VOICES Book review pg. 15
OF CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA Thoughtful. Fearless. Free.
Voices Choices pg. 16
Rock salt - good for us, bad for the environment
The abCs of healthy skin pg. 10
POLICE PREPARATION How ready are we in the face of conflict? In light of recent protests around the country, we look into how ready our own local law enforcement officers are when it comes to confrontations and riots.
Flexibility- the key to happiness • State College police- training to get it right • Weather apps- so wrong most of the time • A Personal Memoir of a Civil Rights Activist • The abCs of healthy skin • Small business 101: Starting successfully • VOICES Choices • Middle East: Rising population & problem • BOOK REVIEW: Reasons to Kill • BIRDWATCH: White-throated Sparrow • Live and die by the way of the road (salt) • Immigration executive action- about time • The end is nigh: The LAGuide to downsizing • Whitey Blue • Sudoku • Artist Profile
2 | PAGE TWO
Page Two: Flexibility- the key to happiness Happy New Year! Although it is a month into the new year already, February is the beginning of the Voices new year. I hope it will be a productive year for all of us, a year in which we strive to help others, to improve our community, to be socially aware and active, and to receive what comes our way with open arms. I need to begin this new year with an apology. There were several printing mistakes in the December/January issue and it was very disappointing. We have hashed through the problems, figured out how and why they occurred, and have set new systems in place to hopefully avoid these situations in the
future. What I like most about our Voices’ team is how we work together positively and effectively to solve problems and move forward quickly. One of the problems that occurred was that only half of Art Goldschmidt’s Middle East article was printed, so we are reprinting it in full this month. Sorry about the blunder, Art. Something that I have been pondering over the months is how to determine the length of an article. Although I have certain lengths in mind, when I receive something that is longer, I carefully consider whether or not it is in the reader’s best interest to print the entire text as I receive it,
Thoughtful. Fearless. Free. © 2015 Voices of Central Pennsylvania Inc.
February 2015, Issue #213 EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR IN CHIEF Marilyn Jones
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Voices encourages letters to the editor and opinion pieces commenting on local issues.
Letters should be a maximum of 250
words; opinion pieces should be a maximum
of 800 words. We reserve the right to edit length. Because of space limitations we
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Elaine Meder-Wilgus Vice President Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. Secretary Chip Mefford Treasurers Peter Morris & Jesse Barlow
meaningful format. or whether to edit it to a shorter, more We are still looking palatable size. I have for op-ed pieces and done both. Thus, we letters to the editor, have had some rather as well as someone meaty submissions to create a crossword that simply should not puzzle and someone be edited, and some to draw comics. We shorter writings that are open to new create an impact with writers and wella sparser text and researched pieces. descriptive pictures. We also need endIn other words, I of-the-month print judge the length proofreaders to edit according to the the paper with a finearticle, not according tooth comb. If you are to a predetermined, interested in doing any MARILYN JONES never-to-be-changed of these things, please Editor in Chief set of rules. contact me at editor@ With this in mind voicesweb.org. we no longer have Here’s to another sections that need to be filled each great year of producing and sharing month. Rather, we have articles that in the production of a free newspaper need to be printed in a readable, that listens to your voice. ■
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In This Issue... 2 — PAGE TWO: Flexibility-the key to happiness 3 — State College police - training to get it right 5 — A Personal Memoir of a Civil Rights Activist 7 — Weather apps - so wrong most of the time 9 — Creating long term community stability 10 — NATUR AL LIFE: The abCs of healthy skin 12 — Middle East: Rising population & problems 14 — Small business 101: Starting successfully 15 — BOOK REVIEW: Reasons to Kill 16 — VOICES CHOICES 18 — Live and die by the way of the road (salt) 19 — The end is nigh: The L.A. guide to downsizing 19 — SUDOKU 20 — Immigration executive action - about time 21 — White-throated Sparrows: Birding from home 22 — Voices Profile: Interview with Jason Crane 23 — Whitey Blue on re-zoning 24 — Call it home, it’s not just a Stepping Stone
State College police - training to get it right In light of recent protests around the country against the actions of a few police officers and the resultant lack of convictions for their actions, we have interviewed our local police department about the kind of training they receive, their level of preparedness to handle sudden confrontations and riots, and their process for responding to civilian complaints. By CHRIS DORNBLASER firstname.lastname@example.org The State College Police Department (SCPD) follows a prescribed set of practices regarding whom it hires and how they are trained. In order to qualify as a police officer, applicants have to go through preliminary testing, background checks, and intensive training at a police academy, which, after being hired, are followed up by close supervision, a probationary period, field training, many evaluations, and on-going training programs throughout the year, according to Lieutenant Fishel of the SCPD. “Your first year, which is typically a probationary year for a police officer, the minimum of the first three and a half months you’re going to have somebody with you,” Fishel said. An officer accompanies a new police Photo courtesy of The Independent Review officer and evaluates performance and training according to expected Body cameras, as pictured above, would allow video footage of police officer’s actions. Under the current Pennsylvania Law, standards. recording audio with these would not be allowed when an officer enters a citizen’s residence. Although these are not presently “At the end of those three months, being utilized in local police departments, State College Police Chief King has proposed a pilot program for body cameras in 2015. there is a two-week period where you have somebody with you that does Fishel said that officers train around 100 hours a trains for riots. Every two years they train with not intervene; they merely evaluate you. It’s like year, and that those with specialties could train as other police departments in the surrounding areas, you’re out there by yourself, but you have somebody much as 300 hours or more. such as Patton, Ferguson, Spring Townships, and the critiquing you the entire time. Based on the three Aside from evaluations, officers can face Penn State Police, and they also train on their own. and a half month time period, we decide whether consequences for complaints against them from In the event of a riot or large gathering downtown, or not the person can continue on their own for the civilians. According to State College Police Chief police shut down the roads and try to find and rest of the probationary period that year or they may Thomas King, the SCPD has an Internal Affairs remove instigators from the situation and then cite be extended to receive division that handles them for disorderly conduct. During large riots, more training.” officer complaints. After officers give a dispersal order. Then everyone has to According to Fishel a complaint is made, leave the area or they, too, can be cited. Sometimes, there is a lot of oversight a lieutenant has thirty when the crowds become too unruly and people are for new officers, who Typically an officer is issued a pistol, days to investigate the getting hurt or property is being damaged, they have can be cut after the first handcuffs, pepper spray, and baton problem. Then another to use tear gas or pepper spray to stem the violence. year if they do not meet Typically an officer is issued a pistol, handcuffs, known as “impact tools”- and extra ammo lieutenant, sergeant, requirements. and two officers hear pepper spray, and baton -known as “impact tools”After completing the when an officer is patrolling. In their car the complaint, with the and extra ammo when an officer is patrolling. In field-training program, they have a rifle, a shotgun, and a special assistant chief chairing their car they have a rifle, a shotgun, and a special the officer is sent on the hearing, but only shotgun specifically designed for beanbags and solo patrol, where he or shotgun specifically designed for beanbags voting in the result of a breaching -which is “less lethal” ammunition. These she is evaluated every and breaching -which is “less lethal” tie. After the lieutenant impact tools are used when someone is not using two months. After the in charge of the deadly force, but is escalating the situation. “You ammunition. first year, a new officer investigation presents have to use a level of force that makes sense based is considered a regular his or her results, this on the circumstances,” Fishel said. employee and then group decides if the The levels move from police presence to verbal participates in ongoing officer violated policy, commands to hands-on to impact weapons to, in training and career and then determines what the appropriate action severely threatening and violent situations, deadly development programs. will be. The penalties could range from demotion to force. According to King, Tasers are not currently “Annually we will train on less lethal training, we suspension to termination. will train on lethal force, we will train on first aid, Because there are sometimes large gatherings we will train on hazmat, and then we will have statein State College that can get out of hand, the SCPD see police, pg. 4 mandated training that we have to do,” Fishel said.
February 2015 from police, pg. 3
being used by the State College Police, but they have been ordered and officers will be trained in their use and assigned them this year. Using confidential informants to catch drug dealers is another technique for combating crime that the SCPD uses. King said that although informants’ safety is not guaranteed when agreeing to work with the police, there have been few problems. He said that there is not just a focus on big dealers, but small ones as well. With the recent use of body cameras on officers elsewhere becoming more prevalent, King spoke positively of the idea. He said that the cameras would be of “great value” and that there is a
proposed pilot program for body cameras this year. Right now, however, King said that the privacy laws in Pennsylvania do not allow the full use of body cameras, and that any time an officer enters a civilian house, the audio would have to be turned off. There would have to be changes in the law in order to use the cameras to its full effect. Currently, the State College Police Department has seven female officers out of a total of 63 officers. Of the 63 officers, only one is African-American. King said that the lack of diversity within the department is representative of their applicant pool. The goal is to have a more diverse workplace. One of their biggest challenges is getting minorities to apply for tests for the department. In 2008 and 2010, the SCPD began making tests available in Bucks County, n e a r Philadelphia,
and Monroeville, near Pittsburgh, in an attempt to reach more diverse applicants. They have also been attending recruitment fairs in those areas and have developed a recruitment video through social media. Further information about the workings of the police department can be found at: http://www. statecollegepa.us/index.aspx?NID=27. ■ Chris Dornblaser is a senior at Penn State majoring in print journalism and minoring in Spanish.
Photo by Matt Rourke // AP
A State College police officer herds a crowd during the 2011 riot that ensued after the firing of Joe Paterno
Personal Memoir of a Civil Rights Activist Part 3 - THE 1964 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
This is a four-part series chronicling my personal journey as a civil rights activist from the summer of 1963 to the fall of 1964. Nineteen sixty-three to sixty eight was a crucial period in the American Civil Rights Movement and American history. During that period some of the most important civil rights legislation was passed: The 1964 Civil Rights Bill and The 1965 Voting Rights Bill. The “Movement “ changed our lives; our world was transformed. I was one of the “foot soldiers”, as Dr. King called us in the Civil Rights Struggle. I was at the March on Washington in 1963, a project director during Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, and at the 1964 Democratic Party’s National Convention in Atlantic City. I was blessed to be at the fiftieth reunion at Tougaloo College in Jackson in 2014. This article is based on my best recollection of those times. and rebuild European and Asian manufacturing capabilities through email@example.com programs like the Marshall Plan. NEW DAY: For those of us who Though it was a time of spent most of the Summer working unprecedented economic growth, on the Freedom Project, leaving rural the fruits of that prosperity were not Mississippi was like entering a brave distributed equally throughout our new world filled with strange people population. Certainly, the middle and ideas. class grew, and the super rich began In the sixties the prevailing to accumulate a greater share of the influence was the cold war, a conflict country’s resources, but the poor were between the United States, and the stuck in a quagmire of despondency, Soviet Union (Russia) and Communist depression and diminished China. The US and prospects. AfricanSoviets had been allies Americans were during World War II d i s p r o p o r t i o n at e l y (WWII) but afterwards represented among the two countries the poorest class of became engaged in a Americans. President struggle for political and Johnson initiated a economic dominance. War on Poverty in an Both had a bounty attempt to address of nuclear weapons, these disparities. which they threatened Martin Luther King, to use if attacked. Both at the end of his life, recognized that a real also begun to focus military confrontation his efforts on enabling would most likely result poor. He was CHARLES DUMAS the in the annihilation of all assassinated in 1968 human life on the planet. Theater Professor, PSU while supporting a During that era every sanitation workers political event was framed strike in Memphis. in cold war terms, including the Civil Yet another after- effect of WWII Rights Movement. Condemnations of was a period of worldwide national being communist were hurled against liberation and anticolonial struggle. the Movement and its leaders, even Dr. Before WWII most of the world King. J. Edgar Hoover, the long time had been divided up into European director of the FBI, was so convinced colonial empires. After WWII the that the Movement had been Europeans didn’t have the resources infiltrated by communists, he spent to maintain those empires. This large amounts of the government’s created an atmosphere for struggles resources investigating civil rights for independence. Some were peaceful leaders while often ignoring the white such as Ghana. Others were violent terrorist organizations, which were such as Kenya, India and Vietinstigating and promulgating violence Nam. Often the powers-that-be in against civil rights workers. America identified these struggles as During this period America was communist insurrections supported also experiencing a period of great by the Soviet Union. prosperity. The ravages of WWII had The liberation struggles of the destroyed the production apparatus world’s peoples, particularly African of the major European and Asian people, had a profound effect on the industrial powers. The US was the struggles of African-American people only country, which emerged with for social equality in the United States. its industry intact. In fact, the US There was a great cross-fertilization took on the task of helping to finance of ideas, if not resources. King was
By CHARLES DUMAS
inspired by the beliefs and strategy of outlets. Gambling casinos were still Gandhi in India. American scholars in the future. Atlantic City was a poor, and leaders including WEB DuBois, working class community stranded on Kwame Toure, Maya Angelou, and the Jersey shore. Malcolm X lived on the Continent and We arrived a few days before the were inspired by African liberation start of the Convention on August leaders. While Steve Biko, Nelson 24. As foot soldiers we did not travel Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta and others with the MFDP delegates or the took lessons from the American leadership of COFO. Our job was to movement. provide support, which meant we had THE DEMOCRATIC to pay our way. There were a couple CONVENTION: The Mississippi of hundred of us from the summer. A Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) bunch of us found accommodations in leadership, at the August 6 Convention, a poor section of town, which became decided to go to the National our Freedom House. We paid the rent Democratic Party Convention to and fed ourselves by finding day work. petition the National Some were wait Party to seat the staff, others short MFDP instead of the order cooks. I regular Democratic Once the delegates arrived I lacked those skills delegates. It was an usually found myself pushing so I was a cart ambitious plan, but pusher. I pushed a cart filled with two or three we were hopeful. tourists around After all, the regular the Boardwalk for bigwigs from the Party. delegates had been Some of the conversations tips. Our primary elected in violation tasks were to I overheard were quite of the rules of the maintain the Party. Blacks had enlightening. It was clear that picket line outside been systematically Convention most of the non-Southern the excluded from voting Hall, to pass out in the primary delegates were sympathetic leaflets, and sing elections and to our cause. A year after freedom songs. participating in any the delegates the March on Washington, Once of the caucuses or arrived I usually the pursuit of civil rights the state convention. found myself There was not a for the Negro in the South pushing a cart single Black delegate with two or was still seen as a worthy filled among the regulars. three bigwigs from The head of the cause by most people in the the Party. Some of regulars, Governor the conversations country. Ross Barnett said I overheard were that “ Blacks were quite enlightening. unqualified to vote. It was clear that We don’t believe most of the nonin having ignorant people elect our Southern delegates were sympathetic officials.” The MFDP had complied to our cause. A year after the March with the Party rules. Registration had on Washington, the pursuit of civil been open to all, regardless of race. rights for the Negro in the South was The site of the Convention, still seen as a worthy cause by most Atlantic City, had long passed its people in the country. Our ship was prime as “America’s Playground.” also floating on the blood of martyrs. The Miss America competition Most of us thought that the National was still being held there and the Beatles had performed, but people see memoir, pg. 6 were seeking other entertainment
the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our from memoir, pg. 5 lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as Democratic Committee would probably split the 80 decent human beings - in America?” Johnson sent word that the MFDP should or so seats between the regulars and the MFDP. But we believed that the regulars would never accept be offered a different compromise. The regular that kind of compromise. The idea of sharing even delegates would be seated and the MFDP would be symbolic power with Black people was inconceivable offered two honorary non-voting seats. We all felt to the Mississippi white power structure. “We that the gesture was an insult. John Lewis, head don’t believe in having ignorant people elect our of SNCC said, “We had played by the rules, done everything we were suppose to officials.” If that became the do, had arrived at the doorstep compromise, we thought the and found the door slammed in regulars would walk out, and Sometimes a friendly delegate our face.” MFDP would be Mississippi’s For the last three days of sole representative. We were would give us tickets to go inside not the only ones who saw the Convention Hall. I was inside the Convention we stayed on the picket lines. Sometimes things that way. crying when Robert Kennedy, a friendly delegate would Sitting President, Lyndon accompanied by a film, gave a give us tickets to go inside the Johnson, had been in office only nine months. most moving eulogy for his fallen Convention Hall. I was inside crying when Robert Kennedy, He was running against a brother. For a few brief moments, accompanied by a film, gave conservative Republican, Senator Barry Goldwater. all of us were united in our grief. a most moving eulogy for his Johnson believed that if For many of us, our tears weren’t fallen brother. For a few brief moments, all of us were united he was perceived as being just for JFK, but Jimmy, Andy, in our grief. For many of us, too soft on civil rights, the Mickey, and many, too many our tears weren’t just for JFK, backlash would lose him, but Jimmy, Andy, Mickey, and the South, and possibly the others, who had fallen in the many, too many others, who general election. But Johnson struggle. had fallen in the struggle. could not lose the election. On the last day we managed He had been there to pull the to get enough tickets for the country together after JFK’s entire MFDP delegation and assassination. The country many of the rest of us to get would not forget. Johnson, being the politician that he was, didn’t want to take in. The regular Mississippi delegation and most of the other Southern delegates, being angry at the any chances. CREDENTIALS: The first step was a hearing civil rights platform of the Party, refused to sign a before the Credentials Committee. After listening pledge supporting Johnson and walked out of the to testimony from both sides, the Committee would Convention. For a brief moment, the MFDP delegates decide which delegation to seat at the Convention. took their seats in the hall. Then someone called The leadership of the MFDP spoke to the point of security. We were escorted out of the Hall while how 80,000 people had been registered. None spoke we sang, “Fighting for our freedom, we shall more eloquently than Fannie Lou Hamer, the Vice not be moved.” AFTERMATH: Johnson won the Chair of the MFDP. She had been the youngest of 20 children, a cotton picker, a farm worker and a civil election with sixty percent of the rights activist. She had been arrested many times in vote and the largest the cause and beaten to within an inch of her life, electoral margin seen since but she continued on in the struggle. She once said, Roosevelt. He didn’t “I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little carry Mississippi or scared - but what was the point of being scared? The any of the other Deep only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda South states. With this seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit mandate he began the War on Poverty to deal at a time since I could remember.” President Johnson was intimidated by Fannie with the disparities in Lou Hamer. When it came time for her to address America’s class system. the Credentials Committee, he intentionally He also followed up on scheduled a press conference at the White House so his promise to bring that the networks (there were no 24 hour cable news about voter registration stations at the time) would have to pre-empt her live reform. After the events testimony. Of course we were all there in person in Selma, the Voting cheering her on. The network news shows played Rights Act was passed the her statements on the late news. So the country next summer. The right heard her. In fact the TV stations and the Committee to vote was secured. In fact, today there are more received thousands of messages of support. She talked about her experience as a Black woman Black elected officials in worker in the South saying, “All of this is on account Mississippi than in any of - we want to register, to become first-class citizens, other state. A few months after the and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of Convention Dr. King won
the Nobel Peace Prize. Most of the white volunteers continued their activism in the antiwar movement or in protests on college campuses. Among Black activists, the Movement began to break into factions. Malcolm was assassinated in 1965. Stokely took over the leadership of the SNCC and began to articulate the principles of Black Power. Among the Black poor working classes of the North, our Southern strategy was ineffective. No leadership arose which could communicate to the powers-thatbe their frustrations or suggest solutions. The War on Poverty might have been effective in dealing with some of those anxieties, but it had been economically sabotaged by the escalating war in Viet Nam. The people’s pent-up oppression exploded in urban upheavals, beginning with the Watts riots in 1965. By the next Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy had been assassinated. Dozens of American cities had burned. The Movement, as we had known it, was over. ■ Charles Dumas, a Fulbright Fellow, is a theatre professor at Penn State, a professional actor, director and writer, and the artistic director and co-founder of The Loaves and Fish Traveling Rep Company.
Photo by uhurunews// Flickr
Fannie Loui Hammer walking out of the 1964 Democratic Convention
COMING NEXT MONTH Fifty Years Later - part four of four articles by Charles Dumas, professor in the School of Theatre at Penn State, concerning his experiences in the civil rights movement
Weather apps - so wrong most of the time By JAY SEARLES firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been talking to a lot of people about weather apps for their “smart phones,” and yes, I have one on my phone. They often come free with the phone, or you can download them for free as well. There are literally hundreds of weather apps (Figure 1), or at least “weather app wannabe’s...” The reason why so many folks talk to me about them is because they are frequently incorrect with their predictions, sometimes showing rain and clouds when it is nice and sunny outside, or the opposite. A few folks even tell me how complicated they are and how many “buttons” they have to push just to find out what to expect in the next few days, or the next few hours. Then there are the ads and infomercials on them, not to mention the tracking. Quite a few of these apps monitor what you are doing with your phone. In order to get the app to work for you, it requires access to information on your phone. Why is it like this? Two reasons. One, so the app can be adjusted to give you an ws// immediate forecast for where you are, and two, Photo courtesy of Google images lickr so they can sell your information. Yes, that free mmer app is not so free after all. Photo is an image showing the numerous varieties and brands of weather apps on smart phones. Some are just very f the The companies that back these apps are attractive, while others have tons of information depending on what you need for your weather information. ratic usually national or international businesses ntion that specialize at forecasting the weather for large areas and large numbers of people, so These folks look at pages and pages of maps, running with it. The models also create what is they must make things as simple as possible to cover model output, graphical and text. It all shows us called Model Output Statistics…or MOS for short. everyone and to keep their staffs small enough to in laid out fashion the 3-D presence and state of This MOS data is very easy to plug into computers turn a decent profit from their products and services. the atmosphere. They also project what is going to to have “them” populate the forecasts products (nice That is basic business 101. happen in the future as we time step ahead through pictures and graphics, too) that go out to the apps. In the forecasting world there are two common physical laws that the atmosphere must follow (see It is also much cheaper and more efficient to do ways of creating predictions, the first of which example in Figure 2 on page 8). that. The MOS contains high and low temperatures, involves lots of man-hours from highly trained and A forecaster with a passion for the weather very probability of precipitation or POPS - you know, 30% skilled “weather geeks.” These folks live and breathe quickly develops a gut instinct as to what is right chance of rain - that type of thing, except your app weather. I fit this description very well. One thing all and wrong with this output and most of us will will give the exact percentage - 8% chance of snow these folks have in common is that they have been beat the models hands down. There is an ability in today, while a meteorologist might mention flurries chasing the weather and telling people about it since human interpretation of weather data that has not in this situation. they were knee high. “Look – look - it’s snowing!” been absorbed by the science and put back into their Rather than pay hundreds and hundreds of we would shout running into the living room computational make up. Yet, Artificial intelligence is forecasters a decent living to create detailed forecasts interrupting the evening show of - The Love Boat - making progress…SCARY. or - CHIPs…oops, I just gave away my age (watch out see weather, pg. 8 The other mode of forecasting the weather is here, my five-year-old loves these shows). taking what the models say is going to happen and
from weather, pg. 7 for all the cities and locations around the world, app makers hire just a few to “adjust” that MOS data. They stare at the computer monitors at odd times of the day, like at two a.m., and move lines with their mouse. These lines are turned into numbers, which then get transmitted to the apps. Some combine data from the various models, which can be a little better. Many do not even go this far though; you just get the straight output from one model. So there is little to no gut instinct and personalization that goes into the products. The result is often inaccurate. It is all about creating a popular product, usually by creating a clever name, which leads to sales elsewhere. It is not my intention to put down these apps or the companies involved, but to point out the facts behind why they are so frequently in error. As much as they try to personalize your weather experience, they often come up short. ■ Jay Searles has an MS in meteorology, experience at forecasting the weather for over 25 years from research projects, government service (NWS), television and radio, and writing the forecast pages for The New York Times. He has also been teaching meteorology for just as long.
Photo courtesy of NOAA
Figure 2 is model output from the American GFS model. This is run by NOAA on some pretty snazzy computers (your taxes pay for it). They also run several other types of models all based on physical laws with different considerations of how to do calculations. They are initiated every six hours and put out ‘tons’ of data and the GFS forecast goes beyond two weeks with what is happening every six hours in that time frame. The four panels show different levels of the atmosphere and plotted data for one time. Upper left corner is 500 mb heights, the black lines, and vorticity in the red and purple areas. Below that is 700 mb heights and relative humidity in orange to green. Upper right is surface pressure and lower right is areas of precipitation.
Cartoon by Andy Winters
Creating long-term community stability By KATHERINE WATT email@example.com On November 8, 2011, State College voters became the first municipal community in America to adopt a Community Bill of Rights charter amendment by popular vote. Among other provisions, the amendment affirms our community’s Right to SelfGovernment. “…All residents of State College Borough possess the fundamental and inalienable right to a form of governance where they live which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent, and that corporate entities and their directors and managers shall not enjoy special privileges or powers under the law which make community majorities subordinate to them…” (State College Borough Charter, 41.2-205) The charter amendment emerged from a local campaign to push back against growing momentum for natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania – Groundswell. It was supported by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which confronts environmental threats by restoring usurped local self-governing power instead of working through the demonstrably ineffectual regulatory system. CELDF’s organizing model derives from a historical analysis of American law. “In 1819 in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, the U.S. Supreme Court introduced a distinction between the rights of a public corporation and a private one. The U.S. Constitution’s contract clause did not protect the political powers granted in the charter of a public corporation such as a municipality. State legislatures could, therefore, unilaterally amend or revoke municipal charters and strip a city of authority without the municipality’s consent. But the charter of a private corporation, such as a business enterprise or a privately endowed college, was an inviolate grant of property rights guaranteed by the nation’s Constitution.” (Jon Teaford, Municipal Charters) By the mid-19th century, there was still some
high-profile debate about power-sharing among citizens, local governments, corporations and state legislatures. In 1868, Judge John Forrest Dillon wrote: “Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from, the legislature…As it creates, so may it destroy…” In contrast, Judge Thomas Cooley upheld an inherent human right to local self-determination, writing in 1871: “Local government is a matter of absolute right; and the state cannot take it away.” Dillon’s view won. State legislatures defined charters between the State and private corporations as contracts between legal equals, but charters between the State and municipal corporations as non-contracts, between a superior (the State) and an inferior (the municipality), relegating citizens to the status of mere “tenants.” Stripped of power, citizens are currently subject to preemptive codes drafted by corporations, adopted by state legislatures, and enforced at the local level by – in our case – the Borough Council and Borough Solicitor Terry Williams. Many communities’ supervisors have adopted self-governance ordinances in recent years as an antidote to that “virtual citizenship:” the list includes more right-leaning farming and small-business communities than left-leaning college towns. It’s always an uphill struggle. In a July 2009 conference call, CELDF organizers discussed how corporations manipulate local governments by playing on volunteer officials’ lack of legal knowledge and deference to municipal solicitors and preemptive state laws, summarizing: “municipal officials have no confidence.” (Notes by Gail Darrell, CELDF organizer.) In most communities, the local laws have been enacted after the environmental eruption, by supervisors in panic mode. State College, in contrast, had our Community Bill of Rights in place before the 2013 Columbia Gas/Penn State pipeline controversy erupted. The controversy became a test of the tool’s strength and potential uses. Going into the fray, Columbia Gas and Penn State regarded the Borough Council members and
citizens as subservient, not as political equals. But when citizens spoke out against the pipeline project, uncovered a few lies and misrepresentations in the pipeline plan, and turned out in large numbers at an April 2013 public hearing, Borough Council members lost some faith in the corporate dominance framework, and had an alternative legal framework to fall back on. Emboldened by those two factors – the Community Bill of Rights tool and citizen encouragement to use it – Council and Borough Manager Tom Fountaine acted decisively to protect community health, safety and welfare. Penn State’s corporate hierarchy – and state legislators for that matter – may look at a continuing rights-inspired rebellion on State College Borough Council as an irritating confrontation by misguided subordinates. But during these next few decades of constrained energy and collapsing debt-based financial systems – the end of exponential growth on a finite planet – more people will become aware of the tragic mismatch between existing social institutions and current physical circumstances. Large, brittle, change-resistant systems that thrive in times of abundance are already facing a terrible loss of legitimacy and a new struggle for homeostasis. Strategic planning for the past several generations has been aimed at growing the overall size of the economic “pie” for a given system. Economic planning for the next several generations will be aimed at living on an economic pie whose area is decreasing, by increasing the relative size of the locally produced and consumed “slice.” From that perspective, the 2011 popular adoption of the Community Bill of Rights and the 2013 test of the rights-based governing framework – become the start of an essential negative feedback loop pushing large institutions to right-size and right-shape themselves for better environmental fit and more long-term community stability. ■
Katherine Watt is a State College writer and community organizer.
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NATURAL LIFE: The abCs of healthy skin By LINDA MEEK email@example.com
Vitamin C is more than a nutrient in your breakfast drink. Over the years there have been new ways to get the vitamin and utilize its benefits. Centuries ago British sailors discovered that the key to avoiding scurvy was vitamin C. You probably grew up being told to take your daily vitamin C to ward off colds and other ailments, but now the word is out that vitamin C may not play as big a role in staving off the sniffles as we thought. However, it does play a vital role in maintaining the health of your skin. Throughout history, women have always found ways to enjoy the antiaging effects of vitamin C on their skin. In Tibet during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), women who wanted to fight the outward signs of premature aging would rub Sea buckthorn, Photo by ANNE ELLIOTT // Flickr Hypophea rhamnoids, on their face and hands. The Sea buckthorn plant, Sea buckthorn is a shrubby plant that originated in the Himalayas and grows throughout Asia and Europe. It has been used for a small shrubby bush, originated in centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and is well known for its healing and rejuvenating powers. Its deep orange colored oil is a major the Himalayas and grows throughout source of vitamin C. Asia and Europe. It has been used in Middle Eastern Indian medicine, Although Sea buckthorn has its roots in ancient medicine, modern medicine has discovered this herbal medicine to be of great Chinese formularies and ancient value. Its nutrient rich vitamin C is key in the production of collagen. Collagen constitutes more then one third of all protein in the Greek mythology, and is renowned body. Collagen is responsible for aiding the growth of cells, and gives skin its firmness and strength. in Ayurvedic medicine as far back as 5,000 B.C. potent skin-rejuvenating powers. In fact, cold cream several steps, and vitamin C is involved in every one Sea buckthorn, although not from the sea at all, was originally known as “ointment of rose water” of them. has been used for cough relief, digestion, and pain because of its two main ingredients: roses and rose Collagen also works hand-in-hand with elastin relief for centuries. Today it is well-known for its water. to support the skin. Elastin adds to collagen’s healing power and rejuvenation effects on the skin. Today, practitioners of modern medicine have foundation of form, firmness, and strength by It is a great exfoliant, and cleanser, and can heal come to realize why these herbal remedies were so adding flexibility. It visibly tightens saggy areas, burns, cuts, wounds, sunburn, rashes and other trusted by ancient civilizations. Not getting enough and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and types of skin damage. Using Sea buckthorn oil can fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet can cause wrinkles. As the production of new collagen slows slow down signs of aging, and nourish the skin bleeding under the skin, ulcers and joint weakness. down, topical vitamin C is one of the most effective tissues. The oil is pressed from both the golden- That’s because vitamin C, also known as ascorbic ways to boost collagen production and slow its orange berries and the seed. The secret of the sea acid, is key to the production of collagen, a protein degradation. While oral supplements of vitamin C buckhorn plant’s deep-colored oil is that it is a major that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels and are important for maintaining one’s overall health, it source of vitamin C, but because of the deep color of gives skin its firmness and strength. Collagen is just is not very effective at increasing skin concentrations the oil, it can give the skin an orange appearance. one of thousands of different proteins in the body. of vitamin C because its absorption is limited and This can be avoided by diluting it with an organic Most proteins occur only in small amounts, but by used by the time it reaches the skin. Therefore, the carrier oil that is light in color, such as jojoba, sweet far the most abundant protein is collagen. In fact, most effective method for replenishing vitamin C almond oil, or olive oil. collagen constitutes more than a third of all protein in the skin is to go straight to the source and apply Native Americans also realized early on that some in the body, and about 75% of the protein of the it directly to the skin. Applying vitamin C daily plants had an amazing effect on skin appearance skin. From our bones and teeth to blood vessels and can produce optimal levels in the skin, and once and health. They made a vitamin C rich paste out cartilage, collagen is the main connective tissue that the topical antioxidant is absorbed into the skin, it of rose petals to moisten and heal their skin. Rose holds us together. The tensile strength of collagen cannot be washed or rubbed off. So hips contain about 20 times more vitamin C then is greater than steel wire of the same weight. an orange. It is precisely this high level of vitamin Understandably, the making of such a complex see vitamin C, pg. 11 C that gives rose hips and Sea buckthorn their structure as collagen can only be accomplished in
February 2015 from vitamin C, pg. 10 even after stopping application, significant amounts of vitamin C will remain in the skin for many days. Rejuvenating the skin by consistently replenishing vitamin C stores helps to maintain healthy, youngerlooking skin, especially as we get older. When topically applied, properties of vitamin C improve collagen production that slows with aging, limiting damage from free radicals. Free-radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. They develop when your skin is exposed to tobacco smoke, sun radiation, and environmental toxins. Over time, the buildup of free-radicals is largely responsible for the aging process, and may play a role in cancer, heart disease, and conditions like arthritis. Free-radical molecules often attack nearby chemical compounds. These chemical compounds can be those involved in important enzyme reactions, or even a part of a DNA molecule. As a result, the damage left behind can cause disaster throughout the body, such as damaging heart muscle cells, nerve cells, and skin. Unfortunately, free radicals are an environmental hazard that is unavoidable. Vitamin C is an excellent free radical scavenger. Research shows that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of vitamin C, not only neutralizes free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage (University of Leicester). Topically applying antioxidant vitamin C is a very effective way to boost the skin’s natural protection against age-causing free radicals. Vitamin C has shown to help prevent the consequences of long-term sun exposure, which can lead to skin cancer. This doesn’t mean you can take a vitamin C supplement or apply topical vitamin C and then bask freely in the sun, but you can help keep your skin healthy and supple by making sure you
This doesn’t mean you can take a vitamin C supplement or apply topical vitamin C and then bask freely in the sun, but you can help keep your skin healthy and supple by making sure you get enough of this antioxidant vitamin.
get enough of this antioxidant vitamin (University of Maryland Medical Center). Vitamin C not only improves the brightness, tone, and texture of your skin, it has also been shown to benefit patients with acne, both helping to prevent and reduce acne lesions. In addition to all this, topical vitamin C can reverse yet another aspect of skin aging: age spots or lentigines. These dark areas are where UV-induced oxidation causes pigment to pool in the upper layers of the skin. Topically applying vitamin C to the skin can improve the brightness, tone, and texture of your skin. Vitamin C is a great moisturizer, meaning it helps your skin to retain more water, so it stays smoother and younger looking for a much longer period of time. Here is an easy and effective way to make a moisturizing vitamin C toner for the face with natural ingredients: Mix portions of ½ tsp. vitamin C powder with 1 tbsp. of distilled water, mixing only the portions that can be used in a two-week period. Dissolve the powder in the water completely. Have a dark colored container with a sprayer ready to store your mixture (vitamin C oxidizes easily). Keep in a cool place. For a more powerful anti-aging punch, combine with a few drops of organic Sea buckthorn oil, shaking each time before use.
Use as a spray toner after cleansing, and before your moisturizer. Store for up to two weeks or longer in the refrigerator. Apply topical vitamin C once a day, ideally after you’ve exfoliated in the morning, to utilize vitamin C’s sun-protecting properties. On occasion, topical vitamin C can cause some mild dryness or flaking. Counteract this side effect by diluting the mixture and applying your moisturizer after the toner. This topical nutrient is safe to combine with all your other skin care products and even works synergistically with other antioxidants. Topical vitamin C is sold in a wide range of products from serum to lotions. Look for products that contain between 3% and 10% of vitamin C and include the active ingredient ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid. Always look for and avoid chemical ingredients, and pay extra attention to the packaging – all antioxidants, including vitamin C, are vulnerable to deterioration in the presence of air and light. Unless the product is in an airtight and opaque package, don’t buy it! ■
Linda Meek is the owner and operator of Stone Pond Farm.
Home of the 9-to-5 No-Repeat Workday
Middle East: Rising population & problems By ART GOLDSCHMIDT firstname.lastname@example.org
With populations rising in the Middle East, overpopulation is beginning to put a strain on nation’s resources as water and food become more scare for these growing countries.
Military and political events dominate the headlines for Middle Eastern news these days, whether about Iraq or Iran, ISIS or Sisi, OPEC or AIPAC. We find it hard to keep up with the names of leaders, places, and even countries, let alone what all of them are doing. Now, with several thousand US troops heading to Iraq as “advisers” to Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress its government, which is fighting the Islamic State, the American people (Above): Image of Cairo, Egypt in 1920, which then was (and still is) the largest city in the Middle East with a little less than need even more to understand what is 800,000 people, according to the 1917 Egyptian census. In the early 1900s large Middle Eastern cities were not commonplace. happening in this turbulent region— Photo by cilla//Flickr and why. (Below): Cairo’s Midan Tahrir, translated to Liberation Square, in modern times. Currently Cairo has a population of nine million, 17 Historians often say that political million if you count Giza and other places accessible by Cairo public transportation. Overpopulation in countries such as Egypt is events are best explained in the context becoming a problem for the Middle East with water scarcity and food concerns now becoming major problems for growing cities. of social and economic trends. How have the peoples and countries of the Middle East experienced changes in their social organization, life-styles, and ways of making their living during, say, the past century? One hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire, then the nominal ruler of lands from Egypt in the west to Kuwait in the east, from Adrianople in the north to Yemen in the south, openly entered World War I on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Its main foe was Czarist Russia, which the Ottomans thought had incited the Balkan peoples against their Turkish rulers. But now the Ottomans were also fighting France and Britain. The three countries each ruled over more Muslims in 1914 than the Ottoman sultan, who was Sunni. The only other Muslim state still nominally independent was Persia, which was Shiite. These two Muslim states suffered from the fighting on their territory during World War I. The Ottoman 117 thousand troops during World War I, whereas the deserts, and a few salt marshes. In some areas, the Empire, with 21.3 million inhabitants as of 1914, lost Ottoman Empire, with a population of 21.3 million, majority of the locals were nomads who herded a total of 3 million soldiers and civilians as a result lost more than two million lives from battles, famine, camels, sheep, and goats. For most of the region, of the fighting, war-related starvation, disease, and and disease. America’s wounded numbered 204 subsistence agriculture predominated, carried out the Armenian deportations. Even Persia (which we thousand; estimates of Ottoman soldiers injured in by unschooled peasants, using tools and methods now call Iran), though not a belligerent, lost several battle range from 400 to 764 thousand. little changed since Biblical times. Cities were few. hundred thousand subjects due to fighting on its soil A foreign traveler in the Middle East a century by Russians, British Empire forces, and Germans. ago would see vast empty spaces, mainly mountains, see middle east, pg. 13 The US, with 92 million citizens in 1914, lost about
, the rded gion, out hods ew.
February 2015 from middle east, pg. 12 The largest was Cairo, which had 787,461 inhabitants according to the 1917 Egyptian census. It now has over nine million, or 17 million if you count Giza and all other places accessible by Cairo public transportation. Iraq had about three million people when the British Empire troops took it from the Ottomans; now it has 35 million. Baghdad has grown from 200 thousand to seven million. Syria had 2.2 million when France took control of the country in 1920; its population just before its civil war began in 2011 was slightly over 20 million. Its largest city, Aleppo, had 200 thousand people in 1920 and more than 2.3 million in 2011. The same story can be told for other Middle Eastern countries, especially the ones in which oil has been found and developed. There are now fewer empty spaces and many more people. Despite heroic efforts to increase lands under cultivation by building new dams on the Nile, Euphrates, and Tigris rivers, the amount of arable land has hardly increased at all. Countries that once exported grain now import most of their basic foodstuffs. Potable water is scarce. Overpopulation is a grave problem for most countries. There are few nomads left. The peasants no longer make up more than half the population of most Middle Eastern countries. The people
| 13 have become much Many Middle Eastern countries are caught in a vicious circle. Civil wars, more urbanized. M a n u f a c t u r i n g dissident movements, strikes, and demonstrations abound because economic has grown, but and social conditions are bad. But as long as there are wars and internal the real growth disorder, they cannot improve those conditions, even as their populations areas have been in the military, the continue to rise and become steadily and more urbanized, more schooled, and bureaucracy, and more ambitious. the professions. Outside of government, trained for work in their modernizing become steadily and more urbanized, landowners and Muslim scholars economies. Not surprisingly, many more schooled, and more ambitious. used to be the leading classes; now now want to migrate to Western There is little that the European business owners and labor leaders vie Europe or to North America. Union or the United States can do to for dominance. Regrettably, the growth of large- alleviate these problems beyond what State-supported schooling is now scale manufacturing in the Arab they are doing already. The rise of the available to both boys and girls, so a countries, Turkey, and Iran has not Islamic State in Iraq and Syria does not much higher percentage of the people reached the level of Japan, China, augur well for the future of the Middle are literate. Many young people or the “Little Tigers” of Southeast East, but defeating it militarily will be feel that their governments do not Asia. Nor have they developed a extremely costly and protracted. If I give them the jobs or the chances Middle Eastern version of Silicon could advise Obama, I would tell him for advancement that they feel they Valley, as Israel has been doing. More to use his rhetorical skills to articulate deserve as a result of their many years investment is needed in libraries and a vision for the future of the Middle of education. This feeling contributed laboratories that would facilitate large East, a goal toward which Israelis, to the revolutions that convulsed the scale industrialization and technical Arabs, Turks, Kurds, and Iranians Arab countries in 2011—and Iran training, but the funds that might might strive. in 2009 and Turkey in 2012. Social develop them are spent instead on The vision that I would propose is mobility is stalled, at least for civilians. guns, tanks, and fighter jets. that all people will feel secure about Highly trained and urbanized Many Middle Eastern countries their own lives and property, the future men and women are likely to move are caught in a vicious circle. Civil of their children, their basic rights and to places where they can find suitable wars, dissident movements, strikes, freedoms, and a world at peace. ■ jobs. During the past forty years, this and demonstrations abound because usually meant the Arab emirates and economic and social conditions are sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf, but Arthur Goldschmidt is Professor bad. But as long as there are wars now jobs there have become scarce Emeritus of Middle East History at and internal disorder, they cannot because more Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Penn State University where he taught improve those conditions, even as Emiratis (citizens of the United Arab from 1965 to 2000. their populations continue to rise and Emirates) have become educated or
Small business 101: Starting successfully potential partners want to Financially, you have to do better than breaking even or your business see a business plan. Many email@example.com will not survive. What will your product or service cost to produce, free resources regarding business plans are available market, sell, and deliver? Can you make a profit? Are there compliance Thinking about starting a small online. Remember a business? Please do. Small businesses issues you need to address? business plan is a dynamic are the backbone of America, and and ever changing tool. dreams like yours are what makes Make sure the business small businesses happen. plan includes your In Pennsylvania, there are about management, marketing, 1,000,000 small businesses with over if needed, apply for a sales tax license. yourbusiness.com addresses is more production and financial 2,400,000 employees. Just over half of You can download the Retailers professional than gmail). strategies. them are home based. Coming out of You should create a web site as soon Committing your ideas to paper Information Guide (REV-717) for free. the recent recession, small businesses Stay on top of paying the various as you can. Be sure to register the and organizing them is critical and have created 67% of all net new jobs. will greatly increase your chances of wage, sales, and other taxes. Ongoing domain name. Many domain registry Stating a small business is problems relating to paying these services will perform name searches success. easier than you might think. Being taxes is a sign that you need to raise for free. Brick-and-Mortar Presence: successful requires a good idea, a Find a web hosting company I am not a fan prices or make other major changes to sound plan, hard work, and have your webite designed and of new businesses the business. and commitment. You need to register for an Employer launched. If you want to be taken immediately You can start a small renting space. Identification Number (EIN) through seriously, you need a professional web business slowly from This often the IRS by phone (800) 829-4933, presence. Whenever possible, hire your home, apartment, or someone talented or use a service. requires you to mail (complete SS-4 form), or online. dorm room. No need to Once you have employees: Determine whether you need sales quit your current quit your day job or wait Register with the PA Department of literature (brochures, flyers, etc) job. It drastically until everything is just created and printed. increases your Labor and Industry at OBRI. right. Chances are your Find out about worker’s Research how to advertise your costs. There are passion can be turned business for free with online services many creative compensation. into a small business or Get tax information on withholding such as Google Places, Bing Business, ways to give the revenue generating nonYahoo! Local or the Yellow Pages. impression of a taxes. profit that will benefit the Get information on hiring Consider establishing a presence brick-and-mortar local community. on social media sites like Twitter, presence. If your independent contractors. So let’s get started. No If you have Intellectual Property, Facebook, or LinkedIn. idea requires time like the present. A Few Local Resources: retail sales, create register or reserve your federal Organize Your Idea: register The Penn State Small Business a nice website, trademark/servicemark, Select a business idea, try catalog sales, copyrights, apply for a patent if you Development Center (SBDC) provides product or service that MARK HIGGINS eBay, Amazon, will be marketing an invention, and education and no-cost consulting you will sell. It should art fairs, booths order any required notices of your services. They have an office at 200 VOICES columnist be focused but not too at community intent to do business in the community Innovation Blvd. near the Penn Stater limiting. This may sound Hotel. festivals, etc. by advertising the fictitious name. like an easy step, but Running the Business: Prove your plan SCORE has over 11,000 consultants think hard about what exactly you can Install a phone line and PO Box/ who volunteer at 320 chapters with is viable and improve it before you do well and if there is a market for it. commit to spending tens of thousands street address. locations in State College and Altoona. Research and Planning: Get adequate business insurance SCORE volunteers donate over one of dollars. Research your target industry. or a business rider to a homeowner’s million hours of their time each year Choose Your Business Structure: What will you sell? Is it legal? Who Learn more about the differences policy. to support their communities. will buy it? Is there repeat business? Square away financial and tax in business structure and determine Once you have started your Are you so knowledgeable and the best one for your venture. The issues. Get tax information such as business, joining your local chamber passionate about your product or most common choices are: sole recordkeeping requirements, facts of commerce is a great investment. I service that you can convince people proprietorship, partnership, or about estimating taxes, forms of am an active member of the Chamber to pay money for it? corporation. If you can get away with organizations, etc. of Business & Industry of Centre Who are the competitors? What are You may want to take a small County. They are the largest and most it, use a sole proprietorship in the their strengths? Weaknesses? beginning. It is the easiest and lowest business or accounting class from comprehensive chamber in Centre Financially, you have to do better a local community college or adult County with over 1000 members. cost option. than breaking even or your business Register with the Proper education. Free and low cost resources: will not survive. What will your Once you have revenue, open a bank Authorities: www.pabizonline.com, www. product or service cost to produce, The Online Business Registration account for the business. pasbdc.org, www.score.org, www. market, sell, and deliver? Can you Purchase equipment and/or cbicc.org ■ Interview (OBRI) is a step-by-step make a profit? Are there compliance wizard that guides users through the supplies. issues you need to address? Marketing and Branding: process of registering an enterprise Write a Business Plan: Establish a marketing presence and with the Departments of Labor & Mark Higgins is a managed Some of you may want to skip Industry, Revenue, and State using the visual identity. services specialist and has thirty this step; however, this step is Have business cards and stationery years of experience in business PA-100 form. important and can help you in the Is your product or service subject to printed. turnarounds long run. Funding sources and Get an e-mail address (a sales tax? You must research this and,
By MARK HIGGINS
~ VOICES BOOK REVIEW ~
By JON VICKERS-JONES firstname.lastname@example.org I have suffered through the traumas of two wars and so I was intrigued by the title of this book by Richard E. Rubenstein - Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War. My first question, of course, was why would anyone choose war? Rubenstein’s intriguing and well-written book covers almost all the major wars that America has been involved in, from 1812 to today’s war in Afghanistan. He does not dwell too much o n why we go to war, but rather tries to answer why the general populace allows or follows the hawks into battle. He says that most people don’t want war and that they have to be manipulated or coerced into agreeing with it. From day one, he says, the arguments, used to do this are, for the most part, outright lies and deception. Though this book was written in 2010, it is, obviously, very relevant to current situations around the globe today. Rubenstein gives us the facts. His research shows that before any declaration of war at least forty-five, and sometimes more than fifty percent of any population does not want to go to war for any reason. So why does it happen? Rubenstein claims that they have to be persuaded by any means necessary, even if that requires lying or deception, to make that decision, or alternatively, at the very least, to agree that their country needs to go to war. According to Rubenstein, since 1831 when Alexis de Tocqueville wrote his book, Democracy in America, the United States has fought ten major wars, conducted eighteen extended campaigns against Native American nations and intervened abroad militarily more than twenty-five times. He goes on to say that if one was to count minor interventions, covert actions, assassinations, joint military actions, and proxy wars, the numbers explode, amounting to more than 150 seriously violent episodes since World War II. Rubenstein delves into the ways that politicians and leaders of the country have manipulated the populace to agree to war. He starts of by talking about the first great conflict that America had, The War of 1812, and the way the public was duped into
agreeing to it. He details many examples of when false statements, forged plans and drawings, or news stories all became the method of, as he calls it, the innocent dupe hypothesis. (I was immediately taken back to when Colin Powel was induced to describe to the United Nations the so-called weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was going to use against the United States.) So, are we dupes, Rubenstein asks? He answers that in some ways we are and uses the story of Billy Budd, written by Herman Melville, as an example of this. He considers that most of us, in an optimistic
view of human nature, are in fact Billy Budds who are unable to recognize the malice in other people. At one point, when talking about terroristic threats against America, he points out that originally most of the terrorist groups in the world, including Al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Filipino Abu Sayyaf, and the Columbian FARC, actually had made war on their own governments and rival organizations, but had seldom attacked U.S armed forces or American civilians. Reading about this skullduggery gave me the feeling that not only was his assertion true, but that I had known it for some time but was not willing to admit it. Convincingly Rubenstein shows us that the twisting of facts and the manipulation of reality are
the main reasons people are duped into going to war. All of this is revealed in the first two chapters. His last sentence of chapter two reads, “We need to discover more effective and humane ways of dealing with genuine threats to American lives and values.” This line alone makes one want to read on and see what arguments he is going to put forward in the next four chapters. He does a good job of detailing the information given to the public and presents well documented evidence as to how the American people were convinced that they should say yes to being involved in each conflict. Unfortunately, Rubenstein does not present a good remedy to the problem, a good method of effectively standing up against the lies to convince people not to go to war. I was also not satisfied with his arguments about ways to prevent getting involved in a war, not because they were unworthy or trite, but because they were impractical, impractical from the point of view that the instigators and hawks of war would never submit to the suggestions he made. His chapter headings were intriguing: Humanitarian Intervention, Moral Crusades, Beat the Devil, Dissenters and Pariahs (anti-war movements before Vietnam), Beyond Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and its implications. Inside each heading there is interesting reading, and facts are again produced which most of us probably never knew, but some of us surely have suspected. Regardless of its weaknesses, I highly recommend this book because I think that it clearly shows the depths of fabrication and outright lying some parties will go to achieve what they want. Unfortunately, as is often true, the people who most need to read this book, probably won’t. The author of this book, Richard E, Rubenstein, is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University. He is the author of seven books, including Rebels in Eden: Mass Political Violence in the United States, Alchemists of Revolution: Terrorism in the modern World and Left Turn: Origins of the next American Revolution. ■ Jon Vickers-Jones is a storyteller, writer and artist.
VOICES CHOICES Poets of the Month ~ Alicia Lai State College native Alicia Lai is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of The Postscript Journal, an international, in-print literary magazine. She is a 2014 YoungArts National Winner in Writing and a 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, National Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, among others, and she has spoken at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institute. Alicia is currently attending Princeton University.
Monastery (first published in The Lasacaux Review) Once I entered into a symbiotic relationship with a praying mantis, wings folded at our altar of Queen Anne’s lace. There is wine on the table—father, please don’t let the calf bleed on me. I have seen the insides of heifers as rugged as the grain of our wooden table where I slice tomatoes and you bring in half the vineyard. You know girls the way you pretend to get drunk in the monastery of your body. When two people kiss, they look like diving birds returning for air. When two people look like almond halves, they rise buoyant on the crusts of bread. Once I believed you could slit a cow’s throat and wipe your hands on your jeans. Once, we scythed the barley. Once, we drank wine on the altar and for a summer, our mouths turned as plump as grapes.
Restaurant of the Month ~ Local Whiskey By HANNAH GENOVESE email@example.com
107 E Beaver Ave. State College, Pa. 16801
Local Whiskey, the fairly new addition to the world of downtown State College bars, is an unexpected location for a delightful dinner or after-hours dining experience. Although Local Whiskey is an affiliate of the infamous basement bar, The Phyrst, the two establishments could not be any more different in terms of service, products, and clientele. While both fit the theme of a bar with an Irish flair, Local Whiskey puts its own spin on the classic Shenanigan’s-style pub. First of all, its ambience is beyond compare for a college retreat. In the center of the room is a large, U-shaped bar, behind which are cabinets where more than 150 varieties of whiskey are kept. Around the perimeter of the room are black, leather booths that give the room elegance. Along the back wall is one long table, complemented by my personal favorite feature of the décor, four fantastical portraits by local artist, Emily Burns. The surreal depictions of women with caribou heads posing or playing the violin speak to the pub’s devotion to artistry. This artistry carries over to the long list of libations and craft beers on tap, as well as domestics for the more conservative. The extensive cocktails list features everything from the classics, such as Moscow mules and mint juleps, to “I’ll Think of Sumthin’” (red wine, Dubonnet, rouge, simple syrup, Amarena syrup, and strawberries) which you can also get in a pitcher to share with friends. They also periodically feature a new cocktail to go along with the season. It’s a fantastic breath of fresh air from the standard Long Island iced teas and trash cans. Last, but certainly not least, Local Whiskey boasts exceptionally delicious food. All of the food comes from Ernie’s kitchen next door, but the menu is not limited to the simple tray of fries, or the Susie Wong egg roll. Of course, these things are available, but you can also order something more substantial, such as calamari with chili sauce as an appetizer, Guinness pot roast, or even a colossal Reuben sandwich to please any corned beef fan. Local Whiskey is a cut above the rest when it comes to drink selection, food quality, and environment. With its air of elegance and attention to detail, it may be the perfect place to have a sit down dinner, or simply to go out on the town and have a drink.
VOICES CHOICES Poets of the Month ~ Todd Davis By SAMANTHA KREBS
firstname.lastname@example.org Todd Davis lives near Tipton, where he hunts and fishes and picks all kinds of berries and other wild edibles. He teaches environmental studies and creative writing at Penn State Altoona and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently In the Kingdom of the Ditch (Michigan State University Press, 2013). Davis says so many things inspire him to write poetry. “Art inspires art. Often a poem or a line from a poem will be the impetus.” he said. He also loves visual art, especially photography and painting. “Of course, human relationships and the natural world are catalysts, too. But ultimately I suppose the reason I write poems is to say something back to the world, to explore the mystery and complexity of its beauty, its suffering, its miraculous and sacred nature, to hopefully take a step toward a reader and share something that has moved me.” He also absolutely thinks poetry has a place in the modern world. “There are always doomsayers who pronounce the death of poetry (or at least the doomsayer’s limited perception of what a poem might be),” he said. “I think poetry is flourishing and will continue to do so. As long as we have humans on this planet, we’ll be playing with language and images and narratives, singing verses back to each other and the world itself. And those verses will offer opportunities for celebration and praise, for grieving, for protest, for shouting or whispering a word in a vast universe.” Davis’s poems have won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Editor’s Prize, and have been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. More than 300 of his poems have appeared in such noted journals and magazines as American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Ecotone, and North American Review.
Psalm Written the Last Week of December “These motions everywhere in nature must be the circulations of God.” —Henry David Thoreau, 29 December 1841 Praise the ice storm, the world glistening and undone. Praise the ridge, the freeze and thaw split the stone. Praise the sound of such undoing, the scarves of bodies adrift and swaying. Praise the boards and roof that hold. Praise beauty for loss, for what we make from what we lack. Praise swamp, cardinal’s wing on alder branch. Praise raven’s song and chickadee’s lisp. Praise pickerel and perch beneath the flow. Praise fox’s trail, a sounding line through the household of water, moon, and snow.
Live and die by the way of the road (salt) By KASSIA JANESCH email@example.com Though it’s no longer the Polar Vortex, winters in Central Pennsylvania are still a chilly, dark, slushy, and often icy mess. To combat this, road salt is spread on highways, most smaller streets, and sidewalks. About 137 pounds per person of road salt used to melt ice is spread each year in the United States (Smithsonian Magazine). According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, road salt, often referred to as rock salt, is composed of 40 percent sodium ions and 60 percent chloride ions (NaCl). However, the mixes on the road are more than just table salt – they also can include ferrocyanide to prevent caking and phosphorus or iron. Besides creating stains on floors when trekked inside, road salt has a significant environmental impact on roadside plants. When the road salt dissolves, its runoff can pollute bodies of water and waterways, as well as groundwater and soil. Chloride in groundwater can be tapped for drinking, affecting the taste of water in some areas, and creating a hazard for those who need to limit the amount of salt in their diets, as in cases of high blood pressure. In some situations, the salt chloride levels in drinking water comes close to or exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s Secondary Drinking Water Regulations. These contaminants do not present health issues for most people, so aren’t considered unsafe, but can cause an odd taste or smell. The EPA does not enforce these levels, but provides them for local water systems operators to know at what levels the chemicals are noticeable. The Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level for chloride is 250m/L, the threshold at which humans notice it in their water (Environmental Protection Agency). Higher levels of chloride in bodies of water near roadways can kill, or at the very least, harm aquatic animals like fish, crustaceans, and amphibians. Joseph Stromberg, author of “What Happens to All the Salt We Dump On the Roads?” for Smithsonian. com, explains, “On a broader scale, elevated salt concentrations can reduce water circulation in lakes and ponds (because salt affects water’s density), preventing oxygen from reaching bottom layers of water. It can also interfere with a body of water’s
natural chemistry, reducing the overall nutrient load.” Additionally, road salt can have a damaging impact on roadside plants. Rutgers University’s Plant and Pest Advisory published a list of how salt injures vegetation: increasing water stress (“in the root zone, water molecules are held very tightly by salt ions, making it difficult for roots to absorb sufficient quantities of water”) which can hinder growth and yield; worsening soil quality by displacing potassium and phosphorus, which makes soil more compact and dense and reduces aeration and drainage, resulting in poor growth and mineral deficiency; and toxic levels of chloride due to long amounts of exposure over time, which causes leaf burn and twig die-back. Finally, salt can harm animals like deer and birds – birds mistake the salt as seeds and eat it, which poisons and kills them, and deer are drawn to the salt near the roads (like how they enjoy salt licks to replenish minerals), which causes higher amounts of roadkill. House pets have also been injured or killed from ingesting it. With all these issues caused by road salt, there are recently emerging alternatives that are also food-based. Instead of the more traditional alternatives of ashes, kitty litter, or sand, many towns are turning to more eco-friendly options like beet juice, molasses, cheese brine, and garlic salt. In Wisconsin, c h e e s e compa ny F & A Dairy
Products mixes cheese brine, a byproduct of producing mozzarella and provolone, with salt or sand and uses it on icy roads. It saves money for both the government, cutting down on salt costs, and the company, for disposing of their waste, and it has a lower freezing point of -21 degrees Fahrenheit than regular salt brine, according to The Guardian. Beet juice can be mixed with calcium chloride or salt brine to create a de-icer that should be put down before large storms, and de-sugared molasses can be mixed with salt brine or cheese brine to form a goo that keeps roads clear for three to four days. A suburb of Des Moines, Iowa spread garlic salt (garlic powder and salt) on roads to eliminate ice and fill the town with a garlicky scent. (CBC News). Though these can’t completely stop the use of road salt, they can cut down on its use, and therefore the environmental and financial costs. ■ Kassia Janesch is a senior at Penn State studying English and Environmental Inquiry.
The end is nigh: The Less-intelligent-thanaverage-American Guide to downsizing By STEVE DEUTSCH VOICES Satirist firstname.lastname@example.org My Cousin Marvin called last night from California to tell me his life was ruined. You have met Marvin before, as I often use him as an example of someone who has genuine goodness. Marvin is soft-spoken, level headed and a pleasure to be around. His wife, Mildred, is cut from the same cloth. Unfortunately, neither Marvin nor Mildred pay much attention to time zones, so although it was just after 11 p.m. out in Palo Alto, it was just after 2 a.m. here when he called. “Why didn’t anyone tell me this was happening,” he asked? I could tell he was very upset as his voice had risen to just above a murmur - louder than I had ever heard it before. “Everyone we know is doing it and we had no idea.” “Doing what,” I STEVE DEUTSCH asked reasonably? VOICES Satirist “Downsizing and preparing to move on,” he said with a groan. Marvin and Mildred had finally gotten around to reading The New York Times article entitled, “Easing Into Leisure, One Step at a Time,” by Robert Strauss, which talks about pre-retirement people downsizing and moving to smaller places as they age. It turns out they had talked about the article at their local bridge club yesterday and not only had the people there read it, all the club members over the age of fifty were doing it. “We often wondered about the people who were clamoring about our neighbor’s house at all hours,” Mildred said, “But it would have been rude of us to ask.” It turns out they have been planning their downsizing for the past two years with a “reduction consultant.” The people in and out of their house had been the consultant’s group and people with skills as varied as museum curators, librarians and thrift store operators. “You’ve seen our house,” Marvin quietly wailed. “What do we do now?” I have seen their place, and the one thing apparent to me as I hung up the phone was that it was much like our place. Sure, at one time we had six bedrooms, a two and a half car garage, a walk up attic and a walk down basement, both the size of the house. But we haven’t been able to force our way into the basement or the attic in years, as they are loaded with stuff. We have no room for the car in the garage and two of the six bedrooms are impassable. What are we going to do if we choose to downsize and move on?
A good question? Certainly. And that is the reason, we at Stevieslaw, have published, “The end is nigh,” The LAguide to downsizing. In the guide, you will learn to: 1. Change your worldview about possessions: Consider that over the past 30 or 40 years you have moved a truly incredible number of things into your home. In fact, if you look at your possession over a lens of 40 years, you will easily come to realize that the things you have acquired are more or less a completely arbitrary bunch of stuff. With that in mind, you must rid your house of stuff with the same great care you have used to acquire it. Each time you and your significant other are about to leave the house, you must close your eyes, grab one item, and carry it to the trash. Remember the cardinal rule what leaves the house can never return. 2. Have a serious conversation with your heirs: My wife and I once mentioned to our son that we wished to sell a piece of oak furniture, who replied that it was his legacy. Of course, you don’t want to toss out your heir’s potential legacy, but a realistic conversation is in order. It might go something like: “Little Suzie, What things do you want us to save for you that will fit in your 156 square foot apartment near the Bowery in New York City?” She might leave with a snack bag full. 3. Charge for storage: Anyone with an accessible basement, garage or attic has, over the years, been called upon to store “priceless” items for friends and relatives. The plan is to store it until… hell freezes over? At which point they will be over to get it…no later than forever? Listen, your Uncle Eddie is never going to willingly come by and retrieve that hideous dining room set with twelve chairs from your attic - unless, you start charging him for storage. In the guide, we suggest that you look up selfstorage rates in your local area and then charge your freeloading friends and relatives at twice the rate. You
don’t need the money. You need to unload. 4. Have a continuous garage sale: Advertise a downsizing – everything-must-go-sale, and take your pricing model from the highly successful dollar stores. Make everything a dollar! Then make it known that you are willing to bargain, bargain, bargain. Make me an offer and move it on out. 5. Have an open house: No, not that kind of open house. We mean that you must leave your house unlocked and tell everyone that this has always been your habit. Make a few dozen door keys and leave them (with an address) at the bus and train stations and the local pubs. Take a month long vacation and advertise it daily in your local newspaper. For example, “The Smiths are still away, the security cameras are disabled, and the doors and windows are wide open.” Buy the guide and have some downsizing fun. Or better yet, pick up the guide at our house - the door is always open and there is never anyone home. ■
Steve Deutsch, a long-long time resident of State College, is relieved to hear that Mitt Romney’s battery has been replaced and he is up and running again.
Immigration executive action - about time needs of those living Some of the President’s proposed changes have already taken without status in the email@example.com United States, there place, while others need more time to be evaluated or begin. were still challenges While this is a hopeful first step in reforming our immigration On November 20, 2014, President Obama and deficiencies to system, Congress still must act to ensure that a comprehensive announced his “immigration accountability overcome. Although executive actions,” which outlined steps to reform DACA provided work solution, rather than piecemeal changes, is put in place. Our issues within our nation’s immigration system. The authorization and the nation built by immigrants deserves no less. executive actions are considered “prosecutorial ability for young adults discretion,” a term relating to the executive to “step out of the branch’s ability to choose how to enforce the law. shadows,” many other One example of prosecutorial discretion in the young immigrants immigration law context is “deferred action,” which still feared for their provides a temporary lawful status for those who parents and other is over 10 years. Even spouses and children of green qualify. While touted as an unconstitutional act by family members who did not qualify for DACA card holders are waiting almost two years until they some members of the Republican Party, in reality, and who lived in unlawful status. In recognition of become eligible to enter the United States. prosecutorial discretion in our nation’s immigration the need to keep families intact, President Obama President Obama has increased and refined his history has been undertaken by previous Presidents, created the DAPA program. immigration enforcement policies in the executive most notably Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. DAPA applies to individuals who have U.S. citizen actions as well. First, President Obama outlined President Obama’s executive actions cover or lawful permanent resident (“green card”) sons new enforcement priorities, divided into three tiers. critical pieces in our immigration system, including or daughters, who have been present in the U.S. The highest priority relates to individuals with enforcement at the border, deportation priorities, since January 1, 2010, and who are not considered felonies and aggravated felonies; the second priority efficiency in keeping and recruiting immigrant an enforcement priority. DAPA grantees obtain applies to those with “significant misdemeanors” or investors and employees, allowing immigrant deferred action for three years, which includes multiple misdemeanors in their background or are families to remain intact, and expansion of lawful work authorization and a social security number. recent border-crossers; and the last priority relates status for those living here unlawfully. Applications are expected to to individuals ordered removed after January 1, Two of the biggest programs within the be ready by May 20, 2015. It is 2014. While the crimes sound serious (and many executive actions were the expansion estimated that as many as 3.7 are), under immigration law, a single conviction of the Deferred Action for Childhood million immigrants could be for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge is Arrivals (DACA) program and the eligible for lawful status under considered a significant misdemeanor and would introduction of the Deferred Action the DAPA program. place someone in the second priority tier. for Parental Accountability (DAPA) DACA and DAPA provide President Obama is also removing the program. temporary relief. It is not a controversial Secure Communities program, DACA was initially introduced by grant of permanent status which encouraged state and local law enforcement the Obama Administration in 2012 or U.S. citizenship. Only agencies to enforce federal immigration laws. as a response to the failure of the Congress has the ability to Under the Secure Communities program, the Development, Relief, and Education for determine who is eligible for Department of Homeland Security could request Alien Minor’s (DREAM) Act to pass in lawful permanent residence or that state or local jails hold immigrants longer Congress. As referenced in the name, who can become a U.S. citizen. than is constitutionally allowed so that they could DACA allowed individuals who arrived While threats of defunding be transferred to immigration custody. Many in the United States as children to remain the DACA and DAPA programs Governors, law enforcement agencies, and mayors, and work here legally. Individuals who have been alluded to in talking SHARON BARNEY including Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, had been present in the United States points, and even included in State College Attorney a bill that passed the House rejected participation in the program. In place of for at least five years, who arrived before Secure Communities, the Obama administration is they turned 16-years-old and who were on January 14, in reality, the creating the Priority Enforcement Program, which under 31-years-old, and who were programs pay for themselves would not use unlawful detainers and will only currently in school or had received a degree from through a $465 filing fee and are not subject to seek out those immigrants who have actually been school, could apply for deferred action. While not Congress’ appropriations. convicted of crimes, rather than simply arrested granting permanent status, DACA allowed many In addition to the DACA expansion and the or held for alleged crimes. And finally, President individuals to apply for a social security number, creation of DAPA, President Obama outlined other Obama is allocating more resources to secure the obtain employment authorization, and be protected changes to immigration benefits, processing, and southern border. from deportation for at least two years. Since its enforcement. Some additional benefits include longer Some of the President’s proposed changes have inception, over 500,000 individuals have received periods for Optional Practical Training for foreign already taken place, while others need more time to deferred action under DACA. students who graduate from U.S. schools, review be evaluated or begin. While this is a hopeful first The Obama Administration expanded the DACA of the Department of Labor’s certification process step in reforming our immigration system, Congress program by removing the age cap requirements and for foreign labor, and increased opportunities for still must act to ensure that a comprehensive allowing those who have been present since January foreign investors, researchers, and start-ups to solution, rather than piecemeal changes, is put in 1, 2010 to qualify. Additionally, DACA grantees will create jobs in the United States. The President also place. Our nation built by immigrants deserves no have deferred action and work authorization for wants to improve the current visa system, which less. ■ three years instead of two years. It is estimated that is rife with delays and high processing times. For an additional 330,000 individuals will be eligible example, under our visa system currently, adult under the new criteria. Applications under the new children of U.S. citizen parents will be waiting Sharon Barney is an attorney in State College DACA program are expected to be available by almost eight years until they are eligible to enter the who practices immigration law, family law, February 18, 2015. United States and reunite with their family. For adult employment law, and victim rights law. While DACA was a real first step in addressing the sons and daughters from the Philippines, their wait
By SHARON BARNEY
White-throated Sparrows: Birding from home By JOE VERICA firstname.lastname@example.org Winter is typically a down-time for birders. The colorful birds that frequented our backyards and filled out woodlands with song in the summer have headed to warmer climes for the winter. Migrating waterfowl temporarily took up residence here in early fall, but as temperatures continued to drop, lakes and ponds have frozen over, forcing the birds south to seek open water. With so many songbirds and waterfowl playing ex-pat for the winter, what’s the obsessed birder to do? Read a book? Clean out the attic? Fortunately, sparrows have moved in to fill the void. For reasons that are unfathomable to me, many people are not excited by sparrows. Admittedly, they may look similar at first glance; however, to those with a keen eye trained to appreciate the finer details of avian plumages, sparrows are distinctly patterned and quite handsome birds. There is also the issue of weather that prevents some from experiencing the joys of studying winter sparrows. The idea of trekking outside in subzero temperatures, hoping to catch of glimpse of a sparrow, is not most people’s idea of a leisurely recreational activity. For me, weather is rarely a valid excuse for remaining indoors. On the contrary, I have had some of my most rewarding birding experiences on otherwise inclement days. As the Scandanavian proverb eloquently states, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” That being said, I do recognize that weather may indeed be a factor for some people, but as providence would have it, one need not venture outside to see sparrows. With the appropriate habitat and a sprinkling of
Photo by SIMON BARRETTE// Creative Commons
The White-throated Sparrow comes in two varieties, the White-striped and the Tan-striped morph. Pictured above, the Whitestriped morph, shares the black crown and black line extending throgh the eye to the back of the head with the Tan-striped morph, but this variety has a thin white line running down the center of the crown and a bold white supercilium (stripe above the eye). bird seed, one can host several species of winter sparrow right in their own backyard. One of the more common and visually striking sparrows to visit Central Pa. during the winter is the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). As sparrows go, White-throated Sparrows are relatively large, slightly bigger than the familiar Song Sparrow. The White-throated Sparrow has brown upper parts with bold black streaks on the back. The wings and tail are imbued with chestnut brown overtones. As their name suggests, the sparrows have a bold white throat that sharply contrasts with the surrounding gray on the sides of the face and upper breast. The most prominent features of the White-throated Sparrow are the stripes on its head. They come in two
distinct varieties, a White-striped and a Tan-striped morph. Both morphs have a black crown and a black line extending through the eye to the back of the head. The White-striped morph has a thin white line running down the center of the crown and a bold white supercilium (stripe above the eye). The lores (area between the eye and the bill) are bright yellow. The Tan-striped form has a tan crown stripe and a tan supercilium, and the lores are faintly shaded in yellow. In addition, Tan-striped birds also have blurred streaking along the flanks of the breast that White-striped birds lack. The differences between the two morphs are genetically determined, and both occur in roughly equal proportions throughout the population. White-throated Sparrows are woodland sparrows. They breed across subarctic North America from British Columbia to Newfoundland. In the United States, the southern limit of its breeding range extends from northern Minnesota to northern Pennsylvania. Mated pairs typically contain a Whitestriped and a Tan-striped bird. In early fall, White-throated Sparrows begin heading south to their winter quarters, which extend from southeastern Canada and the eastern Plains states in the north, to Arizona, the Gulf Coast and northern Florida in the south. Here in Central Pa., Whitethroated Sparrows start showing up
around the end of September. Their preferred winter habitat consists of dense brushy areas near water, but they seem fairly content in parks and backyards where protective accommodations are available. During winter months, the sparrows forage in flocks consisting of a dozen or more birds. Their diet consists largely of fruits gleaned from trees and shrubs, as well as seeds they find by scratching in the leaf litter. Whitethroated Sparrows are also known to sing throughout the winter. Their song consists of a series of whistled notes that are commonly transliterated as “Poor Sam Peabody Peabody”. If you wish to find White-throated Sparrows this winter, you can find them in just about any wooded area with a brushy understory. Millbrook Marsh, Lederer Park, Toftrees Gamelands and Bald Eagle State Parks are good places to go. You can also attract them to your backyard by scattering millet or black oil sunflower seeds on the ground. Just be sure to spread them near adequate cover, as Sharp-shinned and Copper’s Hawks will be surveilling the local circuit of bird feeders in search of unwitting birds. ■ Joseph Verica is a vice-president of State College Bird Club. He writes a monthly column for Voices about local avian life.
Voices Profile: Interview with Jason Crane By MARILYN JONES VOICES Editor in Chief email@example.com Jason Crane - poet, musician, interviewer, talk-show host, writer, union organizer, bookstore manager and father of two always said that the last place he wanted to live was in State College, which, as his old friend used to say, “is conveniently located three and a half hours from nowhere.” Now, though, Jason calls it his home (at least until his boys have graduated from high school). “I never thought I would be looking down the barrel of a whole decade in one place before,” he said. But now he is – taking a job as the store manager of Webster’s Bookstore and Café and becoming an intricate part of the local creative community. Having taken the road less travelled, Jason has decades of artistic knowledge and experience behind him. He is currently the host and producer of The Jazz Session, an online jazz interview podcast with national and international jazz musicians, a show that has had more than 2.5 million (Above) Photo by KATE HOFFMAN downloads since its inception in 2007 (http://thejazzsession.com), and the (Right) Photo by SUDESHNA RAY DASGUPTA host of a music-only radio show on Local poet and manager of Webster’s, Jason Crane, reading one of his poems at one of the Open Poetry Nights that Webster’s WKPS, The Lion, at 90.7 FM. A year holds on the first Wednesday of every month. Crane, a published poet, has had a varied path leading to position he’s in now, ago he organized the ever growing-inranging from producing a jazz musician podcast to starting a poetry series in Auburn, Alabama. popularity Open Mike Poetry series at Webster’s, just one more example of the artistic richness he brings to the (He had played clarinet in middle actively reading poetry, which I had Tour,” and set out to produce a podcast school, then saxophone later on. He never really done. Reading poetry by interviewing all the jazz musicians area. His tie to poetry started out like says he didn’t really have any lessons). changed everything for me. Once he could find. In between interviews, most kids, he said, writing “horrible He played Latin and Salsa on the you read other poets, you realize how wherever there was an appropriate poetry in high school” in upstate New saxophone and played percussion much more possibilities exist than you venue, he read his poems. He travelled for seven months, York, for which he is glad that “all of and sang in bands mostly based in could have thought of on your own.” Tucson, Arizona, Hilton Head Island, In 2010 Jason did something bold. staying at people’s homes, carrying those notebooks were lost in a flood South Carolina, and Japan (he speaks He sent a collection of his poems to only a backpack filled with a few years ago.” And like many young Japanese). several poets he admired and asked changes of clothes and his audio people, this was H e for feedback, never really expecting to equipment. People were supporting the last of his “I try to be funny, to welcome d i d n ’ t get it. Surprisingly, Jason said, “I got the show, so he could have travelled writing for a everyone, to know something about w r i t e really good feedback, and one person, indefinitely, he said, but he was getting while. p o e t r y John Roche, handed the collection tired and lonely. “It wasn’t making me everyone who reads. We’ve really Then he got again for to his publisher and his publisher any richer than I had been. I wasn’t kicked out of his built a community of poets.” “at least asked to publish it, so my first book, creating an ending for myself. I didn’t parent’s house -Jason Crane ten years. Unexpected Sunlight, came out on know what I was going to do next.” in Canandaigua I don’t FootHills Publishing. He decided to apply to the Upaya and “the only know why “So all of a sudden I had this Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico job I could find I started object [the book] and I started going to work and study in the chaplaincy was a bank teller, again except that I had things I wanted to readings as a featured writer.” He program (He’s an atheist and a so I started writing poetry because to say and poetry gave me a vehicle to traveled all around upstate New York Buddhist), but weaving his way down I needed some kind of outlet.” He with other poets and sold, he said, “a from Ottawa, he stopped in Auburn, became part of the local poetry scene say those things.” A few years later, in 2007, working decent amount of books.” Alabama where he had some friends. in his new home nearby in Rochester, for a labor union, he got transferred Then, due to some personal There, the owner of a bookstore where writing mostly funny poems and from Rochester to Albany, New York changes, Jason decided to really take he had previously read his poetry love poems. He said it was his “first experience with sustained writing and which had “the best poetry scene of any his act on the road. Applying both his offered him a management job. He place I had ever lived. There I found interests in jazz and jazz musicians cancelled the Zen Center plans. He working on the poems.” Then he left Rochester and poetry both mentor figures and an amazing and his affinity for poetry, he packed behind again, and became a musician. bookstore called Dove & Hudson. So up his things, got on the Greyhound see crane, pg. 23 for the first time in my life I started bus, called his trip “The Jazz or Bust
February 2015 from crane, pg. 22 stayed only for a year, but is very proud of the poetry series he started at the store, which is still going strong today. During this time Jason did not see his children often and was not very happy about it. In the fall of 2013 he decided to return to New York where he would be closer to his boys. He stopped to visit them in State College (where his former wife of 16 years grew up) and decided to stay. Having moved 37 times throughout his life, he
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is committed to remaining here until his children (in third and seventh grades) graduate from high school. In November of 2013 a friend introduced him to the owner of Webster’s (which eventually led to his management position) and he started the Open Poetry Night, which is held on the first Wednesday of every month at seven p.m. in Webster’s Café. It is growing every month and usually attracts between 35 and 45 people a night, with about 20 to 25 readers. People sign up to read and may only read one poem, no more than two pages long, and with no long introductions, so “people at the end still get
an audience.” Jason said, “I try to be funny, to welcome everyone, to know something about everyone who reads. We’ve really built a community of poets.” And that seems to be what Jason’s life is about, whether traveling the world or staying put in one place: creating art, sharing art, interviewing artists, archiving art, and helping to create and be a part of a strong community of fellow artists wherever he goes. ■ Marilyn Jones is the editor of Voices, a freelance writer, and a retired teacher.
Liturgy, by Jason Crane, January 10, 2015 we are the rain washing down the sloping streets to the sea we are carrying with us the half-remembered dreams of the middle-aged we are thin bubbles of air on the smudged surface of a puddle we are shifting washes of color reflecting the dirty late-afternoon sun we are the low note made by the wind through the uneven siding we are the song sung by the creaking floorboards in the small hours we are sloshing clockwise around the cracked porcelain basin we are the soggy blockage of leaves in the gutters above the door we are blackened snow like over-roasted marshmallows we are the tips of incense sticks that the fire did not reach we are dog-eared pages of mildewed books left too long in the barn we are unopened packets of sugar found in the glove compartment we are the slow steady clockwork drip of the faucet in the kitchen we are the indentations in the fake leather seats of a cheap muscle car we are carrying with us the half-remembered dreams of the middle-aged we are the rain washing down the sloping streets to the sea
Whitey Blue on re-zoning By DAVID SILVERMAN VOICES Satirist firstname.lastname@example.org I was talking the other day to Whitey Blue, longtime Centre Area resident and hard- nose. Whitey, I think we may have discussed this before, but do you have any thoughts on the re-zoning of property in the State College area from single-family and student housing to add office and day-care use? “As I’ve said before, nothing should
stand in the way of opening businesses in any part of the borough or surrounding townships.” But doesn’t that infringe on the privacy rights of people to maintain their area as a residential neighborhood? “If people who now live in the State College area want to be exclusive and shut out the rest of the world, they should move out into the boondocks somewhere!” ■ David Silverman (a.k.a. the G.O.F.).
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Call it home, it’s not just a Stepping Stone By MARYLOUISE MARKLE email@example.com They come to this house from all over Centre County. Some are homeless. Some are out of school, out of work and out of money. Many have been living in dangerous situations. All are young adults, often without a warm, safe place to sleep. Too many have had little or no communication with their parents. Others are the children of mothers who are too young to care for them, or come from families facing challenges with which they are unable to cope. Often, the kids come without personal, educational or health histories. They have no bank accounts, no school records. They sometimes arrive on their own or on the recommendation of counselors. And, some arrive through court mandates. “Sometimes, they don’t want to be here,” said Vanessa Baronner, Program Director of the Burrowes Street Youth Haven & Stepping Stone Long Term Transitional Living Program. The residence, which was once home to a family of eight during WWI, through The Great Depression, and, in the 1960s was home to Penn State graduate students from around the world, now is home to young men and women ages 16 to 21. It is an important
component of the multi-faceted Centre County Youth Service Bureau, which provides many communitybased programs, like Big Brothers/ Big Sisters; family programs, that include parenting education and varied workshops and activities; and residential programs, as well as group homes for boys and girls in the community. Residents who come to live at Stepping Stone can remain in the program for up to 18 months. They live communally in the house, which accommodates up to eight residents. There are also two off site, two-bedroom apartments for older residents. There is a staff on duty around the clock, and scores of committed volunteers from the community lending their expertise, their time and their considerable personal and professional experience to work and play with the residents. “We ask, ‘how can their strengths help them?’” said Theresa Kieffer, Program Director of the Girls’ Group Home. One way is for residents to share their knowledge with each other, like, how to play the guitar or what they know about politics or relationships or any other subject. They share their talents and support one another; they protect each other. They share chores and all of the responsibilities of running a household like cleaning,
shopping for dinner, and cooking. Then, after dinner, they sit around the communal dining table and talk about their day. The staff works with all the residents on “hard and soft” life skills: how to find jobs or get back into school, how to manage their time, their work, and their classes. They also help to improve the resident’s social and psychological well-being. The staff, a committed group of community volunteers, and the residents themselves contribute to the group by sharing responsibilities, life skills, communications skills, and human values. “These kids are extremely resourceful. They have struggled in their lives. They have been in the wild,” said Vanessa Baronner. After completing their time on South Burrowes, the residents transition to their own apartments, to colleges or
trade schools, or are able to move back into their family homes. Members of the staff remain available to all former residents who need help for as long as they require. Though they all eventually move on, the young men and women of Stepping Stone often remain in touch, and on occasion the doorbell rings on South Burrowes Street and a former resident comes home to visit with old and new members of his or her family. For more information on the YSB and its activities, and for information on how to contribute your time, resources, skills, and gifts to the organization, go to: ccysb.com. ■ Marylouise Markle is a cultural and political writer who lives in State College.
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Flexibility- the key to happiness • State College police- training to get it right • Weather apps- so wrong most of the time • A Personal Me...
Published on Feb 5, 2015
Flexibility- the key to happiness • State College police- training to get it right • Weather apps- so wrong most of the time • A Personal Me...