"Failing to act" is the least of it - we call it aiding and abetting multiple, serial child rape. "Pope Benedict XVI failed to act over complaints during the 1990s about a priest in the US who is thought to have abused some 200 deaf boys, victims say. As head of the Vatican office dealing with sex abuses, the then Cardinal Ratzinger allegedly did not respond to letters from an archbishop on the case. A Church trial of the priest was halted after he wrote to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger pleading ill health. The Vatican newspaper said the claims were an "ignoble" smear attempt. The Holy See has been plagued in recent months by abuse cover-up claims in Europe, echoing a similar scandal that hit the Church in the US eight years ago."
A Euro TARP? "All 16 eurozone countries have backed a financing plan to help debt-laden Greece, which will include IMF money. The safety net would total about 22bn euros (?20bn). It would apply only if market lending to Greece dried up. Eurozone countries would grant co-ordinated bilateral loans, and there would be "substantial" IMF loans. The "majority" funding would be European. The plan was worked out at a summit in Brussels. Greek PM George Papandreou called it "a very satisfactory" move. The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said the deal was significant "not just for Greece, but for the stability of the eurozone". European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he was "extremely happy that we've reached this deal", calling it "a right decision"."
We like this idea: fine drug dealers millions instead of overcrowding the prisons. We also like the concept of cannabis instead of caffeine. "A Dutch court has fined the owner of the Netherlands' biggest cannabis-selling coffee shop 10m euros (?9m, $13.3m) for breaking drugs laws. Owner Meddie Willemsen, who was tried along with 15 staff of the Checkpoint coffee shop in Terneuzen, was also sentenced to a 16-week prison term. He was convicted for keeping more than the maximum tolerated amount of 500g (18oz) of drugs at the cafe. Checkpoint served up to 3,000 people a day before being closed last year. On a couple of occasions, police found 200kg (440lb) of cannabis when they raided the coffee house. Willemsen was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, but was released as he had already spent the time in jail ahead of the trial."
A planted monoculture is not a "forest" and causes more problems than it solves. "The world's net rate of forest loss has slowed markedly in the last decade, with less logging in the Amazon and China planting trees on a grand scale. Yet forests continue to be lost at "an alarming rate" in some countries, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Its Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 finds the loss of tree cover is most acute in Africa and South America. But Australia also suffered huge losses because of the recent drought. "It is good news," said the report's co-ordinator Mette Loyche Wilkie, a senior forestry office with FAO. "This is the first time we've been able to say that the deforestation rate is going down across the world, and certainly when you look at the net rate that is certainly down. "But the situation in some countries is still alarming," she told BBC News."
Yawn. Wake us when he makes a believable threat. "A message said to be from Osama Bin Laden threatens to kill Americans if the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is executed by the US. Al-Jazeera news channel broadcast an audiotape reportedly from the al-Qaeda leader talking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects. The tape said that if the US made the decision to execute, al-Qaeda would also "execute" anyone it captured. The five suspects are due to be tried in New York for the 2001 attacks."
Did he bring organic veggies? "The Prince of Wales has become the most senior royal to visit British troops in Afghanistan, during a surprise trip to the country. Prince Charles laid a wreath at a memorial at the main UK base at Camp Bastion and visited a forces hospital. The prince also travelled by helicopter to a forward operating base in Nad Ali involved in a major offensive against the Taliban, Operation Moshtarak. He said he felt "incredibly proud" of what troops were doing in Afghanistan. The prince paid tribute to the role played by relatives of soldiers at home. He said: "As a parent, you worry the whole time. I think, if you are out here, you are getting on with everything and it's not the same. But for everyone left behind it's ghastly."
This is what happens when you censor Google but give KFC the keys to the kingdom. "China faces a diabetes epidemic, with almost one in 10 adults having the disease while most cases remain undiagnosed, researchers have said. Tests showed diabetes was more endemic than previously thought, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The figures suggest China has some 90 million diabetics, far more than India. Rapid economic growth has affected public health, through urbanisation, changed diets and more sedentary lifestyles, researchers said. Rigorous new tests suggested that more than 92 million Chinese adults had diabetes and that nearly 150 million more were showing early symptoms, researchers said. This represents a major public health problem for the authorities in Beijing as diabetes is a major factor in illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, correspondents say."
States scramble to mitigate the damage from the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling "Many states are scrambling to react to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling this year that loosened restrictions on corporate and union spending in elections. ... But rather than simply accepting the ruling, some states are looking for ways to increase public oversight of political ads run by corporations -- or are defying the high court altogether. ... Some of those states are simply working to remove language in their statutes that might run afoul of the Supreme Court's decision. Nearly a dozen, however, are also debating whether to require companies to disclose their spending on political ads or, in some cases, to seek approval from corporate boards or even shareholders. ... The 5 to 4 ruling explicitly acknowledged that corporations could be required to disclose their spending on political ads and to take responsibility for approving them, much like politicians must do."
Eric Cantor is a shrill little bitch and a histrionic drama queen His office was not "shot up" as he wants you to believe. Some idiot fired a gun into the air in the middle of the night, and it happened to fall to earth at a trajectory that put it and a window in Cantor's office in Richmond in the same place at the same time. The window broke, but the bullet had so little juice left that it barely made it a foot inside the office. He was NOT - I repeat NOT - a target of vandalism or menacing of any type. No matter how he wants to spin it.
Eight found guilty by federal jury in Clay County, KY election fraud case "All eight defendants in Clay County, Kentucky's election fraud trial have been found guilty today by a federal jury. Six of those eight were high-ranking election officials, including the county clerk, a circuit judge and the school superintendent. The conspirators were charged with having manipulated elections in 2002, 2004 and 2006 by buying and selling votes and manipulating electronic voting machines. ... According to AP, each of the now-convicted felons could face up to 20 years in prison for what prosecutors had described as a conspiracy to manipulate elections for decades in the rural, heavily Republican county. ... In additional to federal racketeering, several of the defendants were also convicted of charges that included mail fraud, extortion and laundering money used to buy votes."
Second largest mobile phone operator in China drops Google "Instead of using Google search, handset makers will be able to decide which search service to use on phones that run Google's mobile operating system. ... At the same time Google said it would withdraw more of its uncensored search services in China. ... The China Unicom deal will first have an impact on Android phones being developed for it by Motorola and Samsung. ... The move could be a big blow for Google as China has far more people owning and using mobiles than it does using the net."
David Frum forced out at AEI Norman Ornstein is probably very nervous tonight, after David Frum was forced out after calling the GOP out on their ridiculous fearmongering and obstructionism.
Photo of the day That would be President Obama posing with a copy of Mitt Romney's book in Iowa City today, and the huge, shit-eating grin he's sporting veritably jumps off the screen.
Finally a republican calls for an end to the threats and intimidation And it's Scoitt Brown. "Any type of intimidation is completely unacceptable," Brown told Greg Sargent this afternoon. "That's what makes America so good is that we can go to the ballot box. And that's what I'd encourage people to do to vent their anger in a positive way, instead of doing things that are bad form." Of course, when asked if he thought the rhetoric coming from the GOP was fanning the flames, he weaseled out of answering that.
That loud "POP!" you heard was Jim DeMint's head exploding "President Barack Obama's second nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration side-stepped questions Wednesday about whether he supports unionizing the nation's 40,000 airport screeners, but acknowledged the president's support for unionization of screeners and said any such plan should be done in a way that would not hurt national security."
Anthony Weiner's office receives threatening letter and white powder "Authorities are investigating a package with white powder and an angry letter that referenced the health care legislation that was sent to Congressman Weiner's Kew Gardens office today. ... The letter said the Congressman should "drop dead" and complained about the historic health care legislation passed by Congress this week."
Senate passes reconciliation package, sends it back to the House with a couople of minor fixes that Nancy Pelosi said were "benign" and the final vote was scheduled for around 9:30 eastern this evening.
Foreclosure assistance coming up short "The government's foreclosure relief program just isn't working. ... That was the assessment Thursday of two reports from government watchdogs and a panel of witnesses at a congressional hearing trying to find out why the Obama administration is falling far short of its goal of preventing millions of Americans from losing their homes. ... Treasury officials at the hearing acknowledged problems in the year-old mortgage-modification program and announced changes designed to address issues that have limited its effectiveness. Only 170,000 homeowners have completed the process to get their monthly payments reduced out of 1.1 million who began it over the past year."
Your Extraterrestrial Moment of Geek "NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has found a Martian rock covered in weird material as its odometer hit a major milestone this week, with the long-lived robot completing equivalent to a half-marathon on the Red Planet. ... Opportunity, now in its seventh year on Mars, found the odd Mars rock during the past six weeks studying investigating a crater called "Concepci?n.""
This is why we have a 'Pay Czar' "President Barack Obama's pay czar on Tuesday ordered executive compensation at prominent bailed-out firms to be cut by 15 percent, amid voter anger over Wall Street pay. ... Kenneth Feinberg said 119 executives at AIG, Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, General Motors and its troubled former finance arm GMAC would see their cash rewards slashed by a third and their total pay cut by 15 percent versus last year. ... All five firms received taxpayer money to stay afloat during the financial crisis, which continues to weigh on US economic recovery."
John "Cotton Hill" McCain has no problem with Palin using violent gun imagery "Senator John McCain sees no problem with his former running-mate's advice that Republicans should "reload" and "aim for" Democrats in next fall's elections. ... Sarah Palin's use of gun imagery in addressing her followers on Twitter and Facebook has been criticized as potentially inciting threats of violence, like those which are already being directed towards Democratic members of Congress who voted for health care reform."
Now That is some fine war profiteering "Need a lesson on how to make money in a war zone? ... Try studying defense contractor KBR, a former unit of Dick Cheney's Halliburton. The engineering logistics company -- whose conflict zone days date to the Vietnam War -- won a contract worth $4.6 million to repair military vehicles at a base outside Baghdad. For the job, they employed 144 mechanics. ... How many hours do you think they worked? ... According to an analysis by Mother Jones, based on a report by a Pentagon Inspector General, the 144 KBR mechanics worked as little as 43 minutes per month, on average."
We're almost there! Only $80 left to go! We have been ending the roundup each night with an appeal to hit the 'donate' button and throw some spare change in the open laptop case. Here's the deal: to keep the lights on around here costs about fifteen hundred bucks a year, about a third of which is covered by ad revenue. That leaves about a thousand to come up with every year. We are passing the hat for five hundred dollars, and we are only $80 away from that goal. That's it. And then we are done until the fall, when the subscriptions to the publications we rely on to do this job properly are due to be renewed.
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You won't find me claiming that the health reforms that passed into law this week are great[...]
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