Don’t you love ’em…Open Thread

Angel...on her 12th Christmas.

Angel…on her 12th Christmas.

Good Afternoon!

Ah! The holidays…a time for frantic shopping, decorating trees and emergency room visits. Well, that last one about the ER is something we celebrate on a regular basis in my family. My brother Denny fell down the step of the front porch this morning…and he is sitting in the Banjoville ER waiting on x-ray results. If he has a broken wrist/arm they will need to put a cast on him, and that is not going to sit too well with him.

I promised my daughter that we would get the Christmas tree today, something she has nagged about…I told her the tree will be au naturale this year, which means only white lights, strung popcorn and ribbon.

Anyway, since so much is going on today, I am posting this afternoon thread earlier than usual.

Apple has announced it is moving some of the manufacture jobs to the US…for a review check this post out by Emptywheel: The ameriMac

Presumably because of Apple’s rocky PR and financial results of late, Tim Cook gave two purportedly “Exclusive!” interviews, to NBC News and Businessweek. The big takeaway from both “Exclusives!” was the same, however: that Apple will move some production of the Mac back to the US next year.

You were instrumental in getting Apple out of the manufacturing business. What would it take to get Apple back to building things and, specifically, back to building things in the U.S.?
It’s not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the U.S., and many of these are also exported—the engine, the processor. The glass is made in Kentucky. And next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we’ll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.

Thus far, I have not seen any acknowledgment that this move comes just two months after Lenovo made a similar announcement, that it was going to bring production of formerly IBM products back to Tim Cook’s old stomping grounds in IBM’s former production hub of North Carolina.

Well, personally I love Lenovo products….but this news that jobs are coming back the states is something good to hear about. I just hope that things don’t go the way of Toyota.  When they moved manufacture from Japan to Tennessee, the product quality went down…for reasons I don’t know. I guess we just have to see how it goes.

This week the Senate (GOP Ratfukkerz) voted against the UN Disability treaty, it seems that there is a buzz going on about something Inhofe said, via Little Green Footballs: Inhofe and Monckton Bring the Theocratic, Creationist Texas Eagle Forum to the UN to Deny Climate Change

Watch the full video (available later today) at:

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow: The future of climate and energy policy featuring Lord Christopher Monckton and US Senator James Inhofe

The current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, COP 18, is ongoing in Doha, Qatar and like all previous COPs there is an abundance of representation of global interests, not the least of which are foreign ministers (or their deputies) of many nations, and a swarm of international press.

And, as usual and like moths to a light, these COPs attract a very wide range of what most of us perceive as “fringe” organizations and individuals, as well as many serious foreign policy organizations.

Relatively few however hold press briefings in the main press conference room, yet somehow Senator Inhofe managed to get 30 minutes in front of the press to present a video by himself and a live brief by Christopher Monckton, as well as a spokesman for the “Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.”

And they brought one more person to speak: Cathie Adams, of the Texas Eagle Forum.

We all know of the long running connection between Inhofe and Monckton and various monied interests (especially fossil fuel companies), and Senator Inhofe’s fundamentalist Christian beliefs and his own theocratic tendencies are well documented.

Where the hell do they get these committee names from? Double speak? You bet your ass! Anyway, back to the idiots, and their constructive tomorrows:

But what of Cathie Adams? Fortunately for us TFN did a short backgrounder on her when earlier this year she resumed being head of the Texas Eagle Forum after even the Texas GOP party had quite enough of her as their leader:

Cathie Adams Is Back!

– Adams sees religious diversity as a threat to this country. From an October 1999 TEF letter:

‘(W)e must place our faith in the ONE true God, then humble ourselves, pray and seek Him and repent for our sins. Then God will forgive us and heal our land. Do you think that a jealous God will tolerate ‘religious pluralism’ and allow us to come to Him any way we please? Absolutely not!’

– Adams believes that the United Nations is paving the way for the ‘anti-Christ.’

From a 2000 TEF letter:

‘The Bible tells us that in the end times there will be a world government headed by a world leader, called the anti-Christ, who will profess a world religion, but did you ever think you would live in the day when these things would come into being? That is exactly what the United Nations is doing behind the backs of most Americans.’

From a January 1999 TEF newsletter:

‘In the future, the anti-Christ will use the pleas for human rights, economic equity and a promise to ‘end all wars’ to found global government… . God is not the author of global government, the anti-Christ is, and the UN conspicuously manifests his warmongering spirit.’

[…]

So, Inhofe arranges for someone who thinks the UN is a front for the Anti-Christ be his spokesman at a climate change conference, to convince us all that climate change is a hoax.

Please…it is beyond ridiculous and embarrassing. As LGF points out:

Oh, and of course:

Adams is an anti-science zealot.

Criticizing evolution in an October 2003 email to TEF activists during the Texas State Board of Education’s debate over proposed new science textbooks:

‘Did you evolve from an ape or were you created by God? This is NOT a rhetorical question. Your child or grandchild WILL be taught according to what you choose now.’

Yes, she’s a die hard literal creationist.

This is who Inhofe sends to put up in front of the world to argue climate change is a hoax.

The UNFCCC has many problems and (not uncommon with other forums that include most of the nations of the world) has proven to be rather ineffective at addressing climate change.

Yet to add to that ineffectiveness, Inhofe, Monckton, and Adams got prime speaking time in the UNFCCC press briefing room to spout conspiracy theories and wingnut fantasies.

This is a new low for the UNFCCC, and that is saying something.

I think it is more of a new low regarding the world’s opinion of United States Senators, and the dumb asses who elect them.

Alright, here’s the rest of today’s reads:

Handyman kidnapped ‘to do repair’ –From the Independent…and here I thought the crazy Inhofe/Adams thing was bad optics for our reputation in the global scheme of things. This couple kidnapped a dude to fix their dishwasher.

A man and a woman were arrested in San Jose, California after they abducted a local handyman and forced him to repair their dishwasher.

Jason DeJesus, 36, and Chanelle Troedsen, 33, invited the 50-year-old handyman to their home When he arrived, they beat him and threatened him with further violence if he failed to comply with their demands. During his eight-hour ordeal, the man dealt with the faulty kitchen appliance, as well as a broken door.

In Naples, Italy, things never change: Mafia hitmen kill rival in Naples nursery playground

Mafia hitmen chased a rival gangster into a nursery school in northern Naples and shot him dead while four-year-olds were singing Christmas carols just yards away, it has emerged.

Even battle-weary citizens of the area’s bloody Camorra drug wars were horrified by the latest killing. Within minutes of the hit on Tuesday morning, panic-stricken parents arrived at the school clamouring to see if their children were safe.

After the killers fled the children were led to safety by teachers. “We were practising songs for the Christmas recital,” said a teacher at the Eugenio Montale pre-school. “We took them out through a back door and they didn’t see the body.”

And…check this out: Seeing in color at the nanoscale

A new microscopy tool promises to revolutionize nanoscale imaging. Left, a design schematic of the so-called “campanile” microscopy tip. Right, an electron micrograph of the tip and, inset, the UC Berkeley campanile bell-tower for which it is named. Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

If nanoscience were television, we’d be in the 1950s. Although scientists can make and manipulate nanoscale objects with increasingly awesome control, they are limited to black-and-white imagery for examining those objects. Information about nanoscale chemistry and interactions with light—the atomic-microscopy equivalent to color—is tantalizingly out of reach to all but the most persistent researchers.

Read more about nanoscience at the link.

Enjoy your Thursday evening, this is an open thread.


Friday Reads: How many slutty angels can pole dance on the head of a pin?

Good Morning!

I would say that it’s the silly season of the political year but to tell you the truth, to name all this nonsense anything but insanity would be way too much like lying.  I don’t recall seeing anything like this EVER and I came of age during Watergate.

So, the misogynistic attacks against law student Sarah Fluke are now being weighed against the misogynist attacks on women politicians by Bill Maher.  First, we have to accept that Bill Maher’s career = Rush Limbaugh’s.  Mahr’s a Hollywood comedian who has starred in a few cheesy movies and has an HBO comedy show laced with political commentary.  Limbaugh’s TV show and radio show are billed as political commentary with bite.  Equivalent?  I don’t think so.  Also, Maher’s used worse vocabulary than Limbaugh because his platform allows it and Limbaugh’s platform are public air waves.  Equivalent?  I don’t think so.  But, misogyny is misogyny and none of it should be written off as simple “entertainment”.  How is misogyny either entertainment or political commentary?  Would racist slurs be given a pass under this standard?

So, how many slutty angels can pole dance on the head of a pin?

President Obama’s campaign senior strategist David Axelrod weighed in on one of the testiest political debates in recent weeks during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday: Was Bill Maher’s ridicule of Sarah Palin as reprehensible as Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke?

Burnett asked Axelrod whether “to be consistent,” Obama’s Super PAC should return the million dollars the comedian recently donated to the president’s reelection effort. Obama criticized Limbaugh’s descripton of Fluke, who testified before Congress about the need for insurance coverage for birth control, as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

In past comedy routines, Maher has used vulgar, misogynistic terms for women to describe Palin.

“Understand that words Maher has used in his stand up act are a little bit different than — not excusable in any way — but different than a guy with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most inappropriate, grotesque ways,” Axelrod said.

Axelrod then described Limbaugh as the “de facto boss of” the GOP.

While Axelrod didn’t excuse Maher’s comments, he said Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke were “perverse.”

Bill Maher responds by saying Limbaugh attacked a “private citizen”.  That’s a point I will give him.  Still, can’t he find better things to attack then women being women?  Aren’t Sarah Palin’s statements and behaviors a more appropriate target than her genitalia?

“To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on the public airwaves,” Maher told Jake Tapper of ABC News. “I used a rude word about a public figure who gives as good as she gets, who’s called people ‘terrorist’ and ‘unAmerican.’ Sarah Barracuda.”

Maher added, “The First Amendment was specifically designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting called whores by Oxycontin addicts.”

The transcript of the Tapper-Maher interview can be found at the ABC website.  Never let it be said that Mitt Romney omits an opportunity to pander.  After refusing to comment on the Limbaugh sexism, he’s more than willing to slam Maher.  Can this guy get any more inconsistent and hypocritical?

In an appearance on the Sean Hannity radio show, Romney said, “Frankly, what Bill Maher said, and I finally read the transcripts, I was offended, outraged that a person would say that on TV and would not have been called on the carpet before now and not apologized for it. To have the Obama campaign retain a million dollars from Bill Maher, it is simply outrageous. I don’t condone that kind of language and particularly in a public setting, a TV setting.… It’s just gone way beyond the pale.”

Romney did not stipulate which transcript he had reviewed, but Maher has used inappropriate language to attack conservative women, including Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Much of what he said is not publishable, but he did call Palin “a bully who sells patriotism like a pimp, and the leader of a strange family of inbred weirdos.”

I wonder if Romney knows the difference between cable and the public air waves.

Ever wonder why Republicans think climate change is a hoax?  According to Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, it’s all in Genesis.  Everything you need to know about climate change is right there in that iron age tale of tales.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program Crosstalk with Vic Eliason yesterday to promote his new book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, where he repeated his frequentclaim that human influenced climate change is impossible because “God’s still up there.” Inhofe cited Genesis 8:22 to claim that it is “outrageous” and arrogant for people to believe human beings are “able to change what He is doing in the climate.”

Eliason: Senator, we’re going to talk about your book for a minute, you state in your book which by the way is called The Greatest Hoax, you state in your book that one of your favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22, ‘while the earth remaineth seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease,’ what is the significance of these verses to this issue?

Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.Inhofe also says that Richard Cizik, the former Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was bought off by environmentalists and “has been exposed since then to be the liberal that he is”…because apparently liberals can’t be Christians?

He went on to cite Romans 1:25 to criticize people, particularly evangelicals like Cizik, who believe in climate change. Inhofe said that just as Scripture forecasted, people have now “worship the creation” when they support environmental protection, which seems to assume that humans won’t be negatively impacted by climate change.

Throw out the textbooks and the evidence!  A group of illiterate nomads from a thousand or so years ago had it nailed!  So modern science–especially molecular biology and genetics–seem to throw this particular senator into apoplexy.  I wonder what finding a new species of human will do to his small brain?

The fossilised remains of stone age people recovered from two caves in south west China may belong to a new species of human that survived until around the dawn of agriculture.

The partial skulls and other bone fragments, which are from at least four individuals and are between 14,300 and 11,500 years old, have an extraordinary mix of primitive and modern anatomical features that stunned the researchers who found them.

Named the Red Deer Cave people, after their apparent penchant for home-cooked venison, they are the most recent human remains found anywhere in the world that do not closely resemble modern humans.

The individuals differ from modern humans in their jutting jaws, large molar teeth, prominent brows, thick skulls, flat faces and broad noses. Their brains were of average size by ice age standards.

“They could be a new evolutionary line or a previously unknown modern human population that arrived early from Africa and failed to contribute genetically to living east Asians,” said Darren Curnoe, who led the research team at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

“While finely balanced, I think the evidence is slightly weighted towards the Red Deer Cave people representing a new evolutionary line. First, their skulls are anatomically unique. They look very different to all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago,” Curnoe told the Guardian.

“Second, the very fact they persisted until almost 11,000 years ago, when we know that very modern looking people lived at the same time immediately to the east and south, suggests they must have been isolated from them. We might infer from this isolation that they either didn’t interbreed or did so in a limited way.”

One partial skeleton, with much of the skull and teeth, and some rib and limb bones, was recovered from Longlin cave in Guangxi province. More than 30 bones, including at least three partial skulls, two lower jaws and some teeth, ribs and limb fragments, were unearthed at nearby Maludong, or Red Deer Cave, near the city of Mengzi in Yunnan province.

Truthout has a fascinating history of the infiltration of political movements by law enforcement which shows that it’s been going on for ages.  This link goes to part 1 of the series. J Edgar Hoover lives!  Here’s some of the history I remember learning in high school while studying the labor movement and taking a field trip to see the movie Joe Hill.

Virtually every movement has been the target of police surveillance and disruption activities.  The most famous surveillance program was the FBI’s COINTELPRO which according to COINTELPRO Documents targeted the women’s rights, Civil Rights, anti-war and peace movements, the New Left, socialists, communists and independence movement for Puerto Rico, among others.  Among the groups infiltrated were the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, Congress for Racial Equality, the American Indian Movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. Significant leaders from Albert Einstein to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who are both memorialized in Washington, were monitored. The rule in the United States is to be infiltrated; the exception is not to be.

The Church Committee documented a history of use of the FBI for purposes of political repression. They described infiltration efforts going  back to World War I, including the 1920s, when agents were charged with rounding up “anarchists and revolutionaries” for deportation. The Church Committee found infiltration efforts growing from 1936 through 1976, with COINTELPRO as the major program. While these domestic political spying and disruption programs were supposed to stop in 1976, in fact they have continued. As reported in “The Price of Dissent,” Federal Magistrate Joan Lefkow found in 1991, the record “shows that despite regulations, orders and consent decrees prohibiting such activities, the FBI had continued to collect information concerning only the exercise of free speech.”

How many agents or infiltrators can we expect to see inside a movement? One of the most notorious “police riots” was the 1968 Democratic Party Convention.  Independent journalist Yasha Levine writes: “During the 1968 protests of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which drew about 10,000 protesters and was brutally crushed by the police, 1 out of 6 protesters was a federal undercover agent. That’s right, 1/6th of the total protesting population was made up of spooks drawn from various federal agencies. That’s roughly 1,600 people! The stat came from an Army document obtained by CBS News in 1978, a full decade after the protest took place. According to CBS, the infiltrators were not passive observers, monitoring and relaying information to central command, but were involved in violent confrontations with the police.” [Emphasis in original.]

Peter Camejo, who ran for Governor of California in 2003 as a Green and as Ralph Nader’s vice president in 2004, often told the story about his 1976 presidential campaign. Camejo able to get the FBI in court after finding their offices broken into and suing them over COINTELPRO activities.  The judge asked the Special Agent in Charge how many FBI agents worked in Camejo’s presidential campaign; the answer was 66 agents.  Camejo estimated he had a campaign staff of about 400 across the country.  Once again that would be an infiltration rate of 1 out of 6 people.  Camejo discovered that among the agents was his campaign co-chair. He also discovered eavesdropping equipment in his campaign office and documents showing the FBI had followed him since he was a student activist at 18 years old.

The federal infiltration is buttressed by local and state police.  Local police infiltrators have a long tradition dating back to the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the 1904 “Italian Squad in New York City. In addition to political activity they were also involved in infiltrations of unions especially around strikes. Common throughout the United States were the so-called “Red Squads” a 1963 report estimated 300,000 officers were involved in surveillance of political activities. These were local police focused on the same types of people as the FBI.  Some of their activities included assassinations of political activists.

So, it appears that vigilance will always be a hallmark of a democracy.  Witch Hunts and the persecution of freethinking intellectuals will always be considered threatening to the overlords.  Speaking of Romney, watch for the Illinois and Louisiana primaries next week.

Meanwhile, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


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?