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Culture

Fifteen Things That Caught My Eye Today: Chemical Abortion, Human Rights and the Biden Administration & More

1. This is a horrendous move:

2. Nurses to perform abortions in Hawaii

Blinken’s denunciation was unfair and misleading. What he repudiated was a phantom report, one that was never written, whose critics shouted it down even before its authors were appointed, and had little to do with the report that actually emerged. The letters LGBTQ are not to be found in its pages; abortion is not discussed; natural law is not insisted upon; and the hierarchy that is proposed is mainly a prioritization of rights that are binding in all places and circumstances over those that are tailored more flexibly to circumstance and locale. 

. . .

What the commission’s report recommends may be thought of as a strengthening of the human rights magisterium. With respect to the vertical dimension, while the report does not require that human rights be viewed as divinely bestowed, it does hold that they are “pre-political,” “inherent in human beings” and “inalienable,” the eponymous term derived from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Human rights do not exist at the pleasure of governments or by virtue of positive law, but rather exist prior to law and institutions and serve as standards by which they may be judged. 

4.

5. Jesuits continue to demand release of 84-year-old priest imprisoned in India

Eighty-four-year-old Jesuit Fr. Stan Swamy, the voice of marginalized indigenous people in India, has been imprisoned near Mumbai since his arrest on Oct. 8, 2020. And on March 22, 2021, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court denied him bail, despite his severe case of Parkinson’s disease.

6. Paul Kingsnorth: Under the Spreading Walnut Tree

“These are our times and those of us cursed to think too much must work out how to live in them. To know where we stand and what we will not stand for. How to keep from becoming evil? It’s the question of our times.” 

7. David Limbaugh: Goodbye to my brother — for now

Though Rush is now known to the world as a consummate talker, what is not widely known is that he didn’t start that way. He was first a listener — an information sponge, quietly inhaling knowledge at the feet of our dad.

Rush was initially unassuming, respectful and focused, as if dedicating the first part of his life to acquiring the building blocks that would later serve him and the millions he was to touch when he would grow to full intellectual and professional maturity.

8. Taylor Dotson: The Danger of Fact-ist Politics

Though the political harms of misplaced certainty are now much discussed, we only hear about one side of the equation. The trouble always seems to be with “conspiracy theorists” who fail to face up to reality, to scientific fact. But the relationship of “debunkers” to certainty is not all that different. Who hasn’t given in to the urge to reflexively drop a Snopes link, or to reference a scientific article whose abstract we only skimmed, in order to avoid thinking carefully about why a great-aunt or former college acquaintance doesn’t trust Anthony Fauci?

The belief that misinformation is today’s main threat to democracy blinds us to the pernicious effects of a broader preoccupation with certitude. This obsession has been tearing at American politics throughout the Covid pandemic, and continues to imperil debates over vaccination, masking, and lockdowns. But the problem will remain with us long after the virus has been beaten.

9. Jesse Singal: The False Promise of Quick-Fix Psychology

Often [social psychology] offers what are, in effect, quick fixes for complex and enduring societal problems like inequality and bias. These self-help-style solutions are almost always aimed at diagnosing and optimizing individuals, whether that means boosting their grit, making them feel more powerful or discovering their hidden racism. Because they promise so much reward for so little effort, social psychology fads often win attention and resources long before there is any rigorous evidence of their effectiveness. And such evidence often never materializes: Only about half of all published experimental psychological findings are successfully replicated by other researchers. The subfield of social psychology tends to fare even worse.

10. 

11. Philip Eade: A tribute to Prince Philip, 1921-2021

As Britain’s longest-serving consort, he outlasted 14 prime ministers and carried out a staggering 22,000 solo public engagements, joking shortly before his retirement from royal duties in 2017 that he was probably the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler. When the mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah told the prince how sorry he was to hear he was standing down, Philip riposted in characteristic fashion: ‘Well, I can’t stand up much longer!’

12. Marine Corps Rolls Out New Nursing Shirt, Maternity Dress Blue Items

New items, including maternity and nursing undershirts and a service uniform blouse with adjustable side tabs, will be available for purchase at Marine Corps Exchanges starting this month, Marine Corps Systems Command, or MCSC, officials said in a Wednesday release. Other maternity uniform components, including PT shorts, dress blue skirt and pants, and possibly a dress blue jacket, are also on the way, officials said. 

Existing Marine Corps maternity items include a shapeless and tent-like service tunic in olive drab and a non-adjustable khaki service shirt; pregnant Marines have been known to squeeze into their regular uniforms for months to avoid wearing them. 

13. Elizabeth Hansen: Love, Loss, and Eucatastrophe

14. Museums Struggle to Survive COVID-19 

15. Michael Pakakuk: Giving Others a Reason to Be Christian 

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