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Friday, August 7, 2020

Alison Schrager: Do Not Keep Schools Closed

Don’t Cancel School
Prolonged closures are their own crisis.
Allison Schrager, August 5, 2020, City Journal

In early June, America was united, briefly, on the need to reopen schools. Other countries had managed to do so successfully, and evidence suggested that children were at low risk from severe Covid-19 complications. But that was before President Donald Trump tweeted his support for reopening. Soon thereafter, states that previously dodged the coronavirus experienced major outbreaks. Suddenly, the conversation, divided along party lines, went from how to reopen to whether it was even an option.
Today, school officialsteachers, and pundits question if schools should reopen this fall, or at all if the pandemic continues, which presumably means no school until fall 2021 at the earliest. The debate isn’t limited to the U.S., either. Bolivia, for example, just canceled its school year.
There is no reason to cancel school, however. Health experts suggest delaying school reopenings in hard-hit areas until the virus is under control—with luck, by early fall. They encourage states with low infection rates to open on time. So far there is no correlation between school openings and infection levels. Despite high infection rates, Florida plans to reopen public schools in the next few weeks, while New York City, which now has among the lowest rates in the country, will apparently proceed with its plan for children to attend school perhaps only one day a week—though much uncertainty remains. Chicago schools, meantime, won’t open until November, at least.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stressed that reopening is critical for children’s emotional and educational development. There is also an overwhelming economic case to be made in favor of reopening. In fact, the cost of not reopening schools will last a generation. The benefits of universal education are so deep and well-documented that it’s unthinkable to consider discounting it for another semester. Education is the most effective means of economic mobility and is critical for long-term success. It explains much of America’s income growth and development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today, moreover, schools provide important child-care services. As Goldman Sachs found, if schools don’t open, an estimated 15 percent of America’s labor force can’t return to work.
The negative effects of closed schools will be profound and generational. Economists reviewed the loss of earnings from school disruptions during World War II in Austria and Germany. They found that missing a year of school means 9.4 percent to 16.2 percent lower earnings for up to 40 years, with bigger losses for children with less-educated parents. More recent estimates from 139 countries indicate a year of schooling increases earnings by 9 percent. Even brief school closures, such as the 1916 polio pandemic, lowered levels of educational attainment.
The costs won’t be suffered uniformly. Online schooling is better than no school, but it’s hardly an improvement for many students. As in wartime Germany and Austria, better-educated parents can make up the difference by helping their children with online education and adding more homeschooling. Some parents will hire tutors, create learning pods, move to communities that offer in-person education, or find private schools that reopen. Children from low-income households, however, will pay the biggest cost. Indeed, the impact on low-income families will last for years, creating a level of inequality so large that even Bernie Sanders-style levels of taxation won’t fix it. And yet progressives, who normally obsess over inequality, respond by asking affluent parents to forgo educating their children, in an act of class solidarity.
Prolonged school closures will also strain communities and undermine cities. Public schools, which remain the foundation of a healthy economy and society, bring children of different socioeconomic backgrounds together. Time away from these schools is associated with more crime and drug use. The longer the pandemic continues, the harder it will be to open schools, especially as students become unaccustomed to classroom discipline. It could take years to reacclimate children to school attendance. In recent decades, decent schools and safety were reasons why many upper- and middle-class families stayed in cities. Their presence served as a significant part of the modern urban renaissance. In their absence, cities revert to retaining the very rich, the very poor, and a handful of childless twentysomethings—in other words, communities with limited interaction.
If cities like New York fail to offer decent in-person schooling options for the next year, many middle- and upper-middle-class families will go elsewhere—and once they enroll their children in suburban schools, it’s unlikely they’ll return. Considering what’s at stake, it’s inexcusable that cities like New York wasted time instead of deploying every possible resource to open schools in a meaningful way. It could prove the biggest policy failure of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration—one that will take years for the city to overcome.
It’s true that, while Covid-19 may not pose a risk to children, some evidence suggests that they can spread it—especially to vulnerable teachers and staff. Yet this risk can be mitigated without shutting schools down. Risk mitigation is crucial; otherwise, schools could contribute to outbreaks that lead to longer closures. As European and Asian countries show, opening carefully is possible (and too important to get wrong).
The biggest risk would come from school closures lasting longer than a year. It may take two years, or longer before America is completely safe from Covid-19. Each crisis, though, tends to ratchet up standards for safety. Keep-the-schools-closed advocates claim that we can’t open until it’s safe. What “safe” means varies. Some teachers demand better hygiene, testing, and smaller classes. Others say that schools can’t open until we have an effective vaccine. But a typical flu season kills more children than Covid-19 has so far. By current standards of safety, school closures will become the norm.

Seth Barron: People Have The Right to Freedom of Speech But Not To Riot and Loot

People do not have the right to riot

Protesters in Gotham and other cities around the ­nation are so used to getting their way, they’ve been spoiled. Their illegal occupation of our streets and parks has ­become so routine that the protesting class throws tantrums when it faces consequences, however rarely that happens.
Last week’s arrest of Nikki Stone, wanted for alleged serial vandalism of police cameras, was a case in point. The 18-year-old homeless woman was marching in a “peaceful,” though non-permitted, march down Second Avenue when plainclothes NYPD ­officers arrested her and put her in an unmarked van.
Stone had been filmed on multiple occasions painting over NYPD security cameras around City Hall Park during the last month’s occupation. Her alleged actions suggest a flagrant lawlessness and enmity against the public good.
Yet Stone became a cause celebre, with supporters claiming she had been “disappeared,” as if by a right-wing regime in Latin America circa 1982. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.” Cable host Chris Hayes called it “kidnapping.”
The City Council’s Progressive Caucus claimed that “this arrest was a tactic meant to intimidate protesters and discourage civil disobedience.” Lawmakers accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of failing to hold “the NYPD accountable for the brutality unleashed on those exercising” fundamental rights.
Back in the real world, plainclothes officers with unmarked cars arrest wanted suspects like Stone every day, because it is the most effective way to approach them without tipping them off and letting them escape. It is only “kidnapping” if one ­believes that law enforcement, operating with judicial warrants, has no authority to bring criminals to court.
Moreover, progressive councilmembers radically confuse “civil disobedience” and “First Amendment rights.”
The First Amendment protects the right “peaceably to assemble,” but that doesn’t mean you can block traffic any time you want to. Ask Chris Hayes if you can sit in his MSNBC office or studio for a week in the name of your favorite cause.
Civil disobedience means ­intentionally breaking the law to draw attention to the (alleged) unfairness of the law. But de Blasio has been so spinelessly ­indulgent of anti-cop protests, allowing wildcat marches to take place every day, all over the city, that the protesters have come to believe that they have the right to break the law. When confronted, they exhibit the outrage of a pampered toddler denied a toy at nap-time.
Similarly petulant, VOCAL-NY, a government-funded nonprofit, is stamping its feet because the city is no longer planning to pay for the construction of its new headquarters. VOCAL-NY was the prime mover behind the “Defund the Police” encampment, marches, and protests that dominated downtown in the run-up to the city budget deal. The group’s chief organizer, Jawanza James Williams, proudly declared: “We will occupy. We will not leave here until the mayor listens to us!!!”
VOCAL-NY receives about $500,000 from the city each year, mostly for drug-abuse-prevention and other health programs. Taxpayers didn’t allocate money to the group so it could establish an illegal campsite, stage marches across the Brooklyn Bridge, harass and attack law ­enforcers, destroy public property, or demand abolition of the police. Members of the group went to the homes of local politicians, and even the home of Speaker Corey Johnson’s boyfriend, screaming at them.
When Johnson removed several million dollars in capital spending that had been earmarked for VOCAL-NY to build a new headquarters, the group shrieked that he was being spiteful and violating their constitutional rights: “There can be no place in New York City’s politics for this kind of attack on our First Amendment rights.” Yeah, cry more.
VOCAL-NY, like many other ostensible “charities,” is used to taking millions of dollars in taxpayer funding for explicitly political activity. They’ve gotten used to it — because no one in charge says no.
Johnson insists that the money was removed as a fiscal measure and had nothing to do with the way that VOCAL-NY portrayed him as a cop-loving bootlicker during the budget process, embarrassing him ahead of a possible mayoral run, or that they threw paint at his boyfriend’s front door. But VOCAL-NY, and the protesters who want to dictate the time and manner of their arrests and the clothing of their arresting agents, need to relearn a key lesson of toddlerhood: ­Actions have consequences.
Seth Barron is an associate editor of City Journal.
Twitter: @SethBarronNYC

Sunday, August 2, 2020

New Heroine of the Press Bari Weiss Blasts Cancel Culture as 'Social Murder"

Bari Weiss

Former New York Times opinion editor blasts cancel culture as 'social murder' on Bill Maher's show     

‘Twitter is the assigning editor of The New York Times’

Former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss ripped cancel culture and had some parting shots at her former employer during her appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday.

"We're used to criticism. Criticism is kosher in the work that we do," Weiss told Bill Maher. "Criticism is great. What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job."

"The writer Jonathan Rauch [of The Atlantic] called it social murder. And I think that's right," she said.

"It's not just about punishing the sinner. It's not just about punishing the person for being insufficiently pure," Weiss explained. "It's about this sort of secondary boycott of people who would deign to speak to that person or appear on a platform with that person."

"And we see just very obviously where that kind of politics gets us," she continued. "If the conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way that we solve conflict."

"That's an enormous problem because what it's meant is the collapse of moderates," the former Times writer said. "It's meant the collapse of the center and the retribalization of this country and the whole deal with this country, the reason that it's exceptional with all of its flaws is that we depart from history."

"We say that clannishness, tribalism, that we can overcome that, that there's something bigger than lineage or kin or the political tribe we belong to," she said on the HBO talk show. "And I think what we're seeing right now, and it's a very scary moment, is a kind of returning to the mean of history. And I think it is up to us to defend the ideas that made this country unique and a departure of history."

Weiss said that "politics has come to supplant religion," where people on the right see President Donald Trump as a "deity," and people on the left who believe "anything less than defunding the police or abolish the police to choose the issue of the day, makes you something like a heretic."

Weiss resigned from The New York Times last month with a scathing public letter to publisher A.G. Sulzberger. Weiss wrote that her "forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views." She alleges that coworkers called her a "Nazi and a racist," making for a "hostile work environment."

"Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action," she wrote. "Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery."

Weiss also talked about her fiery departure from the New York Times and provided some criticisms of the newspaper of record.

"The reason that Twitter is the assigning editor of The New York Times is because the printing press isn't the printing press anymore. It's because the printing press is in each one of our pockets," Weiss said.

"To do our job well, writers and editors, we need to have a level of bravery and thick skin and fearlessness," she said. "And when you're living in fear of an online mob, you know, all it takes is a dozen people to repeat a lie about you — that you're a racist, that you're a transphobe, that you're a bigot — for that lie to become true and that's extremely dangerous."

This week's episode of "Real-Time" also featured Harper's Magazine columnist Thomas Chatterton Williams, who was one of 150 liberal writers, journalists, and academics who signed an open letter calling for an end to cancel culture. Others who signed the open letter include Weiss, "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling, philosopher Noam Chomsky, and feminist Gloria Steinem.

"What strikes me about it is the pushback is coming from liberals and almost everyone who signs this letter ... is a liberal!" Maher said. "Bari, the fact that you -- they call you a centrist or right-winger! I mean, if a hip, millennial, Jewish bisexual girl living in San Francisco is not a liberal ... who is, these days?"

"What we're trying to say with the letter – and what Thomas did in forming it – was saying what's happening now with this growing culture of illiberalism is different from criticism," Weiss stated.

Williams said that "cancellation" isn't about "bringing down elites back to Earth" but instead causes an "onlooker effect" that has "a chilling and stifling and narrowing influence on all of our behaviors."

Maher panel blasts 'cancel culture': It's a form of 'social murder'

'If a conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way that we solve conflict?' Bari Weiss asked

Former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss and Harper's Magazine columnist Thomas Chatterton Williams appeared on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday to explain the open letter they penned decrying "cancel culture."

Earlier this month, Chatterton spearheaded a letter signed by prominent liberals including "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, political activist Noam Chomsky, and feminist icon Gloria Steinem, all defending open debate without fear of repercussions for expressing a point of view.

As Bill Maher noted, the letter faced heavy criticism from the left.

"What strikes me about it is the pushback is coming from liberals and almost everyone who signs this letter ... is a liberal!" Maher exclaimed. "Bari, the fact that you -- they call you a centrist or right-winger! I mean, if a hip, millennial, Jewish bisexual girl living in San Francisco is not a liberal ... who is these days?"

Weiss called the open letter a "warning cry from inside the institutions" and linked cancel culture to "social murder."


"What we're trying to say with the letter -- and what Thomas did in forming it -- was saying what's happening now with this growing culture of illiberalism is different from criticism," Weiss explained. "Thomas and I, you, Bill, we're used to criticism. Criticism is kosher in the work that we do. Criticism is great. What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job."

"Cancel culture ... is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job."

— Bari Weiss, journalist  "It's not just about punishing the sinner, it's not just about punishing the person for being insufficiently pure. It's about this sort of secondary boycott of people who would deign to speak to that person or appear on a platform with that person. And we see just very obviously where that kind of politics gets us. If conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way that we solve conflict?... It's violence."

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Offers New Online Course on COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Press Release:
July 27, 2020
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Offers New Online Course for Public Health Program Managers and Developers on Maximizing Effectiveness of COVID-19 Contact Tracing


As COVID-19 continues to spread around the country, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with Bloomberg Philanthropies, today announced a free new online course to help public health officials implement strong contact tracing programs to break the chain of novel coronavirus transmission.

The new course, “Measuring and Maximizing Impact of COVID-19 Contact Tracing,” will teach managers and developers of contact tracing programs how to use performance indicators using an interactive tool for estimating the impact of their program on transmission and for strategizing performance improvements. In addition, decision-makers can learn more about how SARS-CoV-2 transmission impacts the performance of such programs. Faculty experts from the Bloomberg School of Public Health will teach the course.

The course takes approximately 3–4 hours to complete and is available for registration on the Coursera platform starting today. It builds on a highly successful introductory contact tracing course that the Bloomberg School has been offering in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and New York State, with the goal of training an army of contact tracers. More than 200,000 people have completed that initial course.

Contact tracing is a public health tool that identifies infected people and their contacts, who may also be infected, and asks them to abstain from contact with others for a limited amount of time to prevent further spread of the virus. It has proved successful in stopping transmission of other infectious diseases, including measles, Ebola, and tuberculosis, and has been a key component of pandemic responses in countries that have been able to control COVID-19 spread.

“Our first course focused on the frontline workers who do contact tracing in the field,” said Justin Lessler, associate professor in Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School and one of the course instructors. “But to defeat COVID-19, we also need to help the people who manage contact tracing programs measure their effectiveness, understand which factors are most impacting performance, and use that information to make improvements. That’s what this new course is about.”

Developed through a partnership between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the course has three sections or “modules,” covering:
Measuring the impact of contact tracing, including performance metrics and completeness and timing of surveillance, contact tracing, and quarantine
Estimating the impact in contact tracing through use of an interactive tool, ConTESSA, available here.
Strategies for increasing the impact of contact tracing

“Our hope is that this interactive application will support hardworking contact tracing teams by showing them the impact they’re making now, and providing a vision for how to reach a new level of excellence,” said Emily S. Gurley, lead instructor for the course and an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Bloomberg School. “Large-scale and timely testing and contact tracing is essential to our nation’s recovery. We are honored to bring our collective expertise to bear on this critical public health practice.”

As part of this effort, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has also launched a centralized collection of publicly available COVID-19 resources for public health agencies and other organizations. The COVID-19 Resources for Practitioners website includes free online courses, training material, and tools developed under the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Training Initiative as well as resources produced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nongovernmental health organizations, and academic institutions.

Media contacts: Carly Kempler at and Jon Eichberger at

For more information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Expert Insights site

The National Center For Public Policy Research Blasts Google For Censorship of Conservatives

From the National Center For Public Policy Research:


Over three dozen conservative leaders – including National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof, Esq. – have sent a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that he explain why conservatives appear to be routinely censored by the company’s Google search engine.
Nothing that Pichai is scheduled to testify before Congress on July 29, the signers issue a stunning challenge in their letter:
Google deliberately censors conservatives. We dare you to deny that under oath.
Noting that the testimony is to be before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, the letter further proclaims:
It’s time for the federal government to consider antitrust solutions for companies like Google and the rest of the Big Tech industry that have grown too powerful and too irresponsible.
On July 21, it was discovered that many popular conservative websites were inaccessible from the Google search engine. The company blamed the problem on a “technical glitch,” which a former Google employee suggested could reveal an anti-conservative blacklist.
Signers to the letter say this incident is just the latest in a pattern of abuses that approach a level of censorship:
It’s the same old game. Censor conservatives, wait for someone else to call you out on it, then blame the algorithms or another technical problem for the censorship. Somehow you never manage to discover your own glitch. It’s always your victims who do.
And Google’s “approach to this scandal” shows “an utter lack of transparency” that is now “second nature to you and your organization.” The letter goes on to ask Pichai four relevant questions:
  • Who at Google was responsible for this latest instance of deliberate censorship against conservatives?
  • Why did they do it?
  • What are you doing about your employees who did this and who are trying to undermine our democratic process?
  • What information are you going to provide to both Congress and those impacted to show what actually happened?
And it puts forward one rhetorical question:
How many more times will Google censor conservatives, and then lie about it before Congress has to take action against your company?
Besides Justin and Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell – who spearheaded the letter – other signers include conservative media executives including Will Chamberlain of Human Events, Craig Strazzeri of PragerU, Steven Ertelt of, Floyd Brown of The Western Journal, R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr. of The American Spectator and Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily as well as other conservative leaders.
Big Tech’s current exemption from scrutiny as a publisher of content, its obvious abuse of this benefit bestowed on it by the Communications Decency Act and a recent Trump Administration executive order challenging the exemption are addressed in the latest edition of National Center President David Ridenour’s “ScoopTV.”
To read the coalition’s letter to Alphabet’s Pichai in its entirety, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is Sued in New Jersey Superior Court For Allegedly Running A Sex Ring From His NJ Beach House

Theodore McCarrick
Priests, Bishops, ex-Cardinals, (or whatever title a person of the Church has), if they abuse kids must be held accountable for their actions. It's that simple.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick accused of running sex ring from NJ beach house

Lia Eustachewich, NY POST, July 23, 2020
Disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick allegedly ran a sex ring out of his New Jersey beach house — where one victim claims he was molested by him and three other priests, according to a new lawsuit.

The victim — “Doe 14” — says the alleged abuse began when he was 14 during overnight stays at McCarrick’s Sea Girt home in 1982.
“In the night, with the assistance of others, McCarrick would creep into this kid’s bed and engage in criminal sexual assault of him, whispering, ‘It is OK,'” Jeff Anderson, the attorney for the now-53-year-old victim, said at a virtual press conference Wednesday.
Other priests allegedly served as part of a “crew” of procurers of young boys for then-Bishop McCarrick, who “assigned sleeping arrangements, choosing his victims from the boys, seminarians, and clerics present at the beach house,” the suit says.
Some of the other boys who were allegedly brought to McCarrick’s home were “assigned to different rooms and paired with adult clerics,” according to the complaint.
The victim claims he was also abused at the beach house by priests Gerald Ruane, Michael Walters, and John Laferrera. The three men were among a list of 188 clergy members in New Jersey accused of sexual misconduct, reported. Ruane is dead, while the other two were listed as “permanently removed from ministry.”

The suit was filed Tuesday night in New Jersey Superior Court in Middlesex County against the Diocese of Metuchen, the Archdiocese of Newark — where McCarrick served as bishop and archbishop, respectively — and several New Jersey schools the victim attended.
The victim is described as having been raised in a devout Roman Catholic family and a former student at St. Francis Xavier in Newark and Essex Catholic in East Orange.
He also claims he was sexually abused as an 11-year-old altar boy at St. Francis Xavier by the Rev. Anthony Nardino, who was employed at the school, and later molested by Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt at Essex Catholic, where he was principal.
Hewitt died in 2002, according to an online obituary. Nardino, who has not been publicly accused before, has left the ministry, according to
Anderson said decades of alleged sexual abuse have been covered up by the Catholic Church.
“All of it cloaked in papal power,” he said.
Last year, Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick, 90, after a church investigation found he sexually abused minors and adult seminarians.
Sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick have been leveled before, including by James Grein, the first child he baptized. Grein said McCarrick — known as Uncle Ted — began molesting him at age 11.
The Archdiocese of Newark didn’t immediately comment.
Its spokeswoman, Maria Margiotta, told, “It would be inappropriate to discuss or comment on matters in litigation. The Archdiocese of Newark remains fully committed to transparency and to our long-standing programs to protect the faithful and will continue to work with victims, their legal representatives and law enforcement authorities in an ongoing effort to resolve allegations and bring closure to victims.”
McCarrick’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a message.
Anthony Kearns III, spokesperson and chancellor for the Diocese of Metuchen, said the diocese was committed to preventing future sexual abuse.
“While we have not yet received the complaint, our prayers are with all survivors of abuse, today and always, and we stand with them in their journey toward healing and hope,” he said. “With God’s grace, all survivors of abuse, particularly those wounded by members of the Church, will continue to heal and move forward.”
Vincent Barone, NY POST, December 27, 2019
Disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds to Catholic leaders as he faced mounting sexual abuse allegations, according to a report.
McCarrick since 2001 sent $600,000 in checks to high-ranking church officials — including several directly in charge of assessing claims against him — all while the Catholic church faced criticism for failing to act on McCarrick’s alleged misbehavior, an investigation by the Washington Post found.
As McCarrick doled out the vast sums of cash, he rose to prominence, becoming entrenched at the highest levels of the U.S Catholic Church despite accusations dating back to 2000.
While serving as archbishop, McCarrick pulled money from an account at the Archdiocese of Washington. Recipients of McCarrick’s generosity included Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who received $90,00 and $291,000, respectively, according to the report.
McCarrick was defrocked in February after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and of “sins” with both minors and adults. He was the first cardinal to have been defrocked.
He had previously served as a major fundraiser for the Vatican and acted as a spokesman for US bishops when they undertook a no-tolerance policy for sexually abusive priests in 2002.
The decision made McCarrick the highest-ranking Catholic clergyman to be pushed out of the priesthood through the church’s sex-abuse scandals.
Clerics denied to the Washington Post that the money had any impact on the church’s decision-making, describing the funs as “customary gifts among Catholic leaders” during Christmas time or as a “gesture of appreciation.”
A spokesman for Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who received $6,500 from McCarrick, told the paper that the gifts “never had any effect on the Cardinal’s decision-making as an official of the Holy See.”  The Vatican declined comment.
An attorney for McCarrick, Barry Coburn, declined to comment on the findings of the Washington Post investigation. In the past, McCarrick has denied wrongdoing.
McCarrick was ordained as a priest in New York in 1958 and served as parochial vicar for Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manhattan until 1981.
James Grein, 61, at his house in Sterling, Va., holds a Florida postcard sent to him when he
was 15 years old by now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Bari Weiss Resigns From the New York Times Citing Unlawful Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, and Constructive Discharge

Bari Weiss
Good for you, Bari! You are courageous and strong, and did the right thing.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Following is the text of the letter sent to the publisher of the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, from Bari Weiss, resigning from her column and editing duties on the papers opinion pages. Ms. Weiss had previously worked on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. She’d started as a reporter of The New York Sun.

Dear A.G.,
It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.
I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those, I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election — lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society — have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still, other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity — let alone risk-taking — is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned, and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm — language — is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.
Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do — the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.