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US: New Developments in Priest Abuse Cases

child abuse
© unknown

Almost every week there are new developments, new accusations and new court actions surrounding the Catholic Church's priest sex abuse case.

This week there were two, which I shall recount in a moment. But it's not so much the amassing scandal that is shocking, rather the church's continued pattern of stonewalling that is so shocking.

Priests and prelates keep fighting efforts to bring church records out in the open. They cling to the belief that they're still operating in the Middle Ages.

Most of all, Pope Benedict has failed to issue an all-encompassing apology to the tens of thousands of victims of priests' perversions who have come forward thus far.

This week the Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $3.2 million to a man who as a boy between the ages of 10 and 12 was repeatedly sexually abused by convicted former priest Daniel McCormack.

The victim sued the archdiocese for failing to remove McCormack from having contact with children, even though the hierarchy well knew of the alleged abuse he was perpetrating. This is an often-repeated pattern on the part of the church and one for all we know continues in cases that have yet to go public.

Also this week the top Catholic official for the Kansas City, Mo., Diocese agreed to allow prosecutors to monitor his activities.

Gear

United States of Hysteria! US: Pilot stuck in lavatory prompts terror scare

Image
© AFP/Getty Images
A pilot stuck in the lavatory may sound like the opening line of a joke, but it triggered a terror scare on a flight from Asheville, North Carolina, to New York on Wednesday evening.

Delta 6132 -- operated by Chautauqua Airlines -- was about 30 minutes from LaGuardia Airport when the pilot went to use the bathroom.

Unbeknownst to the crew, he became trapped in the lavatory because of a broken door latch.

(The sole flight attendant on the plane couldn't help him because she had entered the flight deck when he left, per security protocols that require two people to be in the cockpit at all times.)

"After trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to open the door, a nearby passenger heard the noise of the efforts and tried to help," said Peter Kowalchuk, a spokesman for the airline.

Bad Guys

Egypt protesters return to Tahrir Square to protest military dictatorship

Image
© Eurovision
A rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square drew thousands of protesters Friday.
Over 50,000 Egyptian protesters flocked to Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday to pressure the military government to transfer power to elected civilian rule, after the cabinet tried to enshrine the army's role in a constitutional proposal.

The protesters, mostly bearded men and veiled women, sang religious chants before Friday prayers, while others handed out flyers demanding the withdrawal of the constitutional proposal and presidential elections be held no later than April 2012.

"Does the government want to humiliate the people? The people revolted against Mubarak and they will revolt against the constitution they want to impose on us," a member of an orthodox Islamic Salafi group cried out over loud speakers, to the cheers of thousands of protesters.

The mass rally recalled the demonstrations in Tahrir Square during the 18-day bloody uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak on February 18.

The rally was dominated by the country's most organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Question

US: DA Who Never Charged Sandusky Has Been Missing Since 2005

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Centre County, Pa., prosecutor Ray Gricar, missing since April 2005, is shown March 31, 2005.
Why didn't Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar prosecute Jerry Sandusky the first time he was accused in 1998? We may never know, as Gricar disappeared in 2005.

It is strange that Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar never prosecuted Jerry Sandusky on child-rape charges 13 years ago, some speculate, because Gricar was known for being fiercely independent and hard on crime.

But it is even stranger that we cannot ask Gricar why Sandusky was not put behind bars, because the tough-as-nails district attorney disappeared in 2005. And though he was declared dead July of this year, his body has never been found.

"People ask why Ray did not prosecute, and I have no problem saying, because he clearly felt he didn't have a case for a 'successful' prosecution," Tony Gricar, Ray Gricar's nephew , told The Patriot-News.

"... One thing I can say is that Ray was beholden to no one, was not a politician."

Arrow Down

The American-Western European Values Gap

American Exceptionalism Subsides
American Exceptionalism Subsides The American-Western European Values Gap
© Pew Research Center

As has long been the case, American values differ from those of Western Europeans in many important ways. Most notably, Americans are more individualistic and are less supportive of a strong safety net than are the publics of Britain, France, Germany and Spain. Americans are also considerably more religious than Western Europeans, and are more socially conservative with respect to homosexuality.

Americans are somewhat more inclined than Western Europeans to say that it is sometimes necessary to use military force to maintain order in the world. Moreover, Americans more often than their Western European allies believe that obtaining UN approval before their country uses military force would make it too difficult to deal with an international threat. And Americans are less inclined than the Western Europeans, with the exception of the French, to help other nations.

These differences between Americans and Western Europeans echo findings from previous surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center. However, the current polling shows the American public is coming closer to Europeans in not seeing their culture as superior to that of other nations. Today, only about half of Americans believe their culture is superior to others, compared with six-in-ten in 2002. And the polling finds younger Americans less apt than their elders to hold American exceptionalist attitudes.

These are among the findings from a survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, conducted in the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Spain from March 21 to April 14 as part of the broader 23-nation poll in spring 2011.

Arrow Down

Is economy best birth control? US births dip again

The economy may well be the best form of birth control.

U.S. births dropped for the third straight year - especially for young mothers - and experts think money worries are the reason.

A federal report released Thursday showed declines in the birth rate for all races and most age groups. Teens and women in their early 20s had the most dramatic dip, to the lowest rates since record-keeping began in the 1940s. Also, the rate of cesarean sections stopped going up for the first time since 1996.

Che Guevara

OWS's "National Day of Action" across US: 177 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in NYC

'All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!' crowd chants


At least 177 people have been arrested during clashes between police and Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York City, part of a day of mass gatherings in response to efforts to break up Occupy Wall Street camps nationwide.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets around the U.S., including Los Angeles, Dallas, Portland, Ore., to mark two months since the movement's birth. Dozens of arrests were reported, including 23 in Los Angeles.

One of the largest demonstrations was in New York, where at least 1,000 demonstrators tried to clog up streets around the stock exchange. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said five of the protesters arrested were charged with felony assault and that seven police officers and 10 protesters were injured.

Five other officers were treated after being hit in the face with stinging liquid.

Smoking

Hysteria Alert!: UK doctors call for ban on smoking in cars

smoking
© bureaucrash.com
The British Medical Association is calling on the government to ban smoking at all times in cars, a step that would go beyond regulations elsewhere.

In research released on Wednesday, the group that represents U.K. doctors said the confined environment in cars exposes drivers and passengers to 23 times more toxins than a smoky bar. Children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke since they absorb more pollutants. Smoke can linger in cars long after cigarettes have been smoked.

In countries including Australia, Canada, and parts of the U.S., smoking in cars is banned when children are present. In the U.K., smoking in public vehicles like buses and trains is banned but there is no law against smoking in private cars.

Dr. Vivienne Nathanson of the association said Wednesday that the government should now take a "bold and courageous step."

Pocket Knife

Parents furious after new campaign suggests co-sleeping is as dangerous as babies sleeping with knives

Baby knives ad 1
© Milwaukee Health Department
Controversial: The public service ads by Milwaukee's Health Department are intended to capture attention, but some deem the images 'over the top'
A sweetly sleeping baby lies amongst soft bedding, a chubby finger brushing against a giant meat cleaver.

One of two images, the photo is part of an ad campaign that has outraged parents and experts, who see its shock tactics as 'over the top.'

The public service ads by Milwaukee's Health Department are the latest weapon in a fight to alert parents to the dangers of sharing a bed with babies.

While many deem the message as timely and necessary, the way in which authorities have gone about the visual imagery is seen as offensive.

The images are run alongside the slogan: 'Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.'

People

Some 30,000 Greek protestors march on U.S. Embassy in Athens, clashes ensue

Image
© Yiorgos Karahalis, Reuters
Riot police secure the U.S Embassy in Athens, November 17, 2011, during a rally marking the anniversary of a 1973 students uprising against the dictatorship then ruling Greece and to protest against the U.S. for having supported the 1967-1974 military junta.
Some 30,000 people took to the streets in Athens in commemoration of the 38th anniversary of the ultra-right junta of the "Black Colonels" on Thursday, police said.

Several demonstrations in Athens poured together and joined one mass peaceful demonstration against Greece's government decisions on austerity measures to receive loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The protestors were marching toward the U.S. Embassy because the ultra-left organization blames the United States for supporting the "Black Colonels" in their suppressing a university students' uprising on November 17, 1973. During the uprising in 1973, several youth were killed and thousands were injured.