Twenty-One Things That Caught My Eye Today: Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Seuss, Pluralism & More (March 5, 2021)

POLITICS & POLICY

1.  Wall Street Journal: Cuomo Advisers Altered Report on Covid-19 Nursing-Home Deaths

The changes Mr. Cuomo’s aides and health officials made to the nursing-home report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, reveal that the state possessed a fuller accounting of out-of-facility nursing-home deaths as early as the summer. The Health Department resisted calls by state and federal lawmakers, media outlets and others to release the data for another eight months.

2. New York Times: Cuomo Aides Rewrote Nursing Home Report to Hide Higher Death Toll

State health officials could see from the data that a significant number of residents died after being transferred to hospitals. The state health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, had been aware as early as June that officials in his department believed the data was good enough to include in the report, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

But Dr. Zucker testified to lawmakers in early August that the department was still auditing the numbers and could not release them. State Senator Gustavo Rivera, the chair of the health committee, suggested during the hearing that the data was being withheld to improve the governor’s image.

“That’s a problem, bro,” Mr. Rivera told Dr. Zucker. “It seems, sir, that, in this case, you are choosing to define it differently so that you can look better.”

3. An open letter in defense of the good name of Armenia and its people

We cannot address all the misinformation streaming out of Baku. But we would like to declare here that we, precisely as Jews and Israelis, support the right of the Armenian people to live as a free nation in their home land. We respect their ancient, honorable, unique culture. We condemn the hateful slander directed against them. We also condemn all expressions of antisemitism, regardless of their pretext. We oppose aggression against the Armenians and believe our country should have no part of it. We will stand by their side.

4. New York Post: Uighur exile who hasn’t heard from family in years speaks out against China

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It’s been years since Tahir Imin heard from his family.

Yet the Uighur activist and academic still remembers the last conversation he had with his young daughter in February 2018.

“The last word from my daughter was that ‘father, you are a bad person,’” he recalled in an interview with The Post.

“The Chinese police are with the people, and you are against our country and our Communist Party. So don’t contact us,” he remembers the girl, then 7, saying over the phone.

5. Nicholas Rowan: Becerra downplayed China’s abuses as a ‘different perspective’ on human rights

For instance, upon returning from his 1997 trip to China, Becerra defended the communist regime against allegations of widespread human rights abuses. While acknowledging that the country needed to improve its record, Becerra said that China has a “different perspective” on the issue.

“We have two very different cultures, and we have two very different perspectives on the world,” Becerra told NPR. “That’s not to say one perspective is better than the other.”

6. Statement by Mrs. Laura Bush on Burma

In recent years, democratic gains gave hope that Burmese leaders were building a free and open society. Instead, the Burmese military leadership prefers to return to the days of fear, poverty, and oppression. Hundreds of innocent people have been detained and jailed for exercising their rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. Many have been brutally beaten or killed. The world is watching these shameful abuses of human rights, and we condemn them.

7. Statement of U.S. Bishops’ President on Abortion Funding in American Rescue Plan

“We urge President Biden and the leadership on Capitol Hill not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn, all of whom are our vulnerable neighbors in need. We ask that our leaders please not pit people against one another in such a way. We ask all Members of Congress to include the same protections against abortion funding that have been present in every COVID relief bill to date, and every annual spending bill for almost half a century.”

8. Albert Mohler: Pivoting to Surrender: A Warning for All Christians

Ruth Graham of The New York Times described the agency’s decision this way: “Bethany’s new approach is something of a tightrope act: an attempt to establish a clear, consistent policy of inclusion that does not rattle its core constituencies, including the churches that are its primary venue for recruiting parents. The inclusivity resolution passed in January eliminated the 2007 position statement on marriage begin between one man and one woman. But the new statement does not endorse same-sex relationships.”

Notice that the organization has pivoted from its previous policies, repealing its 2007 statement. But the agency did not adopt a new statement. They simply withdrew their affirmation of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That is a breathtaking erasure.

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10. A Grim Reminder That Fetal Tissue Market Is Still Open for Business

One consequence of the recent election is likely to be a surge in efforts to justify research using tissue and organs harvested from the bodies of unborn children killed in elective abortions.

The Trump administration made major progress in ending this unnecessary and unethical research, but the fight is far from over.

A new study in Nature describes how scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created a “humanized” mouse, called the human “lung-only” mouse.

11. Many North Dakota libraries to keep ‘hurtful’ discontinued Dr. Seuss books on shelves

12. Steven Malanga: How the Woke Stole Childhood

Not surprisingly, social media became a battleground over the family’s decision to cancel the six Seuss books. One defender of the move said that it was time for critics to “evolve.” But Geisel has hardly had that opportunity himself. The academic attack on him in Research on Diversity in Youth Literature includes a section on cartoons he published during his college years in the 1920s deemed anti-Semitic and anti-black. It apparently counts for nothing that, for the rest of his life, he pursued progressive causes, decried the targeting of Jews in Germany, criticized the segregationist policies of the U.S. armed forces during World War II, and became an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. The Geisel episode is further evidence that, these days, anything remotely suggesting an unacceptable opinion by twenty-first-century standards, issued at any point in an artist’s life, is sufficient cause for cancellation.

13.  Many Ky. families need help paying for private school. Tax credits can help.

The Catholic faith has taught me that we need to pursue policies that empower parents to have a primary role in their children’s education. In Kentucky, wealthy parents have that right. They can afford to move the public school district that they desire or pay tuition at a non-public school. COVID-19 has shown a light on these types of situations, often seen by educators.

Rep. Wayne may claim to speak on behalf of lower income families, but the reality is that he is working to block a bill that would remove educational barriers for struggling families.

14. Connor Harris in City Journal: Is Texas’s Affordable Housing Endangered?

15. Gretchen R. Crowe: Nothing short of miraculous: A COVID recovery story

Every night, once the kids were in bed, Melissa would FaceTime Jason — the only contact she was allowed to have with him — to pray the Rosary and to read the daily Scripture readings, hoping that even though he couldn’t respond, he might still be able to hear her.

“To me, it was like the one thing that I could do,” she said. “The whole time, prayer was a huge comfort.” Practically, too, it allowed Melissa to speak to her husband, and to let him know that he wasn’t alone.

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18.  ‘This Is Healthy’: Cosmopolitan Features First-Ever Dead Cover Girls

19. This one’s not a parody: Here are the ‘wrong’ illustrations that got six Dr. Seuss books cancelled

20. Tattoo artist restores Stations of the Cross in Belarus

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