Thursday, April 22, 2010

Abuse of Power Summarized

There's so much in this article it's hard to know where to start, but it provides a wonderful capsule summary of how power is abused.

The resignation of the conservative Bishop of Augsburg – accused of thrashing orphans with a carpet beater – has given a powerful boost to reformers in the German Catholic Church who are trying to stop the mass desertion of believers

" I beg forgiveness from all those to whom I may have been unfair, from all those to whom I have caused anxiety, " the bishop said.

I can see how being walloped with a carpet beater might tend to make you anxious...

A special investigator and a Munich lawyer are now investigating the claims against him. He has also been accused of using church funds to buy artworks.

"The money was just Resting in my account!" - Father Ted.

Conservative clergy have been trying to maintain a strict boundary between church and state – and thus resist the meddling of state prosecutors in the abuse scandals.

For them church power still rests on its ability to keep its secrets and thus its authority over believers

Prosecutors are annoying like that, how they meddle in cases like theft, murder and buggery. Much better left to be swept under the rug. And as for secrecy... secrecy is power. Without the secrecy and rituals a priest is just a man wearing a frock after all.

Bishop Mixa was for many younger Catholics a symbol of what was wrong.

He seemed to enjoy high-level protection and certainly seemed free to make outspoken comments about society in and out of the pulpit

The religion business sure was good to him! Until now.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Times Are Tough

... even the religion business is suffering. Consider the "Ebenezer AME Church" (wonder if that's anything to do with AMC cinemas?)

The congregation, one of America's largest, has been scrambling to raise funds to save the arena-sized sanctuary from potential foreclosure

Have they appealed to the Holy Trinity for deliverance? Not exactly

it has enlisted national leaders, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Harvard Law School's Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack Obama's law professor.

2 out of three ain't bad.

At times like these I'd advise the faithful at the Ebeneezer to turn to the book of Jereboth, in the appendix to the Apocrypha. For 'tis written:

There's a guy in the place
He's got a bittersweet face
And he goes by the name of Ebeneezer Goode
His friends call him Eezer and he is the main geezer
And he'll vibe about the place
Like no other man could
He's refined, sublime, he makes you feel fine
Though very much maligned and misunderstood
But if you know Eezer he's a real crowd pleaser
He's ever so good, he's Ebeneezer Goode
You can see that he's mysterious,
Mischievious and devious
As he circulates amongst the people in the place
But once you know he's fun
And something of a genius
He gives a grin that grows around
From face to face to face
Backwards and then forwards,
Forwards and then backwards
Eezer is the geezer who loves to muscle in
That's about the time the crowd
All shout the name of Eezer
As he's kotcheled in the corner,
Laughing by the bass bin

Saturday, April 3, 2010

iPad Insanity

Here's the tale of a woman who's sitting in the street for 24 hours to be first in line to buy one of those new Apple iPads.

It's amazing to me how people suspend all reason when an Apple product is involved.

Eight hundred bucks gets you a single-tasking portable computer, so locked down you can't even change the damn battery, or install anything except Apple-authorized programs on it. Is this progress?

Steve Jobs' next product: the iTurd. One of Jobs' actual jobbies, sealed in a glass case, with a little Apple logo on it. $500 at your local retailer. Don't miss this unique chance to get hold of the Jobsian DNA!

Friday, April 2, 2010


I've worked a lot with Government as a contractor. Anyone coming from the private sector cannot but be astonished at the culture in Government offices.

Because they get early retirement and decent pensions, unlike the rest of us, from the day they are hired, government workers have a single goal: to stay in post until they collect their pension. This means as long as they don't upset anybody they're sure of a well-funded retirement. The best way to avoid upsetting anybody is to never do anything. And that's what they do. As little as possible. Day after day. Month in and month out. Until retirement.

If you've come from a private company with customers who can take their business elsewhere, the atmosphere in government is a real shock. The pace of change isn't glacial, because glaciers do move. Imagine working in a place where nothing happens, year after year. Go back five years later and everything's the same (except a few more people will have joined the ranks of the long-term sick and are now doing nothing at home on full pay).

Former Chicago Fire Chief James Joyce had it right when he heard on his vehicle radio about the fire at 69 West Washington. "It's Friday afternoon in a government building - it's gonna be almost empty".

So it comes as no surprise that in bankrupt states like California they have started letting staff take Fridays as unpaid furlough days. So now staff are getting paid for doing nothing for 4 days a week instead of 5.

Why not just sack the lot of them and move them to the welfare rolls? They'd cost a lot less, while still sucking at the tit of the productive members of society.