The Vatican has gone into full-fledged damage control mode in the priest sex abuse scandal ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s first foreign trip since it erupted. Officials are promising surprising new initiatives. The pope’s personal secretary is speaking out. And bishops around the world are being told to report abuse cases to the police.
The revved-up strategy comes as the Vatican tries to stem the damage from weeks of revelations about priests who raped and molested children – and the church officials who kept it quiet – before the pontiff’s visit to Malta this weekend. Abuse victims on that majority Roman Catholic Mediterranean island are seeking a papal audience and apology.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi declined Tuesday to confirm whether Benedict would meet with victims, but didn’t rule it out.
Prediction: he won’t.
“If you ask me if the Vatican feels under siege, I say that I do not feel under siege,” Lombardi said.
Ah, but you will, my young padawan. You will…
But that the Mac offered no text mode or command-line — no stdin, no
stdout — wasn’t just artistic purity. If the Mac had offered such a mode,
even just as a secondary option behind the GUI, the temptation would have
been perhaps irresistible for third-party developers to write character-based
“Mac” software that wasn’t the least bit Mac-like at all, but instead was
pretty much just like the software they’d been writing for DOS and the Apple II.
Since Apple provided no such mode, developers who wanted to write software for
the Macintosh had to write Mac-like software.
That’s Chairman Gruber, in a six-year-old essay that manages the impressive feat of being insightful about the iPhone and iPad. Reflect on that a minute: developers who wanted to write software for the Mac had to write Mac-like software. You probably already see where this is going, don’t you?
April 12th marked the 49th anniversary of human spaceflight, when Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit the Earth in 1961. At this moment, 13 humans are currently in low-Earth orbit, aboard the International Space Station. Several were already aboard the ISS when a Soyuz TMA-18 brought a fresh crew up from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 2nd – they were later joined by the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on the 131st shuttle mission to date (only three remaining launches scheduled). NASA recently signed a new deal with Russia for six more round-trips to the ISS, at a cost of $55.8 million per seat. Collected here are recent photos of the Space Station, its current crew, their launch vehicles, and the views from above. (38 photos total)
Backdropped by a cloud-covered part of Earth, the STS-131 external fuel tank (ET) begins its separation from the Space Shuttle Discovery following launch on April 5th, 2010. (NASA) #
The man who rescued an 11-year-old girl lost in a dense Florida swamp said Wednesday that God led him directly to her, and that finding her was no surprise.
The previous 3 days God just led them around in circles. He’s a jerk that way.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
We are pleased to announce that as of April 12, 2010, the Pirate Party of Canada (PPCA) is officially eligible for Party Status.
After ten months of dedication and hard work, we have reached eligible status, which only leaves a 60-day “purgatory” period. After that, we will field candidates in subsequent federal elections, and begin the real work of a political party.
If you had thought to buy Apple’s new iPad tablet computer any time soon and bring it to Israel, you may have to change your plans: Starting yesterday, the Communications Ministry has blocked the import of iPads to Israel, and the customs authority has been directed to confiscate them.
Cats are great!
Flags affected by the recall range from halftime-show extravaganza models to the smallest lapel pins.
Citing a series of fatal malfunctions dating back to 1777, flag manufacturer Annin & Company announced Monday that it would be recalling all makes and models of its popular American flag from both foreign and domestic markets.
Representatives from the nation’s leading flag producer claimed that as many as 143 million deaths in the past two centuries can be attributed directly to the faulty U.S. models, which have been utilized extensively since the 18th century in sectors as diverse as government, the military, and public education.
“It has come to our attention that, due to the inherent risks and hazards it poses, the American flag is simply unfit for general use,” said Annin & Company president Ronald Burman, who confirmed that the number of flag-related deaths had noticeably spiked since 2003. “I would like to strongly urge all U.S. citizens: If you have an American flag hanging in your home or place of business, please discontinue using it immediately.”
“When combined with alcohol, excessive patriotism, grief, or well-intentioned but ultimately misguided ideals, U.S. flags transform into ticking time bombs, just waiting to go off,” Burman said.
Added Burman, “In the interim, I would recommend that all Americans switch to the Canadian flag, which seems to be working just fine.”
We’ve all seen the studies trumpeting massive losses to the US economy from piracy. One famous figure, used literally for decades by rightsholders and the government, said that 750,000 jobs and up to $250 billion a year could be lost in the US economy thanks to IP infringement. A couple years ago, we thoroughly debunked that figure. For years, Business Software Alliance reports on software piracy assumed that each illicit copy was a lost sale. And the MPAA’s own commissioned study on movie piracy turned out to overstate collegiate downloading by a factor of three.
Can we trust any of these claims about piracy?
The US doesn’t think so. In a new report out yesterday, the government’s own internal watchdog took a close look at “efforts to quantify the economic effects of counterfeit and pirated goods.” After examining all the data and consulting with numerous experts inside and outside of government, the Government Accountability Office concluded (PDF) that it is “difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts.”
More specific studies that focus only on single industries don’t fare much better because “the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult.” And when it comes time to choose a substitution rate (how much of the infringing activity should be counted as a lost sale), we’re left only with “assumptions… which can have enormous impacts on the resulting estimates.”
The GAO then went on to slam three particular reports often linked to the government. They’re all commonly cited, they’re all bogus, and at least one is still being used officially.
The Army may be forced to court-martial a lieutenant colonel who refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he considers orders from President Barack Obama to be illegal, military officials told NBC News on Tuesday.
Army doctor Lt. Col. Terry Lakin believes Obama does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president and commander-in-chief because Lakin believes the president was not born in the United States. A video with statements from Lakin on the subject was released by the right-wing American Patriot Foundation.
Lakin refused to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., for deployment to Afghanistan, but instead went to the Pentagon. There on Monday he was confronted by his brigade commander, Col. Gordon Roberts, and informed he could face court martial, and his Pentagon building pass and government laptop computer were seized.
When guy gets sentenced and goes to jail, Obama should pardon him: at that point the guy must decide to accept freedom and Obama as president or stick to his guns and rot in jail.
Empty vaults mean empty promises
Digging further into this breaking story, I spoke with Adrian Douglas, the GATA (Gold Antitrust Action Committee) board member who assisted Harvey Organ at the CFTC hearing. Douglas explained:
It highlights that unallocated isn’t what most people think it is. I think most people would be shocked. They’re buying this gold and silver expecting it to be a low-risk investment, when in fact it’s a high-risk investment. It’s an unsecured investment, backed only by the assets of the bank.
The stinging irony here, of course, is that investors seek out precious-metals exposure precisely to escape the sorts of shenanigans that have proven so very prevalent among other sorts of financial instruments over the past few years. Douglas continued:
This is not to say that all unallocated storage is like this, but investors need to do their due diligence and find out. Otherwise, investors are essentially making interest-free loans to the bank, with which they might buy gold and silver if they see fit. Actually, it’s a negative interest rate, because you have to pay them so-called storage and insurance fees.