Saturday, February 25, 2006

Idiot Ostrich Behavior

News has come out of Chicago that a review board of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago advised Cardinal Francis George to remove a priest, Daniel McCormack, who had been accused of molesting young boys three months before the priest was arrested. McCormack was removed from ministry in Janaury after being charged with sexually abusing three boys. What makes this case tragic is that one boy says he was abused as recently as December.

Here's the most infuriating part of this story, the response by the archdiocese spokesperson, Jim Dwyer. While Dwyer said he could not confirm or deny the report of the board's recommendation, "It's my understanding that it wasn't an official recommendation," he said.

Talk about hiding one's head in the sand.

This is all too reminiscent of Cardinal Bernard Law's behavior in Boston. Cardinal Law ignored a virtual tsunami of allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Cardinal Law either allowed the priests to continue to serve, or transferred them elsewhere. Had there been any justice in the Boston abuse case, Cardinal Law would have been charged with aiding and abetting in the commission of a felony and perhaps outright conspiracy. Had he been found guilty, I'm sure that some inmate named Bubba could have personally introduced the Cardinal to the horror of molestation. Instead, Cardinal Law got a promotion to the Vatican, and the Boston archdiocese is teetering on bankruptcy in the wake of settling dozens of lawsuits.

This behavior has got to stop, and it's up to the church hierarchy to set an example.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Idiot Confirmation Hearings

Judge Samuel Alito got confirmed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court yesterday. If there was any question as to where he is in terms of judicial ideology, it was answered in his first act -- he turned down a death row appeal of an inmate from "The Killing State" called Texas.

I'm not happy Alito got confirmed -- I don't share his judicial philosophy. On the other hand, he is eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court justice. He has been on the Court of Appeals for 15 years, his opinions are well-crafted, and he has the requisite judicial temperament. Yes, he's conservative. What other philisophy should I have expected from Bush?

I was troubled about his promoting his membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton. I think he was doing that to boost his standing with the Reagan administration. I don't think he shares the group's values. But, his answer to the questions about his membership in the group strained credulity, which makes you wonder about the truthfulness of his other answers.

But, far more troubling than Alito's confirmation was the circus called the hearings. What a joke! With the exception of Russ Feingold, just about every other Senator came off looking bad. You had Jeff Sessions, sounding and acting like Forrest Gump ("My mama said that judges are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are gonna get."). You had Joe Biden, who apparently needed another seat for his ego ("Judge, let's not talk about you. Let's talk about me."). You had Lindsey Graham, the self-appointed cheerleader for Alito ("Judge Alito, you haven't foamed at the mouth during these hearings. How could anyone think that you don't deserve to be on the Supreme Court?"). Finally, there was Ted Kennedy, who finally was able to articulate a complete sentence ("And I will bring this up again and again and again.").

These are the times that I have to take comfort in Winston Churchill's proclamation about democracy -- it is the worst of all types of governments, except for all other kinds.