Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sterile Saturday

I feel like I need to be decontaminated after sifting through a Bo$ton Globe.

"Australian inquiry finds decadeslong epidemic of child abuse" by Jacqueline Williams New York Times   December 15, 2017

SYDNEY — A government commission investigating the sexual abuse of children in Australia found Friday that the nation was gripped by an epidemic dating back decades, with tens of thousands of children sexually abused in schools, religious organizations, and other institutions.

For all those out there who doubt or pooh-pooh any talk of conspiracies, there it is. The Catholic Church sex abuse was kept quiet for centuries. 

The royal commission, the highest form of investigation in Australia, made 189 recommendations, among them the establishment of a new National Office for Child Safety and penalties for those who suspect abuse and fail to alert the police, including priests who hear about abuse in confessionals.

The panel also urged Australia’s Roman Catholic leadership to press Rome to end mandatory celibacy for priests.

“Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions,” said the report, which was particularly critical of Catholic organizations. “We will never know the true number. Whatever the number, it is a national tragedy, perpetrated over generations within many of our most trusted institutions.”

The ruling elite is rife with the stuff.

The Vatican called the report ‘‘thorough’’ and said it deserves to be ‘‘studied seriously,’’ the Associated Press reported. It said it was committed to helping Australian victims of pedophile priests find healing and justice.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the commission had exposed “a national tragedy.”

More like a crime, but whatever.

The commission’s chairman, Justice Peter McClellan, said the panel heard from more than 1,000 witnesses over nearly 15 months in discovering the magnitude of the abuse.

“It is not a case of a few rotten apples,” the report said. “Society’s major institutions have seriously failed. In many cases those failings have been exacerbated by a manifestly inadequate response to the abused person.’’

“The problems have been so widespread, and the nature of the abuse so heinous, that it is difficult to comprehend,” it added.

Besides, the AmeriKan pre$$ has been too busy groping at anything that moves.

Australia created the commission in 2012 to investigate decades of sexual abuse in religious institutions, schools, and other establishments — the only country in the world so far to initiate such a sweeping government-led inquiry.

I guess they are a trailblazer, and what is stopping the others?

More than 4,000 institutions have been implicated in abuse allegations, the commission found.

Australian government investigators found 4,444 victims of abuse and at least 1,880 suspected abusers from 1980 to 2015, most of them Catholic priests and religious brothers. The report released Friday said 62 percent of the survivors who had told the commission they had been abused in religious institutions had been abused in a Catholic facility.

Responding to the findings, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne offered “our unconditional apology for this suffering and a commitment to ensuring justice for those affected.”

He said many of the panel’s recommendations would have a significant effect on the way the Catholic Church operates in Australia.

“Central to this Royal Commission is the painful truth that so many children were abused, trust was destroyed, and innocence lost,” the archbishop said. “They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters — this should never have happened. As a bishop I express my deepest sorrow.”

The inquiry, which cost the Australian government more than $280 million, was unmatched in its scope in examining a scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic hierarchy worldwide.

“Our inquiry revealed numerous cases where leaders of religious institutions knew about allegations of child sexual abuse but failed to take effective action, often with catastrophic consequences for children,” the report said.

The most damaging revelations centered on scandals in towns like Ballarat, the hometown of Cardinal George Pell, who this year became the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses.

In Ballarat, a police officer investigated a pedophile ring at local Catholic schools and said up to 30 victims had since killed themselves.

The charges brought in June against Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, followed years of criticism that he had at best overlooked, and at worst covered up, the widespread abuse of children by clergymen in Australia.

That's where my print copy ended.

In addition to calling for the establishment of a National Office for Child Safety, the commission urged passage of laws that would penalize those who failed to alert the police if they suspected an adult “was sexually abusing or had sexually abused a child.”

Delving into sensitive territory for the Catholic Church, the report also recommended that clergy be required to report suspected abuse that they had heard about during confession. Church officials, however, argue that confidentiality is integral to the ritual, and Hart took issue with the proposal.

“I would feel terribly conflicted, and I would try even harder to get that person outside confessional, but I cannot break the seal,” he said, referring to the seal of absolute secrecy around what is said in the confessional. “The penalty for any priest breaking the seal is excommunication, being cast out of the church, so it’s a real, serious, spiritual matter,” he added.

The panel also recommended that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference pressure the church’s leadership in Rome to “consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy,” saying that mandatory celibacy for priests contributed to child abuse.

If you say the cause was gayness, it is a hate crime.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard, who had called for the establishment of the royal commission, said previous efforts to conduct such an inquiry were resisted, despite efforts by whistle-blowers to expose the abuses.

She said that in formulating the inquiry, she found that previous such efforts hadn’t given survivors the sense of healing or closure they sought.

“I knew that it would be difficult to get it right, and I was very concerned that if we created an inquiry that didn’t work well it would end up retraumatizing survivors,” Gillard said.


The Pope can try to tweak it, but his legacy is now tainted. He won't say the word even as he asks for forgiveness and tries to make up for his silence:

"Myanmar’s military said Friday that almost 400 people died in recent violence in the western state of Rakhine triggered by attacks on security forces by insurgents from the Rohingya ethnic minority. Both sides exchanged charges of atrocities, as thousands of Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh. At least 46 people believed to be Rohingya fleeing violence in western Myanmar were found dead on the banks of a river along the boundary with Bangladesh. The dead — 19 children, 18 women, and 9 men — were found at points along the Naf River over the past three days, Bangladeshi officials said Friday. Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012, forcing more than 100,000 Rohingya into displacement camps. The insurgent group that claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, said it acted to protect Rohingya communities. A human rights group, Fortify Rights, said witnesses who escaped have supported accusations by Rohingya advocates that government security personnel and civilian vigilantes ‘‘committed mass killings of Rohingya Muslim men, women, and children.”

There they go again, waving kids at you. Never mind the militant attacks that are killing people and making others flee in what the U.S. has declared as ethnic cleansing.

Deal on Rohingya repatriation inches forward, but hurdles remain

Like the arrest of two spies, 'er, reporters.


"Britain and EU break deadlock over British exit" by Stephen Castle New York Times   December 08, 2017

LONDON — Britain and the European Union on Friday cleared the way to start a crucial new round of talks on British withdrawal from the bloc, announcing a breakthrough after months of deadlock, an internal political standoff in London, and a dispute over the future of the Irish border.

The deal would avoid a “hard” border in Ireland; set Britain’s divorce bill at between $47 billion and $52 billion, roughly double its original offer; and establish judicial protocols to protect the rights of the 3 million European citizens in Britain and the million British citizens in the European Union.

SeeUK immigration falls as EU citizens exit Britain

Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain made a predawn flight to Brussels to make the announcement with Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, after May wrapped up tough negotiations with the small Northern Irish party on which her government depends.

The accord still needs the approval of EU leaders, but May apparently convinced negotiators that enough progress had been made in talks on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc to move on to a new phase of difficult negotiations early next year.

The agreement, a rare step forward in the nearly nine months since Britain formally announced that it would leave the bloc, should allow the start of negotiations on future trade relations with the bloc, as well as on a period of transition for the time immediately after Britain’s scheduled departure in March 2019, during which a full trade agreement can ideally be worked out.

A trade and transition agreement will have to be concluded well before the exit date — probably by fall 2018 — in order to provide time for it to be ratified by member nations and by the European Parliament.

While negotiators managed to finesse the Irish border issue to reach this agreement, the matter seemed far from settled. It will now go to trade negotiators, and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland noted approvingly that there was now a “backstop arrangement,” in case they do not resolve the issue.

Under that deliberately ambiguous formulation, Northern Ireland and perhaps all of the United Kingdom would maintain “full alignment” with European rules as needed to “support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement” that ended the Troubles in the North.

The haziness surrounding the arrangement was cause for concern for Arlene Foster and the Democratic Unionist Party, who are determined above all to avoid a situation in which the rules governing Northern Ireland diverge from those for the rest of the United Kingdom. That direction, they fear, would ultimately lead to reunification with the South.

So, while welcoming the idea there would be no “red line,” or border, running through the Irish Sea, Foster said, “We cautioned the prime minister about proceeding with this agreement in its present form, given the issues which still need to be resolved and the views expressed to us by many of her own party colleagues.”

But that snag, should it develop at all, lies in the future, while Friday was portrayed as a day for celebration, however muted by recognition of the hard road ahead.

“This is a difficult negotiation but we have now made a first breakthrough,” Juncker said. “I am satisfied with the fair deal we have reached with the United Kingdom.’’

“If the 27 member states agree with our assessment, the European Commission and our chief negotiator Michel Barnier stand ready to begin work on the second phase of the negotiations immediately,” he said.

The heads of the member states will meet next week and are expected to confirm the deal next Friday.

“This government will continue to govern in the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland and uphold the agreements that have underpinned the huge progress that has been made over the past two decades,” May said in a statement on the British government’s website.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who had said the union could “go whistle” if it thought it would get a hefty payment, congratulated May on “her determination in getting today’s deal.” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said she had “confounded her critics.”

The lone dissenter, it seemed, was Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party, who said on Twitter that the deal was “good news for Mrs May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation.”

Assuming that EU leaders agree at their summit meeting in Brussels to proceed, detailed trade negotiations will begin soon, probably early in the new year.....


"Brexit cost rises as Britain retreats on divorce demands" by Stephen Castle New York Times  November 30, 2017

LONDON — The proposition that Britain could have its cake and eat it if it left the European Union, as the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, once said, was always dismissed as a fiction by opponents. On Wednesday, it was quietly interred by the government as it capitulated on the amount it will have to pay for a divorce settlement.

And this was not Britain’s first capitulation over its EU departure, nor — almost certainly — will it be the last, analysts said.

What Johnson was saying was that Britain could secure the economic benefits of membership in the EU without paying a penalty or being subject to its rules, particularly on the free movement of labor within the bloc.

On Wednesday, Britain reportedly agreed in principle to a divorce check of around $47 billion to $53 billion in the hope of securing the start of talks on a future trade arrangement with the 27 nations.

The unofficial offer, which covers commitments made while a member of the club, roughly doubles Britain’s initial $24 billion pledge, made in September, which fell flat with the EU leadership.

For months, supporters of the withdrawal, known as Brexit, have rejected the idea of paying a substantial exit bill to honor commitments. Some, like the euroskeptic lawmaker John Redwood, have insisted that Britain owed nothing at all.

Yet, with time running out for Britain before it departs in March 2019, such pledges have collided, brutally, with reality.....

Tell it to Labor.



"A Dec. 14-15 EU summit that will decide whether Brexit talks can move on to future relations and trade. The lack of progress so far has raised concerns that Britain may not have a deal by the time it officially leaves on March 29, 2019, and heightened fears that May’s government could collapse. Business leaders in particular are expressing alarm at the lack of certainty in the process. The chief executive of manufacturers’ organization EEF, Stephen Phipson, warned that inability to secure a transition deal before Christmas would be costly. ‘‘While international companies appreciate the nuances of complex negotiations, they will assess the situation based on the facts at hand and all they will be able to see is the probability of a cliff edge looming on the horizon,’’ he said....."

Also see:

EU chooses France and the Netherlands to host key agencies post-Brexit

Two drug firms set up new facilities in Britain to offset Brexit exits

Did you see who was offering them advice?

"Britain’s Treasury chief, Philip Hammond, revealed Wednesday a deteriorating outlook, as a slowing economy and stubborn deficit mean there is little money to increase public spending in the face of demands from teachers, firefighters, and the military. Adding to the pressure is the government’s need to preserve coffers for potential Brexit turmoil....."

You guys are getting screwed, but I'm sure it is the fault of Russians.

Is Prince Harry-Meghan Markle union a sign of change in Britain?

It was for the Globe.

Insipid commentary aside, congratulations to the happy (royal) couple

Meghan Markle will become Anglican

That will be a real test for her.

Royal wedding could bring in $80 million in business

May they live happily ever after and may she RIP.

"Two men sought by authorities after an altercation at a London subway station that led to panic at the heart of the Oxford Street shopping district turned themselves in to police for questioning Saturday. The men, aged 21 and 40, responded to a public appeal from investigators, and both were interviewed. They haven’t been identified or charged. The confrontation on an Oxford Circus subway platform Friday sparked rumors of gunfire (AP)."

Trying to trigger memories in a mental mind f***.

"A minibus crashed with two trucks on a British highway early Saturday, killing eight people and injuring four others. The drivers of the two trucks were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. One of the men is also suspected of drunken driving. The vehicles involved in the crash, which took place near the southern town of Milton Keynes, were all traveling in the same direction (AP)."

"In London on Sunday, police arrested a second man in connection with a suspect who drove up to a police van not far from Buckingham Palace, then reached for a 4-foot sword, an incident detectives called a terrorism attempt. Scotland Yard said three officers were slightly injured when they confronted the 26-year-old man who drove at the police van then stopped in a restricted area outside the gates of Queen Elizabeth II’s London residence Friday night......"

Yeah, the monarchy is Britain’s great unifier and are they making this scitte up as they go?

Plot to kill UK prime minister foiled, court hears

Intelligence officers “got a great deal right, and could have succeeded had the cards fallen differently,” and the conspiracies by violent extremists could have been averted


"Decline of the church tilts Ireland to the left" by Liam Stack New York Times   December 02, 2017

DUBLIN — Ireland was long a bastion of Catholic conservatism, a place where pedestrians might tip their hats and hop off the footpath when a priest walked past, but economic and technological changes helped propel a shift in attitudes that accelerated with the unfolding of far-reaching abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.

Over a generation, Ireland transformed from a country where 67 percent of voters approved the constitutional abortion ban to one where, in 2015, 62 percent voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Ireland moved to the left on other social issues, too. It decriminalized homosexuality in 1992, removed restrictions on the sale of contraception in 1993, and legalized divorce in 1996. The Irish voted twice, in 1992 and 2002, to permit abortion if the mother was deemed a suicide risk. In 2015, the country passed a gender identity law favored by transgender rights groups.

They now want to legalize abortion.

Priests once enjoyed great social and political power in Ireland, but the abuse scandal led to “the demise of the church,” the center-right prime minister, Leo Varadkar, 38, who is biracial and gay, said in an interview in September.

Perhaps it should have.

“In the ’40s and ’50s, people replaced the colonialism of the Brits with a kind of colonialism of the church,” said Aodhan O Riordain, a senator from the Labor Party. That fostered an intermingling of Catholicism and Irish identity that was “a toxic mix,” he added.

History has proved that out, at least in Western societies.

For decades, legislation opposed by the church was doomed to fail. Eamon de Valera, an ardent Catholic who served as president or prime minister several times between 1921 and 1973, enjoyed a close relationship with the archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, who helped steer Ireland’s religious life for three decades and made assertive policy suggestions.

“The Catholic Church’s hold on the state, the ways in which it sought to influence the state, remained strong for a very long time,” Smyth said. “For much longer than you might have thought possible.”

Even in its diminished state, the church continues to play a role. It controls almost all state-funded primary schools — nearly 97 percent — and the law allows them to consider religion as a factor in admissions. Many hospitals, too, are either owned by the church or on church property.

Would you trust them with your kids?

Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, said the church “certainly” enjoyed less influence now than in the past. He blamed the one-two punch of broad social trends and the abuse scandal for the church’s declining fortunes.

“The scandals emerged at a moment which was either just the wrong time or the right time, depending on which side you are, for them to emerge,” the archbishop said.


Shouldn't we all be on the same side on this one, pervert?

Those changing attitudes were driven by epochal economic and technological shifts felt in all countries, like the expansion of free trade and the birth of the internet. But in Ireland, the old order had largely managed to adapt.

“If you were a cardinal in Ireland in 1989, you would have felt pretty good,” said Fintan O’Toole, a columnist. “You would have said: ‘You know what? We weathered a lot of social and economic change and we’re still the power in the land.’”

Cracks had begun to emerge, though.

Economic liberalization, which began in 1960s, drew women into the workforce, shrinking the size of Ireland’s traditionally large families and creating pressure for the legalization of contraception, which was anathema to the church.

It also began to stem the centurylong tide of emigration. Some emigrants returned to Ireland, and newcomers from Eastern Europe and elsewhere arrived, making Polish the country’s second most widely spoken language.

Ireland’s break from the past has been so sharp that Garry O’Sullivan, a newspaper and book publisher whose company will soon release a book by a priest titled “Why the Irish Church Deserves to Die,” described it as akin to “intolerance toward views that represent anything of the old guard or traditional Ireland.”

That old guard was discredited by the yearslong drumbeat of child abuse allegations that began to emerge in the early 1990s as well as a cover-up by church officials who spent years denying the problem and moving abusive priests from parish to parish...... 


Time for them to step down or die in a pool of blood as they teeter on the edge of destruction.


Time for some morality in religion:

"4 Palestinians killed in latest clashes over Jerusalem" by Fares Akram Associated Press  December 15, 2017

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and more than 80 wounded along with an Israeli officer in clashes across the West Bank and near Gaza’s border on Friday as the fallout continued over President Trump’s announcement last week recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Protests in response to Trump’s announcement, which departed from decades of US policy that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations, have yet to relent across various Arab and Muslim countries in the region. 

I was told all week long reaction was muted and the region was relatively quiet.

After Friday prayers, Palestinians in the West Bank and along the Gaza border set fire to tires and threw rocks at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and live fire.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said two Palestinians were killed from gunshots to the head. He identified one of the men as Ibrahim Abu Thraya, 29, a disabled man with two amputated legs. He had taken part in several border skirmishes recently, images on social media show him carrying a Palestinian flag.

They are now calling Israeli oppression of the world's largest concentration camp a border skirmish.

Another 82 Palestinians were injured in clashes in several locations along Gaza’s border with Israel, at least five of whom were seriously wounded, he said. Another Palestinian died later from wounds sustained in clashes near Jerusalem, the health ministry said.

Friday’s deaths put the number of Palestinians killed since Trump’s declaration on Dec. 6 to eight.

The Israel military said thousands of ‘‘Palestinian rioters’’ rolled burning tires and hurled firebombs and rocks at security forces, who responded with tear gas and also ‘‘fired selectively toward main instigators.’’

You know, “as a society, people shouldn’t allow this type of violence, but they do.” It's the “new normal.”

Palestinians have been clashing with Israeli troops across the West Bank and along the Gaza border since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week. The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has called for a new armed uprising against Israel in response to Trump’s declaration.

East Jerusalem is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim, and Christian holy sites and the fate of the territory is an emotionally charged issue at the heart of the conflict.

The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war from Jordan, as the capital of their hoped-for state. Israel says the entire city, including East Jerusalem, is its eternal capital.

Israel is not willing to share, or is that just a negotiating position?

Palestinians were infuriated by Trump’s announcement because they saw it as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Trump’s move disqualified the United States from continuing in its role as the traditional mediator of peace talks.

It's his son-in-law they should be angry at.

Trump said his decision merely recognizes the reality that Jerusalem already serves as Israel’s capital and is not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city.

Yeah, okay, he has a point there. Makes you wonder who is really behind the ruckus then.

Vice President Mike Pence, however, was forced to delay a trip to the Middle East amid the outcry over Trump’s decision. Aides to Abbas said that the Palestinian president would not meet with Pence, who is now scheduled to arrive in Israel from Egypt on Wednesday. 

It was almost the end of Abbas, but now...... hmmmm. 

Cui bono?

Abbas had originally planned to host Pence, a devout Christian, in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem. White House officials also said Pence had no plans to visit the contested city’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre — the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

Meanwhile Friday, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, one Palestinian was shot and killed after he attacked an officer with a knife, stabbing him twice and wounding him moderately, said Israeli police.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police are investigating the incident, including whether the attacker posed as a journalist to get close to the Israeli officer and if he was carrying explosives.

Video of the incident later emerged online, showing the alleged attacker retreating after apparently stabbing the officer. Israeli forces shoot him in the legs and again after he falls. A suicide bomb belt then becomes visible underneath his jacket, but it was not immediately clear if it was authentic.

As two ambulances approach, the forces fire several more gunshots at the man and medical teams are forced to wait before evacuating him. The Palestinian Health Ministry said he died of his wounds.

In East Jerusalem, protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted ‘‘Jerusalem is Arab’’ as they walked the narrow streets of the Old City. Some threw bottles of water at police.

The clashes were fiercer in the West Bank where about 13 protesters were injured by live fire and 61 by rubber bullets while dozens more were treated for tear gas inhalation, according to the Red Crescent.

In the city of Nablus, some Palestinians used slingshots to hurl rocks at Israeli security forces while others torched tires to use the thick plumes of smoke as cover. Others, masked, threw firebombs at an armored water cannon used to disperse crowds.

In Berlin on Friday, police banned American and Israeli flags at a pro-Palestinian march, after flag burning at previous recent protests prompted outrage in Germany. Police also sought to crack down on anti-Semitic chants by having translators accompany the Friday march and record any illegal utterances.

Also Friday, in another declaration likely to inflame passions among Palestinians and others across the Middle East, senior Trump administration officials outlined their view that the Western Wall in East Jerusalem, considered Judaism’s holiest site, will ultimately be declared a part of Israel.....

That's more inciteful than his statement on Jerusalem.



"In the deadliest single attack on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in recent memory, rebels in eastern Congo killed at least 15 peacekeepers and wounded more than 50 others in an assault on their base that was launched at nightfall and went on for hours. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed ‘‘outrage and utter heartbreak’’ and called the attack a war crime, urging Congolese authorities to swiftly investigate. The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs said it was ‘‘horrified.’’ The peacekeepers killed were from Tanzania. At least five Congolese soldiers also were killed in the attack Thursday evening that has been blamed on one of the region’s rebel groups."

Here's a knee to the you-know-where.

"Sanofi Genzyme puts hold on arthritis medicine following surge in side effects" by Jonathan Saltzman Globe Staff  December 08, 2017

About 18,000 gel-filled syringes sold by the Cambridge biotech Sanofi Genzyme to treat arthritis of the knee should not be used because that batch was linked to a surge in side effects, the company says.

Sanofi Genzyme informed doctors, pharmacists, and clinics Monday that they had received packages of Synvisc-One from a batch linked to “an unexpected increase in the number of labelled adverse events,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Globe.

Sanofi Genzyme, a subsidiary of the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi SA, told the recipients of the urgent “product hold” letter they should immediately stop dispensing the medicine while the company investigates.

The syringes were distributed in 36 states, including Massachusetts, between Oct. 25 and Nov. 7, Guzzi said. She declined to provide further details about why this batch was problematic and said the side effects were “consistent with documented adverse events in the product label. There have been no deaths reported.”

In the past, the company has said the most common side effects are pain, swelling, heat, redness, and fluid build-up in or around the knee.

Officials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, and Tufts Medical Center said they were unaware of any patients recently reporting serious side effects from the medicine.

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2009, Synvisc-One is made from a substance called hyaluronan. It comes from chicken combs, the fleshy crests on top of the birds’ heads, according to the company. The substance is also found in the joints of the human body.

When injected into the knee, Synvisc-One is supposed to act as a lubricant and a shock absorber to relieve the pain of arthritis. Orthopedic surgeons and rheumatologists typically administer the injections, which are supposed to provide up to six months of pain relief, although two specialists told the Globe that they haven’t found the product to be nearly that effective.

In 2001, the FDA warned Genzyme about documentation problems and manufacturing deficiencies at its plant in Ridgefield, N.J., in connection with an earlier version of Synvisc made there. That version had to be injected three times instead of just once.

Possible contamination?

The FDA said at the time that the company could face serious consequences if their problems weren’t addressed, including failure to get approval for similar medical products.

Sanofi bought Genzyme for $20.1 billion in 2011, and the subsidiary says responsibility for Synvisc-One has since been shifted to the French parent company. A generation ago, Genzyme pioneered the development of treatments for rare diseases, and it has refocused on that part of its business since being acquired by Sanofi.....


They issued a recall and are now rebounding even with the hot fire still blowing.

Welcome to the company holiday party (being held at Penn State?):

"With the announcement that the Walt Disney Company intends to buy 20th Century Fox for $52 billion, the world of our corporate media conglomerates just got smaller and more tightly controlled. Is the deal bad for consumers and creators? Only if you think too much of the entertainment we inhale on a daily basis is founded on market-ready fantasy franchise properties and not enough on, you know, stories. About people. But, oh, the cross-promotional possibilities! Who cares if there’s one less content creator in Hollywood and the town’s that much more monolithic when the superheroes owned by Disney (the Avengers) and by Fox (the X-Men) can finally have lunch in the same studio commissary? Sadly, the deal doesn’t include Fox News....."

Related: Resources for victims of sexual misconduct

The Globe aborted their own.


"A man angry about a parking dispute stabbed two people and then drove into a group of pedestrians on a sidewalk Sunday, leaving one person dead and several others injured, one critically, police said. The violent altercation started around 4:30 a.m. outside a hookah lounge in Queens....."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fertile Friday

"At ESPN, the problems for women run deep" by Jenn Abelson Globe Staff  December 14, 2017

As well as above the fold on the front page.

When ESPN canceled its new program with Barstool Sports this fall after just one episode, the network tried to distance itself from the men’s blog that has stoked criticism for everything from calling Rihanna fat to saying girls wearing skinny jeans deserve to be raped, but a controversy about the treatment of women was already brewing inside the network.

The Bristol, Conn., juggernaut was under scrutiny for a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint filed this summer with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

And ESPN’s willingness to partner with Barstool emboldened others to speak out about the entrenched locker room culture, where men have made unwanted sexual propositions to female colleagues, given unsolicited shoulder rubs, and openly rated women on their looks, and, in at least one case, sent shirtless selfies, according to interviews with roughly two dozen current and former employees.

Remember when Bush creeped out Merkel and Biden putting his hands on Ash Carter's wife?

Some women said that the environment at ESPN can be so hostile — and plum positions for female sports journalists so precarious — that they hid pregnancies and felt pressured to take short maternity leaves in order to protect their positions. One anchor even did her scheduled broadcast while she was having a miscarriage to prove her commitment to her job, according to former employees.

Another woman, one of the few solo female anchors on SportsCenter, said she was told her show was moving in another direction and she’d no longer have a job on it weeks before she went on maternity leave last year. She is one of several who said they were given less desirable positions or laid off before, during, or after maternity leave. 

I'm trying to think who they could be.

ESPN said the company has had several rounds of layoffs, including more than 100 this year, and blamed changes in strategy — not hostility toward women — for job losses. The company would not provide a gender breakdown of the layoffs, but it said women were not disproportionately targeted, but some current and former employees say the problems for women run deep.

“ESPN has failed to address its deeply ingrained culture of sexism and hostile treatment of women,” said Adrienne Lawrence, who filed the complaint this summer against ESPN. Lawrence had worked as a lawyer before she joined ESPN in 2015 as part of a fellowship designed to increase racial diversity at the sports network.

ESPN is one of the most coveted places for sports journalists, and its sheer size gives more opportunities to women than many other outlets. But over the years, the company has been plagued by sexual misconduct scandals that have resulted in several lawsuits and filled the pages of at least two books, “ESPN: The Uncensored History,” and “Those Guys Have All the Fun.” Many employees have said the isolated location in Bristol only exacerbates problems in a male-dominated workplace.

ESPN said that the company takes sexual harassment seriously. Just this week, ESPN suspended Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis, former NFL players who host shows on ESPN Radio, after they were named in a lawsuit claiming they sexually harassed an employee at the NFL Network.

SeeLawsuit alleges groping by NFL Network executive, ex-players

That gives me pause to mention that the domestic violence issue has taken a backseat to groping, etc. Looks to me like you ladies are being used. That's not to say the issue is not important; however, the flood of pre$$ is suspicious in and of itself. A larger agenda and ulterior motive is suspected.

“We work hard to maintain a respectful and inclusive culture at ESPN,” said Katina Arnold, an ESPN spokeswoman. “It is always a work in progress, but we’re proud of the significant progress we’ve made in developing and placing women in key roles at the company in the boardroom, in leadership positions throughout ESPN, and on air.”

That's the standard media response.

ESPN said that it has made great strides in creating opportunities for women in recent years, including hiring the first female studio host of NFL Countdown, the first female Major League Baseball analyst, and the first woman to lead ESPN The Magazine.

ESPN has tried to jettison its frat-boy reputation with new training and policies, including requiring employees to disclose personal relationships with each other to the company. ESPN says there are postings throughout the building advising employees of their rights and of the means for reporting complaints, but charges of insensitivity to women surfaced again last year when broadcaster Erin Andrews testified that ESPN would not let her return to work until she did an interview in 2009 about a stalker who leaked videos of her undressing at a hotel during a work trip in order to prove that she didn’t release the materials herself. Andrews, who left ESPN for Fox Sports in 2012, testified that she was crying while she waited to do an interview with Oprah.

I've never seen the tape and couldn't care less.

Many people who described concerns with the atmosphere at ESPN declined to speak on the record because they feared losing their jobs or being blackballed from other sports outlets who do business with ESPN. Some were reluctant to identify the alleged harassers because they worried it would out their own identities and subject them to retaliation, but others are speaking openly. In her complaint, Adrienne Lawrence describes a toxic environment at ESPN headquarters where men make unwanted sexual and romantic advances under the guise of networking or mentoring, and “mark” women as their own by spreading false rumors about sexual relationships with female employees.

I may have to stop watching, but not today. I'll need to see if they do any reporting on themselves like the Globe did before burying it.

Lawrence accused John Buccigross, a longtime SportsCenter anchor whom she viewed as a mentor, of sending unsolicited shirtless photographs of himself and calling her “dollface,” “#dreamgirl,” and “#longlegs” in messages from 2016 reviewed by the Globe. Lawrence said she tried to remain cordial in the messages but at one point responded: “You need to wear clothes, sir.”


When rumors spread that the two were in a relationship, Lawrence repeatedly complained to company officials and was advised by a supervisor to drop the matter, according to the complaint.

Lawrence said ESPN retaliated against her by reducing her on-air shifts and ultimately denying her a permanent position. The other fellow, a male, received a job offer. The Globe interviewed three former employees whom Lawrence had confided in at the time about her treatment and confirmed her account.

Buccigross, roughly two decades older than Lawrence, acknowledged sending the photos but denied starting any rumors that the two were in a relationship.

“I considered Adrienne to be a friend,” Buccigross said in a statement to the Globe. “I’m sorry if anything I did or said offended Adrienne. It certainly wasn’t my intent.”

Buccigross noted that after he sent the first shirtless picture, Lawrence texted about the possibility of getting together that weekend. Buccigross said they texted frequently over a couple of months and talked about personal issues as well as advice on improving her on-air delivery.

ESPN said it conducted a “thorough investigation” and found Lawrence’s claims to be “entirely without merit.” Lawrence was never guaranteed a permanent position, ESPN said, and it notified her at the same time that other employees were told that their contracts would not be renewed.

Earlier this month, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities released Lawrence’s complaint at her request so she could sue in federal court rather than wait for the agency to make a ruling.

When Lawrence filed her complaint in August, ESPN was just weeks away from unveiling its new partnership with Barstool — a collaboration that some employees cautioned ESPN against. The site, founded in Milton, had made vulgar statements about ESPN journalists, including anchor Sam Ponder, host of Sunday NFL Countdown. In 2014, she was the target of a profane rant by Barstool’s founder Dave Portnoy that made derogatory comments about her child and her life as a working mother.

“No person who watches Game Day wants to see a picture of her and her ugly kid. Nobody cares, Sam Ponder,” Portnoy said. “We want to see you sex it up and be slutty . . .”

Ponder and other employees denounced the partnership on social media, and the show was canceled after one episode.

He claims it was a hatchet job.

The Barstool partnership also drew fire from Jenn Sterger, a writer and actress, who felt she had been sexually harassed at ESPN when she tried out for an on-air position in 2006.

During her months-long audition, Sterger said an executive showed her a copy of a Playboy magazine that she had modeled for and then she was taken to a strip club by Matthew Berry, who was interviewing as a contributor for The Fantasy Show.

The strip club outing was not a formal ESPN activity, but it followed a dinner with company employees and involved several male job candidates. Sterger said she initially did not realize where they were going and she was teased about being uncomfortable once there.

Sterger and Berry say they were both admonished for the strip club outing, but Sterger did not get a job at ESPN while Berry did. ESPN said it chose another woman who had more experience, though an e-mail from the network at the time also said Sterger could have improved her chances by showing “more professional behavior.” Berry is now ESPN’s senior fantasy analyst and one of the most influential personalities in fantasy sports.

I will never see these people the same again.

Today, Berry said visiting the strip club “was not a smart decision and I regret going.” He described a photo from that work trip in which he is pointing at Sterger’s breasts as “personally embarrassing and I did not mean any offense.”

He did an Al Franken!!

Sterger said she had another uncomfortable encounter with Berry two years later, claiming that Berry made sexual comments when she visited ESPN to talk about a potential job opportunity — an accusation that Berry denies. When asked whether he had ever been suspended or disciplined for inappropriate behavior, Berry said, “I was talked to once about an alleged issue in 2007, which was ultimately resolved.”

Sterger said women in sports journalism face a particularly difficult environment because they are subjected to unwanted sexual advances not just from colleagues, but from the athletes they cover. In 2010, Sterger found herself at the center of controversy after Deadspin published lewd e-mails, voice-mails, and pictures that Brett Favre had allegedly sent to her when he was the Jets’ quarterback and she was working as a sideline reporter for the team.

“Sexual harassment for women in sports journalism is a huge problem,” Sterger said, “but it’s one we have been taught from day one comes with the territory.”

Sterger said she decided to speak out about her experiences at ESPN when the Barstool fiasco surfaced because “it just struck me as hypocritical. The very behavior that they say they are against is happening in their own company.”

The same could be said of the Bo$ton Globe, for it was gone the next morning to be seen nevermore.

Current and former employees say the network still faces problems when it comes to older men preying on younger women, particularly production assistants just out of college.

“It’s like cutting your arm in an ocean full of sharks,” said one current employee, who said she has received unwanted physical contact from one colleague and listened to another rate women on a score of one to ten. “The second new blood is in the water, they start circling.”

They don't call it the dating pool for nothing.

A current employee said a male coworker accompanied her to the cafeteria to protect her from an older male colleague who had made unwanted advances, including an attempted kiss. One former employee said that she faced sexual harassment from at least four men and that complaints to human resources went nowhere, but Sarah Spain, a radio host and a columnist for espnW who works out of Chicago, said she has not personally experienced sexual harassment by colleagues at ESPN. And Spain said she felt comfortable sharing concerns with her bosses at espnW — a brand marketed to women — about a male anchor who was cracking jokes at the expense of female athletes.

Spain last year appeared in a video “More than Mean” that went viral and featured men reading harassing and threatening tweets that Spain and another female journalist had received. The day after the video aired, ESPN’s president John Skipper reached out to Spain and they worked together to try and address concerns about the trolls on Twitter.

Spain declined to comment on the company’s short-lived Barstool Sports partnership, but said, “ESPN is very conscious of being a place that women want to work for,” but some current and former employees describe a highly competitive environment where female anchors feel disposable and where their dedication is sometimes challenged by male superiors. That’s what colleagues say happened to Sara Walsh, the anchor who had the on-air miscarriage.

Shortly after Mike McQuade took over as vice president of SportsCenter in 2014, he questioned Walsh’s commitment because she also worked for The Fantasy Show during the football season. Walsh, who had recently signed a multi-year contract and helped host an opening for ESPN’s new digital center, was shocked that her new boss was raising concerns, according to three former employees briefed on the matter at the time.

Walsh was so worried about her job that she decided not to call in sick when she started bleeding from a miscarriage during a work trip to Alabama. Instead, she went to the studio and anchored the show. She described the on-air miscarriage in an Instagram post on Mother’s Day this past year, but Walsh told the Globe she could not comment because she is still under contract.

I had no idea and I can't even imagine. Oh my God.

Former employees said that Walsh was upset that McQuade did not respond to an e-mail she wrote from the hospital about the miscarriage, and she was soon sent back to the same Alabama set where she had miscarried.

McQuade acknowledged that he “likely” discussed with Walsh her work on the Fantasy Show but said it “should not have given Sara any concern about her job.” McQuade said if he failed to respond to Walsh’s e-mail about the miscarriage, “it was certainly not done with malicious intent.”

After Walsh raised concerns about her treatment, she was told the matter had been investigated and was handled properly even though she was never interviewed, according to the former employees. Shortly after, Walsh was assigned to fewer shows, a move that she viewed as retaliation for speaking up, according to the employees.

Walsh eventually conceived again and talked to human resources before she went on maternity leave to get assurances her position was safe, but days before she planned to return from maternity leave this past April, ESPN notified her that she was part of the layoffs.

Oh, that's what happened to her!

McQuade denied any retaliation and said he was not involved in determining who was let go during layoffs.

Walsh’s experience was not isolated, according to other women at ESPN. Anchor Jade McCarthy said she lost on-air opportunities after getting pregnant. McCarthy said she was moved off weekend SportsCenter shows when she returned from her first pregnancy at ESPN and was laid off this past April when she was nearly eight months pregnant. Lindsay Czarniak — one of the few female solo SportsCenter anchors in 2016 — said she chose to walk away after the company offered her a different job at a significant pay cut when she returned from maternity leave this year. 

Yeah, and they replaced her with the bile-spewing hatred of Mike and Jemele. No wonder their ratings are sagging.

In 2005, an employee sued ESPN, claiming she was terminated because she was pregnant. The case was later settled.

ESPN said it would not comment on employees who were laid off or had their contract offers reduced or contracts not renewed.

“There were more than 100 on-air talent and journalists who were impacted in 2017 as part of the company’s revised content strategy,” said Arnold, ESPN’s spokeswoman. “These decisions were not based on sex, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic.”


Her race had never occurred to me.

I hate to say I told you so, but who didn't see this coming?

RelatedESPN ramps up its game for Patriots-Steelers

Don't worry, it won't spoil the game and please don't hold my hand on the way in.


"Disney Makes $52.4b deal for 21st Century Fox in big bet on video streaming" by Brooks Barnes New York Times   December 15, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that it had reached a deal to buy most of the assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., the conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, in an all-stock transaction valued at roughly $52.4 billion.

While the agreement is subject to the approval of antitrust regulators — and the Justice Department recently moved to block a big media company, AT&T, from becoming even bigger — the once unthinkable acquisition promises to reshape Hollywood and Silicon Valley. It is the biggest counterattack from a traditional media company against the tech giants that have aggressively moved into the entertainment business.

Disney now has enough muscle to become a true competitor to Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook in the fast-growing realm of online video.

At the same time, the agreement means that one of moviedom’s most celebrated studios, 21st Century Fox, will be downsized, with some operations folded into Walt Disney Studios or refocused to make films designed for online distribution. Founded in 1935, the Fox studio championed Marilyn Monroe, produced classics like “The Sound of Music,” released the first “Star Wars” movie and, more recently, turned “Avatar” into the biggest ticket-seller of all time, but lately, like most of Hollywood, 21st Century Fox has struggled to keep pace with the changing way younger audiences view content — namely on an Internet-connected device.

Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement, “We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building.”

Disney is a fine one to talk!

Not included in the acquisition: Fox News, the Fox broadcast network, and the FS1 sports cable channel. Murdoch said he would spin those businesses and a handful of other properties into a newly listed company.

Speaking of Fox, wasn't it Ailes and O'Reilly that got this ball rolling?

“I know a lot of people are wondering, ‘Why did the Murdochs come to such a momentous decision?’” Murdoch said on a conference call with investors. “Are we retreating? Absolutely not. We are pivoting at a pivotal moment.”

But not because of sexual harassment.

Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan, 21st Century Fox’s executive chairman, added that the move was “about returning to our roots as a lean, aggressive challenger brand” that would be “focused at the beginning on must-watch news and live sports.”

Disney owns ABC and ESPN.


Most of Disney’s profit still comes from the United States, where ESPN dominates, despite recent struggles, and annual attendance at Walt Disney World in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California totals 162 million people.....


So what gift do you give the girl in the office, or do you just stay in neutral (I'm told consumers' daily Internet experience will not change, they will just pay more)?


"A prominent neurologist, already charged with groping patients at a Philadelphia clinic, is facing a growing number of accusations that he preyed on especially vulnerable pain patients at medical facilities in three states. Dr. Ricardo Cruciani is accused of using his impressive reputation as a healer to trap women in long-term doctor-patient relationships marked by abuse. At least 17 women in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey have stepped forward to accuse Cruciani of sexual misconduct that goes back at least a dozen years, either reporting him to police or retaining an attorney to pursue civil claims, according to an Associated Press review of documents and interviews with the lawyer and three of the accusers. In other developments....."


"A retired Indianapolis fertility doctor accused of inseminating patients with his own sperm will serve no jail time after pleading guilty Thursday to charges that he lied to investigators. A Marion County judge gave Dr. Donald Cline a one-year suspended sentence but ruled his actions justified him having a felony criminal record. The 79-year-old doctor had pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and faced up to three years in prison on each charge. Some of the now-adult children of Cline’s former patients filed a complaint with the Indiana attorney general’s office in 2014 after they became suspicious that Cline had inseminated some of his patients with his own sperm. Paternity tests indicate Cline is likely the biological father of at least two of his patients’ children, according to court records. Those children allege that online genetic tests show he may be the father of 20 others....."

Think of it as an immaculate conception, and half of them have already booked appearances on Maury.

"Two couples that gave birth to children with a genetic defect later traced to donated eggs won a lawsuit against a New York fertility doctor and his clinic in the state’s highest court Thursday. The two children, both born in 2009, have Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that can lead to intellectual and developmental impairments. The parents, identified by initials and last names in legal papers, were told the egg donors were screened for genetic conditions. The parents are seeking legal damages for the added expenses of raising a disabled child. The case hinged on the state’s statute of limitations, which bars lawsuits filed more than two-and-a-half years after the alleged act of malpractice — or the patient’s last treatment by the physician....."

They had the wombs implanted?

"A federal grand jury in Oklahoma has indicted a 63-year-old man accused of kidnapping his stepdaughter and holding her captive for 19 years in Mexico and elsewhere while fathering her nine children. Henri Michelle Piette is accused of kidnapping Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis in 1995 or 1996 and traveling with the intent to have sex with her, according to an indictment a grand jury in Muskogee, Okla., handed up Wednesday. FBI agent Adam Reynolds wrote in an affidavit in the federal case that Piette first had sex with McGinnis when she was 11 or 12 in the back room of a residence in the eastern Oklahoma city of Wagoner, where she shared a bunk bed with another female....."

Cut it out.

"Republicans Hunt for Ways to Pay for Tax Cuts" by Alan Rappeport   December 15, 2017

WASHINGTON — House and Senate Republicans faced a new round of uncertainty Thursday about the fate of their $1.5 trillion tax bill with the possible defection of a Republican senator, Marco Rubio of Florida, amid continuing questions about how the bill will be paid for and how much of the benefits will flow to low- and middle-income people and how much to corporations.

Republicans, who reached agreement Wednesday on a merged version of the House and Senate tax plans, expect to unveil the final bill Friday and vote on the legislation early next week so that it can be sent to President Trump before Christmas, but those plans were thrown into some disarray Thursday when Rubio said that he would vote no on the bill unless it included a more generous version of the child tax credit, which he and another Republican senator, Mike Lee of Utah, have been pushing for to benefit lower-income individuals.

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Rubio needled Republican leadership, saying “Tax negotiators didn’t have much trouble finding a way to lower” the top tax bracket and to have the corporate tax cut take effect a year early.

Republican negotiators responsible for merging the two bills have made a host of changes to assuage the concerns of businesses and some fellow lawmakers, but on Thursday, Republicans were running out of time to make changes and showed little patience for acceding to new demands. Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, cast doubt on further altering the child tax credit.

“We’re at 11:59 on the clock and really the pens ought to be down,” he said on CNN.

So they are voting on it in the dead of night again?

Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican and member of the House-Senate committee that negotiated the final tax bill, said the Senate had already battled the House to preserve the Senate’s more generous version of the child tax credit, which doubled to $2,000, with $1,100 of that amount refundable and able to be claimed by families who face no federal income tax liability.

“We’ve already won,” Portman said. “We should take our victory.”

At the White House, Trump predicted that Rubio would “be there” on the tax bill, and the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, pledged to keep working with the senator “until we get the job done,” but she, too, highlighted the expansion of the child tax credit that had already been passed in the Senate’s tax bill, even if it fell short of what Rubio wanted to see in the final version.

The last-minute demand by Rubio demonstrates the leverage individual Republican senators have in the final moments of the tax debate.....

Don't worry, the children will be taken care of, and MIT will make sure they are fed.


Democrat immediately took issue with the decision to cut taxes, and the afternoon slide came on news that some Republican senators’ support for the GOP’s proposed tax overhaul bill was faltering.

"Wife to run for seat of Kentucky lawmaker who killed self" by Adam Beam Associated Press  December 15, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The wife of a Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself after a sexual assault allegation surfaced this week defended her husband Thursday and said she will run for his seat because ‘‘these high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day.’’

In a statement a day after Dan Johnson’s suicide, Rebecca Johnson said she has been fighting behind her husband for 30 years and ‘‘his fight will go on.’’

‘‘Dan is gone but the story of his life is far from over,’’ she said.

Johnson shot himself Wednesday night near a road in a secluded area. Two days earlier, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a story detailing allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in his basement in 2013. The story prompted state leaders of both major political parties to call for his resignation, and authorities reopened the investigation that had been closed without charges.

Johnson, who pastors a church in Louisville, held a news conference from his pulpit on Tuesday, defiantly denying the allegations. Rebecca Johnson was by her husband’s side during that news conference, which the pastor began by leading friends and family in singing a portion of the Christmas carol ‘‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’’

The 57-year-old said the allegations against him were ‘‘totally false’’ and part of a nationwide strategy of defeating conservative Republicans. He referenced Republican Alabama US Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces accusations of sexual misconduct from multiple women.

David Adams, a political operative who worked with Dan Johnson, said Rebecca Johnson was unavailable for a phone interview because she was at a funeral home.

Earlier Thursday, a sheriff said an ominous Facebook post that Dan Johnson made Wednesday night is part of what prompted his family to report him missing.

In the post, he asked for people to take care of his wife and wrote that post-traumatic stress disorder ‘‘is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.’’

The post appears to have been removed.

The accusations came amid a sexual harassment scandal involving other Republican lawmakers at the state Capitol. Nationwide, a growing number of celebrities, politicians, and businessmen have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent months, leading many to lose their jobs or resign.

Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said Johnson died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Police recovered a .40-caliber pistol next to Johnson’s body.

Johnson was elected to the state legislature in 2016, part of a wave of Republican victories that gave the GOP control of the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 100 years. He won his election despite Republican leaders urging him to drop out of the race after local media reported on some of his Facebook posts comparing Barack and Michelle Obama to monkeys.

The pastor of Heart of Fire church in Louisville, Johnson sponsored a number of bills having to do with religious liberty and teaching the Bible in public schools, but he was mostly out of the spotlight until the investigative story broke.

Michael Skoler, president of Louisville Public Media, which owns the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, said everyone at the organization is ‘‘deeply sad.’’

‘‘Our aim, as always, is to provide the public with fact-based, unbiased reporting and hold public officials accountable for their actions,’’ Skoler said. ‘‘As part of our process, we reached out to Rep. Johnson numerous times over the course of a seven-month investigation. He declined requests to talk about our findings.’’

That's all fine, but have you investigating your own newsroom for it?

In the Kentucky statehouse scandal, former Republican Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned his leadership position after acknowledging he secretly settled a sexual harassment claim with a member of his staff. Three other lawmakers were involved in the settlement, and all lost their committee chairmanships.


Related: Less is Moore

"Young Democrats were also more engaged politically than at the same time during the 2014 midterm cycle, the institute said in a statement, according to a recently released poll conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics. John Della Volpe, the institute’s polling director, tweeted Tuesday night that the Alabama Senate race showed younger voters should not be ignored. Younger voters helped propel a Democrat to victory....."

Brother, where art thou?

Hot fire below.

Farenthold, Texas Congressman Accused of Sexual Harassment, Will Not Run Again

"Over the past decade, the Interior Department has primarily been dogged by reports of harassment and intimidation within the National Park Service. A department survey conducted earlier this year also demonstrated the lack of consequences when allegations of harassment or intimidation were reported to managers within the Interior Department. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in an interview, adding that he had personally fired four people over accusations of harassment. “Harassment — intimidation — is cancer that can destroy even the best organizations.”

That would be Obama's negligence, 'er, watch, and it reminds me that there is nothing about Trump today.

"The slow pace of restoring electricity following Hurricane Maria has become a symbol of the US government’s uneven response. Just 61 percent of electricity had been restored as of Wednesday, according to data on a website run by the island’s government. The Army Corps is a key part of a task force of US government and outside groups working with Puerto Rico’s government to restore power on the island....."

Like sands through the hourglass.....

Maura Healey sues Betsy DeVos, again

What hope do you women have if you are just going to fight with one another?

Fenway Health Center directors ‘eager for change’

After being reluctant to kick people out and say no more

Boston tech chief to step down

What took so long?

Survey finds 42 percent of women report discrimination at work

State Police officials who retired amid scandal collected big payouts

The judge's daughter was harassed?

Tom Brady’s lifestyle brand is now an app

Red Sox spreading holiday cheer

Spurlock on sexual harassment: ‘I am part of the problem’

Said it with a Smiley:

"PBS said it was suspending Tavis Smiley following an independent investigation by a law firm found "troubling allegations" of sexual misconduct by the radio and TV host. PBS said the firm uncovered "multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS." His show's page at PBS was scrubbed on Thursday. Smiley responded to the allegations on Facebook, saying PBS "overreacted" and calling it "a rush to judgment." He said he has never harassed anyone and claimed one relationship the network uncovered was consensual. "If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us," he said. "This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back." PBS responded to Smiley's accusations by saying it stands by the integrity of the investigation. "The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years," a PBS spokesperson said. The ouster comes weeks after PBS cut ties with anchor and talk show host Charlie Rose, citing "extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior" by him toward women at his PBS talk show. The dismissals of Smiley and Rose at PBS follow dozens of firings and suspensions of prominent men who have been accused of sexual misconduct or harassment. The wave began this fall with allegations lodged against Harvey Weinstein and has impacted numerous high-profile TV and media figures, with Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, journalist Mark Halperin, NPR news chief Michael Oreskes, reporter Glenn Thrush and New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier all felled, among others....."

At least there is new management at the Times.

Three women say that music mogul Russell Simmons raped them

There’s now a searchable database of accused Hollywood predators

Perhaps you would like to take a brief look at the blotter.


How is this for female activism?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MOHAMMED SABER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9292582d) Supporters attend a Hamas rally to mark the group's 30th anniversary, in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, 14 December 2017. Hamas was founded in 1987, shortly after the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) broke out against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas marks 30th anniversary in Gaza, --- - 14 Dec 2017
Supporters attended a Hamas rally to mark the group's 30th anniversary, in Gaza City, Gaza Strip on Thursday, and many waved the movement’s green flag (Mohammed Saber/EPA/Shutterstock).

Didn't think so.

"Hamas marks 30th anniversary at low point of Gaza rule" by Fares Akram Associated Press  December 14, 2017

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas marked the 30th anniversary of its founding with a mass rally of many thousands of supporters Thursday, staging a show of strength at a low point in the Islamic militant group’s history.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a combative speech that the United States and Israel have found themselves isolated following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Hamas has called for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel in response to that recognition.

Trump’s decision last week has triggered Palestinian protests in the West Bank and Gaza, including some that escalated into deadly clashes with Israeli troops, but it remains unclear whether widespread Palestinian anger at the United States will lead to a full-fledged uprising.

Hamas’ rival, the Fatah movement of West Bank-based Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, seeks to establish a Palestinian state in lands Israel captured in 1967, with east Jerusalem as a capital. Hamas wants to set up an Islamic state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, which includes Israel.

OMFG! That is such a misrepresentation and distortion one hardly knows where to begin. Hamas' position is the Palestinian Authority under Abbas has authority to negotiate, and any deal should be put before the Palestinian people for a vote. It also ignores the greater Israel project that continues to this very day.

Thursday’s rally drew tens of thousands of Hamas supporters, many waving the movement’s green flag or sporting Hamas headbands. Masked Hamas militants marched behind the group’s political officials on a raised stage.

That's a lot of people for a low point.

The anniversary came at a difficult time in Hamas’ turbulent history. A decade after seizing Gaza by force, it has been compelled to seek reconciliation with Abbas’ Fatah.

There they go again! They didn't "seize" Gaza, they won election before being "compelled" to reconcile.

An Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah in October has seen Hamas give up control of Gaza crossings, but differences over collecting revenues hinder its progress.

Egypt brokered a deal and soon afterward a mosque was blown up. 

Can you say Lavon Affair?

Hamas blames an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade, lack of support from Arab and Muslim nations, and Abbas’ alleged attempts to undermine the group for the hardships in Gaza.

That's about right.

The coastal territory suffers from 43 percent unemployment and worsening blackouts. In recent days, rolling blackouts lasted for 24 hours, followed by four hours of electricity.

The power has been cut at Abbas's request, proving he is nothing but an USraeli tool.


"Kenya’s opposition leader was targeted in a virulent online campaign created by a US-based company during the recent election turmoil, a privacy watchdog said Thursday, while another rights group reported multiple gang-rapes by men in uniform in opposition strongholds. The reports highlight the volatility of the months during which the Supreme Court nullified the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ordered a new vote that opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted and Kenyatta won. Anger remains high among Odinga supporters; scores were killed in clashes with security forces. The data-driven social media campaigns allegedly created by Texas-based Harris Media contributed to one of the most divisive votes in the East African nation’s history, the London-based Privacy International said. Harris Media’s previous clients include President Trump’s election campaign and several far-right parties in Europe, according to Privacy International."

Kenyatta probably feeling a lot like Trump, and those European leaders are being arrested for allegedly stirring up hatred with hate speech. Better if you have a Western-educated former banker that can bridge a deepening rift between his right-wing government and Brussels

So much for free $peech, 'eh?

The sad part is the pre$$ is more free in Russia, and I'm tired of the ax-grinding insults.

"Dozens of Nigerian state governors on Thursday approved the transfer of $1 billion to aid the federal government’s fight against the deadly Boko Haram insurgency, signaling that previous announcements of victory over the Islamic extremists had come too soon. Attacks have increased in recent weeks as Boko Haram turns to using women and children, often abducted and indoctrinated, as suicide bombers to target cities and towns in the country’s vast northeast. Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency has proven to be one of Africa’s more persistent threats, killing more than 20,000 people....."

Why did Iraq and Syria just come to mind as they come at you in waves:

"An Islamic extremist suicide bomber disguised as a police officer killed at least 18 people at a police academy in Somalia’s capital on Thursday, authorities said. The Somalia-based Al Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility. Another 20 officers were wounded, some of them seriously, Colonel Mohamud Aden said. The bomber, with explosives strapped around his waist and torso, infiltrated General Kahiye Police Academy and targeted officers rehearsing for Somalia’s Police Day celebrations scheduled for Dec. 20, Captain Mohamed Hussein said. The bomber walked into the academy undetected and joined a line of officers before he detonated the explosives under his sportswear, Hussein said. Al Shabab has been blamed for the massive truck bombing in the capital in October that left 512 dead. Only a few attacks since 9/11 have killed more people....."

At least it isn't ethnic cleansing.

"Teva Pharmaceuticals to cut 25 percent of jobs in huge reshaping" by Chad Bray New York Times  December 14, 2017

Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, said Thursday that it would cut about a quarter of its workforce, or 14,000 jobs, close manufacturing and research facilities, and suspend its dividend as it seeks to simplify its structure and reduce its debt.

The Israeli company has faced management turmoil and been squeezed by increased competition as well as lower prices in a challenging market environment for generic drugs in the United States. It cut its full-year forecast after it reported disappointing results in the third quarter this year as revenue from its generics business in the United States fell sharply.

The massive reshaping of Teva came just over two years after it agreed to buy the generic drug business of Allergan for $40.5 billion amid a rush of consolidation in the pharmaceuticals industry.

In addition to pressure on its generics business, Teva is saddled with some $35 billion in debt, much of it taken on in a spree of acquisitions in recent years.

As part of its reshaping, Teva said it would seek to improve its margins through price increases or the discontinuation of some drugs.

It also plans to close or sell a significant number of manufacturing plants in the United States, Europe, Israel and other markets.

Teva’s shares rose 10 percent in New York trading Thursday after the announcement.....

They have been $terilized.