Category : * Culture-Watch

(NBC) A Boy and a Puppy Bond Through a Similar Struggle

‘At just two years old, Bentley Boyers has undergone two surgeries after being born with a cleft lip. His family recently adopted a puppy with a cleft lip, and they’ve formed a special connection.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(NPR) Health On Wheels: Tricked-Out RVs Deliver Addiction Treatment To Rural Colorado

Tonja Jimenez is far from the only person driving an RV down Colorado’s rural highways. But unlike the other rigs, her 34-foot-long motor home is equipped as an addiction treatment clinic on wheels, bringing lifesaving treatment to the northeastern corner of the state, where patients with substance use disorders are often left to fend for themselves.

As in many states, access to addiction treatment remains a challenge in Colorado, so a new state program has transformed six RVs into mobile clinics to reach isolated farming communities and remote mountain hamlets. In recent months, they’ve become even more crucial. During the coronavirus pandemic, even as brick-and-mortar addiction clinics have closed or stopped taking new patients, these six-wheeled clinics have pretty much kept going.

Their health teams perform in-person testing and counseling. And as broadband access isn’t always a given in these rural spots, the RVs also provide a telehealth bridge to the medical providers back in the big cities. Working from afar, these providers can prescribe medicine to fight addiction and the ever-present risk of overdose, an especially looming concern amid the isolation and stress of the pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(AI) Archbp Foley Beach–GAFCON general secretary Ben Kwashi is battling cancer, please pray for him

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus our Saviour and only Lord!

I am writing on behalf of the Gafcon family to let you know that Archbishop Ben Kwashi, our General Secretary and Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, is undergoing treatment for cancer. Archbishop Ben & Mama Gloria along with their children are grateful for your prayers and concern.

At this stage there is little to report and the family asks for privacy while treatment continues and further tests are carried out….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained

(NYT) How Do Children Fight Off the Coronavirus?

Why the coronavirus affects children much less severely than adults has become an enduring mystery of the pandemic. The vast majority of children do not get sick; when they do, they usually recover.

The first study to compare the immune response in children with that in adults suggests a reason for children’s relative good fortune. In children, a branch of the immune system that evolved to protect against unfamiliar pathogens rapidly destroys the coronavirus before it wreaks damage on their bodies, according to the research, published this week in Science Translational Medicine.

“The bottom line is, yes, children do respond differently immunologically to this virus, and it seems to be protecting the kids,” said Dr. Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who led the study.

In adults, the immune response is much more muted, she and her colleagues found.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Church Times) Second wave will be harder, Archbishops warn

Divisions are deeper now — on the brink of a second wave of coronavirus infections — than they were six months ago when the nation first went into lockdown, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned in a joint letter to all bishops on Wednesday.

The letter speaks of the inevitability of further national and local restrictions as the winter months approach, and the responsibility of the Church to “avoid mistakes” and respond in the right way to a more complex situation than before. In March, the Church was criticised for going beyond the government advice at the time and ordering church buildings to close, even to clergy (News, 24 March).

“We will need to be more critical in our response to restrictions that are above and beyond government regulations,” the Archbishops write, “helping the Church at the local level, in parish and diocese, steer a course that is marked by responsible action towards each other, care for the most vulnerable, and witness for the poor and disadvantaged who are suffering disproportionately.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine

Friday Mental Health Break–James Taylor and YoYo Ma: Hard Times Come Again No More

Posted in Music

(WSJ) How South Korea Successfully Managed Coronavirus

South Korea appears to have cracked the code for managing the coronavirus. Its solution is straightforward, flexible and relatively easy to replicate.

The country has averaged about 77 new daily cases since early April and recently suppressed a spike in infections. Adjusting for population, that would be the equivalent of about 480 cases a day in the U.S., where new daily cases have averaged about 38,000 over the same period. Total deaths in the U.S. due to Covid-19 just surpassed 200,000.

South Korea halted virus transmission better than any other wealthy country during the pandemic’s early months. It was about twice as effective as the U.S. and U.K. at preventing infected individuals from spreading the disease to others, according to a recent report from a United Nations-affiliated research network. South Korea’s economy is expected to decline by just 0.8% this year, the best among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s forecasts for member nations.

The key to South Korea’s success came from blending technology and testing like no other country, centralized control and communication—and a constant fear of failure.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, South Korea, Theology

(MIT News) Why social media has changed the world — and how to fix it

The numbers make this clear. In 2005, about 7 percent of American adults used social media. But by 2017, 80 percent of American adults used Facebook alone. About 3.5 billion people on the planet, out of 7.7 billion, are active social media participants. Globally, during a typical day, people post 500 million tweets, share over 10 billion pieces of Facebook content, and watch over a billion hours of YouTube video.

As social media platforms have grown, though, the once-prevalent, gauzy utopian vision of online community has disappeared. Along with the benefits of easy connectivity and increased information, social media has also become a vehicle for disinformation and political attacks from beyond sovereign borders.

“Social media disrupts our elections, our economy, and our health,” says Aral, who is the David Austin Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Now Aral has written a book about it. In “The Hype Machine,” published this month by Currency, a Random House imprint, Aral details why social media platforms have become so successful yet so problematic, and suggests ways to improve them.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Science & Technology

(Local Paper Front Page) Charleston area diaper banks a crucial resource for parents amid coronavirus pandemic

Thousands of families across the Lowcountry struggle to afford diapers for their babies.

The inability to provide a sufficient supply to keep an infant or child clean, dry and healthy, also known as diaper need, was already a significant issue for families before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, in the wake of mass unemployment and widespread financial distress, the demand for free diapers has surged dramatically. As a result, many families across the country are turning to local diaper banks to help meet basic needs.

“We’ve seen a 222 percent increase in diaper needs since COVID started,” said Beth Meredith, president of the Junior League of Charleston.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(CT) Rediscovering the Pedagogical Power of Narnia

The Narnia stories endure primarily because they are delightful stories, but in hindsight I see that part of the delight—part of what made the characters so engaging and the adventures so riveting—flows from Lewis’ understanding of human character. The adventures rivet because they are so consequential for the adventurers: not only their physical lives but their moral character and indeed their eternal destinies hang in the balance. The characters engage most profoundly not when good characters battle evil ones, but when good and evil war within the persons themselves.

In Narnia we find embodied the baffling mystery of the human condition—the gospel truth of our genuine freedom and desperate need. In Narnia we learn that we cannot save ourselves, but we can accept a savior. Above all, in Lewis’s stories we find an image of a king—not safe but good, not tame but beautiful. As our children come to love Aslan, may they thereby learn better to love the true King.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Children, Theology

(NPR) 2 Louisville Police Officers Shot After Charges In Breonna Taylor Case Spark Protests

The chief said that under the tense circumstances following the indictment by the grand jury Wednesday, he is “very concerned for the safety of [his] officers.”

Hundreds of protesters swiftly began demonstrations calling for justice for Breonna Taylor after a grand jury decided to indict just one of the three Louisville Metropolitan Police officers who fired nearly two dozen bullets into her apartment, killing the 26-year-old during a no-knock raid.

City and state officials, who have been expecting a decision from the grand jury all week after months of outrage and anticipation, were braced for widespread protests, preemptively calling for reinforcements from the National Guard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CNBC) Google will try ‘hybrid’ work-from-home models, as most employees don’t want to come in every day

Google is rethinking its long-term work options for employees, as most of them say they don’t want to come back to the office full-time.

Sixty-two percent of Google employees want to return to their offices at some point, but not every day, according to a recent survey of employee office preferences the company released this week. So Google is working on “hybrid” models, including rearranging its offices and figuring out more long-term remote work options, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview with Time magazine on Wednesday.

“I see the future as being more flexible,” Pichai said in the interview. “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models.”

The long-term planning comes as Google, which has been looked at as a model for Silicon Valley workplaces, slowly reveals more details of its plans to return its employees back to the office while also competing with other tech companies for top talent.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(CC) Philip Jenkins–To understand African Christianity, remember the Battle of Adwa

The new war culminated on March 1, 1896, at Adwa, when the Italian force of around 18,000 allowed itself to be drawn into battle against an Ethiopian army at least six times larger. The Italian force was utterly destroyed as a fighting unit, suffering at least 6,000 dead and losing all artillery and equipment. Only Menelik’s diplomatic sense and restraint prevented his forces from sweeping up all the now defenseless Italian territory that remained on the Red Sea. Why risk his gains when he already had achieved everything he needed? (The campaign is expertly described in Raymond Jonas’s 2011 study The Battle of Adwa.)

The sheer scale of the European catastrophe demands attention. This was a period when White empires might lose the occasional battle, as the British had to the Zulus some years before, but they certainly did not lose whole wars to despised Black Africans. Nor did the familiar stereotype allow for a situation where African commanders outmaneuvered imperial invaders and deployed modern weaponry against them. To put such a reversal of expectations in a US context, we would have to imagine an alternate world where Native forces both triumphed at Little Bighorn and then went on to secure the independence of the whole Black Hills region for a generation.

That context explains the very long shadow cast by Adwa, on Europeans and Africans alike. Italy recalled the battle as an epic humiliation, a horror made all the worse by propaganda tales of the atrocities inflicted on their prisoners of war….

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Italy, Military / Armed Forces

(SA) 3-D Printing inside the Body Could Patch Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers and other gastric wounds afflict one in eight people worldwide, but common conventional therapies have drawbacks. Now scientists aim to treat such problems by exploring a new frontier in 3-D printing: depositing living cells directly inside the human body.

Just as 3-D printers set down layers of material to create structures, bioprinters extrude living cells to produce tissues and organs. A long-term dream for this concept is that people on active waiting lists for organ donations—nearly 70,000 individuals in the U.S. alone, according to the nonprofit United Network for Organ Sharing—might one day have the option of getting a bioprinted organ. Although the ability to produce a functional heart or kidney this way likely lies years in the future, realistic near-term goals include bioprinting simpler structures, such as bone grafts. Living tissues printed outside the body, however, would still require implantation surgery, which often involves large incisions that increase the risk of infection and lengthen recovery times.

What if doctors could instead print cells directly inside the body? The idea would be to use current minimally invasive surgical techniques to insert 3-D printing tools into patients through small incisions and then lay down new tissues.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Vatican Pushes Against Growing Acceptance of Euthanasia

The Vatican condemned the spreading international acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide, including in some traditionally Catholic countries in Europe, in a strongly worded document that reasserts traditional teaching.

“Euthanasia is an act of homicide that no end can justify and that does not tolerate any form of complicity or active or passive collaboration,” the Vatican’s doctrinal office said in a document published Tuesday and expressly approved by Pope Francis. “It is gravely unjust to enact laws that legalize euthanasia or justify and support suicide, invoking a false right to choose a death improperly characterized as respectable only because it is chosen,” the document says.

Spain’s Parliament is considering a law that would make the country the fourth in Europe to legalize euthanasia, after the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Legislators in neighboring Portugal are considering similar proposals. In February, Germany’s highest court overturned a law banning assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from a physical or mental disease. In assisted suicide, patients administer lethal drugs to themselves under medical supervision.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CT) Atlanta’s Black Church

They say you can’t love what you don’t know, and lately, many of us are realizing just how much we don’t know. This year, my church in Augusta, Georgia, began exploring the racial history of our city, the location of one of the first and largest civil rights riots in the South. The details of the 1970 riot—chronicled in a recent Georgia Public Broadcasting podcast—resemble current events: a teen beaten to death in police custody, the black community responding with peaceful demands then rebellion, police using deadly force to suppress the uprising. But the parallels to the present aren’t striking if, like so many young people in our city, you had no idea it took place.

No wonder we feel so stuck in this racial justice fight. You can’t lament a past you don’t remember. You can’t change problems you don’t recognize. You can’t empathize with voices you ignore. Part of our call to love and serve our neighbors is to understand the lingering scars and burdens they bear.

Learning how my community downplayed the significance of its racial past made me all the more curious about the extensive civil rights legacy in the Georgia capital, the subject of this month’s cover package. Across the generations, Atlanta—with the black church as its heartbeat—has worked to honor its hard-won progress as well as to lament the cost of the ongoing fight for justice.

That practice has helped carry on a long legacy and inspire today’s leaders in Atlanta—the preachers and politicians, entrepreneurs and activists, who are working to see the principles of God’s kingdom shape every sphere of life.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(New Atlantis) Yuval Levin–Prudence in a Storm

Everything therefore depends on our assessment of the severity of the crisis we are living through. We are called to judge our circumstances. And that means we are called to the hard work of prudence. As Greg Weiner puts it in his magisterial study of the subject:

An essential element of prudence is thus recognizing the difference between genuine emergency and the aggrandizing rhetoric of catastrophe. Not every moment is Munich, but Munich was. A wide range of experience and circumstances is necessary to discern the difference.

Not every moment is a time of exceptional crisis, but a few moments are. And how we think about the policies our country is now pursuing ultimately hinges on whether we judge this pandemic to be such a time. Most of us are not experts in the relevant knowledge, and we must make the necessary judgment as citizens, calling on our read of the available evidence and our degree of confidence in those who claim to know — calling, in the end, upon our prudence. This doesn’t free us from the need to consider tradeoffs. On the contrary, it compels us to consider them in full, and to do so in full knowledge of the limits of our judgment.

The debunkers may be right about some important elements of our situation, and we must not forget it. But it seems awfully likely they are not right on the whole. And so we need to treat this crisis as a grave emergency, with an eye to doing what’s required to protect the most vulnerable among us and recover our safety and prosperity — precisely so that we can return to normal life, and to our vitally important debates about how best to live it.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Philosophy

(The State) South Carolina hits record number of days under 1,000 cases since virus peak

South Carolina hit a new record on Monday in its road to recovery from COVID-19.

It was the 14th straight day the state has reported under 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, capping a trend of falling case numbers in recent weeks.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 393 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, and 13 confirmed deaths caused by COVID-19.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

Scientists in Japan have developed a paper-based sensor equipped with an array of extremely tiny microneedles

The scientists now intend to test their proof-of-concept further, conducting experiments with human participants, to confirm it works as they expect in real-world diagnostic conditions.

If it does, we could be looking at much more than just glucose monitoring in the future, they suggest – and all without spilling a single drop of blood.

“Of course, prediabetes testing is just one application of the technology,” says first author and PhD candidate Hakjae Lee.

“The paper-based sensor can vary depending on the biomarker you wish to monitor.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NYT) ‘Warp Speed’ Officials Debut Plan for Distributing Free Vaccines

Federal officials outlined details Wednesday of their preparations to administer a future coronavirus vaccine to Americans, saying they would begin distribution within 24 hours of any approval or emergency authorization, and that their goal was that no American “has to pay a single dime” out of their own pocket.

The officials, who are part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed — the multiagency effort to quickly make a coronavirus vaccine available to Americans — also said the timing of a vaccine was still unclear, despite repeated statements by President Trump that one could be ready before the election on Nov. 3.

“We’re dealing in a world of great uncertainty. We don’t know the timing of when we’ll have a vaccine, we don’t know the quantities, we don’t know the efficacy of those vaccines,” said Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services. “This is a really quite extraordinary, logistically complex undertaking, and a lot of uncertainties right now. I think the message we want you to leave with is, we are prepared for all of those uncertainties.”

The officials said they were planning for initial distribution of a vaccine — perhaps on an emergency basis, and to a limited group of high-priority people such as health care workers — in the final three months of this year and into next year. The Department of Defense is providing logistical support to plan how the vaccines will be shipped and stored, as well as how to keep track of who has gotten the vaccine and whether they have gotten one or two doses.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine

(NPR) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Supreme Court, Women

(The State) South Carolina areas that adopted mask ordinances first see biggest COVID-19 declines

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control has released data before touting declines in coronavirus cases in areas where local governments have required residents to wear face masks. Now, the agency is saying that the earlier such ordinances were implemented, the better.

In its daily COVID-19 update Friday, DHEC broke down the 11 counties and 61 cities and towns where masks are currently required, splitting them into five groups according to the weeks that they implemented their mask ordinances.

In the earliest group, between June 23 and 29, cases decreased 66.5% more over the following month than in areas without ordinances. The latest group to implement ordinances, in the week of July 21-27, recorded no greater decrease in cases than those without them, DHEC reported.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Telegraph) Pandemic response is too centralised, say Archbishop Welby and Bishop Mullally

When the coronavirus pandemic began and lockdown took force across the country – shuttering shops and pubs, closing schools and barring places of worship – much of what we saw, heard and experienced was dictated and driven by “the centre”. Ministers and officials commanded our attention and determined the daily details of our lives. Few of us have experienced the sheer power of government like that in our lifetimes.

It makes sense to instinctively look for central direction in such an acute crisis, and we’re indebted to the roles many played in doing so, especially those who organised the NHS to cope with the increased demand. Within the Church there are lessons to be learnt about the role and importance of central guidance, and its crucial interplay with government rules that exist for the benefit of all.

But with a vaccine still far from certain, infection rates rising and winter on the horizon, the new normal of living with Covid-19 will only be sustainable – or even endurable – if we challenge our addiction to centralisation and go back to an age-old principle: only do centrally what must be done centrally.

As a country, this principle is in our DNA. In the Church of England, we have been committed to localism for centuries.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Local Paper) Mask rules draw heated debate in Summerville and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Summerville and Mount Pleasant became the recent centers of the COVID-19 debate in the Lowcountry as they updated their mask ordinances.

Residents gathered at council meetings in both towns over the past two weeks to voice their objections to government-enforced mask mandates. Some residents cited religious concerns about wearing masks and others questioned the effectiveness of mask usage in general.

Officials in both communities had to decide whether to listen to science or to a vocal group of mask opponents.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

Caitrin Keiper remembers Amy A. Kass, 1940-2015, “The Greatest of Teachers”

Born in New York in 1940, she was a bright light at the University of Chicago for 34 years, also teaching at St. John’s College in Annapolis and in various programs of the Hudson Institute in Washington. Notwithstanding these elite affiliations, she was democratic in her means and aims, a defender of the liberal arts as a heritage that belongs to and benefits everyone, with a sneakily elemental way of bringing them to life.

When I met Amy—then “Mrs. Kass”—I was a freshman who had crept into her class on King Lear where I did not belong, hoping she would sign my registration slip. She sternly admonished me that this was a class meant for experienced students who would all be held to the same high standard, as I turned myself inside out promising to make every effort to meet it. She peered down her nose at me, her face impassive but her eyes dancing. “I believe you,” she said.

What followed was a transformative experience. Her standards were indeed high, enforced by a finely calibrated nonsense detector, but raised by an even more finely calibrated radar for a promising line of thought. “Another sentence, please,” was her frequent rejoinder: You haven’t made your case yet, but I sense you have one in you. All the same, you needed both humility and pluck to make it. Naming no names, I knew one cowering student who always made a point of sitting next to her so as to avoid her penetrating stare from across the room. That stare could plow the earth out from under you if ever directed that way with disgust. But it never was—at most, with disbelief, and a pointer back to solid ground. Indeed, although she might be said to “never suffer fools,” she was always suffering fools, driven by a bottomless ambition that we could think and be so much better than we knew. Her eyes lit up with a kind of knowing surprise every time that faith was rewarded, as if she expected no less but still marveled at what was said.

As for the course’s content? That one tragedy, just the one, mined for all the treasure it holds. Is there even enough to go on, you may ask, twice a week for months in a single Shakespeare play? Oh yes.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Young Adults

(BN) Class Of COVID-19: The Horrifying Sadness Of Sending My Kids To College During A Pandemic

All four people have been isolated and are being cared for. They are being contact-traced. The school is on point, and I appreciate the transparency. That said, the miasma of anxiety the news summons is overwhelming.

But it’s also a good reminder to finish up our extraction plan. Both schools have told us that we need one in the event a COVID-19 surge on campus requires us to evacuate our daughters.

I don’t know how that will work. Honestly, I’m not sure how any of this will work.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(C of E) ‘They could hear the sound of the women singing in their cells’ how online prison services brought hope

The Covid-19 pandemic has made us think creatively and this was the first time that we had done anything like this. We wanted different prisons to take part and the service was broadcast from HMP Stocken in Rutland, HMP Low Newton in Durham – all women – and HMP Pentonville in London, a men’s prison.

We wanted the voices of the people who work in prison to be heard and for people to be given some idea of their largely hidden ministry. Prison staff, including chaplains, are Hidden Heroes and we must take every chance to celebrate them, like through this service, and the upcoming Hidden Heroes day on September 29.

During the service, there were readings by staff inside Pentonville prison and you could hear the background noise of prison life. The service heard reflections written by two prisoners, read by chaplains on their behalf.

Prisoners spoke of their joy at knowing their families had been watching and listening to what they had written. It was hugely exciting for them to feel heard. There was prisoners’ art displayed throughout the service and prayers were read that had been written by the women in Low Newton.

Read it all.

Posted in Prison/Prison Ministry, Women

(PRC) U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly

Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America’s reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

For instance, just 41% in the United Kingdom express a favorable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage registered in any Pew Research Center survey there. In France, only 31% see the U.S. positively, matching the grim ratings from March 2003, at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War. Germans give the U.S. particularly low marks on the survey: 26% rate the U.S. favorably, similar to the 25% in the same March 2003 poll.

Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Globalization, Sociology

(The State) COVID-19 absentee expansion bill clears SC House, heads to Gov. McMaster

A bill that would expand absentee voting to all registered South Carolina voters in the Nov. 3 general election as a pandemic-related safety measure is headed to the governor’s desk after clearing the House Tuesday.

The bill, which passed 115-1, allows “no-excuse” absentee voting, but retains the requirement that absentee voters get a witness to watch them sign their absentee ballot envelope — a requirement that a federal judge suspended for the June primary, citing the risk of COVID-19 transmission — and scraps plans to add more ballot drop boxes.

Gov. Henry McMaster has yet to weigh in on the absentee expansion bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate last week, but signed a similar bill the Legislature approved ahead of the June primary.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government

(Stat News) CDC study: Covid-19 complications killed 121 Americans under age 21 through July

A true saving grace of the pandemic is that Covid-19 poses far less risk to children than to adults, particularly older adults. But in rare cases, it has made children and young adults severely sick or even been fatal.

In a new report that analyzed fatal Covid-19 cases in Americans under age 20, researchers found that some of the same patterns of deaths in older populations carried over to younger populations: There was a disproportionate burden among children and young adults with underlying health conditions and those who were Latinx, Black, or American Indian or Alaska Native.

The report also found that 18- to 20-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the 121 deaths in the group during the time period studied — mid-February to the end of July — adding to the evidence that younger children generally are less likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19. Still, 10% of fatal cases occurred in children under 1 year old.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Science & Technology