Crocodile Tears

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In Harpersville, Alabama, a traffic violation can lead to months in jail and a never-ending stint in a work-release program – what some refer to as a modern-day debtors’ prison.


After eight women are murdered in Louisiana, what was initially thought to be the work of a serial killer becomes something much more troubling.


How Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, with a little help from the Bush Administration, got 140 trees chopped down in a national park to improve his view and ruined the life of a park ranger in the process.

Over the next few days, Candis tried everything, including trying to bribe some of the orphanage’s workers, to uncover more about her daughter’s origins. She talked with workers at the orphanage and even offered to pay one of them for more information, but nothing new came to light. She tried to pry more information out of He Zaolin, but he stopped answering her calls. Erica had been sold to the orphanage: that much was clear. But where she came from before, that was anyone’s guess.

The worst moment of the trip came later, in a Skype video chat conversation with Erica back in the U.S. ‘We’re not going to be able to find your birth mother,’ Candis told her. Her daughter’s face fell. “She just looked so dejected, and she just said, ‘Oh.’” Then Erica started crying. “It was just heart-wrenching that I could not be there with her. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do. Really, really awful.”

- Hostile but interesting profile of Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life.

- Terrifying sex organs of male turtles - an overview.

- Various news articles on the ongoing corruption scandal in Quebec.  Here’s a guy bragging about how good he was at “cooking contracts.”  Here’s the latest assassination.

American Violet is a based-on-true-events movie about a young black woman, played by Nicole Beharie, who becomes the lead plaintiff in a civil rights suit over racially motivated drug sweeps. Beharie in her debut performance is the highlight of the film (and why I watched it in the first place), and I would’ve liked if there were a much tighter focus on her. As it is, too much time is spent with the lawyers who have to provide the clumsy infodump and Big Picture dialogue scenes that are an unfortunate staple in this type of film. Not bad overall though.


State officials say they have to do what’s in the best interest of the child, but the state does have a financial incentive to remove the children. The state receives thousands of dollars from the federal government for every child it takes from a family, and in some cases the state gets even more money if the child is Native American. The result is that South Dakota is now removing children at a rate higher than the vast majority of other states in the country.


"They make a living off of our children," said Juanita Sherick, the tribal social worker for the Pine Ridge reservation.

Some children are removed from their homes for legitimate reasons. But in South Dakota very few are taken because they’ve been physically or sexually abused. Most are taken under a far more subjective set of circumstances. The state says the parents are neglectful. But NPR’s investigation shows that even Native American children who grow up to become foster care success stories, living happy, productive lives, say the loss of their culture and identities leaves a deep hole they spend years trying hopelessly to fill.

The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish  Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture.

It’s fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy Reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.

But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.

Because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic…as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism….the narcissism …….that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.

The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.