Thirteen Things that Caught My Eye Today: China, Alito, Happiness & More

1. Politico: China’s promise: ‘A free market for unfree people’

China’s ideological challenge against liberal democracy seems orders of magnitude more effective than anything Soviet propaganda of the Cold War era could hope to achieve. As the U.S. sinks ever-deeper into an economic and political crisis, Beijing has been aligning with revisionist Russia and offering economic inducements to countries in Europe and Asia to consider breaking ranks with Washington.

The nature of this ideological challenge merits special attention. China has the wherewithal to become the first high-tech totalitarian state in history. This would allow it not just to control its citizens, but also information flows within and across other countries, targeting Washington’s allies and the U.S. itself.

In our new transnational digital world, the message goes, it is prosperity and order — not liberty — that should be prized above all else.

This message is backed by the billions of dollars Beijing accumulated when America misguidedly offshored its industrial base and provided China with unfettered access to its society. Even as China continued to restrict access to outsiders, the U.S. allowed Beijing’s operatives to venture freely where no other communist regime reached before: into our boardrooms, academia and R&D centers, our media and the policy community.

2. Daily Mail: Chinese man, 54, is sentenced to death for abducting and raping his neighbor’s four-year-old granddaughter

The little girl, known by her pseudonym Yan Yan, is still fighting for her life in an intensive care unit after being left with severe organ infections and injuries, her father said yesterday.


4. AZ Central: Generation Justice: ‘We see the holes in the law’

In its first year, Generation Justice championed a law that gave foster parents who have cared for a child for at least nine months equal footing with family members when judges decide where to place a child. The law also requires that babies who have been exposed to drugs and whose parents have chronic substance-abuse problems be adopted within a year, even though that contradicts federal law and is routinely ignored by judges.

In the coming year, Generation Justice hopes to persuade lawmakers to allow some of Arizona’s federal child-welfare funding to be spent on attorneys for children in foster care. It’s a service the nonprofit already provides to a limited extent, even without government support, and hopes to pursue further.

Last year, the Trump administration broadened the use of Title IV-E dollars to cover more legal services, something Olsen said Generation Justice helped lobby for.

5. Marlo Safi: Future Of Middle East Christians Looks Bleak, Experts Say— Will A Biden Administration Take Steps to Protect Them?

While Americans headed to the ballots on Nov. 3 to decide who would become the next president, Christians in the Middle East and their American allies watched with an acute awareness of how each respective candidate’s foreign policy and humanitarian aid priorities could impact their uncertain futures from an ocean away.

The Biden-Harris campaign did not call attention to the topic of Middle Eastern Christians to the degree that Trump and Pence did, leading advocates to base their predictions off of the Obama administration’s performance.  The transition team did not respond to an inquiry about their plans to address it.

While the Trump administration was more vocal about the indignities the persecuted face, the administration was criticized by some advocates of Middle Eastern Christians for its immigration policies, which made it difficult or impossible for those seeking refuge in the U.S. to gain entry.

6. Peter Wade: How Will Biden Address the Surging Opioid Epidemic?

So far, Biden has selected Rahul Gupta, West Virginia’s former state health officer, as transition team leader for the ONDCP. While in office, Gupta managed to decrease deaths in the state from overdoses using data-driven analysis. Biden is also reportedly considering former Obama surgeon general Vivek Murthy, who released the first-ever surgeon general’s report on addiction, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

Biden’s campaign plan to end the opioid crisis also shows he has evolved on the issue. In it, he calls for $125 billion in funding for effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services; reforming the criminal justice system to end incarceration for drug use; and holding pharmaceutical companies responsible for their role in creating and perpetuating the crisis.

7. Live Action: Mother shares remarkable image of her baby miscarried at nine weeks gestation

According to The Endowment for Human Development, by seven weeks post-fertilization, a preborn child has brain activity and a heart rate that peaks at 17o beats per minute. The heart at this age has four chambers. The baby is just 2.2 cm from crown to heel but can kick her legs and move her hands and arms. She can also hiccup. She is — as she has been since her first moment of creation — a human being. By nine weeks, she can drink fluid, suck her thumb, sigh, stretch, open her mouth, and move her tongue. She is sensitive to light touch. It is around this time that most women learn they are pregnant.

“She was whole and beautiful and her life mattered,” wrote Elsie’s mother. “I’m so grateful for the experience I had despite the heartbreak we are going through. So much strength and power flowed through my body during this labor. So much grace was given to me as I flew home the day after. I had so many prophetic dreams and physical manifestations of this child, and her loss, before this pregnancy was even begun. We knew her deeply despite never seeing her alive. We love her. We miss her. And we’re morning everything she meant to us.”


9. Family in Ignacio becomes whole through adoption

Toilynn Edwards, placement resources administrator with the Colorado Department of Human Services, said the state looks for all kinds of families to open their homes for foster care and adoption. There isn’t one specific formula. However, Edwards did say successful foster families are typically flexible, have a sense of humor and are able to come into the foster process with an open heart and open mind.

10. Woman Who Took Bar Exam While in Labor, Finished After Giving Birth Passes Test

Hill completed the first portion of her exam and, several hours later, gave birth to a healthy son, Cassius Phillip, at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park.

But there was still another day of test-taking to go. Determined to finish what she started, Hill, still in the hospital, spent the following day taking the final leg of the exam.

“I took part of the exam sitting on towels because my water had broken and the other part sitting on an ice pack because I had given birth the night before,” Hill wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

“I hemorrhaged after birth and took the second day of the test while anemic,” she wrote. “I only slept for 1.5 hours before the second day of the test because my sweet baby was SO grunty. I breastfed my baby in between sessions. I did all of this because I did not see any other option to accomplish both my goals- become a lawyer and a mom.”

11. John O. McGinnis: Alito’s Way

Another theme of Alito’s speech is the need to treat rights equally. Alito expressly raises the concern that religious liberty is getting second-class treatment. “It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”

His point about the Second Amendment is similar. How can the Court’s failure to supervise the lower courts in the explication of this right be sound when it has taken on so many cases to determine the content of other rights?

What exactly it means for Amendments to get equal treatment ultimately depends on their respective meanings. But Alito is correct that rights need to be treated neutrally in the sense that judges should not have favorite rights any more than they should have favorite children. It seems unlikely, for instance, that justices would have upheld restrictions on newsrooms that were more severe than casinos if the government had imposed them. Sadly, there is a real danger that the Second Amendment will be treated less favorably than the First, because judges make their living by their opinions and are members of a class that benefits directly from the freedom of exchange of opinion.

12. Arthur C. Brooks: Measuring Your Happiness Can Help Improve It

Within the U.S., a commonly cited data source is the General Social Survey (GSS). This has been measuring general well-being levels every one or two years going back to 1972, and since then, has always shown that the percentage of people who say they are “very happy” hovers between roughly 30 and 35 percent, while the percentage of those who are “not too happy” sits around 10 to 15 percent. The rest are “pretty happy.” Until this year, that is: Data collected in May 2020 show that for the first time, the unhappy people outnumber the very happy people. During the first half of this year, the “not too happy” proportion climbed to 23 percent, while “very happy” declined to 14 percent. It looks like 2020 has been our grouchiest year in at least the past half century.

13. A discussion with a toddler about Advent. Hard to argue with her logic! 


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