Friday News Chum

Well, it’s Friday. Time for the accumulated lunchtime news chum. For a while, it looked like there wouldn’t be much… but wouldn’t you know, it all popped out today.

  • Holy Organs. According to the Vatican, Pope Benedict is no longer an organ donor. Evidently, while the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has possessed an organ donor card since the 1970s when he lived in Germany, it was rendered void when he became pope in 2005. According to the Vatican, his body belongs to the whole church. Now, here’s the part of the article I found fascinating: The organs of 22 popes are preserved as relics in the church of Saints Anastasio and Vincent near the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The custom of removing the organs was abolished by Pope Pius X in the early 1900s. The collection includes the liver, spleen and pancreas of the popes. One wonders why those particular organs were chosen.
  • Money Grubbing. The LA Times is reporting on the death of free checking at most major banks. These banks cite the reason for stopping the service as the new financial regulations that prevent them from charging outrageous overdraft fees. I disagree. Those fees were wrong: the problem is the whole large banking model that chases profit over long-term customers. Banks used to pay for such services out of the spread between interest earned on loans and interest paid on checking. But today, loans aren’t serviced, they are sold, and we make our profits out of fees. My advice: go to your credit union.
  • The Aftermath. Speaking of money, the NY Times has an interesting article that looks into something we don’t often think about: Who pays for the health care of shooting victims, in this case, of the Tucson shootings. We know Congresswoman Gifford’s care is covered by her congressional policy, but what about everyone else? Here you have innocents dealing with the aftermath of unexpected expenses.
  • City Problems. An interesting opinion piece from St. Louis on why they lost the 2012 Democratic Conventions. Reading the article, it made me think of Los Angeles. We’ve got the same problem: we’ve been losing many of the major corporations that used to be headquartered in LA… and what does that do for our national clout?
  • 12 Angry Men. We all love to watch our procedurals, and know well the power of a jury trial. But more and more, in order to save money, settlements are reached out of court. While this may be good for the pocketbook, and hopefully for the accused, it is bad for the trial lawyers. Simply put: our lawyers are losing the ability to get the trial experience they need.
  • Up The Street. I’ve always wondered what the Northrup-Grumman plant up the street did. Now I know.
  • Purity of Language. We all know how the French are regarding the purity of their language. So imagine the horror when the French Education Minister proposed teaching English at the age of 3. In other language news, both Sarah and Bristol Palin have filed to trademark their names. ETA: But the trademark application was refused… due to technical errors, for now, but will likely be approved.
  • The Day the Music Died. Today is a significant day in music annals: it is the day the music died. Not only did we lose Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper on this day, but we lost Karen Carpenter and Liberace (who is soon to be played by Michael Douglas in an upcoming biopic)