Pope Francis apologizes for church child abuse, vows to clean house

In an "unprecedented" letter to the the laity, Pope Francis described priestly child abuse as an atrocity and the Catholic Church's protection of abusers as complicity.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.

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The Internet of Shit: a godsend for abusers and stalkers

People who help domestic abuse survivors say that they are facing an epidemic of women whose abusers are torturing them by breaking into their home smart devices, gaslighting them by changing their thermostat settings, locking them out of their homes, spying on them through their cameras. Read the rest

Father of Larry Nassar victims attacks him in court: "Let me at that son of a bitch!"

Local 4 Detroit reports that Randall Margraves, the father of three of Larry Nassar's victims, charged at the prolific child abuser in court today, shouting "let me at that son of a bitch" as bailiffs struggled to restrain him. Read the rest

Olympic doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing gymnasts and other women

Larry Nassar was sentenced today to 175 years imprisonment, Justice Rosemarie Aquilina telling him "I've just signed your death warrant." 163 of his victims—many of them young women athletes all but ordered to tolerate his abuse by sporting authorities who held the power to end their careers—gave accounts of assault at his sentencing.

Aquilina said Nassar’s “decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable.”

“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable.”

Nassar found competitive gymnastics to be a “perfect place” for his crimes because victims saw him as a “god” in the sport, a prosecutor said Wednesday, shortly before the former doctor was to be sentenced for years of molesting Olympic gymnasts and other young women.

Previously.

Photo: Reuters Read the rest

Roy Moore denies he lost Alabama Senate election

Despite the official certification of Doug Jones' victory, a quick booting from the courts, pleas from fellow Republicans, and the sheer implausibility of his voter-fraud claims, Roy Moore continues to deny that he lost this month's special Senate election. Though losing by some 20,000 votes after teen sex assault allegations came his way, all that matters is God's truth.

“I have stood for truth about God and the Constitution for the people of Alabama. I have no regrets. To God be the glory,” the accused child predator said.

“Election fraud experts from across the country have agreed that this was a fraudulent election,” he claimed, offering no specifics.

“I’ve had to fight not only the Democrats but also the Republican Senate Leadership fund and more than $50 million in opposition spending from the Washington establishment.”

The obvious falseness of Roy Moore's denials on this matter should tell you a lot about Roy Moore's denials on other matters. Read the rest

Time Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers

Time got it right: The Silence Breakers.

She recalls one screenwriter friend telling her that Weinstein's behavior was an open secret passed around on the whisper network that had been furrowing through Hollywood for years. It allowed for people to warn others to some degree, but there was no route to stop the abuse. "Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?" Judd asks. "There wasn't a place for us to report these experiences."

Finally, in October—when Judd went on the record about Weinstein's behavior in the New York Times, the first star to do so—the world listened.

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Barbara Walters tells Corey Feldman "you're damaging an entire industry" when he warns of Hollywood abuse

There's knowing about it, and there's knowing where your bread is buttered, and then there's this. Read the rest

Domestic violence even impacts puppies

This adorable pup Chewy sadly had to part ways with his owner. Both Chewy and his owner were victimized by an abusive boyfriend, and smartly they ran. Unable to afford a companion ticket for Chewy to fly with her, his owner left him in a bathroom at Las Vegas/McCarran International Airport with a note seeking a better future.

Domestic violence doesn't just affect humans. Travelers at McCarren Airport in Las Vegas were surprised to find a puppy abandoned in a bathroom over the weekend.

A note was found with the Chihuahua, identified as Chewy. In it, his former owner revealed that she had come to the airport to flee an abusive relationship and was unable to pay to get her pup on the plane. Unwilling to leave him with her ex-boyfriend, whom she claimed had been physically abusive to the 3-month-old dog as well as with her, she left him behind.

"Hi! I'm Chewy! My owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn't afford me to get on the flight," the note read. "She didn't want to leave me with all hear heart, but she has no other option. My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet. I love Chewy sooo much — please love and take care of him."

Via NY Daily News

I hope both Chewy and his former owner enjoy lives free of any further abuse. Read the rest

Leaving kids in front of screens unsupervised for hours may have unpleasant consequences, parents learn

We all did so well keeping our kids away from obvious traps like 4chan, but it turns out that during those endless unsupervised hours watching Minecraft videos and Twitch streams, their hosts were muttering on about anime and black IQs and what to do about The Jews. And now our kids are hitting their teens, it's coming out of them like the first belches of sewage from a blocked toilet, and, well, here we all are in 2017!

...again this week with the news that YouTube video gaming personality JonTron had made several racist and anti-semitic statements. JonTron — real name Jon Jafari — started his week by tweeting support for Iowa representative Steve King on Sunday, after King made the troubling claim that “we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.” Jafari then doubled down on this stance in an interview with fellow streamer Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, complaining of the erosion of a “unifying culture” in the United States, portraying Black Lives Matter as violent terrorists, and repeatedly making portentous warnings that white people would become the minority in American society. ...

On YouTube, these fringe opinions are insidious, too. They’re not set to Leni Riefenstahl films or videos of the Nuremberg Rallies — they dribble out during video game streams, or in Twitch chat, or in YouTube’s never-ending “up next” queue. These are ostensibly benign spaces that have become politicized in recent years, but not so loudly that the average parent will be able to clock the association.

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Suggestions for improving Twitter

Twitter's wonderful, but it's also horrible a lot of the time &endash; especially for the people using it. And we all complain about it, too! Anil Dash weaves the obvious and not-so-obvious threads of criticism into a billion dollar gift for Twitter. It comes down to these five key points: Read the rest

Twitter to cut hundreds of jobs

I still love Twitter and hope it finds a way forward. But it looks like all the potential suitors have passed on buying it, and job cuts are in the offing.

Twitter Inc., having failed to sell itself, is planning to fire about 8 percent of its workforce as the struggling social-media company prepares to go it alone for the time being. Twitter may eliminate about 300 people, the same percentage it did last year when co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter. Planning for the cuts is still fluid and the number could change, they added. The people asked not to be identified talking about private company plans.

The other day, "George Zimmerman" was trending again. It was right there in the little box on the homepage. When you clicked on this hashtag, the second result was (and still is) an exhortation to follow a fake/ironic George Zimmerman account, with this bio:

Perhaps I get unique results for some algorithmic or settings-based reason that escapes me; it shows up irrespective of whether I have the "sensitive media" content filters checked. It looks like anyone from Salesforce or Disney who fired up Twitter last week and clicked on this promoted topical hashtag got this in their face. Maybe it's naive to think they would have been influenced by this, or that it's an easy thing to exclude at Twitter's scale. But I can't escape the nagging feeling that it being there represents a decision. Read the rest

Hundreds of cops misuse databases yearly, says report

An investigation by the Associated Press found 675 police officers were jailed or disciplined for misusing police databases from 2013 to 2015, and that's just the ones who were caught. Read the rest

Japanese porn industry says it's 'very sorry' that actress was coerced to have sex on camera

The Intellectual Property Promotion Association, which represents 80% of Japan’s adult film industry, says it's very sorry for "coercing" (aka raping) women to have sex in pornographic videos.

From the LA Times:

Police announced Monday that they had arrested the president of Marks Japan and two others on suspicion that they forced a woman into appearing in adult films by threatening to punish her financially. They also threatened to force her parents to pay for “contract violations” if necessary, police said.

The woman, described as being in her 20s, reportedly signed with the company in 2009 as a fashion model and was forced to have sex on camera in more than 100 videos before being able to cancel her contract in 2014, according to police.

The three men arrested, including company President Takashi Kozasu, were charged with breaking laws that regulate temporary employment agencies – specifically, rules that prevent the agencies from sending workers into assignments that violate public morals. The assignment that led to the charges was a film shoot in September 2013.

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Texas judge orders prison to provide inmates with safe drinking water

Texas's prison system must provide safe drinking water to its inmates, a judge in Houston federal court ruled Thursday.

The Associated Press reports on a case that saw Texas fight all the way to court to continue supplying arsenic-laden water to prisoners— a position U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison wrote violates "contemporary standards of decency."

In his 15-page ruling, Ellison wrote the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been "deliberately indifferent" to the ongoing risk inmates at the unit face from prolonged exposure to "extreme heat" and from having to drink arsenic-laden water in order to reduce the risk from the heat. The drinking water at the Pack Unit has contained between 2 and 4½ times the amount of arsenic permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the judge said.

The prisoners have "demonstrated that (the prison system's) current and ongoing conduct violates contemporary standards of decency," Ellison wrote.

At least 20 prisoners have died indoors in non-air-conditioned Texas prisons from overheating since 1998, including 10 who died in 2011, Ellison said.

Other than fixing the tainted water, the prisoners asked for temperatures in the Wallace Pack Unit to be lowered to 88°F. See the aerial photo above: suburban Houston is hot, but it is not a desert.

American prisons are hell: violent rape camps operated by the depraved and indifferent, many of them private corporations. And these prisons are in Texas. Read the rest

Employees spanked for incompetence

Inept employees at a business in China were publicly spanked for their poor performance, reports People's Daily.

In video captured on cellphone, a manager is seen upbraiding staff, lined up on stage before their colleagues at Chinese Rural Commercial Bank. Then he produces a baton and begins spanking them on the buttocks.

Though the employees are clothed, the manager's form is robust and the thwacks sharp. Read the rest

Saying "never read the comments" turns a blind eye to abuse

Anil Dash writes that a cynical blogger in-joke—"never read the comments"—has become a "bad habit," an excuse for giving free rein to abusive conduct.

honestly, I get it — making a joke out of the situation may be the only way of dealing with that horrible feeling of dread that comes from knowing an institution values one’s words enough to profit from them, but not enough to protect the person writing those words…

Yet I think our reflexive use of these grim jokes have gotten accepted into the culture of people who build, manage, and publish on large social apps and media sites. The fact that we joke about it documents an acceptance of a culture of abuse online. It helps normalize online harassment campaigns and treat the empowerment of abusers as inevitable, rather than solvable.

And worse, we denigrate a form that used to be, and sometimes still is, a powerful way of making meaningful connections with the world. I met most of my closest friends in the comments on my blog, or by commenting on theirs.

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Ellen Pao: “The trolls are winning.”

“I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history,” writes Reddit's recently-departed interim CEO Ellen Pao in a Washington Post op-ed today. “And I have just been blessed with the most astonishing human responses to that attack.” Read the rest

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