Political Sanity. As I stumbled into Ohio late yesterday, I heard this disquieting radio report: In one more race awash with outside money, the Ohio Senate candidates have spent over $41 million on over 62,000 TV ads. Republican challenger Josh Mandel’s campaign has spent four times that of incumbent Sherrod Brown, and 85% of Mandel’s money has come from a few donors who can remain anonymous because of the Supreme Court’s Citizens’ United ruling. Penn State. A few years ago I was working with Pennsylvania newspapers to improve the state’s restrictive open-records laws, and I witnessed President Graham Spanier tell a Senate committee that Penn State should be exempt from the new law because . . . well, it was Penn State. No longer simply a state college in a bucolic region, the university had become a huge business enterprise whose trade secrets apparently outweighed its academic commitment to transparency. All the newspapers want to know, Spanier peremptorily told the committee, is how much Joe Paterno makes. It turned out that the university was concealing far more about the football team than the coach’s salary. Yesterday Spanier was indicted for his role in a “conspiracy of silence [to] actively conceal the truth” in the Jerry Sandusky case.
The Climate Hoax. Most politicians continue to tap dance around the connection between the growing frequency of huge storms and other weather “events” and the science of global warming. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is confronting the issue firsthand, yesterday endorsed Barack Obama because he is the only candidate to take the matter seriously.