Three Off-Focus News Items

It’s not that we’d like to see these news headlines go away entirely. We’d just like to see them addressed appropriately.

PERRY: Rick Perry’s brain-freeze debate debacle even went viral on YouTube. In truth everybody has “senior moments” like forgetting a word we know we should know, or walking into a room and forgetting why we went there. Fortunately most of us don’t have an opportunity to forget one of our three pet political platforms in front of millions of TV viewers. Even Perry’s admission that “he stepped in it” is symptomatic of the problem here. I’m not a Perry fan and never will be, but Perry inarticulateness isn’t the reason.  If the GOP didn’t like the self-mortification of promoting embarrassing public speakers, it wouldn’t have backed Bush Jr. for two full terms. But if you want confirmation of how common this sort of brain freeze is, check out the interesting New York Times article on Rick Perry’s Brain Freeze.

CAIN: Charges of sexual harassment look bad for Herman Cain, but it’s far from clear whether Cain, his accusers or both sides have the credibility gap. I’ll wait until the facts are aired and sorted out. On a recent road trip I heard most of an LA talk show on this topic. All callers had already arm-chaired the scandal without benefit of the facts, which are still not known, and their “opinions” seemed to depend on whether or not they liked Cain. I don’t like Cain either, but whatever happened to due process and an impartial hearing?

PATERNO: Sacked Penn State coach Joe Paterno, 84, was accused of failing to act on molestation testimony against a formerly respected and long-serving coaching assistant, Jerry Sandusky. University President Graham Spanier was also just fired. Penn State students rioted against the loss of their coach, and presumably out of loyalty to their team. This misplaced at-any-cost “loyalty” is exactly what compounded the scandal in 2002 when college officials suppressed it. I think most of us would prefer to see a serious national inquiry into prevention of institutional child abuse and subsequent cover-up. As for Paterno and Spanier, it happened on their watch and they sandbagged it. The sackings were appropriate. Treating trusted college officials as the victims instead of the kids they betrayed is what’s offensively inappropriate.

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