantly pulls back on its off-the-rails abortion jurisprudence, one thing is clear: Young women today have the tools to reclaim a lost vision of the rights of women. Society desperately needs this to happen.

19. Catholic church in New Orleans is emergency shelter during Hurricane Ida

“They called me and asked if we could put up everybody in some place, and I said, ‘of course,’” Father Palermo said. “We talked about several buildings and we decided the church was the easiest place to get into because we had two Masses earlier today and would still be a little cool. We have water, blankets and bathrooms.”

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21. Michele McAloon: A Christian Response to a Defeat

War and conflict are as old as mankind; so is defeat. But defeat does not mean defeated. The Old and New Testaments and the lives of the saints are full of examples of loss and renewal. Moses found hope in 40 years of wandering through the desert, without the reward of entering the Promised Land. St. Paul ultimately found victory in chains. He knew that the real victory only comes by rejoicing in hope, being patient during tribulations, and remaining constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12) Saints and sinners throughout the ages have willfully chosen to rise from defeat by turning a painful past into a hopeful future through faith and service to something greater than themselves.

Ironically, our renewal as a nation, church, or community of believers may come from an example of service being set even now, in the shadow of hardship and loss, by our U.S. military community. Service members and their families, a people without extraordinary financial means or material resources, who have been most affected by America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, are still serving, sacrificing, and asking: What more can we do to help?

As Afghan refugees begin resettlement into U.S. government-sponsored detention centers in Germany, legions of military families and veterans are volunteering as translators and workers. I’ve seen them the past few days at the Ramstein Air Base – a response that can only be described as awe-inspiring.

The simple act of a military family member buying a diaper for an Afghan baby whose father may have contributed to the violence targeted against their own loved one is a defining moment for our nation. Serving and sacrificing even more, instead of succumbing to resentment, has become a source of healing. Service and giving to others are a simple reflex for those who have chosen to serve. Americans really need to reflect deeply upon this humble example.

For Christians defeat is always just around the corner. Christian life is a battle against sin, temptation, and despair. Our true strength comes from the simple, yet so hard to live, commands of loving God and neighbor. A less violent future may lie in the hearts of men and women willing to organize their lives as God has commanded.

On a Friday, several centuries ago, in the Middle East, on a desert hill called Calvary, defeat and death seemed absolute. Three days later when the sun crept over the horizon it shone upon an empty tomb – the most profound victory in human history. Defeat can only be tempered by love and with the knowledge that His victory is ours, now and forever.

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