Sept. 24–26, 2010

Sights and sounds from my first Penn State football weekend with Joan, my beloved fellow Nittany Lion:

[ No. 585 ]

Sept. 19, 2010

Tony Auth recently published the most painfully accurate (not to mention hilarious) political cartoon in recent memory:

Tony Auth cartoon: Moderation at the Tea Party

The cartoon is particularly fitting in the wake of the stunning victory of Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell over GOP veteran Mike Castle this past Tuesday in the Delaware primary race for the U.S. Senate. Unlike Castle, who has provided the First State with thoughtful, balanced leadership for decades (the very “moderation” symbolized in the cartoon above), O’Donnell is nothing short of a right-wing extremist with no relevant experience.

Politics aside, her deeply flawed background is even more troubling. According to a lengthy News Journal article from Mar. 20, 2010, O’Donnell hasn’t exactly been the most responsible citizen over the last several years. Her transgressions include thousands of dollars in campaign debt, a lien from the IRS for unpaid income taxes, a long-delayed bachelor’s degree due to unpaid student loans, a home foreclosure in 2008, and even several complaints about the condition of her home’s property. She also dishonestly implied her acceptance into a master’s program during her unsuccessful $6.9 million lawsuit against a former employer for gender discrimination.

Sure, no one’s perfect, but anyone with that many skeletons in her closet simply does not belong in the U.S. Senate. And while we desperately need more Republican and Democratic candidates who aren’t afraid to question the status quo of their respective parties, the surging Tea Party is anathema to anything even resembling moderation or compromise.

And believe it or not, I briefly met Christine in person through friends a few years ago, long before her surprising rise to fame this month. Over late-night drinks on the outdoor deck at the Whitebrier in Avalon, N.J., she responded to my offhand comment that I liked the movie Sideways by shouting, “Oh, your stock just went way down!” and sticking a thumbs-down gesture in my face. After that bizarre and unprovoked outburst, she proceeded to throw a fit at her visiting friend and eventually ditched her for the rest of the evening.

Christine O’Donnell is a financial train wreck with a sketchy employment history, plain and simple. And based on my own brief personal experience with her, she’s not emotionally stable, either. If O’Donnell and her fellow Tea Party lunatics represent the future of our government, then God help us all.

[ No. 584 ]

Image credit: Tony Auth / The Philadelphia Inquirer

Sept. 6, 2010

It’s been an interesting and eventful off-season for the Big Ten. In mid-June, Nebraska was approved as the 12th member of the conference starting in 2011, and the Big Ten will be split into two divisions and will host a conference championship game at the end of each season.

The changes aren’t nearly as satisfying as a maddeningly elusive playoff system for all of FBS (i.e., Division I-A) football might be, but at least the Big Ten has caught up to other conferences with a true championship game. And thanks to realignments elsewhere, the Big Ten will eventually have 12 teams while the Big 12 will be comprised of 10 teams — figure that one out.

Now that the 2010 season is officially underway, I’d like to salute Rob Bolden, the first true freshman to start at quarterback in a Penn State season opener during Joe Paterno’s 45-year tenure as head coach. Bolden played surprisingly well in the Lions’ 44–14 win over Youngstown State, completing 20 of 29 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown. Admittedly, it’s only one game against an opponent from a less competitive division, but a solid start by a true freshman is very encouraging indeed.

[ No. 583 ]