Thursday, February 11, 2010
"...now the wall of silence is coming down here in Germany. It started when Berlin's Canisius College, an elite Jesuit high school, recently disclosed the sordid past of a number of members of the order, who had abused students at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. After that, new victims began coming forward on a daily basis. By last Friday, at least 40 of them had accused three Jesuit priests of molesting children and adolescents, first in Berlin and later at the St. Ansgar School in Hamburg, the St. Blasien College in the Black Forest and in several parishes in the northern German state of Lower Saxony.
...As shocking as the revelations were, they are merely "the tip of the iceberg," says the current director of Canisius College, Father Klaus Mertes, who made public the sexual abuse of students.
For decades, German bishops tried to look the other way when their pastors engaged in sexual abuse, as well as to downplay the problem by characterizing it as isolated incidents. Now they are finally revealing their own figures, though hesitantly. According to a SPIEGEL survey of Germany's 27 dioceses conducted last week, at least 94 priests and members of the laity in Germany are suspected or have been suspected of abusing countless children and adolescents since 1995. A total of 24 of the 27 dioceses responded to SPIEGEL's questions.
A group called the Round Table for Care in Children's Homes recently published an interim report which contains dramatic findings. The report deals with the wrongs committed since the 1950s against children and adolescents living in homes, almost half of which were run by the Catholic Church.According to the report, more than 150 victims of sexual abuse have come forward with their stories in recent months..."
"(949): Babe, the 4 years we've been together have been amazing. Will you marry me?
(1-949): are you seriously doing this over text message
(949): hahaha no, but i am dumping you."
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
"A quick roundup of recent stories on law enforcement officials and DWI laws…
- Ten police officers in Westchester County, New York admit to local newspaper that they routinely let other officers off after catching them driving drunk off duty.
- Off-duty, possibly drunk South Carolina officer pulled over after a chase demands “professional courtesy” she says is customarily granted to other officers. She was charged with reckless driving and disorderly conduct, but wasn’t arrested or given a breath test, and was allowed to go home.
- Chicago police officer shown to have faked dozens of DWI arrests won’t face criminal charges.
- Off-duty Massachusetts state police lieutenant crashes into pickup truck, causing the truck to flip several times. Officer admitted drinking earlier in the day and two open beer cans were found in his car. Other officers don’t administer field sobriety test for 2 1/2 hours, after allowing him to talk to his attorney. He was also never given breath or blood tests. He did get a $20 traffic ticket.
- From last year, DWI charges dropped against Nevada DA who caused two crashes within six hours while in California, and tested over the legal limit after the second. He was allowed to plead to reckless driving."
"An Army sergeant who served in Iraq for 15 months has been restricted to his Washington military base after being accused of waterboarding his 4-year-old daughter because she refused to recite her ABCs...Both the girl and the father admitted to the torture, even detailing how Tabor would sit the girl on the edge of the bathroom sink and hold her head down until it was nearly submerged in water, dunking her if she refused to recite the alphabet, said Stancil."
Rick Steves speaks wise - "...a society has to make a choice: tolerate alternative lifestyles...or build more prisons."
"...a society has to make a choice: tolerate alternative lifestyles...or build more prisons. The Netherlands has made its choice. We're still building more prisons. (My Dutch friends needle me with the fact that only the USA and Russia lock up more than one percent of their citizens, while the average per capita incarceration rate in Europe is only a tenth the US rate.)
Travel teaches us a respect for history. And when it comes to drug policy, I hope we can learn from our own prohibitionist past. Back in the 1920s, America's biggest drug problem was alcohol. To combat it, we made booze illegal and instituted Prohibition. By any sober assessment, all that Prohibition produced was grief. By criminalizing a soft drug that people refused to stop enjoying, Prohibition created the mob (Al Capone and company), filled our prisons, and cost our society a lot of money. It was big government at its worst.
In the 1930s, when it was becoming clear that America's Prohibition on alcohol wasn't working, New York Mayor LaGuardia said that if a society has a law on the books that it doesn't intend to enforce, it erodes respect for all laws in general. More and more courageous citizens stood up and said the laws against alcohol were causing more problems than the alcohol itself. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, nobody was saying “booze is good.” Society just realized that the laws were counterproductive and impossible to enforce.
In our own age, many lawyers, police officers, judges, and other concerned citizens are coming to the same conclusion about the current US government-sponsored prohibition against marijuana."
Monday, February 08, 2010
XKCD's "We Love the Internet" reenacted with Lessig, Gaiman, Nielsen Haydens, Schneier, and many others! Boing Boing:
"The incomparable Olga Nunes has released the latest and greatest iteration of the net's appreciation for Discovery Channel's 'Boom-De-Yadda' commercial, reinacting the XKCD version with 'Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig, Bruce Schneier, Jason Kottke, Google Zurich, Hank Green, MC Frontalot, Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Mr. Toast, Miss Cellania, Team Genius, Phil Plait, Allan Amato, Maddy Gaiman, Charissa Gilreath, Belinda Casas, Chuck Martinez, Jeremy James, Joanna Gaunder, Lee Israel & Octavio Coleman Esq. of The Jejune Institute.'"
The XKCD comic -
The original Discovery Channel commercial...