Child Rape, Penn State and the Catholic Church: Is Religion Especially Bad?

From Alternet:

The child rape scandal at Penn State raises inevitable comparisons with the Catholic Church. Does religion make these kinds of abuses worse?

By Greta Christina
November 22, 2011

I can’t be the only person who heard about the Penn State child rape scandal and thought, “Holy crap — it’s just like the Catholic Church.” The abuse of power by a trusted authority figure; the coverup by people in authority; the unwillingness of witnesses to speak out; the grotesque, morally bankrupt defenses of a beloved institution by its followers… all of it is depressingly familiar.

And I can’t be the only critic of religion who’s been wondering, “Hmm. If Penn State has been acting like the Catholic Church… then did the Catholic Church child rape scandal actually have anything to do with religion?”

I still think it does. But it’s a complicated question. Let’s take a closer look.

Apologists for the Catholic Church and its role in the extensive child rape scandal often use the “But everyone else does it!” defense. “Priests aren’t the only people in positions of trust and power over children who abuse that power,” they say. “Parents, relatives, teachers, babysitters, coaches — they rape children as well. It’s all terrible… but it’s unfair to single out the Catholic Church as if it were special.”

Atheists and other critics of the Church typically respond to this defense — after tearing their hair out and screaming — by pointing out: The rapes aren’t the scandal. The coverup is the scandal. The rapes of children are a horrible tragedy. The scandal is the fact that the Catholic Church hid the rapes, and protected the child-raping priests from discovery and prosecution: lying to law enforcement, concealing evidence, paying off witnesses, moving child-raping priests from diocese to diocese so they could rape a whole new batch of children in a place where they wouldn’t be suspected. The scandal is the fact that it wasn’t just a few individuals in the ranks who protected and enabled the child-raping priests: it was large numbers of Church officials, including high-ranking officials, acting as a cold-blooded matter of Church policy. The scandal is the fact that the Church treated their own stability and reputation as a higher priority than, for fuck’s sake, children not being raped.

And many critics of religion have concluded that the nature of religion itself is largely to blame for this scandal. They have argued that religion’s lack of any sort of reality check, and its belief in a perfect supernatural moral authority that transcends mere human concerns, makes religious institutions like the Catholic Church far more vulnerable to abuses of this kind.

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After Salmonella outbreak, egg mogul is leaving the industry

From The Austin Statesman:

The Associated Press
Monday, Nov. 21, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A ruthless businessman who built one of the nation’s largest egg production operations from scratch even as he racked up environmental and labor violations is getting out of the business in disgrace after one scandal was too much to overcome: a nationwide salmonella outbreak caused by his products.

Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son, Peter, said in a statement they have given up control of egg operations in Iowa, Maine and Ohio, including the farms that produced salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened an estimated 1,900 people and led to a recall of 550 million eggs. Federal inspectors later discovered filthy conditions at the farms, including dead rodents and towers of manure.

Steve Boomsma, chief operating officer for Centrum Valley Farms in Alden, Iowa, said in a telephone interview Monday his firm had signed a nine-year lease with an option to purchase six DeCoster operations in Iowa, including the Wright County Egg farms responsible for the outbreak. A division of Minnesota-based Land O’ Lakes announced earlier this month it is taking over DeCoster’s Maine egg farms. And Boomsma said a deal could be announced this week involving Iowa investors’ takeover of DeCoster’s egg operations in Ohio.

The salmonella outbreak caused big retailers like Wal-Mart to drop DeCoster products, a Congressional hearing where DeCoster struggled to defend his record, and a bitter legal feud with DeCoster’s longtime top associate, John Glessner, in which each is accusing the other of mismanagement. The DeCosters recently reached financial settlements with about 40 people who were sickened during the outbreak, and attorneys involved in the litigation say they are seeking compensation for more than 100 others.

“While we are committed to working to address outstanding issues related to the outbreak, it is important to note we no longer operate any of the farms involved and are no longer in the business of egg production,” the DeCoster family said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

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Transgender student’s restroom use raises questions on PSD policy

This story is a few days old but I’m posting it anyhow.

I’m all for transkids being able to change their sex prior to puberty marking them with the wrong sex hormones.

I know the Christo-Fascists and right wingers have shit fits about transkids being able to have normal girlhoods or boyhoods as members of the sex they are becoming.  Heaven forbid we get treated like normal people.  I have the feeling more than a few people wedded to the Transgender Borg ideology probably also view this as problematic since these kids may never become part of their transgender ghetto.

But that is the point of helping kids transition when they are still kids.  The ghetto isn’t some sort of wonderful place and leaving “the community” for an ordinary life is a good thing.

BTW I think she should be allowed to use the same restroom as the other girls.

From The Coloradoan:

Written by Sarah Jane Kyle
Nov. 16, 2011

One question is causing a stir at Fort Collins High School: Who has the right to use which restroom?

Dionne Malikowski, 16, a transgender student at the school, said she believes she should have the same rights as any student to use the bathroom of her choice. But the fallout from following her convictions is prompting her to transfer to another school.

Malikowski, who was born male and now identifies as a female, said she was told by school officials that she would be required to use only staff restrooms when she entered the Lambkin community, a policy that she said school officials told her was to keep her safe from harassment.

But the high school junior said she was suspended about a month ago for violating the policy by using a girls’ restroom instead of a staff facility. Malikowski had previously received a warning for a similar violation but said she still believes the rule to be unfair and discriminating.

“I want to be able to use the girls’ bathroom without being harassed for it or suspended or having charges pressed against me,” she said. “I just want people to understand that there are so many kinds of people out there, and people who are a little different shouldn’t have to be treated differently or looked down on.”

PSD Board of Education President Nancy Tellez said that the use of staff bathrooms for transgender students falls under a district policy that states that all students should be provided equal educational opportunities regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or special needs.

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Occupy Seattle protester claims police caused her miscarriage

From The Guardian UK:

Jennifer Fox, who was pepper sprayed during the march last Tuesday, alleges that police officers hit her twice in the stomach, Tuesday 22 November 2011

A pregnant woman who was pepper sprayed during the Occupy Seattle protests in the US claims she had a miscarriage five days later as a result of injuries allegedly inflicted by the police.

Jennifer Fox, 19, claims that she was also struck in the stomach twice – once by a police officer’s foot and once by an officer’s bicycle – as police moved in to disperse marchers on 15 November.

A picture of Fox being carried away became one of the abiding images of the police crackdown on the Occupy Seattle protests, along with that of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, who was pictured with pepper spray – and liquid used to treat it – dripping from her chin.

Fox told the Stranger blog: “I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in. I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’ ” It was at that point, she said, that one officer lifted his foot and hit her in the stomach and another pushed his bicycle in the crowd, again hitting her in the stomach. She did not state whether she thought their actions were deliberate.

“Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me,” she continued. “My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut.”

Video of Fox in distress at the protests was posted online on Tuesday. She can be seen telling people who have come to her assistance “I can’t see” and wailing.

Fox told the blog that she had been three months pregnant. She said an ultrasound at the Harborview medical centre that night did not indicate any problems but, on Sunday, she started getting sick, suffering cramps and feeling as if she was going to pass out. She went back to the medical centre where, she said, “They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the foetus], too.”

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Pat Robertson: “What is this Mac and Cheese? Is That a BLACK THING?”

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Revolution Versus Reform

From Ted Rall:

Ted Rall
November 22nd, 2011

The Rift Within Occupy

Editors and readers expect pundits to weigh in on the brutal eviction of Occupy Wall Street from New York’s Zuccotti Park. People will ask: Does this mean the beginning of the end for the Occupy movement?


Now that we’ve dispensed with that, let’s discuss a major rift within the movement: Reformists versus revolutionaries.

Revolutionaries want to overthrow the government. They want to get rid of existing economic, political and social relations and create new ones. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are enemies.

Reformists want radical changes too. For example, Occupiers want to eliminate the corrupting influence of corporate money on politics. Unlike revolutionaries, however, they are OK with the basic structure of the system: the Constitution, Congress, 50 states, capitalism, and so on. They are willing to work with establishment liberals (, Amy Goodman, The Nation, Mother Jones, etc.) and the Democratic Party.

You can see the reform-vs.-revolution split whenever Occupiers discuss actions and demands.

Reformists say: Let’s move our accounts from banks to credit unions. Encourage Black Friday shoppers to buy from locally-owned businesses. Demand that Congress pass a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood. Restore the Glass-Steagall Act.

Those tactics leave revolutionaries cold. They don’t want to nibble around the edges of a system they despise. If revolutionaries get their way, there won’t be a Congress. Members of the House and Senate will go to jail. No one will need to boycott banks or choose which merchants are least malevolent.

Capitalism won’t exist.

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Anonymous Message to Occupy Police

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Processed Food Industry Shows USDA Who’s Boss in the Cafeteria

From Common Dreams:

by Ed Bruske
Published on Friday, November 18, 2011 by

First it was potatoes. Now it’s pizza. The processed food industry is reaching out to its friends in Congress to scuttle new USDA guidelines that were supposed to make school meals healthier.

Politico reports that House and Senate negotiators are likely to approve agriculture appropriations language that would allow the tomato paste on pizza to be counted as a vegetable serving under the USDA’s new school meal guidelines. Count this as the result of lobbying efforts by processed food giants ConAgra and Schwan Food. Schwan is one of the world’s largest purveyors of frozen pizza and pitching for its sauce is Sen. Amy Knobluchar, Democrat of Minnesota, where Schwan is based.

The new pizza rule comes quick on the heels of a Senate amendment prohibiting the USDA from limiting the amount of potatoes served in school meals. That was pushed by senators from potato producing states Maine and Colorado.

These latest broadsides against the USDA rule-making process–inserting Congress as micro-manager and protector of economic interests over kids’ health–point up the pitfalls of trying to use meal standards written in Washington as a way to dictate what kids eat. It also provides a vivid illustration of what happens when you go after the foods kids most love in the lunch line.

Pizza is the all-time favorite school lunch food, followed by potatoes in all their guises. Essentially, the proposed new guidelines would sharply cut back on foods kids really like, and replace them with things they hate: vegetables, beans and whole grains. Turns out there are huge amounts of money at stake behind the foods beloved by the 32 million children who participate in the national school lunch program. Frozen food companies are protecting their share the best way they know how: using their clout with their local congressman.

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Revolution: Egypt army-backed govt quits after 3-day bloodbath

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Former AIG CEO Sues Claiming Taxpayers Need To Pony Up $25 Billion More

Chutzpah (play /ˈhʊtspə/) is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad, but it is generally used negatively. The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning “insolence”, “audacity”. The modern English usage of the word has taken on a broader meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use in film, literature, and television. The word has also been able to be interpreted as meaning the amount of spunk or ability that an individual has. In more traditional usage, chutzpah is invariably negative.

From Think Progress:

By Ian Millhiser
Nov 22, 2011

For many years, insurance behemoth AIG was so poorly managed that the American taxpayer eventually had to invest nearly $70 billion in the incompetently run company to prevent its collapse from taking the entire U.S. economy along with it (much of this money has since been repaid). Former AIG CEO Maurice Greenberg, however, thinks that the American people haven’t done enough to protect his massive fortune, so his company filed a lawsuit demanding even more taxpayer money:

Starr International, the company run by the former head of insurance giant American International Group (AIG), has filed a $25 billion lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that the takeover of the insurance company at the height of the financial crisis was unconstitutional.

When the government took an 80 percent interest in AIG during the financial crisis, it did so without “due process or just compensation,” in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, according to the suit filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The unbridled arrogance of this lawsuit is astonishing. While the wealthy insurance baron is correct that the Constitution does not allow private property to be taken “without just compensation” — a requirement that generally requires the government to pay a property owner the fair market value for their property — his legal complaint can be rebutted with just one chart:

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Word of the Day: Multinational Corporation (MNC)

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Cosmetic Procedure Botched; Trans Woman Arrested

I consider this person to be one of the worst enemies of TS/TG people around.

What she did and what so few are willing to strongly speak out against is a thousand times worse than the thought crimes of the transsexual sepaaratists.

This monster is mutilating people and with that mutilation she is murdering them.  Perhaps not quickly then slowly.

That the people who had her do this are poor, desperate and ignorant only compounds the vileness of what she did.

Two articles from the Advocate:;_Trans_Woman_Arrested/

By Trudy Ring
November 21, 2011

A Florida transgender woman is accused of injecting another woman with a near-deadly mix of cement, mineral oil, tire sealant, and Super Glue in an attempted buttocks augmentation procedure.

Oneal Ron Morris (pictured), arrested Friday in Miami Gardens, is charged with practicing medicine without a license and causing great bodily injury, a second-degree felony, The Miami Herald reports. Police say the victim, whose name is being kept confidential because of medical privacy laws, was injected with the toxic concoction in May 2010. She began feeling ill soon afterward, and as the mixture spread throughout her body, she developed pneumonia-like symptoms and large red welts on her derriere. She was hospitalized and nearly died.

“In a world where body image is in the forefront of our media, this woman, for whatever reason, thought that this was the answer and she almost lost her life,” Miami Gardens detective Michael Dillon told the paper. The woman still has health problems and is undergoing treatment.

Complete article at:;_Trans_Woman_Arrested/

Also from the Advocate:

More Claim They Received Fix-a-Flat Injections

November 22, 2011

Several additional people have come forward claiming to have had ostensibly cosmetic but actually toxic injections that included tire sealant performed by a Florida transgender woman accused of posing as a doctor.

Oneal Ron Morris was arrested Friday and charged with practicing medicine without a license and causing great bodily harm to a Miami Gardens woman who in 2010 received buttocks-enhancement injections with a mix of “household and automotive products” that included “superglue, mineral oil and ‘Fix-a-Flat,’” according to a statement released by the Florida Department of Health. The woman developed pneumonia-like symptoms and other health complications and nearly died. Her name is being kept confidential.

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Freedom of the press under attack at OWS movements?

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Merck fined $950 million over painkiller marketing

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WASHINGTON — Pharmaceutical giant Merck will pay nearly $1 billion to resolve criminal and civil charges for wrongfully marketing its former hit painkiller Vioxx, the US Department of Justice said.

Merck agreed to plead guilty to breaking the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act after it promoted Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis when the drug had not been approved for that disease, the department statement said in a statement.

The criminal fine amounts to $321.6 million.

It also agreed to pay $628.4 million to settle civil charges related to the marketing of Vioxx and making false statements about its safety.

Merck began marketing the drug, known by its generic name of rofecoxib, in 1999, promoting it not just for its approved use as a painkiller but also as a way to fight arthritis.

The Justice Department said it ignored warnings to stop doing so and continued to do so until 2004, when Vioxx was pulled from the market after it was linked to a higher risk of heart attacks and stroke.

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Fear of financial shock at post-Lehmans high

From The Guardian UK:

Concerns over eurozone breakup or bank failure are at their highest level in the City since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the Bank of England has found

and The Guardian, Tuesday 22 November 2011

America announced stress tests for six big banks amid fears that the eurozone crisis had made the UK’s financial system more vulnerable to a major shock than at any time since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.

Shortly after a Bank of England survey showed that the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone was at the top of the worry list of major City firms, the US Federal Reserve said Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo would be tested for a global market shock. This test will be based on price and interest rate movements similar to those in 2008, and also on “additional stresses related to the ongoing situation in Europe“.

As bank shares fell sharply in London and across the eurozone amid anxiety that Germany’s second biggest bank, Commerzbank, could need an emergency capital injection, the Bank of England also revealed that confidence in the health of the UK financial system had fallen sharply to its lowest level for two years.

The perception that there could be a “high impact” event in the next year – such as the collapse of the euro – has increased in the last six months and anxiety has reached its highest level since the survey began in July 2008.

Publishing its twice-yearly systemic risk survey, the Bank said its new financial policy committee (FPC), set up to identify risks in the financial system, would scrutinise the findings at its meeting on Wednesday.

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The First Amendment Upside Down. Why We Must Occupy Democracy

From Robert Reich:

By Robert Reich
November 22, 2011

You’ve been seeing this across the country … Americans assaulted, clubbed, dragged, pepper-sprayed … Why? For exercising their right to free speech and assembly — protesting the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top.

And what’s Washington’s response? Nothing. In fact, Congress’s so-called “supercommittee” just disbanded because Republicans refuse to raise a penny of taxes on the rich.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court says money is speech and corporations are people. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year ended all limits on political spending. Millions of dollars are being funneled to politicians without a trace.

And a revolving door has developed between official Washington and Wall Street – with bank executives becoming public officials who make rules that benefit the banks before heading back to the Street to make money off the rules they created.

Other top officials, including an increasing proportion of former members of congress, are cashing in by joining lobbying power houses and pressuring their former colleagues to do whatever their clients want.

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