March 19th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Child abuse scandal shatters Irish faith in Catholic Church

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/europe/03/18/ireland.abuse.fallout/story.john.kelly.cnn.jpg caption="John Kelly says he was abused as a teen living at a reformatory run by a Catholic order in Ireland."]

Richard Allen Greene

John Kelly was 14 years old when, he says, he lost his faith in God.

"I was taken down these stairs. I only had a nightdress on. It was pulled over my head. I was left naked. This 6-foot, 4-inch [tall] religious brother stood on my hands... and another guy had a whip that we made ourselves, with coins in it. And he would run from a distance to flog me," Kelly remembers.

Kelly, now 59, spent much of his childhood living in institutions run by Catholic orders in Ireland. The abuse he remembers most vividly took place at a reformatory in Daingean, in central Ireland.

"It was a very significant night for me," he says. "I'd been raped and buggered previously by these religious brothers, and I'd been physically beaten and psychologically tortured for months - I spent two years in the place."

But Kelly reached a breaking point as one Catholic brother held him down, another whipped him and two others looked on, he says.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
March 19th, 2010
11:21 AM ET

Jobs and population: controlling population

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/28/art.vert.book.gewirtz.jobs.jpg width=292 height=320]

Editor's Note: This article continues our series excerpted from AC360°'s contributor David Gewirtz's book, How To Save Jobs, which is available now. AC360° viewers can download it for free at HowToSaveJobs.org. To learn more about the book, follow David on Twitter @DavidGewirtz.

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

There’s no doubt that as we move through the next few decades, the planet simply won’t be able to support as many people as will be born. In America alone, we need to create 2 million more jobs every year, simply to keep up with the population.

The problem of supporting a growing population becomes doubly true of hugely populous countries like China and India, which are pursuing goals to move the bulk of their population into the middle-class. China and India alone will need to consume more than 50% more energy than actually exists in the entire world.

Like issues relating to climate, population is really a world-wide issue and somehow needs to be addressed across national boundaries.

There are a variety of approaches that can be taken. These include scientific advances in generating new sources of fuel and renewable energy so our growing population doesn’t run out of power.

But, without a doubt, the planet needs to produce less people. No one likes the idea of government-imposed population control, and yet this is what China has been attempting since the late 1970s, with less than positive results.

In 1979, China instituted the jìhuà shengyù zhèngcè, unofficially known as the one-child policy. The policy restricts the number of children couples can give birth to and raise. While China claims that the program, in its first 30 years, has prevented as many births as there are people in the United States, the program is not without its serious problems.

Chinese parents who ignore the one-child policy are subject to enormous fines and heavy-handed government prosecution. As you might imagine, the rate of abortion and infanticide is off-the-charts, in part because prospective parents are often faced with no other choice than to terminate the pregnancy.

Parents who do actually go through with giving birth are often required to “dispose” of the newly born baby, according to testimony by Gao Xiao Duan (a former Chinese population control administrator) to what was then the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations human rights subcommittee in 1998.

A disturbing culture of kidnapping and black-market selling has grown out of the one-child policy. Gender roles are still strong through much of Chinese culture and some families value having a boy far more than having a girl.

This has resulted in a reduction in female children and, as Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen described, more than 100 million women are “missing” from what would have been a normal population – through abortion, infanticide, or starvation as a result of poor nutrition.

Depending on how coldly you measure it, China’s one-child policy has either been a measured success or a horrible, gruesome failure. In a country overwhelmed by population, preventing hundreds of millions of births may well have helped China manage scarce resources with more effectiveness.

But, the cost in terms of simply life itself is hard to ignore. Children being kidnapped, never to be seen again by their parents, infants being put to death, families forced to starve in order to pay the fines required to keep a beloved child - all of these are chilling effects that no one wants to see in a civilized world.

Follow David on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the ZATZ magazines. He is a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.

Filed under: David Gewirtz • Economy • Job Market
March 19th, 2010
11:09 AM ET

Video: Retiring and building up America

Tom Foreman | Bio AC360° Correspondent

A risky idea turns into a retirement bonanza for the state of Alabama. Tom Foreman reports.

Filed under: Building Up America
March 19th, 2010
10:39 AM ET
March 19th, 2010
09:29 AM ET

Dear President Obama #424: “I Pledge Allegiance...to Health Care Reform”

Reporter's Note: President Obama has challenged people from time to time to effectively put up or shut up. When it comes to health care, that might be a good idea. At least it is an interesting notion to talk about in my daily letter to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/03/health.care.gop.ideas/story.obamadoc.gi.jpg caption="President Obama delivers remarks on health care reform on March 3."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

As I write this I am rumbling north on the CNN Express between Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama, and thinking about something I suggested some time ago.

Sometimes I look back on ideas I have had and I think, “What? Were you drunk?” (Actually, I pretty much don’t drink so the question is usually more like, “Did you get conked in the melon by a door?”) But the particular idea I am dwelling on now was good then and still is.

If you want to get health care passed as you burn into this final phase, I have one sure fire way for you to shift at least some measureable number of voters back into your camp: Have all your Democratic pals who support it stand on the Capitol steps at noon today and sign a pledge that they and their families will no longer, ever again, in any way shape or form, get any kind of health care except what they can obtain through the system they want for the rest of us. No exceptions.

No calling up the doc’s office and saying, “Hi, this is Congressman Boilinghead and I know you have no appointments this afternoon, but I’m really pressed for business in DC. How about fitting me in?” No more, “This is Senator Bulgingpocket’s aide, and he needs you to take a look at his knee this afternoon.”

I am not being snarky about this. I am dead serious. What better way is there to prove that you really believe this is going to work? What sparked all this was a report I read about your latest physical; about how they ran fancy tests on you that are not routine and would drive the cost of health care into space if they were given to every American who needed a checkup. I get it.

The life of the person who fills the president’s chair is of unusual importance to the nation. But you could sign the pledge for afterward; agreeing that neither you, nor your wife, nor your daughters (if by chance you don’t win re-election and they are still at home) will get any special treatment no matter what troubling medical situations you may face after your presidency is done.

Maybe this sounds too tough for lawmakers to get on board, but isn’t that the point? Whether any given American family loves or despises your plan, if it passes we will all have to live with it. And I’m not convinced that all the people passing the votes will…that’s unfair and can be corrected. Do it today, and you’ll be astonished at how many Americans will at very least give your plan a second look.

If you have some time to call we can go over the details. After all, at the moment, I’m just rocking down the road in the bus.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Letters to the President • Opinion • Tom Foreman
March 19th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Sound Off: Your Comments 3/19/10

Editor's Note: We heard from many of you about the Buckhannon family, a family living in a homeless shelter in Georgia. You also had great comments about health care reform, and are eager to learn how it will effect you if it becomes a law.

I am HIV+ and rely on the Aids Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to pay for my medications, over $2009 per month. I have tried making sense of the health care reform and how it's going to affect myself and so many others who rely on ADAP.

I was very moved by your piece tonight on life in a homeless shelter and with the story on Stephanie and her three children. I want to help out in some way. Your story really moved us and at times like these we must help our people.

What is health care reform going to cost to the average citizen? Congress doesn't even know. What is with all the pressure on Congress from Obama? It should be put to the people.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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