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By Jan C. Ting

Desperate and losing, Romney makes unforced errors.

In Mitt Romney's appearance on NBC's Meet the Press on September 9, he reiterated his promise of an across-the-board income tax cut for all Americans including those like himself in the top 1%. The Romney-Ryan tax plan actually would cut taxes on income from capital, as opposed to labor, from 15% to 0%.

Romney said those tax cuts would not add to the deficit because they would be offset by eliminating loopholes and deductions. But when asked by NBC's David Gregory which loopholes and deductions he would cut, Romney was unable to name a single one.

After campaigning on the promise to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, Romney announced in the same Meet the Press appearance that, "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage."

Immediately after the broadcast, the Romney campaign had to clarify its candidate's remarks as not in fact supporting the Affordable Care Act's assurance of health care insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions. That assurance could only be achieved through the Act's individual mandate requiring that everyone purchase health insurance who can afford to do so.

On Tuesday, September 11, Romney tried to find political advantage in the attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates by saying, "It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."

Sympathize? What was Romney talking about? Apparently he was criticizing a statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo which had been released before the demonstrations expected in response to an anti-islamic video. The statement said that the U.S. embassy, "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims..."

After being told that the embassy statement had been issued before the demonstrations and attacks had occurred, Romney denounced President Obama for not defending the filmmakers' free speech rights. "Apology for America's values is never the right course," said Romney.

Apology? Again, what the heck was Romney talking about? After a day of associating himself with the extremist filmmakers preaching hatred of Islam, Romney was forced to eventually denounce them himself, notwithstanding his earlier criticism of President Obama for the administration's criticism of the film.

As President Obama has observed of his Republican opponents, they are "new to foreign policy." Romney's the guy who criticized British preparations for the Olympics while in Britain, and contrasted Palestinian cultural flaws against Israeli financial acumen while in the Middle East. Romney promises a trade war with China from day one of his administration, and identifies Russia, not Al Qaeda, as our Number One enemy.

Romney should not be president of the United States. And fortunately, he won't be.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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A personal remembrance of 9/11.

September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday, just like September 11, 2012, and it was a beautiful sunny day, just like September 11, 2012, with hardly a cloud in the brilliant blue sky. I was driving to Temple Law School in Philadelphia to teach a morning class. Stopped at a red light on Broad Street in front of the law school, I heard the first radio report that smoke was coming out of one of the World Trade Center towers which had apparently been hit by an airplane.

I thought that was odd, to happen on such a clear day, and that planes ought to be banned from flying near skyscrapers. I parked my car and proceeded to my class, where students informed me and each other of what they had heard, that a second plane had hit the second tower, that the Pentagon and perhaps the State Department had been attacked in Washington, D.C., and that commercial aircraft were missing and believed hijacked.

Still not comprehending the scope of the tragedy, I proceeded to start teaching my class on Citizenship and Immigration Law, though I did tell the class that if foreigners were responsible for these attacks, we could expect big changes in U.S. immigration law and practice.

About halfway through my class Assistant Dean Esten and then Associate Dean Epps walked into my class and announced that all classes were cancelled immediately. They told us what they knew, that one of the World Trade Center towers had collapsed killing many, that the Pentagon had indeed been attacked, and that there were reports of an airplane crash in western Pennsylvania. They said that because no one knew exactly what was happening, or the scope of the attacks underway, everyone should feel free to leave the law school and return home or to their families.

That made sense to me, and I dismissed the class after suggesting that they consider any immigration implications of what was happening that morning. I drove home to Delaware where I turned on the television and for the first time saw the unbelievable pictures of what was happening in New York and at the Pentagon.

News reports urged people not to make telephone calls to New York to keep the lines open for emergency use. That seemed like a reasonable request, and I resisted the urge to call our older daughter who was a medical student at New York University, knowing that the medical school was mid-town, not downtown. My wife came home from work, and our younger daughter came home from high school, and we watched TV and discussed what we were seeing.

Our older daughter called home and reported that her group of medical students had been assigned to do triage at the emergency room of Bellevue Hospital which expected to be overwhelmed with casualties from downtown. But they waited all day without seeing the anticipated flood of patients. It gradually became clear that there were relatively few injuries because so many had died at the World Trade Center.

Like most Americans, I was shocked and angry, and ready to support our government in whatever action it decided to take to protect the country and strike back at those who attacked us. No one knew if there would be more attacks the next day, or the next week, or the next month.

Cooler heads than mine urged us not to let fear drive us to actions we would later regret. In hindsight, they were right. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 proved to be the most misguided of all our fearful responses to the 9/11 attacks.

And I was mostly wrong in my prediction of big changes in U.S. immigration law and practice in response to the terrorist attacks of foreigners. Although there have been many changes, the basic framework of the U.S. immigration system remains surprisingly similar to how it was before that sunny morning in September.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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Penn State plea bargain exposes NCAA spinelessness. It’s all about the money.

Those in the know at Penn State are relieved that the university escaped the death penalty for its football program which could, and should, have been imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for the cover-up of child sex abuse. The $60 million contribution Penn State pays to the NCAA to fund national child abuse prevention programs is equal to Penn State's direct revenue from football for one single year. The erasure of Penn State's football victories from 1998 through 2011 mainly affects the legacy of its now dismissed, discredited, disowned and deceased former head coach Joe Paterno.

Penn State willingly embraced these penalties and others, including temporary ineligibility for bowl games and loss of football scholarships, because it knows a good deal when it sees one. Its football program will continue through a period of rebuilding, as all programs periodically must, with the hope and expectation of soon re-emerging as the dominant cultural life force in the Happy Valley.

The NCAA loves to slap around non-revenue member schools like Cal Tech for technical rules violations. It once imposed a death penalty on the football program at Southern Methodist for impermissible benefits to players. Top-tier football programs get treated differently. Ohio State suffered a year of bowl ineligibility and temporary loss of some scholarships for impermissible benefits to players. And now Penn State has been allowed to negotiate its own penalties for protecting its football program by having, as the Freeh report found, "failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children" sexually assaulted by a Penn State assistant coach.

Yes, it might have been a hassle to impose the death penalty on Penn State, which could have resisted and claimed and been entitled to due process. More importantly, a death penalty on Penn State would have resulted in significant revenue loss to other NCAA member schools for forfeiture of already scheduled games. We certainly don't want that to happen!

And what about all the innocent adults who would be harmed by a death penalty? There are no innocent adults among the Penn State students, alumni, faculty, and merchants who promoted and profited from the football culture that nurtured and protected a predator who preyed on children. There are only enablers.

Both Penn State and the NCAA are out there promoting the completely false notion that the penalties imposed are somehow worse than the death penalty. And if that's true, can everyone just move along? Nothing more to see here.

But it's not true, and Penn State football survives to play another day. Shockingly, they will play this year according to their pre-arranged game schedule, as if nothing had happened. Meanwhile the child sex abuse victims that Penn State deliberately chose to ignore in order to protect the football program are on their own to seek justice for what Penn State allowed to be done to them.

Via Brandywine to Broad

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