Saturday, July 07, 2012

Remember Fast and Furious’s Mexican Victims

The “walked” guns draw blood south of the border.

By Deroy Murdock
July 6, 2012

Testimony has revealed that ATF weapons were also traced to the torture and killing of a prominent Mexican attorney, Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, a sibling to a former attorney general in violence-plagued Chihuahua state.

The American people finally have heard of Brian Terry. He is the best-known victim of Fast and Furious, an Obama-administration conventional-weapons-proliferation program. Between November 2009 and January 2011, Team Obama arranged for licensed firearms dealers to sell guns to straw buyers, who transferred them to known violent criminals in Mexico. Two of these firearms, AK-47s, were found near Rio Rico, Ariz., where suspected smugglers fatally shot Terry, a 40-year-old former Marine, on December 15, 2010.

“I do not fear death,” Terry once wrote. “I do fear the loss of my honor, and would rather die fighting than have it said I was without courage.”

While Brian Terry is the most visible victim of this notorious policy, he is not its sole casualty.

On February 15, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata, 32, was shot mortally in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Members of Los Zetas drug gang also hit ICE Agent Victor Avila in that ambush, although not fatally. This assault involved a rifle purchased in Dallas in another Obama administration “gunwalking” escapade.

Largely overlooked is this plan’s calamitous impact on Mexico, its people, and U.S.-Mexican relations. Fast and Furious has spilled American blood. But south of the border, it has made blood gush like an oil strike.

“One of the things that’s so offensive about this case is that our federal government knowingly, willfully, purposefully gave the drug cartels nearly 2,000 weapons — mainly AK-47s — and allowed them to walk,” Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) told NBC News. These arms were supposed to lead federal agents in Phoenix to the Mexican thugs who acquired them. Instead, Fast and Furious guns melted into Mexico without a trace.

These weapons became invisible, but not silent.

Approximately 300 Mexicans have been killed or wounded by Fast and Furious guns, estimates former Mexican attorney general Victor Humberto Benítez Treviño. Now the chairman of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies’ Justice Committee, Benítez told the Los Angeles Times that Fast and Furious “was a bad business that got out of hand.”

Relevant details are scarce. However, at least one case generated enormous headlines in Mexico. Here is what happened, according to a July 26, 2011, joint report by House Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa.

On October 21, 2010, Sinaloa drug cartel members kidnapped Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, brother of Chihuahua State’s then–attorney general, Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez. She believed his abduction was in retaliation for her prosecution of Sinaloa narco-traffickers. A video promptly emerged showing Mario in handcuffs, surrounded by five armed, masked captors. That November 5, his tortured body was discovered in a shallow grave. Mexican police soon nabbed his suspected kidnappers after a shootout. Serial numbers confirm that two of the 16 weapons seized from eight of these hoodlums were Fast and Furious guns. These also were tied to the kidnappings of two people.
Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez said, “The basic ineptitude of these officials caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims.”

Fast and Furious guns have befouled at least 200 crime scenes. Among them:

Members of the La Familia drug gang fired at a Mexican Federal Police helicopter on May 24, 2011, wounding three officers and forcing it to make an emergency landing near Michoacán in western Mexico. Five days later, four more helicopters attacked La Familia. The gang returned fire, striking all four choppers and injuring another two government agents. The police prevailed, killing eleven cartel members and arresting 36 — including those suspected of targeting the first chopper and its passengers. Mexican authorities say La Familia possessed heavy-duty body armor and 70 rifles, including several Fast and Furious weapons.

Two weapons purchased by Fast and Furious targets were recovered in Sonora on July 1, 2010, and tied to a “Homicide/Willful Kill — Gun,” the U.S. Justice Department revealed last September 9.

Two Fast and Furious guns were linked to a February 2010 assassination conspiracy against Baja California’s then–police chief, Julian Leyzaola.

Four Fast and Furious guns were found on January 8, 2010, and connected to a “kidnap/ransom.”

Eleven Fast and Furious firearms were discovered in Atoyac de Álvarez after Mexican soldiers saved a kidnap victim on November 14, 2009.

As of December 2010, 241 Fast and Furious guns had been recovered in Mexico and 350 in America.
In one striking case, these weapons did not walk across the border; they ran. “Within a span of 24 hours,” Issa and Grassley learned, “a straw purchaser bought guns at a gun store in Arizona and facilitated their transport to Naco, Mexico with the intent of delivering the guns to the Sinaloa cartel.”
On November 20, 2009, 42 AK-47 assault rifles and a Beowulf .50-caliber rifle were recovered. In just one day, 20 of these guns traveled from Arizona to Sonora, Mexico.

The woman who transported these armaments told investigators that she planned to deliver them directly to the Sinaloa mob. Noting that this was the first Fast and Furious repossession, Issa and Grassley explained: “From the very first recovery of weapons, ATF officials knew that drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) were using these straw purchasers.”

Team Obama’s defenders correctly argue that Bush-administration investigators distributed some 450 guns in Mexico. But there are several key differences: Operation Wide Receiver caused no known deaths. Many of that program’s weapons (unlike most Fast and Furious guns) featured radio tracking devices. Also, Mexico’s government knew about and supported Wide Receiver.

In contrast, Issa and Grassley observed, “ATF and DOJ leadership kept their own personnel in Mexico and Mexican government officials totally in the dark about all aspects of Fast and Furious.”

Mexican attorney general Marisela Morales told the Los Angeles Times that she first learned about Fast and Furious via news accounts. “In no way would we have allowed it,” she said, “because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.” In June 2011, a U.S. official informed Morales that, eight months earlier, Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez’s murderers used Fast and Furious guns.

Hijole!” Attorney General Morales replied. Roughly translated: “Damn!”

Consequently, another casualty here is America’s friendship with Mexico. Though not mortally wounded, this relationship is in serious condition.

“Fast and Furious has poisoned the well-spring of public opinion in Mexico as it relates to the cooperation and engagement with the United States,” Mexico’s envoy to America, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, told Washington, D.C.’s New Democrat Network on May 31. “The thinking that you can let guns walk across the border and maintain operational control of those weapons is really an outstanding lack of understanding of how these criminal organizations are operating on both sides of our common borders.”

This foreign-policy fiasco is the brainchild of an administration whose transparency was supposed to stun the world and whose sagacity promised to smooth international relations after the alleged small-mindedness of the G. W. Bush years.

Diplomatic headaches aside, the real victims of Fast and Furious are those whom this policy helped kill, and the Team Obama–supplied firearms that still haunt the horizon.

“This is the perfect storm of idiocy,” ATF’s Carlos Canino told Representative Issa’s investigators: “Unfortunately, there are hundreds of Brian Terrys probably in Mexico. . . . We [ATF] armed the [Sinaloa] cartel. It is disgusting.”

And, as Issa and Grassley concluded last July 22, 1,048 of those weapons “remain unaccounted for.” Unlike carrier pigeons, these Fast and Furious guns will not fly safely home. Instead, for years to come, they will keep drawing blood in Mexico — and points north.

New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

Small-town America and the modern world: Andy Griffith showed one to the other

By Ted Anthony
The Associated Press
The Province
July 4, 2012

Close your eyes and picture it: small-town America.

It has a little post office, of course. A general store, too, and a fishing hole. There's a barber who knows everyone — and knows about everyone. There's a friendly auto mechanic. The picture wouldn't be complete without several women who could be anyone's favourite older sister or aunt.

Kids scurry around at reasonable paces, making low-grade mischief while dirtying their short-sleeve plaid shirts or striped T-shirts. Quirky characters wander about in a landscape of picket fences and healthy storefronts. And the police officer in charge? He's tough but fair, community minded, the Solomon of his entire, geographically limited jurisdiction. He's Atticus Finch without any of the racial tension.

This is, today, the comforting script America often reaches for when it summons the vanished rural nation that so many say they long for. Not coincidentally, it is also the state of mind given to us by Andy Griffith and his long-running TV show.

More than anyone except perhaps Walt Disney, Griffith was the entertainment-world emblem of the 20th-century values Americans often like to say they prize most. He spread the notion, begun by no less a figure than Thomas Jefferson, that somehow the very best of us was contained in the rural life — in this case, the fictional tales of Mayberry that "The Andy Griffith Show" delivered for almost a decade.

"The show is kind of like a step back in time, especially for my generation," Molly Jones 24, of Raleigh, N.C., said after learning of Griffith's death Tuesday. "It's kind of like, 'Oh, this is how it used to be,' and 'Why isn't it this way still?' Things were so much simpler back then."

They certainly were in Mayberry, N.C. When Deputy Barney Fife wasn't arresting someone for jaywalking, little Opie was accidentally killing a bird with his slingshot and earnestly dealing with the moral fallout. Aunt Bee was usually either offering affection, feeling underappreciated or cooking ham. Goober and Gomer were causing disarray, and Floyd Lawson or Howard Sprague was dispensing quirky wisdom. (Come to think of it, that was true of everyone on the program.)

The reality of the age was somewhat different. Griffith's show, in a way, defied its times rather than captured them.

Though it felt like the 1950s in many ways, it was actually a product of the roller-coaster decade that followed. It debuted in 1960, four weeks before John F. Kennedy was elected, and ended its run on a spring evening in 1968 three nights before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in Memphis. While the country was tearing itself apart, Mayberry quietly endured, a Dick-and-Jane primer for an America yanked in every direction — a vision, during the Cold War, of friendly, unintruded-upon isolationism.

At the centre of it all was Griffith himself, a product of Mount Airy, N.C., who began his career doing comedic interpretations of yokels years before he honed his persona into the Sheriff Andy Taylor combination of avuncular community figure, doting father and common-sense Southerner. Though Griffith would later say the sheriff was the better angel of his nature, the perception was otherwise. "Andy was Mayberry, and Mayberry was Andy," Don Knotts, who played Barney Fife, said in 1999.

Griffith was a far more complicated figure than he appeared. As Sheriff Taylor, he effectively acted as a cultural interpreter for a fast-urbanizing nation reared on, and comforted by, Norman Rockwell imagery. Griffith's take on a post-Eisenhower "Our Town" made him, to television, what Woody Guthrie had been to music two decades earlier — a popularizer who came from authentic country roots, polished it all up, then fed Americans back a more digestible version of rural culture. It was an approach that coincided with a musical folk revival in which rural songs were being popularized by mainstream musicians like never before.

During the run of "The Andy Griffith Show," more rural and rural-urban sitcoms had emerged — broader, city-mouse-country-mouse affairs such as "The Beverly Hillbillies," ''Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres." The market for rural-themed comedy in America had grown so glutted by the dawn of the 1970s that there was actually a "rural purge" in which the networks scrapped most of their country comedies as irrelevant and out of sync with the more urgent times. The Griffith show's sequel, "Mayberry R.F.D.," was one victim, cancelled after three years.

Four decades later, the spirit of Mayberry lives on in the town that claims to be its muse. While it's widely believed that Griffith's childhood in Mount Airy inspired Mayberry, it's absolutely certain that Mayberry has inspired Mount Airy. Tourism has made the marketing of small-town flavour good business, and Griffith's hometown has taken the ball and run with it.

Everywhere you turn in the community, there is a Mayberry reference, explicit or otherwise. The names of businesses downtown — Mayberry Trading Post. Mayberry's Music Center. Mayberry Memories, Barney's Cafe — are testament to the exuberant opportunism Griffith made possible. An annual fall festival, Mayberry Days, draws tens of thousands of people to Mount Airy.

And at 129 North Main St., the owner of the six-decade-old City Barber Shop even added the word "Floyd's" at the front of its name two decades ago to evoke the TV show's Calvin Coolidge-loving tonsorial expert.

Melvin Miles, 69, of Mount Airy, has an idea why people are so attracted to this stuff. Miles works for Squad Car Tours, which owns five Ford Galaxys, replicas of the cars used on the show. He remembers a town where people gathered on porches and — lacking Facebook or 300 channels — just visited.

"The people long for the simple way of life," Miles says. "And that does not exist in too many areas anymore."

Mayberry today is shorthand for a shiny America that may or may not have existed at all, yet endures. Just whistle the theme from the show and Griffith's vision is summoned. Listen to politicians talking about traditional values, and Mayberry is there. Eat at a Cracker Barrel restaurant anywhere in the republic and walk through its "general store," replete with striped candy sticks, jars of apple butter and rocking chairs priced to move, and Andy Taylor is lurking. Try and watch the movie "Pleasantville" without thinking of Mayberry.

Like the folks in "Pleasantville," ''The Andy Griffith Show" eventually moved from black and white to colour. Its final episode in 1968 begins at Mayberry's bucolic railroad depot. But the arriving train brings a chaotic, voluble Italian family to town — or, if you're looking for symbolism, the larger world arrives. There is no going back.

Americans loved, and still love, the notion of the small town as a manageable, nonthreatening, friendly, finite community — an idea all but upended in the 21st century, where the truly isolated town is, for all practical purposes, no more. The black-and-white world that Andy Griffith shaped so masterfully is there for our perusal from a distance, but it is not coming back — either on television or anywhere else.

EDITOR'S NOTE — AP writers Martha Waggoner and Allen G. Breed contributed to this report. Ted Anthony, who writes about American culture for The Associated Press, can be followed at .

Today's Laugh Track: SCTV Andy Griffith Merv Griffin spoof

Andy Griffith, A Champion of Bluegrass

By Randy Lewis
Los Angeles Times
July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith’s background as a singer and guitarist were obvious during the long run of “The Andy Griffith Show,” in which he would periodically pull out a guitar to strum and sing a bit. He also welcomed the opportunity to incorporate other bona-fide musicians onto the set when producers invited the Dillards bluegrass group from the Ozark Mountains to portray a family band called the Darlings.

The Dillards -- fronted by brothers Douglas and Rodney Dillard -- had moved to Los Angeles from Missouri in the early '60s looking to broaden their audience. Rodney Dillard recently told The Times that they chose Los Angeles over Nashville because “we felt people were more open-minded, creative-wise. Nashville was formula cut-and-dried at the time.”

After signing with Elektra Records in 1962, they were hired to perform on “The Andy Griffith Show,” which was filmed in Hollywood.

“Andy Griffith became more than an icon,” Dillard said in a statement issued Tuesday. “He represented American family values and has given comfort and hope in these uncertain times. He gave The Dillards [The Darlings] an opportunity to be part of this. Andy was kind, generous and patient with an inexperienced group of pickers from the Ozark Mountains.”

Here’s a video of Griffith and actor Denver Pyle, who played the patriarch of the Darling clan, singing the gospel song “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”:

“Because of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and the exposure that music brought, it gave an introduction to bluegrass to a lot of people who never, ever would have gotten to it," Rodney said. "They found others like Flatt & Scruggs and the Osborne Brothers, and found this whole world of the classic form of traditional music.”

Actress Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling from 1963 to 1968, said in a statement issued Tuesday: “The Darling family was treated with such respect on the show. These could have been ridiculous characters without Andy’s respectful reaction to us. Everyone will truly miss him. Thank God we have those beautiful episodes to keep us company.”

Others guested on the show as well, including Roland and Clarence White as “The Country Boys,” with a performance of “Whoa Mule” for which Andy joined in when an Alan Lomax-like character showed up to record some backwoods music:

It was also Griffith’s persona as an unflappable source of common sense and gentle wisdom that prompted country singer Brad Paisley to seek him out when he made the music video for his 2008 single “Waitin’ on a Woman,” Griffith taking the role of Paisley’s mentor in the ways of male-female relationships. The song starts whimsically, examining a man’s frustration with his partner’s tardiness, then segues into a sweetly philosophical take on the subject.

Here’s the video for “Waitin’ on a Woman”:

“Few people in this world will ever have more influence on our lives than Andy Griffith,” Paisley said in a statement issued Tuesday. “An actor who never looked like he was acting, a moral compass who saved as many souls as most preachers, and an entertainer who put smiles on more faces than almost anyone; this was as successful a life as is pretty much possible. Andy Griffith made the world a better place, and I was so proud to call him a friend.”




North Carolina legend Andy Griffith dies at 86

By Dennis Rogers
The News & Observer
July 4, 2012

Andy Griffith greets Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison after the unveiling of a statue of Griffith and Ron Howard as their characters, Andy and Opie Taylor, from Griffith's television show in Raleigh's Pullen Park. The statue, taken from the show's opening sequence, shows Andy and Opie walking to their fishing hole. (Scott Lewis -

Read more here:

Andy Griffith’s broad shoulders carried a heavy load for more than 50 years. In 1960, he created an iconic fictional character so noble that today, church groups still seek moral guidance in Sheriff Andy Taylor’s every televised word, deed and gesture.

And over the years, when Griffith insisted that Mayberry, the perfect little town he invented, was absolutely not based on his hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., fans nodded, winked, said “Sure, Andy, whatever you say,” and went right on believing what they wanted to believe.

What they wanted to believe was that around the next bend or over the next hill was a place like Mayberry and a man as fair, wise and decent as Sheriff Andy.
Griffith died Tuesday at 86 at his home on Roanoke Island. The Dare County sheriff said Griffith was laid to rest later Tuesday.

“Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called home to his lord,” his wife, Cindi Griffith, said in a statement. “He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.”
Bill Friday, former UNC system president and a longtime friend, said: “Andy Griffith was uniquely an American institution, all by himself. He made you and me want to be the very best we could be, and he never ceased in telling us really how fortunate we were as Americans.”

‘White trash’

There is no tougher role in show business than living up to the persona you created. Those who live in the public’s adoring and unrelenting gaze quickly learn they are expected to always be the character the public loves. Woe unto the one who deviates from that script. Andy Griffith found that lovable Andy Taylor was a tough act to follow.

Andrew (or Andy, as some of the reference sources insist) Samuel Griffith was born the son of a furniture factory worker, Carl Lee Griffith, and his wife, Geneva Nunn Griffith, on June 1, 1926, the same day as Marilyn Monroe. He grew up with other hardscrabble mill kids on the wrong side of the tracks at 711 Haymore St. in Mount Airy.

While he enjoyed the usual small-town summer delights of rock-kicking, cloud-counting and such, there were enough hard times and spirit-crushing prejudice in that blue-collar Surry County town that once he left, his return visits were few.

He once told show-business biographer Lee Pfeiffer, author of “The Official Andy Griffith Show Scrapbook,” “I cannot deny that the person I am was born and raised in Mount Airy, and I was influenced in many ways by that town. I will tell you that it was not all positive. I was actually called ‘white trash’ at one point. That was said by a young girl I was stuck on and she probably wasn’t thinking. And we did come from the wrong side of the tracks. But when she said ‘Get away from me, white trash,’ I did.

“I was only in the fourth grade, and that remark has stuck with me my entire life.”

Boost from a pastor

Not all of his Mount Airy memories were that painful. The Rev. Ed Mickey was pastor of the local Moravian church. One day the gawky kid with the heart-melting grin showed up wanting to learn to play a trombone he’d bought with $6 he had earned from a part-time job with the Depression-era National Youth Administration. Moravians were known for their brass bands. In two months, the youngster was good enough to play “Moonlight Sonata” in church.

Mickey, recognizing he had a talent on his hands, taught the boy to sing. Soon he was singing all over town, sometimes picking up $5 a show. Mickey went on to recommend him for a scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill.

No one, at least to his face, would call Andy Griffith “white trash” again.

Griffith, like Thomas Wolfe and legions of other talented small-town kids from this state, invented himself at Carolina. He put aside intentions to become a Moravian minister like his mentor and changed his major to music. He was elected president of his fraternity and met Barbara Bray Edwards, from Troy.

They graduated and were married in 1949 and settled down as teachers in Goldsboro. The couple spent summers performing in “The Lost Colony” outdoor drama on Roanoke Island, in which Griffith was a popular Sir Walter Raleigh. He loved the island so much he bought land and would later build a 63-acre estate there.

Whether they needed the money or just needed to perform, the Griffiths created a musical act and traveled the area, playing any small-town civic club that would spring for dinner and a few bucks for gas money. As Andy later told the story, one night Barbara booked them to play a civic club where they had already performed. Problem was, they only had one routine.

“On the way over to the job, I made up a monologue about a country fellow’s first experience seeing a football game and not knowing what was going on,” Griffith said. “And it scored – heavy. So I kept doing it.”

Did he ever. What it was, was “What It Was, Was Football,” a now-classic comedy monologue that ranks with the nonsense of the Marx Brothers and the witty wordplay of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First.” Orville Campbell, publisher of The Chapel Hill Weekly, heard Griffith do his hilarious cornpone routine and offered to have it recorded.

It was the break Griffith needed. He was ready to shake the sandy loam of Eastern North Carolina off his country brogans and head for the bright lights of New York City. Capitol Records bought out his contract with Campbell, and he and Barbara worked up new material for the nightclub circuit, including his follow-up record, a hillbilly retelling of “Romeo and Juliet.”

A taste of early Andy: “If you’ve got a boy that courts a gal you don’t like or the other way around, and if you don’t want the expense of a funeral on you, the best thing to do is let ’em have a cheap wedding.”

‘First TV job’

Then came the chance a new comic in town could only dream about: an offer to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” For those born since the invention of Velcro, imagine the clout of Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman all rolled into one. The Sullivan show was that important in its day. There was a lot riding on the country boy’s first shot on national television.

“It was the first TV job I ever had,” Griffith later told Pfeiffer. “When Ed Sullivan first heard of my record, he wanted to tie me up for 18 guest shots. William Morris (his agent) would only give him four. After my first appearance, he called and wanted out of the next three.

“I never got a single laugh. I just died that night. I absolutely died. I can still go in that theater now and get an upset stomach.”

The Sullivan show was not Griffith’s only disappointment. The hayseed act that wowed ’em back at the Rotary Clubs didn’t exactly catch fire in the nightclubs of New York, New Jersey and Long Island. The couple headed back home to regroup. That’s when Griffith saw a notice that “No Time for Sergeants,” a popular book by author Mac Hyman, was being turned into a television show for the United States Steel Hour. He just knew he was right for the part and headed back to Manhattan to try out.

“No Time for Sergeants,” starring Andy Griffith as the innocently goofy Will Stockdale, aired in March 1955. It was on Broadway by October of that year. It featured an unknown actor named Don Knotts as a character named Manual Dexterity.

The show ran on Broadway for 796 performances and earned Griffith a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actor. Most of the Broadway cast followed the show to Hollywood, where it was reborn as a movie in 1958.

It was not Griffith’s first movie role, however. In 1957, director Elia Kazan had tapped the unknown and unpolished Griffith to play a country singer and egomaniacal psychopath named Lonesome Rhodes in the gut-wrenching drama, “A Face in the Crowd.” It is the story of a wildly popular entertainer who becomes too big too fast and is corrupted beyond salvation. His fall from grace is even faster than his sudden rise from anonymity.

Griffith nailed it. He was dead-on brilliant. His demonic anger and barely controlled energy were difficult to watch, however, and the public stayed away in droves. Today, film buffs consider it a classic. But when it was released, only critics seemed to approve.

Nightclub comedian Danny Thomas had a popular television sitcom in the late 1950s. In 1959, he hit on an idea for an episode that seemed amusing: The fast-talking and often abrasive New York comic he portrayed would be driving his family through the rural South. They’d get pulled over in some hick town by a redneck cop. Hilarity, and a healthy dose of offensive regional stereotyping, would ensue.

“Name ain’t Clem. It’s Andy, Andy Taylor” were the first words spoken by the character who was on the verge of an eight-year reign in television’s Top Ten.

Griffith may have perfected the bumpkin bit, but when it came time to negotiate a contract for a spinoff series based on the country lawman he’d created, he and agent Richard O. Linke played big-city tough. They held out for a deal that gave a rookie series actor 50 percent of what became “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Good, popular, wholesome

Through 249 episodes, from the Oct. 3, 1960, black-and-white debut, when Aunt Bee replaced Rose as the family’s housekeeper, to the color finale on Sept. 22, 1968, when an Italian family moved to Mayberry to help town councilman Sam Jones work his farm, “The Andy Griffith Show” was about as good, popular and wholesome as television ever got.

The show ripened smoothly from its early days, when the ah-shucks, hee-haw Griffith tried too hard to be funny with his over-the-top Southern shtick. It was in the second year when he became the straight man and turned the day-to-day comedy labors over to his band of merry madcaps like rock-chunkin’ Ernest T. Bass, town drunk Otis Campbell, the weirdly Zen-like barber Floyd Lawson and sweet Aunt Bee.

Griffith was a stickler for authenticity. The North Carolina he created on the show would be the North Carolina he knew and the one he wanted the world to see. A typical Griffith decision: The occasional state highway patrolman who stopped by the Mayberry jail wore authentic North Carolina Highway Patrol insignia.

Oh, and there was a deputy named Barney. Don Knotts won the Emmy award as best supporting actor for five straight years for his hijinks. No one ever did that before.

But you already know all there is to know about North Carolina’s all-time most favorite show, don’t you? And if you don’t, it’s still on television every day, 52 years after its debut.

“The Andy Griffith Show” set a standard for excellence that would prove difficult for Griffith to equal. It was so popular – it was No. 1 the day it left the air – that anything that came after it had to be a disappointment. And so it was with Griffith’s career. It would be charitable to say the ’70s were not his favorite decade.

He tried with three series in the 1970s: “The Headmaster,” “The New Andy Griffith Show” and “Salvage One.” Each had its moments but no audience.

And then there were the awful made-for television movies with titles like “Winter Kill,” “Street Killing,” “Deadly Game” and the one that was so bad it is almost funny, “Pray for the Wildcats.” The former sheriff of Mayberry was now a motorcycle-riding psychopath in Baja, Calif.

In 1972, Andy Griffith and Barbara Edwards were divorced. He married Solica Cassuto in 1973 and divorced her 1981. In 1983, with his career going nowhere and his personal life in shambles, Griffith was stricken with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder.

The disease paralyzed him, and for a time it seemed he would never walk again. But the bad career choices, the failed marriages, the illness and even the drug-related death of his son Sam at age 36 would soon be put behind him.

In 1983 he married Cindi Knight. In 1984, he was given the role that would lead to his redemption.

Ben Matlock

Griffith was cast as federal prosecutor Victor Worheide in the made-for-television blockbuster, “Fatal Vision.” It was the story of the famous Jeffrey MacDonald/Green Beret murders at Fort Bragg, and those who knew the real-life principals knew how on-target Griffith’s meaty portrayal of Worheide was. It was the best straight acting he’d done since Lonesome Rhodes almost 30 years earlier.

That role led to his rebirth as a television icon, this time as a Southern lawyer in a rumpled seersucker suit named Ben Matlock. Off and on from 1986 to 1995, Griffith’s Matlock was wise, cranky, stubborn, funny and 100 percent Andy. Those who knew the actor said he was much closer to Matlock’s persona than he ever was to TV’s beloved sheriff.

It was also a favorite of fans of the old show who tuned in to catch the sly Mayberry-related asides Griffith would slip into the dialogue. Don Knotts was also a frequent guest, playing Matlock’s neighbor.

Griffith came home to North Carolina in the 1980s, at peace with his life and career. He moved “Matlock” production to Wilmington and still took a few outside acting jobs when they suited him.

He also became heavily involved in recording gospel music. He won a Grammy Award in 1997 for “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns.” Political observers even give him a share of the credit for the 2000 election of former Attorney General Mike Easley as governor. They say the commercials Griffith made for the low-profile Easley gave him the credibility needed to win. If Andy was for him, the thinking went, that was good enough for the rest of us.

Griffith mellowed in his later years. His reputation for a hot temper faded with his youth. He quietly and without fanfare seemed to forgive Mount Airy for its slights by showing up for the dedication of U.S. 52 as the Andy Griffith Parkway in 2002. It was the first time he had returned to his hometown in 45 years. He and Cindi even spent the night in his boyhood home.

During the dedication ceremony, Griffith, then 76, said, “I’m proud to be from the great state of North Carolina. I’m proud to be from Mount Airy. I think of you often, and I won’t be such a stranger from here on out.”

Then he said what the home folks had wanted to hear for a long time. “People started saying that Mayberry was based on Mount Airy,” he said with a smile. “It sure sounds like it, doesn’t it?”
Also in 2002, a statue of Sheriff Andy Taylor and son Opie was erected in Raleigh’s Pullen Park. The inscription is the perfect summation of the show they made famous and, in many ways, the role the public demanded Andy Griffith play for the rest of his life: “The Andy Griffith Show – A simpler time, a sweeter place, a lesson, a laugh, a father and a son.”

In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded Griffith the Presidential Medal of Freedom for, well, just being Andy.

That same year, Griffith was interviewed by Beverly Keel for the online magazine American Profile. In the interview, he talked about the difficulty of life in the shadow of Sheriff Andy Taylor:
“Don’t pay any attention to that, that is a persona,” he said. “I am not any favorite dad; I am not any kind of all-American person. I am just a 79-year-old person. I worship, and I am kind of private.
“I have many failings. My son died of an overdose when he was 36. I was not a good father to him. So I have failed in many ways. I am a man, like any other man.”

Andy Griffith never won an Oscar, an Emmy or a Tony for his acting. But then, around here we never thought of him as an actor. He was just our friend and neighbor, and we were so proud of him we couldn’t hardly stand it.

And if the rest of the world happened to tune in to his popular shows and just happened to assume folks in North Carolina were anywhere near as good-hearted as Andy Taylor, Ben Matlock or the good people of Mayberry, well, that was OK with us, too.

Brooke Cain of The News & Observer and Mark Washburn of The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Obama Enables America’s Enemies

By Robert Spencer
July 2, 2012

Mohammed Morsi, centre, waves to supporters after his speech in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP

No sooner was Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi elected president of Egypt than he announced his determination [1] to work for the freedom of an enemy of the United States: blind sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life term for his role in planning the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Not since Jimmy Carter helped usher in the Iranian Revolution has an American president done so much to aid those who are determined to destroy the United States.

In fact, the parallels are numerous. Carter betrayed the shah of Iran, a longtime U.S. ally who had a dismal human rights record but was generally loyal, and paved the way for the ascent to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian mullahcracy that quickly showed its gratitude to Carter by taking U.S. Embassy personnel hostage, and has maintained a war footing against the United States ever since.

Obama, for his part, betrayed Hosni Mubarak, another longtime U.S. ally with a record of repressive rule, paving the way for the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power. And now President Morsi has shown his gratitude to Obama by announcing his determination to free from prison a man who plotted to murder hundreds of thousands of Americans.

It is said that history repeats itself, but it doesn’t do so by means of some automatic, inexorable, deterministic process. History repeats itself because people refuse to study and learn its lessons, and to face the unpleasant facts it presents. Thus, they make the same mistakes their predecessors did. The Obama administration didn’t have to be Carter’s second term, but both Carter and Obama are the products of a political culture that consistently discounts the importance of religious motivations.
Informed sources have noted that at the time of the Iranian Revolution, only one book by the Ayatollah Khomeini could be found in the State Department, and no one had read it: no one thought the rantings of an obscure fanatic exiled to far-off France were important. That was the manifestation of a willful blindness to rival that of James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, who famously labeled the Muslim Brotherhood “largely secular.” In fact, it is the same willful blindness, and it has characterized the Washington establishment’s views on Islam and jihad from Carter’s day until now.

So secular is the Brotherhood that Morsi recently repeated its guiding motto to an enthusiastic crowd: “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal.” Last week, Yasser Borhamy, a Salafi leader, declared [2] that the Muslim Brotherhood was planning to implement Sharia as the main source for Egyptian law. Noting opposition to Sharia in Egypt, Borhamy said: “What is disturbing in the Islamic Sharia law, is Sharia bothering anyone? We do not say ‘our views on Sharia,’ but we say that we want the Sharia law revealed by God. Would anyone be afraid of the Sharia that establishes justice, [public] interest and wisdom? This is very strange. How is it said that people are afraid of Sharia?”

By “Sharia law revealed by God,” Borhamy meant the Sharia that stones adulterers, amputates thieves’ hands, mandates death for apostates from Islam, and institutionalizes subjugation of women and non-Muslims. If the Brotherhood does succeed in implementing this in Egypt, it will have Barack Obama to thank: his applause for the “Arab Spring” uprisings, coupled with the universal misrepresentation of them in the Western media as outpourings of a longing for democracy and pluralism, has brought us to the inception of an Egyptian regime that is almost certain to go to war with Israel and pursue a path of unrelenting hostility toward its erstwhile patrons in Washington.

Yet even the likelihood that Egypt, long a recipient of American largesse, will become an enemy of America is unlikely to shake those entrenched core assumptions in Washington that got us into this fix. The Obama administration rejects, as a matter of repeatedly stated policy, the idea that Islam has anything to do with terrorism, or warfare against unbelievers, or the legal subjugation of non-Muslims. An Obama official who opined that a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt would likely be an enemy of the United States because of Islam’s core doctrines regarding the evil of the society of unbelievers would be reprimanded or fired outright for “Islamophobia.”

And so what was old is new again: a man who owes his seat of power to the United States demonstrates his hostility to the ones who put him in place. Then it was Khomeini, now it is Morsi, but in both cases it is the same. One wonders how many times Washington will have the luxury of making this same mistake before the consequences become too terrible to bear.

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Joe Paterno fans must accept that he was flawed

By DAVID JONES, The Patriot-News
June 30, 2012

Penn State University President Graham Spanier and head coach Joe Paterno talk before the Iowa game, Oct. 8, 2011. (

Six months ago when Joe Paterno died, I was compelled to write something of a sympathetic tone about him. In a way, it was not easy for me because I’ve always known the man was no deity, as so many for so long have desired to paint him.

But I also knew he was no demon, as some had suggested during the two-month wake of the Sandusky presentment bombshell. I wrote a column about a night when he met my mother and how kind he was to her. It was well-received by the throngs who wished to perceive the coach beneath a halo.

Today, we begin to deal with the man’s dark side. As it was the time then to extol some of Paterno’s virtues, now it is time to examine his liabilities.

We all have both. Our culture seems more and more addicted to the concept of white hats and black hats, to taking sides, to painting the world and its inhabitants as either “good” or “evil.” It’s an infantile way to look at life and people, in my opinion.

And there is a certain sizable segment of the populace in this region who seems desperate to cling to the belief that Paterno was this saintly grandfather of all that’s noble and good about not only college athletics but higher education. That he could not possibly have been involved in the cover-up of a pedophile’s hideous deeds.

Those people will never believe what I have to say here because they are zealots in need of a hero, even if it’s someone they never knew.

I can only tell you that when I read Saturday’s CNN report implicating Paterno in keeping the lid on Sandusky’s activities, I was not in the slightest surprised. I’ve suspected as much for almost two years. I did not print my full sentiments in the interest of fairness.
As a columnist, I did not want to get out ahead of this story, especially when I could not prove what I had heard. I wrote merely that I believed the PSU board of trustees had no choice but to fire Paterno. I believed that on Nov. 9, and I believe it now.

In covering the man and his football program for 21 seasons, the single most dominant thread is this: his ambition and drive. He would allow nothing and no one to disparage the institution he had built without some form of retribution. And he had complete power over his domain.

He could be a vindictive man. At times, he was pointlessly petty and nasty.

Just like the rest of us. Except that in the case of a man who had accumulated such power, the consequences of his actions could take on much greater impact.

In mid-August 2010, I first heard an account of what went on in the Lasch Building shower, the scene we now know as involving then-assistant Mike McQueary and Victim 2. I was floored.

From the beginning, the account that was related to me implicated many who had knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s “encounter of a sexual nature” with a young boy, including Paterno, then-President Graham Spanier and then-Athletic Director Tim Curley.

They were third-hand stories lacking any documentation. There was no way I could prove them or print anything about them. I told my editor and managing editor what I had heard, and we immediately set about trying to find out if law enforcement authorities knew anything about such accounts or were pursuing a case. We could find no police record of anything. We now know why.

On Sept. 15, 2010, Sandusky quit The Second Mile charity, and alarm bells went off for me. This was it, I thought. Police must know something. But I couldn’t know for certain without confronting Sandusky himself. I drove to State College on Sept. 16, knocked on his door in a rainstorm and was met by his wife, Dottie.

I asked if Jerry was home. No, said Dottie cordially, he wasn’t. I fished out a business card and handed it to her and said he might remember me as a reporter from when he was a coach more than a decade before and please would she have him call me. She pleasantly said she would.

And then, I mentioned police. Had police questioned him about anything lately? The question was that benign. I wanted to test her reaction.

It was not quizzical. Not: “Police? What do you mean, police?”

Instead, it was immediate and forceful. Dottie Sandusky narrowed her eyes and said to me: “If you have any other questions, you can ask the people at The Second Mile. And I do not appreciate you coming to my house.” She slammed the door in my face.

Then I knew. What I had heard about Sandusky had been heard by others. Police were very likely involved, even if no charges had been filed. And that lent credence to everything else I had been told.

Patriot-News Capital Bureau Chief Jan Murphy had simultaneously been trying to get an answer out of Spanier — via email, his preferred avenue of correspondence — about what he knew of any improper conduct by Sandusky. On the afternoon of Sept. 16, 2010, she forwarded me this exchange:

Murphy: “Hi — Are you aware of any police investigation into Jerry Sandusky for suspected criminal activity that occurred while he was a Penn State employee? If so, can you elaborate on what you know. Thanks.”

Spanier: “I haven’t heard this. Can you tell me more?”

Murphy: “By ‘this,’ you are referring to any police investigation into Jerry Sandusky, correct?”

Spanier: “Correct.”

Murphy: “One more clarifying question on your statement. Are you aware of any suspected criminal behavior that Jerry Sandusky engaged in while he was a Penn State employee?”

Spanier: “I think I answered your question. The answer is ‘no.’ ”

Unless you would give Spanier a pass on the technicality that Murphy asked about the time during which Sandusky was a Penn State employee, this is dubious. And if the CNN report is correct and the emails uncovered by the Freeh investigation indicate PSU officials knew about Sandusky’s conduct in 1998 as well, then it’s moot. He was an employee then.

It all points toward an effort to conceal Sandusky’s behavior and preserve the image of Penn State’s football program at the expense of his victims — past and future. If I am wrong and true evil exists in the world, this is pretty close to the real thing. Much closer, I think, than a sick individual irrationally compelled to commit the most hideous acts.

Now, unless you live in some sort of fairyland where Paterno had no influence over anyone but his players, the implication is clear: Spanier didn’t want news of a pedophile to break. And the man who hired the child torturer in the first place, the man Spanier was unable or unwilling to unseat, had no say in this? It’s a preposterous notion.

We don’t know the totality of what the Freeh investigation will uncover. I would just ask those who cannot get their minds around the concept of Joe Paterno acting in self-interest — acting to preserve his institution rather than individuals — to prepare themselves to have their bedtime story disrupted. You don’t get to be as powerful as this man was by sitting idly by and allowing others to call shots.

Such power breeds fame, and vice versa. Soon, we bestow the mantle of greatness on men who do not warrant it, as often as we ignore the anonymously noble, those truly worthy of our praise.

How many times do we instill intrinsic goodness in those we don’t even know? Have the Roman Catholic priest scandals in Boston and Philadelphia taught us nothing?

It does not have to be a lesson of bitter disillusionment, only one of caution. Trust those few you personally know.

The vast majority of you have never known these men at Penn State. You only knew of their station atop your chosen club buttressed by the trappings of their fame.

The most famous of them all was the head football coach. His fame did not make him a saint.

David Jones: On Twitter: @djoneshoop.

Penn State football: Maybe we didn't know Joe Paterno after all

By BOB FLOUNDERS, The Patriot-News
July 1, 2012

The story of the Joe Paterno and his considerable impact at Penn State continues to evolve, apparently for the worse, even after he is long gone.

The most recent news report involving Paterno, Penn State, prominent university administrators and child molester Jerry Sandusky could not possibly be more disturbing.

It is news that will likely re-shape the image of Paterno about 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

A damning CNN report on Friday detailed a 2001 email exchange among athletic director Tim Curley, vice president Gary Schultz and president Graham Spanier with regard to a 2001 incident in which then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky, PSU's former defensive coordinator, showering with a young boy in the football building.

According to that report, Curley, Spanier and Schultz were prepared to stop Sandusky, convicted earlier this month of 45 counts of molestation, 11 years ago. The trio devised a plan to talk to Sandusky, contact his Second Mile youth charity and notify child welfare authorities.

And then, according to the report, they called a horrifying audible.

Apparently after discussing the plan of action with Joe Paterno.

The report strongly suggests the Sandusky plan was discussed with Paterno, who died in January at the age of 85 after a battle with lung cancer.

According to CNN, Curley, in an email, admits to "talking it over with Joe" and being "uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps."

The plan was never acted on. PSU officials never reported the 2001 incident to police or welfare authorities.

The CNN report sheds a harsh light on Paterno, who during his testimony to a grand jury in 2011, claimed that when informed of the 2001 incident by McQueary, he forwarded the information to Curley and was no longer involved.

The CNN report opens the door for this question to be asked: Did Paterno influence Curley, Spanier and Schultz not to act on their initial Sandusky plan?

Saturday, the Paterno family released a statement through its attorney maintaining Paterno did not "Interfere with or attempt to compromise any investigation" involving Sandusky.

The CNN report suggests otherwise. It suggests Paterno, Division I's all-time wins leader (409) was in the loop back in 2001.

And this Paterno doesn't jibe with the Paterno many Penn State fans thought they knew. The coaching icon. The father figure. The man behind "The Grand Experiment", the idea that academics and athletics go together for a student-athlete.

It is a report that further damages Paterno's legacy. When the university fired him last November -- by phone -- soon after the Sandusky scandal broke, Paterno admitted he should have done more.

And it's obvious many Penn Staters, past and present, and many former PSU players and many PSU fans forgave him.

Many thought he deserved better than the quick hook the university handed him./p
Thousands mourned him at his viewings in late January.

And there was the Joe Paterno memorial in January at Bryce Jordan Center, attended by a sold-out crowd of 12,000. During it, former players eulogized him, remembered him and praised him. And it was there that Nike founder Phil Knight, a longtime Paterno friend, uttered these words in defense of the former PSU coach:

"If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno's response.''

Maybe not, Phil.

I reached out to a half-dozen prominent former PSU football players for reaction to the CNN report Saturday afternoon and evening. Only one was willing to talk, with the provision that we were off the record.

This latest bombshell brings with it more questions, some of which will never be answered with Paterno gone.

It also brings with it more cries for the NCAA to consider Penn State for the death penalty, which prohibits a school from competing in a sport for a year. It's only been handed down once to a football program once, to SMU in 1987.

"The CNN report re: handling of Sandusky by PSU from Spanier to Paterno, makes me wonder what qualifies program for death penalty these days,'' said ESPN college commentator Desmond Howard, the Heisman winner from Michigan, on his Twitter account Saturday.

Joe Posnanski, one of the country's top sportswriters, is in the process of finishing a book on Paterno. He moved to State College prior to the 2011 season to do much of his reporting.

"Will not comment re: Paterno because I don't think it's my place now,'' Posnanski tweeted Saturday.
"But I will say that all of this and more is in the book.''

Additional media reaction to Paterno and the CNN report was swift Saturday. One national columnist, Gregg Doyel of, called for Paterno's statue outside Beaver Stadium to be torn down.

Another, Yahoo sports columnist Dan Wetzel, wrote, "the beloved saint of the Nittany Lions, is left looking nothing like the man everyone believed he was.''

And what about the future of Penn State football?

New coach Bill O'Brien and his staff continue to work long hours making over the Penn State team in their image. O'Brien, the former New England offensive coordinator, is installing a more diverse offense, more aggressive defensive schemes and, most important, he's trying to upgrade the Lions' talent base with a more national recruiting approach.

And seemingly every month, or every week, there is more news coming out about Sandusky or, now, Paterno. Bad news. That can make the process of selling Penn State football challenging at the very least.

But nowhere near as difficult as believing in the former Penn State leader.

Joe Paterno coached at Penn State for more than 60 years, 46 of them as head coach.

He won 409 games.

He brought two national titles to State College.

He's donated millions to Penn State.

He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The university named a library after him.

He was an icon, a title that was six decades in the making.

Then the Sandusky news broke in November.

And now comes the CNN report involving him, Curley, Spanier, Schultz and the aborted Jerry Sandusky plan. Was there a coverup?

And you wonder, with regard to Paterno, if everything goes out the window after the last two days.

Legal experts: New evidence of cover-up reflects grim future for Penn State football

By STEFANIE LOH, The Patriot-News
June 30, 2012

Former Penn State Officials Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. (AP)

If recent reports that Joe Paterno and Penn State worked together to cover up what they knew of Jerry Sandusky’s shower activities with young boys are true, sports law experts who spoke with The Patriot-News Saturday afternoon say there is merit for the Penn State football program to receive the death penalty.

The death penalty is the harshest punishment the NCAA can mete out. To date, only one Division I football program — Southern Methodist — has been dealt that punishment. It prohibits a program from competition for at least a year and usually is imposed only after repeated rules violations.

University of Toledo sports law professor Geoffrey Rapp said that until Saturday he didn’t think the crimes that resulted from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at Penn State fell under the purview of the NCAA.

But that changed with CNN reporting the discovery of an email chain from February 2001 where Penn State officials agreed to speak to Sandusky about “future appropriate use of the University facility” and then contact officials at The Second Mile, Sandusky’s charity, and the Department of Welfare about the case. A day later, after talking to Joe Paterno, they had changed their minds.

According to Rapp, if the football coach talked the athletic director, his direct superior, out of handling the situation a certain way, that presents a problem under NCAA regulations.

"Once you start hearing that the athletic department isn't responding to the chain of authority properly, that's an institutional control problem, and the NCAA is built around protecting that institutional control," Rapp said. "The problem is if Paterno was able to tell the school what to do and the school doesn't have in place the right kind of hierarchy from the NCAA's perspective."

"Right hierarchy" meaning the football coach reports to the athletic director, who reports to the university administration.

"If the coach has the final say, that's against NCAA rules," Rapp said. "The president has to be in charge of athletics, not the other way around."

"If they were trying to put something in place, and Paterno stopped it, that's a big problem."

This presents a very different scenario from what the NCAA appeared to be facing before: a situation where Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, had broken the law.

In that case, as long as it's not connected with the program, it's not the NCAA's concern," Rapp said.

Michael McCann, Director of the Sports Law Institute at the University of Vermont, saw another potential violation of NCAA bylaws.

"There's language in the NCAA regulations that requires ethical behavior by coaches," McCann said. Have we seen that enforced? No. But there's always a first time, and this could be a situation where the language of the regulations could be used in a way that it hasn't in the past." At this point, McCann said, the death penalty is a legitimate worst-case scenario for the Penn State football program.

If these emails are correct, athletic administrators knew about it but chose to not do the right thing or the legal thing, McCann said. I think, for the NCAA, this could be a defining moment.


Even though the sports law experts contacted by The Patriot-News agree that the NCAA would be within its rights to impose the death penalty on Penn State at this point, they also say that this probably won't happen.

Rapp said he thinks the university probably will avoid the death penalty as long as it cooperates with the NCAA in its investigation and volunteers to institute self-imposed penalties.

Alan Milstein, a sports lawyer at the Moorestown, N.J.-based law firm Sherman Silverstein, who has represented athletes such as former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and NBA star Allen Iverson, said HE believes those penalties can't be retrospective in nature, such as an order to vacate wins.

Instead, he says they must affect the program going forward perhaps bowl suspensions or scholarship restrictions.

Regardless of what the NCAA does, the consensus is that it cannot afford to sit and do nothing.

With the email chain that has just surfaced, the argument that the Penn State scandal falls outside NCAA jurisdiction because it is criminal in nature no longer holds water.

I don't know how anybody can even make that statement, Milstein said. At the time [Sandusky] was charged and convicted, he's just been terminated as coach emeritus, using Penn State facilities as lord to these kids, taking them to bowl games and introducing them to players.

This took place in the Penn State locker room. You have an assistant coach who saw it and reported it to the vice president of finance. This was integrally a part of the Penn State football empire.

LOH ON TWITTER: @StefanieLoh

Related topics: jerry sandusky, joe paterno, penn state, penn state football, tim curley