Celebrity priest says boys are often seducers of pedophiles

Critics blasted a nationally renowned Catholic priest Thursday for his outrageous claim that underage victims of pedophiles such as Jerry Sandusky and rogue priests are sometimes the seducers.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, former head of the Office of Spiritual Development for the Archdiocese of New York, appalled victims rights advocates when he offered sympathy for disgraced ex-Penn State coach Sandusky and suggested that first-time sexual predators deserved no jail time.

“It’s disgusting,” said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“It’s wrong to demonize children who were raped, and it’s even worse to turn it around and turn the victims into the villains,” said Clohessy. “This is not only backward and wrong, but hurtful and counter-productive…”

The priest suggested that kids “looking for a father figure” make overtures to adults such as clergymen or coaches…“People have this picture in their minds of a psychopath,” Groeschel said, referring to pedophiles. “But that’s not the case.

“Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him,” he continued. “A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

He went on to express his sympathy for “this poor guy Sandusky” — the former Penn State defense coordinator convicted in June of abusing 10 boys over many years…

And he asserted that first-time pedophiles should receive a pass on jail time because it was more a sin than a crime.

“It was a moral failure, scandalous,” he said. “But (pedophiles) didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.”

The predictable non-denial denial came out the next day. It is claimed that Groeschel is old and having memory lapses.

Sounds to me like his memory works fine and he’s expressing what has been the position of way too many officials in the Catholic Church – for decades.

Quebec coppers seek thieves with $30 million of maple syrup

Thieves have made off with a “considerable amount” of maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec…The warehouse, in St-Louis-de-Blandford, stocked more than $30m worth of the product. Police said it was too early to say how much had been stolen.

Quebec provincial sergeant Claude Denis said on Friday that the warehouse stored more than 10 million pounds of maple syrup.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers says they discovered the missing syrup when a routine inventory turned up empty barrels…

It is believed that the thieves decanted the syrup into other containers, with the intent of selling it on.

The federation said that if the thieves attempted to sell the syrup, the whole industry would be affected. “It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime,” the federation said.

Quebec produces 70 to 80% of the world’s maple syrup. Most of the exported product is sold in the United States.

Sylvain Charlebois, a food policy researcher at the University of Guelph, told the Globe and Mail that it would be hard to track the contraband syrup. “It is going to be problematic, one way or the other, whether it’s to sell through proper channels or dealing with the black market,” he said.

I can already visualize the making of another McKenzie brothers movie.

Harvard investigates cheating on exam about government

Harvard University is investigating 125 students accused of collaborating on a spring take-home final exam, in what could prove to be the largest Ivy League cheating scandal in recent memory.

Nearly half the students in an introductory government class are suspected of jointly coming up with answers or copying off one another. Groups of students appear to have worked together on responses to short questions and an essay assignment, violating a no-collaboration policy that was printed on the exam itself, said Jay Harris, Harvard’s dean of undergraduate education.

Although no students appear to have lifted text from outside sources, some apparently plagiarized their classmates’ work, submitting answers that were either identical or “too close for comfort,” Harris said Thursday…

The students whose tests were flagged as problematic — nearly 2 percent of the college’s approximately 6,700 undergraduates — have been notified and will appear before the board individually in the next few weeks, Harris said. Some may be exonerated, but those found guilty could face a range of punishments up to yearlong suspensions…

College officials declined to name the course or any students involved, citing federal privacy laws. But the Harvard Crimson identified the class late Thursday as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress, taught by assistant professor Matthew Platt…

How appropriate can the study of a corrupt body become?

When a democratic republic allows our law-making body to continue archaic practices like the electoral college and the filibuster, corruption becomes inevitable. When a body like the Senate incorporates self-serving rules allowing a single member to prevent voting on an issue, when that same body disables access to majority voting – democracy is subverted, representative leadership and responsibility to voters becomes impossible.

When ethics and economics are subservient to lobbying, real and apparent buying and selling of votes – I can only guess these students have learned their lessons well.

America’s Exceptional Fiscal Conservatism

In most countries, to be “fiscally conservative” means to worry a great deal about the budget deficit and debt levels – and to push these issues to the top of the policy agenda. In many eurozone countries today, “fiscal conservatives” are a powerful group, insisting on the need to boost government revenue while bringing spending under control. In Great Britain, too, leading Conservatives have recently proved willing to raise taxes and attempted to limit future spending.

The United States is very different in this respect. There, leading politicians who choose to call themselves “fiscal conservatives” – such as Paul Ryan, now the Republican Party’s presumptive vice-presidential nominee to run alongside presidential candidate Mitt Romney in November’s election – care more about cutting taxes, regardless of the effect on the federal deficit and total outstanding debt. Why do US fiscal conservatives care so little about government debt, relative to their counterparts in other countries?

It has not always been this way. For example, in 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s advisers suggested that he should cut taxes in order to pave the way for his vice president, Richard Nixon, to be elected to the presidency. Eisenhower declined, partly because he did not particularly like or trust Nixon, but mostly because he thought it was important to hand over a more nearly balanced budget to his successor.

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World’s oldest message in bottle found by trawler “Copious” off the coast of Shetland Isles

Andrew Leaper and the bottle

A small glass bottle, spotted sticking out of the net of a trawler alongside a catch of cod, haddock and monkfish, has set a remarkable world record in the annals of maritime history.

The eight-inch “message in bottle” had been adrift in the stormy waters of the northern North Sea off the coast of Shetland for 97 years and 309 days.

The new world record for discovering the oldest message in a bottle is held by Andrew Leaper, who was skipper of the Lerwick-registered Copious when he made the amazing find in April.

Coincidentally, his friend Mark Anderson set the previous record in 2006 when he was skippering the same boat. Both bottles that made the record books are from a batch of 1,890 scientific research “drift bottles” released in various parts of the North Sea in June 1914 by experts from the Glasgow School of Navigation as part of a study to map the currents of the seas around Scotland…

The bottle is now one of the prized exhibits in the Interpretative Centre on the Shetland island of Fetlar, where Mr Leaper was born and raised.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish environment secretary, said: “The story of scientific drift bottles is a fascinating one and harks back to an area when we were only beginning to understand the complexities of the seas.

It’s amazing that nearly 98 years on bottles are still being returned to the marine laboratory – and in such fantastic condition. With many bottles still unreturned, there is always the chance in the coming years that a Scottish drift bottle will once again break the record.”

What a delightful find.

My closest friend, Clyde, and I were part-time beachcombers for years back in New England. Never found anything of this historic value. Though we did turn out some gorgeous woodwork from driftwood.