Cheers & Jeers

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Jeers: to see no evil, hear no evil… Apple has rejected an iPhone and iPad app that tracks and maps U.S. military drone strikes, saying that the app is objectionable. The app, called Drone+, was developed by Josh Begley, a graduate student at New York University. The app uses publicly available information to provide users with the locations of strikes, primarily in Pakistan. Apple has not explained why providing accurate information about weapons violates its community standards — an especially curious stance, as the New York Times points out, as similar information is available through a Guardian newspaper app.

Jeers: to victim-blaming. Meanwhile, from the National Catholic Register, unsettling news about a priest who has been counselling wayward priests for years. Rev. Benedict Groeschel told the newspaper that “youngsters” were often the guilty parties when it came to abuse by priest. “Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him,” Father Groeschel said in an interview. “A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.” Groeschel has since issued an apology for his comments and the Catholic Register has removed them from its website — and Rev. Groeschel has received condemnation from both inside and outside the church. Still, it’s two steps forward, one step back — over and over and over again. And that makes it hard to effect real change.

Cheers: to changes in minimum drink prices. The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation is changing the minimum price for drinks in licenced establishments in response to growing concerns about drink-fuelled violence and vandalism on George Street in St. John’s. While it’s easy enough to see the move as benefiting bar owners primarily (NLC wholesale prices will remain the same), the fact is that this summer has seen an apparent upswing in violence — and bars offering three beer for $5 certainly aren’t helping to calm anything down. It doesn’t take much to turn a pleasant evening on George to lasting regret, and anything that could help should be given a try. There will be plenty of protests that it’s wrong to try and legislate morality — but if people prove over and over that they can’t handle personal responsibility, sometimes there has to be a little help.

Cheers: to the Kennedys. John and Winnifred Kennedy were justly feted over the weekend for their efforts on behalf of cancer patients. The two have been transporting cancer patients to and from the Health Sciences Centre for 23 years. Winnifred Kennedy described their reasons for helping very plainly: there are few families in this province that have not had to deal with cancer and its effects, and that means many people who need support. This province could use more people like the Kennedys, that’s for certain.

Organizations: Apple, New York University, New York Times National Catholic Register Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Health Sciences Centre

Geographic location: U.S., Pakistan, Kennedys George Street

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  • Colin Burke
    September 05, 2012 - 11:42

    I can well believe that public outcry at Fr. Groeschel's saying what he said could induce even him to apologize for saying it or at least induce a bishop -- not notably a bold and hardy class of clergy in the States -- to ordeer him to apologize. But did he actually retract what he had said? I'm inclined to doubt that; the media would have made much of such a retraction. I'd like to know, though, whether those outraged by what he said are claiming that it is actually false or erroneous and whether they have a theory of sexual psychology which would render it implausible. Or do the outraged feel simply that he meant to excuse priests' misconduct, as if guilt is found only in fixed quantities so that assigning some blame to one person diminishes the blame attributable to another? And why is it such an insult to youthful innocence to suggest that a teenaged male might be attracted to an older male when nearly all the "mainstream moral propaganda" approves of sexual attraction of almost every other conceivable variety?