March 30, 2010

9 MA teenagers charged in bullying that led to teenager's suicide

Posted: 08:19 AM ET

Nine Massachusetts teenagers have been charged with involvement in a months-long campaign of bullying that led to the suicide in January of a 15-year-old girl, a prosecutor said Monday.

Phoebe Prince's body was found hanging in the stairway leading to her family's second-floor apartment in South Hadley, Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel told reporters in the western Massachusetts town of Northampton.

"It appears that Phoebe's death on January 14 followed a torturous day for her when she was subjected to verbal harassment and physical abuse," she said.

Earlier in the day, Prince had been harassed as she studied in the library at South Hadley High School, apparently in the presence of a faculty member and several students, none of whom reported it until after the death, Scheibel said.

Prince, who had recently moved to the area with her family from Ireland, was also harassed as she walked through the halls of the school that day and as she walked on the street toward her home, Scheibel said.

The harassment that day, by one male and two females, "appears to have been motivated by the group's displeasure with Phoebe's brief dating relationship with a male student that had ended six weeks earlier," she said.

Filed under: Justice

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March 29, 2010

A Time for Contrition

Posted: 09:00 PM ET



During a frustrating argument with a Roman Catholic cardinal, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly burst out: “Your eminence, are you not aware that I have the power to destroy the Catholic Church?” The cardinal, the anecdote goes, responded ruefully: “Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.”

Two centuries later, the clergy has taken another shot at it. What the American and Irish churches have endured in the last decade and what German Catholics find themselves enduring today is all part of the same grim story: the exposure, years after the fact, of an appalling period in which the Catholic hierarchy responded to an explosion of priestly sex abuse with cover-ups, evasions and criminal negligence.

Now the scandal has touched the pope himself. There are two charges against Benedict XVI: first, that he allowed a pedophile priest to return to ministry while archbishop of Munich in 1980; and second, that as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the 1990s, he failed to defrock a Wisconsin priest who had abused deaf children 30 years before.

The second charge seems unfair. The case was finally forwarded to the Vatican by the archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland, more than 20 years after the last allegation of abuse. With the approval of then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy, the statute of limitations was waived and a canonical trial ordered. It was only suspended because the priest was terminally ill; indeed, pretrial proceedings were halted just before he died.

But the first charge is more serious. The Vatican insists that the crucial decision was made without the future pope’s knowledge, but the paper trail suggests that he could have been in the loop. At best, then-Archbishop Ratzinger was negligent. At worst, he enabled further abuse.

For those of us who admire the pope, either possibility is distressing, but neither should come as a great surprise. The lesson of the American experience, now exhaustively documented, is that almost everyone was complicit in the scandal. From diocese to diocese, the same cover-ups and gross errors of judgment repeated themselves regardless of who found themselves in charge. Neither theology nor geography mattered: the worst offenders were Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles — a conservative and a liberal, on opposite ends of the country.


Filed under: Uncategorized

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Posted: 07:00 PM ET

The Latest on the Tea Party Express!  Will this growing, mostly conservative movement help or hurt the GOP?


John McCain and Sarah Palin – back together again!  Can his ex-running mate help get his campaign back on track?

We want to hear from you!

What do YOU think of the Tea Party movement?

Filed under: John McCain • Politics • Sarah Palin

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LKL Web Exclusive: The Quest for Beauty

Posted: 05:13 PM ET

By Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff, authors of “Queen of Your Own Life”

Editor’s note:  This week, “Queen of Your Own Life” is one of Larry’s Picks – written by Kathy Kinney (Mimi, on The Drew Carey Show) and Cindy Ratzlaff (marketing expert), the book shares techniques they call “the seven best gifts a woman can give herself.”  In this exclusive blog, Kinney and Ratzlaff talk about how women are “beautiful, intelligent and valuable” no matter their age or physical appearance. 

Remember in the “olden days” when it was critical for the survival of a family that they have a young beautiful daughter to marry off?   

The girl must be young because then there was the hope that she had a lot of good breeding years ahead of her.   It was desirable that she be pretty so there was at least a 50/50 chance of the offspring not resembling the family dog.   With the bargaining chip of a young, pretty daughter a father could send her off with only some warm baked goods for a dowry and in return, could expect quite a number of fine heifers, and possibly a couple of goats, from the family of the future husband.   A young, pretty daughter could mean the difference between a long hungry winter for her family or a time of feast and abundance. 

Thankfully, those days are long gone and now that we have the vote, most likely will not return.  Unfortunately, the idea of equating youth and beauty with our value as women is still all pervasive in our society.

How ironic that just when a woman reaches mid-life – with so much of the hard work behind her – children raised, careers negotiated and hard won wisdom gained, the message she gets from media and advertisers is that not only is she no longer attractive or desirable because she’s aging but she’s not even valuable.  It gives the old saying, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry,” new meaning.

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Filed under: LKL Web Exclusive

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Young job-seekers hiding their Facebook pages

Posted: 04:14 PM ET

By Stephanie Goldberg, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Justin Gawel says there's nothing too incriminating on his Facebook page. 

"There are a lot of pictures of drinking [but] nothing naked or anything - at least I don't think so," he said jokingly.

Even so, the Michigan State University junior recently changed his Facebook display name to "Dustin Jawel" to keep his personal life from potential employers while applying for summer internships.

Although Gawel ditched his rhyming alias after two weeks when he realized Facebook users also can be searched by e-mail address, school and network, he is not alone in his efforts to scrub his online résumé. Many students and recent graduates say they are changing their names on Facebook or tightening privacy settings to hide photos and wall posts from potential employers.

And with good reason.

A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online.

What kind of information? "Inappropriate" comments by the candidate; "unsuitable" photos and videos; criticisms of previous employers, co-workers, or clients; and even inappropriate comments by friends and relatives, according to the survey report, titled "Online Reputation in a Connected World."

Such prying into his online life makes Gawel uncomfortable.

"I understand that when [employers look] at someone's Facebook page, they're just trying to paint a bigger picture of the people they're hiring - so they're not just a name on a résumé," he said. "But that doesn't demonstrate whether they can do the job. It shouldn't matter what someone does when they're not in the office."

Read more…

Filed under: Entertainment

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Lawyer: Michael Jackson's heart beat at hospital

Posted: 04:01 PM ET

Medical records showed Michael Jackson's heart beat briefly at a hospital emergency room, but he was "long gone" by  then, a lawyer for Jackson's father said. 

Joe Jackson's lawyer mailed a notice over the weekend to Dr. Conrad Murray that the elder Jackson would file a wrongful death lawsuit against him in 90 days, attorney Brian Oxman said.

"The bottom line is had they (paramedics) gotten there earlier and had they been called right away, chances are he could have been revived," Oxman said.

Oxman said records showed Jackson was "long gone, 20 to 40 minutes before the paramedics got there."

Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center two hours after he arrived there by ambulance from his Hombly Hills, California home. The Los Angeles coroner concluded Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication."

Murray, the pop star's personal physician, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death on June 25, 2009.

California law requires medical wrongful death lawsuits to be filed within a year of the death, Oxman said. Since a doctor must be given 90 days notice, Saturday's mailing was timed to meet the deadline, he said.

A prosecution report leaked to the media last week included a statement from a witness who said Murray stopped resuscitation efforts on Jackson so he could collect drug vials.

Read more…

Filed under: Michael Jackson

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There's Predictable, And Then There's Shooter Jennings

Posted: 02:44 PM ET

By Quinn Brown

(CNN) - Son of country music legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, the 30 year old singer/songwriter has lived a life mercurial. He has fully embraced his father’s roots-country past (don’t even mention the term “outlaw country” to him) on the tribute album "Waylon Forever" and even portrayed his father in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

He has traveled well beyond the ‘country rock’ label into the heavy, southwestern metal stomp of Electric Rodeo. 2010 finds Jennings going even further from the man you thought you knew. Enter Black Ribbons, the new release with his new band dubbed Hierophant. As the name suggests, it’s an album of mystery and darkness (and even Stephen King).

Jennings and his band serve as interpreters so the listener can find some way to wade through the arcane nature of both Shooter himself and the times we are living in. Neither of which are easy. The recurring lyric on the title track – “lost in the night/no direction or a guiding light” – starts the journey on the album…but it doesn’t end there.

The lead single “Wake Up” starts with a dense, murky arrangement before bursting with a sonic crunch and the hopeful lyric “don’t let them get you down,” and its instrumentation going from early prog-rock Genesis to the grunge-y wallop of Alice in Chains or Mastodon. Ribbons is dark, to be sure, but the listener is not tied to the abyss (Jennings describes the message of the album as “positive…hopeful”).

The album is nowhere close to Waylon, and it’s an unexpected leap forward (and beyond the boundary) for Shooter. And for a musician who prides himself on taking chances, the unpredictable is the only thing that is predictable.

Shooter Jennings sat down with LKL blog just after the release of Black Ribbons to talk about what triggered the album, his break with his label and Nashville, and why Stephen King’s voice was in his head.

Brown: What was the initial moment of inspiration for this album?

Shooter: I had come to a head in my career with my old label. They came back to me and gave me a not-really-supportive pat on the back and said, “Well you know we’re going to chop budgets.” That was that. I was at a crossroads and I pretty intimidated a little bit.

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Filed under: Entertainment • LKL Web Exclusive

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David Frum: So What Happened?

Posted: 02:07 PM ET


After my dismissal from AEI Thursday, I posted in this space my letter of resignation. I declined television interviews, but I did speak to print journalists about the basic facts, in a way that expressed respect for AEI and its leadership.

I spent most of today flying from Washington to San Francisco and emerged from the plane to a fierce counter-attack, including an especially unpleasant piece from Charles Murray.

Let me respond here to some specific issues in this matter.

1) Was the firing political? Obviously I cannot enter into people’s minds, and at my termination lunch AEI President Arthur Brooks insisted that politics had nothing to do with the decision. So let’s just follow the time line. Waterloo piece is posted Sunday March 22. Wall Street Journal editorial denouncing me appears March 23. Summons to lunch arrives mid-morning of March 23. At lunch I am told that AEI wishes to terminate my salary, office, benefits, and research assistance. I am however at liberty to continue to consider myself part of the AEI family. I declined that offer and wrote a letter of resignation.


Filed under: Politics is King

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