Thursday, August 30, 2012

Joe Paterno and the Freeh Report

The media narrative is running far in front of the known facts. Powerline has several excellent posts:

The case against Joe Paterno: Weak to non-existent on the current record

I am aware that a consensus exists that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acted improperly in connection with Penn State’s response to allegations of child molestation committed by one-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. This consensus led to the removal of a statue of Paterno, whose contributions to Penn State as a coach and financial contributor were enormous.

The consensus emerged from the report of Louis Freeh regarding Penn State’s actions related to the sexual abuse committed by Sandusky. But a friend of mine — a top-notch lawyer and former federal prosecutor — has carefully reviewed the Freeh Report. He concludes that the Report does not establish wrongdoing by Joe Paterno. Having now looked at the Freeh Report, I agree.

The case against Joe Paterno, Part Two

Unfortunately, I suspect that the journalists and talking heads who reported that Freeh’s report contains new, damaging evidence regarding Paterno read only the first part of the report. Once one reads the actual evidence, I think it becomes clear that the case against Paterno remains (for now) what it was before Freeh started investigating — that he should have done more, not that he concealed misconduct out of a bad motive. The more damning case that Freeh wants to make is based on speculation, not evidence.

The Freeh report challenged

Twenty-nine former chairs of the Penn State faculty Senate have blasted Louis Freeh and the NCAA in connection with their actions in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal. As to Freeh’s report, they state: “On a foundation of scant evidence, the report adds layers of conjecture and supposition to create a portrait of fault, complicity, and malfeasance that could well be at odds with the truth.”

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Jerry Pournelle on the Obama strategy

Of course the notion is to let a thousand skunk cabbages bloom, and those which become really foul can be disowned. Meanwhile, the steady beat will discourage voters and many of those who have decided they don’t want to vote for Mr. Obama may call a pox on both houses and stay home. The unions continue to get out the vote and the absentee ballots and whatever boxes of votes that can be discovered the day after election day – or a week after if needed – and this will result in the reelection.

It’s possible. Of course it works only if the voters let it. They figure that people who will be so disgusted that they’ll stay home were lost to Obama to begin with. That’s a desperation strategy and it is contemptuous of the American People.


He sounds surprised

Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals?
Scandals Reflect Failure of Business Education

We are dealing with a drop in ethical standards throughout the business world, and our graduate schools are partly to blame.


The way to teach these ethics is not to set up a separate class in which a typically low-ranking professor preaches to students who would rather be somewhere else. This approach, common at business schools, serves only to perpetuate the idea that ethics are only for those students who aren’t smart enough to avoid getting caught.

C. S. Lewis covered this ground eons ago:

And all the time-- such is the tragicomedy of our situation-- we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that our civilisation needs more 'drive' or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. we laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful.


I would sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not cheat' than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had be brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles at their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism (such as Gaius and Titius would wince at) about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element'. The head rules the belly through the chest-- the seat as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The chest-- Magnanimity-- Sentiment-- these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

VDH on Sir John Keegan

Remembering the Dead, from Selma

A far better man — in both the ethical and literary sense — died this last week, Sir. John Keegan. The Face of Battle is the most beautifully written and imaginative military history of the last 50 years.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Sir John Keegan, RIP

Sir John Keegan

Sir John Keegan, who has died aged 78, achieved an international reputation as a military historian, then discovered a talent for writing rapid analyses of international crises as the defence editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

People this brave deserve to be remembered

First posted 1 August 2008

On 1 August 1944 the Polish Home Army launched a uprising in Warsaw against the German occupiers. They had few weapons but possessed an abundance of courage. The time was right: the Red Army was at the gates of Warsaw and Allied armies were advancing against the Germans in France. Wehrmacht officers had nearly killed Hitler on 20 July. It seemed that end of the Nazi state was at hand,

Moscow radio had even broadcast a call to arms to the Poles on 29 July.

In the first days, the uprising had success. The Home Army gained control of central Warsaw. Then they were betrayed by their allies and their allies ally.

The Red Army took no steps to aid the Poles. They even refused to allow British and American planes to use Soviet airfields in airlift and bombing operations. Churchill and Roosevelt had no military options and only a few diplomatic ones. Churchill wanted to put pressure on Stalin but FDR refused. The Warsaw Uprising was a potential embarrassment to a man running for his fourth term. He had already acquiesced to Stalin’s plans for Poland but dared not admit it for fear of losing the votes of Polish-Americans and other Catholics. The Uprising threatened to make Poland an issue in his last campaign.

Many in the West believed the Uprising was hopeless and tragic from the very beginning. The Home Army disagreed. They sent this message to London on 24 August:

Hello.. here is the heart of Poland! Hear Warsaw speaking!
Throw the dirges out of your broadcasts;
Our spirit is strong it will support even you!
We don’t need your applause!
We demand ammunition!!!

They did not get their ammunition but still the Poles fought on. They held out for 63 days-- fighting house to house and hand to hand against tanks and professional soldiers while under continuous bombardment from artillery and the Luftwaffe. Over 200,000 Poles died. It was the equivalent of a 9/11 a day for over two months.

Just before the end, Warsaw radio broadcast a searing message:

This is the stark truth. We were treated worse than Hitler’s satellites, worse than Italy, Rumania, Finland. May God Who is just, pass judgment on the terrible injustice suffered by the Polish nation, and may He punish accordingly all those who are guilty.

Your heroes are the soldiers whose only weapons against tanks, planes, and guns were their revolvers and bottles filled with petrol. Your heroes are the women who tended the wounded and carried messages under fire, who cooked in bombed and ruined cellars to feed children and adults, and who soothed and comforted the dying. Your heroes are the children who went on quietly playing among the smoldering ruins. These are the people of Warsaw.

Immortal is the nation that can muster such universal heroism. For those who have died have conquered, and those who live on will fight on, will conquer and again bear witness that Poland lives when the Poles live

It is a sad fact that the only party to behave honorably toward the Home Army was the Wehrmacht. After 63 days the Poles were still fighting though they had no hope of success. They agreed to surrender to the regular army on the condition that they be treated as POWs. Those terms were granted and, amazingly, the Germans upheld their end of the bargain.