Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hear No Evil

More madness and evil from the Catholic Church. How in the hell do you do this? What the hell is wrong with these people?
The Roman Catholic Church covered up the criminal past of a paedophile priest and gave him a job in a school for deaf children where he went on to sexually assault vulnerable young boys, an Observer investigation can reveal.
One of his victims at St John's expressed his outrage at the latest disclosures. 'I am more than livid and feel totally let down by a so-called Christian organisation. How could the church have allowed this to happen? How could they have put a paedophile into a school for deaf children who were unable to speak out? This man ruined many people's lives, including mine. At the very least the church is guilty of wilful neglect; at the worst it is something unimaginable,' he said.


More Atrocities

The fundamentalists are once again using strife to target gays. And exploited children. Sickening:
Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the 'immorals' - homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution.

There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused. The threat has led to a rapid increase in the numbers of Iraqi homosexuals now seeking asylum in the UK because it has become impossible for them to live safely in their own country.


Bush Backs Down

Good news. Bush doesn't hate peace as virulently as he might have:
A ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah forces in Lebanon moved decisively closer last night after America, Britain and France agreed an outline deal to resolve what Tony Blair described as a 'tragic crisis'.

A draft United Nations resolution hammered out in New York calls for a 'cessation of hostilities' between Israel and Hizbollah, following what senior Foreign Office sources said was a climbdown by Washington, which had been holding out for a 'suspension' of fire. Under the latter wording, Israel could more easily have resumed bombing at any time it felt threatened.


Do It!

The words "considerable upfront expense," of course, means we won't:
Treating everyone infected with HIV could dramatically reduce the number of new infections in the world, creating a chemical quarantine around the virus that causes AIDS, researchers from the University of British Columbia hypothesize in a medical commentary, released Thursday.

The considerable upfront expense would be more than offset by savings from not having to treat the new infections such a policy would prevent if it were successful, they argued in a special issue of The Lancet dedicated to HIV/AIDS in advance of the international AIDS conference in Toronto.

``The prospect of treating 40 million HIV-infected individuals worldwide seems daunting today but, in view of the limited effect of current efforts on global prevention of new infections, this approach merits consideration if it can offer a means to control the relentless growth of the (AIDS) pandemic,'' the researchers argued.

``The continued expansion of the global HIV/AIDS caseload threatens to make the current HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) strategy unsustainable.''


Scary Breast!!!

My God, when are Americans going to grow up already?

Readers of a US parenting magazine are crying foul over the publication's latest cover depicting a woman breastfeeding, with some calling the photo offensive and disgusting.

"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine," one woman from Kansas wrote in reaction to the picture in Babytalk, a free magazine that caters to young mothers. "I was offended and it made my husband very uncomfortable when I left the magazine on the coffee table."

Her reaction was part of some 5,000 letters the magazine has received in response to a poll to gage reader sentiment about Babytalk's August cover photo, which shows a baby nursing.

Several readers said they were "embarrassed" or "offended" by the Babytalk photo and one woman from Nevada said she "immediately turned the magazine face down" when she saw the photo.

"Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob," the mother of a four-month-old said.

Another reader said she was "horrified" when she received the magazine and hoped that her husband hadn't laid eyes on it.

It's called "feeding a baby," people. Get over it.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Ya Think?

Well, clearly those people over there in Iraq don't know nearly as much as the Repubs in DC:
While American politicians and generals in Washington debate the possibility of civil war in Iraq, U.S. officers and enlisted men who patrol Baghdad daily say it has already begun.


Kittyblogging II: Electric Boogaloo


Suing the EPA

Something apparently has to be done to make the agency do its job:
An environmental group has sued federal regulators, charging that they failed to protect beaches and the Great Lakes from pollution and that negligence by the Bush administration exposed swimmers and surfers to potential illnesses.

After a decade-long review, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to allow continued use of 31 popular but controversial agricultural pesticides, concluding cumulative exposure does not pose a health risk.
They are used extensively in agriculture to control pests on fruits, vegetables and other crops. They have been targeted by environmentalists who argue they pose a health risk especially to children. They have been linked to cancer as well as neurological and fertility problems.


Wonderful World


Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's Almost Friday Catblogging


No Tax Cut for the Plutocrats

Sorry, GOP. You need to do the right thing for the right reasons for a change:

A Republican election-year effort to fuse a cut in inheritance taxes on multimilllion-dollar estates with the first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade was rejected by the Senate late Thursday.

Republicans needed 60 votes to advance their bill, which links a $2.10 increase in the $5.15 federal minimum wage over three years to reductions an estate taxes next decade. Passed by the House last Saturday, the bill got a 56-42 vote, four votes short of succeeding.

For Republicans, the combination could have neutralized a Democratic campaign issue while also advancing an estate tax cut, a priority that may have an uncertain future if the GOP loses seats in Congress in November's election.


"Sorry" Sorry Bastard

This man's life and family and... career... embody just how twisted divided, bigoted societies render the individuals forced to live within them. And demonstrate the powerful impulse to refuse to deal with personal culpability:
South Africa's most prolific mass murderer takes another sip of coffee, eases back in his chair and pauses when asked if it is true he shot more than 100 black people. "I can't argue with that," says Louis van Schoor. "I never kept count."
Hired to protect white-owned businesses in the 1980s, he is thought to have shot 101 people, killing 39, in a three-year spree. Some were burglars; others were passers-by dragged in from the street. All were black or coloured, the term for those of mixed race.

Convicted of murder but released from jail after 12 years, Van Schoor is unrepentant. "I was doing my job - I was paid to protect property. I never apologised for what I did."

He is not the only one. The whites in East London who turned a blind eye to his killing spree have not apologised and whites in general, according to black clerics and politicians, have not owned up to apartheid-era atrocities.

That reluctance to atone has been laid bare in a book published last week, The Colour of Murder, by Heidi Holland, which investigates the bloodsoaked trail not only of Van Schoor but also his daughter, Sabrina, who hired a hitman to murder her mother.


Upon his release in 2004, Van Schoor said he had found God and, when prompted, expressed sorrow to his victims' relatives. "I apologise if any of my actions caused them hurt."

In an interview this week, he tried to clarify his position. "I never apologised for what I did. I apologised for any hurt or pain that I caused through my actions during the course of my work."


If Only...

If only we had actual leadership that wasn't committed to destruction and hatred and/or convinced that the end of the world is just around the corner and/or completely owned by Big Oil, then maybe this idea might stand a chance in America:
An urgent project on the scale of the Apollo moon landings is needed to boost research into green energy sources and save the planet from environmental disaster, according to Britain's top scientist.


Suck on It, GOP

Especially you, DeLay:
A federal appeals court panel on Thursday refused to let Texas Republicans replace Tom DeLay's name on the November congressional ballot.


Projection, Much?

Another brilliant insight from conservative gay-trendspotters:
An organizer for the conservative Renew America is under fire for linking homosexuality with infant pedophilia.

"The newest thing in Chicago, it's becoming a trend, and you're gonna find this hard to with infants," Guy Adams told an Internet radio show hosted by fellow conservative Stacy L. Harp.

Adams (pictured) offered no evidence to back up his claims of infant pedophilia.


Religious Thinking

Leave it to the religious right to deny decades of actual research demonstrating the reality of global warming, and then be convinced because they happen to break a nasty sweat one day.

So bloody stupid:
Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said on Thursday the wave of scorching temperatures across the United States has converted him into a believer in global warming.

This week the heat index, the perceived temperature based on both air temperatures and humidity, reached 115 Fahrenheit in some regions of the U.S. East Coast. The 76-year-old Robertson told viewers that was "the most convincing evidence I've seen on global warming in a long time."

Last year, Robertson said natural disasters affecting the globe, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita that wrecked the U.S. Gulf Coast, might be signs that the biblical apocalypse was nearing.


Killer Smiles

Never trust an occupier who looks happy:
U.S. soldiers charged with murdering three detainees in Iraq smiled before carrying out the shootings and threatened to kill another soldier if he informed on them, a military court heard on Wednesday.

Prosecution witness Private First Class Bradley Mason said one of those charged, Staff Sergeant Raymond Girouard, told him if he were arrested he would try to get out of it on medical grounds because he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"They just smiled," said Mason. "I told him (Girouard) that I am not down with it. It's murder."


I Don't Think This Defense Will Work

I mean, not only are they children, but disabled children. This man should be locked in a cage until he dies:
A man accused of sexually assaulting nine boys with physical or mental disabilities told a judge that having sex with children is a sacred ritual protected by civil rights laws.

Phillip Distasio, who said he is the leader of a church called Arcadian Fields Ministries, represented himself at his pretrial hearing Wednesday. He is charged with 74 counts including rape, pandering obscenity to minors and corrupting another with drugs.

"I'm a pedophile. I've been a pedophile for 20 years," he said in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Wednesday. "The only reason I'm charged with rape is that no one believes a child can consent to sex. The role of my ministry is to get these cases out of the courtrooms."

Distasio said some of his congregants are among the victims in this case. Distacio, of Rocky River, is accused of molesting two disabled boys he tutored at his home and raping seven autistic boys at a Cleveland school for special-needs students where he was a teacher's aide. All but one of the victims were under 13.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gays and Straights Working Together = Adults Raping Children

More surprising wisdom from the bigots in the GOP:
Perry McGuire, the Republican candidate for Georgia Attorney General says that allowing Gay Straight Alliances in schools is "much like allowing a pedophile club or a gambling club to meet at school."


"Greens" in Pennsylvania

Romanelli, don't follow Nader's lead. Have some decency and get out:

OK, we've done it. We've nailed it down: Every single contributor to the Pennsylvania Green Party Senate candidate is actually a conservative -- except for the candidate himself.

The Luzerne County Green Party raised $66,000 in the month of June in order to fund a voter signature drive. The Philly Inquirer reported yesterday that $40,000 came from supporters of Rick Santorum's campaign (or their housemates). Also yesterday, we confirmed that another $15,000 came from GOP donors and conservatives. Only three contributions, totaling $11,000, remained as possible legit donations.

Today, I confirmed that those came from GOP sources.


That leaves only one contribution, for $30, as a legitimate donation from a Green Party supporter. That came from the candidate himself, Carl Romanelli. He made it to his own campaign fund, not the local Green Party.

Romanelli's latest FEC report shows his campaign currently has $17.20 on hand.


Time to Switch Churches

Some Austinites might want to reconsider their affiliation:

The minister of education at Austin's Great Hills Baptist Church has been accused by police of luring a 15-year-old boy into his car at a bus stop and sexually assaulting him.

Austin police said Jerry Dale Carver, 51, was arrested Monday at his home and charged with sexual assault of a child in connection with the July 25 incident. The second-degree felony carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.

Carver was released from the Travis County Jail on Monday night on $20,000 bail and could not be reached for comment.

Carver told police that the teenager got into his vehicle willingly and initiated sexual contact with him, an arrest affidavit said.

Carver's arrest marks the second time that a leader at the 5,000-member Northwest Austin church has been accused of sexually assaulting a teen. In 1999, youth minister Charles Richard "Rick" Willits was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy he met at church. Willits is eligible for parole in April, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

In Carver's case, police say they are looking for other possible victims. Sgt. Brian Loyd would not offer details but said detectives think Carver has picked up other minors at bus stops. They do not think Carver has assaulted anyone from the church, Loyd said.



Long-time bigot asks for help to "recover." Here's hoping Gibson will soon fade into oblivion:
Mel Gibson yesterday asked the Jewish community for help on his "journey through recovery" after it emerged a TV series he was due to make about the Holocaust had been dropped following his drunken anti-semitic remarks.

The cancellation is the first sign that his outburst when he was arrested for drink-driving last Friday may affect his career. According to a report filed by the arresting officer, Gibson released a barrage of abuse about "fucking Jews" and declared: "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."


French Invasion!

And the cowardly Republicans are simply... surrendering:
The fries on Capitol Hill are French again.
So is the breakfast toast in the congressional cafeterias, with both fries and toast having been liberated from the appellation "freedom."
Three years after House Republicans trumpeted the new names to get back at the French for snubbing the coalition of the willing in Iraq, congressmen don't even want to talk about french fries, which are actually native to Belgium, and toast.
Neither Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio nor Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, the authors of the culinary rebuke, were willing this week to say who led the retreat, as it were, from the frying pan. But retreat there has been, as a casual observer can see for himself in the House's basement cafeterias.
"We don't have a comment for your story," said a spokeswoman for Mr. Ney.


Worse Still

War all the time:
BOURJ AL-MULOUK, Lebanon - Israel pressed the first full day of a massive new ground attack, sending 8,000 troops into southern Lebanon on Wednesday and seizing five people it said were Hezbollah fighters in a dramatic airborne raid on a northeastern town. Hezbollah retaliated with its deepest strikes yet into Israel, firing a record number of more than 160 rockets.



Looks as though Kansas might be pulling itself up out of the mud of Creationism:
Moderate Kansas State Board of Education candidates pulled off a victory Tuesday, gathering enough might to topple the board’s 6-4 conservative majority.


Monday, July 31, 2006

Rape Nation

One thing that I cannot stand in comments threads around the blogosphere are the all-too-common remarks wishing prison rape upon various disliked people.

Rape should never be part of any punishment--not even for rape.

And yet:


Take the Quiz

How well do you know your Bush?

A sample question

19. Which of these words were among the top ten responses in a Pew Research Center poll that asked voters for the first word that came to mind when they think about George W. Bush?

(a) “Decisive,” “charming,” “brilliant,” and “truthful.”

(b) “Booze,” “cocaine,” “failure,” and “smirk.”

(c) “Illegitimate,” “simian,” “hotheaded,” and “torture.”

(d) “Incompetent,” “idiot,” “liar,” and “ass.”


Museum o' Stupid

Anyone who wastes their money going to this abomination of museology is probably idiotic enough to believe in creationism. More's the pity.

No one ever lost a buck underestimating the intelligence of the American people:
Like most natural history museums, this one has exhibits showing dinosaurs roaming the Earth. Except here, the giant reptiles share the forest with Adam and Eve.

That, of course, is contradicted by science, but that's the point of the $25 million Creation Museum rising fast in rural Kentucky.

Its inspiration is the Bible — the literal interpretation that contends God created the heavens and the Earth and everything in them just a few thousand years ago.

"If the Bible is the word of God, and its history really is true, that's our presupposition or axiom, and we are starting there," museum founder Ken Ham said during recent tour of the sleek and modern facility, which is due to open next year.

Ham, an Australian native who started the Christian publishing company Answers in Genesis in the late 1970s, said the goal of his privately funded museum is to change minds and rebut the scientific point of view.

"We're going to show you that we can make sense of the different people groups, we can make sense of fossils, we can make sense of what you see in the world," he said.

Visitors to the museum, a few miles from Cincinnati, will be able to watch the story of creation unfold in a 180-seat special-effects theater, see a 40-foot-tall recreation of a section of Noah's Ark and stare into the jaws of robotic dinosaurs.

"It's education, but it's also doing it in an entertaining way," Ham said.


John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, an organization that promotes creationism, said the museum will affirm the doubts many people have about science, namely the notion that man evolved from lower forms of life.

"Americans just aren't gullible enough to believe that they came from a fish," he said.



Good lord, but this is twisted:
A television sting claimed to expose a thriving "arms-for-alms" trade in India yesterday when journalists apparently caught doctors on screen agreeing to amputate the limbs of beggars for as little as 10,000 rupees (£125).

An investigation by the CNN-IBN news channel showed three doctors taking money from the reporters, who said they were looking for medics to amputate beggars' limbs. There appears to be a thriving trade in Delhi where gangs kidnap beggars and force them to undergo surgery so that their deformities attract sympathy.


Great Job for a Crappy Doctor

This man is a vile symptom of an evil system:
A doctor who oversaw dozens of Missouri executions until his questionable practices led a judge to suspend executions in the state, has been sued for malpractice more than 20 times and has a history of making medical mistakes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday.

Alan R. Doerhoff, 62, also has been banned from at least two Missouri hospitals and was publicly reprimanded by the state's Board of Healing Arts in 2003 because Doerhoff was trying to conceal malpractice claims from hospitals where he was working, the newspaper reported.

The state Attorney General's Office was aware of the reprimand, but the state Department of Corrections continued to employ Doerhoff to handle lethal injections, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Indeed, the state tried to keep his identity a secret in an appeal earlier this year by inmate Michael A. Taylor, who claimed the heart-stopping drug given in lethal injections can cause excruciating pain if the inmate is not given proper levels of anesthesia first.



Why don't I doubt that this guy would be among the first to encourage the FCC to go after "graphic" content on TV and radio?

As a shock tactic, a national group that opposes abortion plans to fly a billboard-size picture of an aborted fetus over Cleveland beginning Monday.

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which frequently employs such attention-grabbing advertising, hopes to jar people into reconsidering their support of abortion, director Gregg Cunningham said.

He said the banner would be the most graphic picture ever displayed from the air.

"It will be categorically the most shocking we have ever done," he said. "The imagery is so horrifying that I can't almost stand to look at it."

Cunningham wouldn't describe the advertisement, which also displays a toll-free number to the organization. But he said the advertisement would compare an aborted fetus to a second graphic image related to the war in the Middle East.

"This thing just sucks the wind out of even me," he said.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hearts and Minds

Tip of the iceberg, can we say?
A former US soldier accused of raping and murdering an Iraqi girl compared killing people in Iraq to "squashing an ant," in an interview with a reporter about a month before the attack.

Steven Green, 21, a former private with the 101st Airborne Division, is under arrest in Kentucky and could face the death penalty if convicted of the March 12 murders of the Iraqi girl and three of her relatives.

Writing in Sunday's editions of The Washington Post, Andrew Tilghman, a former correspondent for the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes, said he interviewed Green several times in February at his unit south of Baghdad.

"I came over here because I wanted to kill people," he quoted Green as saying. "The truth is, it wasn't all I thought it was cracked up to be.

"I mean, I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience," Green was quoted as saying. "And then I did it, and I was like, 'All right, whatever.'

"I shot a guy who wouldn't stop when we were out at a traffic checkpoint and it was like nothing," Green was quoted as saying. "Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant.

"I mean, you kill somebody and it's like, 'All right, let's go get some pizza.'"


Israel: Rabid and Out of Control

Madness. Hizbullah is not hiding amongst civilians. Israel is just thrashing about, murderously:

Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection.

But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian militants have been.

Isn't anyone else tired of being stupider than militant Muslims?


Closing Gitmo

Oh, wait. Not so much, eh? More like expanding and entrenching:

The controversy over the US-run detention centre at Guantanamo Bay is to erupt anew with confirmation by the Pentagon that a new, permanent prison will open in the Cuban enclave in the next few weeks.

Camp 6, a state-of-the-art maximum-security jail built by a Halliburton subsidiary, will be able to hold 200 prisoners.


We'd Rather Let Users Die Than "Condone" Use

I'm so sick of this argument. Just issue the scrips already:
In the wake of more than 400 deaths nationwide from heroin laced with the painkiller fentanyl, some needle exchange programs are giving addicts prescriptions for a drug to keep on hand to halt an overdose.

The antidote — naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan — can save the life of someone who might not call 911 for fear of prosecution, treatment providers say.

Even if a user does call, help can arrive too late.


But others say naloxone is best administered by trained paramedics and that the prescription approach might appear to condone drug use.

"We don't want to send the message out that there is a safe way to use heroin," said Jennifer DeVallance, a spokeswoman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which sponsored a symposium Friday on the fentanyl problem in Philadelphia.



Perhaps the people involved in this incident should reconsider their party affiliation?
Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon has drawn the ire of his own party for officiating at the wedding of two gay men.

Ruiz Gallardon is a member of the conservative Popular Party which opposes same-sex marriage. The PP fought last year's legislation which allows gay and lesbian couples to wed and continues to battle the law in the courts.

Ironically Javier Gomez and Manuel Rodenas, the couple married by the mayor ,are also members of the PP. Gomez is an advisor and strategist for the party. Rodenas is a party member and city council employee.


A public opinion survey taken earlier this year showed that 61 per cent of respondents agree with marriage equality. Only 32 percent said that they disapproved of the gay marriage law.

The PP is fighting the marriage law in the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the Spanish Constitution does not specifically mention same-sex couples.


Brave Evangelical

Rara avis:
Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.


Pre-Empting the Next Generation of Terrorists

Killing mainly children now:

Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed "great sorrow" for the airstrikes but blamed Hezbollah guerrillas for using the area to launch rockets at Israel, and said he would not halt the army's operation.