October 20, 2020

Coronavirus, Children with Disabilities & More — Things That Caught My Eye Today (August 31, 2020)


1. 55 shot, ten fatally, in Chicago weekend gun violence

2. Major Medical Association Supports Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) Education & Constitution

The American Academy of Family Physicians has formed a new member interest group (MIG) on Medical Aid in Dying. The purpose of this MIG is to “serve as a resource for information about the practice of medical aid in dying and provide a community where members can share best practices, discuss challenging clinical cases and enlist advice from colleagues.” 

3. The Detroit News: Three children wounded in drive-by shooting in Pontiac

The victims, three girls, ages 7 and 11, and a 10-month-old, were in a bedroom in the southwest corner of the home planning to play a game in the basement when bullets ripped through the walls. The 11-year-old was wounded in the buttocks, the 7-year-old in the torso and the 10-month-old boy in the hip area, according to Undersheriff Michael McCabe.

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5. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: The dangers of elected officials applying litmus tests in selecting judges

As Ed Whelan persuasively explains, one major problem with litmus tests is they don’t work. Imagine that, for the past 30 years, every potential Supreme Court justice had been forced to declare opposition to Roe v. Wade in advance. David Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy — all appointed by Republicans and all members of the 1992 plurality decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey which upheld Roe — would have passed with flying colors. Clarence Thomas would have failed. 

6. U.S. Marshals say they found 39 missing children in Georgia during two-week operation

“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars. But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child,” Darby Kirby, chief of the Missing Child Unit, said in a statement.

7. Kansas City Star: ‘You’re disgusting’: Biracial family in the Northland welcomed to KC with racist attacks

One of the comments she’s since “overheard,” just as she was meant to, was, “He must be a rapper; that’s why she’s with him.” Another was aimed right at her head: “Stay with your own kind!” One day, “We were at Costco, in the parking lot, and a woman pointed at my husband. She was parked very close to us. She pointed at my husband, she pointed at me, she made a gesture like are you two together, and I smiled, I didn’t have my mask on yet, I smiled and nodded. I thought she was going to say something positive. She pointed at my daughter, who I was getting out of her carseat, and she gestured as if she was throwing up. And it’s things like that that my daughter sees.”

8. Crux: Argentine ‘slum priest’ and COVID victim hailed as ‘martyr for the poor’

After testing positive for the coronavirus in June, Britez was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at the San Camilo Clinic. In a message he released at the time, he invoked a sports image to explain his attitude.

“It’s the game that I decided to play, which was to be on the side of the people, accompanying them in these particular moments and not be in the comfort of my home,” he said. “But, well, God’s will is that, at the moment, I be on the substitutes bench.”

9. Kay S. Hymowitz: Does Covid Discriminate?

At times, the virus seemed to be conspiring with the creators of the New York Times’s 1619 Project to advance the image of America as a land of entrenched and systemic racism, and of a heartless economic regime that privileges profits over the well-being of nonwhite people. The Covid gap “is not about race; it’s about racism,” said Alexis Madrigal, an editor at The Atlantic and leader of the COVID Tracking Project, on NPR. New York Times columnist Charles Blow added: “The crisis is exposing the class savagery of American democracy.”

Here’s a truth inconvenient to this line of thinking: Covid-19 racial disparities were the rule everywhere in the Western world.

10. Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: California’s Radical Indoctrination

Last year California’s Assembly passed its ethnic-studies bill known as AB 331 by a 63-8 vote. Then the state department of education put forward a model curriculum so extreme and ethnocentric that the state Senate’s Democratic supermajority balked. The curriculum said among other things that “within Ethnic Studies, scholars are often very critical of the system of capitalism as research has shown that Native people and people of color are disproportionately exploited within the system.”

The bill was put on ice, but protests and riots in recent months gave Sacramento’s mavens of racial division more leverage. The education department delivered a new draft model curriculum this month, and AB 331 has been revived. It passed a Senate committee Aug. 20 and is expected to go before the full body soon. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, the legislation would require all school districts to offer a semester-long ethnic studies class starting in 2025.

11. The Wall Street Journal: In Remote Learning, Children With Disabilities Face Unique Challenges

Many students who had received therapies in school now could receive them online or scaled back. With plans for the school year in flux, parents say they simply don’t know yet how services will be provided. Meanwhile, remote learning itself often presents new hurdles for children with disabilities.

. . .

A May survey by ParentsTogether, an advocacy group, found that only one in five families was receiving all the special-education services that students were entitled to since the beginning of the pandemic.

The federal government hasn’t granted waivers as a result of the pandemic, so states are still required to provide full services to students with disabilities. Parents and advocacy groups say school districts violated federal law when they didn’t provide services this spring.

12. Tampa Bay Times: Siblings in foster care should be kept together, Florida says — except when it argues the opposite

Child welfare agencies say that each foster case is different and must be treated on its merits. But adoption attorneys and others who work on behalf of biological and adoptive parents say a lack of consistency frequently leads to questionable decisions about where to place children.

Veteran Tampa adoption attorney Jeanne Tate said agencies routinely make recommendations for placements that seem to run counter to child welfare policies. The result can be that children stay longer in foster care. And it can cause more heartache and expense for foster parents who want to adopt, she said

“When there can’t be predictable outcomes, that’s bad for kids,” Tate said. “It invites litigation, it invites delay, it invites uncertainty. We know the state doesn’t make a good parent. Leaving these children in long-term foster care causes psychological, emotional and physical harm to children.”

13. Priest punched during Sunday Mass in Berlin

According to witnesses, at around 10:30 a.m. a man who had been “quietly seated” at Mass stood up and spat on the ground. He is said to have “walked purposefully” towards the sanctuary of the church on Müllerstraße in Berlin-Mitte, while uttering anti-religious statements. He punched the 61-year-old priest, knocking him to the ground.

14. Daily Mail: Schools are urged to teach children as young as 13 about intimate sexual acts using a dice game sparking fears explicit material is sexualising girls

Tanya Carter, a spokeswoman for Safe Schools Alliance, told The Times: ‘This ‘resource’ clearly breaches safeguarding. The tampon tax should be used to educate girls on their rights — not prematurely sexualise them.’

. . .

She said that when teaching relationship and sexual education (RSE), teachers also need to remember that some children will have been victims of sexual abuse and may find the lessons traumatising.

15. Family of nurses who treated coronavirus patients to meet Pope Francis

Stefania told the magazine Città Nuova that at the beginning of the pandemic, she was tempted to stay at home because she has a daughter. “But after a week I said to myself: ‘But one day what will I tell my daughter? That I ran away?’ I trusted in God and I started.”

16. This seven-year-old boy held a heartbreaking memorial for Chadwick Boseman, who played his favorite superhero

“He was a good role model to me and Black boys because he let me know Black boys can be heroes too,” Kian told CNN. “When I found out he died, I felt very sad. I was crying and couldn’t stop talking about him.”

17. The Catholic World Report: Chalice by ISIS militants to be displayed in Spanish churches

“This chalice was used by the jihadists for target practice,” explained Ana María Aldea, an ACN delegate in Malaga. “What they did not imagine is that it would be re-consecrated and taken to many parts of the world to hold Mass in its presence.”

“With this, we want to make visible a reality that we sometimes see on television but we are not really aware of what we are seeing.”

18. Timothy P. Carney: Understanding “Trump Country”

Sometimes when we talk about elections, we talk about demographics: the Soccer Mom Vote, the Hispanic Vote, the Youth Vote, or other ways of describing people by personal traits. If we imagine all Americans lined up in alphabetical order, or age order, and then sortable into these traits of race, age, sex, income, ideology, wealth, and so on, we commit a fatal abstraction. To understand the phenomenon of alienation and coming apart, we need to do more than consider who these people are. We need to consider where they are.

Geography, more than we typically assume, is destiny.

19. Maureen Ferguson: As veep nominees, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris could not be more different

As a senator on the Judiciary Committee, Harris has displayed remarkable intolerance toward Catholics who have come before her committee. The Constitution states that there shall be no religious test for office, yet Harris harassed one judicial nominee, Brian Buescher, because he was a member of the Knights of Columbus. Yes, the Knights of Columbus. In her view, he was disqualified because he was a member of an organization that holds pro-life views and adheres to church teaching on marriage. 

20. A toddler who drifted out to sea on a unicorn floaty was rescued by a passing ship

The child had been pulled out to sea by a current when her parents looked away for only a second. 

Luckily, a crew of a passing ferry approximately 1600 feet off the Gulf of Corinth spotted the child and her inflatable companion as they drifted further and further away from the shore, reported the Greek City Times. 

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22. In violence-torn Belarus, Christians offer hope by living their faith

During the Communist era they experienced more than enough suffering and sorrow. Now they want only peace and quiet in their country, and they long for democracy. Young people in Belarus are well-educated and eagerly follow the developments taking place in the neighboring countries of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

23. Monsignor Charles Pope: I Was Hit Hard By COVID-19 — And I’m Still Not Afraid

Regarding the Church, I think we are only beginning to discover the toll that the suspension of sacraments and liturgical functions has had. Most parishes report that only 20-40% of communicants have returned. Certainly there are some who should not return yet, but it is beginning to dawn on us that our parishes are going to be a lot smaller and less viable in the near future, even if a vaccine is found or the danger of COVID-19 diminishes.

Some are predicting renewed shutdowns (to include churches) in the fall when seasonal flu is added into the mix. Will we as a Church simply comply the same way we did before? Will we be more creative in getting the sacraments to people outside of large indoor gatherings (e.g., Communion outside of Mass or as part of an outdoor liturgy)? Will we lock our church buildings entirely? Will we keep them open for personal prayer? Will our bishops vigorously advocate for the essential nature of church attendance with public officials, or will liquor stores and protest marches continue to be deemed more essential? Will they quietly comply with another call for total shutdown? All this remains to be seen. And this leads to my final point.

24. Organization helps children with disabilities

Since it began in 2012, the program has given away nearly 3,500 adaptive bikes and strollers and communication devices in the 71 counties they serve in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Fifteen bikes and two strollers were being given away locally.

Charles P. LaVallee, the CEO of the charity, which is based in the western part of the state, said that feeling of being like everybody else is one of the important benefits of the program.

25. Guy Fieri, local restaurateurs feed firefighters battling LNU Complex fires in Calistoga

“It’s really a nice gesture,” Kipperberg said to nods from the others on his crew. Friday morning they finished a 24-hour shift defending the Middletown area, and early Saturday they’d head out on their next such shift.

They would go fortified by a special meal prepared and served by some renowned chefs because when crisis occurs — yet again — feeding people on the front lines has simply become what Fieri and his friends do.

 





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