Patterico's Pontifications


Paterno Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:10 pm

Hard to argue with the decision:

Penn State trustees fired football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach.

The massive shakeup Wednesday night came hours after Paterno announced that he planned to retire at the end of his 46th season.

But the outcry following the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on molestation charges proved too much for the board to ignore.

One key question has been why Paterno and other top school officials didn’t go to police in 2002 after being told a graduate assistant saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a school shower.

Typically you’d want to go to the police with that, I’d think.

Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:02 pm

What did you think? I missed it myself.

“Congress Shall Make No Law;” The Dark Side of Sexual Harassment Law

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:16 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing. Follow me on Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Strap yourself in, because this is a long one.

Today via the AP, we read about the complaint that Karen Krausharr, one of Cains’ accusers who has not given details (as of this writing), made against the INS when she was their spokesperson. Her complaint about not being able to telecommute after an accident is… interesting, but not ultimately very illuminating. But her complaint about a mildly sexist allegedly humorous email is useful at this stage of the investigation, because she is being coy with the details of her accusation against Cain. All we know is she considered Cain’s conduct toward her inappropriate, and thus it is useful to see where her threshold for “pain” is, and apparently it is very, very low:

The complaint also cited as objectionable an email that a manager had circulated comparing computers to women and men, a former supervisor said. The complaint claimed that the email, based on humor widely circulated on the Internet, was sexually explicit, according to the supervisor, who did not have a copy of the email. The joke circulated online lists reasons men and women were like computers, including that men were like computers because “in order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.” Women were like computers because “even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.”

Of course if she ever tells us what precisely Cain has allegedly done, then it won’t matter whether she has been quick to file a complaint in the past or not. But until we can independently judge the severity of Cain’s alleged conduct toward her, this evidence is relevant and provides some illumination as to what she considers worthy of complaint.

But I didn’t really want to talk about that. As you might guess from the title, what this article really brings home for me in a serious way is how far we have strayed from our Constitution in the laudable goal of workplace equality.

But first, I have to make you understand what sexual harassment law is about. Many people think it has to be about sex, as in the act or human sexuality. The other day, for instance, James Taranto wrote the following:

The presence of both sexes in the workplace makes necessary some combination of laws, policies and customs to regulate sexual behavior on the job.

But let me throw a hypothetical at you for a moment. Imagine a white employee goes up to a black employee and starts calling him n——, calling him a slave, saying he should be lynched, and so on. What would us lawyers call that?

Two cheers (Okay, one cheer) for Mitt Romney

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 6:24 am

[Posted by Karl]

Having criticized Mitt Romney for having little to say on tax and entitlement reform, it’s only fair to note his speech to Americans for Prosperity addresses the latter:

I believe we can save Social Security with a few commonsense reforms.  First, there will be no change for retirees or those near retirement. No change.  Second, for the next generation of retirees, we should slowly raise the retirement age.  And, finally, for the next generation of retirees, we should slow the growth in benefits for those with higher incomes.


Unlike President Obama, our next president must protect Medicare, improve the program, and keep it sustainable for generations to come.  Several principles will guide my efforts.

First, Medicare should not change for anyone in the program or soon to be in it.  We should honor our commitments to our seniors.

Second, as with Social Security, tax hikes are not the solution.  We couldn’t tax our way out of unfunded liabilities so large, even if we wanted to.

Third, tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose what their health coverage looks like.  Younger Americans today, when they turn 65, should have a choice between traditional Medicare and other private healthcare plans that provide at least the same level of benefits. Competition will lower costs and increase the quality of healthcare for tomorrow’s seniors.

The federal government will help seniors pay for the option they choose, with a level of support that ensures all can obtain the coverage they need.  Those with lower incomes will receive more generous assistance.  Beneficiaries can keep the savings from less expensive options, or they can choose to pay more for a costlier plan.

Finally, as with Social Security, the eligibility age should slowly increase to keep pace with increases in longevity.

The media is characterizing this as embracing Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal, but it’s closer to Yuval Levin’s “confident market solution,” or — as David Brooks would have it — the Domenici-Rivilin plan, as Romney would retain traditional Medicare as an option for future generations.

However, Brooks — or the NYT headline writer, if that applies to op-eds — is spinning to label Romney as “the serious one” just because Romney gave a serious speech.  There is still reason to question whether Romney would spend political capital on entitlement reform.  Moreover, inasmuch as Romney expressly advocated turning Medicaid back to the states, one might ask what justification he had for attacking Perry’s similar suggestion for Social Security as beyond the pale.  Romney’s track record may leave many thinking his entitlement reform proposals are just another necessary pander to the grassroots of the GOP.

Nevertheless, I must give Romney one cheer for finally advocating entitlement reforms, because if nominated, he will be zealously attacked by Team Obama and the establishment media in 2012 on the issue.  Indeed, as panders go, it’s likely Romney’s riskiest one to date.  As Ramesh Ponnuru notes, when considering Obama’s two playbooks, it generally would be difficult for Obama to attack Romney as both a serial flip-flopper and an extremist.  However, Romney’s embrace of entitlement reform would offer the left the opportunity to scare voters with the prospect of what unchecked GOP government would mean for Social Security and Medicare — even if the right would almost surely end up disappointed on that score.


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