In the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens famous wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
These juxtapositions aptly describe the state of our modern world. Some in our world today have never been better, richer or more powerful. But others, like you’ll read about in our first story, are quite literally experiencing a winter of despair.
- Russian Airstrike Hits Maternity Hospital in Ukrainian City of Mariupol
From the WSJ:
A Russian airstrike hit a maternity hospital in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, local authorities said, as Moscow’s invasion has shifted to a new, more destructive phase aimed at civilian targets.
Video footage released by the Mariupol mayor’s office showed wounded people being pulled out of the partially collapsed hospital complex. A wide, deep bomb crater was visible, with signs that the blast, which took place around 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, had knocked down trees and torched cars. Nobody was killed in the blast and 17 people were wounded, officials said.
The city’s deputy mayor said other, uncounted bodies couldn’t be recovered because of intense shelling, and that 47 were buried in a common grave on Wednesday.
“They want to kill as many civilians as possible,” said the deputy mayor, Serhiy Orlov, speaking by phone from outside the city. “They will not allow for evacuation. They deliberately target lines for water and food.”
- Thousands more Ukrainians flee across borders, many with nowhere to go
Thousands more Ukrainian refugees fled to central and eastern Europe on Wednesday, many with no contacts and nowhere to go, as host countries scrambled to accommodate them.
The number of refugees has probably reached 2.1-2.2 million since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the head of the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, said.
Most are women and children, as able-bodied men have been ordered by the Kyiv government to stay home to fight.
So far, most refugees have gone to relatives, friends or contacts in the Ukrainian diaspora rather than to reception centres being set up by authorities, Grandi said.
“This is the best way for them to feel welcomed, to feel in a familiar environment and also have less burden on public services, frankly, which is very important for these countries,” he said. read more
- DeSantis Undeterred By Disney Criticism Of Florida Parental Rights Bill
From the Daily Wire:
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is undeterred by Disney’s criticism of the state’s parental notification bill, the governor’s press secretary told The Daily Wire Wednesday evening.
Spokeswoman Christina Pushaw confirmed that Disney contacted the governor’s office to speak with DeSantis, saying that this is “the first time we have heard from Disney regarding HB 1557.”
“The governor did take the call from Mr. Chapek,” she said, referring to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. “The governor’s position has not changed. No in-person meeting has been scheduled yet.”
“Disney is known as a family-friendly company that creates wholesome entertainment for kids,” she continued. “The same Florida parents who take their families to Disney also support parental rights in education, because they do not want their young children exposed to inappropriate content about sex and gender theory at school. We expect Mr. Chapek will carefully consider their concerns.”
- SPLC Continues to Label Conservative Christian Organizations as ‘Hate Groups’
From The Daily Citizen:
The Southern Poverty Law Center recently published its annual “Hate Map” and report, “The Year in Hate and Extremism.”
The organization targets conservative and Christian organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) as “hate groups.”
Of course, none of these are hate groups. Instead, they promote parental rights, life, religious freedom and free speech. They work to protect children from inappropriate sexualization and false “transgender” ideology.
ADF is a legal organization that fights for religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and free speech. Founded in in 1994 by a group of Christian leaders that included Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Bill Bright and Dr. D. James Kennedy, ADF has gone on to play a role in 64 victories at the United States Supreme Court.
- Young Children Suffer Steep Drop in Literacy following Pandemic Closures
From National Review:
Young students are having difficulty learning to read as schools have returned to in-person learning after two years of pandemic disruptions.
Studies of literacy in young children have shown that some young students are still suffering from learning loss, even after most U.S. schools have returned to in-person instruction.
A February briefing by Amplify, a Brooklyn-based company that produces school curriculum for grades K-12, found that students in kindergarten through second grade are at higher risk for difficulties learning to read than older students.
The set of kindergarteners “on track for learning to read” stood at 55 percent in 2019, before the pandemic, but dropped to 37 percent in 2020 and rose to just 47 percent in 2021. Among first-graders, 48 percent were on track for literacy rates in 2021 compared with 58 percent in 2019, while 51 percent of second-graders were on track in 2021 compared with 59 percent in 2019.
- Courage in Our Schools: Free Speech is Protected When Teachers Take a Stand
From The Daily Citizen:
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen countless examples of schools and teachers attempting to indoctrinate students into critical race theory (CRT) and teach new gender ideology.
According to CRT, racism is currently embedded in the political, legal, corporate and education systems in the United States. And proponents of critical gender ideology affirm that boys can literally become girls (and vice versa), and there is no inherent biological distinction between men and women.
These two systems of thought are being transmitted into the minds of young Americans through the school system.
In Chicago, their public school district has completely eliminated sex-specific restrooms, replacing the boys and girls restrooms with “All Gender Restrooms,” “Boys+” restrooms which have stalls and urinals and “Women’s+” restrooms which have only stalls.
- Massive Spending Bill Could Funnel Millions To Abortion Industry, Lawmakers Warn
From The Daily Wire:
The massive omnibus spending bill released early Wednesday morning could funnel millions to the abortion lobby, pro-life lawmakers and conservatives warned The Daily Wire.
“This is the most radically pro-abortion administration in history,” Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks told The Daily Wire on Wednesday afternoon. “Biden’s omni will potentially send millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood, which the vast majority of Americans oppose.”
Banks said that the worst part of the bill is the “massive windfall” it gives to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to its pro-abortion secretary, Xavier Becerra.
“Secretary Becerra is an anti-life radical who supports partial birth abortion,” Banks said. “His budget increased by nearly 10%, and he’ll use that money to pursue his anti-life agenda.”
The Daily Wire reported Wednesday morning that Republicans had grave concerns about the spending bill — an internal Republican Study Committee messaging document shows that the massive figures included in the bill were kept secret until the bill’s early morning release, noting that conservative lawmakers felt deprived of a voice in the negotiating process.
The spending bill includes $575 million for “family planning” internationally, Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy pointed out, $286 million for Title X funding to “keep the lights on at Planned Parenthood, $32.5 million for the pro-abortion U.N. Population Fund, and $200 million for a brand new “Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund” to help promote abortion across the globe.
- Justice Clarence Thomas: Social Media Companies Shouldn’t Get a Free Pass for Harms They Allow
From The Daily Citizen:
The facts in the Texas case are horrendous.
In 2012, a male sexual predator used Facebook to lure a 15-year-old girl to a meeting where she was repeatedly raped, beaten, and then trafficked for sex. After she was rescued from her situation, she sued Facebook under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” for failing to take reasonable steps to keep sexual predators off its platform.
Some of her claims were dismissed by Texas courts, which ruled that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields Facebook from liability for posts from third parties. She appealed that partial dismissal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices refused to take her case.
However, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote separately to say that the high court may – and ought to – take up a similar case in the future to address the scope of social media immunity included in Section 230, unless Congress acts first.
- FHP trooper uses her cruiser to stop a suspected drunk driver
From Local 10:
A Florida Highway Patrol Officer is being called a hero, after she used her patrol car to stop a suspected drunk driver in Tampa.
Authorities were alerted to the driver, who was headed toward the route of a race, where thousands of runners were participating.
Officials say the driver sped through traffic cones and road closures.
Master Trooper Toni Schuck used her patrol vehicle to stop the speeding suspect head on.
Skyway 10K race organizers took to social media to thank the trooper, saying “On behalf of the Skyway 10K, we are beyond thankful for our law enforcement partners and the trooper who risked her life to keep our race participants safe.”
Both Schuck and the suspect were injured but are now recovering.