Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Thank you all for the compassionate advice on my sister. I vented, I took it all in, and then I took it down. I am grateful for this community.

Nine high school students in Massachusetts have been charged for bullying a girl who eventually committed suicide, according to the Associated Press. Surprisingly, school officials will not face charges, even though they knew of the bullying.

The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has launched a sex abuse hotline to document all allegations of sexual abuse by priests, according to BBC News. So far, “hundreds” of people have come forward to say they were abused by priests as children between the 1950s and 1980s.  

I really do wish the new health care law’s stipulation on pre-existing conditions took effect right away. Here is a tragic story about a newborn baby in Texas being denied healthcare coverage due to a heart defect. Death panels, anyone?

Here is an hilarious Bloomberg story on tea party activists. They want government out of their lives, but want it to create jobs, reign in Wall Street bonuses, and continue to dole out medicare and social security. Okay.

The Environmental Protection Agency listed bisphenol-A, or BPA, which is found in hard shiny plastic products, as a “chemical of concern,” according to the Washington Post.

Yahoo! listed five jobs that are flexible and offer at least $40K in pay.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


The Latest Sex Abuse Scandal: Boy Scouts of America

This seemed too important to just throw into an open thread so here it goes. Apparently, the Boy Scouts of America has an extensive archive of documents chronicling the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years, according to the Associated Press.

Here is the scoop:

The “perversion files,” a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could all change in the coming weeks in an Oregon courtroom.

The lawyer for a man who was molested in the 1980s by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expected to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show how the Boy Scouts have covered up abuse for decades.

On Friday, testimony from a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responsible for a Scout troop of church members suggested the Scouts never provided training about spotting abuse or preventing it.

The trial is significant because the files could offer a rare window into how the Boy Scouts have responded to sex abuse by Scout leaders. The only other time the documents are believed to have been presented at a trial was in the 1980s in Virginia.

The details of the case are obviously tawdry. I feel for the young man who was victimized. I can’t help but think this kind of thing is prevalent in a situation where young people are entrusted to adults in a patriarchal institution whether it be the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts or the Mormons (who were also involved in this case). I know at my church we have responded to this type of abuse by making sure that no child is left alone with clergy, adults must leave their doors open at all times and all our classes are co-ed, including female teachers. It is different from when I went to Catholic school — and with good reason.

What have your churches, schools or outside groups done to prevent sexual abuse? What do you think these older institutions can do to reform themselves so that their children do not become sexual abuse victims?

In somewhat related news, the debate on Catholic priest celibacy and women deacons was re-opened last week as an Austrian cardinal questioned both tenets of the church, according to the Times Online of the UK. The discussion in the comments thread was interesting, too.


Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Mamapedia has run a lot of good columns lately with holiday gift ideas. The latest one suggested presents to the hostesses of holiday parties.

The Mamasource newsletter — related to Mamapedia — had a fascinating discussion on a couple wondering whether they should have more children. One of them — the mother — doesn’t want more than the two children they already have, but the husband wants four children total.

Levi Johnston — yes, he is in the news again — plans to sue ex-girlfriend Bristol Palin for joint custody of 10-month-old son Tripp, according to Salon. This could not come at a more inopportune time for the baby’s grandmother and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who is on tour promoting a new book.  

This is icky — and eye-opening. A new report by the British charity ChildLine states that the number of children reporting sex abuse by women has risen 132 percent in the last five years, according to Salon Broadsheet. Two-thirds of those complaints were against the children’s mothers.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?