Links: Pachamama and COVID; Wisconsin Republicans and the Ottawa Convoy

What caused the pandemic? Don’t ask Dr. Anthony Fauci. Ask Crisis magazine editor Eric Sammons who thinks the cause of all this suffering was Pachamama. “I believe that the Covid pandemic and the horrific response to it was directly caused by the veneration of this pagan idol in the Vatican by prelates, priests and laity. In October 2019 a false idol was erected into the heart of the Catholic Church, and soon after all, all hell broke loose on the earth.” Well, there it is. Why didn’t I think of that?

At Politico, a report on a different plot and how it’s tearing the Wisconsin Republican Party apart. David Siders explains that a new gubernatorial candidate not only believes Trump won Wisconsin in 2020 — he didn’t — but that it’s still possible to void the election and reinstate Trump in the White House. Pillow salesman Mike Liddell was kicking off the candidate’s campaign, which always inspires civic confidence in me. This mess couldn’t come at a nicer party.

On the University of the Sacred Heart blog “Come on, rebuild my house”, Catherine Clifford, professor at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, offers her point of view on the misnamed “freedom convoy” that shut down the normally peaceful city she calls home. She points to the central difficulty with arguments offering religious justification to anti-vaxxers: “Those who claim to fight for ‘freedom of choice’ are, in fact, quite free. There is no ‘forced’ vaccinations here. But choices have consequences.” We should all start calling these protests by their proper name: convoys of irresponsibility.

In The New York Times, lead writer David Leonhardt explains why Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine is qualitatively different from the kinds of wars the world has witnessed over the past 80 years. I’m not sure I agree with all of its details, but its central point is correct and chilling: the prospect of military powers expanding their national borders by brute force is chilling, both in Ukraine and Taiwan.

At The Hill, a new report indicates that by the end of the century, if the world has not tackled the climate crisis with the required commitment, only one of the previous 21 venues for the Winter Olympics – Sapporo, Japan – would be able to reliably guarantee the safe and fair snow conditions needed to host the games. (NB: Curiously, the article does not name Sapporo, but it provides a link to the study that names it.)

In The New Yorker, editor David Remnick interviews Henry Louis Gates Jr. and discusses everything from his childhood in West Virginia to his influence in establishing a literary canon of African-American literature. Gates has lived an extraordinary life and she shines here as the two old friends converse. He also displays a keen, and somewhat rare, awareness that there is diversity within groups, not just between them.

In The Atlantic, Gary Kamiya examines why voters in San Francisco, where Republicans are not a factor, voted to remove three members of the Board of Education who had supported things like removing George’s names Washington and Abraham Lincoln Public Schools. Conservative Republicans are abusing the result to buttress their ludicrous ideas about education, but they are less out of step than the Democrats. As Kamiya observes, “At a minimum, the encore demonstrates that ‘woke’ racial politics has its limits, even in one of the nation’s most woke cities.”

At Architecture Daily, a series of articles that look at the different ways cities are reusing Olympic venues, assessing whether hosting an Olympics is worth it, how not to host the games, and other issues related to urban design and architecture. The article examining the “twin legacies” of the Rio 2016 Olympics is particularly well done, examining how some projects served wider social needs like improved transportation, while others seemed to primarily benefit to property developers.

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