Saturday, January 28, 2012


Reporters Without Borders, the largest press freedom organization in the world, dropped Uncle Sam 27 places to 47th of 179 countries measured on its Press Freedom Index which measures governments' commitment to protecting media freedoms. America's fall was attributed to excessive arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.

Most Americans are rightly concerned about America's slide on the world scene from trillions squandered on senseless wars, letting our infrastructure crumble, defunding education and other vital government functions, refusing to develop alternate energy sources, and generally howling at the moon when it comes to solving problems.

At the rate our media are either under attack for trying to report the truth or shilling for the 1% who control them, we won't even know how swiftly and tragically we're sliding into mediocrity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum flunked the "Muslim" test Monday at his Florida town hall meeting while campaigning for the crucial January 31 Florida Primary.

A woman questioner said she doesn't consider President Obama a legitimate President because "He is an avowed Muslim and ...why isn't something being done to get him out of government? He has no legal right to be calling himself President."

Rather than correct her about Obama's religion, anti-Americanism and presidential illegitimacy, Santorum tacitly validated her despicable comment by saying "Well look, I'm doing my best to get him out of office....and you're right about how he uniformly ignores the Constitution". When called out by reporters afterward about his failure to correct an obviously disturbed political partisan, Santorum shrugged and simply said it wasn't his job to correct her.

In so responding, Santorum dishonored himself and his presidential campaign. He should view tape of John McCain's most honorable moment during the 2008 election when confronted with an equally disturbed woman who told him that she fears candidate Obama because he's an Arab:
"No ma'am. He's a decent, family man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with."

Memo to candidate Santorum: Sir, you do have a job. It is to quit the GOP presidential race and go back to civics class to learn to be a decent citizen yourself.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Joe Paterno, who passed away today at 85, had, for 60 years, (1950-2010), 46 as Penn State's head football coach, one of the most successful and storied careers of any American public figure. Unfortunately, his career lasted 61 years and his last represents one of the swiftest and steepest career declines ever.

Revered with an almost cult like zeal at Penn State and in college football circles, JoePa, as he was affectionately called, has a life size statue gracing the Penn State campus. He made millions in salaries, bonuses and endorsements, and won every major award possible in his field of endeavor.

In coaching year sixty-one, JoePa was sacked, not by a defensive blitz, but by the Penn State Board of Trustees. Clinging to his job long after health and judgment failed him, he was summarily fired in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. The nation reacted in horror at revelations that the "win at all cost" mentality that infects college sports, and indeed, our American culture, went so far as to excuse and even enable years of serial youth sexual abuse by a cog in the Penn State winning and money machine.

Paterno's sad and pathetic end reminds me of the Seinfeld episode devoting to the theme of leaving on a high note. In it, the Seinfeld characters all grapple with the dilemma of when to leave life's stage once you got what you wanted; in Jerry's case, telling your best joke. George, as one might expect, kept pushing after achieving his goal, and wound up losing all.

Alas, so did JoePa.

Also published in the Chicago Tribune, January 25, 2012


French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced he is suspending training operations in Afghanistan and is considering withdrawing France's 3,600 soldiers from there sooner rather than later. Why? An Afghan soldier Sarkozy's forces were training opened fire on them killing four and wounding a dozen. The US as well as France is incurring a spike in similar attacks as the locals we train practice marksmanship on their trainers. It turns out that many of them are illiterate criminals and drug addicts. The NY Times quotes a classified coalition report that these killings "have become the most visible symptom of a far deeper ailment plaguing the war effort: the contempt each side holds for the other, never mind the Taliban".

Once again, the French are getting it right while Uncle Sam keeps getting it wrong, wrong, wrong.