Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
We have officially lost our minds.The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president — “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. . . . I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.
The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.
Of course, these facts may not become widely known, because no one is supposed to mention the main significance of what has happened here. First, as usual, Muslims — not al-Qaeda terrorists, but ordinary, mainstream Muslims — are rioting and murdering over the burning (indeed, the inadvertent burning) of a book. Yes, it’s the Koran, but it’s a book all the same — and one that, moderate Muslims never tire of telling us, doesn’t really mean everything it says anyhow.
Muslim leaders and their leftist apologists are also forever lecturing the United States about “proportionality” in our war-fighting. Yet when it comes to Muslim proportionality, Americans are supposed to shrug meekly and accept the “you burn books, we kill people” law of the jungle. Disgustingly, the Times would inure us to this moral equivalence by rationalizing that “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.” Well then, I guess that makes it all right, huh?
Then there’s the second not-to-be-uttered truth: Defiling the Koran becomes an issue for Muslims only when it has been done by non-Muslims. Observe that the unintentional burning would not have occurred if these “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Afghans had not defiled the Korans in the first place. They were Muslim prisoners who annotated the “holy” pages with what a U.S. military official described as “extremist inscriptions” in covert messages sent back and forth, just as the jihadists held at Gitmo have been known to do (notwithstanding that Muslim prisoners get their Korans courtesy of the American taxpayers they construe the book to justify killing).
Do you know why you are supposed to stay mum about the intentional Muslim sacrilege but plead to be forgiven for the accidental American offense? Because you would otherwise have to observe that the Koran and other Islamic scriptures instruct Muslims that they are in a civilizational jihad against non-Muslims, and that it is therefore permissible for them to do whatever is necessary — including scrawl militant graffiti on their holy book — if it advances the cause. Abdul Sattar Khawasi — not a member of al-Qaeda but a member in good standing of the Afghan government for which our troops are inexplicably fighting and dying — put it this way: “Americans are invaders, and jihad against the Americans is an obligation.”
Because exploiting America’s hyper-sensitivity to things Islamic advances the jihad, the ostensible abuse of the Koran by using it for secret communiqués is to be overlooked. Actionable abuse occurs only when the book is touched by the bare hands of, or otherwise maltreated by, an infidel.
As our great Iraqi ally Ayatollah Ali Sistani teaches, touching a kafir (“one who does not believe in Allah and His Oneness”) is to be avoided, because Islamic scripture categorizes infidels as equivalent to “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors,” and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats filth.” That is what influential clerics — not al-Qaeda but revered scholars of Islamic law — inculcate in rank-and-file Muslims.
And they are not making it up. Sistani came upon this view after decades of dedicated scriptural study. In fact, to take just one telling example (we could list many, many others), the “holy” Koran we non-Muslims are supposed to honor proclaims (in Sura 9:28), “Truly the pagans are unclean . . . so let them not . . . approach the sacred mosque.” It is because of this injunction from Allah that non-Muslims are barred — not by al-Qaeda but by the Saudi Arabian government — from entering Mecca and Medina. Kafirs are deemed unfit to set their infidel feet on the ground of these ancient cities. You don’t like that? Too bad — grin and bear it . . . and, while you’re at it, surge up a few thousand more American troops to improve life in Kandahar.
Understand this: Muslims are killing Muslims all the time. Sunnis attack Shiites, Shiites attack Sunnis. Ahmadi Muslims are attacked in sundry Islamic countries. Often, these Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities involve not only murder but also the torching of the other sect’s homes and mosques — necessarily meaning Muslims are burning Korans, and with far more mens rea than the American personnel had in Afghanistan. None of these atrocities incite global Islamic rioting — it is just Muslim-on-Muslim violence, the numbing familiarity of which calls for no comment, except perhaps to mumble that it must have something to do with how “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Muslims are. (Actually, it has to do with Muslims’ deeming the perceived heresies of other Muslims to be apostasy, for which sharia prescribes the death penalty.)
Also understand this: In sharia societies, non-Muslim religious articles are confiscated and destroyed every single day as a matter of policy. In Saudi Arabia, where sharia is the law of the land, where Mecca and Medina are closed to non-Muslims, government guidelines prohibit Jews and Christians from bringing Bibles, crucifixes, Stars of David, and similar artifacts emblematic of their faith into the country. When that prohibition is violated, the offending items are seized and burned or otherwise destroyed. Moreover, though Saudis deny having an official policy that bans Jews from entering the country at all, reports are rampant of travelers’ being denied visas either because they are Jewish or because their passports bear stamps indicative of prior travel to Israel.
In spite of this shameful, conscious, systematic abuse of non-Muslims and their religious articles, King Abdullah has yet to send a letter of apology to Obama. All the presidential bowing in the world will not change this, not when Muslim supremacism is the irreducible core of mainstream Islam — not al-Qaeda Islam, mainstream Islam. And where is Mr. Karzai’s apology over the Afghan soldier who just killed two Americans? That is only the latest incident in a largely unreported epidemic: our “allies” turning their weapons on their Western trainers.
On second thought, who cares if Karzai apologizes? Our troops do not belong in Afghanistan. They have given more than enough, way more. So has our country.
If our government believes the Taliban and other factions are our enemies, allied with al-Qaeda to kill Americans, then we should unleash our military to destroy them. This should not be an endless counterinsurgency experiment that prioritizes the protection of Afghan civilians and the construction of Afghan civil society; it should be a war that our vast might enables us to win rapidly and decisively.
But our government has repeatedly professed that the Taliban are not our enemies. If that is true, we lack not only the will but the cause for waging war. We should leave — now. It is immoral to keep our young men and women there as sitting ducks in a place where the people hate Americans but we are not trying to vanquish them. We routed al-Qaeda years ago. We don’t need to defeat the Taliban or waste time negotiating with them, Karzai, the warlords, and the rest. Let them have their Korans and work it out for themselves with the compassion that has been such a Religion of Peace hallmark for the last 14 centuries.
That, however, cannot be the end of it. If, according to the president, we need to apologize to Muslims because we must accept that they have such an innate, extraordinary ardor for their religion that barbaric reactions to trivial slights are inevitable, then they should not be invited to enter a civilized country. At the very least, our immigration laws should exclude entry from Muslim-majority countries unless and until those countries expressly repeal repressive sharia laws (e.g., the death penalty for apostates) and adopt American standards of non-discrimination against, tolerance of, and protection for religious minorities.
If you really want to promote freedom in Islamic countries, an immigration policy based on civil-rights reciprocity would be a lot more effective, and a lot less expensive, than dispatching tens of thousands of troops to build sharia “democracies.” It would also protect Americans from people whose countries and cultures have not prepared them for the obligations of citizenship in a free society.
Monday, February 27, 2012
We've been down this road before.
|• In 1976, they gave us Gerald Ford. We got Jimmy Carter.|
• In 1996, they gave us Bob Dole. We got Bill Clinton.
• In 2008, they gave us John McCain. We got Barak Obama.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012
We are still down in the desert. It's still raining and cold, but we love it anyway. We (wifey and I) got up, had breakfast, I swam, then we rushed over to our 12-step meeting. As we did, I got a call from a woman who works for me confirming my worst fears about how incompetently I have handled my spending urges. I am just an insanely wild over-spender. I always have been. All of my life. It makes me crazy, but I cannot stop it. It scares me to death.
Our 12-step meeting was fairly sparsely attended. As I sat there, I made a mental list of my faults:
- Truly delusional overspending (how I have been able to do it for so long I am not sure).
- A shockingly poor ability to detect the danger in crazy persons around me. I am the most naive, trusting man in the world. I can spot corporate frauds at a great distance and have a recognized knack for it. But for individual human beings—I am about the worst in the world at detecting people around me who will hurt me. (Luckily, I have the best wife in the world, but she is way too kind to judge others around me and never tells me what to do. My son is a superb judge of character and is not at all reluctant to speak out about the people around me.)
- I eat way, way too much and much of it is too salty and fatty.
- I work insanely too much.
- I stay up too late.
- I dare to question conventional wisdom, such as Darwinism, and this gets me into trouble with the powers that be.
On the other hand, I also realize these traits are exactly what my mother used to criticize me for all of my life. Maybe that's why they weigh me down still. So much for 45 years of psychotherapy.
On the other hand, I thought, as I nursed a ginger ale at the River Shopping Center tonight, I have some good qualities, too.
- Fanatical loyalty to those who are good to me and in whom I believe, no matter the consequences—i.e., my devotion to Nixon out in Hollywood.
- Generosity to friends in need.
- Generosity to charities.
- Appreciation of the military, the police, fire fighters, teachers, mothers (I think there should be a statue to mothers on the Mall).
- Deep love of animals—though not to the extent of not eating them, of which I am rightly ashamed.
- So far, good provider for my wife.
- Very, very easy to work with.
- Know a lot for my age (tee-hee).
- Make people laugh while informing them.
Anyway, I think way too much about myself. In my 12-step meeting there is a man born in 1929, which makes him about 82, and he says the secret of his success in the program is to not think so damn much about himself. I am probably the worst offender on earth about this.
So, as I walked through the River and ran into Marines from 29 Palms, I made a point of talking to them for a long, long time. I LOVE THESE GUYS. I mean, I really love them.
They are so brave, so enthusiastic, so strong, that it's almost beyond my calculations. I just love them. They are also extremely modest and never brag. They're just the greatest.
The two bravest men I know, John W. Keker and Lawrence Hyde Lissitzyn, are both Marines who saw horrible combat in Vietnam. The smartest man I know (except for Aram and Wlady and Bob) is John R. Coyne, Jr., also a Marine. These are amazing human beings.
Many years ago, David Eisenhower, one of the smartest guys on the planet, told me that he thought that part of Ike's success was that he was never afraid to fight with his hands. This tells us a lot about the Marines, who actually like to fight. They would rather fight than not fight. Again, they are amazing. Thank God, they are on our side.
We got back last night about midnight. To my disgust, someone had been in my office and left the lights on. These lights are a bear to replace—they are at the apex of a vaulted ceiling—so I was furious. Plus, the people who were supposed to care for our EIGHT cats had failed to show up or let the cats into the rooms where their litter boxes are for two days, so the house smelled unbelievably horrible. I was hysterical. Plus, my wife needed cat litter. So I, exhausted as I was, went out and bought the stuff and came home with it. Yuck.
As I started to prepare for my nocturnal swim, I put my toe in the water. ICE COLD. The heater had not been working. This is just too much. Plus, on TCM was an incredibly sad movie called Fanny and Alexander. Bergman was a depressed guy.
I did not get to sleep until after 3 a.m. and in a foul mood to boot.
But I prayed a lot and fell asleep only to wake and start thinking about the nutty lawsuit that is threatened against me. It is so unbelievable that no one would consider it possible, but it's unfolding.
In this country, the system of laws is such that a trial lawyer can say any damned thing in a claim letter—any fantasy, however fictitious—send it off, and next thing you know, you are shelling out time and money defending yourself against a fantasy.
It is a nightmare, only it's real.
Maybe this is some kind of karmic payback for me because I participated in a highly questionable lawsuit against Coca-Cola Foods long ago. I still feel bad about doing that.
Well, it caused everyone involved a lot of grief. Now, a threatened lawsuit is upsetting our little household—my wife, my son, and my daughter-in-law far more than me. I hate it, but it's sort of a challenge for me. If the suit ever gets filed, I intend to make it memorable for the plaintiff.
Speaking of epic struggles, as I lay in bed last night, waiting for sleep to overtake me, I thought about Mr. Obama. It is not easy to see what he has accomplished. Yes, he did pass a national health care plan far less comprehensive than what Mr. Nixon proposed in 1974. But other than that, what?
He brought the troops out of Iraq but just replaced one dictator with another.
He has accomplished little about the economy. He still employs the main culprits who caused the crash—Dr. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner.
Education is still a catastrophe area. The African-American community languishes in far worse conditions than the white and Asian communities. Mr. Obama has done zero for it, as far as I can tell.
But then, I thought, what could he do? In a free society, people have to lift themselves up by education, discipline, and hard work. In homes where there is no father and the mother is exhausted and overwhelmed, little progress can be made toward education. It really is sad. And while the problems are not Mr. Obama's fault, he did promise to fix things and he didn't. Again, in a free society, people mostly have to fix themselves.
When I awakened this morning, I was exhausted and went right back to sleep. My son came over to wake me up and worry me about the threatened lawsuit.
I took him out to lunch at Nonna, a super-good Italian restaurant. I really cannot get over how handsome he is. Like a movie star.
It is still overcast and miserable here. Will it ever be sunny again? Will it ever be Morning in America again?
Friday, February 24, 2012
Newt Unveils Plan for $2.50 Gas to Kickstart Campaign Comeback
The former House speaker’s campaign has announced that it will be purchasing 30-minute blocks of time in key markets between now and Super Tuesday to air an address by Gingrich on the subject of lowering gasoline prices, creating jobs, and achieving energy independence.
“Americans have every right to demand $2.50 gas — we are an oil-rich country,” Gingrich tells Newsmax.
“My plan will have the price of gasoline at $2.50 a gallon so that Americans aren’t penalized every time they go to the pump.”
And Gingrich Communications Director Joe DeSantis says: “The answer to Governor Romney’s 30-second attack ads filled with garbage is a 30-minute address filled with substance.
“Newt’s message about lowering gasoline and other energy prices is resonating and the Obama administration is on defense over their policies hostile to American energy production, which are causing pain at the pump.”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has called Newt’s message on energy “spot on. Drill now and stop bowing to foreign regimes, begging them to do it for us.”
And Democratic political analyst Donna Brazile said after Newt’s performance at Wednesday night’s presidential debate, in which he discussed his energy policy: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Newt found his way back to be the frontrunner.”
In the address that the Gingrich campaign will air in key markets, he says his energy plan “comes down to a simple idea: What if we had a program that enabled the American people to develop so much new energy that we were, in fact, no longer reliant on Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran? We didn’t care what the Iranians did in the Strait of Hormuz because we were safe, in national security terms.
“What if that new energy program created well over a million new jobs, high paying jobs, jobs that put Americans back to work and kept the money here at home that we had been sending overseas, giving us a dramatic improvement in our balance of payments, strengthening the dollar and giving us a chance to live much freer and more independently?
“What if that very idea also meant that we’d have dramatic increases in federal revenue without a tax increase, that in fact the federal government would have literally an entire new stream of money?
“And finally, what if that big new idea meant that you personally were better off because you are buying gasoline for $2.50 a gallon, not for $3.89 or $4 or what some people project by the summer could be $5 or more?
“How is that possible, you ask? Well, that is what is exciting, and that is one of the reasons I’m running for president.”
Gingrich points out that thanks to new technology and innovative drilling methods, the United States may now have more accessible oil than we have actually pumped since 1870, including huge oil deposits in North Dakota and new discoveries of natural gas large enough by some estimates to supply the nation for more than 100 years.
“Since the mid 1970s,” he goes on to say, “we’ve known that the Arab states and Iran combined have dominated oil production and have used their leverage to raise the cost of oil and to bring political pressure to bear on the Americans and on the Europeans.
“Now, I want to get to a point where we produce so much oil in the United States that no American president will ever again bow to a Saudi king.
“There is at least one study already out there that says by 2017, if we do the right things, we will produce more oil than either Russia or Saudi Arabia, and we will regain, by the end of the decade, being the leading producer of oil in the world.
“What I want to do is accelerate that for a couple of reasons: First of all, to get this economy back on track. If you had $500 billion a year that was not going overseas, that was paying royalties in the U.S., paying landowners, paying people to go out and develop the oil, you would suddenly have a really booming economy right here at home.
“There is a second part: Every time gas prices go up, they are the equivalent of a tax on working Americans and retired Americans. Think about it: You go to the gas station. If you are paying $4 a gallon, you have a lot less money left each week than if you are paying $2.50 a gallon. Now $2.50 may sound like it is an impossible number, but that’s baloney.
“When I was speaker of the House, we paid $1.13 on average during the four years that I was speaker. When Barack Obama became president, we paid $1.89 that week.
“But the Obama administration is so anti-oil, so anti-gas, so anti-fossil fuels in general . . .
“Under President Obama, because he is so anti American energy, we have actually had a 40 percent reduction in development of oil offshore, and we have had a 40 percent reduction in the development of oil on federal lands. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
“What we should do and what I will do as your president is I will authorize the development of offshore [drilling], as long as it is far enough out that it is not visible, and it is not a threat to tourism or the fisheries. And I will authorize the development of federal lands that are appropriate.”
Gingrich calls on the country to set three basic goals:
First, become energy independent for national security reasons.
Second, develop enough new energy here at home to create well over a million high-paying jobs in the next few years.
Third, use the trillions of dollars collected in royalties to pay down the federal debt. “By using federal property and by allowing offshore development on federally controlled waters, we get paid a royalty,” Gingrich says. “One of the leading experts on North Dakota has suggested that we might well have over the next generation $18 trillion, not billion, $18 trillion in royalties that we could gather for the federal government with no tax increases.”
Gingrich also vows that on his first day as president, he would sign an executive order approving the Keystone pipeline to deliver Canadian oil to refineries on our Gulf Coast and create thousands of new jobs in this country.
In conclusion, Gingrich says gasoline at $2.50 a gallon will put more money in every American’s pocket, noting: “Every time you can lower the cost of energy, you make it easier for us to have manufacturing and you lower the cost of living. It is a win win environment.
“You also know that if you do this, we have a lot more jobs, and we need a growing economy with a lot of new jobs, because we want to be a country where America works best when Americans are working.
“We are not a country of food stamps and welfare. We are a country of the work ethic, of a job, of take home pay, of opening up our own business. And this kind of energy program will do just that.”
The president yesterday complained that his opponents are licking their chops over bad news, and putting their partisanship over the collective good. This is normal politics, but still a little strange, given that Americans, well before the tight summer driving season, are right to be worried that gas might hit $5-a-gallon in a few months — in a climate in which pipelines are perceived to have been cancelled; oil leases frozen in Alaska, offshore, in the Gulf, and in the west; and members of the administration, including the president himself, in the past, are on record advocating such high energy prices as a means to diminish supposed man-made climate change and help promote alternate energies.But such pique is even odder, given that such partisan politics are an Obama forte. He voted against raising the debt ceiling as a senator when the deficits were far less than his own have been. He filibustered the Alito and Bolton nominations, when there were not enough votes to stop their appointments — only to later criticize just that tactic as president. Ditto his recess-appointment turnabout. Short-term political advantage led him to subvert the public financing of , the first candidate to ignore that liberal-inspired law in a general election.
Obama surely was seeking partisan advantage when he once declared that the critical surge in Iraq was not working, even as it was, and at a time when the surge needed critical support. He started his campaign in 2007 by grandly announcing plans for a withdrawal of all troops from Iraq by March 2008, and went on to damn Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, etc. at a time when they all were providing critical advantages in stopping terrorists — as he later agreed after his election by adopting all the protocols that he once deemed injurious or unconstitutional. Was it for political advantage that he called a sitting president “unpatriotic” for borrowing at a rate of about a fourth of what Obama himself would later embrace? As I recall the political discourse just a few years ago, a “jobless recovery” in 2004 was defined as one of around 5.5 percent unemployment; Herbert Hoover was invoked to cite the “unprecedented” supposed loss of net jobs; spikes to $3-a-gallon gas were due to rapacious Halliburton oil men in the White House; and questioning the commander-in-chief was patriotic dissent (Hillary Clinton: “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic, and we should stand up and say, ‘We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.’”)
In an election year, it is traditional politics for incumbents to claim that things are better than what statistics indicate, and, in turn, for rivals to argue that they are worse. Obama knows all that — because he did both better than anyone between 2006–12. So spare us the whining and pontification, and maybe try spending less, and drilling more.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
On Wednesday, January 25, Joe Paterno was honored with a private funeral Mass in the presence of his family and a few close friends, in the chapel he and his wife had built on the Penn State campus.Joe Paterno gave vast amounts of his salary to Penn State. He gave almost his whole life. His last gift was a heart that was not bitter, despite the horrible betrayal he suffered at the end, at the hands of the board of trustees. Students and admirers by the thousands gathered round the chapel in silence and sorrow to show him their love and gratitude.
The next day, an enormous throng of at least 10,000 squeezed into the fieldhouse for a memorial service to show the same love and gratitude. And that is only the beginning of the testimonies for Joe that will continue to swell all around the country.
When the hundreds of thousands of Penn State alumni hear the name JoePa, they think of moral leadership, of the kind of person they aspire to be. Of his warmth, his fatherliness, his steadiness, and his granite character. Joe Paterno was for hundreds of thousands of alumni the very model of the moral ideal of Western humanism.
Hundreds of thousands of alumni think a huge injustice was committed against JoePa by the board of trustees, and they have emphatically expressed their sentiments to the new interim president of Penn State during his coast-to-coast series of alumni meetings to damp down the great anger he is encountering.
First news of the Sandusky scandal, in which longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually molesting underage boys, broke in March 2011, and it came before the board of trustees that June. They said it was not a Penn State problem, because Sandusky had left the university in 1999, though he continued to use an office there for several more years. It was a problem for the institution Sandusky had founded, the Second Mile organization for youngsters.
Then, quite suddenly in November 2011, with a huge national scandal erupting, the board suddenly acted as if the burden were on them. They did not weigh their own responsibility, their own inaction, their own failure to get to the bottom of the scandal of five months earlier. In a fit of what to many alumni seems to have been fear for themselves, the board’s members ducked their own responsibility, and in the most ignoble and impersonal way, made JoePa, the moral giant of Penn State, a moral outcast.
What did they do? Despite the fact that JoePa had said he was going to resign after the 2011 season was over, they gave Joe (after nearly 60 years of leadership unparalleled in the annals of any university) over to the national press and the national mob as a scapegoat, to bear the whole heartbreaking scandal on his shoulders, to be burned as a live offering, in expiation of their sins.
And how did they do it? They sent a man to knock on his door and hand a note to his wife, which said that JoePa should call a certain telephone number. When he phoned, he heard barely comprehensible words, that he was fired, as of that day.
JoePa, stunned, simply hung up. His valiant wife Sue pulled the note from his hands and called the number herself. “He deserved better than that!” she said into the phone. “He deserved better than that.”
What rot — without a hearing, without talking to him man to man, without mentioning the honor and glory and unparalleled service JoePa had given to Penn State, bringing it to such great national eminence, including moral eminence. They dumped, as if in disgrace, an 85-year-old moral giant. JoePa raised the moral tone not only of Penn State, but of the whole, huge American college-football world.
Few university teams graduated a larger proportion of their roster each year than JoePa’s. Few boasted as many players who spoke so openly of the moral education that JoePa had instilled in them. When they said, “We are Penn State!” they meant they were men and women of the moral character of JoePa. They were proud of having been led to make themselves of that character.
Recently the student newspaper at Penn State published an editorial asking the full board of trustees to resign. Why? Because in order to save their own skins, they did not give JoePa the gratitude due him, but instead fired him without even hearing from him. Without honoring him! Without first stressing his moral probity and leadership!
And on what ground? The board knew that JoePa had been openly cleared of any public or legal wrongdoing. He did his duty, in the form required by university procedures, without any hint of trying to cover up, or to prejudice the case one way or the other. He called the relevant vice president. He called the head of the university police.
Against this, the board dared to use a teetering moral argument: JoePa had met his professional responsibilities, the board admitted, but he “should have done more,” he failed his “moral responsibilities.”
And the board — did the board in June 2011, or at any time since, meet its moral responsibilities? It is a crushing embarrassment when a morally flawed and timid agent blames the only moral giant in the Nittany Valley.
It was so cheap for them to claim that their hearts were (suddenly) bleeding for the poor molested youths, the victims of an assistant coach gone from the coaching staff since 1999. These were the very molested youths for whom the board of trustees had conducted no investigation and taken no corrective action of their own, and made no examination of the rigid top-down chain of command that they themselves had championed at the university for some 20 years.
Many in the national press, in commenting on JoePa’s sterling record, have echoed the board in speaking of his “moral failure” and his “tainted” legacy. If the issue is moral weakness, who among them feels morally superior enough to judge the failures of JoePa? At the very least, the man should have been given an open hearing. At the very least, those who stand in moral judgment should try to ascertain what alternatives were open to Joe, and what would have happened if he had pursued A, B, or C.
Once the Sandusky case became public in March 2011, what did the media do? What did the board of The Second Mile do? What did the Penn State board do? You bet: woulda, coulda, shoulda. And you can bet that JoePa himself, like any mortal man, was tormenting himself about those very conditionals.
Who, looking at Mr. Sandusky — a leading public figure in the town of State College, a philanthropist — imagined what he was doing? Who had the wit to stop his actions abruptly on first rumor? Who, on suspicion, investigated, investigated thoroughly? Who sought out the victims, and warned parents in the vicinity? And by what fair process should JoePa be singled out as the one who “morally failed”? As the scapegoat?
“Judge not, lest ye be judged,” was, I thought, a primary commandment for all mere mortals. There are strict criteria for judging legal fault. Judging moral fault depends on a vaster, deeper knowledge about another than any of us has. We should commend one another to God’s judgment and ask for mercy for ourselves.
The trustees of Penn State could not have known that on the very day they abruptly issued their verdict (within hours of opening their meeting), JoePa was receiving a deadly medical diagnosis of active cancer.
Put yourself in JoePa’s shoes. How cruel this dual fate must have seemed to him. From God, he might have received the cancer diagnosis with equanimity. But from the university he had served so well, for so long, with so much honor and distinction, how shattered and betrayed he must have felt.
There are not many coaches in America who read Virgil in Latin (and used to teach it), and who understand more deeply the ethical traditions of the West, both secular and religious, and who have proven so adept at teaching these codes to raw young football players, changing them for life and winning their undying loyalty. Ask Franco Harris. Ask hundreds of others.
His players band together these days and say publicly that the Paterno moral legacy will live as long as they do. What is the Penn State way? Never quit, take on the task assigned, spend myself utterly, play as one team, don’t worry about what others think, stay true. This is what they have been taught that Penn State is. What they are. What the tradition of the West is, from Thermopylae and Troy until today.
Give this great moral leader fair play. Give him elementary fairness. We owe ourselves no less. We owe every citizen no less. We owe JoePa no less. We owe ourselves no less.
[Full disclosure: My brother Ben Novak was on the board of trustees of Penn State from 1988 to 2000, and in the wake of recent events has announced that he will run again this year for one of the open slots on the board. One plank of his platform is to restore honor to the Paternos. But I do not need my brother, eminent as he is, to tell me how to think about JoePa and Penn State and college football. To check out Ben’s views, go to www.bennovak.net.]— Michael Novak is the author of The Joy of Sports, which was chosen by Sports Illustrated as one of the 100 best sports books of the 20th century. His website is http://www.michaelnovak.net/.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Barack Obama once called for a “reset” policy with Iran. Supposedly, the unpopularity of the Texan provocateur George W. Bush and his administration’s inability to finesse “soft power” had needlessly alienated the Iranian theocracy.After all, the widely quoted but highly politicized 2007 National Intelligence Estimate claimed that Iran had ceased work on a bomb in 2003 and would not have a weapon for the foreseeable future. That flawed analysis fueled another popular talking point: that the Bush- Cheney warmongers were looking for more phantom weapons of mass destruction in Iran of the sort that had led them into Iraq.
In contrast, Obama proclaimed himself to be a more sophisticated sort of president. His left-wing politics, post-racial appeal, and his father’s Muslim heritage supposedly might win over the heretofore needlessly alienated Iranians — and most others in the Middle East as well. At no point did candidate Obama stop to consider that the Iranians could view his loud politicking and opportunistic criticism of Bush’s hostility toward Iran — identical to standard U.S. bipartisan policy under at least the four prior presidents — as weakness to be manipulated rather than magnanimity to be appreciated.
After Obama took office in 2009, we had a new Iran 2.0 policy implemented on a variety of fronts. We courted Vladimir Putin by canceling an Eastern European anti-ballistic-missile project in hopes that the Russians would help stop Iranian proliferation. We scheduled face-to-face talks with the Iranians. We did not press initially for economic sanctions of Iranian exports and imports. We largely ignored Iranian terrorists who were killing Americans in Iraq.
The Obama administration kept quiet in the spring of 2009 when a million Iranians hit the streets to protest their cruel authoritarian regime. It seemed to apologize for the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Mohammed Mossadegh. It reopened our embassy in Syria, Iran’s closest ally in the Middle East. It jawboned Israel, Iran’s worst enemy in the Middle East.
The result of Obama’s Iran 2.0 policy?
Failure on every front. The Iranians sped up work on the bomb. They snubbed every deadline we issued. They increased weapons shipments to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. The Russians aided rather than blocked Iranian nuclear efforts.
More recently, the Iranians plotted to kill a Saudi diplomat in the United States. They issued warnings to the Sunni Arab Gulf kingdoms and tried to stir up their Shiite populations. They turned to Afghanistan and helped supply Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists. They forged an anti-American alliance in Latin America with Hugo Chavez. They are boasting about closing the Strait of Hormuz and warning allies of Israel of possible retaliation.
Jimmy Carter’s reset foreign policy crashed in 1980 with the Communists entering Afghanistan and Central America, and with American hostages taken in Iran, and so was followed by a suddenly tough new Carter Doctrine. Likewise the Obama administration is now forced to reset its policy.
With Obama’s new Iran 3.0, we are flip-flopping and now ratcheting up sanctions. We are announcing the dispatch of additional warships to the Persian Gulf. We are lobbying the United Nations for tougher resolutions against Iran and freezing Iranian assets in the U.S. We are no longer warning Israel to play it cool, but rather publicly and matter-of-factly announcing the likelihood of a preemptive Israeli bombing strike.
In other words, after demagoguing the old Iranian 1.0 containment strategy, the Obama administration is now trying to play 3.0 catch-up after its own failed 2.0 appeasement policy.
The ironic result is that war is now far more likely with Iran than it ever was under George W. Bush, and for far more reasons. Obama faces no knee-jerk, left-wing criticism. Just as the Left went silent when Obama suddenly took ownership of Guantanamo, Iraq, renditions, and tribunals, it won’t hit the streets if he takes action against Iran. If Obama finds himself behind in the 2012 campaign, such a bold move would win him political unity and advantage in wag-the-dog fashion.
Due to Obama’s hostility toward Israel, the United States now has far less knowledge about, and influence with, the Israeli military. And the long-appeased Iranian theocracy is now more likely to miscalculate, thinking either that the confused Obama administration won’t stop it, or that any American attempt to stop it would be only half-hearted.
Obama’s initial Iran reset policy squandered the American sense of deterrence. Now we are desperately trying to regain the tough bipartisan approach taken under earlier presidents.
But the likely result of this schizophrenia will probably be an Obama 4.0 Iran policy — in other words, a big war in the Persian Gulf.
I was sitting at a stoplight yesterday, minding my own business, waiting on it to turn green.
A carload of bearded, young, loud Muslims, shouting anti-American slogans, with a half- burned American Flag duct taped on the trunk of their car and a "Remember 9-11" slogan spray painted on the side, stopped next to me.
The light changed, the Muslims praised Allah, shook their fists, hit the gas & darted off ahead of me.
Suddenly an 18-wheeler came speeding thru the intersection & ran directly over their car, crushing it completely, killing everyone in the car.
For several minutes I sat in my car thinking to myself,
"Man... that could have been me!"
So today; bright and early, I went out and got a job as a truck driver.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Openly thinking in this case: Why are the authorities subpoenaeing the Doctors who prescribed her medication and the pharmicies that dispensed them? This case is not like Michael Jackson's at all. If, in fact, Zanax and alcohol combination contributed to her death are they also going to subpoenae whoever sold her the liquor? After all, PRESCRIBED medication and alcohol are BOTH legal, right? I would also imagine that there was an alcohol warning on the prescription bottle.
'Guy goes into a bar in Louisiana where there's a robot bartender!
The robot says, "What will you have?"
The guy says, "Whiskey."
The robot brings back his drink and says to the man, "What's your IQ?"
The guy says," 168."
The robot then proceeds to talk about physics, space exploration and medical technology.
'Guy goes into a bar in Louisiana where there's a robot bartender!
The robot says, "What will you have?"
The guy says, "Whiskey."
The robot brings back his drink and says to the man, "What's your IQ?"
The guy says," 168."
The robot then proceeds to talk about physics, space exploration and medical technology.
The guy leaves, . . . but he is curious . . . So he goes back into the bar.
The robot bartender says, "What will you have?" The guy says, "Whiskey." Again, the robot brings the man his drink and says,
"What's your IQ?" The guy says, "100." The robot then starts to talk about NASCAR, Budweiser, the Falcons and the Alabama Crimson Tide."
The guy leaves, but finds it very interesting, so he thinks he will try it one more time. He goes back into the bar. The robot says,
"What will you have?" The guy says, "Whiskey," and the robot brings him his whiskey.
The robot then says, "What's your IQ?" The guy says, "Uh, about 50."
The robot leans in real close and says, "SO...you people...still happy...with Barrack Obama???"
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Governor Mitt Romney’s statement about not worrying about the poor has been treated as a gaffe in much of the media, and those in the Republican establishment who have been rushing toward endorsing his coronation as the GOP’s nominee for president — with 90 percent of the delegates still not yet chosen — have been trying to sweep his statement under the rug.But Romney’s statement about not worrying about the poor — because they “have a very ample safety net” — was followed by a statement that was not just a slip of the tongue, and should be a defining moment in telling us about this man’s qualifications as a conservative and, what is more important, as a potential president of the United States.
Mitt Romney has come out in support of indexing the minimum-wage law, to have it rise automatically to keep pace with inflation. To many people, that would seem like a small thing that can be left for economists or statisticians to deal with.
But to people who call themselves conservatives, and aspire to public office, there is no excuse for not being aware of what a major social disaster the minimum-wage law has been for the young, the poor, and especially for young and poor blacks.
It is not written in the stars that young black males must have astronomical rates of unemployment. It is written implicitly in the minimum-wage laws.
We have gotten so used to seeing unemployment rates of 30 or 40 percent for black teenage males that it might come as a shock to many people to learn that the unemployment rate for 16- and-17-year-old black males was just under 10 percent back in 1948. Moreover, it was slightly lower than the unemployment rate for white males of the same age.
How could this be?
The economic reason is quite plain. The inflation of the 1940s had pushed money wages for even unskilled, entry-level labor above the level specified in the minimum-wage law passed ten years earlier. In other words, there was in practical effect no national minimum-wage law in the late 1940s.
My first full-time job, as a black high-school dropout in 1946, was as a lowly messenger delivering telegrams. But my starting pay was more than 50 percent above the level specified in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Liberals were of course appalled that the federal minimum-wage law had lagged so far behind inflation — and, in 1950, they began a series of escalations of the minimum-wage level over the years.
It was in the wake of these escalations that black teenage unemployment rose to levels that were three or four times the level in 1948. Even in the most prosperous years of later times, the unemployment rate for black teenage males was some multiple of what it was even in the recession year of 1949. And now it was often double the unemployment rate for white males of the same ages.
This was not the first or the last time that liberals did something that made them feel good about themselves while leaving havoc in their wake, especially among the poor whom they were supposedly helping.
For those for whom “racism” is the explanation of all racial differences, let me assure them, from personal experience, that there was not less racism in the 1940s.
For those who want to check out the statistics — and I hope that would include Mitt Romney — they can be found detailed on pages 42 to 45 of Race and Economics, by Walter Williams.
Nor are such consequences of minimum-wage laws peculiar to blacks or to the United States. In Western European countries, whose social policies liberals consider more “advanced” than our own, with more generous minimum-wage laws and other employer-mandated benefits, it has been common in even prosperous years for unemployment rates among young people to be 20 percent or higher.
The economic reason is not complicated. When you set minimum-wage levels higher than many inexperienced young people are worth, they don’t get hired. It is not rocket science.
Milton Friedman explained all this, half a century ago, in his popular little book for non-economists, Capitalism and Freedom. So have many other people. If a presidential candidate who calls himself “conservative” has still not heard of these facts, that simply shows that you can call yourself anything you want to.
— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.