Archive for the ‘wall street journal’ tag
Here is one of the more peculiar surveys I’ve ever come across. This comes from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. It counts the number of deer collisions nationwide. Apparently, West Virginia gets the prize for the most deer collisions. Here’s a screenshot:
And the article from the Wall Street Journal.
For a church which seems absolutely consumed with the topic of sex, from abstinence, to prohibiting condom use in Africa, to circumcision, to homosexual priests, to continued and near ubiquitous charges of molestation of children (some deaf, no less!), readers shouldn’t be surprised that the Catholic Church and Joseph Ratzinger, the current pope, is summoning every possible excuse to deflect the allegations.
Indeed, charges against Catholic officials are mounting. Heaped onto the allegations, the short list includes that of:
• Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 55, who is an Indian priest accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl, may be extradited to the U.S. to face trial. He was alleged to have sexually assaulted the female church member while serving in Minnesota.
• Peter Hullermann, a German priest who, after receiving therapy for his pedophilia, was allowed to continue working. Current allegations have surfaced, spanning from the 1970s to the late 90s. Only in mid-March of this year was he suspended.
• Father Donald McGuire, who sexually abused two teen boys in the 1960s and was only convicted in 2006. He also allegedly had sexual relationships with at least seven teenage boys between 1969-2004. Here is a timeline of the egregious mess.
• Michael Teta and Robert C. Trupia — Two more, of which the late Tucson Bishop Manuel Moreno struggled with the Vatican to get defrocked.
I could, no doubt, continue. In the latest episode of blame-shifting, the Catholic News Agency is claiming that this New York Times article fails to mention that the lawyer Jeff Anderson has been the lead attorney in numerous suits against the church and has an obvious vested interest in seeing that new allegations come to light. Lawrence Murphy is the topic of The Times article, and he is accused of molesting up to 200 deaf children.
According to a William McGurn opinion piece, what Laurie Goodstein, the author of The Times story,
did not tell readers is that Mr. Anderson isn’t just any old lawyer. When it comes to suing the church, he is America’s leading plaintiffs attorney. Back in 2002, he told the Associated Press that he’d won more than $60 million in settlements from the church, and he once boasted to a Twin Cities weekly that he’s “suing the s–t out of them everywhere.” Nor did the Times report another salient fact about Mr. Anderson: He’s now trying to sue the Vatican in U.S. federal court.
And the Catholic News Agency:
According to the Pioneer Press, Anderson charged that the Pope along with his predecessors was”the mastermind, head, of an international conspiracy to cover up their own crimes and keep them above the law.”
Donald Marshall, who has accused Fr. Murphy of kissing him and attempting to fondle him when he was a teenager at Lincoln Hills Boys Home in Irma, Wisconsin, also spoke at the press conference.
Now 45, Marshall said he was shocked when he was told that “then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — had a chance to defrock Murphy but instead did nothing,” the Pioneer Press says.
Then-Cardinal Ratzinger “may have not fondled me, but he’s no different because he allowed it to happen,” Marshall said, according to the Pioneer Press.
In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger was not appointed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) until 1981, well after the abuse took place.
His office addressed sexual abuse cases only when it involved abuse of the confessional until 2001, when it took over abuse cases from the Roman Rota. Allegations against Murphy came to the CDF’s attention in 1996 because of claims he abused the confessional.
The documents provided to the New York Times by Anderson and Finnegan, as well as the Times’ interpretation of them, have been called into question.
The documentation included the minutes of a key Vatican meeting between three Wisconsin bishops and CDF Secretary Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone. However, the same documentation revealed that these Italian-language minutes were translated “very roughly” into English using a computer translator.
Properly translated, the minutes show that the Vatican never ruled out the laicization of the priest, but a lack of records from the archdiocese created barriers to a canonical trial.
In his Wall Street Journal essay, McGurn provided additional documentation challenging the Times’ claims that the priest was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system. In fact, Fr. Murphy was stripped of his priestly faculties, a process McGurn declares the equivalent of taking away a doctor’s medical license.
McGurn challenged the press to continue examining the “hard questions” about Catholic prelates’ action in the Murphy case. However, he suggested reporters provide “some context, and a bit of journalistic skepticism about the narrative of a plaintiff’s attorney making millions off these cases.”
One can only wonder, however, what difference all this makes. We can’t dispute the fact that lawyers are in law to make money. That Anderson is, perhaps, taking an active role in uncovering corrupt activity either says something about his good character or his bad character. But it doesn’t matter which. The case against Murphy is only one case of a multitude leveled against the Catholic Church. In addition to cases pointed out here, the Murphy case
is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.
And now, we have Ratzinger and other Catholic officials equating the ill-fated church with the persecution of the Jews.
If that sounds like a heinous analogical leap, you would be right.
Speaking in St. Peter’s Basilica, the priest, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, took note that Easter and Passover fell during the same week this year, and said he was led to think of the Jews.
“They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence, and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms,” said Father Cantalamessa, who serves under the title of preacher of the papal household. Then he quoted from what he said was a letter from a Jewish friend he did not identify.
“I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole world,” he said the friend wrote. “The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt, remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
Quite the contrary, if any institution should feel a generous measure of guilt at this point, it should be the Catholic Church, and it should apologize to us all for the immoral acts it has both condoned, turned a blind eye to and exacted on humankind through these 1,800 or so years. Not to mention the less unseen, but just as disastrous, effects of teaching young children that they are created innately and spiritually sick and commanded to make themselves better by believing (however forced and obligatory that belief may be) or else face the fire. And in such a lowly spiritual condition, children are taught that confession is where they are to by reconciled to God, who, presumably, made them sinners to begin with. At least Protestantism claims to offer direct access to Jesus without a necessary, and also presumably, an equally or possible more sinful, intermediary, as we have learned, and it’s in this sad context that the sex scandals with children only begin, making them, at once, even more internally wanton and deplorable than just the physical act itself.
Examples surface everyday to prove that folks not only can’t believe what they hear or read, but that the folks delivering the “message” don’t always, and rarely, know what they are talking about. Indeed, volumes of misinformation are swirling regarding the proposed health care reform bill.
claimed that the Senate health care bill has “abortion-funding language,” adds to the deficit and contains no immediate benefits.
according to Media Matters. Yet
the Senate bill prohibits federal funding of abortion, contains numerous immediate benefits, and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, reduces the deficit.
For his part, Hannity on March 3 claimed that the health care bill would not be implemented before we began having to pay for it. Which, again, isn’t true. Here’s a 12-part list by The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein detailing parts of the bill that are, indeed, implemented upon enaction:
To put it another way, in 2010 and 2012, when Republicans are saying that reform has done nothing despite the fact that it hasn’t yet gone into effect, what will Democrats be able to brag about? Here’s the list:
1) Eliminating lifetime limits, and cap annual limits, on health-care benefits. In other words, if you get an aggressive cancer and your treatment costs an extraordinary amount, your insurer can’t suddenly remind you that subparagraph 15 limited your yearly expenses to $30,000, and they’re not responsible for anything above that.
2) No more rescissions.
3) Some interim help for people who have preexisting conditions, though the bill does not instantly ban discrimination on preexisting conditions.
4) Requiring insurers to cover preventive care and immunizations.
5) Allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance plan until age 26.
6) Developing uniform coverage documents so people can compare different insurance policies in an apples-to-apples fashion.
7) Forcing insurers to spend 80 percent of all premium dollars on medical care (75 percent in the individual market), thus capping the money that can go toward administration, profits, etc.
8. Creating an appeals process and consumer advocate for insurance customers.
9) Developing a temporary re-insurance program to help early retirees (folks over 55) afford coverage.
10) Creating an internet portal to help people shop for and compare coverage.
11) Miscellaneous administrative simplification stuff.
12) Banning discrimination based on salary (i.e., where a company that’s not self-insured makes only some full-time workers eligible for coverage.
And as Klein wittily concludes:
Given that we’re all going to die when the earth consumes itself in 2012, the effectiveness of these policies takes on a new level of importance.
Indeed, but I don’t think the rumor is that Earth is going to consume itself in 2012. I thought the rumor was that solar flares were going to consume Earth. Regardless, at least some folks will benefit from the health care plan before we are all singed by a wash of solar radiation. Maybe we won’t even have to worry about funding the health care bill after all!
Russell Adams’ source confirms rumors that have circulated this week. He writes: “The leading scenario set to be unveiled Tuesday would call for the Free Press and its partner paper, the Detroit News, to end home delivery on all but the most lucrative days—Thursday, Friday and Sunday. On the other days, the publisher would sell single copies of an abbreviated print edition at newsstands and direct readers to the papers’ expanded digital editions.
Quite a bit of talk has sprung up recently about the Fairness Doctrine. Some Democrats, like Louise Slaughter (D-NY) have worked quite extensively (Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is another supporter) to have the legislation reinstated, while many Republicans, suggest the doctrine is specifically targeted toward silencing, or at least, dulling influence from conservative-dominated talk radio.
The Fairness Doctrine, which seeks to mandate that broadcasters give opposing viewpoints to an issue (or have both conservative and liberal viewpoints represented by separate programs, etc etc), dates back to the mid-20th century when it was introduced and put into law and then added to the Federal Communications Commission regulations. In 1987, Congress tried to turn the regulations into law, and Reagan handed down a veto. It hasn’t been enforced by the FCC since. Now since Barack Obama was elected, word is that the Democrats will attempt to reinact such legislation.
In a December 2004 interview with Slaughter, Bill Moyers asked,
Is somebody going to say, “Is this just a question of a Democrat who feels she’s not getting her message out and she’s mad?”
SLAUGHTER: No. It isn’t. I mean I get reelected, I’ve done extremely well in my district because people appreciate that I fight for things. I think all Americans would feel the same way I do exactly if we just had the ability to tell them. Reinstating the fairness doctrine would make a major difference in this country.
Near the beginning of the interview, Slaughter said,
I was so committed to it (the doctrine) and I kept doing bills. Because the airwaves belong to the people. I think we’ve good and sufficient examples now of what has happened to us with media consolidation — the fact that the information coming to us is controlled, the fact that at least half the people in the United States have no voice because they’re not allowed in on talk radio.
Actually, the airwaves belong to whoever owns them. Perhaps in some metaphorical sense, airwaves are part of the public domain, but radio stations are not. They are privately owned and those owners can do with them as they like. It just so happens now that, apparently, conservative-minded individuals have a hold on talk radio at the moment.
One question Democrats will have to answer is the one Moyer raised: Aren’t Dems just trying to get some more elbow room in the media, particularly in radio? And this is a valid question. One can’t convince us that Dems have some unbending, irrevocable hunger for fairness that transcends party lines. That just isn’t believable because some who claim to be journalists don’t even possess that, which is unfortunate. But that’s for another article.
Obligating broadcasters, newspapers or cable news to use their mediums to present separate viewpoints sounds irresponsible to me and is tugging pretty hard, if not trampling, on the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Part of me says, “Yeah! Let’s make our media more balanced!” while another part can’t support anything, be it censorship, governmental stifling of thought or governmental addition of thought, that infringes on the press. I agree wholeheartedly that some in the press today (FOX News, most talk radio) have all but reverted back to the 19th century brand of journalism, when newspapers were nothing more than sounding boards to political parties. Others aren’t so brazen, however, offering liberal-only and conservative-only talk shows on their channels (Keith Olbermann, D.L. Hughley, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, to name a few) as seasoning to their 24/7 line up of what we are to believe is balanced coverage.
Be that as it may, even though some “journalists” and broadcasters have trampled on journalism itself, that doesn’t give the government the right to trample on it as well, in order to squash the tramplers at their own game. This goes back to a larger picture, which I’ve written about before, that one of the flaws in this country, from giant financial institutions (Wachovia, Merrill Lynch) to computer corporations (Microsoft), companies are allowed to grow and grow seemingly without checks. They thus expand to the point that their very non-existence could crumble our economic infrastructure. Thus it is with the media corporations, like Rupert Murdoch’s universe of FOX News, The Wall Street Journal, etc, etc. Give one person huge assets and a set of political ideologies, and in which direction will he attempt to take those assets? Of course, wherever his ideologies take him.
It is ironic that our oldest modern medium, radio, is today dominated by a party stuck in the past and grappling with how to modernize itself. While this seems wholly appropriate at this point, it’s not the job of the government to modernize talk radio, for that would be constitutional infringement. Nor is it the job of radio, TV or any other media to be the one and only source for people’s information. As Moyers said in his interview with Slaughter, residents have enumerable sources from which to get data. The informed person will seek out those enumerable sources, not being satisfied with just watching Hannity’s America or Keith Olbermann or listening to Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham. Those programs success speaks to the fact that Americans, at this point, aren’t willing or are too lazy or to stuck in their own entrenched ideologies to do that, and we have a long way to go in that regard.
So, how do we raise a new consciousness of self-learning, to teach people to seek out multiple viewpoints and multiple ways of looking at complex issues? Part of that obligation falls to the press. While some calling themselves part of the “press” fail miserably, others — I would start with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times — do a fine job of painting an accurate and fair picture of the American landscape. Most of that obligation is with teachers, professors and parents (and more so to the latter). This is where it must begin.