Monday, July 23, 2012

Not-tany Lions Declawed

Not-tany Lions Declawed
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 23, 2012

On the day following the dismantling of the statue of Joe Paterno on the campus of Penn State University the rest of the football program has rightfully suffered a more deeply impacting disabling.

Both the stripping of the campus of the statue of the iconic coach, six months to the day of his death, January 22, and the punishment thrust upon the university were appropriate and overdue. The objections by students on campus at the removal of the statue of Paterno, who coached at Penn State from 1966-2011, is demonstrative of how the culture of sports and hero-worship has far superseded what is right, proper and moral and perhaps indicative of how the NCAA did not go far enough in its punitive actions against the school.

The university, and the football team specifically, have been sanctioned by the NCAA for its complicity in the child abuse sex scandal that rocked the Happy Valley campus to its core last fall. This scandal saw former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky convicted of abusing 10 boys. The true number of young boys molested, violated and/or abused may never be known, and while the lost innocence of those boys can never be replaced, the sanctions against Penn State are a good start. Hopefully, the severity of the punitive actions, while not deep enough, will deliver a message across the nation’s campuses that humanity and morality will trump sports and the protection of so-called heroes at the risk and potential loss of children’s innocence.

Sandusky deserves nothing less than to pay for his vicious crimes with the ultimate penalty – his life. Yes, the death penalty is most appropriate for the perverse and unconscionable crimes of robbing young, impressionable children of their trust, protection and innocence – irrevocably altering their lives. Yet, the sanctions imposed upon Penn State have nothing to do with the ongoing criminal investigations, said Mark Emmert, NCAA president.

Sandusky may be the lowest of the low, but the cover up is just as much a part of this whole sordid tale – just ask the ghost of Richard M. Nixon. As such, the assistant coaches and Paterno are just as complicit, and the university obviously agreed, firing the coach proven to have feet of clay on November 9, 2011, along with relieving Graham Spanier of his duties as university president.

The current regime must now cope with the loss of $60 million – the financial penalty equivalent to one year of football’s gross receipts. The $60 million is to be paid out at $12 million increments over the next five years into an endowment to benefit victims of child sex abuse. This money cannot come at the expense of non-revenue sports or the student-athlete scholarships, yet, while academic sources were not ruled out, Emmert said such a plan would be inappropriate.

Ultimately, I fear a large chunk of this fine will come from the coffers of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which would be wholly unacceptable.

While not sanctioned with the so-called Death Penalty, the punishment imposed upon Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 1987 for paying players thousands of dollars, the penalties facing Penn State will certainly hamstring the football program for many years to come – presumably long after the penalty phase expires.

“We did not feel the suspension of play would be appropriate,” said Dr. Edward Bay, NCAA Executive Committee Chair and President of Oregon State University.

Such a punishment would send an eye-opening message that this scandal is bigger than the tarnished reputation of Joe Paterno, bigger than football, bigger than sports and certainly bigger than the demands of the fans, boosters and alumni. The need for a cultural change is vital, in spite of the unintended harm that would come from the secession of play for one season.

Clearly arguments can be made on both sides of the death penalty coin. The revenue lost to the university for the six home games, the exposure given to the band and cheerleaders, as well as the income lost to the vendors is at stake. The university would need to pay the schools of the six road games for lost revenue.

But the bigger picture is that the institution of football is not too big to fail; that the culture of sports is not too big to fail. These are tragic circumstances which require harsh and immediate meaningful actions.

For the next four years, 2013-17, Penn State is banned from participating in bowl or other post-season games, including the Big Ten conference championship. As for the conference title game, the university will forfeit about $13 million over the same four year period, also to be donated.

Additionally, the Penn State football program has been sacked in the scholarship department on two levels. The NCAA has limited new annual scholarships from 25 a year down to 15 for each of the next four years in addition to limiting the number of total scholarship players each of the same four years to 65, down from 85.

Clearly this will impact recruitment on top of the post-season ban. Major high school recruits will want to play where they have an opportunity to appear in a bowl or other post-season games. They will likely seek to avail their skills to other programs. On the other hand, Penn State head coach Bill O’ Brien must sell his program to players who might not have the opportunity to earn serious playing time at another major institution.

As for the current squad of Penn State football players, they will be allowed to transfer without the traditional penalty of yielding one year of their eligibility. Should players decide to remain at Penn State and not continue to play football, the university is required to honor the scholarships of those players. And those scholarships would count toward the 65 permitted for that season.

Penn State will also be placed on five years probation during which time it is expected to work with an academic integrity monitor, an independent, third-party to report on Penn State’s progress, at a cost to be absorbed by the university. This is designed to elucidate the university to embrace values appropriate for an institution of higher education complete with the virtues of fair play on the field, positive moral values off the field and a place where children can be nurtured, protected and educated.

This is a “horrifically egregious situation,” said Emmert. “No one feels good about this. This is an unprecedented, painful chapter in the history of intercollegiate athletics.”

“We hope we are never here again,” said Bay.

Former NCAA and NFL coach Lou Holtz predicted “serious fan drop offs” from the more than 100,000 fans per home game to around 50,000.

One additional penalty, with which I found objectionable, but understand the reasoning behind it, is that all wins earned by Penn State and Paterno from 1998 through 2011 will be vacated. The year 1998 was selected as it represents the first reporting of abuse and the failure of Paterno and the university to act appropriately. For the record, 112 wins will be forfeited, all but one under Paterno’s name, dropping him from the winningest Division I coach  down to fifth place with 298 wins behind Bobby Bowden (377), Bear Bryant (323), Pop Warner (319), and Amos Alonzo Stagg (314).

While I understand removing Paterno from the top of that elite list, it also punishes the hundreds of players who presumably had nothing to do with the sex abuse scandal. It offers the implication of on-field cheating by otherwise honest football players. The wins earned by those players on the field should stand.

Make no mistake; I am not defending Paterno, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my animus toward Penn State far pre-dates this sex abuse scandal. As any University of Maryland alumnus can site, there is a bad history on the gridiron between the two schools – with Penn State leading Maryland in the all-time series 35 wins, one loss and one tie. Maryland’s lone victory occurred in 1961 and the Terrapins have not won since.

And while I am a tremendous sports fan, I have placed this monstrous scandal in its proper place and perspective. The Pennsylvania State University must suffer the consequences of the actions of its employees. The sanctions will undoubtedly prove deleterious to the football program, but hopefully the message will be received around the nation’s campuses that immoral, lascivious behavior, including, but not limited to, the molestation of children will never again be tolerated or covered up.

Paterno was not G-d and football is not a religion. Amen.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He is an alumnus of the University of Maryland and a member of its Terrapin Club, supporting the scholarship program for athletes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Obama's True Colors Make Right See Red

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own…. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” – Barack Hussein Obama

Obama’s True Colors Make Right See Red
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 16, 2012

Christmas and Chanukah have come early for the Mitt Romney campaign – as it is not about black and white, but instead it is about red and green.

This is Barak Obama’s Joe the Plumber moment. During the 2008 campaign, Obama spoke one on one with Ohio plumber Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who has since become a candidate for Congress himself. Obama told Wurzelbacher that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

True colors, Obama outed himself as more than just a far left Democrat, but someone who believes in the redistribution of wealth. That the haves should give to the have nots. This is not a belief in capitalism, but instead, socialism bordering on communism – the red menace.

It’s all about context, will claim the left-wing, lame-stream media in defense of its hero, Obama, who unleashed a firestorm when he brazenly announced that all those successful businesses in the United States owe their success to the government and not the hard working men and women who risked their own capital, time, ingenuity and sanity in the quest for the next best – fill in the blank – widget, underwater phone, or intestinal camera.

Those are Obama’s words above – direct from the Socialist in Chief’s mouth at a speech given in Roanoke, VA. The words that demonize personal wealth and investment; that denigrate those entrepreneurs who risked their personal capital, created something due to their own inventiveness, hired people to work and see that plan drawn up at the kitchen table become a three dimensional reality.

These entrepreneurs have earned their green and deserve to keep as much of it as possible. Those people who did not create businesses, wealth, or take the risks are not entitled to nickel one from those who earned their success.

One does not need a Ph.D. in political science to understand what Obama means, where he is coming from, and to where he is going. What little of his life known to the public has been a blueprint straight from the Saul Alinsky playbook Rules for Radicals (1971). Obama is a classic statist – the belief that government should control the economy and/or social policy – the complete antithesis of the creation by America’s Founding Fathers.

Obama’s conversation with Joe the Plumber and his speech in Virginia were not gaffes. He’s got Joe Biden for that. Those words, direct from Obama, is Obama in his truest incarnation. He damns success and wants people to be ashamed of it as he continues to be the Divider in Chief – playing the class warfare card to its utmost pinnacle.

Yes, roads, bridges, and tunnels are typically government projects. But they are funded with the people’s money – taxpaying Americans who have achieved success and are paying their fair share to ensure that people can get back and forth to work for that successful businessperson who pays their salaries and wages. The businessmen and women who pay their taxes to ensure the safety of the public domain so people can spend their money on the products that made that businessman and woman a success.

Obama cited Henry Ford as someone whose success was predicated upon government. Like the age old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg, did Henry Ford build cars for the existing roads, or were roads built to serve a growing need due to the new automobile industry? Ford’s expanding auto industry spawned the need for more roads to be built, not the other way around.

(Oh, FYI – the chicken came first. On the fourth day, “G-d created… all the winged birds of every kind.” [Genesis 1:21])

As for the claim by Obama that “there was a great teacher somewhere in your life,” that may be true. As an educator, there’s an enormous amount of pride to boast when a student succeeds. But make no mistake; those teachers are paid for with the property taxes afforded by successful Americans able to own their own homes. Again, no need to further prime the pump, Mr. Obama.

Obama is so anti-business, it’s no surprise he is calling for the raising of the tax rates on dividends and capital gains. Both are currently taxed at 15 percent, but if Obama has his way, the tax rate on capital gains will rise to 23.8 percent and dividends will be taxed at an astronomical rate of 43.3 percent. ( This will send the stock market into a tither just prior to those new rates kicking in. People will be less willing to risk their capital when the returns will be so diminished, thanks to Obama’s desire to punish the risk takers. Where is the reward for those people taking the risks?

With the potential for fewer people to take risks, invest, or open businesses, unemployment will continue to rise, and, eventually the economy will be crippled by more people being dependent upon government largesse which will ultimately dry up as the tax coffers progressively dissipate.

More investments and jobs will be driven overseas to more friendly economies as this administration continues to call for stark reductions in the defense budget and still refuses to balance its own budget as debt figures approach $16 trillion.

Obama should answer the following: if government is responsible for the success of business due to the existence of taxpayer funded public school teachers, is the same government responsible for the increasing numbers of drop outs?

If government is responsible for the success of business due to the existence of taxpayer funded roads, bridges, and tunnels, is government responsible for the drunk drivers that inhabit the same infrastructure?

If government is responsible for the success of business due to the existence of taxpayer funded research creating the internet, is government responsible for the cyber stalkers who prey on children?

Government is nothing without the entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators, who erect, create, hire and fill the tax coffers to allow government to build the roads, bridges, tunnels, cyber infrastructure, public airwaves of television and radio and public schools.

Obama’s words were “insulting to every entrepreneur and innovator in America,” said Romney. Of course Romney is right in his assertion, and as a businessman who saved the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, he would know.

Government more often than not interferes with business. It overregulates business to the point of pushing it out of the United States. Even the simplest business – that of a child’s lemonade stand. In this era of uber-litigiousness, a permit costing more than the child might reasonably expect to earn is crushing young entrepreneurship.

Rugged individualism is the cornerstone upon which the United States was founded, built, and expanded from sea to shining sea. Yet, with the Obama administration, government is to be praised as the reason behind anyone’s success. According to the Obama blueprint, the only good jobs are government jobs. This is an abandonment of capitalism that could lead to the dilution of the Republic.

It is not too late to change course back to the direction intended by the Founding Fathers and give Romney, a proven business success, a chance to right the ship that is America.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hypocrite Holder Still Hopelessly Clueless

Hypocrite Holder Still Hopelessly Clueless
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 12, 2012

Is it the collective sanity of the thinking American that is at question? Or does Eric Holder, the feckless attorney general of the United States simply does not have a grip on reality?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID prior to boarding an airplane?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when purchasing alcohol? Tobacco? Firearms?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when writing a check? Making a bank deposit? Using a credit card?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when applying for a driver’s license? A library card?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when visiting a medical office for the first time as part of the paperwork regimen?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when entering a government building?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when applying for or signing a mortgage application?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when filling out the paperwork upon starting new employment?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when collecting lottery or casino winnings?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when registering for college as a freshman or transfer?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when picking up a package at the post office or UPS?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when claiming a prize at an events’ drawing?

Is it racist when asked to produce a photo ID when checking into a hotel, convention hall or other event with a roster of attendees?

Is there anyone reading this who has not suffered such an indignity? That someone should deign to quantify who is standing before him or her in any of the above circumstances and others not listed?

Yet, according to Holder, the attorney general refusing to prosecute members of the New Black Panther party for voter intimidation in Philadelphia in 2008, it is racist to expect voters to identify themselves at polling places making it akin to a poll tax, and an indignity to ones self-esteem.

It is Holder who is the racist for assuming blacks and Hispanics are unable to procure a photo ID. Really? Are all blacks and Hispanics so destitute and without means they are unable to find the means with which to identify themselves prior to casting a vote, one the most basic tenets of being an American? Sounds terribly stereotypical, pandering and a lowering of the bar.

That Holder has lowered the bar is in itself racist. As a supporter of affirmative action, Holder should know how racist that is – an admission that those groups being given an edge simply because of their race because they can’t accomplish – fill in the blank – earning admission into college, garnering employment, etc. on their own merits.

When states like Florida, Georgia and Texas, among others are advertising ways in which legally qualified voters are able to procure a standard government ID gratis, how can that be compared to a poll tax? There have even been mobile units willing to go to the voters themselves if they do not have the means with which to get to the ID producer. Securing a customary form of identification has never been easier, and yet, Holder continues to trumpet from the rooftops that to require a voter ID is a form of voter suppression by the GOP in an effort to steal elections.

Quite the opposite is true. Republicans supporting voter ID laws across the country are attempting to ensure that only legally qualified voting citizens are afforded the privilege of casting their ballot on Election Day. It is Holder and those who support his illogical notion that are willfully creating a circumstance by which illegals, the dead and those who simply have no right to vote in a particular polling location are enabled to do just that, That is voter fraud, pure and simple. That is Holder and his minions attempting to steal elections.

And by the way, those members of the press who covered Holder’s recent speaking engagements were denied admission without producing a federally issued photo ID. Further demonstrating his hypocrisy, attendees at his NAACP speech in Houston were also required to provide a photo ID, this in a state where Holder is fighting against Texas law requiring photo ID at polling places.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Recognize Tragedy as Olympic History

Recognize Tragedy as Olympic History
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 10, 2012

Like most Americans I look forward to the pageantry of the opening ceremonies of the 40th Summer Olympiad that will commence on Friday, July 27 in London – the parade of nations with their flags carried proudly by one of that country’s heroes as well as the various national garbs worn by its athletes and team members.

However, amid all the pomp and circumstance, the cheering, the display of sportsmanship as the athletes take the Olympic pledge will be lost that this is the 40th anniversary of the darkest moment in Olympic history. For it was on September 5, 1972, that the Games of the 20th Olympiad in Munich, West Germany shockingly turned from the games of peace to a waking nightmarish tragedy.

Shortly after 4 a.m., eight Palestinian terrorists from Black September, a faction of the PLO invaded the Olympic village kidnapping 11 Israeli athletes and trainers. Upon the initial assault, the Israelis fought back, to the detriment of Moshe Weinberg and Yossef Romano – shot dead instantly.

Over the next 18-plus hours, tensions mounted as the Israelis continued to be held by the Black September terrorists who made the demand of the Israeli government to release 234 prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Ultimately, the Israeli hostages were moved and loaded into two helicopters, where after 10:40 p.m. shots fired outside the helicopters led the terrorists to believe they were under attack.

A terrorist shot four of the hostages in one helicopter as another Palestinian tossed a grenade inside. The explosion ignited the fuel tank, and the captive Israelis burned. Another terrorist then shot the Israelis in the other helicopter. Germans present at the airfield still remember the screams. Eleven Israelis, five Palestinians and one German police officer died during the Munich tragedy.” (

The late, great sportscaster Jim McKay, thrust into round-the-clock duty in an era prior to cable television and 24-hour news cycles, reported with his usual aplomb, the events as they unfolded right down to the final shots. McKay said it best: “Our worst fears have been realized… There were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning. Nine were killed at the airport tonight. They’re all gone.”

The games resumed, hardly missing a beat and for 40 years, the tragedy has been swept under the rug – a permanent stain on the games, permeated by terrorism and rife with perpetual anti-Semitism, largely ignored by the global community.

Once again, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) under the alleged leadership of President Jacques Rogge had denied the numerous requests that this tragedy be recognized with a mere minute of silence during the opening ceremonies in London, on this, the 40th anniversary of Munich.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard wrote to Rogge in hopes of garnering some recognition for the slain Israeli Olympic team at the London Olympics.

The occasion of the Olympic Games in London this summer also marks the 40th anniversary of the terrible tragedy that occurred in Munich during the 1972 Olympic Games.

On behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, I am writing respectfully to express support for the observation of a moment of silence to be held at the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony, or at an appropriate time during the Games, so that the Olympic movement can honour, before the world, the memory of those whose lives were lost during that horrific event.” (

As an American, the question must be asked of Barack Obama, sports-fan-in-chief, where was your letter to the president of the IOC? You spent so much time and taxpayer dollars overseas attempting to procure an Olympics for your adopted hometown of Chicago. Did you not want to offend your Arab allies by taking up for 11 dead Israelis? Do you continue to think that little of Israel while continuing to rake in millions of dollars from the Jewish voting community you take for granted?

The 11 slain Israelis:

Officials/Trainers                                           Athletes (wrestlers/weightlifters)

Yossef Gutfreund                                          David Berger
Amitzur Shapira                                            Zeev Friedman
Kehat Shorr                                                  Eliezer Halfin
Andrei Spitzer                                               Yossef Romano
Jacov Springer                                              Mark Slavin
Moshe Weinberg

May their memories always be for a blessing.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.