Cider Press Hill

It might be catchin'

Wednesday, 9:05 pm

By KateC




There really is no end to the ignorance, is there? Jeez. So it takes one parent to ruin the fun for everyone else. I’m sure it would never have occurred to her to keep her kids home that day and let everyone else enjoy themselves. Oh my no. How long is this madness going to last, anyway? And how do we stuff it back in the bottle—or at least back behind the church doors where it belongs? No wait. That’s wrong. It doesn’t belong in a church, either. It’s just plain ignorance and I detest it.


One wonders...

Friday, 12:34 pm

By KateC




Where all this sudden righteousness is going to lead. I was forwarded this link this morning. State Rep Barbara L’Italien is being asked to resign her duties as cantor by the priest at a nearby Catholic Church because she isn’t anti-abortion. It has, as L’Italien says, come down to a single issue that overrides anything else one may believe.

Meanwhile, the Boston Diocese announced this morning, that it is still $10 million in debt and will be closing more churches. In addition to the 80 that already have received their closure notices. It seems to me that the Catholic Church is not exactly in the best bargaining position given their egregious denial of and participation in hiding child sexual abuse in their midst for years and years. One wonders how they can point any fingers at anyone.

Well, tithing is way down, people are leaving the Church, churches are closing, and people are angry. And this sort of controversy doesn’t help when perhaps the Church needs to be just a little bit more accommodating with their diverse congregations during a time of crisis. I mean, I know a good number of Catholics who have been divorced and remarried who, with their priest’s blessings, receive communion. And that is, as far as I know, one of the top ten no-nos in the Church. So what is this single issue thing going on?

If they are going to apply standards, then apply them equally across the board. And that includes canning the former Boston Archbishop (who shuffled known pedophiles from church to church for years) instead of rewarding him with a prestigious sinecure (by the Pope) as the Archpriest of the St Mary Major basilica, the third most important place of worship in Rome. There he is administrator of the basilica with grand apartments and a $12,000 per month stipend. He even gets to help elect the next pope. Oh, and he’s also a member of the Congregation of Clergy which...get sexual abuse cases sent to Rome. There’s a resounding slap up side the head for you, eh?

Somehow the case of a cantor being on the wrong side of the Church’s stand on abortion seems to pale by comparison. And that is not lost on an awful lot of people.


Criminally negligent

Monday, 6:55 am

By KateC




Three hundred and eighty tons of high explosives have vanished in Iraq. That’s 760,000 pounds of explosives of the kind that are nearly twice as powerful as regular old TNT. To put it in a little more perspective, less than one pound of the same stuff brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The site that held all this explosive material, al Qaqaa, was a very well known facility. The International Atomic Energy Agency had been keeping tabs on it and had sealed portions of the facility off for years. Back in the early 80s, when Saddam had a nascent nuclear program, he stockpiled the explosives. But it was also used for civil engineering projects. So the IAEA kept close tabs on the explosives to make sure that they were being used for public works projects. Which, apparently, they were.

In the run-up to the Iraq War, the director general of the IAEA, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, repeatedly spoke of the al Qaqaa facility, requesting that it be secured when Coalition forces invaded Iraq. It wasn’t. It never was.

No one in the administration can explain why. Condi Rice says she was never notified that the explosives had disappeared until a month ago. The explosives disappeared 18 months ago. Condi says she is unsure if the President even knows.

Well, why the hell doesn’t he?

According to a piece on Talking Points Memo there is one pretty astonishing reason:

The Iraqi authorities were caught in a similar bind, observers feel. Under heavy pressure from their sponsors in DOD and US occupation authorities not to cooperate with the IAEA, by confirming that all 350 tons of sealed explosives could not be accounted for, the Iraqi’s had to wait until the formal turnover of authority before notifying the IAEA, sources here suggest. So the Iraqis failed to act until Oct. 10, and the IAEA did not formally notified the US, by letter, until Oct. 15, according to the State Department’s official press guidance.

Who’s running our government, anyway? Rumsfeld? Isn’t he the one who tried to make us believe that the looting in Iraq was no biggie....just a normal part of the freedom to commit crimes?

These explosives are tremendously dangerous in the wrong hands. It is a stable material and can be transported easily and safely. Across borders. Across oceans. Where is it now? How much has been dispersed through the Middle East, Europe, the United States? How many cargo boxes of it have come through our ports uninspected? No one has the slightest idea where any of it is.

Although it is pretty clear that these explosives are doing a jim cracky job of blowing the limbs off our soldiers in Iraq. And with 760,000 pounds of the stuff on the loose, 100 pounds of it could be detonated every single day of the year and last for the next 21 years. By then those in possession will have been able to learn some especially creative uses for it.

Meanwhile “Bush told the Fox News Channel’s ‘Hannity and Colmes’ show, taped Saturday and released Sunday, that U.S. security was “much better” since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

“Whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up—you know, is up in the air. I would hope we could make it a lot more safe by staying on the offensive,” he said.

But that was probably before he knew that we’d know about the stolen explosives in a day or two.

This is how you make security “much better” and and how you stay on the offensive? By arming insurgents and terrorists (who were not free to operate in Iraq before the war) with enough weaponry to use against the world for the next half generation?

Criminally negligent bunch of bastards.



Friday, 6:05 am

By KateC




A 21 year old woman was killed near Fenway after the Red Sox win the other evening. She was part of a huge crowd of people who congregated in the area to celebrate the victory. It is a time-honored tradition for fans to gather near Fenway to watch away games together in the sports bars. This time a portion of the crowd got ugly. Rioters were mixed in amongst those who were simply caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the Boston police converged on the scene shooting ‘non-lethal projectiles’ into the crowd. This young 21 year old journalism student was struck in the eye by one of the projectiles and she died from her injury. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. For her friends and family it was a terrible, terrible tragedy.

I’ve listened to the city authorities since this girl’s death and I’m disgusted by what I’m hearing. I guess we have become so accustomed to people dying that it has become a rather abstract thing. The city could handle the situation more tactfully, but they’ve gone into full spin mode blaming everyone but the police officers who shot indiscriminately into the crowd with ammunition that is, obviously, not non-lethal. Trying to explain that the ammunition is like a paint ball only maybe a little more forceful says to me that these are not safe weapons to be used indiscriminately in a large crowd.

My son plays paint ball. And when he comes home his body is covered with welts. They play with helmets and face guards to protect their eyes. They’re not stupid. But I believe maybe the city is if they think a weapon that shoots ammunition with a greater force than a paintball gun is safe. And now we know. A girl is dead. She wasn’t a rioter. She was purely in the wrong place at the wrong time. The city comes out swinging in response, blaming everyone else and, sounding like the cowboy from Texas, saying they will hunt down the rioters and bring them to justice.

That doesn’t address what happened to the girl. She’s dead. Her parents are heart-broken. Devastated. The city’s response has been belligerent.

Death is abstract to them, apparently. I conclude that they are not fit for public service. I am very angry with them.


In the News

Tuesday, 8:39 am

By KateC




Listening to NPR, this morning, I heard a news piece about food banks in the western part of my state. They are dispensing more food than ever before. Literally. And begging for more food donations. People have been using the food banks for longer periods...up to two years...and it doesn’t look as if that’s going to stop any time soon. It seemed like an appropriate story for a bleak and rainy Tuesday. Life is growing bleaker for many Americans. I wonder how long before we see tent cities spring up and how long before it’s impossible to ignore the problems people currently face. Trickle down economics doesn’t seem to be working. Big surprise.


Also heard this morning: Parts of Florida ravaged by each of the 4 hurricanes now have another problem. The good governor of the state has announced that he will delay the schools’ mandated state testing (FCATs) for some schools in the afflicted areas. For two weeks. But teachers say a delay is pointless in the face of the destruction they are dealing with. Many schools are still closed. The people in their areas still wander around with the hollow glazed eyes that spell shell-shock. More than two thousand homes destroyed in the afflicted areas means a bunch of homeless kids for whom tests don’t currently register on the life-o-meter. How about just waiving the stupid tests this year? Oh no, can’t do that. The tests, that will have long lasting consequences on the students’ lives, must go on. Compassion courses through the Bush family’s veins, doesn’t it? Or maybe it’s just plain horse sense that they lack.


I meant to post this earlier. Last week I listened to a BBC interview with Hamid Karzai in the run-up to Afghanistan’s elections. I’d never really heard him speak at length before and he is quite candid. The interview is available here. The interviewer is Lyse Doucet and she’s tenacious. Karzai offers an instructive view of Afghan democracy. Definitely worth a listen.


A reminder:
“Saudi women have limited freedoms. Without written permission from a male guardian, they may not travel, get an education or work. Regardless of permissions, they are not allowed to drive, mix with men in public or leave home without covering themselves with black cloaks, called abayas.”

Saudi women are also not allowed to vote or hold office. Where are the activists who deplored Afghan women’s treatment? Perhaps as long as Saudis don’t beat their women in public, it’s okay to institutionalize non-violent oppression.


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