Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quotas Limiting Male Science Enrollment: The New Liberal War on Science

by Hans Bader
July 10, 2012
Quotas limiting the number of male students in science may be imposed by the Education Department in 2013. The White House has promised that “new guidelines will also be issued to grant-receiving universities and colleges” spelling out “Title IX rules in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.” These guidelines will likely echo existing Title IX guidelines that restrict men’s percentage of intercollegiate athletes to their percentage in overall student bodies, thus reducing the overall number of intercollegiate athletes. (Under the three-part Title IX test created by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work, colleges are allowed to temporarily comply by increasing the number of female athletes rather than cutting the number of male athletes, but the only viable permanent way to comply with its rule is to restrict men’s participation relative to women’s participation, reducing overall participation.) Thus, as Charlotte Allen notes, the Obama administration’s guidelines are likely to lead to “science quotas” based on gender.

Earlier, writing in Newsweek, President Obama celebrated the fact that 25 percent fewer men than women graduate from college, calling it a “great accomplishment” for America. Ironically, he lamented the fact that a smaller gender disparity — 17 percent fewer women attending college than men — had once existed before Title IX was implemented. To Obama, gender disparities are only bad when they disfavor women. Under his strange idea of equality, equality means men losing out to women.

Obama hinted that Title IX quotas would soon come to engineering and techology, saying that “Title IX isn’t just about sports,” but also about “inequality in math and science education” and “a much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it.”

Christina Hoff Sommers wrote earlier about this looming liberal war on science. Based on a campaign promise Obama made to feminist groups in October 2008, Sommers foresaw the Obama Administration moving to artificially cap male enrollment in math and science classes to achieve gender proportionality — the way that Title IX currently caps male participation in intercollegiate athletics. The result could be a substantial reduction in the number of scientists graduating from America’s colleges and universities.

Critics have long argued that the Title IX cap on men’s athletic participation is in tension with the Supreme Court’s warnings against proportional representation. In a ruling by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Supreme Court said that it is “completely unrealistic” to argue that women and minorities should be represented in each field or activity “in lockstep proportion to their representation in the local population.” (See Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989)). In an earlier ruling, Justice O’Connor noted that it is “unrealistic to assume that unlawful discrimination is the sole cause of people failing to gravitate to jobs and employers in accord with the laws of chance.” (See Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust Co. (1988).)

But the Title IX athletics regulation mandates proportional representation. It contains three alternatives for compliance, but two of them are illusory in the long run. The first way (and only permanent way) to comply is to adopt a quota that artificially caps male participation. The second and third ways, which are only short-term fixes, involve continuous expansion of participation by, or satisfaction of all desire to compete by, the “underrepresented” sex. In a world of finite resources, these latter two ways can only work for a short period of time. In light of this fact, courts have rejected lawsuits by men’s teams cut by colleges to achieve proportionality (that is, quotas), concluding that such quotas are required by Title IX, which thus overrides any rights the men’s teams might otherwise enjoy. See, e.g., Miami University Wrestling Club v. Miami University, 302 F.3d 608 (6th Cir. 2002).

I used to work at the agency, the Office for Civil Rights, which administers that regulation, and I think that it would be a grave mistake to apply its standards, which were designed for allocating resources among all-male and all-female sports teams, to the very different context of math and science classes, which are coed. It is one thing to apply gender-based proportionality rules to single-sex teams, which are already themselves intrinsically gender-based. It is quite another to apply them to classes in science and math that are open to all students, regardless of gender, and are supposed to be gender-blind, not gender-specific or gender-based. Doing so is simply unconstitutional.

Courts have generally forbidden state colleges to engage in gender-balancing in areas other than intercollegiate athletics. For example, a federal judge struck down the University of Georgia’s use of gender in admissions to promote gender balance, ruling it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. See Johnson v. Board of Regents of the University of Georgia, 106 F. Supp.2d 1362 (S.D. Ga 2000). An attempt by the Obama Education Department to impose gender quotas in math and scientific fields would be equally unconstitutional. See Lamprecht v. FCC, 958 F.2d 382 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (FCC’s gender preferences for women violated the equal-protection component of the Fifth Amendment, despite FCC’s appeal to “diversity”); Back v. Carter, 933 F.Supp. 738 (N.D. Ind. 1996) (invalidating gender-balance requirement for government board).

The fact that fewer women than men major in science and engineering is the result of their own voluntary choices, not sexism or sex discrimination by schools, notes researcher John Rosenberg, the proud father of a daughter who got a Ph.D. from CalTech. My daughter is bright, and I’d be happy if she got a graduate degree in engineering (or became a physicist, like her grandfather), but I can’t force her to do that if she doesn’t want to, and a college shouldn’t be deemed liable for sex discrimination against women if women like her don’t want to study engineering.

Gender disparities in a major are not the product of sexism, but rather the differing preferences of men and women. The fact that engineering departments are filled mostly with men does not mean they discriminate against women anymore than the fact that English departments are filled mostly with women proves that English departments discriminate against men. The arts and humanities have well over 60 percent female students, yet no one seems to view that gender disparity as a sign of sexism against men. Deep down, the Obama administration knows this, since it is planning to impose its gender-proportionality rules only on the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), not other fields that have similarly large gender disparities in the opposite direction.

Many women are quite capable of mastering high-level math and science, but simply don’t find working in such a field all that interesting. As Dr. Sommers notes, many “colleges already practice affirmative action for women in science,” rather than discriminating against them. Susan Pinker, a clinical psychologist, chronicled cases of women who “abandoned successful careers in science and engineering to work in fields like architecture, law and education,” because they wanted jobs that involved more interaction with people, “not because they had faced discrimination in science.” Far from being discouraged by society from pursuing a career in math or science, these women had been strongly encouraged to pursue such a a career: “Once they showed aptitude for math or physical science, there was an assumption that they’d pursue it as a career even if they had other interests or aspirations. And because these women went along with the program and were perceived by parents and teachers as torch bearers, it was so much more difficult for them to come to terms with the fact that the work made them unhappy.”

As Susan Pinker notes, “A mountain of published research stretching back a hundred years shows that women are far more likely than men to be deeply interested in organic subjects—people, plants and animals—than they are to be interested in things and inanimate systems, such as electrical engineering, or computer systems.”

Women are well-represented in scientific fields that involve lots of interaction with people. As The New York Times’ John Tierney noted, “Despite supposed obstacles like “unconscious bias” and a shortage of role models and mentors, women now constitute about half of medical students, 60 percent of biology majors, and 70 percent of psychology Ph.D.’s. They earn the majority of doctorates in both the life sciences and the social sciences.” By contrast, “They remain a minority in the physical sciences and engineering,” which deal more with inanimate objects rather than people.
These gender-based differences are not the product of discrimination, and manifest themselves at a very early age. As a book on the biology of male-female differences notes, “Girl babies in their cribs are especially inclined to stare at images of human faces, whereas infant boys are likely to find inanimate objects every bit as attractive”; “this difference persists into adulthood: when shown images of people as well as things, men tend to remember the things, and women tend to remember the people.”

To the extent that gender disparities result from the differing interests of men and women, they are not “discrimination” by an institution in which they occur. See EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 839 F.2d 302 (7th Cir. 1988).

These differences, of course, are statistical averages, and are not true of every individual. (My mother is a math major who is more interested in various kinds of abstractions than I am.) No girl should be denied the opportunity to study a STEM field based on her sex; but that does not mean that colleges should adopt a gender quota for female students in math and science. Since a college cannot force a woman to go into math or science, the only way for a college to satisfy a gender quota will be to cut the number of male math and science students, by turning male students away from their favorite subject.

The Education Department already has the power to punish colleges for discrimination in math and science under Title IX, even without any new guidelines, since the Title IX statute bans discrimination based on sex (except in certain single-sex schools) in any educational field. Based on what the Obama campaign said in 2008, many had expected the Obama Education Department to exercise that power through lengthy investigations (“compliance reviews”) of college math and science programs (such as investigating gender disparities in male vs. female enrollment rates in science classes to determine whether or not they are not the result of discrimination). But to require gender quotas in math and science — as opposed to merely banning discrimination — the Education Department will have to first issue guidelines mandating them, since these quotas are a new substantive obligation for colleges, and cannot be imposed without such notice (even putting aside the fact that they are unconstitutional).

Good News? Revolutionary Islamists Taking Power Produces Moderation and Ends Terrorism!

By Barry Rubin
July 13, 2012

Members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement pray in front of Egyptian soldiers at Tahrir Square in Cairo on Feb. 7, 2011 (Getty Images)

Well, now at least the debate is in the open and we can see just how questionable are the talking points of those who claim the United States has nothing to fear from Islamists.

The New York Times publishes an article with the promising title of “Fast-Changing Arab World is Upending U.S. Assumptions,” yet sadly, the article shows that certain assumptions are not changing at all. Indeed, are not even discussed. To summarize the article’s thesis: before Obama’s election, the United States thought that pro-American regimes were good and radical Islamists were bad — but now we know better.

For decades, Obama’s predecessors supported a number of Arab governments, including those in Egypt and Tunisia but not Syria. Obama put the emphasis on engaging Syria, but did not directly challenge the Egyptian and Tunisian governments until uprisings began against them in January 2011. Then he threw those two under the bus as fast as possible. But that policy did not apply to anti-American Syria, which he abandoned only in August 2011 after four months of full-scale revolt and massacres far more intense than those which made it abandon the Egyptian and Tunisian governments during the first week of demonstrations.

What makes the effort to talk seriously about the Middle East nowadays so frustrating is that the “mainstream” debate, as illustrated by the Times article, devotes no space to suggesting the following: perhaps the rapid rise of Islamists might be bad for the United States, and the outbreak of violence from Salafist groups, two armed cross-border attacks on Israel, or other events suggest that the threat had been underestimated.

No, not at all. When talking with “experts,” and in the journalist’s own editorializing, the only theme is that the United States used to overestimate the Islamist threat, but now it knows better.
I was fascinated by a remark by State Department spokesperson Victoria J. Nuland:
It’s a new day in Egypt. It’s a new day in a lot of countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
True, it is a new era but it is an era when radical Islamists are seizing power or threatening to seize power in lots of countries. That’s not a sunny good morning in the Middle East. In addition, Nuland’s is a very kind of American-style suggestion that whatever went before doesn’t matter. The history of these radical groups and their ideology is of no importance. We’re all starting over with a clean slate.
The Times journalist explains:
American officials did not always carefully distinguish between Islamists, who advocate a leading role for Islam in government, and violent jihadists, who espouse the same goal but advocate terrorism to achieve it.
To say that a group like the Muslim Brotherhood just advocates “a leading role for Islam in government” is not quite the point. The issue: what do they want to do with this “leading role”? Might they have some agenda after they give Islam a leading role in government, such as destroying women’s rights, oppressing Christians, attacking Israel, forcing the people to conform to the Islamists’ definition of Islam, and smashing U.S. interests?

It is the ability of leading mass media outlets to produce sentences like the following that drives me to despair:
American hostility to Islamist movements, in fact, long predated Sept. 11, in part because of the United States’ support for secular autocrats in Arab countries.
In other words, it is all America’s fault for not being sufficiently sensitive in comprehending the perspective of the Islamist movements. What about the other, unmentioned, part: the fact of the Islamist movements’ hostility to America, their support for terrorism, their blood-curdling expressions of anti-Semitic hatred, and their stated intention of repressing everybody else at home?

Two brief historical examples: A) In March 2002, the Muslim Brotherhood announced it had established an armed wing, eight of whose members were ready to be suicide bombers in attacking Israel. B) When an Islamist inspired by Brotherhood leaders’ call for his murder tried to assassinate Egypt’s Nobel prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz, a top Brotherhood official testified in the terrorist’s defense that he was right to try to murder the aged author.

So is there any risk from the rise of revolutionary Islamists today? Absolutely not, explains the Times writer. According to him:
[Experts] suggest that Americans should not assume that the rise of Islamists puts the United States in greater danger from terrorists. The opposite may well be the case, they say.
More recently, of course, we have the formation of Salafist morality squads, attacks on churches, and the extremely radical rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential campaign when all the niqabs were lifted to show the ferocious hatreds and extremism underneath.

Then the article quotes two experts. One explains that the revolution in Egypt “is an important step in combating terrorism in the region and undermining its appeal.” The other says that Egyptian terrorists were just mad about the Mubarak dictatorship so they have no remaining motive to use violence. But “If Islamist groups like the Brotherhood lose faith in democracy, that’s when there could be dire consequences.”

How do we prevent the Brotherhood from losing faith in democracy? Simple. Turn all the power over to them. Then presumably having their faith in democracy proven, they don’t actually need to kill anyone outside the country or repress anyone within the country.

To add insult to injury the author cites a supposed reason proving there is no problem with revolutionary Islamists taking power:
An earlier precedent might be the Zionist militants who took part in terrorist acts against the British before the creation of the State of Israel, then became leading politicians who were warmly welcomed in Washington.
I’m thinking of holding a contest so that you can explain why this “precedent” doesn’t hold. Once the state of Israel was established, those “Zionist militants” had no further demands. They didn’t want to fundamentally transform the country using mass repression nor did they have any active demands internationally. Certainly, they didn’t seek to wipe Britain off the map and if anything they were pro-American.

The mind that can make such a comparison is incapable of comprehending international affairs.
So here we are in the middle of 2012, and all of the events of the last eighteen months don’t seem to have taught the current administration’s policymakers or its supportive scribes anything. Can’t they even consider: “Hmm, perhaps this “Arab Spring” thing isn’t working out so well … “, or, “Maybe the rapid rise of revolutionary Islamist movements is just a little bit scary. Maybe we should be cautious about promoting it”? Can’t they?

See also my article: “Israel is in Good Shape Because So Many Others Decided Not to Be”

Friday, July 13, 2012

This youth movement has women covered

The mistake made by virtually the entire Western media during the Arab Spring was to assume that social progress is like technological progress.

By Mark Steyn
The Orange County Register
July 13, 2012

A protester leads a chant during anti-government rally in Tahrir Square. Photo: Getty Images/Chris Hondros

Media types like to talk about "the narrative": News is just another form of storytelling, and certain plot lines grab you more than others.

The easiest narrative of all is anything involving young people. "I believe that children are our future," as the late Whitney Houston once asserted. And, even if Whitney hadn't believed it, it would still, as a point of fact, be true. Any media narrative involving young people presupposes that they are the forces of progress, wresting the world from the grasping clutches of mean, vengeful old men and making it a better place.

In the West, young people actually believe this. Thus, in 2008, Barack Obama, being the preferred choice of America's youth, was, by definition, the candidate of progress and the future. In humdrum reality, his idea of the future doesn't seem to be any more futuristic than the pre-Thatcher statist wasteland of Britain in the Seventies, but that didn't stop the massed ranks of fresh-faced youth chanting "We are the Hopeychange!" in adoring if glassy-eyed unison behind him at every campaign rally. Four years later, half of recent graduates can't find full-time employment; Americans' college debt is now larger than credit card debt; the number of young people with summer jobs is at a record low; and men in their late twenties and early thirties trudge upstairs every night to the same bedroom in which they slept as a kindergartner.

And that's before they're permanently buried by interest payments on the multitrillion-dollar debt and unfunded liabilities from Medicare. Yet in 2012 the rubes will still vote for Obama and be congratulated by the media for doing so. Because to be young is to vote for hope and change.
Likewise, halfway across the world, the Arab Spring was also hailed as the voice of youth, tweeting its universal message of hope and change. A year on, it's proved to be rather heavier on change, and ever lighter on hope. Egypt's first freely elected head of state is a Muslim Brotherhood man. In the parliament of the most populous Arab nation, the Muslim Brotherhood's party and its principal rival, the Even More Muslim Brotherhood, between them won nearly three-quarters of the seats. In traditionally relaxed and secular Tunisia and Morocco, elections have been won by forces we are assured by the experts are "moderate Islamists" – which means that, unlike the lavishly bankrolled American protectorate of Afghanistan, they won't be executing adulterous women in the street, or at any rate not just yet.

So what are they doing? In Libya, British Commonwealth war graves have been desecrated, something that never happened under Col. Gadhafi even at the very lowest of low points in relations between him and the West. But hey, one can forgive Libya's suddenly liberated young men a spasm of very belated anti-imperialism, right?

Meanwhile, in northern Mali, the dominant Ansar Dine group is currently engaged in destroying the ancient shrines of Timbuktu, including the famous door of the 15th-century Sidi Yahya mosque that was supposed to be left closed "until the end of the world." Bring it on, baby!

No Britons or Europeans were involved in the creation of these shrines.

Rather, it's a dispute between the region's traditionally moderate Sufi Islam and the ever more assertive Wahhabist model exported worldwide by Saudi Arabia with Western petrodollars. The shrines are official UNESCO World Heritage sites, but then so were the Buddhas of Bamyan blown up by the Taliban in Afghanistan a decade ago. What's next on the condemned list? Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, Bahrain's "Sheikh of Sheikhs" (he's like a supersized sheikh) has invited Egypt's President Morsi to "destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not" – a reference to the Muslim conqueror of Egypt back in the seventh century.

Less controversially, Egypt's Salafi Party does not see the need to destroy the Pyramids but does favor covering them in wax. The Pyramids are the last of the Seven Wonders of the World still around in the 21st century, but that's no reason not to destroy them, as part of the new pan-Islamic identity's contempt for any alternative claims of allegiance – cultural, national or historic.

The old dictators represented nobody but themselves, their cronies, and their Swiss bank accounts. The new democratic rulers embody all too well the dispositions of their people. In the years immediately after 9/11, many Western commentators argued that Islam needed a reformation. This overlooked the obvious fact that Islam had already reformed, thanks to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Iran's revolutionary mullahs, and Saudi Arabia's principal export – not oil, but globalized ideology. I've lost count of the times I've found myself sitting at dinner next to a Westernized Arab woman d'un certain age who was at college in the Fifties, Sixties or Seventies, and listened to her tell me that back then "covering" was for wizened old biddies in upcountry villages, the Islamic equivalent of gnarled Russian babushkas. The future belonged to modern, uncovered women like her and her classmates.

The assumptions of her generation were off by 180 degrees: The female graduating class of Cairo University in the Fifties looked little different from Vassar. Half-a-century later, every woman is hijabed to the hilt. Mohammad Qayoumi, now the president of San Jose State University, recently published some photographs from the Afghanistan he grew up in: The girls in high heels and pencil skirts in the Kabul record stores of the 1960s aren't quite up to Carnaby Street cool, but they'd fit in in any HMV store in provincial England. Half a century later, it was forbidden by law for women to feel sunlight on their face, or leave the home without male permission. Even more amazing to my female dining companions, today you see more covered women in London's East End or the RosengÄrd district of Malmö, Sweden, than you do in Tunis or Amman.

The mistake made by virtually the entire Western media during the Arab Spring was to assume that social progress is like technological progress – that, like the wheel or the internal combustion engine, women's rights and gay rights cannot be disinvented. They can, very easily. In Egypt, the youth who voted for the Muslim Brotherhood are more fiercely Islamic than their grandparents who backed Nasser's Revolution in 1952. In Tunisia, the young are more proscriptive than the secular old-timers who turned a blind eye to the country's bars and brothels. In the developed world, we're told that Westernization is "inevitable." "Just wait and see," say the blithely complacent inevitablists. "They haven't yet had time to Westernize." But Westernization is every bit as resistible in Brussels and Toronto as it's proved in Cairo and Jalalabad. In the first ever poll of Irish Muslims, 37 percent said they would like Ireland to be governed by Islamic law. When the same question was put to young Irish Muslims, it was 57 percent. In other words, the hope'n'change generation are less Westernized than their parents. 36 percent of young British Muslims think the penalty for apostasy – i.e., leaving Islam – should be death. Had you asked the same question of British Muslims in 1970, I doubt the enthusiasts would have cracked double figures.

Unlike the dopes droning the halfwit slogans at the Obama rallies, these guys mean it. The children are our future. That's the problem.


The Islamist Ascendancy

The Washington Post
July 13, 2012

Post-revolutionary Libya appears to have elected a relatively moderate pro-Western government. Good news, but tentative because Libya is less a country than an oil well with a long beach and myriad tribes. Popular allegiance to a central national authority is weak. Yet even if the government of Mahmoud Jibril is able to rein in the militias and establish a functioning democracy, it will be the Arab Spring exception. Consider:

Tunisia and Morocco, the most Westernized of all Arab countries, elected Islamist governments. Moderate, to be sure, but Islamist still. Egypt, the largest and most influential, has experienced an Islamist sweep. The Muslim Brotherhood didn’t just win the presidency. It won nearly half the seats in parliament, while more openly radical Islamists won 25 percent. Combined, they command more than 70 percent of parliament — enough to control the writing of a constitution (which is why the generals hastily dissolved parliament).

As for Syria, if and when Bashar al-Assad falls, the Brotherhood will almost certainly inherit power. Jordan could well be next. And the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing (Hamas) already controls Gaza.

What does this mean? That the Arab Spring is a misnomer. This is an Islamist ascendancy, likely to dominate Arab politics for a generation.

It constitutes the third stage of modern Arab political history. Stage I was the semicolonial-monarchic rule, dominated by Britain and France, of the first half of the 20th century. Stage II was the Arab nationalist era — secular, socialist, anti-colonial and anti-clerical — ushered in by the 1952 Free Officers Revolt in Egypt.

Its vehicle was military dictatorship, and Gamal Nasser led the way. He raised the flag of pan-Arabism, going so far as changing Egypt’s name to the United Arab Republic and merging his country with Syria in 1958. That absurd experiment — it lasted exactly three years — was to have been the beginning of a grand Arab unification, which, of course, never came. Nasser also fiercely persecuted Islamists — as did his nationalist successors, down to Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the Baathists, Iraqi (Saddam Hussein) and Syrian (the Assads) — as the reactionary antithesis to Arab modernism.

But the self-styled modernism of the Arab-nationalist dictators proved to be a dismal failure. It produced dysfunctional, semi-socialist, bureaucratic, corrupt regimes that left the citizenry (except where papered over by oil bounties) mired in poverty, indignity and repression.

Hence the Arab Spring, serial uprisings that spread east from Tunisia in early 2011. Many Westerners naively believed the future belonged to the hip, secular, tweeting kids of Tahrir Square. Alas, this sliver of Westernization was no match for the highly organized, widely supported, politically serious Islamists who effortlessly swept them aside in national elections.

This was not a Facebook revolution but the beginning of an Islamist one. Amid the ruins of secular nationalist pan-Arabism, the Muslim Brotherhood rose to solve the conundrum of Arab stagnation and marginality. “Islam is the answer,” it preached and carried the day.

But what kind of political Islam? On that depends the future. The moderate Turkish version or the radical Iranian one?

To be sure, Recep Erdogan’s Turkey is no paragon. The increasingly authoritarian Erdogan has broken the military, neutered the judiciary and persecuted the press. There are more journalists in prison in Turkey than in China. Nonetheless, for now, Turkey remains relatively pro-Western (though unreliably so) and relatively democratic (compared to its Islamic neighborhood).

For now, the new Islamist ascendancy in Arab lands has taken on the more benign Turkish aspect. Inherently so in Morocco and Tunisia; by external constraint in Egypt, where the military sees itself as guardian of the secular state, precisely as did Turkey’s military in the 80 years from Ataturk to Erdogan.

Genuinely democratic rule may yet come to Arab lands. Radical Islam is the answer to nothing, as demonstrated by the repression, social backwardness and civil strife of Taliban Afghanistan, Islamist Sudan and clerical Iran.

As for moderate Islamism, if it eventually radicalizes, it too will fail and bring on yet another future Arab Spring where democracy might actually be the answer (as it likely would have been in Iran, had the mullahs not savagely crushed the Green Revolution). Or it might adapt to modernity, accept the alternation of power with secularists and thus achieve by evolution an authentic Arab-Islamic democratic norm.

Perhaps. The only thing we can be sure of today, however, is that Arab nationalism is dead and Islamism is its successor. This is what the Arab Spring has wrought. The beginning of wisdom is facing that difficult reality.

A Failed Experiment

The scandal at State College infects an entire system in the aftermath of the Freeh Report

By Michael Weinreb
July 12, 2012

Nov. 8: Penn State football coach Joe Paterno speaks briefly to reporters as he leaves for football practice in State College, Pa. Paterno was later fired by the university board of trustees for not doing more to report allegations of child sex abuse by his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who retired in 1999. (AP)

Last November, as the worst month in my alma mater's history unfolded, a Penn State medical-school researcher named Craig Meyers went on the radio to detail a remarkable scientific discovery: He had discovered a potential cure for cancer. It went largely unnoticed, because Craig Meyers is a scientist and because no one associated with Penn State gave a good goddamn about science in that moment, because they were enveloped by football.

That's what we are left with now that former FBI director Louis Freeh's damning independent report on Penn State has been released: It is everything the lawyers and flacks and message-board apologists assured us it wasn't. It is a football scandal, it is a Penn State scandal, and it is a fundamental violation of the very Grand Experiment — of the balance between academics and athletics, of the notion that football can elevate a university rather than weigh it down, of the idea that men like Craig Meyers benefit from men like Joe Paterno — that the school had espoused since the 1960s. It is a betrayal of every academic advancement Penn State has made since Paterno became its head coach; it is a betrayal of all of us who came of age within Paterno's sphere of influence; and it is a betrayal, most of all, of those abused children who grew up as my neighbors, and who were ignored and then abandoned by their elders in apparent deference to the abuser himself.
Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, the Special Investigative Counsel finds that it is more reasonable to conclude, that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from authorities, the University's Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.
It would be easy for me to say now that I saw this coming, that the mythologizing of Joe Paterno in the town where I grew up always made me a little uneasy, that I had grown increasingly skeptical of the Grand Experiment as Paterno clung to his job long after it appeared to be time for him to let go. But this is not entirely true. Because my doubt was always outweighed by the notion that the people in charge, as distasteful as their treatment of the media might be, as much as they battled against transparency and disclosure and open records, had the best interests of Penn State at heart.

This was my fundamental mistake. This was our mistake, as a community. The Grand Experiment began as a sales pitch, as a way for Paterno to elevate the standards of the university he loved by using football as the lure. And then at some point, the lure outweighed the catch, and the sales pitch drove motivations, and we were too myopic to see it. At some point, the little white lies that Paterno hid behind — that he would retire after five more years, that Bowling Green was, in fact, a formidable opponent, that the culture of football was in no way segregated from the culture of the university at large — ballooned into this, into a lie so unthinkable that it takes your breath away.

I realize that, in the upcoming days and weeks and months, the focus will be on Paterno, because he was the face, and because he is the only one of these four "powerful leaders" Freeh mentions who has a statue in his likeness. But I couldn't care less about Paterno's legacy right now, and I couldn't care less whether that statue stays or goes. For me, this extends far beyond a single cult of personality. For me, this is now and has always been about the legacy of the institution, about a university I grew up around, a university where I met some of my best friends, a university that I hold a degree from and return to several times a year. There are four men who betrayed this legacy, and I hold them all equally responsible. Beyond the egregious and irreparable damage to those children, I hold them accountable for a betrayal of the people who raised me: My father, who has spent 35 years at Penn State conducting arcane organic chemistry research and teaching a generation of premed students; my mother, who spent two decades working at the university library, a wing of which now bears Paterno's name. My parents gave themselves to this university, as so many others did, and this university failed them, and instead of confronting their failures, the men in charge chose to "hope it is now behind us."1 They made this a Penn State scandal. In so doing, they cheapened everything my alma mater ever purported to stand for, and that is unforgivable.

It is absurd, of course, to presume that the work of a cancer researcher will ever win more public attention than the exploits of a football team. Society is not structured that way, and the beauty of the Grand Experiment is that it seemed built to work around that flaw, to use football to impact the greater good. It is clear now that the most powerful leaders at my university perverted that cause, and if it takes a temporary shutdown or de-emphasis of the program to right that wrong, those of us whose primary concern is the integrity of this university we held dear will accept that. Anyone who doesn't — and anyone who is more concerned with the lasting legacy of a football coach than that of the institution itself — is just furthering the lie. The Grand Experiment is a failure, and the entire laboratory is contaminated, and there is no choice but to go back and start all over again.


1. These are the words used in an e-mail by Gary Schultz, Penn State's senior vice president of finance and business, one of several damning e-mails in the appendices of the Freeh Report.

Michael Weinreb is a Grantland staff writer and the author, most recently, of Bigger Than the Game: Bo, Boz, the Punky QB and How the '80s Created the Modern Athlete.

Related:Pierce: The Brutal Truth About Penn State
Leavy: Penn State, Victims, and a Personal Memoir of Abuse
Weinreb: The Culture of Unrest at Penn State
Weinreb: Returning Home After the Scandal
Weinreb on The Herd With Colin Cowherd Listen
Weinreb: Growing Up Penn State
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Analysis: FBI Director Louis Freeh, state's results differ greatly. Why?

By SARA GANIM, The Patriot-News
July 12, 2012

Former FBI director Louis Freeh talks about the report on the investigation into Penn State’s involvement in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Freeh was tasked by the Penn State Board of Trustees to lead Penn State's internal investigation of the Sandusky scandal. JOE HERMITT, The Patriot-News

PHILADELPHIA -- Two days after Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually assaulting children, state Attorney General Linda Kelly said Joe Paterno had done the right thing.

An internal report from Penn State University released Thursday laid blame for a culture of silence at the feet of the legendary coach, along with former President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz.

The report says they together created a culture of secrecy that started at the top and penetrated fear into anyone who dared go against the Happy Valley image.

The report was conducted by a team of investigators under former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and had about seven months to take an inward look. They had $500,000 a month coming in checks endorsed by Penn State’s insurance company — receiving $6.5 million to date.

The narrative they reached is one of a coverup, and is much different than the one given by a state grand jury — that Paterno did what he should have, and Curley and Schultz simply didn’t act enough.
Unlike the grand jury, the Freeh team had no ability to compel evidence and witnesses, and no threat of charges for those who didn’t comply.

So how could they have come up with such different results about who was to blame for Jerry Sandusky’s rampant abuse of young boys on campus?

Before the report was made public, it was clear the Freeh investigators had been more successful in burrowing into the traditionally closed university.

Freeh’s team found emails that the AG’s investigators couldn’t get. Freeh called those emails the “most important pieces of evidence in the case.”

Those emails and other correspondence, according to Freeh, helped the attorney general’s office correct the date of the infamous Mike McQueary incident from 2002 to 2001.

But that could be considered a minor technicality compared to the drastic difference in impressions of Paterno.

Freeh’s report concluded two critical things the attorney general has not said:
  • That Spanier, Paterno, Curley and Schultz actively concealed similar allegations three years later in 2001.
Paterno had previously denied knowledge of the 1998 police investigation twice — first vaguely when he testified before the grand jury, and then directly eight days before his death in January during an interview with The Washington Post.

Until now, there was no evidence to challenge his word.

The mother of Victim 6, who is the victim in the 1998 case, told The Patriot-News several months ago that when investigators closed that case without charging Sandusky, they told her Paterno was aware of the decision.

Her recollection couldn’t be verified, and so it wasn’t printed.

The Freeh report says there was no evidence of any interference by any university officials in 1998; however, the civil attorney for Victim 6 said Thursday it appeared Sandusky was given preferential treatment by investigators.

None of those questions have been raised by the attorney general. The difference in tone was almost immediately obvious to many.

“It strikes me that Freeh had access to documents and evidence beyond those that the AG had, especially as to ‘98, and especially as to the ‘01 emails, which form the basis of his conclusions,” said Tom Kline, the attorney who represents Victim 5 in the Sandusky criminal case.

What Freeh says those emails show — and what his team concluded after more than 400 interviews — was that Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz were concerned about preserving the reputation, fundraising ability and overall image of Penn State and its revered football program, and so they actively decided to keep Sandusky’s allegations to themselves.

No one else within the university was involved, Freeh said, but he laid blame on the board of trustees for failing to supervise and allowing the insular attitudes of top officials to have an overwhelming effect on the university and on the community.

And there was no better evidence of that, Freeh said, than the decision by janitors in 2000 to not report seeing Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in a campus shower late at night because they feared for their jobs.

“I have always felt and tried to explain to people the strange culture that existed under Paterno,” said Victor Surma, who played for Penn State in 1969 and 1970, and even lived in Sandusky’s basement for a time.

“Paterno fostered a strange and unhealthy society in that town,” he said.

State investigator was a fan

If that was the culture that permeated Penn State, could it have affected the investigation by state attorney general’s office?

Jonelle Eshbach, the senior deputy attorney general who interviewed Paterno, several of Sandusky’s victims and Penn State officials when they appeared before the grand jury, has not been shy about her loyalty to the late coach.

After Paterno’s divisive firing, her Facebook page showed she took a survey about the board’s decision. Her page says she answered that she would have let Paterno finish the 2011 season, then retire as he planned.

Freeh’s team concluded that Paterno’s firing was warranted.

Eshbach didn’t return a message at her office.

Attorney general spokesman Nils Frederiksen declined to comment on it.

He also declined to comment on AG Kelly’s supportive statement of Paterno in November.

As to why an internal Penn State-funded investigation found more than state investigators, Frederiksen said: “Look, we’ve said from the beginning there are individuals who sought to conceal information about this case, and it takes time to dig that information up.”

When she interviewed Paterno, Eshbach specifically told him to explain what he knew about the McQueary incident, “without getting into any graphic detail.”

She also never followed up when Paterno hinted that something about an earlier claim might have been discussed in his presence prior to that.

“You did mention — I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody,” Paterno said at the grand jury. “I don’t know. I don’t remember. I could not honestly say I heard a rumor.”

His son, Scott Paterno, said his father could have been referring to the 1998 police report since emails show that he was made aware of it in some way.

Paterno, who died Jan. 22 at age 85 after briefly battling lung cancer, never knew that Penn State officials had uncovered these emails.

The coach was never interviewed by Freeh’s team.

The attorney general’s office has a much higher burden of proof than Freeh did in his internal report.
But Freeh said that one of the most telling pieces of evidence came from Paterno’s own mouth, when he told a Washington Post reporter — eight days before he died — that he thanked McQueary for reporting what he’d seen between Sandusky and a boy in a shower, and that officials would have to figure out what to do next.

How could you not know what to do, Freeh asked.

Sally Jenkins, who conducted that final interview with Paterno, called him “a liar” Thursday in a column for The Post.

She said “he was categorically clear as a bell” when she asked him about having any inkling of knowledge about the 1998 investigation.

“Nobody knew,” he told her. “I never heard a thing.”

Fans rip report

Allegations that Paterno’s actions led Sandusky’s abuse to continue immediately elicited anger from his fan base, who called Freeh’s report agenda-driven and an attempt to blame-the-dead-guy.

Freeh adamantly denied that, and pointed to the email evidence. But he also acknowledged Paterno’s contributions to the university, and said he believes Paterno would have wanted to participate in the internal investigation.

Freeh said he regrets not being able to ask Paterno about the emails, which were recovered only after his death.

Criticism of the findings from Paterno’s son Scott was more tempered than that by idolizing fans.
He didn’t dispute the facts of the report, but said Freeh’s conclusion of a coverup is plain wrong.

“I honestly believe that it a situation where people who thought they were doing the right thing made mistakes,” Scott Paterno said. “I know my father did not know Jerry was a pedophile and did not suspect he was a pedophile. Everything I saw in the Freeh commission report supports that. He reported what he saw in 2001, and the 1998 case was investigated.”

The 1998 case is that of Victim 6, investigated by Penn State police but labeled unfounded when the district attorney decided not to pursue it.

The 2001 case is that of Victim 2, in which then-graduate assistant McQueary says he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in a shower, reported it to Paterno, and then to Curley and Schultz.

“We wish he’d have been more aggressive in following up,” Scott Paterno said. “But clearly he thought it had been handled.

“This is a tragedy, not because it’s harming my father or his legacy, but because Jerry Sandusky was somehow able to do this for so long. I understand why the public feels the way it does. In a weird way, it’s easier to accept a Jerry Sandusky — a monster — than the idea that people knew about it.”
Plenty of red flags
This is undeniably a story about missed opportunities.

Freeh called them countless.

The blinders to Sandusky’s actions reach far beyond, but very much include, Penn State.

He was able to adopt a son, who later accused him of sexual abuse that happened while he was in foster care. Red flags were raised then but ignored.

Sandusky had a children’s charity he abused by forging documents to find and prey on boys. There was that police investigation in 1998 — the assistant district attorney who worked on the case declined to be interviewed by Freeh’s team.

Janitors witnessed something at Penn State in 2000.

McQueary witnessed and reported something in 2001.

Coaches in Clinton County, where Sandusky became a volunteer high school coach, saw strange activity.

Mothers of some of the boys saw their son’s behavior change.

Two of the victims allege Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was nearby when they were being assaulted.

Freeh said many members of the staff and team witnessed Sandusky showering with young boys.

Gary Schultz wrote in his notes in 1998 that this investigation could open “Pandora’s box. “Other children?” he wrote.

Penn State’s poorly structured human-resources office and a lack of compliance with federal Clery Act laws led to holes in the reporting system.

How could Penn State find itself so unlucky in such a perfect storm?

Freeh blamed Penn State’s board of trustees for letting Paterno and Spanier run wild with power.

He blamed a culture of silence.

Perhaps the nature of the crime played a role in conservative central Pennsylvania.

And, of course, the godlike image that Sandusky built to shield himself from getting caught. It might have been an impenetrable shield.

But contrary to the narrative of the last seven months, Freeh said there was at least one man who could have acted.

“Many, many witnesses we spoke to described Paterno as one the most powerful leaders on campus,” Freeh said. “He could have stopped it.”

Joe Paterno, at the end, showed more interest in his legacy than Jerry Sandusky’s victims

The Washington Post
July 12, 2012

In this 1999 photo, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. (Paul Vathis/AP)
Joe Paterno was a liar, there’s no doubt about that now. He was also a cover-up artist. If the Freeh report is correct in its summary of the Penn State child molestation scandal, the public Paterno of the last few years was a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.

In the last interview before his death, Paterno insisted as strenuously as a dying man could that he had absolutely no knowledge of a 1998 police inquiry into child molestation accusations against his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. This has always been the critical point in assessing whether Paterno and other Penn State leaders enabled Sandusky’s crimes.

If Paterno knew about ’98, then he wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children.

If he knew about ’98, then he understood the import of graduate assistant Mike McQueary’s distraught account in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the Penn State showers.

If he knew about ’98, then he also perjured himself before a grand jury.


Paterno didn’t always give lucid answers in his final interview conducted with The Washington Post eight days before his death, but on this point he was categorical and clear as a bell. He pled total, lying ignorance of the ’98 investigation into a local mother’s claim Sandusky had groped her son in the shower at the football building. How could Paterno have no knowledge of this, I asked him?

“Nobody knew,” he said.

Everybody knew.

Never heard a rumor?

“I never heard a thing,” he said.

He heard everything.

Not a whisper? How is that possible?

“If Jerry’s guilty, nobody found out till after several incidents.”

Paterno’s account of himself is flatly contradicted in damning detail by ex FBI-director Louis Freeh’s report. In a news conference Thursday, Freeh charged that Paterno, along with athletic director Timothy Curley, university president Graham Spanier and vice president Gary Schultz, engaged in a cover-up, “an active agreement of concealment.”

Paterno was not only aware of the ’98 investigation but followed it “closely” according to Freeh. As did the entire leadership of Penn State. E-mails and confidential notes by Schultz about the progress of the inquiry prove it. “Behavior — at best inappropriate @ worst sexual improprieties,” Schultz wrote. “At min – Poor Judgment.” Schultz also wrote, “Is this opening of pandora’s box?” and “Other children?”

A May 5, 1998 e-mail from Curley to Schultz and Spanier was titled “Joe Paterno” and it says, “I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”

A second e-mail dated May 13 1998 from Curley to Schultz is titled “Jerry” and it says, “Anything new [in] this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.”

There is only one aspect in which the Freeh report does not totally destroy Paterno’s pretension of honesty. It finds no connection between the ’98 investigation and Sandusky’s resignation from Paterno’s staff in ’99. The report also suggests that Paterno genuinely believed the police had found no evidence of a crime.

Paterno can be forgiven for his initial denial, for refusing to believe his colleague was a child molester in ’98. What’s not forgivable is his sustained determination to lie from 2001 onward.

This is how Paterno testified in January 2011 before the grand jury. He was asked: “Other than the [2001] incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?”
Paterno replied, “I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it.”

Paterno’s family continued to insist Thursday via a statement that Paterno’s account was not inconsistent with the facts, and he “always believed, as we do, that the full truth should be uncovered.”

But Paterno was no more interested in the full truth than Walt Disney.

In his final interview, he played the faux-naif who insisted he had “never heard of rape and a man.” Who hadn’t followed up on McQueary’s report out of squeamishness. Who was wary of interfering in university “procedure.” Who insisted it was unfair to put Penn State on trial along with a pedophile, and that this was not “a football scandal.”

In fact, in 2001 Paterno had every reason to suspect Sandusky was a serial defiler of children. In fact, Paterno was not reluctant to interfere in university procedure; he helped dictate it. In fact, this was a football scandal. The crimes were committed by a former assistant football coach in the football building. Ten boys, and 45 criminal counts, at least five of them molested on the Penn State campus after 1998 when Paterno committed the awful misjudgment of continuing to allow Sandusky to bring boys to his locker room, so sure was he that Sandusky was “a good guy.”

We can’t un-rape and un-molest those boys. We can’t remove them from the showers and seize them back from the hands of Sandusky. That should have been an unrelenting source of rage and grief to Paterno. Yet in perhaps the most damaging observation of all, the Freeh report accuses Paterno and his colleagues of “a striking lack of empathy” for the victims.

Everything else about Paterno must now be questioned; other details about him begin to nag. You now wonder if his self-defense was all an exercise in sealing off watertight compartments, leaving colleagues on the outside to drown. You wonder if he performed a very neat trick in disguising himself as a modest and benevolent man. The subtle but constant emphasis on his Ivy League education, the insistence that Penn State football had higher standards, now looks more like rampant elitism.

Undeniably, for many years Paterno did virtuous work at Penn State. His combined winning records and graduation rates were indeed much higher than those of his peers. It’s a relevant part of the Penn State affair and worth stating, because it contributed to the institutional response. The Freeh report cited “numerous individual failings,” but it also found “weaknesses of the University’s culture, governance, administration, compliance policies and procedures for protecting children.” As other commentators have rightly observed, Paterno’s huge successes helped form those potholes. He was the university’s culture.

He was the self-appointed arbiter of character and justice in State College. He had decided Sandusky was “a good man” in 1998, and he simply found it too hard to admit he made a fatal misjudgment and gave a child molester the office nearest to his. He was more interested in protecting a cardboard cutout legacy than the flesh and blood of young men.

The only explanation I can find for this “striking lack of empathy” is self-absorption. In asking how a paragon of virtue could have behaved like such a thoroughly bad guy, the only available answer is that Paterno fell prey to the single most corrosive sin in sports: the belief that winning on the field makes you better and more important than other people.

For previous columns by Sally Jenkins, visit

The Unending War on Afghan Women

By Frank Crimi
July 12, 2012

The “honor beheading” of an Afghan woman and her two children is but the latest act of barbarism in the escalating and seemingly never-ending violence being levied upon Afghanistan’s women and girls.

The latest victims of the Afghan war on women were a 30-year-old woman named Serata and her eight-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, all of whom had their heads cleaved from their bodies by Serata’s divorced husband, Mohammad Arif.

While Serata appeared to be the sole target of Arif’s revenge, according to Afghan police, after her children saw their father burst into their home in Ghazni province and “take their mother’s head off, he killed them too.”

Serata and her children’s horrific deaths were prompted because she had apparently “dishonored” Arif’s familial reputation by divorcing him last year after suffering through a decade of abuse, a stain so great that it necessitated Arif’s act of bloody vengeance.

Sadly, this horrific crime appears to be only the latest in a rapidly growing wave of “honor killings” plaguing Afghan women and girls, a swell that saw 17 such killings reported across Afghanistan in March and April alone.

Those cases include a 22-year-old woman choked to death by her husband in Kunduz province; a 40-year-old woman beheaded by her husband in Khost province; and a 26-year-old woman in Baghlan province who was first choked to death and then burned up with boiling hot water.

Like Serata, seeking a divorce can lead a woman to her death at the hands of an aggrieved husband or relative. Yet women slated for honor killings can also include those who have married a man of their own choosing; had any contact with an unrelated male; dated a Christian; openly flirted; or adopted Western ways of dress and behavior.

However, acts over which a woman has no control, such as being the victim of rape, can also provoke an honor killing.

In February, Estorai, a 22-year-old mother of two, was strangled to death by her husband for her failure to produce a male offspring. Unhappy that their firstborn was a girl, Estorai’s husband had warned that he would kill her if she gave him another daughter, a deadly promise he kept within weeks after Estorai gave birth to their second daughter.

In June, Gulsika, a 20-year-old woman in Kandahar province, was shot by her husband for her failure to conceive, even though doctors who had examined her said it was her husband — and not Gulsika — who was the one unable to have children.

Yet, while the rise in Afghan honor killings has been on a meteoric rise of late, overall violent attacks on women and girls throughout Afghanistan have also dramatically increased.

To some, the resurgence in violence has been attributed to the Taliban extending its reach across Afghanistan and bringing with them the brutal yoke it had placed on Afghan women during its five-year rule of the country from 1996 -2001.

That Taliban reign subjected Afghan women to a Hobbesian nightmare of public floggings and executions if they, among other things, failed to wear a head-to-toe burqa; worked outside their homes or even left their homes unaccompanied by a close male relative; laughed loudly; or were photographed or filmed.

This Taliban-brand of female stewardship was on display in a gruesome video recently taken in a village in Parwan province in which a Taliban member is seen shooting a kneeling woman accused of adultery five times in the head with an automatic rifle.

Before the shots struck the women’s head, a male voice in the background intoned, “Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it’s the wrong way. It is the order of Allah that she be executed.” To that refrain, a cheering throng of over 150 male villagers chanted, “Long live the Afghan mujahideen!”

It should be noted that while the woman had been charged with the “crime” of adultery, she was in fact the discarded pawn of two Taliban commanders, both of whom had been sexually involved with her before deciding to torture her and then kill her to settle a dispute between the two of them.
Yet, while the Taliban may indeed be largely responsible for the latest rise in violence, the actions of the brutal Islamists are being abetted by the many Muslim men in Afghanistan who have long been treating women and girls little better than human chattel.

The UN reports that nearly 90 percent of Afghan women suffer from some form of domestic violence. That abuse includes being given away to pay family debts or settle disputes as well as forced child marriage, the latter practice which has led to over half of the marriages in Afghanistan involving girls under the age of 16.

Not surprisingly, according to the head of an Afghan women’s rights group, these early marriages “cause dangerous levels of stress for women too young to cope” with the “wifely roles expected of them,” roles that more often than not include a torrent of physical and emotional abuse issued from the bride’s husband and family.

Tragically, the trauma engendered from forced child marriage has also produced an epidemic of suicides from desperate girls unable to flee their matrimonial hell. In Afghanistan’s Daikundi province alone, an investigative report by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting found that at least 200 women annually commit suicide in an effort to flee forced marriage.

While most of these young women take rat poison or insecticides or hang themselves in order to exit their turmoil, a fairly new and equally disturbing trend of suicide is taking place: self-immolation. In western Afghanistan alone 94 cases of self-immolation by young teenage brides who have been married off by their families have occurred over the past year.

Yet, as sad as it may sound, it’s not terribly surprising that these young girls feel forced to take such extreme measures to extricate themselves from family violence given the religious and cultural penalties they will suffer for even raising complaints about their plight.

In Afghanistan’s highly patriarchal society women who seek help from Afghan courts and police are often pressured by authorities to withdraw their complaints, or failing that, find themselves arrested and jailed for committing “moral crimes.”

One such case involved a 15-year-old bride named Sadat who set herself on fire after months of being beaten repeatedly by her husband and father-in-law, an act which resulted in burns over 80 percent of her body.

Prior to her self-immolation, Sadat had petitioned Afghan courts to end the violence in her home. However, the prosecutor accused Sadat of lying, demanding that she withdraw her complaints or face “dire consequences” if she refused. According to Sadat, “Such behavior left me with no choice but self-immolation because it was the only way to get rid of the violence and insults.”

Of course, it should be noted that Afghan women will find little legal relief if forced to utilize their other judicial option, their local “jirga.” These tribal assemblies of village elders, common throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan, bring a brand of Sharia justice that can be especially harsh.

An example of that justice occurred in 2011 in neighboring Pakistan when a Pakistani jirga declared that a 13-year-old girl who had been kidnapped and viciously gang raped for three days by four Muslim men to be a “black female” and thus subject to an honor killing from her family.

As AIHRC Commissioner Suraya Subhrang said, these “men make a quick decision in their own courts to kill a girl and hold a prayer for her the next day.”

Given the rising cloud of murderous deaths enveloping the women and girls of Afghanistan, the prayer rooms in Afghanistan’s mosques must be overflowing.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Freeh report: Penn State leadership 'repeatedly concealed critical facts'

By Jon Schmitz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
July 12, 2012

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh issued his report today on Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Sandsuky, top center, is seen here shortly after he was convicted on 45 counts of sexually assaulting 10 boys. On the bottom, from left, late Penn State coach Joe Paterno; former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz; former athletic director Tim Curley; and former Penn State president Graham Spanier. (AP)

A special investigator today condemned Penn State University leadership for what he called "the total disregard for the safety and welfare" of children who were sexually abused by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

"The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized," investigator Louis Freeh said in remarks prepared for a 10 a.m. news conference.

In his 267-page report, compiled after 430 interviews and the review of 3.5 million emails and other documents, he named names.

"Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University -- President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno -- failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade," according to the report. "These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001.

"Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child's identity, of what (graduate assistant Mike) McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February, 9, 2001," according to the report.

In his prepared remarks, Mr. Freeh said Paterno in particular failed to step in.

"The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years, and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno's," Mr. Freeh said.

A campus committee dominated by Penn State trustees retained Mr. Freeh, a former FBI director and a former federal judge, in November, promising a comprehensive and unbiased investigation of the sex abuse scandal.

"No one is above scrutiny," the committee's chairman, Penn State trustee and Merck chief executive officer Kenneth Frazier, said at the time.

Mr. Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. The scandal led to the ouster of Mr. Spanier and Paterno, who died in January of complications from lung cancer.

It also resulted in charges against Mr. Schultz and Mr. Curley, who are accused of failing to properly report suspected child abuse and lying to a grand jury.

'Is this the opening of pandora's box?'
According to the Freeh report, before May 1998, several staff members and football coaches "regularly observed Sandusky showering with young boys in the Lasch Building ... none of the individuals interviewed notified their superiors of this behavior."

After the mother of a young boy reported a possible sexual assault by Sandusky on May 3, 1998, university police and the state Department of Public Welfare investigated. Two days later, Mr. Schultz wrote in his notes: "Is this the opening of pandora's box? Other children?"

On June 9, 1998, Mr. Schultz sent an email to Mr. Spanier and Mr. Curley, saying "I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us."

No charges were filed in connection with that incident, and none of the Penn State hierarchy spoke to Mr. Sandusky about his conduct. Nor did they take action to limit his access to Penn State facilities "or took any measures to protect children on their campuses," the report said.

A detective who interviewed Mr. Sandusky at the time recalled telling him not to shower with children and that he replied that he wouldn't.

Noting that Mr. Sandusky was convicted of several assaults that occurred after 1998, the report said that some of the assaults "might have been prevented had Sandusky been prohibited from bringing minors to University facilities and University football bowl games."

Read more:

Joe Paterno, others covered up Jerry Sandusky abuse of children, PSU-Freeh report says

By SARA GANIM, The Patriot-News
July 12, 2012

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (center) leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on June 22, 2012 in Bellefonte, Penn. (Rob Carr / Getty Images)

Joe Paterno knew about and "followed closely" allegations that Jerry Sandusky abused a boy in a shower in 1998, and participated in a cover up by "repeatedly concealing critical facts" even when similar allegations were reported to him three years later, according to a Penn State internal investigation.

That's the opposite of what the late coach testified to under oath when he went before a grand jury in 2011. He also denied knowing anything about the 1998 report days before he died in January, when he agreed to an interview with The Washington Post.

Instead, Paterno said the only allegation he knew of against Sandusky was made by assistant coach Mike McQueary in 2001. Paterno said he reported the allegation to his superiors, and stepped away.

"The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno's," the report said. "At the very least, Mr. Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing another child into the Lasch Building."

Read the full Freeh report here.

Read more:

Related topics: freeh report, jerry sandusky, joe paterno

Inside ‘Dream Team’: A Conversation with Jack McCallum

July 10, 2012

There exist books on most every subject written from most every angle imaginable. There are do-it-yourself guides to construct your vessel to the afterlife. There is a definitive handbook on colloquial speech on the high seas. There are memoirs filled with irredeemable drivel, helpful travel guides written in anapestic tetrameter, and dizzying, sprawling novels drowned in an ocean of footnotes.

And yet 20 years after the historic Olympic Games held in Barcelona in the summer of 1992, only now are we able to appreciate the “Dream Team” in proper, bound, and fascinating form. Jack McCallum’s book on the subject, entitled Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, hits bookstores today. It’s not only the definitive book on the subject, but in so many ways makes the long wait worthwhile, as McCallum’s insight, countless interviews, and decades of perspective coalesce wonderfully into the kind of book the greatest team of all time always deserved. Bits and pieces of the text are floating around various online outlets, but those sections hardly do the complete product justice.

I spoke with McCallum about the book, his experiences covering the Dream Team for Sports Illustrated, and some of the greatest basketball players who ever lived:

ROB MAHONEY: Isiah Thomas’ non-selection still strikes a chord with so many people and so many basketball fans – it’s kind of amazing how linked he is with the Dream Team lore despite not actually being on the team. What is it about that dimension of this story that makes for such compelling theater?

JACK MCCALLUM: Well, one of the factors is that there wasn’t an amazing amount of controversy once [the Dream Team] got together. There weren’t complaints about playing time. There weren’t issues during the games. Chuck Daly did a fantastic job of managing the egos. We are a society — and certainly I’m part of it — that looks for controversy, and this is one of the few things you have to latch on to. The second thing is that Isiah has always been a lightning rod; it doesn’t matter whether he’s in the league or whether he’s out of the league, he’s always been a guy to whom attention has flown. I understand it, because Isiah was a great player. But James Worthy, he was a member of four championship teams or five championship teams, and there was never that [controversy] over him.

MAHONEY: In the vein of controversy, I know Clyde Drexler’s comments in the book about Magic and HIV picked up some traction on Deadspin and through some other outlets — so much that Clyde came out to publicly deny the authenticity of the quote. I know you’ve covered that saga a bit on your blog, but was Drexler’s after-the-fact denial something that surprised you at all, or given the quote, did you kind of see it coming?

MCCALLUM: I kind of saw it coming because I’m sure he didn’t remember exactly what he said, and then the context in which it was put — that the Dream Team was sort of waiting for him to die — all of a sudden it hit like a ton of bricks. I’m sure Clyde honestly thought that I made stuff up. We’ve talked since then and I sent him the transcript. I didn’t send him the tape — I can’t let the tape out of my possession unless I have to — but I sent him the transcript trying to explain that I thought it came out clearer in the book. But his reaction, I suppose, didn’t surprise me. After he saw the transcript, he still was saying that I was fabricating quotes but I think he understands I didn’t, and I just hope the whole thing is clear in the book because I did not feel good about it. As much as people think ‘Oh wow, controversy sells books, blah, blah, blah,” I did not feel very good about it.

MAHONEY: Your book is about the Dream Team and the golden age of basketball, but it’s also a personal narrative throughout. What guided your decision to not only write about an event and an era, but to also write about your experience specifically, as it relates to those things?

MCCALLUM: I think it was mostly that — I don’t want this to sound bad, because the publisher would probably go nuts — in many ways, the experience in Barcelona when they were together was the least interesting. We had 14 games that they played — six qualifiers and eight in the Olympics — where there was literally almost nothing to write about. It was a little bit of a closed society over there; the Olympics had their restrictions on locker rooms and things, which we’re not used to in the United States. The hotel was a locked down fort. I mean, I got in there a couple times but the hangout factor in Barcelona was actually pretty low. So what I needed to do was actually use the access I had before that, and as I started writing I realized that the interesting thing to me was how these guys became who they became. So that’s how I decided to do it that way.

MAHONEY: I thought that decision was interesting, especially because so many other stories about the Dream Team are solely about the Olympic team itself. All of these players are already so well known and so well chronicled already that other retellings seem to get by with a name drop and a citing of their credentials. But you really devoted almost a third of the book to setting the scene with each of those guys as imperfect, riveting characters. Is that solely because of the lack of access and drama in Barcelona, or were these just bits and pieces of so many other compelling stories that you felt needed a home?

MCCALLUM: I think the latter more than anything, but it was also this age. I don’t want to proclaim it the golden era just because I was there, but I’m going to proclaim it that. And it hadn’t been told in kind of a [book] form. Larry had biographies and Jackie MacMullan wrote a great book about Larry and Magic, but there wasn’t really a book in my opinion that put it all together. I will say that as I started doing it, I looked up one day and I said to my wife, “Oh my god, I’m 130 pages into this and they haven’t dribbled a ball together yet.” So yes, I was conscious of the fact that I was devoting an awful lot of time to it and I went back and cut some of it — you won’t believe that, but I cut some of it — because I’m sure some people would’ve gone, ‘Let’s get these guys on the court together.’ But to me, it was a foundation for the book that I couldn’t pass up.

MAHONEY: Definitely. You almost go out of the way in the book to explain that Christian Laettner isn’t a complete jerk. Was that a case in which you felt the general sentiment tilted in an unfair direction?

MCCALLUM: Yeah. Part of the reason that this thing worked is that things are different 20 years later, and one of the things that I realized 20 years later — probably because I’m older — is how tough this was on Laettner. What I thought back then, and what most of us thought, is how much of a jerk he was. We’d go up and talk to Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, who were literally the most famous athletes in the world, and they’d give you your time. They get the deal. They get it. And Christian Laettner just didn’t get it. Back then, I was more tending to think ‘What a jerk.’ Now, 20 years later, I’m more inclined to think ‘Yeah, he’s not blameless in the whole thing, but he was in a tough position.’

MAHONEY: The friendship between Patrick Ewing and Larry Bird seems like it would’ve made for a fantastic buddy cop setup, but what was it about their chemistry that was so peculiar and so interesting to you?

MCCALLUM: I think it spoke to the fact that both of these guys, Larry in particular, were perceived…and I got this from everybody, particularly about Larry. He was perceived as this kind of sleepy-eyed assassin and he kept himself a little detached on the court. And so now, they get together, and all of a sudden in a loose setting [the Dream Team members] discover what a lot of people have discovered about Bird: that he’s a pretty funny guy and that he has an incredible sense of humor. What made it funnier was that he had teamed up with the guy was seemingly closest to him in temperament, which is Patrick, and they were sort of this laugh riot. If you picked two unusual guys from the outside to be doing this, you’d pick those two. But if you kind of know them, it doesn’t seem all that strange.

MAHONEY: Similar to Bird and how people were surprised with how funny he was, do you feel like the players were surprised in a different way with Magic’s temperament? It seemed like he rubbed a lot of his teammates and people in the NBA the wrong way.

MCCALLUM: I think that idea that Clyde [expressed in the book]: the “This is my team. This is my stuff.” I think that affected pretty much everybody. But I later wrote on my blog that it only went so far; Magic could’ve been captain of that team for 350 games and there would have never been any kind of insurrection or any kind of revolt. Magic was a captain, and I think 20 years later these guys were sort of able to look at Magic with a half-smile and half-frown. I kind of look at him the same way; Mike Wilbon told me that he had literally never seen the guy in a bad mood. And with a person like that, I think we all kind of wonder: can this really be real? I still don’t know the answer. I love Magic, but I understand that if I were on his team, once in awhile I’d be rolling my eyes a bit.

MAHONEY: At any point during your interview process — either back in 1992 or more recently — did you ever feel like you weren’t getting the whole story on a particular topic? Kind of a collective and selective amnesia about some event in particular?

MCCALLUM: I would say some people held their opinions about other people, to a certain extent. I don’t think the chemistry was 100 percent; I think Magic — the idea that some people were eye-rolling at each other came out mostly on Magic. And in the last interview I did with Larry, I think I put it in the last chapter, Larry was the only one that said “Hey it’s a good thing this thing ended when it did.” There was starting to be “Hey, I only played six minutes.” “Chuck doesn’t like me.” There was starting to be a little bit of that, and Larry told me that without me asking. I tried to get him to say more, but he really wouldn’t do that. So I think there was a little holding back on the interpersonal relationships.

Going out at night, Charles was free then. Charles was kind of in a marital “interregnum” as I call it. But even then, there wasn’t a lot of hiding because the teams’ families were there. I’m sure some stuff happened that the public would love to hear about, but that wasn’t what I was exploring and probably wasn’t as scintillating as you might think because, as I said, these guys had brought their families along.

MAHONEY: So many of the players talk about how this was one of the greatest periods of their basketball careers. Did the coaching staff exude the same sentiment? Or was there more tension and pressure on them with such a star-laden roster?

MCCALLUM: Well, one of the unfortunate things was that Chuck [Daly] died before I got a chance to talk to him. But over the years, I had talked to Chuck many, many, many times, and I know what it meant to him. I don’t want to put words in his mouth. I know what that meant to that guy. He was a lifer. He grew up sweeping gyms, won two NBA championships, and then he was asked to coach the greatest team of all time. He couldn’t have been any more positive.

Lenny [Wilkins] and I only talked to a little bit. Lenny’s very much an old pro. He’s not going to show everything that he really thought about it, and I could not pull that much out of him. P.J. [Carlesimo] is a good friend of mine and he’s very exuberant — you knew what he felt about it.
But in answer to your question, the real guy was [Mike] Krzyzewski. Besides the players, Krzyzewski was the best interviews I did. This thing was so meaningful to him. He grew as a coach, he felt, because of it. He grew by watching Chuck Daly. He grew by watching how Magic, Michael, and Larry would “control” a team. He could not have been more into this experience. He wasn’t bullshitting me, either; I could tell that this was real emotion. A couple of times he even teared up talking to me. In this guy’s career, nothing was more important than being an assistant coach to Chuck Daly on this team.

MAHONEY: After reading through the book, I find that I’m almost more interested in the introverted stars than ever — the David Robinsons and the John Stocktons. it just seems like there’s typically so much focus in the traditional Dream Team story on Bird, Magic, and Jordan, that some of the other players get swallowed up. Did you feel like you needed to add the perspective of the other guys — the Chris Mullins of the team — who were forgotten in the fray?

MCCALLUM: It’s a good question. You always have regrets after a book, and one of my regrets — and I don’t know if it could’ve been any different — was that I didn’t get a lot out of Patrick [Ewing]. I think I got a lot out of Mullin and Stockton by going to visit them and I saw what that experience meant to them. John’s always on-guard, hands up and everything. But I was kind of able to write about that. And Mullin, with his alcoholism beforehand and what it all meant to him. Patrick I wasn’t able to unlock so much. But a basketball team is a microcosm. It’s the way a team operates. By the pure nature of it, even if it’s the most famous team in the world, it is going to revolve around the dominant personalities. This team functioned in the same way. Y’know, just like the Los Angeles Clippers; they’ve got the leaders, they’ve got the focused guys, and they’ve got the supporting cast. In retrospect, one of the incredible things was how these Hall of Fame players did fall into that. David Robinson’s a perfect example of that; David scored 71 points in an NBA game once, and he was the complementary player on this team and that’s a credit to them and a credit to Chuck [Daly].

MAHONEY: Relative to your interviews at the time and brushing up again with guys more recently and fleshing out the story, who’s perspective on the dream team and the whole Olympic experience changed the most?

MCCALLUM: Good question. I’d say the answer to that is probably [Scottie] Pippen. Scottie has gotten himself in trouble over the years; he’s said some strange stuff, he’s had some money problems. He’s a little bit of a tabloid headline. And when he got the role as a Dream Team guy, he couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t say it then, but he couldn’t believe it. He had won two championships by then, but this elevated his career in his mind and I don’t think he really saw it then. But 20 years later, he was the one that talked — they all talked a little movingly but Scottie really talked movingly — about what this meant to him, how important this was, and how it kind of validated him as a player.

I would say in second place — or 1a there — was Mullin. Mullin, as you alluded to, was a little bit out of the spotlight to begin with, and a lot of people said, “What the hell is Chris Mullin doing on the team?” Well, Daly wanted him from the beginning. When Chris went over there, and he was a terrific addition and he liked the guys, it validated him as a player. What he told me is that it had validated the way he had started to approach life — to stop drinking and get your stuff together. So I would say Pippen and Mullin in that respect.