April 3rd, 2010

Round the loop again

T. has a nasty sounding cough. Again. I had been feeling a slight cold and A.'s nose had been running, so I wasn't shocked or anything. R. delivered assorted meds but didn't think to put water in the humidifier. Maybe that will help tonight.

This morning, despite sounding very sick, T. went to the store with me to get some groceries and then we went around the loop on the scooters. I'm feeling much more relaxed about going downhill today. I'm also trying to make a point of switching off legs I push with. Unfortunately, because my scooter is faster for a number of reasons and because I've got longer legs, and because T. is feeling under the weather, this results in me getting way ahead of him and having to stop and wait. Which is probably just as well anyway.

It's definitely a lot more tiring than the bike.

what was I looking for?

I think I was trying to get a read on the celibacy rate in the general population (and failing) to get a read on assertions about what it was among Catholic priests. Somehow in the course of googling around I stumbled across this:

http://www.snapnetwork.org/priest_stories/priests_with_aids.htm

That's 10 year old coverage of something I don't remember ever hearing anyone chatter about. Granted, at the time, I was coming off a multi-year track-Y2K-remediation efforts news consumption binge (and would, a couple years later, take off on a health news binge), so this was in no way something I was likely to stumble across.

But wow.

ETA:

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/12/navy_leechaplain_guiltyplea_071206w/

Words fail, altho I suppose I'll put in a comment about how "don't ask, don't tell" probably contributed to this creep getting away with what he did for as long as he did.

ETAYA:

http://www.projo.com/news/content/father_magaldi_02-15-08_25918EN_v61.39a1f2b.html

!!!

Okay, priest rapes minors, we're hearing a lot about that. Priest has HIV, got some examples above of that. Priest moved around, sure. Still in the process of being laicized, even tho the accusations started surfacing about a decade ago (all statements summaries of article contents dated 2008). Here's the part that caught my eye:

[quote begins here]Magaldi was removed from active priesthood in 1999 after sexual-misconduct allegations emerged in Rhode Island, where he served from 1960 to 1990, and Fort Worth, where he served from 1990 to 1992 and 1993 to 1999.

He was out of the ministry while serving a brief stint in prison in 1992 for stealing more than $123,400 from St. Anthony Church in North Providence.

Authorities said he had spent some of the stolen money for tropical vacations with adolescent boys and once gave a teenager he met in a park enough money to buy a car. He served eight months before being paroled.[quote ends here]

They let him be a priest again after stealing six figures to take his victims on "tropical vacations"? That, dear reader, is Job Security.

Actually, I should quote a little more:

[quote begins here]In an unrelated case, Magaldi also was accused of lying in the Newport case of Claus von Bulow, a Danish-born socialite accused of trying to kill his heiress wife with insulin injections, to help him secure a new trial. The charges against Magaldi were later dropped.

Von Bulow was acquitted of the charges in his second trial.[quote ends here]

But wait, there's more! Including the Boy Scouts!

[quote begins here]After the first allegation of molestation in the late 1990s, The Dallas Morning News reported, church investigators in Texas found him “guilty of sexual exploitation” and he was barred from supervising altar boys but allowed to continue as chaplain of the Fort Worth diocesan Boy Scout program.[quote ends here]

Where was the adult supervision? Celebrated mass with Pope JP2, parishioners wanted him back, pastor found kiddie porn on his computer.

great opinion piece by Katha Pollitt

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/02/opinion/main6357172.shtml

Sample:

[quote begins here]In the succinct words of Jodi Jacobson, editor of RHRealityCheck.org, "Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women's rights?" To which one might add: what gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have almost all the power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women's bodies? The same institution that has dealt so indulgently with its ordained pedophiles had no problem excommunicating a Brazilian mother who sought an abortion for her 9-year-old daughter, raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, or pushing for laws in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile banning abortion even to save the woman's life.[quote ends here]

scaling problems and an appalling analogy

The Catholic Church in Germany set up a hotline for abuse victims to call.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0403/Should-the-Vatican-have-adopted-US-reforms-on-sex-abuse/%28page%29/2

[quote begins here]A hotline set up by the Catholic Church in Germany was overwhelmed by more than 4,000 alleged victims calling for counseling and advice.

“In the end only 162 out of 4,459 callers were given advice before the system was shut down,” the Daily Mail reports. “Andreas Zimmer, head of the project in the Bishopric of Trier, admitted that he wasn't prepared for ‘that kind of an onslaught’.”[quote ends here]

I guess I'd sort of like to know the timeframe, but I don't think it really matters -- this clearly happened _very_ quickly. I guess when you've piled the whole world on top of a bubbling cauldron of catastrophe, when you try to take a peek at how it's going in there, you're likely to get burnt.

[quote begins here]Father Raniero Cantalamessa, described as “the Pope’s personal preacher,” likened attacks on the church and the Pope to anti-Semitism comparable to "collective violence" against Jews during the Holocaust.

While Vatican officials later said that was not the official position, Jews around the world were aghast.

"How can you compare the collective guilt assigned to the Jews which caused the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people to perpetrators who abuse their faith and their calling by sexually abusing children?" asked Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish rights group.[quote ends here]

I'd heard some summary of this, but the incident was a _lot_ worse than I realized.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6320SL20100403

[quote begins here]"The use of stereotypes, the shifting of personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism," Cantalamessa quoted from a letter he said he had received from a Jewish friend.[quote ends here] Maybe the friend's name was Hankman Berman?

The most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism would seem to me to include torture and attempted genocide. I don't see anything like that being aimed at Catholics, or even the Catholic hierarchy in particular.

Better coverage here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/04/02/2010-04-02_vatican_preacher_blaming_pope_for_sex_abuse_scandal_like_most_shameful_aspects_o.html

[quote begins here]His remarks drew immediate outrage from Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who blasted Cantalamessa for making such an "offensive comparison ... in the presence of the Pope."

The fact that the priest chose to do so on Good Friday "indicates the depth of his ignorance," he said. "It's sad and ironic," Foxman said. "Good Friday is the day that, for hundreds of years, Jews hid in their basements because Jews were blamed by the Catholic Church for crucifying Christ."[quote ends here]

ETA:

http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/rakshashetty/9/61707/persecution-all-over-again.html

"One priest I spoke to also blamed Jewish lawyer lobbies (especially powerful in New York) for instigating and publicising cases of molestation, many of which they say are false."

Now _that_ would be an example of shameful anti-Semitism.

just a casual conversation

I promise: no links to news coverage of creepy and disturbing religious stuff.

The other day, I was standing in the driveway when a couple women and their dogs came by. We had a little conversation, which started the way a lot of these conversations do: do you know if whoever owns that land is going to build on it? That's my land and it is not legal to build on it because of the wetland. Then there was a question about the trees we took down. I pointed out that we had to get permission from the town to take down the trees, because of the wetland regulations, and we took those trees down after part of one of them fell on a car parked in our driveway. I then noted that I worried a lot when the wind was blowing that one of the other dead branches further back from our house might fall down on a pedestrian or car on Tuttle and That Would Be Bad. To which the older of the two women said, how awful a lawsuit would be. I just looked at her and said never mind that, I'd feel bad if someone got hurt.

There was a bit more to the conversation, and it was a more or less friendly exchange, but the one woman doing most of the talking was a perfect example of something I never understand. Anti-development, pro-property owner rights. Concerned only about a lawsuit, not about whether someone got hurt. When I asked if they knew whether there was any protection on the farm down the street from us, the one woman said those people were very protective, but neither woman had any awareness of current use rules (which R. says Massachusetts does have) -- and neither seemed at all concerned about that piece of farm machinery for cutting hay that has a for sale sign on the front of it. The younger woman, who had been quiet, spoke up when I commented that R. remembered a farm being where the Staples and Trader Joe's and so forth are now. Her in-laws, IIRC, had some connection to it, and the older woman made a comment about having to sell to pay the very high taxes. Which is when I brought up current use, of course.

The collection of ignorance and apparent contradictory political positions just strikes me as wacky. What was she going to do with any of the answers I might give her? Protest development? When she's apparently thinks ill of exactly the kind of regulation that makes it possible to stop development (the farm down the street is partly underwater right now, but then so is everywhere else it seems), it's hard to know what she might intend. Is she thinking she might apply some social pressure somehow? Just looking to complain? She seemed to think I might not like having a neighbor so close by (the houses were built on the one dry spot in an acre and a half), but I _love_ my neighbor J. and her family.

At least my walking partner's dad's political outlook holds together. I don't necessarily make exactly the same tradeoffs he does, but I can understand where he's coming from. When people come by and want to know how we cut trees down in a protected area, they understand the safety issue and recognize the value of the rules and how they are implemented -- usually they have a story or two of their own about stuff falling unexpectedly and then working through the process to fix the larger problems presented by trees that are rotting while still upright.

I probably _should_ understand the mysterious perspective of the woman I was talking to. If I just assume the world revolves around her, It All Makes Sense. But I don't usually make that assumption about _me_, much less some random stranger asking a bunch of questions I've been tired of answering for months now. I guess the good news is that she wasn't telling me my kid shouldn't be playing on the sidewalk. That was _much_ more annoying.

ETA: Zillow seems to think 88 Prospect (the farm in question) is about 16 and a half acres, and worth between $400 and $500K. Of course, Zillow is often wrong. Whatever the real value may or may not be, however, anyone worried about more development in the neighborhood should never walk by that particular parcel without feeling uncomfortable if not terrified about the prospects. We're relatively sure it is on the sewer. It is closer to the train station than we are.

ETAYA: One of our neighbors informs me that the property sells mulch hay (which I knew) to generate enough farm income to qualify for current use as agricultural. The breakpoint may be $500. And it is on the sewer.

that nuclear plant next to NYC?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/nyregion/04indian.html?hp

Water cooling technology ("once through") kills too many fish etc. so violates the Clean Water Act. On Friday, New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation denied a water quality permit which the plant would need in order to renew its federal operating license, due to expire in 2013.

The denial was not conditional -- it is apparently not clear whether retrofitting a closed cycle cooling system would lead to a state water quality permit.

I was a little surprised by this:

Units 2 and 3 run through "a combined 2.5 billion gallons a day, or more than twice the water consumed in the five boroughs of New York City"

Yikes.

disturbingly humorous

Or humorously disturbing. NOT about sex, priests and/or children.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/193193-will-the-senate-bill-look-like-the-house-gops-financial-reform-bill

I particularly like this bit:

"I worry we are going to get to wear a T-Shirt that says: “Taxpayers gave TARP, GSEs, TALF, AMLF, Maiden Lanes, ring fenced half a trillion dollars worth of debt in off-balance sheets, TLGP, TSLF, double-digit unemployment etc. and all we got was a consumer hotline to the basement of the Fed.”"

ETA:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/04/thoughts_and_a_response_to_kru.html

Same guy, different venue. I'm starting to really like Michael Konczal.