The Corner

Religion

Twenty Things that Caught My Eye Today: Pregnant Women & COVID, Hong Kong, & More

1. The New Yorker: The Coronavirus Vaccine Presents a Dilemma for Pregnant Women

A few days before the procedure, Amanda received an e-mail from hospital administrators saying that the vaccine would be distributed that week. She felt she had been forced to make an impossible choice: taking a vaccine that has not been tested on pregnant women and risking harm to a potential pregnancy, or skipping the vaccine and the protection it offers. “What if I should have waited? What if I do get pregnant and I get covid?” she recalled wondering. “There are just so many unknowns.”

2. Thousands flee Hong Kong for UK, fearing China crackdown

Some are leaving because they fear punishment for supporting the pro-democracy protests that swept the former British colony in 2019. Others say China’s encroachment on their way of life and civil liberties has become unbearable, and they want to seek a better future for their children abroad. Most say they don’t plan to ever go back.

3. Matthew Soerens: 2020 May Finally Be Over, But the Plight of Refugees and Other Immigrants Is Not

Some of the most egregious situations of family separation are likely to change with a new administration: President-elect Biden has promised to dramatically increase refugee admissions and to reunify children and parents separated at the border by the current administration, and he will have the authority to do so by executive action. He could immediately resume overseas visa processing, as evangelical leaders have urged him to do. But other changes – such as reducing backlogs for family reunification visas or any process to allow undocumented immigrants to earn permanent legal status – will require bipartisan congressional action.

A growing number of evangelical Christians, who historically have championed “family values,” argue that the best way to achieve those policy changes – to keep families together and reunite families without eroding the rule of law – would be a restitution-based immigration reform.

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5. New York Times: 9 N.Y. Health Officials Have Quit as Cuomo Scorns Expertise

Even as the pandemic continues to rage and New York struggles to vaccinate a large and anxious population, Mr. Cuomo has all but declared war on his own public health bureaucracy. The departures have underscored the extent to which pandemic policy has been set by the governor, who with his aides crafted a vaccination program beset by early delays.

6. Colin Wright: Sex Is Not a Spectrum

…This all sounds very progressive in theory. But the consequences are regressive in practice, since the indicia of male-ness and female-ness invoked by sex-spectrum enthusiasts will always be based on sexist ideals and stereotypes that our grandparents would have recognized.

If this sex-spectrum logic strikes you as awfully similar to playground bully logic, you’re right. Imagine the following scenario: James, 16, is a very effeminate boy. He gets relentlessly bullied in high school for his feminine appearance and mannerisms. His classmates tease, “What, are you a girl?” His teacher, upon overhearing this, consults his sex-spectrum chart and tells the class: “maybe.”

Another worrying corollary of this notion is that surgical intervention on intersex infants (sometimes called intersex genital mutilation) can change an individual’s actual location along a pseudo-scientific sex spectrum. A parent may then feel more justified in opting for other “corrective” surgeries, sometimes at odds with an infant’s true (gonadal) biological sex, in order to make their child “ideally” (in their minds) more male or more female. To be fair, most sex-spectrum advocates decry surgical intervention on intersex infants (and rightfully so, in my opinion), but fail to consider how their doctrines may encourage such practices.

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8. Michael R. Strain: How to Make a (Modest) Minimum-Wage Hike Work

If a higher minimum wage were paired with a robust push to increase the skills of low-wage workers, employment reductions would be less severe. The wage floor would increase, but the number of workers who could command that higher wage in the market would also increase. Employment wouldn’t fall as far, and the benefits of a higher minimum wage could be enjoyed by more workers.

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10. Surrogacy reform is spreading in the rich world

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12. Max Hastings: American Universities Declare War on Military History

History now accounts for a smaller share of undergraduate degrees than at any time since 1950. Whereas in 1970, 6% of American male and 5% of female students were history majors, the respective percentages are now less than 2% and less than 1%, respectively.

Paul Kennedy of Yale, author of one of the best-selling history books of all time, “The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers,” is among many historians who deplore what is, or rather is not, going on. He observed to me that while some public universities, such as Ohio State and Kansas State, have strong program in the history of war, “It’s in the elite universities that the subject has gone.”

“Can you imagine Chicago, or Berkeley, or Princeton having War Studies departments?” he asked. “Military history is the most noxious of the ‘dead white male’ subjects, and there’s also a great falling away in the teaching of diplomatic, colonial and European political history.”

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17. The Battle for Moral Authority

18. Welcome to My Zoom Party – Virtual Social Interaction, Loneliness, and Well-Being Among Emerging Adults Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

19. “We might learn the time of Covidtide is more normal than the frenzy we regard as ‘normal.’”

20. And the Babylon Bee makes me cry today: Google Deletes 100,000 Negative Reviews Of Planned Parenthood From Unborn Babies

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