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Penn State politics

KC Johnson at Minding the Campus on Gov. Tom Corbett's lawsuit seeking to overturn NCAA sanctions levied on Penn State:

"It's not hard to determine Corbett's likely motive for filing the suit. The governor needs a political boost: He's up for re-election in 2014, and he joins Maine's Paul LePage [according to Public Policy Polling] ... as the two most unpopular GOP governors in the country ... And Corbett is particularly vulnerable on the Sandusky issue: Democrats have attacked him for slow-walking the criminal investigation during his tenure as attorney general, and his election as governor gave him a slot on the Penn State board of trustees, which so spectacularly failed in its oversight responsibilities ...

"The governor's filing is heavy on rhetoric (Corbett hailed 'the students who help pay tuition by waiting tables filled with alumni and fans who patronize restaurants and bars before and after games') and short on substance. It's also marinated in the self-victimization theme that has been all too common among Penn State's most ardent defenders throughout this affair ...

"This is an unusual lawsuit: On one side, the NCAA, a highly unsympathetic bureaucracy notorious for the lack of due process it grants to student-athletes, and on the other, a governor seemingly using the legal process to bolster his political standing among bitter-enders in his state. Is there a way for both sides to lose?"

Welcome to the Tea Party!

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent Republican Congressman Scott Perry of York a "Tea Party Membership Card" after he was sworn in last week. Under the slogan "Ideology over Solutions," the card says Mr. Perry is now entitled to:

• "Unlimited votes against women's rights.

• "Authority to create and/or ignore any national crisis.

• "Access to millions in undisclosed special-interest cash.

• "Full participation in a caucus united behind ending the Medicare guarantee.

• "Ironically, government-funded health care paid for by taxpayers [because Mr. Scott is a military veteran]..... "

Victorians for the poor

Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal: "An interesting experiment is about to be conducted in London. A public-housing authority has constructed exact replicas of elegant early-Victorian townhouses on one side of Union Square ... The authority will rent these houses to relatively poor families at a steep discount ...

"Architecturally, the houses are a reproach to the criminal stupidity, barbarity and incompetence of postwar British architects, who made so much of urban Britain a visual hell ...

"Socially, the experiment may help determine whether architecture has an effect, for good or ill, upon social pathology. Will people, given elegant houses, behave more elegantly? ... From a casual study of what one might call the epidemiology of graffiti, I think that even supposedly antisocial types are capable of aesthetic discrimination. ... On the whole, they confine their efforts to the brutal concrete or otherwise hideous surfaces of the modern urban environment and leave architecturally meritorious buildings and surfaces alone, even in otherwise grim areas. In other words, their graffiti are an aesthetic commentary, albeit an unconscious one, on the world in which they live."

Congressional arson

The Borowitz Report: "Official Washington was in celebration mode on New Year's Day after kind of averting a completely unnecessary crisis that was entirely of its own creation. 'This deal proves that if we all procrastinate long and hard enough, we can semi-solve any self-inflicted problem at the very last minute in a way that satisfies no one,' said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"But even as Sen. McConnell basked in self-congratulation, he warned Congress against the complacency that could come with having sort of fixed its own completely avoidable mess. 'This is a new year, and much work remains to be done,' he said. 'It's up to us to concoct entirely new optional disasters that we will have to undo at some later date in a more or less half-assed way.'

"In a related story, an arsonist received an award for putting out his own fire."


Greg Victor (


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