The Corner

Culture

Twenty-Six Things That Caught My Eye Today: Rethinking Crisis Response with Sally Satel & More (September 14, 2020)

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3. Washington Post: Amnesty Report: Businesses supporting Myanmar abuses

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5.GZERO: Hard Numbers: India COVID cases spike, Colombia protest turns deadly, Sudan floods, global wildlife destruction

Seven people were killed on Wednesday night when a protest against police brutality turned deadly in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. The protests were sparked by a video widely shared on social media of cops repeatedly using a stun gun on an unarmed man until he died.

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7. Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: ‘We Hope They Die’

No one other than the shooter is responsible for the gunfire ambush Saturday of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies as they sat in their patrol car. But the same can’t be said for the protesters who blocked the entrance to the hospital where the two are being treated, and chanted “we hope they die.” The latter is a cultural poison nurtured by the left-wing anti-police movement sweeping the country.

. . .

Democratic mayor Eric Garcetti called the chants and protests at the hospital “unacceptable” and “abhorrent,” but he and other Democrats need to do more to condemn and ostracize these protesters.

8. Rick Santorum: Gardner Is Right: NASA Must Confront the Growing China Threat

There is no question that space has become the new frontier for Chinese-American geopolitical rivalry. There also is no question that the Chinese plan to use the same tactics that they always use to gain strategic parity with the Americans — stealing our technology and deploying it for their own use. In fact, they’ve already forcefully begun doing so.

9. Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Black Cops Don’t Matter

In one day this week, two black police chiefs resigned under pressure — Renee Hall in Dallas, the first black woman to head that city’s force, and La’Ron Singletary in Rochester. Last month Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, a three-decade veteran of the force, quit in protest over the progressive City Council’s plans to defund the police.

Rochester’s Chief Singletary didn’t go quietly. In a bitter statement Tuesday, he said: “As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character.”

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11. Elizabeth Weil: They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?

We dug ourselves into a deep, dangerous fuel imbalance due to one simple fact. We live in a Mediterranean climate that’s designed to burn, and we’ve prevented it from burning anywhere close to enough for well over a hundred years. Now climate change has made it hotter and drier than ever before, and the fire we’ve been forestalling is going to happen, fast, whether we plan for it or not.

Megafires, like the ones that have ripped this week through 1 million acres (so far), will continue to erupt until we’ve flared off our stockpiled fuels. No way around that.

12. Sally Satel: Rethink Crisis Response

Police are often the first responders because there is no one else who can attend to a person in crisis. “I don’t think we have any option but to be social workers, marriage counselors, coaches,” Joann Peterson, a retired New Haven police captain, told the Connecticut Mirror in June. At the same time, having police on the front lines of such incidents wastes community resources, overburdens law enforcement, and, when things go badly, criminalizes severe behavioral disruption due to illness.

. . .

“Cop culture has always been, ‘We’re the people who respond to a crisis, jump out of the car, and take immediate action,'” New York Police Department Assistant Chief Matthew Pontillo told colleagues at a Police Executive Research Forum in 2015. “And we’re saying, ‘No, that’s not the correct paradigm anymore.'” While wholesale replacement of police officers with social workers is unrealistic, there are police-based programs that respond humanely to people who are in crisis.

13. Thorn: How vulnerabilities increase child sex trafficking risk

There are certainly victims being forcibly held against their will in the world, but the vast majority of coercion into sex trafficking occurs over months and years, with controllers building trust and psychological leverage in order to exploit their victims.

. . .

Instability with adult role models can create a void for children that a trafficker leverages to create trust and ultimately exploit their victims. Those who enter the foster system can be particularly vulnerable.

As one survivor put it: “Nobody wanted me. This set me up to be vulnerable and needy.” Those in foster care have often been removed from abusive or negligent settings, which immediately makes them highly vulnerable targets for predatory traffickers.

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15. Catholic News Agency: Tabernacle stolen from Canadian Catholic cathedral

Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines pleaded for the two people who took the tabernacle to return it, along with its contents, in an interview Tuesday afternoon with Canadian station NewsTalk 610 CKTB.

“The tabernacle can be replaced. It’s the contents (…) that is what is so precious to us. That’s what’s irreplaceable,” said Bergie, adding that he hopes that no harm is done to the Blessed Sacrament.

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17. Rachel Campos-Duffy and Evita Duffy: Michelle Obama Is Complicit In Netflix Child Porn Film ‘Cuties’

Beyoncé and Cardi B are part of a puzzling and pernicious third-wave feminist cultural trend that equates stripper culture with female empowerment. Elevating celebrities who traffic in this cultural sewer to the status of role models, as the Obamas and Biden campaign have, to win votes and cultural cred, explains so much of the child sexualization the film “Cuties” so misguidedly tried to portray. Sex sells — in music and in politics.

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Four years ago, first lady Michelle Obama joined a social media campaign called  “#BringBackOurGirls” to raise awareness of the kidnapping of Nigerian Christian girls by Muslim terrorists. Maybe it’s time for Michelle Obama to lend her fame, massive fortune, and cultural influence to bringing back our American girls from a dangerous, hyper-sexualized culture that preys on their innocence and exploits them — a culture that lies and sells sex as empowerment robbing girls (and boys) of their God-given right to just be kids.

18. Robert J. Samuelson: Goodbye, readers, and good luck — you’ll need it

So far as I can tell, nothing that I have written has ever had the slightest effect on what actually happened… But I’m resigned to this. No one elected me to anything. In our system, the people rule, not the pundits; and that’s how it should be.

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I hope I am wrong about the future. That’s one excuse for my throwing in the towel now, in the midst of one of the great news stories of our time. I am a man of the 20th century, but we are now facing the problems of the 21st century, which demand new policies and norms. Goodbye and good luck — you’ll need as much help as you can get.

19. Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: The Conservatives should double down on religious freedom

My colleague William Watson observed that, with a Liberal leftward turn, the political middle is now miles and miles wide. Biblical wisdom advises against taking the wide road, but then politics does not operate entirely by the dominical injunctions of holy writ.

20. Robert VerBruggen: More Sex, Less Death?

Relative to people who reported having sex zero times or once per year, those who had sex up to 51 times were about a third less likely to die, and those who did it weekly or more were only about half as likely to die. Deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease were both lower among people with higher sexual frequency.

21. Reason: A New Bill Would Stop the Feds From Tossing Drug Defendants in Prison Before They’re Convicted

Durbin, Lee, and Coons’ bill will put all drug offenses on the same level. People charged with drug offenses that could potentially result in long prison sentences will no longer be treated with a presumption or pre-trial detention. But this is also not a “Get Out of Jail Free” pass. A judge can still order the confinement of a defendant who is deemed a threat to the community or a flight risk. The difference is that the courts will no longer presume that this threat exists without any evidence.

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“The Fifth Amendment protects the life, liberty, and property of all Americans from government interference without due process of law. This legislation seeks to better protect the right of all Americans against unjust imprisonment by changing the presumption for pretrial detention,” said Lee in a prepared statement. “This change to a presumption against pretrial detention will allow judges more discretion to consider each defendant’s individual and unique circumstances when deciding whether pretrial detention is appropriate and necessary.”

22. Faye Flam: ‘Follow the Science’ Isn’t a Covid-19 Strategy

Science can give insights into the nature of the pandemic, but there is no scientific formula pointing to a solution. Any plan of action will force us to balance the need to protect people from the virus with educational, psychological and economic needs, as well as other health needs. The disease is dangerous, and yet there are some things, such as protesting racism or reopening elementary schools, that some people would deem worth the risk. How we weigh those priorities is a matter for public policy.

. . .

A real strategy would start by admitting that Americans, for the most part, want safeguards against the disease but don’t want to sacrifice everything in life for the sake of public health. Some value the right to protest racial injustice, others the right to keep their jobs or businesses open.

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24. ‘Coffin confessor’ Bill Edgar paid to gatecrash Queensland funerals and speak for the dead

Mr Edgar runs a business in which, for $10,000, he is engaged by people “knocking on death’s door” to go to their funerals or gravesides and reveal the secrets they want their loved ones to know. 

. . .

Despite the confronting nature of his job, Mr Edgar said “once you get the crowd on your side, you’re pretty right” because mourners were keen to know what was left unsaid.

He said some clients never had the opportunity to reveal their secrets while they were alive.

“When people are knocking on death’s door, some of them are alone for six-to-12 months before they die and they never see anybody,” he said.

25. Tim Markatos: Two Identities, One Faith

In a rare comment on the subject, Rohmer explained how he saw the relationship of faith and film:

I am a Catholic. I believe that a true cinema is necessarily a Christian cinema, because there is no truth except in Christianity. I believe in the genius of Christianity, and there is not a single great film in the history of cinema that is not infused with the light of the Christian idea.

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