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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Meet The Press: Catholic sex abuse

On Meet The Press today, a discussion of the Catholic church and the recent sex abuse.

Those on the panel are horrified and don't know what can be done to make the changes necessary in the church to stop the abuse, but I have a few suggestions, suggestions that will never be followed, of course: Allow women to be priests, allow priests to have normal and public romantic lives, put term limits on bishops, cardinals, and the pope, allow lay people to have a vote on what happens in the church, and finally, stop effing lying!!!

People will say the Pope can't make these changes. That is bullshit. He just changed a centuries-old Catholic teaching on the death penalty without consulting anyone else and, as far as I can tell, for no other real reason than to distract us from the abuse scandal.

Civil authorities will have to legally and publicly hold the church accountable, because church leaders will not do it and most Catholics really don't care.

More: Pennsylvania AG: Cardinal under scrutiny over report on priest abuse 'is not telling the truth'

Friday, August 17, 2018

John Brennan interview

A really interesting interview by Rachel Maddow of former CIA director John Brennan, the man at the top of Trump's enemies list, a list compiled of those in the intelligence community who could be witnesses against Trump in the Mueller investigation. Here's the first of three segments ...


Thursday, August 16, 2018

RIP: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin Is As Immortal As Can Be

Sad to see her go. I especially like her song Chain of Fools. It's such good dance music that it shows up in movies like Sneakers. Here's a scene from the movie where Mary McDonnell dances to the song with Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, and River Phoenix ...

More on the Pennsylvania Catholic sex abuse

Seeing in the news that Pope Francis finally has responded to the news of the Pennsylvania sex abuse report ... he says he's on the side of the victims. That's nice. I don't really believe that, though, because id he was, the US church would not be spending millions of dollars to keep statutes of limitations in place - Catholic Church spent $2M on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform

Here's a bit from an article by lawyer Marci Hamilton ...

Clergy Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania: No Justice Is Intolerable

[...] Out of over 300 abusing priests and 1,000 victims documented, only claims against two priests were within the criminal statutes of limitations. These two priests were indicted earlier. The rest of the victims are simply, totally out of luck. There is literally only one way to restore justice to them: revive their expired civil statutes of limitations. In other words, to fix the wrongs done to them, they deserve the choice to file civil lawsuits. The Report itself makes that very recommendation, so let’s do it.

Well, the ones who can do it—Pennsylvania lawmakers—have failed to do so. Bills have been introduced and rallies have been held, but Pennsylvania Senate Republicans have blocked this one opening to justice for the victims. They are lobbied publicly by the bishops (via the Catholic Conference) and in the shadows by the insurance industry, and then they smilingly embrace these lobbyists’ lame and immoral arguments against the victims. They say they are horrified by what they read in such a report, but the bill that Senate Republican leader Scarnati now backs does nothing for the victims in this Report. The bill would extend the civil statute of limitations until a child victim reaches age 50 and eliminate the criminal statute of limitations. They clearly hope that the public will believe they are doing something meaningful in response to the Report while they thumb their noses at every victim in it and then kiss the bishops’ rings. This is cynicism. This is, actually, evil ...

I'm not sure the average person understands what it's like to have something like sex abuse happen to you when you're a kid. I was abused as a kid by a relative. My mom told me it would be our little secret. The guy who did it was never punished. I think people believe it's not a big deal, that kids will forget. I was five and I have never forgotten. It can taint your whole life, influence the way you see yourself, influence the way you will feel about sex, and in the case of sex abuse by priests, probably forever influence the way you feel about God. To let all the abuse by the church - abuse happening around the world, for decades, of thousands of children - be shrugged off with lame apologies is just wrong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Prince Wendell the cat

Today we caught and took one of the two cats we still need to spay and neuter to the SPCA to be fixed. He's a boy cat and I've named him Wendell after Prince Wendel, the doggy prince in The 10th Kingdom which I've been re-watching ...

Meanwhile I've been taking photos of everyone so I can put their spay/neuter documentation together with a picture of them if they need to be IDed. Look, here's Lucy :) ...

Now just one more cat to catch now (saying there aren't any kittens and leaving out Yoda). Whew!

The stain on the church

From the Editorial Board of the Washington Post: The scale of the Catholic Church’s criminality still shocks

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S decades-long practice of enabling and systematically covering up the rape and molestation of children by priests is by now sickeningly familiar. Yet the scale of abuse; the breadth and depth of trauma inflicted by predators wearing Roman collars; and the coldbloodedness of senior church figures zealous in their resolve to protect the church but indifferent to the suffering of minors, retain their power to shock the conscience .....

Even as apologists for the Vatican and the clergy continue peddling the myth that the Catholic Church’s pedophile scandals simply reflect society’s problems, the weight of evidence is overwhelming proof to the contrary .....

[T]he pope has proved unwilling and possibly unable to take the sweeping steps required to implement a genuine zero-tolerance policy. In the United States, the church continues to block legislative reforms in state capitals that would allow victims and prosecutors to seek justice for abuse that occurred decades ago .....

This is one of the reasons I don't identify as Catholic anymore. Pope Francis and the others running the church are basically unaccountable - the Pope is a virtual dictator in the church, a dictator with his own country. Yes, the occasional priest may be charged by civil authorities and even go to trial, but all too often those being investigated for crimes get called back to the safety and immunity of Vatican City ... a recent example is Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, a Vatican diplomat being investigated for child pornography in the US and Canada: Amid Pornography Case, Vatican Recalls Priest From Washington Embassy.

Things could change inside the church in ways that would make clergy sex abuse less likely: there's evidence that Christian denominations that have women priests and married priests have much less clergy sex abuse than the Catholic church ...

[R]ates of reported child sexual abuse by priests and religious in the Catholic Church are many times higher than for clergy and paid pastoral staff such as youth workers, in other denominations .... The figure for the number of victims in the Catholic Church was exactly 10 times that in the Anglican Church ....

But things won't change because Pope Francis won't change them and no one else can. I believe there's just one thing that could make a difference - if priests/bishops/cardinals sttod together on this and challenged the Pope, if lay people stood together and refused to accept the current situation, then I think the Pope would have to listen. This tactic worked on a smaller scale to get the notorious Cardinal Law to step down. But in this instance, it just won't happen.

In this way, there's a similarity between the church and the Trump administration. There's no question that there's corruption in the organization - it's evident to all - but Republican politicians (and Catholic clergy) won't challenge their leader because they care more about staying in power than anything else in the whole world. And Republican voters support Trump almost completely in the same way that most lay Catholics support the Pope .... they don't care about the damage caused to others, because all that matters to them is that they get what they themselves need from the organization.

Meanwhile, the church continues to spend literally millions of dollars in the US on lobbying against the relaxation of statutes of limitation, which is what is keeping most clergy child abusers from being held accountable ... Why the Explosive Report on Catholic Church Abuse Is Unlikely to Yield Criminal Charges

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In the UK ...

Monks should be stripped of control following sex abuse cover up at two Benedictine schools

Monks should be stripped of control at two leading Benedictine schools after sex abuse was covered up for 40 years, a report has found. Leaders at Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset hid allegations of "appalling" abuse against pupils as young as seven to protect the church's reputation. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on Thursday published a damning report on the English Benedictine Congregation, which has ten monasteries .....

But let's not forget what's happening here in the US as well: More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse ...

When will the Pope make the changes necessary to end the ongoing clergy sex abuse problem ... allowing women priests, married priests? I'm afraid the answer is 'never'.

Monday, August 13, 2018


Omarosa Manigault has been in the news recently for her new tell-all book about Trump and her tenure in the White House ...

She's been pretty beaten up by the different talking heads for her lack of credibility, but I have to wonder why she deserves more contempt than other former WH employees like white nationalist Steve Bannon or grifter Scott Pruitt or wife-beater Rob Porter..

All most of us know of her is that she's a reality tv show personality. I've never even seen any of her tv stuff. But, for some context: Her father was murdered when she was just seven. She earned a BA and a master's degree (Howard University). She's probably one of the few people Trump chose for his WH staff who actually had previous WH experience ... she worked in Al Gore's office during Bill Clinton's administration ...

And Lordy, she has tapes!

So, to paraphrase an old saying, maybe in this instance the enemy of our enemy can be our friend.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A sonnet

Long long ago in a galaxy far away, I belonged to an online writing BBS. We had challenges, or contests, posting short stories, reading everyone's stuff, and picking a winner who would choose the next challenge topic. So much fun. I learned a lot about writing. Some of my old short stories can be found here - Short Stories. I forgot, though, that we sometimes wrote poems too, but my friend from the BBS, Susan, reminded me of this sonnet I tried to write, based on a Stargate Atlantis episode :) ...

Diminishing Returns

StarGate Atlantis was on TV shown
this very night and I could not but gaze
as humans transplanted far from home
battle aliens so fell that they amaze.
Our heroes formed a drug that would destroy
the enemy, but half the humans too.
They deemed the plan was worthy to employ,
“victory at any cost” expressed their view.
But at what point does necessary loss,
in the cause of winning, sacrifice the thing
wished preserved, and the ultimate cause
become a victim of results diminishing?
To justify the means with worthy end,
does integrity and truth and honor rend.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

A bad day

UPDATE: we aren't doomed after all. It appears that as long as I get all the cats who appear spayed and neutered, it's alright for them to be here. Or at least that's what I was told when I called for more info today. It's not an optimum situation - I never wanted a zillion cats living in my yard - but I don't want to see them euthanized either. I'm just going day by day, trying to do the best I can.

It seems the neighbors have stepped up their complaints to animal control about the cats, saying that they are a "nuisance" and that I am running an "illegal cattery". The man who came was almost scary, wanting to see my ID and grilling me on how many cats were here and how many were spayed/neutered.

All of the cats but four of them have to be taken to the County Animal Shelter, where I suspect most of them will be euthanized. He wanted to start trapping them today but I asked if I could do it myself ... he has given me only one to two weeks to get it done. I don't know how I can catch them all, much less how to decide who has to go (and probably die).

Most of them are really afraid of people and haven't ever been in a confined space. All of them trust me and think I'm their friend.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Yoda naps

Yoda takes a nap after playing with her tissue paper :) ...

Trump fiddles, California burns

Trump Accuses California Of Causing Wildfires By ‘Diverting’ Water To Pacific

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Eight years ago ...

President Obama presented The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to Paul McCartney ...

Paul sang Michelle :) ...

We miss you, President Obama!

Wonderful Tonight

One of Eric Clapton's song about Patti Boyd ...

Friday, August 03, 2018

Ivanka: anchor baby

Lawrence O'Donnell on how Ivanka's Czechoslovakian mother got into the US as an immigrant ...

Thursday, August 02, 2018

The Pope and the death penalty

So, Pope Francis has changed the catechism and the official church teaching on the death penalty ... Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is 'inadmissible'

This really is quite a change, given that in the past Catholic popes themselves had people put to death - here's a list of people executed in the Papal States.

- Giovanni Battista Bugatti, executioner of the Papal States between 1796 and 1861, carried out 516 executions

I think this change to church teaching is a good thing - I'm against the death penalty.

But why change this and not other stuff? The pope believes he can alter this teaching based on changes in our thinking and our society, but on other issues like women priests, LGBT marriage, contraception, divorce, abortion, married priests, he will not consider change. Why not?

And timing is everything - this change in doctrine seems a convenient distraction from all the current news about clergy sex abuse. Here's just some of it ....

- Pennsylvania investigating sex abuse by priests in six Catholic dioceses

- Catholic Church Faces Reckoning in Chile as Sex Abuse Scandal Widens

- Catholic sex abuse scandal stretches to South Bend, drawing in Bishop Rhoades, Notre Dame

- Australian Bishop Convicted of Covering Up Sexual Abuse Resigns

- Victims of Montana clergy sex abuse vote on $20M settlement

Perhaps I've become too cynical where the church is concerned, but in a church that keeps women and gay people down, while doing all it can to evade responsibility for clergy sex abuse (US Catholic church has spent millions fighting clergy sex abuse accountability), it's hard not to be.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The stupid

There's a scene in the first Captain America movie where Steve Rogers, before he has become Captain America through a government experiment, is saying goodbye to his friend, Bucky, who's going off to Europe to fight the Nazis (WWII) ...

Bucky: Don't do anything stupid until I get back.
Steve: How can I? You're taking all the stupid with you.

I was reminded of this when watching the news today. Some people worry that the Democrats are going to do something stupid before the midterm elections, but I'm not worried ... how can we do something stupid when the Republicans have taken all the stupid with them?

From Trump's dead-head base, those nutty believers in conspiracies like Q ...

To Trump displaying his obstruction of justice in public with his twwet that Sessions should shut down Mueller's investigation ...

Trump and his followers *own* the stupid.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trump orphans children

Hearings are being held in the Senate on the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents. One thing that has been made clear is that the idea was Trump's and was always to have children permanently taken from their families, with no intent to ever reunite them, with the children being treated as orphans. In simple terms, Trump planned and executed stealing people's children to punish them for daring to come here and to deter others from doing the same. How is that not terrorism?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Fires in California

I'm lucky to not live near any of the most recent big fires happening here, but it's still scary, especially the fire in Redding (the Carr fire) which is about 150 miles north of me ...

650 children

So, what has been happening to the children separated from their parents? If you believed the Trump administration you would think that problem's been solved. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Of the all children (2500+) the court ordered the Trump administration to reunite with their parents, 670 still have not been reunited because the Trump administration has deemed them "ineligible". Why? The reason for most (431 parents) is that the government deported the parents while keeping their children. The California judge for this case has ordered the Trump administration to find these deported parents and reunite them with their kids. Thanks God Trump hasn't been able to totally suborn the judicially of the country. Yet.

Here's more from Morning Joe on all the details, including a really chilling FRONTLINE interview clip with the past acting director of ICE, Tom Hollman ....

I'll Get You

Did I already post this song? Don't think so. More Paul McCartney ...