Saturday, May 27, 2006

Get Pumped For The World Cup

From the YanksInGermany yahoo list: How do you say "Frings handled that ball; we should have gotten a penaltykick"?

Verdammt mal! Das war doch ein Handspiel von Frings! Wir hätten ein Strafstoß bekommen müssen! Der Schiedsrichter kannt mich mal!

USA, all the way.

The boys looked good last night:
WaPo: For the Americans, A Crisp Turnaround
United States 2, Venezuela 0

I'm heading out to pick up Coach Mom. We'll be at Rentschler Field in Hartford tomorrow night for the final tune-up v. Latvia. Let's hope we get to see the "A" team and have an idea of who will start in Gelsenkirchen June 12th v. Czech Republic.

Barry Bonds + Steroids = Barroid

Was it the cream, or the clear?

I saw this at Moments in Time. Love the name, Barroid. Juicer.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Smirky McChimp Tells Another Lie

What Bush said at his joint press conference with Bliar (no, that's not a typo) last night:

Q Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq. Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here -- saying "bring it on," kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner -- you know, "wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that. And I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time. And it's -- unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They've been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.

The look on his face after he said it:

What a journalist who observed the whole thing had to say.

... the big giveaway was at the end of that answer, I don't know if you can see it on camera, but the President flashed a big grin to those of us sitting in the front rows. It didn't seem that he was quite as contrite as his performance.

- Richard Wolffe, Newsweek.

Vile excuse of a human being.

Global Warming Is Coming, Global Warming Is Coming
 Play Paul Revere
Five simple ways individuals can fight global warming.
(you have to watch an ad, but it's worth it)

1. Vote for change

2. Donate your time and money

3. Drive efficiently

4. Run a smart home

5. Play Paul Revere

Is The Media Ready to Cover Politics Substantively?

Paul Krugman asks, will America get fooled again? When he says 'we', he means the public and the press. I say, the public voted for Gore in 2000, despite the relentless drubbing he took in the corporate press, including the New York Times. This article really should be aimed squarely for the media. Will the media cover the issues? Or is PR and image everything? Will the media once again cover Karl Rove photo ops as substance, when they are merely showtime?

Paul Krugman, NYTimes: A Test of Our Character (TimesSelect wall)

the concluding grafs:

Why, after all, was Mr. Gore's popular-vote margin in the 2000 election narrow enough that he could be denied the White House? Any account that neglects the determination of some journalists to make him a figure of ridicule misses a key part of the story. Why were those journalists so determined to jeer Mr. Gore? Because of the very qualities that allowed him to realize the importance of global warming, many years before any other major political figure: his earnestness, and his genuine interest in facts, numbers and serious analysis.

And so the 2000 campaign ended up being about the candidates' clothing, their mannerisms, anything but the issues, on which Mr. Gore had a clear advantage (and about which his opponent was clearly both ill informed and dishonest).

I won't join the sudden surge of speculation about whether "An Inconvenient Truth" will make Mr. Gore a presidential contender. But the film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country.

Since 2000, we've seen what happens when people who aren't interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we've done nothing about global warming.

But can the sort of person who would act on global warming get elected? Are we — by which I mean both the public and the press — ready for political leaders who don't pander, who are willing to talk about complicated issues and call for responsible policies? That's a test of national character. I wonder whether we'll pass.

The full article, from Ed Strong.

Empire Zone Listens, Kind Of

I wrote about being deleted from the New York Times blog, Empire Zone, for daring to suggest that they should look at their own glass houses before throwing stones at the Clintons.

I also pointed out that some joker left a post giving directions on how to get around the TimesSelect wall, which was not deleted.


If you are worried that you will miss Krugman, you can get his articles online 99% of the time simply by copying the first line of his article, and then pasting it into the search box at

Comment by You won't miss Krugman — May 24, 2006 @ 12:05 am

The administrator of Empire Zone logged onto my blog yesterday for over 7 minutes, and now the "search Technorati" post is gone.

But none of my hey, why don't you run a front page article on Judith Miller's relationship with her source posts were allowed. Funny.

Little Ricky, I'm Home!

Santorum's Penn Hills "home", with unmowed lawn this week, Post Office can't deliver

Santorum's real home in Virginia, the McMansion, manicured lawn, mail goes through

Turns out for Pennsylvania Senator 'Little Ricky' Santorum, home is really Virginia. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sent a letter to his supposed Pennsylvania home and it was returned by the post office as "Not Deliverable As Addressed -- Unable To Forward." Read the whole editorial -- it's bitingly funny.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Editorial: Nobody home / Santorum tries to cover his tracks on residency

Before every election, the Post-Gazette routinely sends letters to the candidates seeking material for the Voters Guide. Back in March, as part of that process for the primary, the newspaper sent a letter to Rick Santorum at his home address, at least the one that he claims. Back from Penn Hills came the letter with a sticker from the U.S. Postal Service checked as "Not Deliverable As Addressed -- Unable To Forward."

That is all you need to know about the nasty dispute between the Republican Sen. Santorum and his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., in the November election. The whole thing is rooted in one inconvenient fact for Sen. Santorum: He doesn't live here anymore.

This should add fuel to the fire of constituents, already smarting for having to pay to educate Santorum's children in 'cyber charter school', in Virginia:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Penn Hills loses bid to charge Santorum for online school tuition
School board too late in challenging residency

Because school district officials missed the deadline for filing a challenge, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife are still considered Penn Hills residents and do not have to repay the school district for the cost of enrolling five of their six children in the online Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

In a ruling issued last Friday, Barry Kramer, chief hearing officer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Office of General Counsel, said "Penn Hills' inexplicable failure to object within the statutorily mandated timeline, or even within a reasonable approximation of that timeline, nullifies its tardy objection."

Estimates of the tuition paid by Penn Hills range from $34,000, which Santorum claims was paid to the cyber charter school, to $67,000, which some school board members say the district paid. Under state law, a school district must pay a fee set by the state for each resident who attends a charter school.

Harassment Pays: $830,000 Plus Benefits

Thanks for the Benjamins, Sean-o, now I can buy some more bling

I've litigated outrageous sexual harassment cases against large employers and never once have I seen such a large settlement for an employee without years of litigation, and often trial. And always with a blanket confidentiality clause so the employee can never ever speak out about the harassment. But for a harasser? Snap, done. This just sickens me.

Boston Globe: Caritas head ran out of options

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley and the Caritas Christi Health Care System board had voted to fire the Caritas president for serial sexual harassment, but left him the choice of resigning with 10 months' severance pay, about $830,000, and agreeing not to sue the archdiocese.

Brian McGrory, columnist, Boston Globe: Ignominious outcome

If Robert Haddad gets a near-million-dollar payout from the Boston Archdiocese after being a serial harasser and unmitigated boor, how much more might he have earned for being an exhibitionist or something worse?

If he committed an actual felony, would he have gotten the full $3 million he initially sought from the Caritas board?

You could just about fill an airplane hangar with all his female subordinates who say that Haddad, ousted president of the Catholic healthcare system, groped them, kissed them on the mouth, called them at home to ask inappropriate questions. And that's his big sanction: 10 months of his already bloated pay, more money than most normal people will make in 20 years of work.

Where, it might be time to ask, is the sense in that?

The lawyers, of course, give their stock lawyerly replies. They say these cases are complicated, that sexual harassment allegations inevitably end up as he-said, she-said kind of deals, that hours of depositions would have to be taken, that victims are made to feel uncomfortable, that court time adds up, that the outcome is always at risk.


But just imagine if someone in this case, anyone, had a scintilla of spine.

Imagine if Cardinal Sean O'Malley stood at a bank of microphones yesterday and acknowledged his own mistake in failing to grasp the gravity of the situation from the start. Imagine if he announced that, on second thought, he decided to fire Haddad without giving him the chance to resign.

He could have said he doesn't negotiate with such demeaning cads as Haddad. He could have said he listened to the advice from his battery of lawyers, but ultimately decided that he had to take a larger stand. He could have said that if the Catholic Church can't put morality before convenience, then what institution in this city would or can?

In response to the inevitable question over what he'll do if Haddad sues, O'Malley could have simply replied, ``Let him."


O'Malley wouldn't even have to point out that it was his own $400-an-hour lawyers at Ropes & Gray who didn't think Haddad's behavior was a dismissible offense and that one Ropes & Gray lawyer, Stephen B. Perlman, even likened Haddad's behavior to ``effusive, friendly warmth that is nonetheless unwelcome."

Thank you, Ropes & Gray. Where does the line form to get more of your advice?

This is the article from the AP that is being printed around the country, with my comments in italics:

WaPo: Clergy Victims Angered by Handling of Case

BOSTON -- For victims of clergy sexual abuse, the Boston Archdiocese's initial handling of sexual harassment allegations against its top health care executive had a familiar ring: multiple allegations, minimal consequence and secrecy.

"There are extraordinary and painful parallels," said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.


The initial decision to reprimand rather than fire Haddad was criticized by some clergy sex abuse victims, who said they felt O'Malley sought to protect Haddad just as church officials for decades protected priests who sexually abused children.

O'Malley was installed as Boston's archbishop in July 2003, seven months after Cardinal Bernard Law resigned amid intense criticism of his role in moving priests who had been accused of abuse from parish to parish instead of removing them.

"The fact that this man was not immediately terminated makes me wonder ... whether they've learned anything over the last four years?" said Gary Bergeron, who was molested by a priest in the 1970s in Lowell.


O'Malley sought the advice of three outside lawyers who are experts in employment and sexual harassment law. One lawyer found that although Haddad's conduct was illegal and improper, it "was not of an exceptionally egregious nature," according to the archdiocese. [The only male of the three lawyers thought it was nothing. O'Malley credited the one male lawyer's opinion over the opinions of the two female lawyers. Surprised?]


Employment attorneys, however, said it's not always clear-cut how to discipline an employee accused of sexual harassment.

"What constitutes what we call hostile environment? Is a hug sexually harassing? How many hugs does it have to be?" said Nancy Shilepsky, a Boston employment lawyer not involved in the Haddad case. "There are gradations. Some activities are clearly on one side or the other, but there may be some that may be more in the middle." [Nancy Shilepsky started out as an employee's lawyer, but now she's with a big firm and represents employers This comment is meant to influence all her future jury pools. I'm sure it makes all her corporate clients happy to see it in print. I remember seeing Nancy Shilepsky speaking at employment law seminars fifteen years ago when she didn't think sexual harassment was so .... ambiguous. Sheesh.]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More 'Game Fish'

The Smithsonian has a web page that lets you look at the Game Fish (Larry Fuente, 1988) closely:

Zoom It

It's a Macromedia Flash image that lets you click on some part of Game Fish to see it up close. Blue plastic combs, Scrabble pieces, dimes, old bowling trophies, Mardi Gras beads; it's fun just to try to figure out what all the pieces are.

Previous post: Calling All Collectors (May 23, 2006)

Global Warming Will Change the Coast

By putting most of it under water:

The pics are from a dailykos diary by devilstower: Hotter Than You Think

Recognize this place? It's the Gulf coast of the United States after a 10' rise in sea level. The basic shape looks fairly familiar, and from this landmark-free version of the map, you can be forgiven for thinking not much has changed. Here, try this version.

Those little dots give an inidication of just how far the coastlines would shift from this rise. All the cities along the coast would be not just inundated, but out to sea. New Orleans and Miami would be over a dozen miles from the nearest dry land. That's what ten feet means. The monetary losses are inestimable.

You saw the devestation caused by Katrina. you saw the panic, the loss of life, the shift of populations, and the tremendous costs. Now look at that map again. Can the US survive that? Add in the great coastal cities -- east and west -- being swamped one by one and battered by intense storms. Add in the interior of the country overrun by drought, a return of the dustbowl, as deserts replace farmlands.

Oh, and remember that those maps above are a ten foot rise. Make it twenty, and half of Florida is gone, along with another large slice of the coast. If those predictions of a > 10 degree increase are correct and the poles completely loose their ice, there's a much, much larger sea level rise in our future. A rise that could erase the whole state of Florida and bring coastline to Arkansas.

Kenny Boy: Guilty, Guilty, Guilty....

....guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty guilty, guilty for Ken Lay in a Texas courtroom today. Must have been agonizing to listen to that verdict, although he was found not guilty of nine charges. His cothief Jeffrey Skilling was convicted of all six counts again him.

I guess Daniel Petrocelli couldn't find Andrew Fastow's Bruno Magli shoes.

WaPo: Jury Convicts Enron's Skilling and Lay

Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect millions of dollars. Do not manipulate the California energy market. Do not give money to George W. Bush.

Update: Actually, Bush's pal Kenny Boy was guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty; it was Skilling who was convicted on 19 of 28 counts. The original media reporting was wrong, and I didn't catch it; sorry!

Dr. Haddad Resigns With More Than $800,000 Severance Package

Dr. Perv and his enabler

Gee, I'm filled with pity, he gets 10 months of his over $1,000,000 annual compensation as he slinks out the door.

WaPo: Mass. Roman Catholic Hospital Chief Quits

Boston Globe: Chief of Caritas forced out
Haddad quits after board votes for firing

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley and the leadership of the region's Catholic health care system early this morning forced the resignation of the hospitals' president, Dr. Robert M. Haddad, over allegations that he had sexually harassed several women.
Article Tools

At around 1:30 a.m., after a five-hour meeting of the hospital's board of governors, the archdiocese said that Haddad had resigned from the positions of president and chief executive of Caritas Christi Health Care System.

The archdiocese said that the hospital's board had voted to fire Haddad but offered him ten month's of salary and benefits if he resigned instead. His compensation is believed to be worth more than $1 million a year.

The Globe offers a weaselly article in the Business section claiming sexual harassment is filled with ambiguity. They quote several employment lawyers, all of whom are defense lawyers. This is the equivalent of writing an article on environmental laws while quoting the attorneys for Dupont, Dow Chemical and Halliburton.

This article on the ambiguity of sexual harassing behavior is written as the sidebar to a case in which a man is accused of sexually harassing at least 14 women and perhaps more. The harassment consisted of offensive and unwanted touching including hugging, rubbing them on the back, and kissing on the lips (ewwww); sexual innuendoes, calling them at home late at night, and asking them about their sex lives. There's nothing ambiguous about Haddad's behavior. That's why the attorneys who investigated the case for the Diocese, Drinan and Musiker (the former head the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination) believed he should have been fired when they knew about 4 complaining women. Now there are 14+. A completely unambiguous story. Gray areas, my ass.

Gray areas complicate sexual harassment cases

I prefer the Herald's take:

Margery Eagen, Boston Herald: Church still coddles creeps (subscription wall)

Now for the archdiocese’s latest cross to bear: the alleged winking, leering, back-rubbing, body hugging and mouth kissing workplace sexual harasser, Dr. Robert Haddad, the million-dollar man who has run the Catholic Caritas Christi Health Care system.

Will these deviants never go away?

Previous posts: Dr. Haddad Getting The Hook (May 24, 2006)

The Catholic Church Never Learns (May 23, 2006)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Returning the Favor

Peter Daou, who linked one of my posts on the Daou Report on last month, now has a new blog of his own:

The Grit

Of course, it's good.

The Global Warming Train Is A-Coming

Upsala Glacier, then and now

Even faster than scientists originally predicted, unfortunately. As President English-as-a-Second-Language would say, scientists have apparently misunderestimated global warmings' effects, due to a flaw in the models for climate change. This means current estimates are too low, by as much as 78%.

Guardian (uk): Global warming predictions are underestimated say scientists

Climate change models have dramatically underestimated the extent to which global warming will raise temperatures, scientists warned yesterday.


The flaw came to light during a study of the effects of global surface temperatures on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Scientists have long known that greenhouse gases raise temperatures by insulating the planet. But a less well known mechanism is that the warmer the planet gets, the more carbon dioxide is released naturally by soil and oceans. The result is a mechanism where atmospheric carbon dioxide creates warming that causes even more carbon dioxide to be released.

Peter Cox, scientific director for climate change at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Dorset, with researchers from the US and the Netherlands, used ice cores from the Antarctic to study carbon dioxide levels trapped during a period called the Little Ice Age, from 1550 to 1850. They found carbon dioxide increased rapidly with warming, as soils decomposed faster and oceans lost more of the gas.

Because scientists have been unable to quantify the effect before, it has not been included in many climate models. But when it is taken into account, it lead to carbon dioxide levels that boosted temperatures by between 15 and 78%.

BBC: Global warming risk 'much higher'

Deleted Again

Last night when I got in, I read about the NYTimes hatchet job on Hillary & Bill Clinton. Sex lives of the rich and famous, front page news.

For Clintons, Delicate Dance of Married and Public Lives

Someone pointed out that there's a blog on the Times called "The Empire Zone", where you could leave comments about the article.

Now, if the Clinton's sex lives are front page news because she's a policymaker and likely presidential candidate, aren't there other important and influential people who should get this treatment? One came to my mind immediately.

So I left this comment on the Empire Zone:

Thanks for the update on the Clinton marriage. It's important to know how public figures lead their private lives, and how that influences their decision making process.

In that vein, I would ask that the Times report on the following questions:

What were Judith Miller and Scooter Libby doing at the St. Regis? Each other?

What was Judith Miller doing with her officer in Iraq?

Did Judith Miller and Ahmad Chalabi have any sexual quid-pro-quo for the WMD lies he fed her?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Thank you to the New York Times for making clear the corporate media's downward slide to the sewer.

Now, I knew this would get deleted. Especially when I wrote "Each other?". Never speculate about a fellow journamalist like Judy the Mattress and her active sex life. Anonymously sourced speculating about relationships is only appropriate where Democrats are involved.

My comment had to be deleted, but this helpful poster, telling readers how to get around the $50 a year TimesSelect wall, made the no-need-to-delete cut.


If you are worried that you will miss Krugman, you can get his articles online 99% of the time simply by copying the first line of his article, and then pasting it into the search box at

Comment by You won't miss Krugman — May 24, 2006 @ 12:05 am


Dr. Haddad Getting The Hook

From private reprimand to quick exit: Dr. Robert Haddad is being ushered out the door of the Caritas Christi Catholic Hospitals, with a nice little severance package, because rich men always get money on their way out the door. Wonder if the 14 women who've come forward with allegations will get a little something extra in their paychecks? Of course not.

Boston Globe:

Caritas chief negotiating departure

The head of Boston's Catholic hospital system, facing a cascade of accusations that he sexually harassed female employees, will leave his job, participants involved in the process said yesterday.

They said that whether Dr. Robert M. Haddad resigns or is fired as president of the Caritas Christi Health Care System depends on whether he will accept a severance package that Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley can publicly justify for someone accused of serial sexual misconduct.


The cardinal, according to one adviser, was taken aback by Haddad's statement to the Globe, reported yesterday, that he ``never acted inappropriately" with the four women, even though he had accepted the reprimand for behavior that the archdiocese characterized as sexual harassment.

Lebanese-Americans scoff at explanation of behavior

``This is harassment," said Wally Zainoun, a Newton business owner gathering up oranges and olive oil. ``I don't like that, saying because he is Lebanese, he is kissing his employees [on the lips]. Why is it because he is Lebanese? It's part of our culture to show our warmth with kisses. I don't see a problem with that. But no. Not on the lips! That's unacceptable, whether you're Lebanese or Chinese or whatever.

Eileen McNamara: Dangerous patterns

Haddad's misconduct, which he has characterized as nothing more than effusive friendliness, was such an open secret that Helen G. Drinan, the executive vice president for human resources at Caritas who argued unsuccessfully for his immediate dismissal, received a bouquet of flowers this week from the nurses at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton.

``Thank you for standing up for the women," read the card.

Steve Bailey: Where was the board?

Previous post: The Catholic Church Never Learns (May 23, 2006)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Stunning Incompetence of the Bush Administration

Personal Data on Veterans Is Stolen
Burglary Leaves Millions at Risk Of Identity Theft

As many as 26.5 million veterans were placed at risk of identity theft after an intruder stole an electronic data file this month containing their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, Secretary Jim Nicholson said yesterday.

The burglary occurred May 3 in Aspen Hill, according to a source with knowledge of the incident who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation.

A career data analyst, who was not authorized to take the information home, has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI, local police and the VA inspector general, Nicholson said. He would not identify the employee by name or title.


[A]ffected veterans include anyone discharged after 1975 and some of their spouses, as well as some veterans discharged before then who submitted a claim for VA benefits.

The theft represents the biggest unauthorized disclosure ever of Social Security data, and it could make affected veterans vulnerable to credit card fraud if the burglars realize the value of the data, one expert said.

"In terms of Social Security numbers, it's the biggest breach," said Evan Hendricks, publisher of the Privacy Times newsletter and author of the book "Credit Scores and Credit Reports." "As long as you've got that exact Social, most of the time the credit bureaus will disclose your credit report, and that enables the thief to get credit."

Pay No Attention To That Science In the Corner!

Thus spake President Dumbass:

ThinkProgress: Bush ‘Doubts’ He’ll See Gore Movie; Wants To ‘Set Aside’ Global Warming Science

QUESTION: Will you see Al Gore’s new movie?


BUSH: Doubt it.


But I will say this about the environmental debate: that my answer to the energy question also is an answer to how you deal with, you know, the greenhouse gas issue. And that is new technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment.

And in my judgment, we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects, and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and, at the same time, protect the environment.

And then he got into his motorcade of 10 MPG limousines and SUVs and drove off to his next dog-and-pony show.

The Catholic Church Never Learns

Robert M. Haddad, MD, President/CEO, Caritas Christi Health Care

They just don't take accusations of sexual misbehavior seriously. You'd think after paying out millions for the priest pedophilia scandals, they'd have learned a lesson, but no. Sunday the Boston Globe reported that the head of the Catholic church's hospital system in Boston, Dr. Robert Haddad, was privately reprimanded for sexual harassment of several female employees, despite a hospital board recommendation that he be fired. Why did they recommend he be fired? There were four women complaining, and there had been prior complaints about Haddad, for which he was warned against any further harassing behavior. Today's article in the Globe says Haddad even lied to investigators about the prior reprimand.

Once the story hit the papers, women started coming out of the woodwork with their own stories of harassment by Dr. Haddad. The count of new complaints is put at 'over 10'. Haddad gives the old 'cultural differences' defense; do men in Lebanon talk about sex with women who work for them? I don't think so.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley is the Vatican's man; he has continued to run the Diocese of Boston as Cardinal Law did, with an iron fist and a deaf ear to the laity. Why do you think they made him a cardinal three months ago? He protects the hierarchy -- even the lay hierarchy -- and to hell with the parishioners. Close their churches, the churches built with the weekly donations of the faithful. Protect the priests, not the innocent children. Cardinal Law and Cardinal O'Malley are the poster children of a broken institution.

Boston Sunday Globe: O'Malley reprimands Caritas chief

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley last week decided to privately reprimand Caritas Christi Health Care System's president, Dr. Robert M. Haddad, for multiple instances of kissing and other physical touching involving four women employees, despite an investigation by senior Caritas Christi officials that concluded that Haddad should be fired, according to internal documents and e-mails obtained by the Globe.


One of those stunned by the decision to rebuke but not dismiss Haddad is Helen G. Drinan, senior vice president for human resources at Caritas, who sent an e-mail Thursday to the board members in which she declared: ''I know what will befall this organization when the public learns that the Church in Boston has once again put the powerful predator ahead of the powerless victim."

In a May 8 letter to O'Malley, Drinan said Caritas had ''always" fired other employees who have engaged in similar behavior.

She also advised him that both she and Jean Musiker, an outside lawyer who was brought in to conduct an independent inquiry, concluded that Haddad violated federal workplace law, as well as the written sexual harassment prohibitions of Caritas Christi, which operates six hospitals and has 12,000 employees.

Drinan, who fielded the initial complaints about Haddad from women employees, elaborated on Haddad's behavior in an e-mail to members of the Caritas Christi board of governors on Friday, a day after they endorsed O'Malley's decision.

Haddad, she wrote, ''hugs subordinate female employees, kisses them on the lips, rubs them on the back, calls them late at night, and asks them about matters that are highly personal to them."

She also said that, even during the course of the investigation, Haddad continued to behave inappropriately, citing a report from Peter Holden, president of the Caritas hospital in Methuen, that Haddad ''was observed to be winking and leering" at one of the four women complainants a week earlier.

Boston Globe: Caritas chief faces new accusations

Haddad, who had previously declined to comment, issued a statement yesterday through his spokeswoman, Nancy Sterling, saying he was committed to continuing as president. He said that the behavior for which he was sanctioned was merely an extension of the Lebanese culture in which he was raised, and has been misinterpreted.

``In my Lebanese culture, hugs and kisses among men and women are not only expected, but warmly given and received," he said in the statement. ``So I was stunned to learn that some of my actions may have been misinterpreted; at no time was I aware of making anyone uncomfortable. And although I have never acted inappropriately, I deeply regret causing anyone any discomfort."


Meanwhile, in a reflection of simmering tensions within the archdiocese, Bishop Richard G. Lennon, who was O'Malley's vicar general until he became bishop of Cleveland last week, issued a statement saying that O'Malley removed him from two joint Caritas boards just hours before last Thursday's vote. Lennon, according to several people he has talked to, had strongly urged that Haddad be dismissed, and would have made that argument to the governing board.


The Globe yesterday interviewed a female former Caritas Christi manager who has not filed a complaint. She said that when she met Haddad several years ago, he made sexual innuendoes in a casual conversation with her about her husband, which he then repeated in several subsequent conversations.

Calling All Collectors

One of my favorite pieces of art is a collage/mosaic/sculpture displayed at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery in DC. It's called "Game Fish", by artist Larry Fuente, and it's a huge blue marlin completely covered with old game pieces. Here's a pic of the head only (the entire piece is over 6 feet long.)

Today I saw a sculpture that reminded me of my beloved Game Fish. And you can commission your own, if you have a few grand to throw around:

Lost Found Art
Antique & Vintage Collections & Objects

"Betty" is a custom made sculpture based on the turn of the century memory jar concept. Memory jars were vessels such as tea pots, jugs and milk bottles that were covered in a clay like substance in which various found and keepsake objects were pressed into before it dried. Everything from shards of broken pottery to medallions, keys, buttons, doll parts, pins, vintage jewlery, anything the maker chose was applied. In this case we use the female form as our base. But expand greatly on both the types of items used and the amount of pieces. Each figure measures 30" x 16" x 7" and contains 3000 to 4000 pieces. Items such as old watch and watch parts, vintage Cracker Jack prizes, old train tokens, vintage and antique political and social pins, vintage jewlery, old toys, medals, glass beads and much more. The list goes on and on. We encourage our customers to contribute, if they wish a few small keepsakes such as, pins, badges, buttons, broken costume jewlery, small photographs (which are returned undamaged after they are copied, reduced and aged before applying). This adds a more personal touch to each sculpture made. Waiting time is 4 months for each piece. Click on last image for blown up image.

I saw this on BoingBoing.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sy Hersh Reports: They've Been Listening To Our Phone Calls

Seymour Hersh, New Yorker;

[T]he N.S.A. began, in some cases, to eavesdrop on callers (often using computers to listen for key words) or to investigate them using traditional police methods. A government consultant told me that tens of thousands of Americans had had their calls monitored in one way or the other. “In the old days, you needed probable cause to listen in,” the consultant explained. “But you could not listen in to generate probable cause. What they’re doing is a violation of the spirit of the law.” One C.I.A. officer told me that the Administration, by not approaching the FISA court early on, had made it much harder to go to the court later.

Bush, May 11, 2006 (

First, our international activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans. Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.

We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.

Joe Lieberman Is Out Of Touch With Reality

Hey Joe, don't feel bad, nobody likes this guy, either.

So saith Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. And since the Democrats are the party of the reality-based community, he has to go. I'll wager that Connecticut is firmly in the reality-based community too, so much so that even if Joe keeps to his threat and runs as an independent, he'll get handed his hat. Vichy Democrats need not apply. Feel the Nedrenaline!

Paul Krugman, NYTimes: Talk-Show Joe (Walled)

Friday was a bad day for Senator Joseph Lieberman. The Connecticut Democratic Party's nominating convention endorsed him, but that was a given for an incumbent with a lot of political chips to cash in. The real news was that Ned Lamont, an almost unknown challenger, received a third of the votes. This gave Mr. Lamont the right to run against Mr. Lieberman in a primary, and suggests that Mr. Lamont may even win.

What happened to Mr. Lieberman? Some news reports may lead you to believe that he is in trouble solely because of his support for the Iraq war. But there's much more to it than that. Mr. Lieberman has consistently supported Republican talking points. This has made him a lion of the Sunday talk shows, but has put him out of touch with his constituents — and with reality.

Mr. Lieberman isn't the only nationally known Democrat who still supports the Iraq war. But he isn't just an unrepentant hawk, he has joined the Bush administration by insisting on an upbeat picture of the situation in Iraq that is increasingly delusional.

Read it all at Ed Strong.

American Leads Team To English Premier League

Jay DeMerit shakes off his marker to head home Ashley Young's 25th-minute corner to give the Hornets the lead (BBC)

Not the American we thought was going to the Premier League, though. Eddie Lewis, probable starter for the US World Cup team, and his Leeds squad went down to defeat against Watford yesterday, 0-3. Jay DeMerit, an unheralded 26-year old American who went to England three years ago with the proceeds of a summer job in his pocket, scored Watford's first goal and was named Man of the Match. Congratulations Jay!

Maybe now Bruce Arena will call DeMerit up for the national team squad? He's never even been capped.

Old Glory going to the Premiership (YanksAbroad)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Farewell to Pander-Bears?

Frank Rich thinks the Rovian Era of pandering to 'values voters' may be at an end; all see through the charade now.

Frank Rich, NYTimes: The Rove Da Vinci Code (Walled)
Not to be left behind, Senator Clinton gave a speech last week knocking young people for thinking "work is a four-letter word" and for having TV's in their rooms, home Internet access and, worst of all, that ultimate instrument of the devil, iPods. "I hope that we start thinking some very old-fashioned thoughts," she said. (She also subsequently apologized, once her daughter complained, joining the general chorus of ridicule.) However "old-fashioned" Mrs. Clinton's thoughts, don't expect her to turn back Mr. Murdoch's campaign cash in protest against his steamy new TV channel.


[T]hat hypothetical, easily duped voter may no longer exist. Like the Bush era, the cynical Rove strategy of exploiting faith-based voters may be nearing its end. For proof, just take a look at the most craven figure in American politics: the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist. To flatter the far right, this Harvard-trained surgeon misdiagnosed Terri Schiavo's vegetative state from the Senate floor, and justified abstinence-only sex education in AIDS prevention by telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he didn't know for certain that tears and sweat couldn't transmit H.I.V. But increasingly it's not only liberals who see through him. One of his latest stunts, a proposed $100 gas-tax rebate, provoked Rush Limbaugh to condemn him for "treating us like we're a bunch of whores."

When senators as different as Mr. Frist and Mrs. Clinton both earn bipartisan ridicule for their pandering, you have to believe that there's a god other than Karl Rove watching over American politics after all.

Middle Earth Journal has the whole article: Frank Rich Today

Medicare Part (D)isaster Doughnut Hole Is Here

Harry DiOrio, KRT
Heart transplant recipient Frank Furfaro, of Patchogue, New York, can no longer afford his life preserving medication since his plan adopted the new Medicare drug benefit.

Every Senator and Congressman who voted for this (D)isaster should have it hung around his neck for the November elections.

Knight-Ridder: Millions face a `doughnut hole' lapse in Medicare coverage

Last year, Frank Furfaro of Patchogue, N.Y. had drug coverage through his Medicare managed-care plan that he felt was adequate. But when his plan adopted the new Medicare-drug benefit, things changed. First, his premiums increased. Then he noticed that the plan covered fewer of the drugs he took.

Furfaro, a disabled heart-transplant patient, found out that he'd hit the doughnut hole last month when he tried to fill a prescription for two immunosuppressant medications. Instead of two $25 co-pays, the pharmacist charged him $661 and $329 for the prescriptions.

"I threw a fit," he said. "What am I supposed to do? I don't have $661 in my pocket." Furfaro said he wasn't told about the doughnut hole when his Medicare HMO changed its coverage in January.

Furfaro, 47, left the pharmacy empty-handed, thinking that without his drugs he was going to die.

"I thought, `That's it. It's over.' The three years I put into the transplant, the waiting and everything. It was a waste of time because I can't get my medicine."

His father helped him purchase the cheaper drug of the two. But Furfaro has gone more than three weeks without the other drug, the one that helped him overcome severe organ rejection after the transplant in 2001. Disabled since 2001 and living off a monthly Social Security Disability Insurance payment of $1,171, he recently took a job as a security guard to earn money for his medications.

He's already feeling weaker and tired. "I lay around a lot. I don't have a lot of energy. I'm short of breath. I don't feel well at all," he said.

If his health deteriorates further, Furfaro said, he'll just get admitted to a hospital and receive his medicine that way, as Medicare will pay all bills if he's hospitalized.

That scenario will be duplicated at hospitals nationwide once more people hit the doughnut hole, said Bob Hayes, the executive director of the Medicare Rights Center, a New York-based advocacy group.


As it stands, the doughnut hole stands is an insurance industry anomaly.

"It's not something we've ever seen in any other insurance product that I'm aware of," said Juliette Cubanski, principal policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Previous posts:

'Part D is a complex system of subsidies to private insurance companies' (May 15, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster Penalties: Will Rethugs Blink? (May 13, 2006)

Bush To Old People: Drop Dead (May 10, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster, Incompetently Administered, Misleading Poor Seniors (May 7, 2006)

Most Severely Ill Senior Citizens Already in Medicare Part (D)isaster Doughnut Hole (April 27, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Watch Out For That Hole (April 12, 2006)

President Out-of-Touch Moron Meets the Seniors
(March 19, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Making the Mentally Ill Sicker (February 6, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster Creating Havoc at Social Security Administration (February 4, 2006)

Right Wing Blogs Exhibit Myopia Over Medicare Part D(isaster)
(January 24, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster (January 20, 2006)

Operation Photo Op, Medicare Part D edition, 1.0 (January 18, 2006)

'Horrific at Best'
(January 9, 2006)

The Incompetence, The Corruption, and The Cronyism: Sunday, January 8, 2006
(January 8, 2006)