Politicizing tragedy. Folks on both sides are attempting to score political points with the Aurora, Colo., shooting tragedy, but perhaps the most egregious example was when ABC News reporter Brian Ross falsely suggested that the alleged shooter James Holmes was a member of the Tea Party. As it turns out, James Michael Holmes, a 52-year-old Hispanic conservative from the Denver area is a member of the Tea Party, and he apparently is the guy ABC confused with the shooter. Because of the incident, James Michael Holmes has had to disconnect his home phone and says he's worried about the media harassing him and his family members.
Extolling entrepreneurship. On July 13 President Obama made a speech in Roanoke, Va., in which he seemed to criticize entrepreneurs for taking too much credit for building their own businesses. Obama said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." This statement came in the midst of a riff about the role government plays in creating infrastructure that allows entrepreneurship to happen. Some say the president's comments were taken out of context, but they highlight a fundamental difference in philosophy between the political parties. But the American people are clear on this point. Most Americans believe entrepreneurs who start businesses do more to create jobs and economic growth than big businesses or government. They also believe overwhelmingly that small business owners work harder than other Americans and are primarily responsible for the success or failure of their businesses. These findings are from a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, which also found that 72 percent of likely U.S. voters believe that people who start small businesses are primarily responsible for their success or failure. Only 13 percent disagree.
The Regnerus saga. We've been following the story of University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus for several weeks now. Regnerus has been subjected to personal and professional ridicule for publishing a study in a peer-reviewed academic journal that suggests same-sex parents might not be as good for children as heterosexual parents. Respected sociologist Christian Smith has come to Regnerus' defense in a spirited article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Smith writes, "Whoever said inquisitions and witch hunts were things of the past? A big one is going on now." Smith goes on to write, "In today's political climate, and particularly in the discipline of sociology-dominated as it is by a progressive orthodoxy-what Regnerus did is unacceptable. It makes him a heretic, a traitor-and so he must be thrown under the bus."
We're all Penn State. Jimmy Olson, an 18-year-old Penn State University freshman, said he was "furious" at the sanctions handed down to his school this week as a result of its role in the Jerry Sandusky affair. "JoePa didn't deserve this," Olson told Yahoo! Sports. I appreciate young Jimmy's loyalty, but the sad truth is that "JoePa," the late former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, did deserve this. And so did Penn State. In fact, many folks (and I'm among them) think Penn State is getting off light. The $60 million fine is just one year's worth of football revenue. The other sanctions don't add up to anything close to Southern Methodist University's 1980s-era sanctions, and SMU's offenses were recruiting violations, not harboring a sexual predator for more than a decade. To Penn State's credit, most of the college's community accept the penalty with a quiet stoicism and even some introspection and repentance. It's a posture I hope the rest of money-hungry, celebrity-obsessed college football culture can assume without having to go through what Penn State has gone through-not to mention what Sandusky's victims have gone through.