Links: Conservative battle with Disney; the problem of book bans; a mormon open house

In the Washington Post, Russian civil rights activist Vladimir Kara-Murza writes that he is certain that Russia will still be free. He bases this claim on his interaction with fellow prisoners after his arrest for political reasons, namely, by giving an interview to CNN in which he strongly criticized the war in Ukraine. Other anti-war protesters were in the prison, and Kara-Murza reports that apolitical inmates and prison staff were kind to him and other anti-war protesters. Let’s hope and pray that more and more Russians find the courage to protest this war and work for regime change, not in kyiv but in Moscow.

At Politico, Derek Robertson reflects on the hard-to-understand decision of some very conservative Republicans to fight with Disney. It used to be liberals who criticized the company’s moral posturing, but now, as times have changed and Disney has changed with them, the company is the object of conservative ire, and not just angry, but despicably distorted: Conservatives use the highly distorting and repugnant word “grooming” to describe Disney. Robertson questions why conservatives think such attacks will be politically useful given that mainstream Americans have become increasingly tolerant of gay rights. But most congressional districts are gerrymandered, so the only threat comes from the far right in a primary. You can’t gerrymand a state election, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is rightly betting that Florida has moved in a decidedly more conservative direction in recent years and won’t pay the political price for moderates, who are less less numerous.

Also at Politico, Elena Schneider reports on what may be the biggest single-d democracy-saving effort by capital Democrats this year: an effort to elect Democrats to positions overseeing elections. The “Run for Something” group only raised $6 million of its $80 million goal, but hopefully big donors will join the effort.

Meanwhile, in The New York Times, Sungjoo Yoon, a junior from Burbank High School in California, explains why he opposed the removal of certain books from the school curriculum and describes a school board meeting where his young voice of common sense was drowned out by the polarized adults. The essay is a study of true liberal values.

In Deseret News, a story about how the Mormon community in Washington, DC, planned an “open house” at their beautiful temple along the DC Beltway, but also took groups of their members to visit other churches of the region. This type of interfaith experience is so needed in our society and shows how the Mormon faith develops its own relationship with modernity in interesting and human ways.

In The Times of Israel, a look at Operation Mincemeat, about which a film is being made, during World War II. The brainchild of a British intelligence officer who was Jewish, the operation managed to trick the Nazis into believing the Allies were going to invade Sardinia and Greece, not Sicily, where the actual invasion took place .

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