Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why I'm Fighting

I want to take a few minutes to tell you about two amazing girls.  On Friday, one starts Junior High and one starts Kindergarten.  One of them is a 12 year old wild child and one of them is a 5 year old that I think plans on taking over the world a la Pinky and the Brain. These two girls are my daughters Bailee and Rowan.  Call my a braggart, or a blatherskite, if you will, but also call me a proud father.

Bailee doesn't begin to know what a terrific kid she is.  She's outgoing, funny and smart.  She's a scatter brain sometimes and she's an artiste.  To my ever loving chagrin, the piles of clothes in her room never quite get picked up, but she really 'tries'.  She's a budding activist as evidenced by this:

She believes so strongly in combating the War on Women, that she asked for a Team Uterati Tee Shirt and Bitchfork necklace to support the cause.  I probably don't tell her enough that she inspires me but she does.

Then there's this one:

Rowan doesn't know everything... yet. She wanted a necklace because her sister has one, when we told her what it meant, she looked at me straight faced and said "Daddy, you always say, nobody can touch your 'pagina.' "

She's insanely smart and a budding smart ass.  Sample conversation after buying her a strawberry lemonade from the place with the arches, as I was singing in the car:  Rowan "daddy stop singing, you're interrupting me" Me: "what are you talking about?" Rowan: "you're interrupting my time with the strawberry lemonade"  I died.

One reason I'm telling you all about them is because the start of Kindergarten and Junior High marks a milestone in our family and that's worth bragging about.

The other reason, and to me the most important is that these two girls and my beautiful wife Nicole are the people I love the most and because I do, I will fight the War on Women with everything I've got.  Today the House GOP tried AGAIN to expand anti-abortion legislation.  The Congress elected in 2010 to provide jobs jobs jobs has jobbed all of those who were duped into voting for them.  

Lawsuits against the Arizona abortion law which outlaws abortion after the 20th week have been struck down.  Lawsuits filed under specious circumstances like Hercules are going forward regarding birth control.  Apparently the fact that the birth control issue was argued and resolved before I was born has been lost on a certain segment of our population.

It is imperative that we as progressives support the push back against the GOP's War on Women.  Support causes like TeamUterati.  Support progressive candidates.  Support anyone and everyone who wants to see women continue to be treated as the should be: complete equals in every sense.

As I recently told friends on Twitter, I want my girls to tell their kids about this War on Women and laugh about the antiquated notion that women are less then men.  I pretty sure they will, because  well, they're both  amazing girls.

Monday, July 23, 2012

One Hundred Six Thousand

On September 1st, one hundred six thousand people will be streaming into Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley PA. If the split in the crowd between men and women is 50/50 that means that 12,500 women and 8300 men will be former or perhaps current victims of child sexual abuse.

I want you to think about that: 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men.

Today's NCAA sanctions against Penn State are appropriately severe, but I can't help but wonder about the people who will go to those home games.  Almost 21000 people attending are most likely the victims of someone very much like Jerry Sandusky.

The crimes that Sandusky was convicted of are some of the most heinous imaginable.  I don't have to imagine because it's something me and my colleagues deal with daily.  The pain that the victims suffered both physical and emotional is fathomless.  The victims and their families will never be completely healed.  

Against this backdrop of evil and pain, a number of people were valiant in their efforts in reporting today.  Desmond Howard was particularly brilliant on ESPN.  He stated "Remember the victims and don't just remember them, think about them every day. They were victims because they had no choice. They had no chance against a burly football coach victimizing them."  "These current players aren't victims.  They have a choice, they can leave."  "Unlike the real victims, they can walk away"

I don't know if the NCAA sanctions will cause a culture change at Penn State or any other college.  I do know that 12 men, and probably many more don't care about culture changes, or cover ups.  They do care about healing and being as normal as they can be. 

This has ALWAYS been about the victims.  

On September 1st, one hundred six thousand people as well as the rest of us would do well to remember that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Truth was Set Freeh

With today's release of the Freeh Report available here on 670TheScore's Website , on the Penn State Child Rape scandal there is closure for a number of people.  As one of the people out in front of the case, there's no small amount of vindication for me and many others like Dan  Bernstein and Terry Boers at the Score, Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports, Gregg Doyel at CBSSportsline and Chez Pazienzza at DeusExMalcontent.

In this case, however, I take no pleasure in being right. In fact quite the opposite, I wish I had been wrong.  Had I been wrong, it would have meant that at least 10 boys weren't brutally raped and thrown away.  Had I been wrong a venerable football coach and institution wouldn't have covered up such a heinous crime.  Had I been wrong, any number of "great men and citizens" would not be running around apologizing for the coach and the institution. Had I been wrong, a charity that was a harvesting ground of victims, would have been doing good works and truly helping those kids.

It was revealed today in  the Freeh report that Penn State, including Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier, consistently put the fear of lawsuits and the image of Penn State in front of the needs of the children that Sandusky raped.  Paterno has been outed as a liar, a manipulator and a man of no character or integrity.   Curley, Schultz and Spanier are the quisling sycophants who did his bidding.

This entire sordid story of the cover up reminds me not so much of a Greek tragedy, but of a very modern American problem, organized crime.  The parallels are eerily similar.  At Penn State you had the godfather in Paterno who was viewed by many as a kind and benevolent man, giving time and money to charities and the arts.  John Gotti and Al Capone were patrons of the arts too.  While Paterno's capo's weren't killing people they were helping kill the childhood of young boys.

Even with the revelations today, some are still defending Paterno.  Most of these people are former players such as Matt Millen who rhetorically asked "Does one mistake outweigh 50 years of good?"  Yes Matt it does. This wasn't one mistake, this was a massive cover-up.  Just because Paterno came off as a doddering old buffoon doesn't mean  that he was.

I'm reminded of a classic Saturday Night Live Skit.  Phil Hartman played a doddering Ronald Reagan to the cameras and as soon as the cameras were gone he was the field general orchestrating Iran Contra. To me, Paterno was exactly the same.  He was the organ grinder while he made the monkeys dance.

Another defender of Paterno, Lavar Arrington said that Paterno and Penn State had molded great men in  the forge of the football program.  Great men would have taken a stand against Penn State and Paterno. Calling both out as frauds would, to me, have been an indicator of greatness.

No, the only great men in this case are the victims who came forward, testified and won.  They had the courage, the depth of character and fortitude to withstand horrific abuse and tell the world about it.  If Penn State and Paterno had shown any of the character that was shown by Sandusky's victims, this would have stopped in 1998 if not sooner.

As I said in the open, there is closure for a great many people today.  Unfortunately this isn't the end of child rape, nor is the end of secrets.  I wish I was wrong, but I know I'm not.