lunadelcorvo: (Facepaw Lion)
(GENOA) — The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests.

Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. "I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues," he allegedly said. Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Benedict to establish a tough new worldwide policy, released this week, on how bishops should handle accusations of priestly sex abuse.

According to investigators, Seppia told a friend — a former seminarian and barman who is currently under investigation — that the town's malls were the best places to entice minors. In tapped phone conversations the two cursed and swore against God. The priest is charged with having attempted to kiss and touch an underage altar boy and of having exchanged cocaine for sexual intercourse with boys over 18.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2072613,00.html?xid=rss-world

And further updates, courtesy (as was the above article) of [livejournal.com profile] _53:

Update 1: Italian site Reppublica Genova quotes the accused as admitting to being gay, HIV positive, a cocaine user. He still denies abuse of children (the translated article says 'to 10,' which doesn't rule out child abuse in my book...). And naturally, the Church blames those crazy 1960s.
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
Another very disturbing dimension of the recent legal maneuverings in Michigan is that it's not alone. There are a significant number of the current crop of governors and state legislators enacting, or trying to enact, strikingly similar legislation. We have seen this with the union-busting measures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states, and it's looking like Scott Walker may try to enact a the same emergency powers arrangement in Wisconsin as well.

Now none of this seems too far fetched for the Tea Party. However, it is interesting when one takes a step back and wonders exactly how did all these state-level politicians all come up with the same legislative initiatives at the same time? If you're thinking they must have some 'sooper seekrit' neo-con policy handbook, you're not too far off.

Introducing the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC). A conservative legislative policy group, they provide boilerplate ideas designed for implementation by state legislators and aimed at dismantling unions, regulation, pretty much everything they don't want to have to contend with. Membership is open to state legislators (for an affordable $100 a year), but boasts an impressive cadre of corporate sponsor/members as well (for the far more significant $5,000-50,000 per).

So what, right? After all, industry folks flock together at conferences; it's what they do. It's as inevitable as geese flocking in the fall. Chiropractors, shoe salesmen, grocers - they all have organizations where they compare notes, show off, trade ideas. What's the big deal?

Well, let's look at who founded ALEC, and who the big names are. ALEC's founders include:
-Paul Weyrich, a long time Right Wing activist, and one of the founders of the Moral Majority, founder of the Heritage Foundation, and known for his dominionist leanings.
-Henry Hyde, of the Hyde Amendment fame, another long-time conservative stalwart, and a banner bearer in the Clinton impeachment proceedings, internet censorship, and other Religious Right causes.
-Lou Barnett, former Political Director of the American Conservative Union, National Director of Reagan’s Political Action Committee, "Citizens for the Republic, and central to the revival of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The real clincher is the big money though. ALEC, in 2000, collected $56,126 in dues from members who were legislators. However, their total revenues were $5,685,299, almost 100 times that much. That money comes from big money corporate interests. Represented among the big money contributors and members? Amoco Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland , Koch Industries, Coors Brewing Co, Verizon Communications, Inc., PhRMA (Big pharmaceuticals), Pfizer Inc..... it's a regular Who's Who of corporate America.

According to reports from people who've been in these conferences, the agendas tend to run on two tracks: enabling corporations (by union-busting, stripping regulations, etc. ALEC was also behind the recent bills criminalizing attempts to expose cruelty or unsanitary conditions at factory farms.) and social conservatism (opposing health care reform, global warming denial, anti-environmentalism, anti-immigration, etc.). Groups like Family Research Council and the Pro-Family Legislative Network are represented in ALEC as well.

Read more on this story at these links:
SmartALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows
ALEC fingered as source of coordinated anti-union, anti-immigration legislation
Creating a Right-Wing Nation, State by State
American Legislative Exchange Council - Source Watch.org
American Legislative Exchange Council | Right Wing Watch
Gov Rick Snyder Sellout? Prefabricated Corporate Michigan (Government) Courtesy of Koch & ALEC
FORTUNE - The big political player you've never heard of
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
Another very disturbing dimension of the recent legal maneuverings in Michigan is that it's not alone. There are a significant number of the current crop of governors and state legislators enacting, or trying to enact, strikingly similar legislation. We have seen this with the union-busting measures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states, and it's looking like Scott Walker may try to enact a the same emergency powers arrangement in Wisconsin as well.

Now none of this seems too far fetched for the Tea Party. However, it is interesting when one takes a step back and wonders exactly how did all these state-level politicians all come up with the same legislative initiatives at the same time? If you're thinking they must have some 'sooper seekrit' neo-con policy handbook, you're not too far off.

Introducing the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC). A conservative legislative policy group, they provide boilerplate ideas designed for implementation by state legislators and aimed at dismantling unions, regulation, pretty much everything they don't want to have to contend with. Membership is open to state legislators (for an affordable $100 a year), but boasts an impressive cadre of corporate sponsor/members as well (for the far more significant $5,000-50,000 per).

So what, right? After all, industry folks flock together at conferences; it's what they do. It's as inevitable as geese flocking in the fall. Chiropractors, shoe salesmen, grocers - they all have organizations where they compare notes, show off, trade ideas. What's the big deal?

Well, let's look at who founded ALEC, and who the big names are. ALEC's founders include:
-Paul Weyrich, a long time Right Wing activist, and one of the founders of the Moral Majority, founder of the Heritage Foundation, and known for his dominionist leanings.
-Henry Hyde, of the Hyde Amendment fame, another long-time conservative stalwart, and a banner bearer in the Clinton impeachment proceedings, internet censorship, and other Religious Right causes.
-Lou Barnett, former Political Director of the American Conservative Union, National Director of Reagan’s Political Action Committee, "Citizens for the Republic, and central to the revival of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The real clincher is the big money though. ALEC, in 2000, collected $56,126 in dues from members who were legislators. However, their total revenues were $5,685,299, almost 100 times that much. That money comes from big money corporate interests. Represented among the big money contributors and members? Amoco Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland , Koch Industries, Coors Brewing Co, Verizon Communications, Inc., PhRMA (Big pharmaceuticals), Pfizer Inc..... it's a regular Who's Who of corporate America.

According to reports from people who've been in these conferences, the agendas tend to run on two tracks: enabling corporations (by union-busting, stripping regulations, etc. ALEC was also behind the recent bills criminalizing attempts to expose cruelty or unsanitary conditions at factory farms.) and social conservatism (opposing health care reform, global warming denial, anti-environmentalism, anti-immigration, etc.). Groups like Family Research Council and the Pro-Family Legislative Network are represented in ALEC as well.

Read more on this story at these links:
SmartALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows
ALEC fingered as source of coordinated anti-union, anti-immigration legislation
Creating a Right-Wing Nation, State by State
American Legislative Exchange Council - Source Watch.org
American Legislative Exchange Council | Right Wing Watch
Gov Rick Snyder Sellout? Prefabricated Corporate Michigan (Government) Courtesy of Koch & ALEC
FORTUNE - The big political player you've never heard of
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
For those of you who may still be able to delude yourselves into denying that the RepubliCorp Party is screwing the poor so the rich can get just a tiny bit richer, I hope this will settle the question.

If you don't know this, the state of Michigan recently passed legislation allowing the governor to declare "financial emergency" in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services. Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and the elected officials of such a town or city may be rendered powerless under the authority of an "Emergency Manager."

This law has been touted as a dramatic measure needed to save communities in dire conditions, and stop corrupt local governments from hampering effort at revitalizing renewal effort. It has, however, been put into effect for the first time in Benton Harbor, a small predominantly black town in SW Michigan. While it's true that this town has been in trouble for decades, this is not the 'saving the town' measure the Repubs may want you to think it is....

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



AND... we are going to arrest anyone who objects, First Amendment be damned, our legally elected official be damned.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



This is infuriating beyond measure. Can we really look at this and not see shades of totalitarianism? Is this where we are now? And from all indications, a similar measure is being drafted in Wisconsin....
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
For those of you who may still be able to delude yourselves into denying that the RepubliCorp Party is screwing the poor so the rich can get just a tiny bit richer, I hope this will settle the question.

If you don't know this, the state of Michigan recently passed legislation allowing the governor to declare "financial emergency" in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services. Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and the elected officials of such a town or city may be rendered powerless under the authority of an "Emergency Manager."

This law has been touted as a dramatic measure needed to save communities in dire conditions, and stop corrupt local governments from hampering effort at revitalizing renewal effort. It has, however, been put into effect for the first time in Benton Harbor, a small predominantly black town in SW Michigan. While it's true that this town has been in trouble for decades, this is not the 'saving the town' measure the Repubs may want you to think it is....

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



AND... we are going to arrest anyone who objects, First Amendment be damned, our legally elected official be damned.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



This is infuriating beyond measure. Can we really look at this and not see shades of totalitarianism? Is this where we are now? And from all indications, a similar measure is being drafted in Wisconsin....
lunadelcorvo: (Shocked WTF Bugs Bunny)
(I couldn't possibly make this up!)

A tank rolled through a residential neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona, along with a SWAT team, armored vehicles, and because you can never be too careful, a bomb robot. So, what could have prompted such a show of force? A Mexican cartel beheading Arizonians in West Valley? An al Qadea cell, plotting a terrorist attack on Russell Pearce? Nope:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio rolled out the tanks to take down a man suspected of cockfighting.
Suspected. Of cockfighting. Really.

On the bright side, Sheriff Joe, who isn't called the "toughest sheriff in America" for nothing, did make an arrest:
[Jesus] Llovera was alone in the house at the time of the arrest, and he was unarmed.
Of course Llovera wasn't really alone or unarmed. He did have 115 chickens who were allegedly trained to kill (they—the chickens, not Jesus—were "euthanized on the spot"*).

So, where does Steven Seagal come into all this? He was along for the ride:
Seagal was riding in the tank.

The Sheriff’s Department has entered into a contract with Seagal and part of that contract gives Seagal carte blanche to go along with the sheriff as he arrests people.
... and apparently, while he kills chickens.

And while Llovera has "no history of owning weapons," Arpaio's office defended the action that reportedly cost tens of thousands of dollars, saying:
We're going to err on the side of caution. We're going to make sure that we have the appropriate amount of force in case we do run into anything like that.
Tank. SWAT team. Armored vehicles. Bomb robot. Versus Jesus and 115 chickens. Sounds appropriate.
I really have nothing to add to that.....

*I can't help but ponder if Seagal was the one to 'euthanize' the chickens....
lunadelcorvo: (Default)
Does This Dirt Field Look Muslim to You?



The Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa., supposedly honors the brave folks who sacrificed themselves during an in-flight power struggle on 9/11. So why does its design include a huge Muslim crescent pointing at Mecca?.

A group led by the father of a Flight 93 victim will be running full-page ads this Friday and Saturday in a Shanksville-area newspaper, criticizing the perceived Islamic symbol it sees in the memorial's Field of Honor — the dirt circle in the top picture that resembles a topographical map.

At the center of the dispute is the Field of Honor, a circular, tree-lined landmass that will serve as the heart of the memorial, as well as a 93-foot Tower of Voices that will contain 40 wind chimes, one for each victim of the crash. Forty groves of red and sugar maple trees also will commemorate the victims, and ponds will be installed to serve as a natural barrier to the nearby Sacred Ground, the final resting place for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

This design "controversy" was raised five years ago, has popped up occasionally ever since, and is finding new life during the 2010 War on Mosques. A few seconds of googling takes us to a 2005 Michelle Malkin post with an informative animated .gif, for those of you who cannot see the evil Muslim symbol within this secret terrorist beachhead.

Although the National Park Service changed the title of the ring surrounding the Field of Honor from the Crescent of Embrace to the Circle of Embrace and moved some trees and stuff around, just to be polite, critics aren't satisfied with this obvious 9/11 Victory Crescent:

"A more obvious tribute to the terrorists is hard to imagine," reads the ad, which will be published in the Somerset Daily American and was provided in advance to FoxNews.com. "It is not surprising, then, that the giant crescent would turn out to point to Mecca*, and be the centerpiece for the world's largest mosque."

(Text from article here: http://gawker.com/5633032/does-this-dirt-field-look-muslim-to-you, thanks to a posting in[livejournal.com profile] atheism.)

*Incidentally, the monument is oriented along the path of the downed flight. So I guess that means the American heroes were trying to go to Mecca!!!! *facepalm*
lunadelcorvo: (Olivia)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Forget tolerance. Teach people how to think rationally, apply critical thinking, ask questions, formulate their own ethics based in reason not faith. Give them that, I suspect you'll find tolerance isn't an issue any more....

I know, it's been said all over my f-list. But given a wrangle I got into with a pair of particular idiots, I needed to say it again!
lunadelcorvo: (Medieval Facepalm)
The Blame Game:

The range of excuses offered up by various ecclesiastics for the child abuse scandal is amazing. Admittedly, these come from disparate entities, and don't [seem to] represent a unified position on the part of the Vatican. Still, we've been talking about this for a while now, and you'd think by this point they'd have their talking points laid out. Further, even if these statements are not official, I don't see any of them being condemned as wrong. Official statements distance themselves from them, yes, but I have yet to see anyone say 'No, that is not consistent with Church doctrine.' And in fact, none of them are inconsistent with Church doctrine, which, as I see it, is a big part of the problem to begin with....

Satan Behind Media Attacks on the Pope, Asserts Italian Exorcist

Vatican Attacked Over Cardinal's Claim of Homosexuality and Pedophilia Link

Bishop Blames Jews for Child Molestation Scandal

"Media Bias and Catholic Bashing" by Bill Donohue, President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

At Vatican Service, Priest Likens Abuse Allegations To Anti-Semitism

Vatican Cardinals Claim Sex Abuse Claims Have Been Orchestrated by Enemies of the Pope

Stuff Catholics Have So Far Blamed for the Church's Pedophilia Scandal

Social Justice?

US Catholic officials are fighting AGAINST extensions to the statute of limitations on reporting of sex abuse, under claims ranging from the bills being 'designed to bankrupt the Church' to a trend of 'anti-Catholic sentiment, even when those bills do not target (or even mention) the Catholic Church. This is being reported even by Catholic news organizations.

Beltway Cardinals Oppose Abuse Extension Bills, Many Cite Nationwide Anti-Catholic Trend

Connecticut Bishops Fight Sex Abuse Bill

Religious Leaders Battle Abuse Bill in New York

[Wisconsin] State Bishops Oppose Legislation to Repeal Statute of Limitations [on Child Abuse]

(Crazy Vatican makes medieval monk [see userpic] cry.)
lunadelcorvo: (Oh puh-lease!)
Quote from an article on Religion Dispatches about gun-toting tea-party goers:
The Constitution Party is frequently dismissed as a fringe party of little electoral consequence, even though its significance lies elsewhere. It is in fact a steaming hotbed of far-right factions with theocratic, vigilante, and sometimes revolutionary ideas whose like-minded members get together to make their plans, just like any other organized faction in American public life. The party says it is 100% pro-life and pro-gun. (emphasis is mine)
Now, let's just think about that for a moment. Even in a movement which can accept claims like those of the tea party, the biblical literalists, and the Tim LaHayes of the world, this statement seems to require a level of doublethink even George Orwell could not help but be impressed by. And terrified....

(Here's the story, and it's a damned disturbing one at that, I might add: "[I] Pray For Barack Obama To Die And Go To Hell”: The Story The Media Missed)

And, please, can someone explain to me how "Democracy" means "If we can't have things our way, we'll take over with guns and make everyone live our way?" Plzkthnx....
lunadelcorvo: (W T F? Kitten)
Insurers Required to pay for Prayer treatments

Insurers required to pay for.... for... PRAYER TREATMENT?!?!?!?!?!

*fzzt! pop! bzzzzzp!*

That was my brain breaking. For the second time in a week, albeit for radically different reasons...

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] doctoreon for pointing this out.

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Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities

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