Saturday, June 30, 2012

CNN Report: Penn State Covered Up Sandusky's Abuse

Disturbing e-mails could spell more trouble for Penn State officials - CNN.com
Published on CNN | shared via feedly

With convicted serial child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky behind bars, new questions are surfacing about what Penn State officials knew about a 2001 incident involving the former assistant football coach's encounter with a boy in the shower -- and whether they covered up the incident.
After the 2001 incident, Sandusky sexually abused other boys over the course of years until his arrest. CNN does not have the purported e-mails. However, the alleged contents were made available to CNN.

The messages indicate former Penn State President Graham Spanier and two other former university officials knew they had a problem with Sandusky after a 2001 shower incident, but apparently first decided to handle it using a "humane" approach before contacting outside authorities whose job it is to investigate suspected abuse.

"This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this," wrote Gary Schultz, then vice president at the university.
Read the rest here.

If the CNN story is accurate, the emails collectively illustrate a systematic attempt to cover up the child abuse scandal that scarred dozens of lives, landed Sandusky in prison for the rest of his life and eventually took the life of legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

But the fact that Penn State officials covered for Sandusky shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Shortly after this scandal made headlines, LivingCrimson did some research and found convincing evidence that Paterno and other school officials knew what was going on for years.

The emails analyzed and reported on by CNN simply document what many already know or suspected, which is that the entire top level of the school's administration knew they had a monster in their midst and did very little to contain his evil.

Instead of protecting the most vulnerable, school officials were apparently--and sadly--worried about their own vulnerability.

Morning Six Pack: June 30, 2012

imageWhen it’s this hot, a cold six pack of college football stories from around the country sure makes cutting grass and pulling weeds a lot easier.

Oregon State WR decides to hang up the cleats

Following a decent, yet oft-injured career at Oregon State, wide receiver Jordan Bishop has decided to hang up the cleats for good, the school announced in a press release.

Texas A&M Hires Eric Hyman; South Carolina Looking for AD

Who said there wouldn't be a natural rivalry between Texas A&M and South Carolina?

Reprieve?

Boise State says the NCAA will reconsider scholarship sanctions imposed on the football program.

Here's who should be on college football's playoff selection panel

Familiar names.

Top UF signees yet to report

Three of the highest-rated players in the 2012 Florida recruiting class, all defensive linemen, have yet to arrive in Gainesville due to academic issues.

Quotable:

Get ready for weekly chaos and controversies likely starting at about the time the leaves begin to fall. This will be a similar situation to what we'll endure for two more years, only now there will be faces to blame and not just a formula. Continued controversy was inevitable, but now it will be a anticipated weekly.

Saying these teams could possibly “come out of the blue” is miscalculated, obviously, given the various polls, rankings and dedicated fans who are willing to put their own eyeball test up against everyone else’s. It's a comfort zone. Bigger yet, it gets us back to the week-to-week percentage grind that was one of my great frustrations with the BCS. I’m sure this Sunday televised release could pull in a nice buck from a certain network, though. Sound familiar with something you’ll see every Sunday night starting around the same time for the next two years, thankfully without the presence of Craig James?

Friday, June 29, 2012

BCS’ Bill Hancock on selecting the selectors (Audio)

“This committee will be I think modeled in the large part after the NCAA sports committees. They do that pretty well. Of course every one of those committees is subject to contention to controversy every year to soccer to tennis to basketball. They’re all the same. I expected this to be made up primarily of current administrators like the NCAA committees. I expect the number to be somewhere between 10 and 20, maybe toward the middle of that number. Every conference to have a representative. Then maybe some at larger representatives to fill in and then … what criteria they use?

“This is pretty broad, but it makes sense. Win-loss record. Who did you play? Where did you play them? How did you do? What’s your schedule strength? What about head-to-head? What about common opponents? Injuries? Yeah we lost to ‘State University’ but our quarterback was hurt that day. We won the rest of our games and he’s back. All kind of common sense things that folks use to evaluate team is what this committee will use.”

Via the Dan Patrick Show.

I don’t know where others stand, but I am becoming less and less impressed with this whole selection committee thing as time goes on. The more we learn about it, the more subjective and qualitative the process becomes.

Bring back the BCS rankings.

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SEC Media Days slate of players

Just released by the Southeastern Conference.

2012 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS PARTICIPATING STUDENT-ATHLETES

ALABAMA

Barrett Jones                        C              6-5          311         Sr.           Germantown, Tenn.

Damion Square                     DE           6-3          285         Sr.           Houston, Texas

Michael Williams                  TE            6-6          269         Sr.           Reform, Ala.

ARKANSAS

Knile Davis                             RB           6-0          226         Jr.            Missouri City, Texas

Tyler Wilson                          QB           6-3          220         Sr.           Greenwood, Ark.

Tenarius Wright                   ILB           6-2          252         Sr.           Memphis, Tenn.

AUBURN

Emory Blake                          WR          6-2          197         Sr.           Austin, Texas

Corey Lemonier                   DE           6-4          240         Jr.            Hialeah, Fla.

Philip Lutzenkirchen           TE            6-5          256         Sr.           Marietta, Ga.

FLORIDA

Jon Bostic                              ILB           6-1          243         Sr.           Wellington, Fla.

Mike Gillislee                        RB           5-11        201         Sr.           Deland, Fla.

Lerentee McCray                 LB           6-2          247         Sr.           Ocala, Fla.

GEORGIA

Abry Jones                            DE           6-3          309         Sr.           Warner Robins, Ga.

Jarvis Jones                           OLB         6-3          241         Jr.            Columbus, Ga.

Tavarres King                        WR          6-1          192         Sr.           Mount Airy, Ga.

KENTUCKY

Matt Smith                             C              6-4          296         Sr.           Louisville, Ky.

Collins Ukwu                         DE           6-5          258         Sr.           La Vergne, Tenn.

Larry Warford                      OG          6-3          343         Sr.           Richmond, Ky.

LSU

Odell Beckham, Jr.               WR          5-11        183         So.           New Orleans, La.

Zach Mettenberger             QB           6-5          222         Jr.            Watkinsville, Ga.

Eric Reid                                SAF         6-2          208         Jr.            Geismar, La.

OLE MISS

Mike Marry                           ILB           6-2          248         Jr.            Clearwater, Fla.

Donte Moncrief                   WR          6-2          214         So.           Raleigh, Miss.

Charles Sawyer                     DB           5-11        175         Jr.            Miami, Fla.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Johnthan Banks                    DB           6-2          185         Sr.           Maben, Miss.

Gabe Jackson                        OL           6-4          320         Jr.            Liberty, Miss.

Tyler Russell                          QB           6-4          220         Jr.            Meridian, Miss.

MISSOURI

Elvis Fisher                            OL           6-5          295         Sr.           St. Petersburg, Fla.

E.J. Gaines                              CB           5-10        190         Jr.            Independence, Mo.

T.J. Moe                                 WR          6-0          200         Sr.           O’Fallon, Mo.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ace Sanders                          WR          5-8          175         Jr.            Bradenton, Fla.

Connor Shaw                        QB           6-1          207         Jr.            Flowery Branch, Ga.

D.J. Swearinger                     FS            6-0          210         Sr.           Greenwood, S.C.

TENNESSEE

Tyler Bray                              QB           6-6          210         Jr.            Kingsburg, Calif.

Ja’Wuan James                     OL           6-6          324         Jr.            Suwanee, Ga.

Herman Lathers                   LB            6-0          225         Sr.           Baton Rouge, La.

TEXAS A&M

Luke Joeckel                         OT           6-6          310         Jr.            Arlington, Texas

Sean Porter                           OLB         6-2          230         Sr.           Schertz, Texas

Ryan Swope                          WR          6-0          206         Sr.           Austin, Texas

VANDERBILT

Jordan Rodgers                    QB           6-1          210         Sr.           Chico, Calif.

Zac Stacy                                RB           5-9          210         Sr.           Centreville, Ala.

Trey Wilson                           DB           5-11        192         Sr.           Shreveport, La.

Ruh Roh: Isaiah Crowell arrested on weapons charges

Isaiah Crowell arrested on weapons charges | Georgia Bulldogs blog | Columbus Ledger Enquirer
Published on www.ledger-enquirer.com | shared via feedly
Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell was jailed early on Friday morning on three weapons charges, including two felonies.

Crowell was arrested on charges of carrying a weapon in a school zone, and having an altered ID mark, both felonies. He was also booked on a misdemeanor charge of possessing/carrying a concealed weapon.

Crowell's arrest resulted from a vehicle checkpoint on East Campus Road and Greene Street on the UGA campus, around 2:20 a.m., according to Athens-Clarke County spokesman Hilda Sorrow. Crowell was booked at 3:37 a.m. and remains in Clarke County jail, according to the jail's web site, with bond set at $7,500.
Read the rest here.

Although this is the first felony arrest of a UGA player in several years, it's not Crowell's first run-in with authority. A failed marijuana test and a suspension were a drag on the highly touted 2011 recruit.

The Bulldogs' seemingly annual string of off-season troubles led USC's Steve Spurrier to quip:

“I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

Sandusky keeps his pension? Seriously?

Report: Sandusky likely to get pension
 
Convicted child molester and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is likely to keep his state pension of more than $4,900 per month despite being found guilty last week on 45 molestation charges, according to reports.
 
By law, the former Penn State assistant football coach would only forfeit his pension after being sentenced for crimes falling under Pennsylvania's Act 140. That list includes crimes such as extortion and bribery by a public employee, but not violent crimes or sexual abuse.
 
Nicholas Maiale, chairman of the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS), told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that he plans to seek a legal review of the board's options in paying Sandusky's pension.
Read the rest here.

Perhaps there is a silver lining in this otherwise disgusting development in a case that has so thoroughly disgusted the country. That would be the fact that when any plaintiffs suing him in civil court would have at least a small source of revenue from which to recover damages.

Sandusky's pension is a state deal, meaning the taxpayers of Pennsylvania foot the bill, and as long as he or his wife are alive, the money keeps flowing.

Chief Justice John Roberts’ stroke of genius?

image Like most conservatives, I was initially dismayed by the news that the John Roberts Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 vote. However, after a careful reading of the opinion, I come away impressed and amazed at what Roberts was able to pull off.
It’s nothing short of remarkable.

The first thing Roberts was able to do was craft a majority on the fact that Congress vastly overstepped its bounds in citing the commerce and “necessary and proper” clauses of the Constitution as bases for the individual mandate in the legislation.

The second thing Roberts achieved was forming a super-majority of 7-2 that Congress also overstepped its authority under the spending clause when it sought to punish states for not participating in the expanded Medicaid provisions. The Government wanted to punish non-conforming states by withholding all Medicaid funding, rather than just that portion of their funding that would go to the expanded benefits under the law.

The third thing Roberts did was carefully craft an opinion that exposed the funding for entitlement programs for what they are—giveaways based on confiscatory taxation, a politically toxic designation.

Last of all—and that which disappoints conservatives but delights historians—is that Roberts found ground to uphold the mandate by conceding that Congress had much broader powers under the enumerated power to lay and collect taxes.

While Roberts found a way to save the image of his court, he also found a way to gut Obamacare without actually throwing it out.

Put succinctly, there is absolutely no way the legislation can achieve its goals of lowering costs and increasing the number of insured persons without forcing states to accept the expanded Medicaid provisions. You crunch the numbers however you want to. You give the Congressional Budget Office whatever contrived scenarios you can imagine. But there is no way that the number of people covered under the law will fall if states don’t play along, and at least 26 of them have already signaled that they won’t when they filed the suit that was decided this week.

Furthermore, there’s no way that the federal government can contain the budget deficit imposed by the legislation if it cannot shift at least some of the burden onto the states, which the 7-2 super-majority said that it couldn’t.

There’s more brilliance in what Roberts has done. Not only has he crafted a way to narrow Congress’ power under the commerce clause, he has put the battle over this and other entitlement programs on the turf they belong on—the political one. And, defining the mandate as a tax also puts this squarely on the terrain occupied by the right.

When a bear and and alligator do battle, the outcome is largely determined by whether that battle is fought in the swamp on in the foothills.

Obamacare—like Social Security and Medicare—is nothing more than an entitlement program. It is funded like all other entitlement programs in that the costs of the program are confiscated from those with the means to pay and its benefits are distributed to those without such means. The mandate is no less of a tax than the FICA and Medicare deductions you see coming out of your paycheck each pay period. The only difference between the mandate and other entitlement taxes is that you can “voluntarily” contribute your share by purchasing health insurance through your employer or from a private provider. It’s as if Social Security or Medicare were partially privatized.

The left simply cannot win a battle to protect an entitlement on this turf. If the American people understand that they will be required to pay a tax so that others can have free healthcare, they will reject it out of hand and proponents of such measures will be thrown out of office.

Roberts hinted that he knew quite well what he was doing when he so eloquently wrote:
Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
With the mandate now carefully defined as a confiscatory tax, and with the ability of PPACA to achieve its goals now crippled without the ability to compel the states to accept part of the burden, the only way to keep the legislation from absolutely exploding the federal budget deficit is to jack up the mandate to politically unacceptable levels. This is the battle that the left cannot win, because this terrain is occupied by people who are Taxed Enough Already.

By declaring the mandate a tax, the Roberts Court set a potentially dangerous precedent that allows Congress to tax any activity (or, inactivity in this case) it deems unhelpful. It’s really not much of a precedent—there are taxes, fines and fees on all sorts of activities that Congress has determined to be unhelpful in promoting the general welfare. But the Court simultaneously forced elected leaders to stop the prevarications about how entitlement programs are funded. They’re not contributions, or penalties, or co-payments or any other weasel words. They’re taxes.

It’s as if Roberts has handed the statists a lethal weapon, cursed with the power to destroy whoever attempts to wield it.

You’re running for reelection and you endorse massive tax increases to fund yet another entitlement program? Good luck with that, Madam Incumbent.

UPDATE: Fixed the reference to Medicaid Expansion. Ugh. It was late.

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Morning Six Pack: June 29, 2012

imageWarm beer or cold coffee, it still goes down well while you enjoy these six college football stories from around the country.

With a playoff in place, it’s time to revisit player stipends

Money talk rises again.

Book Your Tickets To Nashville Now

Though college football's playoff is still a newborn, bids are already being assembled by cities and stadium authorities offering their services to host games, probably just because they're generous…

Rose Bowl to remain on ESPN through 2026

Grandaddy gets a 12 year extension.

Ex-Irish coach Brown pleads guilty

Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Corwin Brown, who is accused of striking his wife and holding her hostage, has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to confinement and domestic battery charges.

And now, we wait

Am I the only one who hopes that either one or both of the last two BCS seasons provide absolute GEM matchups?

Quotable:

Once the red eyes finally clear and the hangover wears off after the four-team playoff victory celebration, those who passionately sought the demise of the BCS will see its replacement as more political, more polluted with corruption, more convoluted and more controversial than its predecessor.

They'll scream even louder about what's wrong with the new system.

The strongest yells will come from our own backyard, because the Big Ten and Notre Dame are the biggest losers in this reconfiguration. An actual playoff rewarding performance more than personality effectively places a tombstone on Midwestern football relevance.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

College football is undergoing major change. After over 140 years, the first official playoff is coming. For 1.1263415369.poison-apple-treemany casual observers, this is met with enthusiasm. There are some responding with trepidation. The reasons are many and there are persuasive arguments made. I argue that there has been no championship worthy #4 team in the history of the BCS, and that the move towards a playoff is more about inclusion than excellence.


We now know enough to start judging the process that we are going to have. I felt the pro-playoff argument was easier to make when it was supporting an ambiguous plan. Most of us could imagine some a playoff that we liked. Without the ability to place the same scrutiny that the BCS has seen, on a specific playoff proposal, it was easy to support the notion of a playoff. We do not know all the details, but we know enough to start judging.


The inclusion of a committee is dubious. In the span of less than a year, the BCS powers went from not supporting a playoff, to rushing one through. Why the sudden change of heart? Why ditch a method that (with some tweaking) they have used since 1998 for selecting teams? The answer is the same to both. The BCS chose two SEC teams to play in the championship. This shook the powers that be enough, that they were set on eliminating a chance of reoccurrence. They discarded the polls, who demonstrated that they are capable of being objective, and they replaced them with a committee that they can manipulate. I will spare you my interpretation of Slive's role in all this, but the SEC seemed unable or unintelligent enough to act in their own interests.


A committee might betray the BCS, they might opt for objectively choosing the best teams (like the polls did in 2011), so the BCS needs protection against that. This is where the process goes from bad to worse. The point in which this new BCS playoff becomes irreparably corrupted. The committee will use conference champions criteria. To what extent we do not know yet. The descriptions vary from "tie breaker" to making it the primary consideration. This matters little, because the process has been poisoned.


There are reasons to be afraid of a committee. Last year the NCAA basketball committee moved Missouri, a third ranked team, down to an eighth overall seed. In the past, the same committee has left top 25 teams out of a field of 64. Signs like that are ominous, and we have cause to be concerned about how far the committee will go and how biased it will be. That is purely speculation. We can hope that the general criteria that they use will be akin to the BCS formula.


I cannot get past the poisonous influence of the conference champion criteria. Being a conference champion only has relevance regarding other teams in your conference. Being the champion of the Sun Belt for instance, does not necessarily make you any better than a seventh place team in the SEC. There are 11 conferences, with varying methods of deciding champions, and various numbers of teams. To assign a value to being a conference champion is to admit brazenly that your desire is something other than choosing the top teams.


The other conferences want inclusion, and are willing to toss aside the notion of the playoff being about the best teams. They have utterly corrupted the process from the start. You cannot tell a committee that they need to choose the top four teams, unless one of them is not a conference champion (at which point they should re-evaluate their position). You cannot take that step and then pretend as though you are unbiased. The fruit of this committee will have to be poisonous. Even years in which they produce valid results, it will be despite the criteria not because of it.

 
A line has been crossed. In the nearly 100 years of crowning national champions, it has always been a stated quest to crown the most deserving team. A four team playoff disregards that, saying that merely being in the top four is enough to qualify for a championship. This playoff? It disregards even that, saying that to be a national champion you must meet arbitrary criteria that they set forth. College football has gone from arguably the most legitimate method of crowing a national champion, to arguably the most corrupt.

Obamacare Quotables

image

As a conservative, he is as appalled as his conservative colleagues by the administration’s central argument that Obamacare’s individual mandate is a proper exercise of its authority to regulate commerce.

That makes congressional power effectively unlimited. Mr. Jones is not a purchaser of health insurance. Mr. Jones has therefore manifestly not entered into any commerce. Yet Congress tells him he must buy health insurance — on the grounds that it is regulating commerce. If government can do that under the commerce clause, what can it not do?

“The Framers . . . gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” writes Roberts. Otherwise you “undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers.”

Though he shocked many by joining the left plank on the high court, Justice Roberts. pretty much did what he was supposed to do. He finally put a boundary on how much freedom the federal government can gobble up from states and individuals under the “commerce clause” — that most specious scheme for so much federal thievery.

Then he told President Obama and his kleptocrats in Congress that they can have their health care law, but they cannot keep lying about it. A tax is a tax and they are liars if they call it anything else. And they just stuck the crippled American taxpayer with one of the biggest, broadest, most regressive tax-hikes in history — and during a deep, double-dip recession!

Finally, Justice Roberts turned to the bumbling, tongue-twisted and goofball opposition party — sometimes called the “Republican” party but usually called the “stupid” or “slow” party — and told them to man up, quit whining and fix the horrific mess that they are so much responsible for. They may have messed their diaper, but he’s not changing it for them.

Nevertheless, this is the law of the land.  We can now look forward to taxes levied by the auto industry for not having bought a new car in the last seven years, the liquor industry for buying too few bottles of wine to maintain your health, and by the agricultural industry for not buying that damned broccoli after all. We might even have Obama attempt to impose a tax for not buying enough contraception; we can call that the Trojan tax.

So what now?  Mitt Romney and Republicans can now run on repeal as a big issue in the campaign.  They should emphasize the tax argument when they do, because this tax hits everyone.  The ruling may alleviate some of the bad polling the ACA has received, but probably not by much.  It’s going to remain deeply unpopular for the next few months.  On top of that, the decision to uphold the law also means that the fight is still on over the HHS contraception mandate.  We can expect the Catholic bishops to keep up the pressure on the Obama administration’s attempt to define religious expression for the purpose of controlling and limiting it — and we can probably expect the challenge to it to reach the Supreme Court, too.

This started off as a political fight, though, and it’s now clear that it has to get resolved as a political fight.

Finally, while I am not down on John Roberts like many of you are today, i will be very down on Congressional Republicans if they do not now try to shut down the individual mandate. Force the Democrats on the record about the mandate. Defund Obamacare. This now, by necessity, is a political fight and the GOP sure as hell should fight.

60% of Americans agree with them on the issue. And guess what? The Democrats have been saying for a while that individual pieces of Obamacare are quite popular. With John Roberts’ opinion, the repeal fight takes place on GOP turf, not Democrat turf. The all or nothing repeal has always been better ground for the GOP and now John Roberts has forced everyone onto that ground. Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, because John Roberts concluded it was a tax, the Democrats cannot filibuster its repeal because of the same reconciliation procedure the Democrats used to pass it.

It seems very, very clear to me in reviewing John Roberts’ decision that he is playing a much longer game than us and can afford to with a life tenure. And he probably just handed Mitt Romney the White House.

If you were above all interested in the bill being struck down, it was mostly a loss. On the other hand, if you were more concerned about the qualitative expansion in the power of the government that the bill represented, it was definitely a win.

First, the Roberts Court put real limits on what the government can and cannot do. For starters, it restricted the limits of the Commerce Clause, which does not give the government the power to create activity for the purpose of regulating it. This is a huge victory for those of us who believe that the Constitution is a document which offers a limited grant of power.

Second, the Roberts Court also threw out a portion of the Medicaid expansion. States have the option of withdrawing from the program without risk of losing their funds. This is another major victory for conservatives who cherish our system of dual sovereignty. This was also a big policy win for conservatives; the Medicaid expansion was a major way the Democrats hid the true cost of the bill, by shifting costs to the states, but they no longer can do this.

SCOTUS just handed the White House to Mitt Romney

Watch former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s response to the US Supreme Court’s opinion upholding the key part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare.



Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which held that Congress could not use the commerce clause of the US Constitution to compel individuals to participate in a market for any good or service, but that it could impose a tax on those who didn’t. Despite the government’s position in court and in selling PPACA on the grounds that the mandate wasn’t a tax, the Court found that it was.

Which means the passage of Obamacare was a fraud. Here’s Barack Obama, vehemently denying that a penalty to be collected via the Internal Revenue Service is a tax:



Barack Obama has just become a one-term President.

Why? Four reasons:

1. Obama now has to defend the largest tax increase on the middle class in the history of middle class tax increases. Poor people won’t have to pay the penalty tax and the wealthy can easily afford health insurance.

2. Obama can’t run against the Supreme Court now. John Roberts joined the liberal wing of the Court and authored the majority opinion. So much for the “five Republicans in black robes taking away your healthcare” campaign meme.

3. A clear majority of the American people deeply oppose Obamacare without realizing that it was a tax increase.

4. Public revolt. The Supreme Court decision puts Obamacare right back on the public’s radar screen. It was the TARP, auto company bailouts and stimulus spending that gave rise to the Tea Party movement. In late 2009 and early 2010, the Taxed Enough Already Party was a loosely organized grassroots movement. By Election Day 2012, it had morphed into a political force that not only swept Democrats out of the House of Representatives, it ended Democrat rule in many states as well.

In 2012, Tea Party activists are now well organized. The takeover of so many state and local offices now gives Republicans a ground game they’ve never had before, and Obamacare is back on the menu.

Obama’s not only going to lose his reelection bid, it could be the biggest ass kicking since 1984.

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Three Texas cities aiming at college football's new title game

Trio of Texas cities hoping to land college football's new title game - Houston Chronicle
Published on www.chron.com | shared via feedly
At each point of the Texas Triangle, efforts geared up Wednesday to attract college football's new national championship game to a state that cherishes the sport like no other.

Groups in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio have expressed interest in entering the 12-year rotation for the title game that begins after the 2014 season, and bowl groups in all three cities also hope to land a spot in the six-city rotation that will host the two semifinal contests.

Officials in Dallas-Fort Worth, in fact, have formed a nonprofit entity — Stadium Events Organizing Committee, comprising the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, Cowboys Stadium and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — in an effort to compete for the games.
Read the rest here.

What's interesting here is that two cities not normally known for major college football bowls--Houston and San Antonio--are gearing up to make a shot at what should be the second biggest football game after the Super Bowl.

What's also interesting is that while the Rose, Orange and Champions Bowl have been listed as venues for the upcoming playoff, the Sugar and Fiesta have not.

Those two bowls are known for two things--corruption and the most expensive mandates imposed on participating teams in terms of ticket commitments and accommodations. Monday's announcement sent a clear shot across the bows of those two bowls and the joint SEC/Big 12 announcement of a new relationship to match teams in a new bowl was another.

Morning Six Pack: June 28, 2012

imageGod made beer a beautiful gold color for a reason. Enjoy these six college football stories from around the country responsibly.

Storied Notre Dame-Michigan series taking break

Won’t meet again until 2020?

Former Vols RB Oku signs with Arkansas State

Taking a page from the Tater Tot playbook, y’all.

What looks like a win for college football doesn't pass the smell test.

Something else that doesn’t pass the smell test—three of Fox Sports columnists hate the playoff idea. Wonder why…

College football is ruined.

We’re done here.

LSU Gives College Football Fans a Playoff

First off, you're welcome. There is no program that has done more to expose the BCS as the fraud that it is than LSU. 2003, 2007, 2011... those are the controversies that would eventually bring down a system.

Quotable:

[The playoff] merely gives you relative certitude. It’s not perfect — some clunker teams can be crowned, some historically great teams will get the relative shaft — but, before the season, during the season, and in the playoffs, everyone knows what it takes to be the champion: you must get into the playoffs, and you must win every game once you’re there. The Patriots couldn’t lobby for votes, they couldn’t say that they got jerked around, and they even couldn’t say that they didn’t get their chance. They played and they lost. They were probably better, they might only have had a bad day, but hey, you knew what you were getting into.

Which is really the issue here. No one has any idea what being “National Champion” ought to mean — especially in college football where you have over a hundred D-1 programs and no team can come close to playing all the others. A playoff would simply lay some ground rules people could follow. As it stands, without a playoff, everyone may mount their high horse and argue past each other.

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Non-Sports: Outrage - Airbus set to outsource about 1,000 jobs

Multiple sources confirm Airbus announcement scheduled for Monday
Published on AL.com Mobile | shared via feedly
MOBILE, Alabama -- Multiple company, state and local officials confirmed that an agreement was in place to bring Airbus to Mobile, and that company president Fabrice Bregier was scheduled to announce the project at a 10 a.m. news conference at the Mobile Convention Center.
A state official who participated in the negotiations said plans call for an initial work force of about 1,000 and that the company would spend several hundred million dollars to construct the plant. Alabama will contribute more than $100 million in tax breaks and other incentives, the official said.

Read the rest here.

Who knew that, in a global economy, corporations would seek to build plants and hire workers where they want to expand their markets and lower production costs for serving those markets?

The French must be really, really pissed off. Surely, somehow, Bain Capital is involved in this shameless outsourcing deal.

Just like the Germans were pissed when Mercedes Benz built a plant near Tuscaloosa and Thyssen-Krupp Steel built one just north of Mobile.

And I bet the South Koreans rose up in righteous anger over the construction of the Hyundai facility just south of Montgomery.

How dare these global companies seek global opportunities.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

College football playoff quotables

image None of them succeeded, and as recently as Jan. 10, 2011, Hancock told reporters covering that night's Oregon-Auburn BCS championship game: "There is no overwhelming support to do anything different." Exactly one year later, the morning after last season's Alabama-LSU snoozer, the commissioners met at a New Orleans hotel to begin discussing the future, after which Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told several of those same reporters: "Everything is in the mix."

Lo and behold, five months later, we have a playoff.

“A four-team playoff doesn’t go too far,” Virginia Tech president Charles Steger told reporters. “It goes just the right amount. We are very pleased with this new arrangement.”

First sign the screw job is in: College presidents like the plan.

Can I translate what Steger said for y’all? We were going to have to change — public perception mounting, Congressional meddling, etc., you understand — and so the plan was to give in without giving up what matters to us (mostly unequal access, money, control). We did this, and y’all are commending us. Damn, we are smart.

They kind of are. They created a system so flawed, so dysfunctional, so unpopular that anything looked better in comparison, and so they were able to give us the most watered-down playoff possible and lock this baby in for 14 years.

Tuesday was especially sweet for those inside the machine who fought for a playoff long before their colleagues came around to the idea. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, whose league suffered a defeat Tuesday when the presidents denied a waiver that would have made the MWC a BCS automatic-qualifying conference for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, couldn't hide his pride in the formation of a playoff. He just wished it had come earlier. Under this system, TCU -- then a Mountain West member -- would have made the playoff in 2009 and 2010, and Utah -- then a Mountain West member -- might have made it in 2008. "I've testified in front of Congress [in 2009]," Thompson said. "I wanted an eight-team playoff and a selection committee. I'm half right."

Thompson hasn't given up on a bigger bracket, and he won't be alone. Still, he understands this is an evolutionary process. The Alliance was a step. The Coalition was another. The BCS was another. "Eight-team, 16-team. I still believe in that," Thompson said. "I think that would be ultimately better, but this is a tremendous step."

This step covered more ground than all the others combined. It took major college football across the Rubicon, and the sport will never be the same.

It was something of a Bonfire of the Vanities. Since the NCAA isn’t the most popular group around, and the BCS was widely considered to be the disfigured spawn of a self-serving group of athletic departments, it was hard to favor one side over the other. That’s why so many members of the media wretched at the mere utterance of the letters B-C-S. They knew why the system had been created and were irate that its proponents and propaganda partners tried to convince us that it was legitimately devoted to finding college football’s finest team.

Two years from now, things will change. The BCS will be no more, replaced by a four-team “playoff.” And while that is cause for a celebration of sorts, media members must be careful not to rejoice too much. There is still work to be done.

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Alabama nominated for ESPY Awards

2012 ESPYS - July 2012 ESPN
Published on espn.go.com | shared via feedly
 

Alabama football

On Nov. 5, 2011, LSU handed Alabama it's only loss of the season, marring an otherwise perfect campaign. When the two teams met again in the BCS Championship Game, the Crimson Tide exacted revenge in a decisive manner, overpowering the Tigers 21-0 to capture the national title.

Vote here.

Also, per Matt Scalici at al.com, Alabama softball is also nominated, with both coach Patrick Murphy and starting pitcher Jackie Traina both up for individual awards.


Vote for Murphy here.

Vote for Traina here.

Come on, Bama fans. You know what to do.

Non-Sports: Appeals court ruling clears way for new wells in Gulf of Mexico

Appeals Court Rejects Arguments Against New Wells
Published on WKRG.com - home - headlines | shared via feedly
A federal appeals court has rejected arguments by a coalition of environmental groups, who maintain that U.S. regulators failed to thoroughly review the potential dangers of drilling new deep wells off the coast of Alabama.
  
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with lower court decisions allowing Shell to move ahead with plans to drill 10 new deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
Original article.

Corruption free playoff model?

MackBrownFinger Last week in this space, I asked that media members be kept off of the selection committee for the four team college football playoff. The gist of that post was that the risk of getting a horribly biased blowhard or three on the panel that chooses the most significant bowl pairings was too great.

The BCS has long been derided as a system corrupted by power and money, and rightfully so. But at the end of the model runs and final poll ballots, the BCS usually got it right and pitted the two best teams in the country against each other to determine the national champion.

With a yet to be formulated selection committee, how certain are we that the best four teams in the country are chosen to play in the three game slate? Fans won’t stand for a slate that features the four highest ranked conference champions at the expense of leaving out a one-loss team that didn’t win its division. Nebraska, Oklahoma and Alabama all deserved their shots at the title despite not winning their conference. Would any of those three teams make in the four-team field in 2014?

In the BCS system, one coach, one athletic director or one conference commissioner had little chance of effectively influencing the outcome of the selection process. One or two votes may have been influenced but the poll participant pool was sufficiently large to dilute such influence and make it unlikely that a less than deserving team made it in the big game. Now, there are two big games.

With no more computers and a single selection committee—which could end up being much smaller than the collective BCS poll participant pool—has the chance of corrupt influence increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?

Thomas Watts at BamaHammer has an opinion on that.

Flash back to the 2004 season, when USC was paired against Oklahoma for the title and Auburn was left out. Tommy Tuberville lobbied very hard to get his Tigers into the game but was forced to “settle” on a Sugar Bowl berth.

But another coach was much more successful at influencing the system—Mack Brown. The Rose Bowl already had Michigan and really, really wanted to invite Pac-12 runner-up Cal. But Brown was having none of that. He took to the airwaves, whine incessantly and twisted enough arms and votes to ram the Longhorns down the Rose’s throat.

It’s really hard to corrupt a large process that selects only two teams. It’s much easier to Mack up a smaller process that selects four. It’s hard to fault a coach for acting in his program’s best interest and you can bet that the coach of a borderline 4/5 team is going to double-time his efforts to get his team in there.

The challenge is designing and operating a model that prevents a two-loss Big 10 or ACC champion from leapfrogging a higher ranked and clearly better one-loss SEC or Pac-12 runner up.

Keeping media members off of the selection committee helps get that system in place. Having a sufficiently large and sufficiently transparent selection committee does, too.

If the history of the BCS tells us anything at all, it tells us that for at least the first few years, there will be some jaw-dropping WTF moments in the selection process. Tweaks to the system in response to those events will eventually correct the flaws and we’ll have a credible and convincing process. But until then, don’t underestimate the ability of the decision-makers to screw this up.

And don’t underestimate the chances of a deserving team getting Macked out of a slot in the playoffs.

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SEC Beachfest to be held on one of America's cleanest beaches

Could your favorite beach make you sick? - USATODAY.com
Published on travel.usatoday.com | shared via feedly

For the first time this year, the NRDC has mapped more than 6,000 beaches nationwide, providing monitoring, closing and advisory information for more than half of them.

The searchable map includes a dozen beaches that earned the group's five-star rating for violating health standards less than 5% of the time and for following such best practices as testing more than once a week and posting advisories online as well as at the beach. They include:
  • California's Newport, Huntington State and Bolsa Chica
  • Alabama's Gulf Shores Public Beach and Gulf State Park Pavilion
  • Delaware's Dewey Beach
  • Maryland's Ocean Beach
  • Minnesota's Park Point Franklin Park and Lafayette Community Club Beach
  • New Hampshire's Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands
  • Texas' South Padre Island
Read the original story here.

The news highlights the conditions for the first ever SEC Beachfest, a four-day event featuring the Southeastern Conference's three most recent BCS Championship coaches and a host of legendary figures like Vince Dooley, Pat Dye and Gene Stallings.

If you've never been to the beaches of the northern Gulf Coast, you've been denying yourself the simple pleasure of enjoying some of the world's most beautiful. The sand is so clean and so white, you can hold a bowl of it and a bowl of sugar side by side and the only way to tell the difference is to pick one and taste it.

That's great, and remarkable, especially in light of the 2010 oil spill disaster. Nature and constant cleaning by machine and human hand have made that event's impact on the beaches a distant, if painful memory.

So, y'all come on down, and come on in. The water's fine.

Morning Six Pack: June 27, 2012

imageThe whole drinking before noon thing is null and void once the grill is lit and you’re enjoying these six college football stories from around the country.

The playoffs are here! The playoffs are here! Wait…

Two years remaining on current BCS contract, which means we’ll do the 2012 and 2013 seasons under the current format and the 2014 season starts the new deal.

Missouri plans to upgrade stadium

The Missouri Tigers are planning on upgrading their facilities after their entry into the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama's Saban, Auburn's Chizik to attend SEC BeachFest

Champions.

Panel finds Arkansas trooper likely broke law

The state police captain who provided security for former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino may have broken the law when he accepted tickets and a Sugar Bowl ring from the football program, according to the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Rees practicing with Irish despite arrest

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese have been cleared to participate in summer drills despite their arrests after a party.

Gators to face quality QBs

“Padawan, defense do you know?”

Thanks to @CraigGMoore for today’s beer quip, and check this out:

 

 

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SKYNet is becoming self aware, y'all

What could go wrong?

In a Big Network of Computers, Evidence of Machine Learning 
Published on www.nytimes.com | shared via feedly
Inside Google’s secretive X laboratory, known for inventing self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses, a small group of researchers began working several years ago on a simulation of the human brain. There Google scientists created one of the largest neural networks for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the Internet to learn on its own.
Presented with 10 million digital images found in YouTube videos, what did Google’s brain do? What millions of humans do with YouTube: looked for cats. 

The neural network taught itself to recognize cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Google scientists and programmers will note that while it is hardly news that the Internet is full of cat videos, the simulation nevertheless surprised them. It performed far better than any previous effort by roughly doubling its accuracy in recognizing objects in a challenging list of 20,000 distinct items.
 Read the rest here.

So, Google is the real Cyberdyne Systems. Who knew?

The 600 series have rubber skin. We should spot them easy, so keep your eyes peeled.

Remember Landon Collins’ mom? She’s a Bama fan, now…

Ch-ch-ch-changes.

Remember the lady who caused such a stir last season over her son’s commitment to Alabama? April Justin, who famously objected to his spurning of hometown favorite LSU, has had something of a change of heart. Her youngest son is Gerald Willis—a 2014 defensive end prospect who is already drawing the interest from Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oregon and others.

This time, when he puts the hat on to signify where he's going to school, he might want to hope for a better reaction from his mom. Although she caught a lot of flack for what happened, Justin is ready to do it all over again with Willis. And this time, she's pulling for the Crimson Tide.

"It's going to be crazy," Justin said. "I'm not looking forward to it, but I am looking forward to it in a sense, so [Willis] can move on. But I'm hoping that everything works out with him to be on the same team as his brother. I really would love to see them play together.

"That'd be once in a lifetime, like winning the lottery, to see them on the same team. That'd be awesome, but it's where he's going to be happy."

National signing day for 2014 is a long way away. Anything can happen. But if Landon didn’t make momma happy with his decision, maybe Gerald can?

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Morning Six Pack: June 26, 2012

imageAll things in moderation, including sobriety, and these six college football stories from around the country.

Playoff now in the hands of presidents

Whether or not college football finally gets a postseason will be determined by a committee that includes a geologist, a dentist and a priest. This is the national by-god championship, and the committee had better make the right decision.

Butch Davis’ son has enrolled and will play for… North Carolina?

According to a source close to UNC, Davis, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound quarterback, was offered a preferred walk-on spot and enrolled in the second summer semester. A similar offer was extended by Miami, where his father coached for 11 seasons, including six as head coach.

Tide, Tiger commits stand out at Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge

Many of the nation's top football prospects gathered in Atlanta over the weekend to compete.

New deal struck for Citrus Bowl renovation project

After several false starts, the Florida Citrus Bowl's renovation project is set to begin in 2014 with officials hoping the new stadium can eventually snare a national championship game.

Report: Time Warner interested in picking up Longhorn Network?

The Longhorn Network is turning one year old in August and still looking for a home run carrier to pick up the channel’s content. Time Warner Cable would be a pretty darn good start.

Boise St. yet to formally depart Mountain West

Boise State has yet to withdraw from the Mountain West Conference and faces a Saturday deadline to do so without having to pay additional financial penalties should it go ahead with its move to the Big East.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Promising Auburn QB "sent home" following public intoxication arrest

Zeke Pike leaves Auburn for rest of summer following arrest for public intoxication
Published on al.com - Barn | shared via feedly
Freshman quarterback Zeke Pike has left Auburn and has gone home for the rest of the summer following a weekend arrest for public intoxication.  

He is returning to his Fort Mitchell, Ky., home and will miss weeks of informal summer workouts with his teammates. 

This was not Pike's first off-the-field issue, said someone familiar with the situation. Auburn officials did not address his status Monday.
Tree story in 5...4... 3...

Walking down a darkened street, drunk as bicycles and hollering obscenities at anyone who would (or would not listen). Who didn't do that when they were 19 years old?

I certainly did, but back then being drunk in public was legal even if you were 19.

And, I didn't play for a major college football team.

Tenured professor arrested in prostitution sting... keeps his job?

 
UGA professor in prostitution sting keeps job
Published on ajc.com - News | shared via feedly
The University of Georgia has agreed not to fire a professor charged in a prostitution sting, even if he is found guilty, as long has he retires by the end of next year's spring semester.

A UGA spokesman said Max Reinhart, a tenured professor, has agreed not to sue the university and leave the campus May 10, 2013, as long as he’s not terminated.

Reinhart, 65, was arrested June 7 after Gwinnett County authorities say he tried to prostitute himself for $60 after setting up a meeting online with an undercover agent.
 Read the rest here.

This is not a knock on Georgia because frankly, almost every major public university with tenure policies would likely treat this the same way.

But what if Reinhart changes his mind and decides not to retire?

If the administration chose to begin the termination process, Reinhart would then likely remain on faculty--perhaps in a suspension with pay status--until the appeals process has run its course.

Helmet tap to @MattScalici

Move over, AJ. Lee Ziemba one-upping you in the Tattoo Department


[RSS feed shared via RssTimes]
Former Auburn star Lee Ziemba tattoos Auburn Creed, Toomer's Oaks on his arm

By Matt Scalici, al.com

Former Auburn star Lee Ziemba is making Auburn an even bigger part of his identity thanks to a tattoo that will cover his left arm in Auburn iconography.

This masterpiece of skin ink includes (but surely won't be limited to) depictions of the school logo, the Auburn creed, Toomer's Corner Oaks, the 2010 BCS Championship ring and some dump known as Samford Hall.




Blogging Cycling Fan RIPS US Anti-doping Agency

[RSS feed shared via RssTimes]
Armstrong to USADA: You're long on stale allegations and short on evidence

To any readers who might follow me on the Twitters (@erikajohnsen, hint hint!), I feel the need to issue fair warning and apologize in advance: I am a huge cycling fan, and the Tour de France is just around the corner. Really, I am just absolutely nuts about cycling — it is the one sport I have followed almost religiously year-round since I was a teenager. So, while I usually try to restrict my tweets to at least generally political topics, cycling’s greatest race starts in less than a week, and I just might not be able to contain myself.
...
I’m no Lance Armstrong devotee myself (although, that’s nothing against him, more just that I always found it irksome when the English cycling coverage often turned into the Tour de Lance instead of focusing on the many great cyclists out there), but the continued inquisition has got to stop. Some people just can’t stand a champion, and Armstrong has been the target of especially high-profile attention ever since his first Tour de France victory — even though he’s never once failed a doping test.
...
While everybody would love it if the greatest sport in the history of sports (in my humble opinion) were perfectly clean, and of course the responsible organizations need to conduct thorough investigations in order to deter doping — enough already. A lot of people have had it out for Lance Armstrong for years, and maybe he deserves the extra scrutiny, but they’ve failed to incriminate him every single time.
We will forgive Ms. Johnsen for claiming that cycling is the greatest sport in the history of sports and we will cheer her call for this Armstrong witch hut to stop.

She's absolutely right. Some people just can't stand a champion because in their feeble little minds, it's not fair for one person, one team or one conference to be better than everyone else. There is only one way for such excellence to exist--the big dog got to the top by cheating.

In every sport where these allegations are made, investigations are conducted and if there is cheating involved, they are almost always caught. It is inconceivable that Lance Armstrong could ride for that many years, win that many championships, take that many drug tests and pass every single one of them.

Unfortunately for Armstrong, the USADA investigates and prosecutes in a manner quite similar the the NCAA. To wit, if they want to find you guilty, they do. So it is entirely likely that despite years of failing to produce any credible evidence that Armstrong was doping, the USADA will find a reason to strip Armstrong of his Tour de France victories.

All to make it more fair, and to send a message to those who would excel: Go ahead and win. You'll get what's coming to you for daring to be more successful than anyone else in your game.

Larry Scott: Playoff Model to last "at least" a decade

[RSS feed shared via RssTimes]
Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott Believes This Proposed College Football Playoff Model Will Be in Place for At Least a Decade

“It’s really hard to look at a crystal ball beyond five or ten years and I think you will see this format in place for a good period of time. I don’t think the conferences or BCS has done themselves a good service by having such a short term deal so that the format is a constant discussion point. It’s taken us a good six months in terms of discussion to get to and I think this solution is an artful balance that allows us to move forward with a playoff. Fans will see it more on the field and be less reliant on polls or objective measures but at the same time still preserves the importance of bowls, we’re still going to have top teams in the Rose Bowl, preserves the value of the season, fits with the academic calendar, there’s only one game – the National Championship game – that will take place once classes have already begun so I think this is a model that fits. I think you will see it in place for a while, I’d say at least a decade and after that we will see.”

Via Fox Sports Radio.

God, please let them get this right.

By the way, you'll want to click the link and hear the whole segment. Scott talks about how much tougher the Pac-12 schedules are vis-a-vis  the Southeastern Conference and how he came around on the idea of a selection committee. It's pretty clear that he acted in his own conference's best interest.

Pennsylvania Governor defends Sandusky case

[shared via RssTimes]
Gov. defends pace of state's Sandusky case

By Associated Press

Prosecutors needed about two years between the first report of child sexual abuse involving Jerry Sandusky and the filing of charges because authorities needed to build an "ironclad case" against him, Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday.

Corbett, then the state attorney general, oversaw the start of the Sandusky investigation after the former Penn State assistant coach was barred from a high school in 2009 when a mother complained about Sandusky. Charges were filed last November.

"I think it surprises some people, the length of time it took," Corbett said. "But having been an assistant DA, an assistant U.S. attorney and handling cases like this, I understood that you have to do a complete investigation and get as many witnesses as you possibly can."
Read the rest here.

Corbett's political enemies have attempted to tie the Republican Governor to the scandal by accusing him of kicking the can down the road and doing little or nothing to further the investigation. As evidence, they point to his assignment of "too few" investigators and delaying arrest while his office conducted the probe.

In cases of this magnitude, where the ramifications for the state are so significant, getting all of the legal stuff right is paramount. You only get one bite at the apple because of double jeopardy issues. You try the monster once and if you blow it--ala OJ Simpson--the monster goes free.

There were 10 victims in the case decided last week and more than 50 counts of abuse alleged over many years. Prosecutors said they had more victims and evidence supporting many more counts, but carefully vetted the case and put on a prosecution that would stick.

There is also the somewhat distasteful notion of our presumption of innocence. As horrifying as the story became over time, until prosecutors could be confident that they had a case they could prove beyond reasonable doubt, they could not simply pull him "off the streets." This is not the Soviet Union and the freedoms provided by our system of justice won't survive making exceptions for even the most monstrously evil.

Two years is a very long time, but justice was ultimately served.

To those on the left who think this is an opportunity to draw political blood, just how low are you willing to stoop to score points?

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