Dow Down 500+, Anonymous Corp Donors and Politician Campaigns… SDB Evening News Reads for 80411

Okay, I have lots for you this evening, so I am just going to dive in:

The DOW closed down 513 points, and lost all that it gained in 2011. I have a couple of articles for you, the first from CBS the second from Guardian.

Dow average plunges 513, worst drop since 2008 – CBS MoneyWatch.com

The stock market is in the midst of its biggest retreat since the financial crisis, as investors grow increasingly concerned about the possibility of another recession in the U.S. and a debt crisis in Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 513 points, or 4.3 percent, to close at 11,384. Thursday’s losses turned the blue-chip stock index negative for the year.

The S&P 500 lost 60, or 4.8 percent, to close at 1,200. The Nasdaq composite plunged 137, or 5.1 percent, to 2,556.

All three major indexes are down 10 percent or more from their previous highs, a drop-off that is considered to be a market correction. A drop of 20 percent or more signifies the start of a bear market, an extended period of stock declines.

[…]

Large investors have moved so much money into cash accounts at Bank of New York that on Thursday the bank said it would begin charging some clients a 0.13 percent fee to hold their cash.

“In the past month, we have seen a growing level of deposits on our balance sheet from clients seeking a safe-haven in light of the global interest rate and credit environment,” the bank said in a statement to The Associated Press. Bank of New York clients include pension funds and large investment houses.

The article also says that some investors sold before the unemployment numbers come out tomorrow.  The forecast is the numbers will remain the same, at 9.2% but if that number comes in higher, stocks will fall even more.

As far as the Global Financial Markets today: World stock markets in turmoil | Business | The Guardian

Almost £50bn was wiped off the value of Britain’s 100 biggest companies on a day of global stock market mayhem triggered by a deepening of the eurozone crisis and fears for the health of the US economy.

After a day of massive of stock market falls in Europe and the US of a kind not seen since the depths of the last economic downturn, traders said on Thursday the atmosphere in the markets was reminiscent of the banking crisis of October 2008.

“For many traders this week has felt like the start of the banking crisis in 2008, which would go some way to explaining the panic selling we have seen today,” said Will Hedden, sales trader at IG Index.

[…]

Anxiety over the debt crisis in the eurozone, and increasingly in Italy, had set the tone for nervous trading during the London morning, but the pace of the decline accelerated as Wall Street opened sharply lower.

[…]

The president of the European commission, José Manuel Barroso, fuelled anxiety about the eurozone debt crisis by berating European leaders about the speed at which they were responding to the debt crisis, barely a fortnight after congratulating them about their latest deal to rescue Greece.

“We are no longer managing a crisis just in the euro area periphery,” Barroso said. “Euro area financial stability must be safeguarded.”

He urged European leaders to review “all elements” of the €440bn (£382bn) European financial stability facility and its €500bn replacement, the European stability mechanism.

There appears to be an “agreement” regarding FAA furloughs: Reid announces deal to end FAA furloughs – The Hill’s Transportation Report

The Senate will pass the Houses bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration through September to end the week-and-a-half-long partial shutdown of the agency, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday.

Under a deal Reid made with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Senate will pass the House bill that includes cuts to rural flight service to airports in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana. But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will use his authority to waive the airports from the cuts, ending a 13-day impasse that left 4,000 FAA employees and about 70,000 construction employees out of work.

That at least seems to be some good news, at least until September, when all the bickering, yelling and hostage taking will start over again.

Susie Madrak has this gem over at C&L: Unelected, Unaccountable Grover Norquist is Picking the Republicans for the Super Committee | Crooks and Liars

Again: Can someone in the spineless, co-opted corporate media please do their job and explain to us why the unAmerican pledge to Pope Grover takes precedence over oath of office? Instead of just saying, “That’s the way it is,” look a little deeper and ask why Grover gets to pick the Super Committee. I mean, is it a good thing that our Congress is dictated to by a little tin god? All hail, Caesar!

grover.jpeg

Norquist said he has already been assured by “the right people” that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not choose anyone willing to give ground on raising taxes, and he is confident enough to leave town on Wednesday for August vacation.

Norquist said he would like Boehner to name House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

He said he would be “fine” with leadership using the opportunity to give a conservative freshman the chance to shine, mentioning Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.).

Similarly, with respect to the Senate, Norquist can see McConnell appointing a young gun like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to the panel to give him a bigger platform. He said he would like to see Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) appointed.

Norquist does not want to see former Gang of Six Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) or Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on board because they made “troubling” statements in support of revenue increases during the deficit negotiations this spring. He said that if Gang of Six Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) made stronger commitments to oppose taxes, he could be OK with that appointment.

Can you believe that shit? What balls!

Speaking of balls.  I think some of Romney’s wealthy pals are attempting to push the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United vs. FCC to the limit. Now, I am no lawyer…I was a paralegal, but I just found some articles that may shed some light on this subject.

First of all, NBC’s Michael Isikoff broke the story today:  Firm gives $1 million to pro-Romney group, dissolves – TODAY News – TODAY.com

A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign.

The existence of the million-dollar donation — as gleaned from campaign and corporate records obtained by NBC News — provides a vivid example of how secret campaign cash is being funneled in ever more circuitous ways into the political system.

The company, W Spann LLC, was formed in March by a Boston lawyer who specializes in estate tax planning for “high net worth individuals,” according to corporate records and the lawyer’s bio on her firm’s website.

The corporate records provide no information about the owner of the firm, its address or its type of business.

LLCs do not need to give a description of their business…unlike an Incorporation, that must file all sorts of documents which state intent and other specifics of the Inc. and the business it will transact.

While it says it is independent of the Romney presidential campaign, Restore Our Future was created by three former top Romney political aides who have made little secret of their interest in boosting his presidential candidacy. “This is an independent effort focused on getting Romney elected president,” Spies, the former counsel to Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, recently told the Washington Post.

Okay, MoJo has more on this here:  Mysterious, Defunct Company Donates $1 Million to Romney SuperPAC

[T]he most intriguing of the million-dollar donations was from W Spann LLC. Its address was listed on the Restore Our Future campaign report as 590 Madison Ave., a 43-story, ultra-modern office building in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

But there is no public listing for any company called W Spann LLC at 590 Madison. A top executive of Minskoff Equities, the firm that manages the building, told NBC News that he had “never heard of” W Spann and that his management firm has no record of any such tenant.

Casey works as an associate in a law firm called Ropes & Gray’s. That’s where the plot thickens, Isikoff reports:

One of the Rope & Gray’s longtime clients is Bain Capital, the investment firm formerly headed by Romney. It is also one of a number of major companies—including UBS, IBM and Cemex— that have offices at 590 Madison, the address listed for W Spann.

Asked about W Spann, Alex Stanton, a spokesman for Bain Capital said, in an email: “Bain Capital has many employees who actively participate in civic affairs, and they individually support candidates from both parties. The firm takes no position on any candidate, and the entity in question is not affiliated with Bain Capital or any of our employees.”

Thanks to the Citizens United decision—which allowed corporations to contribute unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns—super PACs like Restore Our Future and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS have been loading their campaign warchests with millions from undisclosed donors.

The use of a here-today-gone-tomorrow front company like W Spann shows just how far these crafty operatives have become at exploiting what’s left of campaign finance law.

Now, I don’t know how New York and Delaware and Massachusetts corporate law works, but a company can have an address in another state it does “business” in even though it is registered in one state, and founded in another.

The address in New York can be a corporate service address, a company that will accept service for the LLC…it will not be the same name as the actual corporation. Now I do not know if this is the case, but it would explain the lack of a business called W. Spann at that Manhattan Address.

Also, now bear with me, and remember I am no attorney…

The Docket » Blog Archive » Ropes lawyer behind Romney’s mystery money

An estate planning attorney in the Boston office of Ropes & Gray was behind a shell company that gave $1 million to former Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and then abruptly dissolved shortly before a federal campaign finance filing deadline, according to an NBC News report.

Ropes associate Cameron Casey founded W. Spann LLC last March. The company made the donation to the pro-Romney political action committee, Restore Our Future, and then shut down last month. The money is one of just a handful of seven-figure contributions the PAC has received this year.

Okay, so this LLC W.Spann was founded in Massachusetts.  Put this in the back of your mind…

According to Ben Smith, the W.Spann, LLC was a 501(c)4 non-profit.  More secret money – Ben Smith – POLITICO.com

The rise of 501(c)4 political players has meant an influx of secret money into the political system.

But the source of that money, while secret from the public, is at least disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service.

Michael Isikoff finds an even more extreme case today: A Delaware corporation that formed itself, gave $1 million to a pro-Romney Super PAC, and then dissolved. The PAC says it’s fulfilled its disclosure requirements — with the FEC, not the much toothier IRS. And that seems to be that.

This is more or less how money moves around Russian politics. For all we know the Delaware corporation is owned by another corporation, registered in the Cayman Islands, with its directors another set of anonymous lawyers. Its money could come from, say, the government of Pakistan, which has recently shown an interest in illegal contributions to American pols.

It’s important to note that this isn’t possible even in the case of the murky new (c)4 organizations, which are subject to IRS audits and extensive private disclosure, and it seems much fairer game for Romney’s foes to raise speculative questions about its origins.

Okay, so we got a non-profit LLC that was founded in Massachusetts, registered in Delaware, and had an office in New York.

According to a NYT article written back in January of 2010: Supreme Court Blocks Ban on Corporate Political Spending – NYTimes.com

The majority cited a score of decisions recognizing the First Amendment rights of corporations, and Justice Stevens acknowledged that “we have long since held that corporations are covered by the First Amendment.”

But Justice Stevens defended the restrictions struck down on Thursday as modest and sensible. Even before the decision, he said, corporations could act through their political action committees or outside the specified time windows.

Hmmm, not sure what that exactly means, and without reading all the decision and opinions of the SCOTUS on this case, it leaves a big question.  What did Stevens mean by that time window remark?

I will give you a couple of links below to the actual case decision and some links to a huge amount of articles and blog post that are related to this case.

This link here is to Cornell University Law and has all the court documents and opinions:  CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMM’N

CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMM’N ( No. 08-205 )
Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.
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[Scalia]
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[Stevens]
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[Thomas]
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This next link is from SCOTUS Blog, and has a ton of links that refer to the case, going back before the appeal was even filed with the Supreme Court:  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission : SCOTUSblog

Holding: Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.

Judgment: Reversed, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy on January 21, 2010. in a 5-4 decision with an opinion written by Justice Kennedy. Justice Stevens dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

Okay, now for a bit more on this decision…SCOTUS Blog has this summary: Argument preview: Corporations in politics : SCOTUSblog Take a few minutes to read through this, it will give you an overview and feel for the case, players, and arguments.

One thing about the decision the Supreme Court made…There is a loophole within this ruling, and in this NYT article it discusses this:  Decision Could Allow Anonymous Political Contributions by Businesses – NYTimes.com

The Supreme Court decision last month allowing corporations to spend unlimited money on behalf of political candidates left a loophole that campaign finance lawyers say could allow companies to pay for extensive political advertising while avoiding the disclosure requirements the court appeared to leave intact.

Experts say the ruling, along with a pair of earlier Supreme Court cases, makes it possible for corporations and unions to donate anonymously to nonprofit civic leagues and trade associations. The groups can then use the money to finance the types of political advertisements that were at the heart of last month’s ruling, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
[…]

For the first time, though, as a result of the ruling, corporations will be able to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertisements expressly advocating for a candidate’s election or defeat. The ruling also clears the way, for the first time, for corporations to donate money to nonprofit groups that place advocacy advertisements.

So, if you remember, we don’t know what kind of non-profit business W. Spann, LLC was engaged in…so there is no real certainty that the million bucks is going specifically for political advertisements.

However, since W. Spann was formed to get Romney “elected” …it could go without saying that this money is going to fund advertisements to do just that.

The thing about all this is that 26 states filed petitions with the Supreme Court regarding this decision.  See some states have different laws regarding the disclosure of corporations that donate the money to political campaigns, even though this is a federal issue.

These 26 states sent petitions to keep the laws they had from 1912 as precedent. Court Rolls Back Campaign Spending Limits – WSJ.com

The ruling not only strikes down the federal requirement, it also calls into question similar provisions enacted by nearly half the states. “States like Montana, whose people adopted a corporate electioneering law by initiative in 1912, have distinct and compelling histories of corporate domination in the political process that the court did not address,” said Montana State Solicitor Anthony Johnstone, who filed a brief on behalf of 26 states seeking to affirm the precedents.

Delaware and New york are not one of the 26 states, however Massachusetts is.

See just how convoluted this entire thing is?

Remember, W Spann was founded in Massachusetts, registered in Delaware, and had an office in New York. Oof!

Anyway, I know we have some lawyers out there who read this blog, I would love to get your take on this.

I think this donation by this W. Spann LLC, could challenge the Supreme Court ruling on Citizen’s United.

  • Was the corporation donating the money specifically for “advertising?”
  • Did the corporation remain active long enough to appease the court’s definition regarding the length of time a corporation’s status is “active” with the Secretary of State in which it was registered?
  • Does the fact that W.Spann LLC was founded in Massachusetts, which was one of the states that petitioned to keep their 1912 corporate campaign fund disclosures set as precedent have any bearing?
  • And, since this W.Spann was a 501(c)4 non-profit organization, what rules must it follow when it comes to disclosure of donated funds?

It all is so thick with uncertainties, I really look forward to seeing how it all pan’s out.

Well what do you all think?


Why Did Republicans Shut Down the FAA?

Somehow I missed this story on Saturday, what with all the other horrors that have been in the news lately. House Republicans have shut down the Federal Aviation Administration, costing taxpayers millions in uncollected taxes and putting 4,000 people out of work immediately, with 90,000 jobs in jeopardy.


From the AFL-CIO Now Blog

…House Republicans refused to pass a funding authorization bill, money for airport improvements has dried up and construction workers at many airports have been sent home.

Republicans grounded the FAA because they want to take away Democratic union elections for of aviation and rail workers.

Congress could have passed temporary spending authority for the FAA, as it has 20 times in the past without controversy. But like their tactics on debt ceiling negotiations, Republicans are demanding their way at any cost.

Not only is the FAA shutdown costing jobs, but it’s costing the federal government $200 million a week in uncollected airline ticket fees. That lost revenue is added to the national debt Republicans claim they are so concerned about. On top of that, instead of reducing ticket prices, the airlines are pocketing the fees.

The shutdown is putting construction projects on hold all over the country. In the San Francisco bay area, for example,

About 60 employees of Devcon Construction were set to show up at Oakland International Airport on Monday to continue working on the airport’s brand-new air traffic control tower.

That is, until they were told not to, until further notice. “We were informed Friday to stop all construction activity,” said Dan Anello, a project manager at the Milpitas-based company.

That was when, the House, in its infinite wisdom, refused to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority, resulting in the partial shutdown of the agency, the halting of funds for dozens of similar projects nationwide, and further additions to the nation’s unemployment rolls.

If you Google, you’ll find lots of similar stories. According to the Washington Post, the shutdown is not going to end anytime soon.

Though planes continued to fly unhindered nationwide, a dispute about service to a handful of tiny airports crippled Federal Aviation Administration operations for the third day Monday, costing the agency an estimated $30 million a day.

With House Republicans and Senate Democrats apparently in locked positions, and compromise an elusive pursuit on Capitol Hill this month, no one was ready to predict when funding might be restored to the federal agency.

“Don’t hold your breath,” advised one Senate staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

the $30 million per day is from lost tax revenues.

The Christian Science Monitor confirms that the dispute involves Republican efforts to hinder union organizing.

Democrats said the real issue is that Republicans are insisting Democrats accept a host of controversial provisions added to a long-term FAA spending bill approved by the House in April. Among their key differences is a GOP proposal sought by industry that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize.

The Senate passed its own long-term funding bill in February without the labor provision. Democrats insist the House must drop the provision. They’ve also accused Republicans of tying the elimination of rural air subsidies to their extension bill as a means to prod Democrats to make concessions on the labor issue.

The transformation of the U.S. into a third world country through the Shock Doctrine is certainly moving rapidly these days. The shocks are coming so quickly you barely have time to catch your breath before the next one hits.


Thursday Reads

Good Morning!! I have a real grab bag of news items for you this morning.

Via Ezra Klein, a Gallup poll found that nobody, including most Republicans, wants the government fooling around with Medicare. I can’t embed the chart, but you can see it at either of the above links. Klein:

The Republican Party has a bit of a problem: Their coalition is heavily weighted toward seniors. But their agenda is heavily weighted toward cuts to entitlement programs that benefit seniors. In 2010, they handled this by relentlessly attacking Democrats for the Medicare cuts in the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, they’re trying to handle it by saying that Paul Ryan’s Medicare cuts will exempt anyone under 55 — but because he’s keeping all the Medicare cuts from the Affordable Care Act and implementing them on schedule, that isn’t, by the GOP’s own logic, actually true….

The most popular position in the GOP’s coalition isn’t that Medicare needs a complete overhaul, as Ryan thinks. It isn’t that it needs major changes, or even that it needs minor changes. It’s that we shouldn’t try and control costs at all.

ROFLOL!

Speaking of arrogant and deluded Republicans, The Smoking Gun obtained FAA documents relating to an incident in which James Inhofe “scared the crap out of” a bunch of Airport employees when the elderly GOP Senator landed his plan on a closed runway.

Newly released Federal Aviation Administration documents and audiotapes shed a scary new light on a bizarre incident late last year during which U.S. Senator James Inhofe landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives as the politician’s plane hopscotched over them and six vehicles.

The FAA material, provided in response to a TSG Freedom of Information Act request, details how Inhofe, 76, chose to land on the main runway at the Cameron County Airport on October 21 despite being aware that it was closed and had a large ‘X’ on its threshold….

Shortly after Inhofe landed, Sidney Boyd, who was supervising construction on the closed runway, called the FAA to report that Inhofe’s plane, a twin-engine six-seater, initially touched down on the runway and then “’sky hopped’ over the six vehicles and personnel working on the runway, and then landed.”

During the call, which was recorded by the FAA, Boyd said Inhofe’s antics “scared the crap out of” workers, adding that the Cessna “damn near hit” a red truck. Referring to the vehicle’s driver, Boyd added, “I think he actually wet his britches, he was scared to death. I mean, hell, he started trying to head for the side of the runway. The pilot could see him, or he should have been able to, he was right on him.”

Inhofe agreed to “complete a program of remedial training” so he wouldn’t lose his pilot’s license.

According to a report by the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, released today, Goldman Sachs “Misled Clients, Lawmakers on CDOs.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) designed, marketed and sold collateralized debt obligations that misled investors and created conflicts of interest as the company built short positions before the U.S. housing market collapsed, a Senate panel said in its report on the financial crisis.

In the case of one CDO, Hudson Mezzanine Funding 2006-1, Goldman Sachs told investors its interests were aligned with theirs while the firm held 100 percent of the short side, according to the report released today by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who leads the panel, urged regulators to review all of the structured finance transactions described in the report.

At a briefing today, Levin said he believed Goldman Sachs executives weren’t truthful about the company’s transactions in testimony before the subcommittee at an April 2010 hearing. He said he would refer the testimony to the Justice Department for possible perjury charges.

Good. I sure would like to see some prosecutions of these lying, cheating frauds.

Via Tennesee Guerrilla Women, Ashley Judd is “speaking out against misogyny.” She wrote a couple of paragraphs in her new memoir about rap artists promoting hatred and violence against women:

While speaking about an AIDS awareness program she works with, Judd writes, “Along with other performers, YouthAIDS was supported by rap and hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy to spread the message…um, who? Those names were a red flag.”

Judd continued, “As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music – with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’ – is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.”

She concludes, “I believe that the social construction of gender – the cultural beliefs and practices that divide the sexes and institutionalize and normalize the unequal treatment of girls and women, privilege the interests of boys and men, and, most nefariously, incessantly sexualize girls and women – is the root cause of poverty and suffering around the world.”

The backlash was immediate and vicious, and included death threats. Judd apologized for generalizing about all rap and hip hop music, but ended with this:

“Hatred of girls and women, I will oppose with spiritual and non-violent principles every day,” she concludes, adding that the Twitter responses to her remarks included death threats. “Abuse and violence in any form, at any time, in any expression, are never okay. Period. I, and other girls and women, are not afraid of you. You can keep on hating, but I am going to keep on loving.”

More power to Ashley Judd!

In more violence against women news, the search for bodies is continuing on Long Island. After finding ten bodies so far on beaches, searchers are looking underwater for more remains. In addition the FBI is helping out with “high-tech planes.”

“This is not an episode of CSI. This is an intensive long term investigation that includes the use of sophisticated technology as well as good old fashioned detective work,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer at a press conference today.

Dormer said that the FBI will provide investigators with planes and choppers that use sophisticated aerial imaging technology of the Long Island beach area where the skeletal remains of at least nine bodies have been found so far.

“Weather permitting this operation will commence later this week…We’re hoping the technology will help identify skeletal remains that may still be out there,” Dormer said.

Police believe that there are no links between the bodies found on Long Island in 2010 and 2011 and four bodies that were found in Atlantic City in 2006.

According to the NY Post, some of the bones found in the past couple of days could be victims of another Long Island serial killer Joel Rifkin.

The skull and torso found on a desolate Nassau County beachfront are too old to be connected to the serial killings of four Craigslist call girls — and could belong to long-lost victims of notorious Long Island butcher Joel Rifkin, a source said yesterday.

“These are so old that roots were growing around the vertebrae and the skull,” the source told The Post.

“These could be one or two of Joel Rifkin’s victims who were never found,” or the work of another killer, the source said.

Further complicating the case, the bodies of a man and a young child have been found during the search.

Austria is the latest country waking up to the abuse of its children by Catholic priests.

Over 800 cases of abuse in Catholic institutions in Austria have been reported so far, a commission tasked with investigating abuse cases announced on Wednesday.

A total 837 abuse victims approached the commission, which was set up by the Austrian Catholic Church last year after it was hit by a wave of abuse revelations, commission head Waltraud Klasnic told a press conference.

Three quarters of the victims were male, with the most cases — about 20 percent — reported in northern Upper Austria province, followed by Vienna and western Tyrol, according to a commission report summarising its first-year findings.

Back in the good old USA, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League says the kids were asking for it.

The group bought an expensive full-page ad in The New York Times Monday that places the blames for the church’s scandals on “homosexuality, not pedophilia.”

And perhaps most shockingly, it also claimed that some children were active participants in the abuse.

“The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let’s get it straight — they weren’t children and they weren’t raped,” self-appointed Catholic League president Bill Donohue wrote in the ad.

“We know from the John Jay study that most of the victims have been adolescents, and that the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape),” he added, referencing a 2004 study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which was funded by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that ‘more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.’ In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia,” Donohue wrote.

Another issue is that priests are in a position of power and should not take advantage of that position to gratify their sexual desires. But I’m sure Donohue would disagree. And where I come from adolescents are still children.

In science news, a new study revealed that Climate change affects tectonic plate movement, causing earthquakes

Understanding why plates change direction and speed is key to unlocking huge seismic events such as last month’s Japan earthquake, which shifted the Earth’s axis by several inches, or February’s New Zealand quake.

An Australian-led team of researchers from France and Germany found that the strengthening Indian monsoon had accelerated movement of the Indian plate over the past 10 million years by a factor of about 20 percent.

Lead researcher Giampiero Iaffaldano said Wednesday that although scientists have long known that tectonic movements influence climate by creating new mountains and sea trenches, his study was the first to show the reverse.

Dakninikat sent me this one from the BBC: Yellowstone supervolcano fed by bigger plume

The underground volcanic plume at Yellowstone in the US may be bigger than previously thought, according to a new study by geologists.

The volcanic hotspot below Yellowstone feeds the hot springs, mud pots and geysers that bring millions of visitors to the US national park each year.

There have been three huge eruptions of the Yellowstone supervolcano: 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. Two of these eruptions blanketed a large area of North America with volcanic ash.

The most recent full-scale eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano ejected some 1,000 cubic km (240 cubic miles) of hot ash and rock into the atmosphere. There have been smaller eruptions in between the largest outpourings; the most recent of these occurred 70,000 years ago.

Of course that can’t be true because the earth can’t possibly be that old, right?

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?