In The News 3/3/21

Cuomo’s troubles. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is under fire after being accused by two former female staff persons and another woman of sexual harassment. Cuomo’s office initially denied the allegations as “quite simply false.” Today, however, Cuomo addressed the accusations in a public statement, saying that, “I now understand: I acted in a way that made people uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” Cuomo went on to insist that he, “never touched anyone inappropriately.” This is contrary to the accusations made against him by female staffer Lindsey Boylan who said the governor sexually harassed her for years and at one time gave her an unexpected kiss on the lips, and also by Ann Ruch, who claims Cuomo took her face in his hands at a wedding reception they both attended and asked if he could kiss her, then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Charlotte Bennett, also a former member of Cuomo’s staff, has not alleged physical harassment, but claims he asked her about her sex life so that she felt he wanted to sleep with her. Cuomo initially named former federal judge Barbara Jones to review the claims, but critics demanded an independent investigation. That investigation will be carried out by New York Attorney General Letitia James. In his public statement, Cuomo asked New Yorkers to wait for the results of the investigation before judging him. “The attorney general is doing that review,” Cuomo said, adding, “I will fully cooperate with it. And then you will have the facts.” Unsatisfied, many are calling for Cuomo’s resignation and there is even talk of impeachment. For his part, Cuomo says he will not resign. The demands that Cuomo resign or be impeached stem not only from the accusation of sexual harassment he faces, but also from the policy Cuomo put in place last spring that nursing homes admit COVID+ people as residents and his participation in a cover-up of the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID. Cuomo’s directive that nursing homes admit COVID+ patients has been known for months. It didn’t get much traction until recently, however, and there are accusations that the press helped keep the story quiet. Even PolitiFact, a so-called fact-checker, provided cover for Cuomo. The story blew up in January when it came out that New York had significantly under-counted the number of nursing home residents that died of COVID. Estimates of the under-count range from 50% to 65%. Last month, a judge ruled that the Cuomo administration illegally withheld the correct data on nursing home deaths caused by COVID from the Empire Center for Public Policy, a watchdog organization. Cuomo is accused of stonewalling on reporting the real numbers out of fear that he will be held responsible because of his former policy. What’s interesting to me is that the news about Cuomo’s sexual harassment is getting far more press than the news that his nursing home policy is likely responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. I guess sex sells more newspapers and makes more people tune in to the news than does the deaths of thousands. What does that say about our priorities. Nothing good, as far as I’m concerned. My guess is that Cuomo’s finished. He can’t possibly effectively lead under these circumstances, and he is hated by so many, even by Democrats (especially progressives, who think he’s too moderate!), who smell blood and are determined to rid themselves of him.

Biden’s border crisis. Joe Biden is basically an open borders guy, and he’s proving it with his immigration policy. There has been a huge surge of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border since he took office. According to the Washington Post, “Federal agents have taken into custody more than 70,000 migrants a month for each of the past four months, the most for that period in at least 10 years.” As well, the Post reports, “the number of minors in federal custody has more than tripled to 7,000, prompting officials to reopen an overflow shelter in Texas to house them — even though the shelter is not state-licensed, as required — until officials can place them with a parent or guardian in the United States.” Democrats don’t like to admit it, but the “children in cages” policy started under the Obama-Biden administration. Looks like we might be headed back in that direction. Biden changed the practice of requiring immigrants to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed. As such, thousands who’ve been waiting in Mexico are now being brought into the U. S. A change in Mexico’s law requiring that migrants be housed in shelters is making it impossible for those migrants to be returned to Mexico once they’ve been allowed in the U. S., because those shelters are full. Mexico is simply refusing to take them back. Immigrants make it clear that, at least one of the reasons they are crossing the border now, is the change in U. S. policy since Biden took office. Tom Homan, former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in an interview with Fox News, said that he regularly met with Jeh Johnson when Johnson was Secretary of Homeland Security and, at that time, Johnson considered 1000 migrants entering the U. S. illegally every day a border crisis. Today, Homan says, there are 4,000 migrants entering the U. S. illegally every day at the southern border. Yet, the Biden administration continues to deny that there is a crisis. Homan accuses the Biden administration of creating the border crisis with its policies, including promises of healthcare, coronavirus aid, and amnesty for those in the U. S. illegally, claiming that we have gone “from historic lows [in illegal border crossings] to a crisis unprecedented” in just weeks since Biden took office. Indeed, the numbers are so large, even the New York Times calls it a crisis. There are two great concerns with the current crisis. First, is the possibility of a large number of COVID+ immigrants entering the U. S. and being released by the Border Patrol. According to the New York Post, “More than 100 illegal immigrants who tested positive for the coronavirus — after their arrival in Texas ​​since late January — have been released by the Border Patrol into the Lone Star State ​and are free to travel to other parts of the US.” These migrants are instructed to practice safety measures recommended by the CDC, including quarantining, but the Border Patrol does not have the authority to detain them. Another concern is the number of illegal immigrants who will either compete with Americans for much needed jobs during a pandemic that has caused high unemployment, or these immigrants will not be able to find work and become a financial and social burden on American society. Spencer Raley, director of research for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), writes, “During a time when the American worker desperately needs protection, President Biden is intentionally harming those he swore an oath to protect. His administration has opted for policies that deliberately place the interests of illegal aliens above the millions of citizens who are in desperate need of gainful employment.” The U. S. needs immigration reform. We need a road to citizenship for the millions of illegals already here, most of whom only want the same opportunities we have that are not available in their home countries. Certainly, people who have been here for years, who were brought here as children, and who aren’t hurting anybody, don’t deserve to be deported back to a country they know nothing about. But, we simply cannot afford to allow our border to be an open door to hundreds of thousands every year. No country can sustain such a policy, and no other country does. A reasonable immigration policy is needed. Unfortunately, I’m convinced that our political leaders aren’t interested in crafting one. They would rather enjoy the political gain of immigration continuing to be the wedge issue they exploit at every election.

Dr. Seuss cancelled. It seems even the celebrated and (formerly?) much-beloved children’s books author, Dr. Seuss (real name: Theodore Geisel) isn’t immune from the propensity to cancel everyone who failed to perfectly reflect woke attitudes towards racial minorities throughout their entire careers. Loudoun Country Public Schools in Virginia instructed its teachers to avoid mentioning Dr. Seuss in connection with Read Across America Day, celebrated annually on March 3 (Geisel’s birthday!), because a recent study by St. Catherine University entitled, “The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’s Children’s Books” claims that a mere two percent of Dr. Seuss’ human characters represent minorities and most of them “exhibited behaviors and appearances that align with harmful and stereotypical Orientalist tropes,” and anti-Blackness. Learning for Justice, the educational arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center, insists that even Dr. Seuss’ attempt to write an anti-racist book later in his life, namely “The Sneetches,” fails because, “This message of ‘acceptance’ [in the book] does not acknowledge structural power imbalances. It doesn’t address the idea that historical narratives impact present-day power structures. And instead of encouraging young readers to recognize and take action against injustice, the story promotes a race-neutral approach,” Yes, I can see how the failure to address “structural power imbalances” and failing to encourage kids to “take action against injustice” is a deal-breaker for a book targeted toward children just learning how to read! Look, there’s no question that Theodore Geisel was a flawed individual (interestingly, no one seems to be bothered by the fact that Geisel had an affair with a married woman, and how that affair may have contributed to his first wife’s suicide). His early works and cartoons did include depictions of Asians and Africans no one would or should tolerate today (and Geisel would not have drawn today). But, those images are pretty much limited to what he drew in the 1930’s and 1940’s. As he grew older, his attitudes changed and his later works included more inclusive, and some would say more politically liberal, points of view. It’s too bad that our current culture police don’t recognize the possibility that someone can change over the decades. As far as our woke culture is concerned, if you ever said or did something that was contrary to today’s standards, you are guilty forever. St. Paul reminded us of the truth that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Happily, the grace won for us all by the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ gives us hope for redemption. Sadly, for the woke crusaders of today, redemption is not an option.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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