I'd like to know is, if Richard Mourdock's, Todd Akin's or Paul Ryan's
wife or daughter were to be raped and become pregnant, would they be
happy to let these female relatives and loved ones go through 9 months
of gestation and raise the babies in their homes as if nothing happened?
And what of the father's, I mean rapist's, rights? Visitation, partial
custody? Can you imagine? Maybe they think that would make a great
sitcom (I'm sure Fox would jump on that.)
Do these guys even
have a half a brain to think this through? Oh, and of course there would
be no government benefits, although in this equation the financial
strain is a tiny fraction of the anguish.
And even more: Only
one third of fertilized eggs even implant in the womb, and there is
further attrition from there, so taking steps to ensure a theoretically
possibly fertilized egg doesn't implant is hardly "abortion".
Just say no to these clowns and their millennia old religious views
which should not be involved in any way in making laws in the 21st
One of the things I have always been ambivalent about since arriving in North America is college sports. I like sports, but here college sports can get just crazy. Here, they're bigger than Jesus - certainly at least on a par with most major religions. And now we have a situation at a college that mirrors that of the worst of Catholic priest excesses.
The bulk of reporting has focused on victim 2, the 2002 case, but the stories of the 8 victims paint a picture that's pretty damning. Between football staff, campus detectives, janotprs, teachers, school principals and parents, there's really no wiggle room out of this for the child rapist. The only real question is how many times these stories have been swept under the rug before finally coming to light.
Dave Wischnowsky at CBS Chicago has an excellent article that questions the circumstances surrounding Sandusky's retirement in 1999 at age 55, in perfect health, when he was one of the most successful assistant coaches in the game. He was the heir apparent o an aging Paterno, but was informed by Paterno in no uncertain terms that he would not be succeeding him as head coach of Penn State. Sandusky was heavily pursued by many other programs for a head coaching job, but oddly chose to retire with full access privileges at Penn State.
There's certainly a question going begging there on what exactly happened then and who knew what, given that Sandusky was on the brink of having charges filed against him in 1998 (Victim 6) that were inexplicably dropped when Centre County Distrcit Attorney Ray Gricar deciced there would be no criminal charges. Again, oddly enough, Gricar disappeared in 2005 and was eventually pronounced dead in July this year.
Gricar vanished April 15, 2005, after taking a day off work as the Centre County district attorney. His red Mini Cooper was found abandoned in a Lewisburg parking lot, and his county laptop and hard drive were found in the nearby Susquehanna River, too badly damaged to be read. Gricar was 59, and just about eight months away from retirement.
I'm sure there are many enemies a DA can make in a career and many reasons a DA might find to disappear or be disappeared, but it's particularly convenient that it happened here.
It's really just inconceivable (maybe I don;t know what that word means) that Paterno knew nothing of Sandusky's proclivities. The truth will out eventually.
And then there's Mark Madden, Pittsburgh sports radio host, who has been peddling rumors that the Sandusky situation is merely the tip of pedophile ring iceberg. That would turn the scandal of the decade into the scandal of the century.
The bottom line is that this kind of exploitation of vulnerable children can happen anywhere there is a religious fervor and a cultish atmosphere that predators can exploit to their advantage. The church isn't the only place that can create that kind of atmosphere.
Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two The Gandhi Man, oh the Gandhi Man can The Gandhi Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
Yet "Great Soul" also obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that he was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him. Gandhi was therefore the archetypal 20th-century progressive intellectual, professing his love for mankind as a concept while actually despising people as individuals.
Sounds about right, although far from the sanitized, revered icon he has become, which understandably brings down the wrath of those who would protect the myth.
He was also crazy and impractical (non-violence only really works on those with a sense of fair play, for example):
Starting a letter to Adolf Hitler with the words "My friend," Gandhi egotistically asked: "Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?"
As Dr. Phil might say, "How's that working out for ya?"
He advised the Jews of Palestine to "rely on the goodwill of the Arabs" and wait for a Jewish state "till Arab opinion is ripe for it."
Yeah, we're still waiting to see which comes first - that or hell freezing over.
Even more delusional thinking:
Gandhi claimed that there was "an exact parallel" between the British Empire and the Third Reich, yet while the British imprisoned him in luxury in the Aga Khan's palace for 21 months until the Japanese tide had receded in 1944, Hitler stated that he would simply have had Gandhi and his supporters shot. (Gandhi and Mussolini got on well when they met in December 1931, with the Great Soul praising the Duce's "service to the poor, his opposition to super-urbanization, his efforts to bring about a coordination between Capital and Labour, his passionate love for his people.")
Ah, Mussolini, how we miss you - the trains running on time, the megalomania...
There's much more weirdness in Gandhi's life, but we all know the real story of his sexual passion from Seinfeld (Episode 4.18: The Old Man):
Mrs. O: That's when I began my affair with Mohandas.
Mrs. O: Mohandas.
Mrs. O: Oh, the *passion*. The *forbidden pleasure*--
Elaine: You had an affair with Gandhi?
Mrs. O: He used to dip his bald head in oil and rub it all over my body. Here, look... [shows Elaine a picture of the two together]
In a story broken by the Virginia-Pilot newspaper, Captain Owen Honors of the USS Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, while XO (Executive OFficer, second-in-command) of the carrier produced a series of video "entertainment skits" for broadcast to the entire ships company (about 6,000 people) in 2006 and 2007. They were apparently well-made, but featured content that would make Benny Hill blush. The more boorish good ol' boys (and perhaps some of the more loutish women) on board thought they were funny, but complaints were not welcomed by Honors (I wonder why?).
In one scene, two female Navy sailors stand in a shower stall aboard the aircraft carrier, pretending to wash each other. They joke about how they should get six minutes under the water instead of the mandated three.
Update: Video excerpts on Youtube
In other skits, sailors parade in drag, use anti-gay slurs, and simulate masturbation and a rectal exam. Another scene implies that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey.
They're all part of a series of short movies produced aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Enterprise in 2006 and 2007 and broadcast to its nearly 6,000 sailors and Marines. The man who masterminded and starred in them is Capt. Owen Honors - now the commander of the carrier, which is weeks away from deploying.
It's also interesting that especially in the wake of the repeal of "don't ask don't tell" the homophobia based humor remains rampant (because let's not pretend much has changed in the last three years).
Honors was an F-14 naval aviator and a former Top Gun pilot. It's sad to say that that kind of phyical ability often comes with a puerile jock mindset that manifests itself in stunts like this. Here's some more:
After that, the video returns to Honors. "Finally, let's get to my favorite topic - something foreign to the gay kid over there: chicks in the shower," he says.
He gestures to the person next to him - who, through a trick of video, is Honors wearing the blue coveralls of a Navy surface warfare officer, or SWO. SWOs include the officers who crew the ship; they don't include fighter pilots and other aviators. Repeatedly in the videos, Honors, a former Top Gun pilot, draws distinctions between aviators and SWOs and refers to SWOs as "fags."
On one level, I can see the defense of "it's just the guys letting off steam", blah, blah, blah. Pressure cooker environment, yada, yada, yada.
But this guy was second-in-command, now commander, of a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier and its aircraft. He's also a key link in the chain of command that enacts the pointier end of US foreign policy.
As such, these juvenile antics that would be no longer be welcome in a junior high school playground are surely grounds for relieving him of his command (and for that matter, also anyone above him who condoned this kind of behavior at the time.)
What would Capt. James T. Kirk think? Sadly, this ain't Star Trek, Mr. Sulu.
It's not even mostly about the horrible crimes of abuse any more - it's about the systematic and systemic cover-ups. And that was perpetrated by hundreds or thousands more people than directly abused children.
The proposed Mosque/Community Center on or near Ground Zero in Manhattan features the usual talking head suspects. The allegedly "Christian" Right is up in arms about it being on the doorstep of the hallowed space.The map below shows, yes it is pretty close - maybe 5 minutes walk - but then again so are any number of churches, most notably Trinity Episcopal, Wall Street. Another little touted geographic fact is that it's only a mile from the proposed pool and gymnasium to the Statue of Liberty ferry, which allows one to hop the ferry for the two mile journey to the statue itself. Double ironic juxtaposition!
Moreover, the proposed building is only two streets over from a mosque on Warren Street it is intended to replace. As Lisa Sharon Harper reports:
Dr. Sarah Sayeed, president of Women in Islam, Inc. and program
director for the Interfaith Center of New York, explained in a recent
There has been a mosque on Warren Street, four blocks from
the World Trade Center site, for many many years. My dad used to go
there for prayers when I was a little kid. A lot of the Muslim people
who work at City Hall or in the financial district would go to that
The Warren Street Mosque lost its lease and had to find a new
location. Some people in that community came together and were able to
purchase the building on Park Place and West Broadway, where the Islamic
Community Center is now proposed; two blocks closer to Ground Zero. The
people in the purchasing community partnered with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf,
who had another mosque in Tribeca -- also close to Ground Zero. Imam
Feisal serves on the board of the Interfaith Center of New York.
Their vision included a full-blown community center that serves the
wider community, not just the Muslim community. It's conceived in the
tradition of the YMCA, with a pool, a place for seniors to congregate, a
place for the arts and a multi-faith chapel and prayer space. So, it's
really a cultural center that is being built by a group of Muslims.
They're also talking about having an interfaith advisory group to help
shape the work in the building.
It's all too easy for the rabble-rousing Right to conflate any muslim with al-Qaeda, to equate the building of a multi-purpose community center with just a mosque. Or even for that matter, to continue to perpetrate the lie that our president is a muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that) to such an extent that the number of Americans believing it is actually going up.
There's a great article over at the Washington Post about New Yorkers getting tired of outsiders butting into their business.
Ali Mohammed's food cart stands equidistant between the site of the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks and a planned Islamic center that has become
the prime target of national conservatives who, after years of
disparaging New York as a hotbed of liberal activity, are defending New
York against a mosque that will rise two city blocks from Ground Zero.
Newt Gingrich has argued, among other things, that the Muslim
congregation shouldn't build the center because "Nazis don't have the
right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington."
Sarah Palin has weighed in, too, in opposing the "Ground Zero mosque."
The pain she said, is "too raw, too real."
Mohammed, like many other New Yorkers, has reached his saturation point.
"They got nothing to do with New York and they don't care about New
York," said the 56-year-old from Brooklyn, igniting a Marlboro Light.
"They are trying to create propaganda."
This is a point of consensus for New York's entire body politic, from
the center's most vocal opponent to its most full-throated defender.
Believe me, New Yorkers don't need outside opinions. they have quite enough themselves. Gingrich's comments surely deserve a real life equivalent to Godwin's Law. And since when has Newt Gingrich deserve the right to comment on anything in public?
We don't have a state religion in the US, and that means the pseudo-Xtian Right should shut the hell up and worry about something real. The proposed building should be allowed to go ahead. It still has to meet all the appropriate financial, technical, planning and construction hurdles, but let's not start making up rules.
Two millennia of privilege, power and corruption and it's all coming crashing down not because of child abuse (as abominable as that is), but over the cover-ups and an institutional inability to admit any kind of guilt. Oh sure, they'll throw an Irish bishop or two under the bus to satisfy the media, but that's about it.
In the old days the inquisition could squash whatever inconvenient facts may come to light, and until recently, the media would stay respectfully at a distance and let the Vatican off the hook, but the tide of news as we know it today can't be stemmed.
It is certainly going to be interesting to see how damaging this is going to be to the worldwide credibility of the Roman Catholic Church - to members and non-members alike. Apart from a few unthinking sheep, who's buying the Vatican's line?
The Telegraph was the first major news outlet to break this story apparently. An "aviation blog" published a picture allegedly taken by an American Airlines flight attendant to highlight the difficulty of dealing with obese passengers. It's a growing problem, no doubt, and getting larger every day.
Now, either this photo is photoshopped (if so it's a very good one), or it was taken while this guy was out of his own seats (notice the two empty ones behind the row he's in) and talking to his buddy in the middle seat in mid-flight. He isn't sitting in the seat, he's sitting on the armrest (and very uncomfortably I can add - it's a good thing he carries his own padding with him.)
There is simply no way the airplane took off with him sitting like that - there's no way he can be strapped to anything like that, and blocking the aisle that badly would simply never be allowed to happen.