What the What?

Who knew the Vatican had a bank that still has Jewish valuables stolen by the Nazis? (via Haaretz.com)

Holocaust survivors from Croatia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia had filed suit against the Vatican bank in 1999, alleging that it stored and laundered the looted assets of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies who were killed or captured by the Nazi-backed Ustasha regime that controlled Croatia.

They sought an accounting from the Vatican, as well as restitution and damages.

The court didn’t rule on the allegations. In its decision, the court said the Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR, was a sovereign entity entitled to the protections of the foreign sovereign immunities act, and that therefore U.S. courts had no jurisdiction.

The pope himself has been granted such protections in U.S. courts hearing clerical sex abuse cases.

In its ruling, the court said that the Vatican banks’ U.S. commercial activities were too tangentially related to their legal claims to be considered the basis for the suit.

Levy said he didn’t plan to appeal the judgment. “The victims are also suing the Franciscans, the Roman Catholic order, on identical charges, and that portion of the lawsuit is going ahead,” he said.

The survivors filed suit against the Vatican Bank a year after Swiss Banks agreed to pay some $1.25 billion to Nazi victims and their families who accused the banks of stealing, concealing or sending to the Nazis hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Jewish holdings.

Many of the survivors named as plaintiffs in the suit live in the United States.

The Vatican bank was famously implicated in a scandal over the collapse of Italy’s Banco Ambrosiano in the 1980s. Roberto Calvi, the head of the Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982. The circumstances remain mysterious.

More recently, Italian news reports said last month that Italian financial police were scrutinizing tens of millions of euros worth of Vatican bank transactions to see if they violated money laundering regulations.

Stolen Jewish valuables, money laundering, and sex scandals. Woof.


Sarah will be so disappointed

Or at least she would be, if she allowed facts to penetrate her narrative of Real America and Fake America, The Forlorn Lower Forty-Nine and The Last Frontier. Alaska has the second lowest level of religiosity of any US state.

What is Feminism, according to men…and women.

What’s is feminism? I have often found myself searching for the answer. Is it just the demand for equality and end of discrimination against women? Is it about over throwing the oppression of the patriarchy in a cultural, political and social sense? Is feminism just about working for the rights of women, or does it call for further activism for the LGBTQ community who may not necessarily fall into the rigid category of being a “woman”? Does feminism transcend racial boundaries, or is there a need for Black Feminism, Chicana Feminism, and other multicultural feminisms? What about Eco-feminism? How does the environment correspond to the oppression of women?

I think the most important question may be, is there a need for all these compartmentalizations of feminism and does it matter?

I think dividing feminism into different ideologies can help and hurt. I think that it is necessary for feminists to recognize the differences in culture, experiences, socio-economic status, etc between individual feminists in order for us to come together as a united front against the oppression of women. This being said, we, as feminists, need to come together under an inclusive definition of feminism. This might be impossible, due in part to the varying opinions of people who identify as feminists. From SCUM manifesto and feminists who believe men should not be a part of the movement due to the fact that they can never experience what it is to suffer as a woman, to old school suffragist feminists who focus on gaining legal equality for women(like my G. ma). How do we consolidate these differing ideas into a cohesive, united front? What are your thoughts?

More of those dumb “Top 10” Lists…

After the end of a decade, or even a year, every damned media source comes up with its own dumb “Top 10” list of the year, decade, whatever. Here are five of the not-so-dumb ones:

1.) Top 10 New Species List

Holy Crap there’s a palm plant that flowers itself to death? Awesome! Also, being a germ-a-phobe, the new bacteria found in harispray, ew.

2.) Top 10 Urinals

Yup, you heard it right. There is a list of the coolest urinals. The 9th place winner is in The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. Represent.

3.) Top 10 Watched Television Episodes of the Decade

Wow, society watches a lot of stupid TV.

4.)Ok, so I found a better “Top 10” list, it’s not really top 10, but whateves. Top Viral Videos of 2009

Oh man, so many good ones. My personal favorite is the weird guy in the shower smoking a cigarette which is tied with the little girl reading the cat book which is tied with “Everyone is on Cocaine” guy. H-i-larious.

5.)Logical Operator’s Top 10 Most Played Songs on her iTunes.

Yup, here it is the list you’ve all been waiting for (that’s sarcasm if you couldn’t tell):

1.) 15 Step, Radiohead  192 plays

2.) Pyramid Song, Radiohead  162 plays

3.) Rebel Rebel, Seu Jorge  143 plays

4.)  Emma Blowgun’s Last Stand, Beulah  132 plays

5.) I Don’t Love Anyone, Belle & Sebastian  129 plays

6.) Huddle Fomation, The Go! Team 129 plays

7.) Hey, Pixies  127 plays

8.) Pitter Patter Goes My Heart, Broken Social Scene  126 plays

9.) Anonanimal, Andrew Bird  126 plays

10.)Daylight, Matt & Kim  120 plays

Taliban violence persists against girls schools in Afghanistan

Slate’s most memorable feminist moments of the decade


Monday Morning Not-Surrealism

William Blake, "Beatrice," 1824-7