Sunday Reads: Three, Eight, Eleven, Fifty and LeapPosted: February 26, 2012
I spent most of Saturday inside a mall in Atlanta. The place was packed but people were not spending much, aside from the pretzel joint and The American Girl store. Geez, those dolls were everywhere. Some girls even carried two of these freaky “Talky Tina” incarnate dolls, and what a sight…all three wearing the same outfit. Hmmm, I wonder how many of those dolls come to life and wind up telling Telly Savalas, “My name is Talky Tina, and I’m going to kill you.” (Yes, I know it is a cheap reference to Twilight Zone, don’t worry I have some other stories to share with you that will also have literary or film references.)
Yesterday, Dakinikat posted a link in the comments that I think deserves front page mention. The article is about the latest revelation out of the Catholic Church…and I’m not talking about contraception. Court filing: Bevilacqua ordered shredding of memo identifying suspected abusers
Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered aides to shred a 1994 memo that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children, according to a new court filing.
The order, outlined in a handwritten note locked away for years at the archdiocese’s Center City offices, was disclosed Friday by lawyers for Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former church administrator facing trial next month.
They say the shredding directive proves what Lynn has long claimed: that a church conspiracy to conceal clergy sex abuse was orchestrated at levels far above him.
Cardinal Bevilacqua died this past January 31st…
The revelation is likely to further cloud Bevilacqua’s complicated legacy in the handling of clergy sex abuse and could shape what happens at the historic trial, the first for a cleric accused of covering up sex abuse. Jury selection began this week. Opening statements are March 26.
Prosecutors say that Lynn, as the secretary for clergy, recommended priests for assignments despite knowing or suspecting that they would sexually abuse children. Facing trial with him are two former parish priests accused of molesting a boy in the 1990s, the Rev. James J. Brennan and Edward Avery.
The Defense is arguing that the recently discovered memo is proof that the cover up of repeated child sex abuse was directed by church officials.
This story reads like a pitch for a Showtime movie of the week, or maybe a sick mini-series on Lifetime.
After becoming secretary for clergy in 1992, they say, Lynn began combing the secret personnel files of hundreds of priests to gauge the scope of misconduct involving children. He did it, his lawyers said, because he “felt it was the right thing to do.”
The result was his February 1994 memo that identified 35 priests suspected of abuse or pedophilia. Lynn allegedly gave it to his superior, Msgr. James Molloy, the assistant vicar for administration, who shared his duties documenting abuse complaints.
Bevilacqua discussed the memo in a March 15, 1994, meeting with Molloy and Bishop Edward P. Cullen, then the cardinal’s top aide, the filing says. After the meeting, Bevilacqua allegedly ordered Molloy to shred the memo.
One week later, Molloy allegedly destroyed four copies, with the Rev. Joseph Cistone as a witness. “This action was taken on the basis of a directive I received from Cardinal Bevilacqua,” say Molloy’s handwritten notes.
But Molloy apparently had second thoughts. Without telling anyone, he took a copy of the memo, and his notes, and placed them in a portable, locked safe.
According to the motion, that safe remained untouched and unnoticed until 2006, when archdiocesan officials found it and hired a locksmith to open it. It’s unclear why the records inside were only recently turned over to Lynn’s lawyers and prosecutors, although church lawyers have said they have been reviewing thousands of files to comply with trial subpoenas.
Back in 2002, Bevilacqua had mentioned a list of 35 suspected priests, of which the archdiocese had giving information on to the Philadelphia District Attorney. However…
…He did not mention any memo from eight years earlier or his order to shred it.
During 10 appearances before a grand jury in 2003 and 2004, Bevilacqua denied knowing details or playing a significant role in the handling of sex-abuse complaints, saying he delegated those duties to Lynn.
“I saw no evidence at any time that we did any cover-up,” he testified.
This now places some concern about the Cardinals videotaped testimony, and whether he perjured himself…and what effect this will have on the prosecution’s case. James Molloy died in 2006. The article mentions an interview he gave before his death that may have hinted at the memo and extra copy of the list of abusive priest.
In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Molloy described reaching a point when “I couldn’t be sure that I could trust my superiors to do the right thing.” So, he said, he became diligent about documenting his actions.
“I wanted my memos to be there if the archdiocese’s decisions were eventually put on the judicial scales,” Molloy said then. “This way, anyone could come along in the future and say, this was right or this wrong. But they could never say it wasn’t all written down.”
It looks as though Lynn has been used as a scapegoat…but if this is all true it sounds eerily similar to the abuse situation and cover-up at Penn State. .
Think about the parallels between the two cases. Though they are not exact, they seem to mirror one another.
In the Sandusky scandal, an assistant coach walks in on Sandusky anally raping a young boy in the school’s gym shower. He goes to the men in charge, head coach, college president and head of college security…and tells them what he saw. The cover up goes from there…and nothing is done to protect the children who are being abused by Sandusky.
In Lynn’s case, two of the main players, the Cardinal Bevilacqua and Msgr. Malloy are now dead…with Penn State, Head Coach Joe Paterno died last month. Testimony was given in both cases to a grand jury before the men died…it would be something if the Feds find a “smoking” gun or memo in the documents they have subpoenaed from Penn State this past week.
Since I have brought up the Sandusky Child Abuse story, I might as well update you on that.
Jerry Sandusky scandal: Feds subpoena Penn State for top officials’ info
I am going to stick with US news for now…so more after the jump.
Over at Crooks and Liars there is one post that gives you a quick review of legislation and/or politics in the 50-State Blog Round-up
The 50-state blog round-up has existed over the years in various forms. The idea is to take a look at state and local blogs in order to see what important things are going on in state politics and campaigns, to get a preview of what’s coming to the national stage and to recognize the work of great state and local bloggers.
Give that link a click, and you can get an idea of the sort of things going on in every one of the 50 states.
Two weeks ago, during the CPAC hate fest I posted a link to a quote from Norquist…you may remember it…something about Romney doing what he is told… Addicting Info has more of what Grover Norquist said. Conservatives Should Vote For A Candidate They Can Use As A Puppet
During his speech at CPAC, Norquist said that conservatives need a President who will let Congressional Republicans run the show and that all the President needs to do is sign each and every bill without a thought.
“All we have to do is replace Obama,” Norquist stated. “We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become President of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”
How can the man get away with this sort of crap…it just pisses me off!
In other GOP candidate news: Newt OK with gay marriage referenda
I saw this link early Saturday morning…so for all I know the Eye of Newt has already walked back this statement…
With same-sex marriage laws passing in Maryland and Washington state and New Jersey headed for a fall referendum on the issue, Newt Gingrich said at the Washington state capitol this morning that he’s basically comfortable with states enacting gay marriage laws by popular vote. Ginger Gibson sends in the key quote:
I think at least they’re doing it the right way, which is going through voters, giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will. I don’t agree with it, I would vote no if it were on a referendum where I was but at least they’re doing it the right way.
The laws in Maryland and Washington may face challenges by referendum, while Chris Christie’s veto of a gay marriage bill means proponents of same-sex unions in his state will have to make their case at the ballot box.
This next story reminds me of the novel Confederacy of Dunces…specifically the scene in Dorian Greene’s kitchen, during the party Dorian gave to announce the new Political Movement devised by Ignatius J. Reilly…The Peace Party aka Men of Good Will. Some may find hints of the three women who made up the Ladies Auxiliary…Frieda Club, Betty Bumper, and Liz Steele…three lesbians who have a habit of assaulting characters throughout the book. (You can go to this link and read a few pages, the scene starts on page 485: A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole – Google Books) Anyway, here is the link: Lawyer: Three Lesbians’ assault on gay man can’t be hate crime
Three women identified by their lawyers as lesbians were arraigned yesterday on a hate crime charge for allegedly beating a gay man at the Forest Hills T station…
Okay, it is a very serious matter…and in no way takes on the comedic tone of conflict in Toole’s novel.
Prosecutors and the ACLU of Massachusetts said no matter the defendants’ sexual orientation, they can still face the crime of assault and battery with intent to intimidate, which carries up to a 10-year prison sentence, by using hateful language.
“Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic,” said ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch. “The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.”
But Carolyn Euell, 38, mother of two of the defendants, Erika Stroud, 21, of Dorchester and Felicia Stroud, 18, West Roxbury, told reporters the alleged attack “can’t be hateful” because both her daughters are lesbians.
The three women beat the victim and gave him a broken nose…during which the women repeatedly “called him insulting homophobic slurs.”
In the novel, the ladies call Ignatius names like “Fats” and “Tubby” and “Bigass.” I guess you have to read the novel to get the joke…It is such a wonderful and funny book…anyway, back to the news links.
Is Eight Straight Hours Of Sleep Unnatural? – A little post about sleep patterns of the 17th Century…
11 Weird Facts About the Oscars Well, the title says it all…The Academy Awards are on later tonight, I believe Wonk the Vote will be live blogging them…
Why do we need leap years? A review of what a leap year is, and why we need them…
DIY Weather Records Wunderground has a tool called Weather Extremes, check it out.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: This is a very disturbing story out of Kent: BBC News – Inquiry urged into Kent road birth defects
An MP has joined calls for an investigation after five babies in the same Kent street were found to have the same rare birth defect.
The babies all have gastroschisis, a condition where part of the bowel protrudes through the abdomen.
Their mothers all lived in Waterdales, Northfleet, when they became pregnant.
Adam Holloway, MP for Gravesham, said: “There is something causing this and it would be really quite good to find out what it was.”
He said he believed it had previously been an industrial area. “It could be that there’s contaminated stuff in the ground,” he said.
However, Gravesham Borough Council said the land had not been industrial, and had been used for housing for more than 60 years.
“As far as I am aware, that land is not and was not ever contaminated,” said a spokesman.
Gastroschisis occurs in approximately one in 7,000 births. A hole develops in the baby’s abdominal wall while inside the womb, and part of the bowel escapes through it and continues to develop externally.
The investigation is on going, I will keep an eye on the story and post updates as they happen.
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Earlier this week, Boston Boomer had a post that discussed a new self published book by Jeff Berman, The Magic Number. It is an account of the 2008 primary and convention that Berman manipulated to get Obama on the ticket. How the 2008 Nomination Was Rigged for Obama « Sky Dancing
Hillary never really had a chance in 2008. Politico has the story this morning, based on a new book by Jeff Berman, who was Obama’s “chief delegate counter” during the 2008 primaries.
The low-profile Berman, whose formal campaign title was national delegate director, was known for his obsessive attention to detail and preparation, and the book includes an unusually clear explanation of the complex, arbitrary process of selecting presidents. But its most striking moments, for those who followed the campaign closely, concern previously unreported battles, particularly around the primary calendar, the outcomes of which could have determined the nomination.
Unreported by the stupid corporate media who obviously could have investigated, but chose not to.
Florida and Michigan were key, and Berman describes how he tricked the Clinton operation into handing the nomination to Obama from the start.
“A January 29th Florida primary could completely blow up Obama’s winning path to the presidential nomination,” Berman writes. “This path requires him to win in Iowa, get through New Hampshire and Nevada and emerge, the week before Super Tuesday, as a leading candidate in South Carolina, whose large African-American population can carry him to a major victory one week before Super Tuesday. Moving the Florida primary to three days after South Carolina’s primary would block this strategy, as the election outcome in massive Florida would surely overshadow the results from smaller South Carolina.”
Berman quietly asked former Iran-Contra prosecutor John Nields and two other lawyers “to investigate exactly how the Florida primary legislation was enacted.” Their “authoritative legal report” showed that Florida Democrats — who were trying to blame the GOP — actually had a hand in the process; the Democratic National Committee used its findings as the basis for the move to sanction Florida, Berman writes.
According to Berman, Clinton aide Harold Icke, who was on the DNC Rules Committee, never questioned this fraudulent document, and signed on without any argument at all.
The Coup de grace, of course, came on May 31, 2008. Berman says that Howard Dean was worried about the outcome of the rules committee meeting that day, but not to worry. It worked out fine for The One. Of course we all recall how Obama’s nomination was secured by giving Obama some of Hillary’s Michigan primary votes, even though the Obama-obsessed corporate media ignored the whole slimy operation.
The uncertainty, though, lasted through the spring of 2008. Indeed, Berman writes, DNC Chairman Howard Dean was uncertain that he could persuade the Rules Committee members to enforce sanctions on Michigan and Florida in a May 31 meeting, and sought to cancel that session. Had the sanctions failed, the nomination fight could have blown wide open at the very last moment.
Berman also describes how he got help from the UAW to keep Obama and Edwards from being forced to keep their names on the ballot in Michigan, risking defeat by Clinton.
Berman called an official of the United Auto Workers, who had ties to Edwards, and persuaded the union to oppose the change.
“When the UAW makes a few calls in a political fight in Michigan, the political calculus of the fight changes,” he writes with satisfaction.
Boston Boomer was right about this Berman dude wanting credit for his masterful execution of Obama’s campaign.
I bought the Kindle version of the book from Amazon.
Now, I have to say I have only read a few pertinent chapters, I skimmed over the rest of the book. So maybe my opinion is not fully vetted, but damn… it is one suck ass anti-climatic book. You would think that someone who has such a high opinion of himself, would at least write with more self-serving emotion and vitality.
It reads like an essay on “What I did for my summer vacation…” and a bad one at that. The reason this book did not find a publisher is the simple fact that it stinks. (Of course…I am biased about the material in the first place…)
Berman writes about the cold and calculated way he orchestrated the Obama win like a technical manual for installing a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink. There is no emotional human connection to it at all. He recounts the events with a boring sense of pride. All other members of the campaign team are nonessential. It is all Berman’s doing, and when he does allow someone to take a little part in the assassination of Clinton’s campaign, it is written in a condescending manner, albeit an emotionless one.
Key figures like Axelrod and Emanuel and even Obama himself are treated like footnotes to the greatness that is Berman. And again, I have to say he does not even bring an enthusiastic zeal to this book that glorifies his role in getting Obama in the White House.
I suspect it was written because he felt slighted about not being part of the re-election campaign. I also suspect that he refused any constructive criticism or editorial assistance when it came to the actual written word…no matter how dry and completely lacking any infliction of inner life his narrative is, he comes across as someone who wants to impress people with his greatness…but he falls short of making the reader feel any respect for his talented use of manipulation and control.
He writes like he is giving a tutorial on how to run over a person, with explicit instructions on the speed of the vehicle, including the extremely boring details used to calibrate the amount of pressure one needs to apply to the gas pedal to maintain the correct speed to get the job done.
Aside from that, it seems to me that everyone was “in” on the Clinton steam-rolling…things were calculated to the smallest detail, and he micro-managed the plot to perfection.
Yup…Hillary never had a chance.
If I can manage to read the entire thing I will post more on the substance of the book, but the article that Boston Boomer cites in her post does that…I don’t think I could get through the pages and pages of dry explanations and crappy dialogue. If I am unable to get those straight eight hours of sleep, and I wake up after four of the hours have passed, maybe reading Berman’s book will help me get back to sleep?
Well, it is late…2:45am…time to get this post formatted and scheduled to post later this morning.
I will see you in the comment section below, and later tonight when those little bald men get handed out to the winners.