Cardinal Seán Brady, majordomo of the Catholic church in Ireland, is in the dock of the court of public opinion following revelations that he was, as a priest in 1975, involved in silencing two young boys abused by notorious priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
Brady’s line manager, Pope Benedict XVI (his ultimate boss being The Man Who Lives In the Clouds) is himself reeling from allegations published by the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Germany that he mishandled similar cases. Continue reading
Americans constantly worry about public education. There is a mantra that we keep repeating: “Our Schools Are Failing!” But have our schools, in fact, failed? And if so, who or what is really to blame? Continue reading
Despite the constant worsening state of the Irish economy and our dear leader’s aversion to any sort of good governance, the government actually made a sensible policy decision. It is a difficult sentence to write. This is the same government that funded the property bubble which has set our economy into a downward spiral with no end in sight.
This is also the government that has cut welfare allowances for the unemployed, cut cultural funding, imposed tax levies on the public sector, and health levies on us all. This is the government that possessed the information that Anglo Irish Bank was teetering on the brink of total collapse but kept quiet. This is the government that nationalised that same bank because the grassroots of the majority party banked there and the government’s support base would vanish overnight. This is the government that created the National Asset Management Agency to make sure that their property developer buddies do not go bust, against the advice of all the major economists and the vast majority of the people. So, dear reader, you will understand that to admit that this government has made a policy decision with which I agree, is difficult.
In short, Barry Andrews, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, is introducing free universal preschool education to replace the Early Childcare Supplement which is currently paid directly to parents.
Labour Day is the last long weekend of the summer and the time in which many reflect upon the barbecues and fun times that they had with friends and family. For Canadian parents, it is often bittersweet, because it signals the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Some will be filled with sadness as they watch their little one get on the school bus for the first time, and those with older children will be giddy with glee as they make lunches and prepare to bicker about homework.
Being able to approach the school year as merely a matter of resetting schedules is dependent upon existing with certain class privileges, something which is rarely acknowledged. If you happen to live in a neighbourhood with a school you find unacceptable, for example, you must arrange for independent transportation to have your child attend another school. If you decide to go with a French core school, like we did, you must have the financial resources to pay for a year of pre-education. At a cost of one hundred and twenty five dollars per week, this can be out of the price range of many working class families. When we consider that learning to speak, read, and write French fluently provides various job opportunities in Canada, this effectively shuts many poor Anglophone students out.
In recent years there has been growing awareness of the ways in which early marriage can be detrimental to the lives of women. Feminists are continually derided for describing patriarchy as a system that acts in real and systemic ways, but there can be no greater proof of its catastrophic effects than underage marriage. Despite the sure knowledge that child marriage leads to early pregnancy, which often results in fistula, early death and poverty, the practice continues to occur across the globe. On the continent of Africa, for example, child marriage continues to be an issue.
In Niger, three quarters of young girls will be married before the age of eighteen. A girl is raised to understand that her destiny is to marry and produce children. Education is seen as a waste because whatever girls do in life will only profit the household of her husband’s family. Ninety percent of Niger’s women are illiterate and without education, and they have no chance to end the vicious cycle of poverty. This legacy is then passed to their children, who are married before their time, thus maintaining a continual cycle of ignorance.
The birthrate is extremely high, with the national average being eight children per woman. According to the United Nations Population Fund: