Free speech Penn State gets mixed reviews on policies PAGE 21 VOICES OF CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA
Politics and Economics Congressional candidates interviewed
Environment Natural gas drilling inspire call for health registry
Page 12 View via Headphones
Ar tists and depression PA G E 2 6
Columns and Opinion: Deutsch, Hertert, Birdwatch, Cosmo and more!
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November 2012 BOARD OF EDITORS contact the editor in chief at email@example.com Editor in Chief Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell Politics and Economics open Community and Lifestyles open Environment Allison Robertson Education Sierra Dole Arts and Entertainment Cynthia Mazzant Opinion William Saas Webmaster Bill Eichman
Every day, I read over the list of articles that Voices will cover in a future edition and the ones that writers have been assigned already. I think to myself, “Are these the topics that matter to my readers? Am I serving my community with what I print?” Sadly, I am not a mind-reader; without reader feedback I can only make determinations based on my gut instinct and my experience as a community member. But there is another way to ensure that Voices is covering what matters to you—you can volunteer to write for us. Voices is not written by a staff of professional journalists; it is the product of volunteers and a few student interns. We have diverse backgrounds that are not even related to journalism—this month’s cover story was written by Veronica Winters, a professional artist. I myself am a historian, like our founder Art Goldschmidt. Neither of us have had journalistic training, but what we do have is a commitment to sharing the untold
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from the desk of editor in chief
Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell stories of our community. This month, Veronica has done just that. Her cover story about artists and depression has been the stuff of psychology studies, but here in this month’s edition of Voices she make those results relevant by telling the stories of five local artists. Each of them has battled mood disorders. Voices applauds their courage in talking about their struggles in an open and honest way and thanks them. Veronica has social connections to the artists featured in the article because she is an artist; she could form the subject-writer relationships that would be daunting or nearly impossible otherwise. As well, her perspective is a unique and valuable one that enriches both the content and the vision of this article. The cover story is not the only article contributed by a volunteer writing from a crucial perspective. Doug Mason, who wrote the Politics and Economics article about Green Party vice-presidential candidate Honkala’s visit to State College, was himself a candidate for office for the Green Party in the 1980s. Ryan Beckler, the reporter who contributed the article in Education about Sandusky and the Penn State football program, is a sports writer for Onward State. While Voices has long had a section devoted to reporting on the university, the newspaper
has never had a Voices Advisory sports writer. Council In addition to Nick Brink these stories, Jamie Campbell readers will also Jane Childs find the theme of John Dickison the elections running through Elizabeth Kirchner Bonnie Marshall Politics and Curt Marshall Economics and Mike McGough Education. Bob Potter James Hynes interviewed both Bonnie K. Smeltzer Susan Squier incumbent Rep. Maria Sweet Glen Thompson Kim Tait and challenger Mary Watson Charles Dumas. Sue Werner Sierra Dole Greg Woodman reported on the Lakshman Yapa opportunity for Penn State voters to register at Penn State. FOBA columnist Jamie Campbell warns readers to vote on principles, not appearances of candidates. Finally, please read the appeals letter from our board of directors in the Arts and Entertainment section. Voices is a non-profit, independent newspaper and makes no money from the publication of our paper. We are committed to keeping Voices free, but we need the help of our readers to cover the costs of printing and distribution. Thank you, and hope to see you at the table at our weekly staff meetings at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at Websters.
Top Stories in This Issue POLITICS and ECONOMICS
Interviews with U.S. congressional candidates by James Hynes........................................3
COMMUNITY and LIFESTYLES
View via Headphones enhances arts for visually impaired by Allison Robertson..............12
Health concerns inspire call for registry by James Hynes............................................17
PSU gets mixed review on free speech by Jessica Beard.....................................................21
ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT
Making art through the prism of depression by Veronica Winters................................26
Overdue remarks by Elizabeth May...........................................................................34
U.S congressional candidates speak by James Hynes U.S Congresman (5th district) Glenn Thompson and challenger Charles Dumas spoke with Voices. Charles Dumas Your opponent Glenn Thompson has a million dollar war chest and lots of powerful friends in DC. What made you decide to run against him? No one else was doing it. I would have gladly not jumped into the ring if someone with more experience and gumption had decided to run. I looked around—a lot of people were considering running back in January, but then no one was willing to step to the plate. And I was concerned that Congressman Thompson was going to get away with no one asking him about putting his allegiance to his party and his friends above his constituents.
So this isn’t an act of protest. You are serious about this run? I don’t know what else I can do to prove that I’m serious. I’ve been working hard in the district. Centre Country is about 15% of the district vote. We expect a good turnout in Elk, Clearfield, and Centre where Democrats will likely vote straight across the ticket. My job is to get out into the other areas and to get Democrats enlivened and mobilized. Look, Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008. In 2010, there was a 30-40% drop in Democratic Party turnout. The Republicans didn’t win; we lost. So, it’s not my seriousness that matters. What matters is whether or not people see that there is a contrasting vision for our country. Do we give our resources to the rich and hope for trickle down or do we have a vision of a nation where people help each other?
Are you confident that you can win? The House of Representatives has a 10 percent approval rating. They’ve been dysfunctional for two years. They’ve been too concerned about obstructing the president. We’ve got to get our shoulders to the wheel and fight about values. Half of the voters will vote ticket, but I believe that the independents will wake up. Frankly, it’s not probable. I know this. But it’s not impossible. What do you think is the most pressing issue our country faces today? Poverty. Growing poverty. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is drifting toward poverty. Did you know that the United States has now passed Brazil in wealth disparity? Brazil. Public education is being attacked. Unemployment remains high,
and wages are stagnant. Worse, there is a poverty of the spirit. I’ve talked to people who are so despondent—they don’t have a lot of hope that life is better for them than it was for their parents and grandparents, and that life will be better for their children. Economic growth is slow, unemployment hovers over 8 percent (higher if we count those who’ve given up trying to find work), the national debt is over $16 trillion and growing rapidly, the financial markets are still precarious—how do we get ourselves out of this mess? [Unemployment dropped below 8 percent after this interview] Things are bad, but I’m not as pessimistic as the pundits. First, let’s raise our
Candidates, pg. 4
Ferguson residents to vote on amendment by Molly Cochran On November 6, Ferguson Township could be the second township in the nation to have successfully banned natural gas hydro-facturing within its borders. Groundswell, a community coalition, has been advocating adding a bill of rights to the Ferguson Home Rule Charter since mid-June. The group got their first win last November in State College Borough. The borough passed a community bill of rights and natural gas hydro-facturing (fracking) ban amendment to the Home Rule charter with a 72 percent vote, according to Groundswell’s website. This was the first Home Rule charter municipality to ban fracking in the nation. Groundswell hopes for another victory in Ferguson Township. But even if the amendments pass, there is no guarantee that they will become law. Places like Ferguson Township and
the State College borough can pass community bills of rights and fracking bans because these townships and boroughs do not derive their authority from the state level. So amendments cannot interfere with the state and federal government, according to the, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund website. Advocating for the fracking ban Groundswell has been advocating for an amendment to the charter that would ban hydro-fracturing in the township, protect citizens’ rights to clean air and water and return to them power over the government. Groundswell is an advocacy group located in downtown state college, founded by Penn State graduate Braden Crooks. “Our Mission is to create sustainable Photo by Molly Cochran
Amendment, pg. 7
Signs like the one above have been put out by Ferguson Township residents and members of Groundswell throughout Ferguson Township.
Candidates, pg. 3
vision and look around the world. We’re doing damned well compared to a lot of other places, including the EU. It’s an issue of what the long-term philosophy will be for 21st century folks. Has capitalism as we’ve known it been working? I’m by no means a communist. Soviet communism was a complete failure. But the idea of capitalism is not the same as the reality. The idea is that you get paid for creating, conducting and controlling a business. The way it works on the books is that you succeed and then profit off that success. But now someone starts with a target profit and everything else—including labor standards and environment—follows from that. So, 12-20 percent profit is the starting bottom line, and I’m not sure that as it
manifests itself right now that this model of capitalism is working. Look at history. The runaway capitalism of the ‘20s gave us the Great Depression. To get out of it, government taxed the rich at rates of 50-70 percent to develop infrastructure and safety nets for working people—to give them a moral sense of having a stake in it all. Today, we argue about a 4.5 percent increase in taxes for the top 2 percent. Is that too much? What about the argument that raising taxes so high for the top 2 percent would cause them to move their businesses overseas? They’re already doing that. How much is enough to keep them here? They’re already going to places like China because labor is so cheap. As it is, we can’t compete against Chinese labor on the terms
under which they work. I think that the burden is on organized labor. Unions are very disconnected. Why have we never built the one International Union? Why have we not helped Chinese labor to organize? Rather than being afraid of illegal immigrants, why have we not organized them as Cesar Chavez did? Besides, if businesses all move out, who’s going to buy their stuff? You pay a living wage, and I’m going to buy your stuff. That’s how it’s always worked. Do you support the Affordable Healthcare Act? What, if anything, would you change about it? Yes, I support it. I would have gone for single-payer, but this is one of the most progressive acts in my lifetime. FDR with his New Deal couldn’t do it. Johnson with his Great Society couldn’t do it. And it’s constitutional. The court that decided that is was constitutional wasn’t a friendly court, either. That’s a major progressive move. Again, I would have gone to the mat for single-payer. But it’s nice to know that people will have coverage. It’s nice to know that people like me who had preexisting conditions—I had cancer—would not be denied coverage. What is the US role on the world stage today? Our role is to provide leadership in the development of democracy around the world in a non-military fashion. I’ve taught in South Africa. As a Fulbright Scholar, I’ve traveled around the world. There is nowhere else in the world that has done what we have done. Look at our Olympics team. No other team looked like that. We had black, white, brown people from every national background and every genetic makeup on that team. We’ve got to put that on our flagpole. The United States is a model for how people can live together. Let’s be real. It’s taken a lot of ugliness. A bloody civil war. Race riots. We don’t necessarily always love each other, but we’ve figured out how to respect each other’s personhood and dignity, and I’m so proud of that.
Is China’s rise as a superpower a good thing? Yes, insofar as it provides a way for formerly starving people to no longer starve. The system, for all its faults, got it done. The incentive for us is not to be China but to do what we do better. And we’ve always been good at having the competitive edge. One negative impact of China’s rise is that—I’m concerned about how she treats her people. I’m not sure how to go about dealing with that, but it’s a problem for us. There is also a tendency for China to support industrial piracy, and this couldn’t be done without the state’s hand in it. I’m concerned with the lack of environmental regulations in China. But the Chinese are not going to bury us. The Chinese model is not going to be so effective that it will destroy our way of life. My biggest concern is that, educationally, they are far above us—certainly with regard to math and science. The Chinese see education as infrastructure; it’s the development of their future. And China is using our educational resources to train their future leaders. We have the best higher education system in the world, and universities across the country are educating China’s future leaders. One good thing about that is that those leaders get exposure to humanities, to arts. We all need well-rounded individuals who understand and sustain their own culture, but to question things, and we do that well. I sense that Chinese students who go to our universities will bring that back with them and put pressure on the system there. President Obama, like your opponent Glenn Thompson, supports expanding natural gas exploration in North America. Residing in Marcellus Shale country, where do you stand on natural gas exploration and unconventional hydro-fracturing specifically? What I’ve come to is this: The role of the federal government, through the EPA, is to make sure we project the 10, 15, 25, 50-year impacts. We need to study that. What chemicals are being used? What are
Candidates, pg. 6
Green party V.P. candidate visits State College by Douglas Mason Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s vicepresidential nominee, gave a presentation at Webster’s Bookstore & Café this month that clearly linked environmental issues to social and economic justice, peace, women’s rights, civil rights and the labor movement. Honkala is an internationally recognized anti-poverty advocate who is the National Coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) based in Philadelphia, one of the nation’s largest multi-racial, inter-generational movements led by the poor and the homeless. Working directly alongside the poor to build a movement to end poverty, she has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities. “We set up Romneyville in Tampa and Obamaville in Charlotte,” said Honkala. “At every national convention, both Democratic and Republican, we’ve set up Hooverville-like encampments. They’re for the homeless or suffering people who don’t have access to healthcare and other necessities of life.” Ms. Honkala’s work over the last three decades has sprouted over 150 organizations similar to PPEHRC across the country. Among many honors and awards, she
was named “Hellraiser of the Month” in the April 2005 issue of Mother Jones magazine. She is a single mother with no health insurance who has firsthand experience with homelessness, an experience that she said is unlike any of the other candidates for the highest office in the land. “Poverty is an issue that hasn’t been addressed by any of the Democrats or Republicans heading their respective national tickets,” said Honkala. “Half of Americans now live below, at or just above the poverty line. I think I provide a bridge for the Green Party into communities inhabited by inner-city youth, seniors living in nursing homes, the disabled, eight million homeowners struggling to keep their modest houses, and other low income folks.” In 2011, Honkala ran as the Greens’ candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia on a platform of ending foreclosures and halting evictions. Her campaign slogan was “Keep Families in Their Homes.” When Philly’s Greens chapter approached her about running for that office, she explained that “I have over 200 arrests for participating in nonviolent direct actions, and have spent a lot of my life being transported by the sheriff’s department.” On August 1, 2012, Honkala was arrest-
ed again, along with the Greens’ presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, and three others, during a sit-in at Fannie Mae headquarters on Philadelphia’s Bankers Row. The protesters demanded that the mortgage company halt foreclosure proceedings against two Philadelphia families. “We need financial reform in this country,” said Honkala at the protest. “The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners.” Hokala and Stein were jailed overnight, and then charged with “defiant trespassing.” As the first woman ever to run as Philly’s sheriff, Ms. Honkala garnered over 10,000 votes, bringing many new faces to the Green Party. The conversation then turned to the upcoming elections. “Unfortunately, large sections of the population are sitting out of the 2012 elections,” said Honkala. “It’s not because they’re not interested in what’s happening in this country. They just don’t see that their vote matters. But our campaign gives an opportunity for people to see themselves, because we represent the 99 percent.” A teenage mother, Ms. Honkala was living in a car with her young son Mark one
frigid, snowy winter in Minneapolis when it was demolished by a drunk driver. In order to survive, they “occupied” an abandoned HUD property that was still hooked up to all utilities. “I quickly learned how corrupt, difficult and undemocratic politics were in this state,” said Honkala. “We were living in a homeless encampment, and the Mayor came by with portable toilets accompanied by a city councilperson bringing water supplies. It’s pretty bad when your elected officials are encouraging you to live on an outside lot. We decided to march on foot to Harrisburg, about 22 miles a day. We’d sleep along the road with other women and children.” When the homeless group arrived in Harrisburg, they set up camp under the capital building rotunda. “On our first night, there was a bipartisan champagne and caviar dinner,” said Honkala. “A leading Democrat approached us, offering free box lunches if we would move down to the end of a hallway. One homeless family argued that ‘we aren’t going to become invisible for a boxed lunch.’ The next day, notices were posted that the building closed at 5 p.m.” At that appointed hour, hundreds of state
Green, pg. 10
Candidates, pg. 4
the water issues? All sides need to talk about problems and risks and discuss options. If it works let’s do it, but let’s do that study first. And since the industry wants to do the drilling, they should pay for it. So you support a moratorium? Yes, at least until we know what the long-term impacts will be. On a state level, New York’s done it. The EPA has the power to do it nationally. Some say that investment in renewable and other clean energy is a failure. The Energy Information Administration, for example, points to recent data that show a disproportionate investment in “green” energy research with little to show for it. Do you agree? No. National investment in clean energy is a win-win. It can provide jobs in the US. It’s reasonable. We’re not talking about “if” but “when.” Fossil fuels are unsustainable in the long run. We need to change direction. Let’s start doing it now. Solar is an untapped resource. Wind is largely an untapped resource. They say it’s not competitive now, but we need to look at five years after a full commitment. Oil supplies are diminishing. The cost to generate a wind-turbine will be lower than the transportation costs for oil, coal, and gas. And it’s right here in America. Resistance to it is on part of those who hold reins. If you own the only horses in the race, then you’ll win the race. You mentioned that education is infrastructure. You’re an educator. Where does our nation stand with regard to education? I applaud the president for his support for education, especially in the development of Pell grants and interest rate reductions for student debt. We need more support on a primary and secondary level. There has been an attempt in the last few years to vilify teachers when they ought to be among our most respected and honored citizens. This is a serious economic issue.
It’s not just about doing good by the kids but doing good by our nation’s future. The arts? We as country, we as a culture, we as a people need to support our artists. FDR made sure that public funds went to artists who told the American story. There was a theatre in every town. It is through public support for the arts that the slave narrative could be told, and it helped change us. Artists enrich our lives. But we’re broke. How do you respond to someone who says that we simply can’t afford to do everything and that the arts are not a priority? Life is not entirely about nickels and dimes, getting and spending. The Netherlands invests 2 percent of its public funds on arts. We don’t spend .002 percent. We have this idea that if you’re an artist, you can make enough through ticket sales or by rich people buying your stuff. But it’s not all about nickels and dimes. Compare two cultures, Greece and Rome. Name something from Greece. Chances are a number of beautiful and innovative contributions come to mind. Name something from Rome. Everything in Rome came from Greece. Now, we remember Greece for its humanity. All we know about Rome is that they conquered much of the world and now they don’t own it anymore. Art contributes to our understanding of the world and the universe— both seen and unseen. It changes lives and makes life better. Art translates into humanity. What experiences would you bring with you into office? How will those experiences guide you as a Representative? I find it impossible to compartmentalize myself. I think of myself as who I am. Being professor at Penn State at this time through our most difficult period is an exercise in crisis management. How do you help people to come out on the other side? That’s what I bring. To listen, not just to hear. I was in Yale law school, and I was also president of Legal Services where I used my understanding of the law to help
those in need. I was a community organizer and, although some may ridicule the role, it’s shown me how to get real people together to solve real problems—to empower people on the ground. As a Fulbright scholar, I represented my country in many ways. I bring my humanity to my work. From Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy, I was inspired to commit to public service. Because people have helped me. I was the child of single mother, a high school dropout. I joined the Civil Rights movement. People helped along the way. I feel an obligation to public service. What do you want the people of this district to walk away with? I’ve been encouraged by the best of my country that I’ve seen throughout my sixty-five years, and I want to share that. My candidacy is about reigniting a sense of possibilities for our community and our nations. Once, when people said, “We’re not where we want to be” it meant, “Let’s work together to get to where we want to be.” Now, too many people—even young people—throw their hands up. We need to get back to that spirit. We need to work together. Don’t quit trying to get us to a better place. This is still our country. Glenn Thompson What is the most pressing issue that our country faces today? Jobs. Almost 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. This is unacceptable. According to the last—clarified—jobs report, the total number of people on unemployment dropped, but only because they left the rolls for part-time work. And to survive on a part-time job today? In my opinion, there aren’t a lot of social ills that can’t be taken care of with a good-paying job. I came out of 30 years as a healthcare provider, and in that field we use an assessment model. You don’t just come out and do what you think is politically correct—what a party or special interest group wants you to do. You do what’s needed, and you do it on a needs basis. Economic growth is slow, and as you’ve
discussed, unemployment remains stubbornly high. We’ve got trillion dollar annual deficits. The national debt is over $16 trillion with no end in sight, the financial markets seem unstable—specifically, how do we get ourselves out of this mess? We have to unleash economic activity in this country, and what’s holding it back is fear and uncertainty about policy. The only true economic engine in this country are small businesses. They provide over 70% of our jobs. But they’re sitting on the sidelines now because of taxes. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. America is the most expensive place in the world to do business. That’s not a good position to be when you operate in a global economy. So, it’s taxes and over-regulation. Baseline regulation is incredibly important; that’s about health and safety. But we have a regulatory regime that never takes any regulation away. We never go back and look at a regulation and ask, “Okay, is the cost-benefit there to justify it?” Really, I view it as an onion. We just add layer upon layer. It gets larger and heavier on the backs of small business owners. We’ve got to repatriate American businesses so that they can create jobs here, not overseas. Also, we need to do something about energy. For many business, energy is the number-two cost. And gasoline prices crush people who are on a fixed income, like most of the people who I talk to. So you support extending the Bush tax cuts? Well, I don’t really think of them as the Bush tax cuts. Obama’s been president for four years. He extended the cuts two years ago. At the time, he said that increasing taxes in a time of economic difficulty would be a bad idea. And yes, I support extending them. But, more importantly, we have to look at the tax codes. Personally, I think that the tax codes are broken. They’re too complex, and there are too many loopholes. Frankly, if you’re wealthy enough to hire an army of
Candidates, pg. 8
November 2012 from
Amendment, pg. 3
communities through culture, economy and governance. We have the right to a sustainable future,” according to Groundswell’s website. Jeff Kurland, a retired anthropology professor from Penn State and the campaign leader for Groundswell, talked about the importance for a cleaner environment and the amendment to the Ferguson Home Rule charter. “We can’t have conversations with no world to live in,” says Kurland. The answer to this is simple, according to Kurland, vote yes, on November 6th, 2012. Other advocate groups that have also been campaigning for the amendment are the Sierra Club, the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund and the Community Rights Activists of Ferguson Township. Pam Steckler, a member of CRAFT and a resident of Ferguson Township has also been advocating for the amendment to the Home Rule charter. The goal of the amendment and fracking ban in Ferguson is to “put the power back in the people’s hands,” said Steckler. State law Act 13 effectively removed that power from the people’s hands when it took away municipalities’ right to prohibit natural gas drilling through zoning regulations. But in July, the Commonwealth Court ruled 4-3 that the portions of the law that prohibit this use of municipal power are a violation of the state constitution. The state Supreme Court is, as of press time, hearing this case. Amendments such as this one are in effect to challenge Act 13. “It has to start somewhere. We have to test the law,” said Steckler. Bill of Rights--what do they mean? The bill of rights includes lofty ideals such as a right to a sustainable energy future and right to self-government, but
“If approved, the Home Rule Charter Referendum may ultimately result in: opening the township to potential lawsuits, raising taxes or reducing services to defend actions violating the new provisions, limiting delivery systems such as natural gas lines supplying fuel to heat homes and operate businesses, taking away residents’ property (mineral) rights, and detracting potential economic development from Ferguson Township or lead to other unintended consquences.” Ferguson Township website notice regarding amendment
according to Kurland the questions he was asked while canvassing were more particular. Some questions that Kurland faced in Ferguson Township were “Am I going to have to pay for this?” “Am I going to be sued?” he said. Although the bill of rights aims to ban fracking and keep drilling companies out, Kurland said, “This is not an attack on the drilling companies.” The bill of rights doesn’t target drilling companies, just states that Ferguson Township has the right to protect its land and protect from outside pollutants or the endangerment of streams. “The drilling companies can’t come in and say, ‘you can’t have pure air, pure water,’” said Kurland.
Ferguson township supervisors, however, do not support this amendment. “If approved, the Home Rule Charter Referendum may ultimately result in: opening the township to potential lawsuits, raising taxes or reducing services to defend actions violating the new provisions, limiting delivery systems such as natural gas lines supplying fuel to heat homes and operate businesses, taking away residents’ property (mineral) rights, and detracting potential economic development from Ferguson Township or lead to other unintended consequences,” reads the Ferguson township website regarding the amendment. The Ferguson Township supervisors were presented with the amendment in August and had the township lawyer look at the amendment. The township lawyer concluded that the amendment
goes against state laws, according to township supervisor Elliott Killian. Specifically, the amendment to the Home Rule Charter violates Act 13. If the amendment is approved and there is a ban on hydro-fracturing in Ferguson Township following the November election, Killian said that the supervisors will likely appeal to the courts. “It’s the right time, not the right focus,” said Ferguson Township supervisor Elliott Killian. Moving forward is what Killian would like to see, but according to him this is not the right way. Killian added that he would support an amendment to Act 13 instead of the amendment to the Home Rule Charter in Ferguson Township. “[The passing of the bill of rights] would be a burden to the township,” said Killian.
Candidates, pg. 8
lawyers, you’re not going to pay any taxes. This is one of the president’s flawed arguments. He wants to raise taxes, but unless you reform the tax code and close those loopholes, people will always find a way not to pay. We need to simplify the tax code. One plan that I’d like to see is every American—whether an individual, family, or a business should be able to fill their tax returns on the back of a postcard. A lower, flatter rate...10% for individuals and families, 15% for businesses. And deductions need to go away, especially for the top wage-earners. If you did that, you’d provide certainty for our businesses. It’s my hope that, by the first quarter of the 113th Congress, we’ll see real tax reform. It seems that the revenue from closing loopholes might be offset by lowering taxes across the board. Some economists have suggested that tax cuts right now could create an immediate revenue shortfall requiring austerity such as what is leading to so much turmoil in Spain and Greece. Of course, businesses might bite and invest in serious job growth. They might not. After all, they are sitting on a lot of capital from stimulus right now. Confidence is a fickle thing. Is trickledown—at this time—something of a Hail Mary pass? Again, we don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. If you look across the board, you see so much waste. The Congressional Budget Office—bipartisan, objective analysts— have identified no fewer than forty redundant federal programs. There’s so much overlap and so many inefficiencies. The government has never met its obligations without asking for more, for saying that we should spend more. I believe in efficient, clean government. I take my responsibility seriously...that every tax dollar paid by Americans should not be wasted. Do you support the Affordable Healthcare Act? If so, are there any
changes that you would propose? I don’t like the word “reform” when it comes to healthcare. I’ve been a healthcare provider for near thirty years, and I can tell you that we have the best quality care in the world. I believe in refining healthcare. The way Obama approached this was unacceptable. Negotiations were behind closed doors, and rank members of congress weren’t welcome. He used a community rating system which jacked up the price of insurance. He came into office on the promise that he’d reduce average premiums by $2,000. And what happened? They’ve gone up by $2,000. He told you that you can keep your insurance if you select to. Well, that turns out not to be true. So, what do you propose? I have four principles when it comes to healthcare: decrease cost, increase access, increase innovation and give patients control. Patients should always be making their own healthcare decisions in consultation with their providers. Not some government bureaucrats. Medicare? Look, it’s going to be bankrupt by 2025. That fact, I think, is frightening. Truly frightening. We save it. We have to. I don’t consider it an entitlement. It’s an investment. So, this is what I support: for people 55 and over, right now, you don’t touch it. But if you’re 54 or younger, you should get a choice. If you really believe—if you trust that government is going to do this right and look out for your investment, you can keep government Medicare. But if you don’t, you should have choices. In other words, vouchers. No, a voucher is a thing you get in the mail, and you can buy things with it. This is giving people a choice. As I said, if you’re 54 or younger, you can choose your coverage. Competition brings down prices. Look at Medicare, Part D [the prescription drug benefit promoted and signed by George W. Bush] that’s come under budget by 40%. It’s one of the few government programs to come under budget. We’d use that kind of model. And I believe that it ought to be a sliding scale. Low earners would be covered 100%, but
wealthy people—successful people—not as much. I’d also continue to support innovations like the Federal Qualified Health Centers, similar to the structure of Volunteers in Medicine, that provide terrific care—particularly in rural and underserved urban areas. And they’re entirely means-tested. What about the individual mandate (the government requirement that individuals carry health insurance)? Do you support it? I understand that the Supreme Court found it constitutional. They called the penalties a tax. It’s semantic. I suppose I can understand why they’d call it a tax. Interestingly, it’s enforced by the IRS, not the Department of Health and Human Services. That tells you something. Personally, I’m not convinced by the argument that it’s constitutional. Think about the logic. Anything the government wants to impose on you, they can impose on you. They can hit you with a penalty and just call it a tax. The individual mandate was actually an idea first proposed by the Heritage Foundation (a leading conservative thinktank). They made the case that it was not only constitutional, but that it was necessary for controlling costs since uncovered care—mostly catastrophic—drives up costs significantly. Were they wrong? Look, there are all kinds of special interests out there. I don’t always agree with Heritage. I’m accountable to the citizens, not to the Heritage Foundation. Frankly, I don’t agree with their assessment. What is the US role on the world stage today? After four years, I wonder. I have serious concerns. We have so many problems at home; we can’t afford to be the bank—or the policeman of the world. And when we do deploy, we have a responsibility to do it the right way. Look at Libya. The War Powers Act was never satisfied. This was Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s intervention. They say that there were no boots on
the ground, but that’s not entirely true. It never came to Congress. It cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and what did we get in exchange? Americans being murdered. Benghazi was unacceptable. When can we say the sanctions have worked? When the leaders there say, “We’ll back off.” As for a timeline? I don’t think we’ll dictate that. Right now, Israel has the best intelligence, and our intelligence people have been working with them. We’d know if they are backing off or moving forward. Would you support military action against Iran? Yes, if we have to, but I don’t think we’ll need to go there. Like I said, the sanctions are having an effect. One question is whether we would have Israel’s back. A skeptic might say that Israel, knowing that we’d have their back, would expect us to fight their battles for them. Can we trust their intelligence? History is the best predictor of the future. Israel has always fought their own battles. You’ve been very vocal about supporting horizontal hydro-fracturing for natural gas, particularly in the Marcellus and Utica shales. Many people—left, right and center—have expressed concern about possible environmental and health impacts. Do you share this concern? If so, what do you propose we do about it? God has blessed us with tremendous resources. But he’s also blessed us with the brains to do things right. Natural gas has too much potential to ignore. It burns cleanly. It can help us to become energy independent and to establish real green corridors. But I understand and share the concern. The problem is that so much of the coverage has been based on distortions or just bad science. A lot of folks just don’t
Candidates, pg. 9
McGovern and the Populist tradition by Michael Brand George McGovern is dead. While out of the political mainstream for 30 years he remains a pivotal historical figure who came to national prominence at a time when the American politics was in complete upheaval. Old alliances were dissolving as new allegiances emerged, new interest groups formed and the entire political map was being redrawn. And while this Democrat was pilloried as a Red-sympathizing hard left candidate dedicated to Abortion, Amnesty and Acid, his perspective on politics and government were firmly rooted in the heartland values and agrarian traditions of Robert LaFollette’s Progressive Party. Looking at the 1972 George McGovern with 2012 glasses reveals a man less like Leon Trotsky and more like Ron Paul. Robert Anson wrote in his campaign biography that, “He seeks not so much to change America as to restore it, to return it to the earliest days of the Republic, which he believes were fundamentally decent, humane, and just. There remains in him, though, as it remained in the Populists, a lingering distrust of government, a suspicion of bigness in all its forms.” This statement stands as an interesting contrast to McGovern’s voting record Capitol Hill, where for 24 years he was a reliable supporter of every bill that expanded govern-
ment’s size and reach within the borders of the USA. Throughout that House and Senate career, George McGovern won elections by staying rooted in the Methodist agricultural progressive tradition of the Great Plains, which remained skeptical of foreign entanglements. During his presidential campaign he would frequently pose the question in regard to our international commitments, “Who really appointed us to play God for people elsewhere around the globe?” Only one candidate from either party broached the question in 2012. No ‘chickenhawk,’ he piloted B-24 Liberators in the Fifteenth Air Force during the Second World War. During 35 missions over enemy territory from bases in North Africa and later Italy, McGovern endured heavy anti-aircraft flak and eventually earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for saving his crew with a difficult emergency landing on a small island off the Yugoslav coast. The experience stayed with him. George McGovern was a man tempered in the cauldron of war who became skeptical of military adventures. Contrast that with the current occupant of the White House who has a Peace Prize and a Kill List. America would do well to reflect back upon McGovern’s observation of the power elite’s detachment from everyday lives of ordinary Americans: “It is not prejudice to fear for your family’s safety or to
resent tax inequities. It is time to recognize this and to stop labeling people ‘racist’ or ‘militant,’ to stop putting people in different camps, to stop inciting one American against another.” Furthermore, displaying humane Midwest empathy, he went on to characterize concerns of the conservative working class as “an angry cry from the guts of ordinary Americans against a system which doesn’t seem to give a damn about what is really bothering people in this country today.” We live in an age in which certain talking heads make a fetish out of political compromise and consensus, totally ignoring the reality that bi-partisan consensus gave us Iraq, the Patriot Act, TARP, drone warfare, bank bailouts and cronyism. His thoughts from 40 years ago ring true even today, “Most Americans see the establishment center as an empty, decaying void that commands neither their confidence nor their love. It is the establishment center that has led us into the stupidest and cruelest war in all history.” Again, one can hear the voice of George McGovern in the words of Ron Paul. Two days before suffering the second worst beating in a US presidential elections, George McGovern took the stage at a campaign stop and spoke from his populist heart, “Government has become so vast and impersonal that its interests diverge more and more from the interests of ordinary citizens.” For a generation and more, the government has sought to meet our needs by multiplying its bureaucracy. Washington has taken too much in taxes from Main Street, and Main Street has received too little in return. It is not necessary to centralize power in order to solve our problems.” Imagine what the media (as well as his fellow Democratic Party members) of today would say if George were running and talking like this. He’d probably be labeled just some anti-government crazy from the sticks of South Dakota. 1972 was not George McGovern’s time, it would not be his time in 2012. RIP
Candidates, pg. 8
know about the process. Look, 99 percent of the fracking fluid is water. Water and sand. The piping goes deep, far below the water table. The pipes are triple-cased. I don’t see how it’s physically possible to contaminate the groundwater. Meanwhile, there are technological developments. I was talking recently to some folks at a filter company. They told me about some innovations...like building filter systems so that the water can be effectively treated. I was talking to another company that’s developing a “green” solution to be used as fracking fluid to replace the chemicals being used now. In Pennsfield, they’ve developed bumpers to control liquids. Science isn’t static; it changes. Meanwhile, the DEP does a good job making sure that regulations are followed. Pennsylvania’s DEP gets good scores in nationwide comparisons. State agencies are best equipped to handle this. We talked about the chemicals. What about the sediment, the brine? Right now, Pennsylvania can’t really treat water to remove things like radium or chromium. Geologists say that our geological profile isn’t conducive to deep-well injection. We ship the production water to Ohio or evaporate it in pits. Some municipalities have used—or propose to use—the residuals as road salt. People are concerned that the runoff from such road salt would contaminate surface and groundwater. First, we do have the ability to treat it, and we do treat it. In fact, there’s a treatment plant right in Lycoming County that treats flowback water. As for using the salt on roads, this isn’t a new use. Look, we do fracking right in Pennsylvania. In fact, we’ve done trainings in Washington DC for countries who are seeking to become energy independent from Saudia Arabia and Russia. All this takes is good planning. But we need to have these conversations. Debate is good for science. People are uncertain, and uncertainty creates fear.
Green, pg. 5
troopers arrived and carried each of the homeless demonstrators to the outside stairway. On a record-cold October night in Harrisburg, the state police returned to the stairway and took all of the protestors’ blankets. “We went to a nearby convenience store and begged for plastic and cardboard refuse,” said Honkala. “We wrapped the homeless families in those materials to prevent hypothermia. The following day, Democratic politicians promised to get us a lawyer to file for an emergency injunction, but a legal aid attorney came by later and lamented ‘Sorry, they’ve threatened to take a million dollars from our funding if we provide legal services to your group.’ Clearly, neither the Democrats nor Republicans had our well-being as a priority.” “When I got a call from Dr. Stein asking if I would be interested in being on the short list as her running mate, I figured that during the vetting process my arrest record would raise too many red flags. When I got a call from the Greens a few weeks later, I expected them to say ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ Instead, I was challenged with the most difficult decision of my life. I consulted various mentors, who said ‘Not only should you run…you have a responsibility to do so.’ So here I am, living on Mutter
Street in Kensington, one of Philadelphia’s poorest districts, on the same ticket as a Harvard-educated doctor of internal medicine who lives on Trotting Horse Lane in Lexington, Massachusetts.” Honkala echoed Dr. Stein’s platform, the Green New Deal. “We proceed from the idea that there is enough to go around…it’s just a question of misplaced priorities,” said Honkala. “We believe that if we brought the military home and spent those trillions of dollars on the economy, we could heal much of the financial crisis that has economically crippled so many of our fellow citizens. What we would do is green the economy, creating 25 million sustainable new jobs dedicated to saving the environment. Instead of destroying our water supply, we’d stop the fracking for fossil fuels and promote organic agriculture. We’d work to clean up the air so that our children don’t have to spend so much time in the emergency rooms because of the asthma epidemic. We would turn unemployment centers into employment centers. We would put the homeless to work renovating abandoned houses. We have more such abandoned properties than homeless people. We see healthcare as a basic human right, and would push for a universal, single-payer health system based on existing programs like Medicare and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ programs for vets. Everyone should be covered for rehabilitation, drug and alcohol programs, surgery, dental care and other
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medical needs. We have a wealthy country that can be free from unemployment, hunger and homelessness.” Honkala stressed a key plank in the Green New Deal. “We would immediately forgive student debt because, without jobs waiting for them in their chosen fields, many young adults have become indentured servants. We will push for free education, from pre-school through graduate school. College students shouldn’t have to graduate to minimum wage jobs with this huge financial burden. The Greens also favor a living wage. In Philadelphia, that means making $16.75 an hour just to get by, rather than $7.25 an hour.” But the Greens have struggled just to get ballot access. “We had to fight like hell to get on the
slate here in Pennsylvania—we had to get more than ten times the number of valid signatures on our petitions as the Democrats and Republicans,” said Honkala. “Does that sound fair to you? Especially when you consider that we don’t have access to billions of dollars flowing through our coffers. I’m happy to say, though, that despite all the obstacles the two major parties have strewn in our path, the Greens are the fastest growing party in PA right now, which might have something to do with a certain hometown girl from our state.” At press time, the Green Party is on the ballot of 38 states, while seeking or litigating access in five other states. The Stein/Honkala ticket will be a write-in option everywhere else except Nevada and Oklahoma.
Save yourself: LAG antidote to Busyness epidemic by Steve Deutsch Steve Deutsch is a regular satire columnist for Voices. Save Yourself. The LAG Antidote to the Busyness Epidemic I had finally convinced Myron, my fierce, brilliant and sometimes demented red-headed cousin, that it was high time we invited some of the other relatives to sample the corned beef at the “no name restaurant” on Queens Bld. The restaurant served lean but moist corned beef, the holy grail of secular Judaism. It wasn’t until we got to the 14th cousin on our list that we found one who was not too busy to join us for lunch. Ruth was about 20 years our junior and an up-and-coming clerk at the Motor Vehicle Bureau about two blocks from the restaurant. Both of us remember her as being a nice kid, funny and very red-headed. She arrived about 10 minutes late, red faced, and breathing hard. She moved to our table with such incredible force that about a hundred napkins were left floating in her wake. She sat, arranged as powerful an array of electronics as the world has ever seen, nodded in our direction and stood again to signal the waiter. “I’ll have a lean corned beef on rye, a potato knish, a cup of tea and my check with the order,” she said. “It’s faster that way,” she noted. Ruth sat once more, nodded at us again and began to simultaneous scan what appeared to be three smart phones. “Sorry,” she said, “But I really need to stay connected with my work.” As she started to text, I glanced over at Myron. I knew for a fact that he had thrown people through plate glass windows for lesser offenses. But Myron looked composed. I was a bit surprised, however, when Myron ordered three
bowls of Matzo ball soup with his lunch. Myron never orders soup. He often says it is the only thing his wife, Marsha, can cook. When the soup arrived, he tasted one bowl, declared it delicious and proceeded to take each of Ruth’s phones and submerge them in the soups. As she stormed out one of the devices was plaintively jingling, “so tired, tired of waiting…” Are you insanely busy? A recent survey found that 98.7 percent of all Americans have only time for shallow breathing. When a second survey asked Americans whether they felt their job was “critical to the National Security” or “a matter of life and death,” a startling 179 percent answered both. People we long thought of as sane brag of never taking a lunch break or even going to the bathroom during their 19-hour workdays. Clearly, being frantically busy—while life depriving—is the new “cool.” We at Stevieslaw want you to keep both your cool and your life, which is the reason we are pleased to to publish—in two parts—Save Yourself, Combating the Busyness Epidemic, as part of the Lessintelligent-than-average American Guide Series. In Part 1 of the guide you will learn to do the following: Recognize, through a series of exercises, the important differences between you and Superman, Wonder Woman, or a member of Seal Team 6. We will convince you that, in fact, the only similarities are very minor anatomical ones. Accept that your immediate supervisor has not processed a single word you have said since you started work. He is much too busy being incredibly essential to have any time for his profession. Agree to everything he suggests—-just don’t follow up by doing it. Accept that frantic busyness is more the perception others have of you than anything you do or might accidentally accomplish. In Part 2, we will teach you how to put
Photo by Steve Deutsch
Steve Deutsch in his native habitat of New York City.
these insights to work. In the guide, you will learn techniques that promote your air of busyness, including how to: Use body language to show your impatience. Using the guide, you will learn to adjust your body to project “I’m leaving now” to whoever might wish to engage you in an office-related conversation.
Learn to use the faraway look, the brutal glare at your watch and the cut-away phrase, “You expect to speak to me now?” Sweat and stammer to create an illusion of overwork. Laugh. At everything. High- pitched is best. People, worried you are ill, will avoid you like the plague. Swallow “uppers” (m & m’s) as you complain about being so busy you cannot eat or drink. Claim that, sadly, the pills make you violent and although you wouldn’t want to hurt anyone… Carry things. Look disheveled. You can get a lot of mileage out of carrying work-related documents—in hundred pound piles—from place to place in the office. You might mutter, “I will never finish reading this,” while loosening your tie and tossing back your greasy, unwashed hair. This exercise is also aerobic and will save you the cost of a gym membership. And much, much more. Make time to buy the guide. Use it to become the person others think of when the words “absolutely essential” come up. Then enjoy your leisure. For starters, have two-hour lunches at your favorite restaurant. Bring the guide along to read. The restaurant is likely to be pretty empty.
Describers enhance art experience by Allison Robertson Fifteen minutes before the curtain rose at Eisenhower Auditorium, Susan Kennedy sat in the audio booth and put an oval-shaped, tan mouthpiece close to her lips and spoke. “Welcome to The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare,” she began. Small ear buds relay her words to the ears of the visually-impaired members in the audience below her. Kennedy is an audio describer and board member of Sight Loss Support Group, Inc. (SLSG), which created View Via Headphones Audio Description Services. This program, the first of its kind in central Pa., provides free descriptive services to the visually impaired during performances and tours of art galleries. View Via Headphones is supported by
private donors and the Center for the Performing Arts’ Accessibility Services program at Penn State. JoAnne Mengle, an audio describer of about seven years, sits on Kennedy’s right and surveys the stage. “This one is going to be very tricky to describe,” she said. While there are twenty-seven characters in The Merchant of Venice, this production used only five actors, making it difficult to determine which character was speaking. “When we can, we’ll give them a heads-up of who’s talking,” Kennedy said. Each description has two describers in case one describer has to leave for an emergency. One describer describes the event, and the other handles the equipment, said Mengle. “The point [of audio description] is to
describe visual aspects of what happens onstage,” said Nanette Anslinger, cocoordinator of View Via Headphones. “We [described] the costumes, scenery, light changes and actor’s movements, gestures and facial expressions.” But the describers do not interpret what they see; instead, they strive to convey the scene as though their clients were seeing it directly. To give a good audio description, Anslinger advised, “Be as objective as possible so client having as close to same experience...as other, sighted patrons would.” The idea for View Via Headphones was born in the mid-90s when Rana Arnold, now director of View Via Headphones, and Ermyn King, who was a researcher for SLSG, went to see an audio described performance in the Globe Theater in San Diego, Calif.
Arnold, who since birth could see only bright colors, tried the audio service because a friend was giving the description. Arnold attended her first performance, an opera, when she was four. Since then, Arnold said she went to different versions of the same play six or seven times. “I thought it was enough,” Arnold said. “But it wasn’t.” With the audio description at the Globe Theater in San Diego, Arnold said she grasped new details that made it a more fulfilling experience. “[Audio description] really brings the stage to life. I didn’t think I needed it until I heard it,” Arnold said. In 1999, SLSG asked Dr. Alan Wood, a professor from Ohio University who is
View, pg. 16
Shelter offers new opportunities to pet owners by Sierra Dole We’ve all heard of crazy cat ladies, but apparently that’s not all State College has to offer. Mary McCarty-Houser, who works parttime at an emergency vet clinic, has been sheltering ferrets in her own home and adopting them out to new, loving homes for fifteen years. This shelter started out as the Central Pennsylvania Ferret Rescue, but became McCarty-Houser’s responsibility once the previous owner graduated in 1997. The shelter is now known as the Pennsylvania Ferret Rescue Association. Because few general animal shelters have knowledge of proper ferret care, running a ferret rescue shelter is remarkable as it is. However, what makes this particular organization truly incredible is the funding. “Ferret shelters are completely funded out of your own pocket,” McCarty-Houser said. There is no state or federal funding. So, you get creative with fundraising.”
McCarty-Houser successfully funded her ferret rescue center for 15 years by doing just that. Every fall, she holds a “Ferret Frolic,” where local ferret owners and volunteers enjoy a day full of fun, including a potluck lunch, ferret games, and raffles. She has even held a few ferret shows, but hasn’t been able to recently. Other ways McCarty-Houser has collected funding are through sponsorship programs with a monthly fee, a quarterly newsletter and sales, including Jeanne Carley’s Ferret Calendar and gently used ferret care items donated by people surrendering their ferrets or whose pets have died. She also provides inexpensive boarding for ferret lovers who don’t have family or friends who are able to watch their pets for them while they’re on vacation. “I am very fortunate that I have some great volunteers and shelter supporters that Photo by Sierra Dole
Shelter, pg. 16
View of the ferret room from the doorway.
Philipsburg area moves towards revitalization by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell Philipsburg has suffered economic distress for decades. The economy of the area had been based on resource extraction (coal mining) and garment and cigar manufacturing. Then in the mid-1980s, each of these industries closed, putting thousands out of work. But two organizations are planning
revitalization for both the downtown and industrial parks in the surrounding area. The Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation (PRC) and the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership (MVEDP) have enacted separate but related programs to achieve the goal of making Philipsburg a more attractive community in which to live. The MVEDP
According to Stan LaFuria, Executive Director of the MVEDP, the way to revitalize Philipsburg was not just to concentrate on the borough, but to “work for the region.” The MVEDP was founded in 1988 to do just that; it was an outcome of the merger between the Philipsburg Chamber of Commerce and the Philipsburg Association of Commerce. The organization’s staff strive to work with entrepreneurs to help them start new businesses, work with existing businesses in the area, and work to attract outside businesses to the area. Thus far, the MVEDP has had some success. In 1996, the Drucker Company, a centrifuge manufacturer, moved all of
its administrative functions and manufacturing operations to Port matilda. Drucker employs 50 people. A Wal-Mart distribution center was established in nearby Woodland, Pa. in Clearfield County, and this location employs 1000 people. The cigar making plant was also repurposed. “The first major asset [of the MVEDP] was this building [the cigar plant],” said LaFuria of the old plant that now houses the offices of the MVEDP, among other businesses. “The MVEDP converted the cigar manufacturing plant to a multi-tenant incubator building.”
Philipsburg, pg. 15
Photo by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell
Despite downtown improvements such as face-lifts for building facades, Philipsburg still struggles to fill empty storefronts.
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Health Talk: excitement, hope, and attachment by Matthew Hertert, D.C. In spring we talked about emotional upset and some of its mental triggers, such as misinterpretations, projection and blame. We commonly misinterpret something that happens to us, usually early in life, and then carry that through our lives. When something happens that triggers that misunderstanding, we get hurt because our view of reality gets violated. Often times this is followed by projecting our negative emotions on that situation or person and then blaming. This allows us to maintain our cherished misinterpretation by distancing ourselves from it, and we feel justified in our upset by casting blame. The solution is to become aware of the misinterpretation, to become willing to release it, and then to do the inner work to “reprogram” with a more accurate and neutral interpretation. Let me offer a quick hypothetical example: every time my friend Pat is late to our lunch date, I get irritated, hurt and angry. One day this pattern of upset finally caused me so much distress that I decided to do something about it, so I use the process described above to “reverse engineer” my experience and I realize that as a teenager I heard my Mom say that if someone didn’t do what they said they would it meant they were disrespecting me – which really means they don’t like me or care about me. One way to get more peace and freedom
Health Talk in my mind, heart and life is to release this (mis)interpretation and replace it with something like, “When people are late, what it means is that they are late.” This idea is more accurate and frees me from mindreading, tension and stress in relationships. While it may be true that some people who are late don’t like me, it also sometimes means there was traffic, or that I wrote the date down wrong. In the end, if they don’t like me it’s none of my business anyway. The truth is that it can take time to work through this to the point where my new interpretation overruns the decades-old one my consciousness is conditioned to react to. This solution, which has more to do with why we get upset, will have broader impact in our lives because the misinterpretation probably has a lot of manifestations in many life areas. In the short term, there is another key dynamic we can work with which we mentioned above: a stronglyheld belief about how the world should work or how people should treat us gets violated. This relates to expectations and attachment, or how we get upset. Getting excited about something is awesome. Even for those of us who have been hurt or disappointed in the past and may resist excitement, it feels good, brings us joy, enthusiasm and motivation, and is a
beautiful inner compass that tells us we’re aligning with what we want. Hope takes one step further: we start to develop a sense that life will somehow be better–versus just having more of what we want–if this thing we are excited about works out. Subjectively life might feel better, but this isn’t true objectively. The “better-ness” is a matter of interpretation and is therefore a choice we are making inside. Anytime we discover a choice point we gain power. Once we have established this idea inside our mind and heart that there is a “better,” it must mean that we are not better now, meaning there is something wrong, some lack. This sets the stage for attachment, which is a state of feeling so needy for something or someone that we convince ourselves we can’t survive or be happy without the thing. Of course this conviction happens to different degrees inside our mind, but if you’ve ever felt hurt, disappointment, resentment or anger at a person, institution or a higher power, then you were suffering from your own attachment. The process of attachment stems from the grand illusion that happiness comes from outside of us rather than from inside. It is often easier for people who have a spiritual tradition to release attachment and live in excitement. This can be a result of trusting that no matter what happens, you are being taken care of and things will work out for the highest good, as some religions and sects suggest. In eastern traditions
peace often comes from the belief that separateness is an illusion, so desire for “the other” is also an illusion. But a pragmatic approach for both the spiritual and the aspiritual is to acknowledge that in any situation one could conceive - getting to go fishing, or spontaneous remission of cancer - we could find someone in attachment and fear and we could find someone excited, at peace, and unattached to the outcome. Again, this means that our internal choices about what we want and whether to stake our survival or happiness on it are choices. That means we can choose peace. This is just as much of a practice as any other process of shaping our consciousness. We have all been shaped by our families, teachers, religious and ethnic cultures, marketing and individual experiences: getting free of the burden of the influences that limit us is a process, one we must undertake in devotion to ourselves and our happiness. Doesn’t more peace, freedom and joy sound good? Be well. Dr. Matthew practices in Boalsburg, where he lives with his wife and 1.5 kids.
State College Peace Center www.scpeacecenter.org
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eries F mS RE E
“The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975”
7 pm Thursday, November 29 WEBSTER’S BOOKSTORE CAFÉ 133 East Beaver Avenue, State College Swedish Television journalists documented a decade of the Black Power movement and highlighted its key figures and events, more than 35 years before the release of this 2011 film.
November 2012 from
Philipsburg, pg. 13
The U.S. Department of Commerce, said LaFuria, provided a one million dollar grant to convert the cigar manufacturing plant. Not all of the MVEDP’s efforts are focused on businesses. Part of the overall community improvement effort is focused on providing loans to rehabilitate housing in the areas surrounding Philipsburg. Currently, housing rehabilitation loans are available to make improvements such as plumbing, structural soundness, sanitary conditions and energy conservation. “We started with a $176,000 grant for a small area,” said LaFuria about the state grant to the MVEDP. “Now we’re close to 2.5 million dollars with eight different grants for Philipsburg, Rush township, South Philipsburg, and six municipalities in Clearfield County. We’ve done close to 150 homes now.” But the MVEDP has faced a major challenge in finding a means of dealing with the gap left behind by the closure and abandonment of the Philipsburg Hospital in 2006. The facility sits on 15 acres of land, and if torn down it could be used for housing and a public park, or developed commercially, according to LaFuria. The MVEDP as of yet has no long term plan for economic development of the region. “It’s not something that is going to happen overnight,” said LaFuria. “It’s a longterm progression—hire professionals, work with the elected officials, build relationships. We are now developing strategic plans for the first time. What we’ve done all these years is to have an annual plan where we identify a key focus for the year.” The MVEDP’s revitalization plan also hinges on natural gas extraction companies. But the current cost of extracting natural gas exceeds the price it commands, thus, drilling companies have been moving out of Pennsylvania. LaFuria admits that this is a conundrum
“My job is to work in partnership with the MVEDP and not just with the mom-and-pop vendor, but with industry. We’re going to get this community to work together and be proud of itself. We’re done with the ‘woe is us.’ We’re making something happen.” Dana Shoemaker, executive director of the PRC
for the drilling industry, but believes that it will not affect the Moshannon Valley’s economy. “You can’t take natural gas out of the ground for $2.75 a cubic foot when it is selling for $1.99, so the companies decrease scope of operations and head to western Pennsylvania,” said LaFuria. “I don’t think it’s [the industry in the Moshannon Valley] going anywhere. It’s market driven. We have ten businesses that support the Marcellus Shale business, and they are hauling water to Ohio.” One company, called Calfrac, has bought a building in the area worth over 1.25 million dollars. LaFuria stated he does not see them leaving the Moshannon Valley. Philipsburg recovers Downtown Philipsburg is a nationally recognized historic district with a history, but until recently, no future. But the town now has an active revitalization corporation with a plan for recovery. One element of this recovery are programs such as the Elm Street Program, a state-wide program designed to bolster historic neighborhoods that are within walking distance from revitalized Main Street commerce areas. The Philipsburg
Photo by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell
The Philipsburg Dollar General Store and the office of Pennsylvania state senator John Wozniak both occupy buildings that have been improved.
Revitalization Corporation, in partnership with the MVEDP and borough of Philipsburg, applied for the Elm Street state grant on behalf of the northeast section of Philipsburg, a residential area that is now a mix of rental and owner-occupied properties. Another part of the recipe for recovery according to executive director of the PRC Dana Shoemaker is an active Main Street Program with a business-friendly borough council. Some of the evidence she points to for this—a brewpub is coming into Philipsburg. Shoemaker is a native of Philipsburg and graduate of Penn State who was enticed to return to her community with the opportunity to “give back” to her hometown. She is both Main Street manager and the director of the PRC, and according to her, Philipsburg is an ideal bedroom community in central Pa. “Sure there’s much better places to visit—Las Vegas, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia; but located between State College and Altoona, we have opportunities that are not available elsewhere because of the traffic that must come
through,” said Shoemaker. But Shoemaker’s vision is not just to emphasize the great location. She is also looking to create and stabilize the businesses and services available downtown, and to give locals a reason to visit the downtown area. One of her more recent projects towards this goal is a pair of fall-themed events. Shoemaker convinced business owners to participate in a downtown promotion involving a “pumpkin hunt” for children. Businesses paid a $50 fee and were given a numbered pumpkin to display in their storefronts. Children could then fill out a form listing all the pumpkins and locations and enter a drawing for a $25 gift card to downtown businesses. The other was a Harvest Festival that included a parade and scarecrow making. “My job is to work in partnership with the MVEDP and not just with the mom and pop vendor, but with industry,” said Shoemaker. “We’re going to get this community to work together and be proud of itself. We’re done with the ‘woe is us.’ We’re making something happen.”
Shelter, pg. 12
help out now and then when there is a need for a donation to the vet, which is our biggest bill for the shelter,” McCartyHouser said. “Luckily, that isn’t often, as my vet is reasonably priced, and with the other fundraisers I do, it helps keep us on an even keel.” McCarty-Houser’s shelter is located within her own home. At any given time, she has five to twenty-five ferrets taking up two to three rooms of her house. She admitted that having a shelter inside her home has its ups and downs. “It’s both good and bad,” McCartyHouser said. “If it wasn’t in my house, then it would feel more like a job, as I would have to go somewhere to see the ferrets, plus maintain a separate facility. On the other hand, it would be nice not to have my
home open to strangers, especially during remodeling, and it would be nice to have an animal-free zone in my house.” McCarty-Houser’s shelter plays a huge role in the protection of local ferrets. She takes in homeless or soon-to-be homeless ferrets, provides them with necessary vet care and finds them new homes. During their stay at the shelter, each ferret is fed a proper diet and given plenty of free-run time. “[Letting them go] used to be hard, but over the years you develop a good sense of people,” McCarty-Houser said. “We do an adoption process that involves an application, telephone interview and one or two shelter visits before adoption occurs, plus there is your gut instinct that you learn to listen to. So, for the most part, it’s more blessing than curse to let them go. I simply don’t have the time to give them when I have my own kids to worry about.”
View, pg. 12
well known internationally in the field of audio description, to provide a threeday training session for the describers to bring quality audio description to Centre County for the first time. “It was a thrilling weekend,” said Anslinger, one of the ten describers chosen. Anslinger, a retired high school drama teacher, decided View Via Headphones was a “way to give back [to the community] and tap into [her] theater training.” During that first weekend, Anslinger said Wood worked nonstop to teach her and the other describers the principles behind audio description and about the audience’s reaction. Another part of the training includes review of language and use of words. “We avoid the word walk, because there are so many other terms for that, like skip, slide, march,” said Cindy Shaler, co-coordinator of View Via Headphones. At the show, there are “all ranges of sight loss,” Anslinger said. “It’s a challenge for us to create mental pictures for people who have never seen anything, like a color.” One type of show that Anslinger finds difficult is the musical. Musicals differ from plays because the speech is nonstop and rapid, Anslinger noted. To combat this, she said she uses short sentences and concise phrases. “If they’re not speaking, they’re singing,” Anslinger said. “Plugging your description into a musical puts the pressure on.” Kennedy and Mengle have the same problem at The Merchant of Venice, but they manage to sneak in one word, like saying “hug” or a character’s name, while the actors pause for breath. The describers of View Via Headphones usually offers their service at the State Theater, Eisenhower Auditorium, Schwab Auditorium, Boal Barn and the State College Community Theater, but View Via Headphones is
expanding into other mediums of art that are more strictly visual. View Via Headphones has sponsored tours for the visually impaired at the Palmer Art Museum, Centre Mansion for the holiday tour, the Paul Robeson Gallery and Arts Fest as well as many other art exhibits in Central Pa. In an art exhibit, the describers of View Via Headphones look for works of art that can be touched, like sculptures, to compliment the audio description. If the patron is unable to directly touch the artwork, View Via Headphones provides “pactiles,” a physical representation that would tactilely simulate what is presented in the painting, such as a piece of velvet to stand for a velvet gown in painting, said Anslinger. Next summer, View Via Headphones plans to add a tour of outdoor sculptures to its program, said Anslinger, and is hoping to expand its services to cover all forms of art. View Via Headphones is looking for more volunteers and is preparing to add a preparatory class next summer. Interested volunteers should contact the Sight Loss Support Group Office at 814238-0132.
Upcoming events for View Via Headphones Oct. 30: Pilobolus Dance Theater at Eisenhower Nov. 4: The Great Mountain at Eisenhower Nov. 7: Donka: A Letter to Chekhov (Cirque Eloize) at Eisenhower Dec. 6: TAP DOGS Return at Eisenhower Dec. 13: Scrooge the Musical (SCCT) at The State Theatre
Health concerns inspire call for registry by James Hynes As the number of natural gas wells expands across Pa., the state’s Department of Health still has no system to track possible health impacts of unconventional hydraulic fracturing. Horizontal fracking, as it is called, entails drilling deep horizontal wells and injecting large amounts of high-pressure water to re-fracture ancient fissures in the Marcellus and Utica Shales. This technology allows drillers to extract an unprecedented volume of methane from otherwise difficult formations. But it is a relatively new and untested method. Unlike vertical fracking, which takes place in shallow conventional wells, horizontal fracking requires the use of
“There has been a misconception that hydraulic fracturing of wells can and has caused contamination of water wells. This is false.” Michael Krancer, former secretary of Pa.’s Department of Environmental Protection
“slicking” chemicals to reduce water friction in steel pipes that are inserted into the bores. Added to this is a host of gelling chemicals to increase viscosity of the fracking fluid, oxidizers and enzyme breakers to aid flowback, and proppants (such as silica sand or ceramic) to prop open fractures. Much of the water flows back to the wellhead, bringing with it fracking chemicals as well as potentially radioactive brine drawn from the shale. In his 2011 testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Michael Krancer, former secretary of the state‘s Department of Environmental Protection, said that state regulations are strong, and fracking poses no threat to water supplies.
“There has been a misconception that hydraulic fracturing of wells can and has caused contamination of water wells,” he said. “This is false.” Some environmental organizations ranging from the Sierra Club to the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, however, are concerned with the incoherent and unsystematic methods of collecting water-quality data, the lack of baseline numbers to compare pre- and post-drilling levels of contaminants and regulatory weaknesses. According to a Sierra Club statement, “Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the
Registry, pg. 19
Plow-to-Plate dinner celebrates fall harvest by Tara Richelo On October 10, a crowd of 112 guests gathered at the Mount Nittany Winery as the sun set over the nearby Tussey Mountain to taste wine and enjoy the seasonal food of the first ever “Plow to Plate” dinner. The winery is made up of two beautiful wood paneled buildings, with the smaller one housing their bottled wines. This building was the starting point for the tour of the winery that took guests through the entire process, including the separation of grapes from their stems, into the large holding tanks, and finally into the bottling and labeling machine. The larger tasting room was set up with five food stations, three of which had the chefs present and plate the food for each guest. Three tall standing tables, each topped with a festive pumpkin and assortment of flowers, were scattered throughout the space for the convenience
of the diners. In addition to the indoor tasting room, the attached porch provided additional picnic-style seating and another food station filled with freshly baked brick oven pizza, bread and olive oil. The back porch provided a spectacular view of the lake, side of the mountain and stretch of rows and rows of grapevines. The dinner featured dishes prepared by local chefs using locally grown and raised produce and meat provided by the Boalsburg Farmers Market farmers, also referred to as vendors. The event was organized by Tony Sapia, the co-manager of the Boalsburg market and chef at Gemelli’s and Nola’s Joint. Both of his restaurants are located on in downtown State College. The other participating chefs were Fasta Pasta’s Bob Ricketts, Harrison’s Harrison Schailey, Andrew Monk from the Nittany Lion Inn, Mark Johnson of the Elk Creek Café and Nate Brungart of Zola’s. These
“What better way to have local chefs showcase the greatness that folks bring from the field, whether it’s meat, produce, breads or wine?” Tony Sapia, co-manager of the Boalsburg market and chef of Gemelli’s and Nola’s Joint eateries can be found in Pleasant Gap, the Hilton, Park Ave, Main Street in Millheim and College Ave, respectively. Sapia expressed his desire to host an event that would “celebrate local com-
munity [and] local foods.” “What better way to have local chefs showcase the greatness that folks bring from the field, whether it’s meat, produce, breads or wine?” Sapia asked. Jim Eisenstein, in charge of public relations for the Boalsburg market, worked with Sapia to organize the dinner. “It’s nice for people to see what you can create from the market,” Eisenstein said. We also want an opportunity for customers in the community to talk to not only the chefs…but also the vendors.” Eisenstein hopes that the dinner will become an event the community can look forward to each year. With the purchase of their twenty-five dollar ticket, the guests were given a tour of the vineyard and winemaking process. Afterwards, guests were able to sample a number of wines, including the popular
Dinner, pg. 18
Dinner, pg. 17
Nittany Mountain White and Tailgate Red, before choosing a complimentary glass of their favorite to enjoy with dinner. The money collected through ticket sales will fund future Boalsburg Farmers Market learning kitchens and made a donation to the area school districtsâ€™ learning garden. Eisenstein explained the participating chefs visited the farmers market either a week prior to the dinner or the day before to ensure the ingredients were â€œas fresh as can be.â€? Guests were welcome to sample as much as they liked, coming back for seconds or thirds of their favorite dishes. The chefs prepared an array of autumn
dishes including butternut squash couscous, ginger and pumpkin soup, roasted gala apples, brined pork belly and ravioli. As the diners moved from station to station, they were given the opportunity to speak with the chefs who had prepared each dish. In addition to the chefs, the vendors of the food were among the group. The presence of the chefs and vendors allowed diners to track their food from plow to plate, giving them a better understanding of the entire process. Bill Callahan of Cow-a-hen farms explained to a diner that all of their animals are raised outdoors in a comfortable environment with fresh air and sunshine and are grass fed. Kathryn Colby, a restaurant manager for the Hillstone Restaurant Group based out of Los Angeles, attended the dinner
with her father, Bill. She had attended a wine tasting hosted by the Nittany Lion Inn a few years ago and sought out a similar activity because she said she sees the importance in â€œgetting the community involved in where our food comes from and keeping things local. â€œI think itâ€™s good for the economy and good for your body,â€? said Colby. While drinks, dinner and desserts were served inside the tasting room, the guests
could mingle indoors or enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains and vineyard. Inside the tasting room, the guests were treated to the musical styles of Picker and Papa, an acoustic guitar and banjo duo. Sapia has great hopes for the future success of Plow to Plate dinners. â€œHopefully the second annual gets bigger and better, then the third annual, and hopefully weâ€™re all around for the thirtieth annual,â€? he said.
Photo by Tara Richelo
Baskets of bread celebrate fallâ€™s harvest at the â€œPlow-to-Plateâ€? dinner, hosted at the Mt. Nittany Winery.
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November 2012 from
Registry, pg. 17
health of entire communities.” Of particular concern is the possibility of methane migration through leaking pipes or wellheads, methane release into the air and the increased risk of accidents as the Marcellus Shale region becomes a “play” of 50,000-100,000 wells. Last year, Governor Corbett appointed a Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission in order to promote “the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible development of the Marcellus Shale and other unconventional natural gas reserves.” The commission proposed collecting and analyzing clinical data from regional healthcare providers to monitor possible fracking-related health complaints. The governor had initially proposed allocating an annual $2 million to the Department of Health. A portion of these funds was to go toward establishing and maintaining a registry. This spring, however, the Corbett administration cut the appropriations from the final draft of the bill. While State Senator Joseph Scarnati (R-25) recently called for a Shale Advisory Panel to implement the recommendations of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, the bill does not call for registry funding. However, State Senator John Yudichak (D-14), a co-sponsor of Scarnati’s panel bill, has proposed his own bill, Pa. Senate Bill 1519, that would recommit money to the registry. Senator Yudichak says that he and Senator Scarnati are “looking to marry the two approaches—to establish the Advisory Panel with an annual appropriation of $2 million.” However, his proposal must wait until the Senate’s next session for action. Meanwhile, officials at the Department of Health say that they are looking at partnership options. “We are currently exploring opportunities for public/private partnerships for a registry,” said department spokesper-
son, Kait Gillis, “as well as whether we can achieve the same goals through enhanced utilization of our existing environmental health tracking tools.” One opportunity the Department of Health has explored is to help the
“We are currently exploring opportunities for public/private partnerships for a registry, as well as whether we can achieve the same goals through enhanced utilization of our existing environmental health tracking tools.” Kait Gillis, spokesperson of the Department of Health
Geisinger and Guthrie Health Systems in their joint effort to create a database. According to a Guthrie press release, David Carey, director of Geisinger’s Weis Center for Research, said the planned registry will “utilize their electronic health records to investigate the health effects of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.” This will be a systematic one-to-fifteen year longitudinal study “look[ing] at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of Geisinger and Guthrie patients who live near the Marcellus Shale formation,” Carey added. In these regions, energy companies have already drilled about 5,000 gas wells. Geisinger and Guthrie’s study will investigate possible links between natural gas drilling and illnesses such as asthma, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Preliminary results of data analysis may be released within the next year,
Carey said, while other aspects of the research will unfold over five, ten or fifteen years. According to spokesperson Amanda O’Rourke, Geisinger and Guthrie “have records going back ten years, so we can see data from before industrial activity and after—and we can compare.” “We especially want to make it clear,” added O’Rourke, “that we are not entering this with any preconceptions” about whether fracking is causing health problems. In a letter to Geisinger Health Systems, Eli Avila, former Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, offered to “participate in the collaboration by providing certain controlled access to its warehouse of regional health data for central and northeast PA.”
“The Department’s scientists and epidemiologist will assist in developing and executing the program,” he added. Geisinger and Guthrie are seeking $2 million in grants from governments, private charities and the natural gas industry to fund the project. So far, they have received $100,000 from the Degenstein Foundation, based in Sunbury, Pa. According to State Senator Yudichak, the Geisinger-Guthrie registry has promise, but it should not replace a Department of Health registry. “Geisinger is a great corporate healthcare service, and we welcome them as partners on this endeavor,” he said. “But this has to be clear. We need a statefunded public registry...so that we can have confidence that the [natural gas] industry is doing this safely.”
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Red Crossbill population irrupts in Central Pa. by Joe Verica
Winter is typically a slow time for Pa. birdwatchers, as many birds have already passed through or otherwise vacated the state on their way south. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not necessarily the cold weather that compels birds to migrate. The primary motivating factor is access to food (or lack thereof). Birds can actually tolerate cold conditions quite well. Even tiny birds like hummingbirds can withstand sub-freezing temperatures if they have access to nectar (usually from a feeder). Many seed-eating birds spend their winters in the boreal forests of Canada and the northern U.S., where they feed on cone seeds, mountain-ash berries and birch catkins. In some years, the trees that produce these seeds will yield a poor crop, creating famine-like conditions for birds that remain. When this occurs, the birds will move, or irrupt, south or east in search of food. An irruption is the movement of birds into an area where they are not normally found. In some cases, irruptions can be quite dramatic, resulting in the mass movement of tens of thousands of birds. Observations from local birders over the past two months suggest that a limited irruption is currently underway here in Pa. Canadian ornithologist Ron Pittaway has noted the poor coniferous seed crop in northern Canada this year. The lack of food has resulted in the southerly movement of several species of boreal birds into southern Canada and northern U.S. One of the species on the move is the Red Crossbill.
Red Crossbills are members of the finch family. Relative to other finches, Red Crossbills are quite stocky. Males are brick red to yellowish-red in color. The wings are brownish-black and lack wingbars. The tail is also brownish-black and has a small notch at the end. Females are colored grayish-brown to yellowishbrown, but are otherwise similar to males. The most distinctive feature of the Red Crossbill is their bill. Both the upper and lower mandibles curve toward each other and cross over at the tip. The curved bill design allows crossbills to pry open the scales of cones and extract the seeds with their tongues. Red Crossbills occur across North America in a region extending from southern Alaska and montane regions of the west to Newfoundland, New England and northern New York. Up to ten “types” of Red Crossbill, each with a distinct call, are currently recognized by ornithologists. The bills of each type also vary slightly, as they are adapted to exploit specific kinds of cone seeds. Ongoing research by Dr. Craig Benkman at the University of Wyoming suggests that these types may represent different species. Four of the Red Crossbill types (1, 2, 3 and 10) occur on a regular but limited basis in Pa. Type 1 is an Appalachian bird that feeds on hemlock, spruce and pine seeds. This type is the one most likely to nest in Pa. Types 2, 3 and 10 are western birds. Their presence in Pennsylvania occurs mostly during irruption years. The Red Crossbills that have been seen around Pa. this fall have been type 3 birds from the Pacific Northwest. Type 3 birds have the smallest bills among the Red Crossbills and feed on small cones such as Western Hemlock. It’s a good bet that here in Pa. they will have a preference for Eastern Hemlock, but being opportunistic feeders, they won’t shy away from other available cones. This winter should present a good opportunity to see Red Crossbills in
Photo by Elaine R. Wilson
Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). Photo courtesy of a Creative Commons License.
Central Pa. In fact, there has already been a report of Crossbills from R.B. Winter State Park in Union County. Other places to check are those with hemlocks and spruces, such as the Bear Meadows, Alan Seeger and Detweiler Run Natural Areas. Places with ornamental plantings of conebearing trees, such as parks, golf courses or your back yard, should not be overlooked.
If you happen to see Red Crossbills and are able to make an audio recording of their vocalizations, researchers would find the recordings most useful in identifying the Crossbill types and tracking their movements. You can contact me, and I can forward the recording to the Cornell Ornithology Lab in New York. Questions or comments? Joe Verica can be reached at email@example.com.
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PSU gets mixed review on free speech by Jessica Beard The University Park campus is getting good marks from students for its allowance of freedom of speech. It hasn’t always made the grade, however, and some of its policies are still under the critical eye of constitutional watchdog groups. On a brisk Thursday in September, the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association held an event on the HUB patio called “Stone an Atheist.” There were no stones. However, club members provided water balloons—two for a dollar—for students to pelt them, with proceeds going to Village Reach, a nonprofit group that provides health care in developing countries. Several members of the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association held posters proclaiming “Stone an Atheist!” in bright bubble letters. Club treasurer Noah Orris held a poster covered in the Leviticus passage of the Bible from which the club took its subversive inspiration; “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him.” “We’ve been pretty blessed with this campus,” said club president Nick Shaff. “We’ve had no problems besides the occasional student flipping us off.” “But it’s nice that they can exercise their freedom of speech, too,” said club secretary Daniel McGill. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) website, FIRE is a watchdog group whose mission statement is “to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.” FIRE includes freedom of speech and religious liberty among “the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to
“Penn State’s been really great about letting us do what we want.” Laura Bradley, vice president of Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them”. FIRE uses its ‘Spotlight System’ as a database that profiles how American academic institutions stack up in their protection of individual liberties. It also keeps case files of instances of repression or potential abuse. The Spotlight System features a free speech policy code rating rubric which uses a traffic light to indicate whether an institution’s policies are good (green), mediocre (yellow), or bad (red). The Event Management Office enforces Policy AD51. Registered student organizations and University-affiliated groups of ten or more students, faculty or staff apply to reserve space at the Event Management Office. According to Brouse, the policy for reserving locations is written to accommodate guarantees of space. FIRE gives Penn State a yellow light for Policy AD51, ‘Use of Outdoor Areas for Expressive Activities’. According to the Penn State Policy Manual, Policy AD51 “is applicable to University students, faculty, staff and others who wish to engage in speaking, literature distribution, poster or sign displays, petitioning and similar noncommercial activities (generally referred to as ‘expressive activity’) at outdoor locations on University property.” According to FIRE’s Spotlight guidelines, a “‘yellow light’ institution is one
whose policies restrict a more limited amount of protected expression or, by virtue of their vague wording, could too easily be used to restrict protected expression.” FIRE improved Penn State’s rating from a red light to a yellow light in 2009. Then-president, Graham Spanier, agreed to revise the Penn State Principles preamble after William Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, wrote a letter to Spanier. The letter cited “impermissibly vague terms” and stated that “the fact that a student seemingly may be punished for ‘demeaning the dignity’ of others means that engaging in wide swaths of constitutionally protected expression may serve as grounds for punishment.” FIRE staff member Samantha Harris commented that Penn State was “playing with fire...by maintaining a policy that so clearly violates what the Third Circuit [federal court] has said—on multiple occasions—about the extent to which schools may restrict student speech in the name of preventing harassment.” Penn State is under the jurisdiction of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the letter, FIRE cited two 3rd Circuit decisions which “unequivocally established the unconstitutionality of campus speech codes.” The first was Saxe v. State College Area School District, which struck down a high school’s harassment policy when the court found it unconstitutionally broad in its definition of “offensive content.” The DeJohn v. Temple University ruling then specified that college administrators have even less license to regulate student speech than elementary and high school administrators. The letter also cited several First Amendment U.S. Supreme Court cases in its appeal to change the policy’s language, including the landmark Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. Creeley pointed out that in this case, “the Supreme Court
ruled that the First Amendment protects even the most “blatantly ‘ridiculing’ speech.” In Hustler, it was “a cartoon suggesting that the Reverend Jerry Falwell lost his virginity in a drunken encounter with his mother in an outhouse.” “This blatantly ‘ridiculing’ speech is protected under the First Amendment, and such expression likewise must be protected at Penn State. Penn State is free to criticize such expression but is bound not to punish or prohibit it,” Creeley said. “Penn State knows that if they do give us shit, all hell will break loose,” said Laura Bradley, vice president of the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association. Shaff stated that he agrees with Bradley about the university’s support.
“We’ve been pretty blessed with this campus. We’ve had no problems besides the occasional student flipping us off.” Nick Shaff, president of Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association “Penn State’s been really great about letting us do what we want,” Shaff said. “I go into Event Management or the ASA (Associated Student Activities) and say, ‘can you take care of our stuff?’ and they don’t ever bother us,” Shaff said. “They don’t ever do anything to prevent us from doing things.” Policy AD51 indicates areas “suitable” for expressive activity “based upon careful study.” It does not expressly prohibit
Free speech, pg. 23
The choice is yours. Vote for who helps your family by Jamie Campbell By the time you read this, we will be on the verge of selecting a new “leader of the free world.” Many of you will ask yourself, “are you better now than four years ago?” Instead, I ask that you consider if your family will be better off in four years. Will you be able to consider owning a home or sending your children to college any easier? Will those rights that you believe in be strengthened or minimized to the point of non-existence? As your family ages, do you have enough in savings to take care of them without any assistance? I believe these are the questions that
we need to be asking ourselves. Not the surface questions that seem to be the most important to us. You see, I don’t care what a person’s faith is as along he or she is working on projects and goals that are going to make things better for me and mine. When I say me and mine, I mean my community. I say it this way because I have learned when one person is not well in the community, it may not be long
before I am in the same exact situation. I don’t care if my “leader” is a nice guy. I want a competent, emotional and logical person in charge. A leader has to make tough choices, not warm and fuzzies. This is not Four Square, this is real life and you and I both know that real choices are not always fun choices. I want my leader to be able to lead with head and heart. This way, he or she can ignore what folks are saying and printing and act with the best interest of everyone involved. I want my leader to not make friendship choices, but choices that are going to help those outside of that friends list. If head and heart conflict, I want my leader to be able to step back and just simply look at the facts to make decisions. I want to be governed by someone who can be strong enough to admit they made a mistake, change direction and move forward. I do not want false emotion. If my leader does not like a particular group of people, they should say it. Nine times out of ten, the people already have figured out your true position. True emotion and conviction will usually get your opponents to respect you. The false emotion only brings more scorn. For the sake of full disclosure, I share an opinion similar to that of my peers, contrary to what certain media and statisticians would have the great majority believe. I do not need my leader to look like me. In my life I have learned, and continue to learn, that those who look like you will hurt twice as badly as those who do not. To put a historical spin on this, in the
1960’s MLK stated strongly and eloquently, “the Negro must make it inexplicably clear he is not tied to one political party.” While I missed hearing that quote in real time, my elders did not. They taught me to vote my conscience. They told me to vote because too many people gave up far too much for me to sit back and complain when one vote could affect change. I implore you look beyond rhetoric and completions. Whether store-bought or natural hue, what is the individual doing? Is he or she going to be able to stand up in the midst of a crisis and lead correctly? I have seen those who look like me with power make the worst decisions that affect my community for their own personal gain. Hence, a leader looking like me only counts when I am the one leading the charge. At the end of the day, I care that you vote. I do not care who you vote for. That is your call. All I hope is that your conscience, and not a sound bite, is your guide on Election Day. Go online to votespa.com for more information on polling locations and what to bring on Election Day, Nov. 6.
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use of other campus areas. “Technically you can do that anywhere on campus, said Robert Brouse, Manager of the HUB Information Desk and Event Management. “There’s no policy that stops you from that.” “The policy was just written that way because ten or more normally means it’s an organization event or rally and they encourage it to be reserved,” Brouse said. “The only reason they put it that way is a space for someone to reserve, then you’re guaranteed the space. If another group reserves that space first, then you lose it. “It’s not an issue of time, place and manner.” FIRE also gives Penn State its yellow light rating for what it classifies as a posting policy, under the guidelines for
“The most dangerous stages, however, come later, when some students come to believe that not only should they not have those rights, but that censorship is what good and noble people do.” Greg Lukianoff, president of FIRE
“Decorations and Displays” in undergraduate residence halls. FIRE takes issue with the regulation which states that “Any materials found to be offensive or outside the boundaries of reasonable community expectations will be referred to the area Residence Life staff.” Brouse referred to the display policy as the “fire policy.” The eight-point policy for student doors and the six-point policy for student room and lounge windows state that adherence prevents damage and “eliminate[s] potential safety hazards.” “I can understand from the University perspective that it degrades from the look of campus if you’re posting posters on doors and windows, whether it’s commercial or noncommercial, when there are general use bulletin boards all over campus,” Brouse said. According to its Posting Policies guidelines, FIRE finds that Penn State’s policy goes “beyond reasonable limits” of “time, place and manner restrictions.” Auburn University also cited safety— “the safety, health, and wellbeing” of students—when student Eric Philips was forced to remove a Ron Paul poster from his window in November 2011. Since then, FIRE has taken up the case and has been helping Philips document and publicize other instances of flags and banners left in residence hall windows and doorways across campus. The documentation is being used to undermine the “safety” rationale for such an unevenly enforced policy on student expression.
Photo by Jessica Beard
Penn State students Noah Oriss, Laufa Bradley, Daniel McGill and Nick Shaff advertise for the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association's "Stone an Atheist" fundraiser on the HUB patio Sept. 21.
Peter Bonilla, FIRE’s Associate Director, Individual Rights Defense Program, wrote in an April 23 article that when administrations apply the “safety defense” this way, “it only makes them look foolish.” FIRE president Greg Lukianoff wrote a September 20th Daily Caller column claiming that “censorship of [the] Ron Paul poster is part of [a] larger problem.” “The problem is that students, educated on campuses that over-regulate and apply double standards to speech, have
simply gotten used to it,” Lukianoff said. “The first [step] is simply misinforming students about the rights they have and the importance of those rights. The most dangerous stages, however, come later, when some students come to believe that not only should they not have those rights, but that censorship is what good and noble people do.” To learn more about FIRE and its coverage of Penn State cases, visit thefire.org. You can submit your own case at thefire.org/cases/submit/.
Bard Cat sayeth: “Pray thee, need more?”
“Get thee to the web!” Voicesweb.org
Penn State survived year-long scandal by Ryan Beckler It’s been a year now. A year since the largest collegiate scandal rocked Penn State’s foundation. Within that time, three men have been charged of crimes, several lawsuits have been filed, and harsh sanctions were levied. However, with all that has transpired in the last twelve months, the judicial, legal, athletic wheels are still turning in Centre County. Just a few weeks ago, Judge John Cleland ruled that Jerry Sandusky was to never live a day as a free man again. Cleland handed down what is essentially a life sentence of 30-60 years in prison to the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach. Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 criminal counts back in June, has continually denied his actions that jury convicted him of. “I did not do these terrible disgusting acts,” Sandusky said at his sentencing hearing on Oct. 9. Victims and their family members submitted several statements to Judge Cleland before the sentence was deliberated upon and announced. “Shame on you,” one letter from the mother of Victim 9 read. “Shame on you, Mr. Sandusky. There is no punishment sufficient for you. You are a horrible person.” Sandusky and his defense team plan to appeal the trial that resulted in a lifelong jail sentence. Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s lead attorney, has repeatedly said that the appeal will revolve around Judge Cleland’s refusal to delay the trial. “We believe that if we had enough time that we would’ve had the opportunity to prove Jerry’s innocence,” Amendola said shortly after his client’s sentencing hearing. While Sandusky’s free life has come to a close, one of his victims has begun to publicly speak out about his abuse.
“A victim means people feel sympathy for you, I don’t want that. I would rather be [considered] someone who did something good.” Aaron Fisher, Sandusky victim 1 Aaron Fisher, the man previously known as Victim 1 in the Sandusky case, has recently come forward and released his identity to ABC. Fisher’s initial allegations against the former assistant coach triggered two grand jury investigations that eventually unearthed several other victims. He believes that his high school administrators are among those who have failed him. Fisher, who first met his abuser when he was 10 years old, said that Sandusky would often take him out of class, though he did not want to go. According to an interview with 20/20, when Fisher told Central Mountain High School officials what had really been occurring between himself and Sandusky, the officials told his mother, Dawn Daniels, to “go home and think about it.” Fisher said he doesn’t want to be considered a victim anymore. “A victim means people feel sympathy for you, I don’t want that,” Fisher said. “I would rather be [considered] someone who did something good.” He plans to move on with life. Fisher hopes to attend college and become a police officer so he can help prevent crimes such as the ones he’s suffered. He’s just glad that justice has finally been served. “If you are persistent and you continue
to fight for what you know is right and what you absolutely think and know is right, then good will prevail and you will get justice out of it,” Fisher told ABC’s 20/20. Meanwhile, the sanctions levied against the Penn State football team don’t seem to holding them back anymore, on the field, at least. After a sluggish home-opener against Ohio and a heartbreaking road loss at Virginia, many pundits wondered if this team would win even three or four games. However, Bill O’Brien seems to have righted the ship and has his team playing spectacular and at times dominating football.
“If you are persistent and you continue to fight for what you know is right and what you absolutely think and know is right, then good will prevail and you will get justice out of it.” Aaron Fisher
The Nittany Lions have been starting out fast. Through seven games, Penn State has outscored opponents 66-0 in the first quarter. Much of that success can be attributed to the resurgent Matt McGloin. McGloin, who often looked unsteady in the offense in 2010 and 2011, has looked very poised and confident while guiding his team to five straight victories. Penn State isn’t just winning. They’re often winning in very convincing fashion. Bill O’Brien has navigated his first two Big Ten road tests with ease, blowing out both Illinois and Iowa in front of their own fans. Sandwiched between those games was an unlikely 4th quarter comeback against a ranked Northwestern Wildcats squad that seemingly had the game won after a late 3rd quarter punt return. Bill O’Brien and his team persevered though, just as they had been since January, by scoring 21 straight points in the final quarter to seal a 39-28 victory. It’s certainly been a trying year for Penn State and the surrounding neighborhoods, but legal progress and communal endurance have been evidenced as the days and months go on. It is the individual and collective perseverance of the men and women in this town that will serve as the bricks that rebuild this community.
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Penn State offers on-campus voting registration by Sierra Dole Election time is here again. Students certainly have enough on their plate with classes, jobs, internships, and extra-curricular activities. However, there’s one thing they don’t need to stress about: voting. Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association Elections Commission gives on-campus students peace of mind by giving them the option to register to vote right on campus. Voter registration volunteers on campus then take the completed registration forms to the County Election Office. “In the state of Pennsylvania, students at institutions of higher learning are considered temporary residents at the campus address,” Bradley Middleton (junior, sociology) said. “For that reason, they are eligible to register to vote at their permanent address, back home with their parents, or at their campus address on the local ballot.” A student’s decision whether to register on-campus or to head home for election day is in no way a light one to make. According to Middleton, while registering on-campus is convenient for most students, out-of-state students would be precluded from voting for a representative from his/her home district.
“One votes on the ballot for where they are registered,” Middleton said. “This means that anyone registered to vote in State College will be able to cast their vote for PA and national representatives running in the district around State College. This would only be a concern if a student had grown up in, say, Bucks County and wanted to cast a vote for their local representative for Bucks County. They would not have the option to do this on the Centre County ballot.” Aside from registering to vote, students also have the option to increase their political involvement by joining clubs such as the Penn State College Democrats and the Penn State College Republicans. According to Drew McGehrin, president of the Penn State College Democrats, joining a political club is a great way to learn more and become more involved in politics. “We offer an outlet for students with any level of interest in politics to explore and truly get engaged in the political process,” McGehrin said. “Our club is what you make of it depending on your activity. We have opportunities spanning various election-related activities such as canvassing, phone banking, and also voter education opportunities to get students aware of the issues we are facing this November.” Chris Craddock, (junior, manage-
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ment), said that he believes that the opportunity to register to vote on campus is a great one. “The state of Georgia mishandled my voter’s application four years ago, so I registered here,” Craddock said. “[This opportunity] is a good thing,” Craddock said. “Many students are displaced potential voters from other states. I think this simplifies the absentee balloting. Also, some might feel that a vote cast in Pennsylvania holds more importance due to increased electoral votes.” Voting will take place on November 6, 2012 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. On-campus students will vote in the HUB and offcampus students will vote at one of a number of polling locations.
Students who are unsure of which polling place they should go to should check www.votespa.com. According to McGehrin, if it is a student’s first time voting at his or her polling location, he or she should bring an identification card, such as a student ID, a driver’s license, or a passport. If the student has voted there before, he or she is not required to bring identification, although they should just to be safe. “Students comprise a very large chunk of the electorate, and yet year after year we are some of the most under-represented demographics out there,” McGehrin said. “Students have the ability to make an impact on the outcome of the election—but only if they vote.”
Artists create art, cope with depression by Veronica Winters It seems like a stereotype—the artist struggles through emotional turmoil, the struggle feeds the works of genius—but there may be more than a fabled link between mood disorders and art. According to various separate studies, artists have up to 18 times the rate of suicide seen in the general population, 8-10 times the rate of depression, and 10-20 times the rate of manic-depression. Depression and its effects are also difficult to categorize. Mood disorders that include both depression ( unipolar disorder) and manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) have vastly different intensity levels. Some artists are affected by it mildly a few times a year while others experience depression daily throughout their lifetime. Depression can even be genetic. The number of persons in creative
fields believed or known to suffer or have suffered mood disorders is staggering. Over 50 percent of the 15 abstract expressionist artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko had mood disorders, suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse. 18th and 19th century poets including Emily Dickinson are thought to have suffered from depression. An artist doesn’t have to be internationally known to struggle with depression. Five local artists running the gamut from a rock musician to a landscape painter speak frankly here about depression and the arts. June Ramsay is a multi-media artist with twenty years’ experience in handdying fabrics. She is also an oil painter whose works have been featured in the Arts Fest “Images” show. Cole Hons is a rock singer, band
“I was sitting beneath the sink, looking at all sorts of cleaning products thinking ‘which one would do it.’” June Ramsay, multi-media artist leader, and poet who also has worked as a journalist for CDT and now is a New Media Writer/Producer for the Center for Sustainability at Penn State. Roxanne Naydan is a pastels painter with a bachelor’s degree in fine art and a masters in visual art. She has illustrated the book of poetry, Selected Poetry of
Lina Kostenko: Wanderings of the Heart (Garland Publishers, 1990), and her painting, “Eerie Orchard”, appears on the cover of the book of poetry The Narcoleptic Yard (Black Lawrence Press, 2009). William Snyder III is a mixed-media artist with an MFA in printmaking from Penn State (2005). Snyder serves as the president of the SoVA Alumni Group and on the College of Arts and Architecture’s Alumni Society Board at Penn State. Susan Nicholas Gephart is a landscape painter who works from her studio/home in Bellefonte. As a full-time, committed artist Gephart has fascinated viewers with her moody depictions of clouds, water, and rural land in oil and pastels.
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Kramer finds humor in everyday motherhood by Cynthia Mazzant
Preview Then I Became a Mother ebook by Robin Kramer “At the tail end of each of my three pregnancies, many thoughts paraded through my head. If I recall correctly, the three most common ones (besides from wondering where I last had placed my car keys) toggled back and forth between ‘I’m ready to be finished with this’ and ‘I’m not ready for what comes next’ and ‘Bring it on.’” On October 19, on the eve of the book’s release, Robin Kramer revisited her final thoughts on giving birth as she prepared to see her first book published. Kramer is known throughout the area for the many roles she tackles: mother,
writer, teacher, friend, confidante, humorist, and the list goes on. Kramer is a lecturer at Penn State University, where she teaches public speaking and composition courses. She plays a mean game of Scattergories, wrestles with her children on the floor nearly as often as she sweeps it, and takes immense pleasure in a wellorganized closet. Kramer appreciates order, structure, and time for reflection, which, admittedly, are three desires in diametric opposition with the reality of motherhood. Her words, not mine. I’ve been following Robin’s blog, Pink Dryer Lint (http://www.pinkdryerlint.com/) since last spring when she graciously allowed her work to be incorporated into a theatre performance piece, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” produced by Tempest Productions at The University Club in March 2012. The monologues based on Kramer’s writing resonated as they spoke
“I’m a woman who remembers to show up at my daughter’s soccer practice, but forgets the water bottle, the portable lounge chair, and....” Robin Kramer, Then I Became a Mother of mothers and daughters and the process of growing up and letting go. And, many of us will cling to Kramer’s mantra that “partially dirty is the new clean” regardless of whether children are in the house or not. “I’m a woman who remembers to show up at my daughter’s soccer practice, but
forgets the water bottle, the portable lounge chair, and … I’m a mother who loses her patience as I’m getting my girls ready… I forget to pre-treat laundry… I didn’t serve any vegetables at dinner this evening… Tonight, none of my children got their baths… In short, I’m a typical mom. And that’s why I wrote Then I Became a Mother. Because we need reminders that we’re not alone in this gloriously imperfect mess of motherhood.” And that’s the fun of reading Robin’s blog and her new book–-they remind us that we are not alone and allow us to laugh and cry at some of life’s biggest challenges as well as at that small stuff that we’re not supposed to sweat. Kramer’s official bio offers “Whether
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writing or speaking, Robin Kramer’s greatest desire is to encourage moms to find humor, contentment, and faith in the most ordinary moments of motherhood and life.” Humor, contentment, and faith—a triad we can all use. Robin, her husband, and their three young daughters live in Pennsylvania. She blogs regularly at Pink Dryer Lint and speaks at mom’s groups and women’s conferences. Her book Then I Became a Mother was released on October 20, 2012 and can be downloaded as an ebook at Amazon (Kindle edition) or Barnes and Noble (Nook edition), published by Byrne Publishing LLC (2012.)
Concert Alert: Harry Smith Festival Multiple Aural Ensembles Aggregate: Illuminate Mystical Aesthetic Visions From Beyond The Grave. The 5th Annual Harry Smith Festival will be held on Sunday, November 4 from 2 p.m. at Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim, Pa. as a benefit for the Penns Valley Hope Fund. Musical performances from Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob, Earl Pickens and Family, the Wiyos, Miss Melanie, Tyne and the Fastlyne, Mama Corn, Pete Sheridan and the Jameson Boys and Chicken Tractor Deluxe performing songs from the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. www.elkcreekcafe.net
Appeal Letter from the Board of Directors of Voices of Central Pa Dear Voices supporter, I recently spoke to a new community member and he told me that there were two reasons that he chose to relocate to Centre County. One of those reasons is that here we have the dedicated independent paper called Voices. I was touched that he noticed and I realized how lucky we are to have Voices. We are proud of our independent press, but we can’t take it for granted. I’m writing you today to ask for your continued support of Voices. We have some exciting sponsorship opportunities that allow you to show your pride and support directly. Would you consider sponsoring a particular section of the newspaper? Or how about sponsoring an editor or distribution? Free Press sponsor: $300 Section sponsor: $100 Page sponsor: $50 Distribution sponsor: $25 We appreciate readers who become donors. If you’ve contributed in the past, thank you. Perhaps you’d consider passing this letter on to a friend or neighbor who isn’t yet a part of the Voices family. And if you’re a member of the Free Press Fund already, kindly make sure that your pledge is up-to-date. Every small donation makes a big difference. We at Voices would never expect any one donor to underwrite our paper, but together, we can all support the mission to give voice to the voiceless. Our mission is twofold—to tell the stories of central Pa, and to educate. Voices brings our readers the untold stories about what’s happening in our community, thereby fulfilling our main mission to hear the quieter voices in our area. But part of our mission as a community newspaper is also educational. We are teaching community members the tools to become citizen journalists, so that they can not only report on what they see in the community, but also learn how to produce it in a newspaper format. This is crucial because an educated citizen journalist is an empowered one, empowered to seek the truth. Even if you can’t monetarily support Voices, we are always looking for volunteers. Please consider volunteering as a writer, a distributor, a section editor, or a copy editor. Volunteering with the paper can take as little as an hour a month, and every contribution is essential to putting our paper into the hands of readers, like you. Thank you for taking the time to read this appeal. We wouldn’t be here without you! Sincerely, Elaine Meder-Wilgus Acting, Voices President Sponsorship Information Please fill out the following and include with your tax-deductable contribution. You may also make a contribution through our website: Voicesweb.org Name: Address: Email: may we add you to our email list?: yes no, thank you Free Press sponsor: $300 Section sponsor: $100 Page sponsor: $50 Distribution sponsor: $25 Other: $______ Do you want to be acknowledged in the printed edition? yes no If yes, how would you like your name to be written? _______________________________________________________
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Gephart has worked for over two decades coordinating exhibits for the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association and served on the Board of Directors of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania. Suicide is painless? For some artists who deal with depression, a downturn in mood can lead to thoughts of suicide. June Ramsay is genetically predisposed to depression and said she thought of killing herself for the first time when she was just 5 years old. “I was sitting beneath the sink, looking at all sorts of cleaning products thinking ‘which one would do it,’” she said. Those occasional suicidal thoughts did not simply vanish. “Yes, there have been several times in my adulthood when thoughts of suicide have plagued me,” wrote Ramsay. “Sometimes, I can visualize hurting myself and that can lessen the urge, another time I actually did cut myself and that was enough to ease the desire to kill myself, and another time I called a friend at 2 a.m. and she talked me through it. She battled depression and anxiety too. She also survived a gang rape at a fraternity party during her first week of college, which is surviving a hell of a lot in my opinion. If she could get
better and move beyond her pain, then so could I. It really helps to have someone to talk to, who really gets where you are coming from. Psychological studies of artists demonstrate that Ramsay is not unusual among artists for her suicidal tendencies. A. Preti and P. Miotto released a study in 1999 that included 3093 eminent international artists from the past two centuries: 1300 writers, 692 poets, 267 dramaturgians and comedians, 210 architects, 531 painters, and 93 sculptors. Fifty-nine suicides were recorded from this sample. A suicide rate of 1.9 percent among artists was only slightly higher than that measured in the U.S. population in 2010 (1.24 percent) but that statistic did not include deaths from drug or alcohol abuse. The Preti and Miotto study found that poets and writers were more likely than any other group of artists to commit suicide, but some subsets of artists have been found even more likely to struggle with suicidal tendencies. In 1995, three scholars in the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry put forth a study that showed half of the 15 20thcentury abstract-expressionist artists suffered from mood disorders; with a suicide rate over 13 times higher the national U.S. average (1995). Musicians were not included in the Preti and Miotto study, but they too can be deeply affected by mood disorders
and fight off suicidal thoughts. “To be honest, I have had flashes of suicidal imagery run through my mind in the past...just images, though,” wrote Cole Hons via email. “Never any serious planning or attempts. In my late teens & early 20s I had a romanticized idea of death--I used to dream of having some perfect night with a lover and then dying at the end. “Looking back, I see that my adolescent self really bought into our culture’s idealized self-destructive artist bullshit-you know, the whole Jim Morrison trip...during that time, I was such a perfectionist that if I played a show where I didn’t perform my songs perfectly, I thought I deserved to die. I guess I was just so pathetically self-absorbed at the time, I honestly couldn’t see how stupid that would be. There’s this song I wrote later in that phase of my life called “See the Light” that is essentially about staring into that abyss and choosing to live.” Hons revisited these feelings slightly later in life, and at that point, conquered them. “I also went through a really dark period after my band and my long-term relationship broke up,” wrote Hons. “It was difficult for me to transition to being a parent with a regular day job. During this phase, I was plagued with dreams about
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Image by William Snyder III “Self Portrait: Divided.”
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hanging myself. I actually had a very vivid dream in the year 2001 where I was hanging by the neck in my attic for a long, long time—days and days—but just couldn’t seem to die. So I finally untied myself, stepped down and got on with my life. Since that time, I’ve been completely free of any suicidal thoughts and & feelings—thankfully!” Hons made a short video called “Forgiving” for a contest in 2008; it is now being used by a Canadian health organization to help treat youth with depression, and part of their mission is suicide prevention. “They just stumbled across my video about 6 months ago and contacted me to ask permission to use it,” wrote Hons. “It made me really happy that it’s being used for this.” What sometimes saves the artist’s life is concern for those who would be devastated by his or her death. “Yes, I contemplate it even to this day, on occasion,” wrote Roxanne Naydan. “What prevents me is the negative IMPACT it might potentially have on my
“I was lonely, self-focused, with the loss in direction. I experienced anxiety and tried to prove myself through drawing because it was the only thing I knew.” William Snyder III, mixed media artist daughter Lilja.” Down the rabbit hole Spiraling into depression can be brought on by a variety of triggers— financial strains, hormonal changes, challenging life events, even the strain of living as an artist. William Snyder III experienced depression for the first time as a freshman in college. Worrying about his finances and relationship anxiety overwhelmed the artist.
Photo courtesy of Cole Hons
“I was lonely, self-focused with the loss in direction,” he said. “I experienced anxiety and tried to prove myself through drawing because it was the only thing I knew.” Depression is thought to be linked to hormonal changes since twice as many women as men in the general public are effected. By the age 15, girls are twice as prone to depression as boys. Traumatic events in an artist’s life, coupled with depression and hormonal changes, can lead to a persistent change in mood. Landscape painter Susan Nicholas Gephart was shaken by her brother’s death when she was 11. “There was no counseling, just an effort to live on as if everything was ‘OK,’” said Gephart. This seemed to create a feeling of a security blanket being removed. I felt fearful and very shy about
anything new, even into my 20s. As the years went on I became very interested about understanding the root of emotions, feelings, and what caused them. I read magazines and studied psychology in school. Poetry and painting became a regular way for me to express myself and try to relax.” Depressive moods are also often tied to the seasons. Many artists experience picks of creativity during spring and fall, while winter blues are characterized by manic periods or melancholia. Changes in mood can be traced in both the amount of completed work and personal letters written by artists in the past. Artists’ correspondence is well documented in popular books. Early American poet Emily
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Swincinski memorializes nature in silver by Veronica Winters
In the Artist’s Studio Annie Swincinski is like a secret box. Every time you turn and open it you find a surprise inside. Swincinski is a graphic designer, painter, printmaker, textile artist and now a jewelry-maker. What’s surprising to see is how the artist re-invents and teaches herself to work in a new medium. Swincinski holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts; everything else is a self-taught experience. She is not afraid of tackling the new medium and faces its challenges with an open mind. Swincinski’s new venture—the jewelrymaking—is a thrilling experience for her. “While I struggled with some aspects of painting and textile work, everything in jewelry-making is exciting to me. I’m yet to discover what it holds for me,” she said. Her custom jewelry pieces are organically inspired. They consist of variously shaped silver leaves, birds, beads, and enamels. Organic shapes cut out of silver intertwine closely with Swincinski’s earlier images captured in her drawings on fabric and in woodcuts. Images of birds and leaves have simple clean lines that are balanced by either non-textured empty space or by a small bead placed right next to the pendant. “Up until a year ago my art was about the
beauty of impermanence and decomposition,” she said. “But when I was diagnosed with endometriosis in September 2011 I almost died... it all changed. I have become obsessed with memorializing. This began my jewelry career. I love being able to capture the beauty and essence of a living organism into precious metal forever!” Swincinski battles stage 4 endometriosis, a female health disorder with no cure. Cells from the lining of the uterus grow in other areas of the body instead of being removed from the body naturally. This leads to sharp pain and infertility. It requires surgery and regular pain management every two years. The artist fights not only with her disease but also with her current insurance. “I’m only available for high risk insurance which I would not be able to afford out of pocket and that is if someone would even be WILLING to cover me with the pre-existing diagnosis,” said Swincinski. “After receiving emergency surgery in 2011, I had learned that Pa state medical assistance would not be available to me for further issues because I was willing and able to go back to work after my recovery.” Swincinski sought insurance through Workers with Disabilities program and received a letter from the state explaining that endometriosis isn’t a disability and it does not need longitudinal care or management. “You can make money doing what you love and getting sick was the catalyst of it
all and I reinvented myself,” she said. Swincinski finds support within her family and friends. Her step mother is a beader who gave the artist many stones and beads for her projects. She also helped her to buy all the tools, taking Swincinski to markets. One of the artist’s friends mailed her a box filled with tools and materials for enamelmaking Knowing nothing about jewelry forming, cutting, or soldering, Swincinski taught herself by taking “virtual classes” on YouTube. She researches and watches every topic relevant to her jewelry-making process on YouTube and picks up necessary information from it. The ability to make things well is different from watching however. Practice makes it perfect for the artist. “I’m very much into learning, discovering, and practicing,” she said. The artist memorializes and preserves parts of nature in her jewelry pieces by making molds. She takes two part silicone and rolls it into a ball. As it sets quickly Swincinski presses her leaf into it with plexiglass. The artist uses pure silver suspended in clay (precious metal clay-PMC) that is malleable material, consisting of fine silver particles suspended in an organic binder and water. It feels like clay that when fired, fuses together to become a .999 pure silver object. She then rolls PMC out and lays it on top of her mold. By pressing it with plexiglass she forms an impression
Photo by Veronica Winters
Annie fires the precious metal clay leaf to make it a pure silver jewelry piece.
in clay and cuts the leaf out along the line. After letting the clay leaf dry, she files the edges and uses the firing block with torch to melt it. After 3 to 10 minutes of firing the pure silver object is ready to be formed, textured, or oxidized. Depending on the shape and size of the leaf, Swincinski uses her creation either as a centerpiece or an element in her pendants, earrings, and bracelets. To see samples of her work and to place an order visit the AnnieLane Jewelry shop on Etsy: etsy.com/shop/annieLANEjewelry.
November 2012 from
Depression, pg. 29
Dickinson’s spikes in creativity were recorded and dated in her numerous works; the winter seasons were marked with a prolonged absence of creative output. “It’s a struggle that is deeper, harder, more intense. It’s a big grey cloud coming from nowhere often in winter,” June Ramsay said. Just the act of engaging in the arts as a career can lead to depressive periods. “There is indeed a constant struggle of feast and famine in the art world,” said Gephart. “The uncertainty of sales and even filling a class enrollment are never a for sure situation. The general public also perceives art as a game and not a ‘serious career.’ An artist can exhaust herself just trying to juggle so many balls to pay the bills. There is also the reality that once you create something wonderful, for you to continue to grow and gain respect in the art world, you must keep doing it over and over....forever.” This state can become so exhausting, according to artist William Snyder, that artists seek work outside their field just to ease not just the financial but emotional burden. “It came down to the time ratio between drawing and money,” said Snyder. “Drawing was so time-consuming it was equal to simple waste of time. My solid job changed that ratio. I found
fulfillment [doing something else I enjoy besides drawing]. I began to think outside myself. I noticed that my art work shifted when I was no longer depressed.” Working as an artist also means facing rejection, which can start the process of self-doubt, self-denial, heightened vulnerability and despair. Some self-medicate, abusing alcohol and drugs, while
“I struggle every day. We are loners. We deal with some sort of pain. When I’m hurting I use reality to create that world through painting.” Roxanne Naydan, mixed media artist others like Gephart strengthen their knowledge of art as a business. “Art is certainly an insecure job, but it can be balanced by the love of creating and believing things are possible,” said Gephart. “As an adult who has taught art for over 30 years to all ages, I have come to believe art can heal and should be for all to experience, just like reading a book or riding a bike. I was fortunate to stay home with my 3 children and raise them while I painted and did volunteer work hanging shows, etc. I learned more about the business of art on my own than in
Photo by Susan Gephart
Gust Front Approaching by Susan Gephart. Rendered in oils.
college during my BFA. Now, as a mentor to teen artists, I always encourage them to understand marketing or consider a duel degree with business and art.” Easing the pain A career in art may be the problem, but can also be the solution. Cole Hons is a rock musician who sees his performances as an addiction to the experience of intense emotional release. “Musicians are often extremely sensitive people who, just like anybody else, are exposed to suffering and pain,” said Hons. “Being so sensitive, many go looking for medicine. That might be alcohol and drugs. But in my view, the music itself is the biggest and best medicine of all.” Because feelings of loneliness and emptiness are prevalent, some artists become obsessed with understanding human existence, think of life, death, and spirituality, and often find meaning in depicting these obsessions in art. The Abstract Expressionists were consumed with depiction of tragedy, death, and timelessness. By painting these themes artists find temporary relief from loneliness.
“I struggle every day. We are loners. We deal with some sort of pain. When I’m hurting I use reality to create that world through painting,” Roxanne Naydan said. By painting what’s meaningful in their lives some artists also find psychological relief in the act of painting. Living on the edge of life, artists experience a positive influence of sudden mood changes as well: they imagine and create easily, capturing rapidly moving thoughts and emotions. “Creative artistic people have deep emotions that just toss them for loop! As a mentor to teens and college age artists, I have come to see many of them struggle with feelings of sadness,” said Gephart. “Nothing they can pinpoint, just there. It has to make me think that partly the way their brains are designed opens doorways to struggle. I’ve also noticed that when they are creating, they seem at peace. Makes me wonder if we could all just paint, may be the bad stuff would slip away.”
Depression, pg. 32
Depression, pg. 31
In 1989, Johns Hopkins Hospital professor Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison interviewed a group of artists, 90 percent of which said that very intense moods and feelings were either necessary and integral or very important to the creation of art. Art is created in response to the environment and to the artist’s own emotional struggle. Art also has an undeniable therapeutic effect on our brain. May writers stated that they write to relieve themselves from a burden and communicate through their work. June Ramsay created a poem and a painting using compost as a metaphor for depression. She worked her way out through painting. Experiencing serious health problems with her foot, Ramsay came to the point of acceptance through painting and finds release from her struggles. “At the time, I was trying to think of ways that depression might have some positives, like what gifts could it bring to its sufferer,” said Ramsay. “I know there have been times in my life that once I got through the darkness (often with spiritual help, light, and encouragement of others) that I felt I had gained some type of enlightenment or awareness that I could have never gotten otherwise.” “When the need for a cry is over I let myself back into reality by painting Nature,” Naydan said. ”I love my rela-
“I would wake and think for hours unable to return to sleep. Writing and painting helped. There was often a weight of deep sadness.” Susan Nicholas Gephart, artist tionship with it. Nature calms and inspires me. I love painting the light. When there is a loss, there is a wish to recreate what you had and I resolve my longing through painting.” Musicians and other performance artists also heal themselves through their arts. “When people sing, play, or dance to music it’s similar to being in love. It’s the act of reuniting with others and experiencing healing together,” Cole Hons said. Artists often use themselves as essential material for creativity. Some artists have said that they feel they have a heightened sensitivity, and that the energetic moods of a manic phase lend them the capacity to convey unusual thoughts and visionary ideas. Artists have heightened sensitivity and take risks that contribute to the creation of artwork. “There is some type of heightened awareness, spiritual connection looking at nature and seeing the world different-
ly,” June Ramsay said describing her her experiences during painting retreats. The depressive phase also serves its purpose to the artist. It gives a chance for contemplation, self-analysis and search for life’s meaning. Deeper comprehension of feelings like love, sorrow, and pain leads writers to create characters with real emotions. “Depression was the muse, the inspiration for me back then [during depressive phases],” said Snyder. “I didn’t see how great life can be.” “It’s healing to paint. It’s like a private language where people can glimpse at your soul without speaking,” Naydan said. “There are moments when you are longing for something and I fill that void through painting.” Depressed people can be intense, have erratic sleep patterns and experience persistent feeling of loneliness even when they are surrounded by numerous people. “The insecurities that developed in my preteens transformed into a serious problem with insomnia into adult life,” wrote Gephart. “I would wake and think for hours unable to return to sleep. Writing and painting helped. There was often a weight of deep sadness. Partly the past experiences deeply hidden, some of it perhaps being hereditary with family depression, and diet and seasonal light sensitivities. “As an adult with children and being an artist working at home, I paid special attention to eating right, getting sunshine into my eyes with walks out side, or reading by a sunny window. Most certainly the thing that I noticed most was when I painted, I felt happy in just a few brush strokes. It was in the mid 80’s that it became clear to me that the mere action or process of creating caused some kind of positive chemical change in the way my brain perceived my life in the moment!” But medication is necessary for some artists to take the edge off and bring temporary balance into artistic life. June Ramsay relies on a combination of medication and therapy. “I’ve got to find something to keep me
stable for my kids’ sake,” she said. Concern for their children has even brought some artists out of their depression. “You can’t be selfish when you have kids,” Snyder said. “I don’t hold on to depression anymore as I think outside myself.” Feelings of hopelessness among artists often come from daily struggle and elevated stress levels associated with the artistic profession. Many artists are solitary by nature and it becomes enormously hard to succeed when so much “success” depends on developed relationships with clients. Creative personalities must be persistent, driven, and self-motivated to make a career. Yet, reaching success in an artistic career proves to be irrelevant in many cases. According to some studies famous artists in various fields had continued experiences of melancholia despite having gone through years of hard labor and rejections. Thus, the artist must seek another avenue outside of success, to find acceptance within himself or herself. “I’ve developed a philosophy of ‘Fear No Art,’” wrote Gephart. “I am art and it is me. We are one in the same. The tears and fears of my past are still in me, but by living through it, I have developed coping strategies that help me when I’m down. I am lucky to know that it will pass if I keep moving forward towards my hopes as an artist. “Part of my daily comfort comes from God or a ‘Higher Power’ than me. As a mature adult I know that I at times am fragile and weak. When I feel overwhelmed, alone, or sad, I speak openly to God who loves me as I am. In times of joy and especially when I paint Plein Air, I revel at the beauty of this Earth and have an attitude of ‘gratitude’ for this gift of air, land, and water. I guess this is my bottom line of support during depressed times. Being able to focus on gratitude or know that you are loved as is, helps so much to recover from the fragile state.”
November calendar of Arts and Entertainment events November 1 Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County: “Kindred Spirits: Collecting Native America Art” runs through Nov 18 Bryce Jordan Center: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (7:30 p.m.) Eisenhower Auditorium: Banjo Summit 2 (7:30 p.m.) Juniata College Suzanne von Liebig Theatre: Juniata Theatre presents MacBeth (7:30 p.m.) Palmer Museum of Art: Celebrating 40 Years of Gifts: Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Photography at the Palmer: A Selection of Gifts, Floating Between Worlds: New Research on Japanese Prints Pavilion Theatre: Sweeney Todd (7:30 p.m.) Webster’s: First Thursday Wide Open Mic (6 p.m.) November 2 Green Drake Gallery: “The Home Team—Studio Artists of the Green Drake” Juniata College Suzanne von Liebig Theatre: Juniata Theatre presents MacBeth (7:30 p.m.) Palmer Museum of Art: Gallery Talk: Visions of Water and Land in the Hudson River School (12:10 p.m.) Pavilion Theatre: Sweeney Todd (7:30 p.m.) Penn State Downtown Theatre: Watercolor paintings by Michele Rojas Rivera (runs until December 8) The Saloon: Velveeta (10:30 p.m. every Friday night) State Theatre: State of Film Fest (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Trinity Lutheran Church: Maggie Loukachina and Nikita Borisevich (7:30 p.m.) November 3 Bar Bleu: Ted McCloskey and the Hi Fis (10:30 p.m. every Saturday) Elk Creek Café: The Wiyos (8 p.m.) Juniata College Suzanne von Liebig Theatre: Juniata Theatre presents MacBeth (7:30 p.m.) State Theatre: State of Film Fest (9 a.m.
to 11 p.m.) Webster’s: The Second Winds Jazz Band (7 p.m.) November 4 Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County Community Gallery: exhibition of the works of Jennifer Shuey Eisenhower Auditorium: The Great Mountain Red Sky Performance (2 p.m.) Elk Creek Café: The Harry Smith Festival State Theatre: State of Film Fest (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) Webster’s: Sunday Music Brunch (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) November 5 State Theatre: Toots and the Maytals 50th anniversary tour (8 p.m.) Webster’s: Bill Russell Mushroom discussion (11:30 a.m.) November 6 The Saloon: Shake Shake Shake (10:30 p.m.) also plays Nov 13 and 27 November 7 Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County: Evening with artist Amado Pena (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) Eisenhower Auditorium: Donka: A Letter to Chekhov (7:30 p.m.) Webster’s: Haitian Caffeination (5:30 p.m.) November 8 Schwab Auditorium: Ron Carter Trio (7:30 p.m.) Webster’s: Irish music session (7 p.m.) November 9 Art Alliance of Central Pa: 2012 Abstraction Show (runs through Nov 18) Palmer Art Museum: Gallery Talk: Floating Between Worlds: A conversation about Japanese Woodblock prints (12:10 p.m.) November 10 Elk Creek Café: Tyne + the Fastlyne (8 p.m.) Playhouse Theatre: In the Red and Brown Water (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.), runs on Nov 12, 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 p.m. Webster’s: Gallery opening featuring Kristina Gibson (6 p.m.)
November 13 Bryce Jordan Center: Carrie Underwood (7:30 p.m.) Juniata College Neff Lecture Hall: Distinguished speaker Jess Arrington (7:30 p.m.) November 14 Palmer Museum of Art: The Art of Music: Revamped—A Violin Duo (12:10 p.m.) Schwab Auditorium: St. Lawrence String Quartet (7:30 p.m.) November 15 Juniata College Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts: Dala (7:30 p.m.) Webster’s: World Poetry Read by World People (7 p.m.) November 16
Palmer Museum of Art: Gallery Talk: Celebrating 40 Years of Gifts (12:10 p.m.) State Theatre: Pure Cane Sugar (8 p.m.) November 17 Elk Creek Café: Frog Holler (8 p.m.) State Theatre: How to Survive a Plague (4 p.m., 7:30 p.m.) Nov 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 November 28 Webster’s: Muriel’s Repair (7 p.m.) November 29 Webster’s: The Human Rights Film Series presents: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (7 p.m.) November 30 Webster’s: The Black Cat Belly Dance (dinner at 7 p.m., performance at 8 p.m.) December 1 Webster’s: Claudia Mauner (6 p.m.)
Overdue remarks by Elizabeth May First I have to confess I am a pansy who wrote this editorial originally on August 15th and have been sitting on it ever since. Until now, until I read Dr. Michael Bérubé’s article “Why I Resigned the Paterno Chair” in the Journal of Higher Education. These particular lines compelled me to share my work: “But those of us who live and work at Penn State, and who are most horrified and disgusted by these crimes, might yet be able to try to say that some of what has been said and written about Paterno has been unfair—even unhinged. And we might be able to say so while acknowledging that his failure to ensure Sandusky was stopped is more than enough to taint his legacy forever.” Let me further preface this editorial by confessing I have never been a football fan, have never cheered with the Nittany Lions, but rather become perturbed when the fall semester arrives with all its autumnal blue and white. To leave you with no doubt about my lack of lion pride, I nearly called the police one Saturday morning when they let that lion call rip across the ag fields, where it travelled straight over to my house and woke me up at 6 a.m. However, what continues to plague my conscience is that, thanks to the rapid transmission of information, we are a culture more bent than ever on brutalizing, demonizing, and fictionalizing the truth. Within days of the Freeh Report, we tore down the bronze statue of Joe Paterno--and for what? To satiate this need to abominate what fascinates us? The misapplication of guilt on Paterno is unconscionable when the facts aren’t clear and are potentially misconstrued from email messages without context. It is also unconscionable that the men involved didn’t receive training regarding incidence of sexual harassment, as the report states, and that the athletic department somehow “opted out” of this training. Instead, they used antiquated language
from a culture we thought we’d moved beyond, referring to Sandusky’s crimes as “horsing around,” which further complicates understanding of what was witnessed. However, one “fact” plus another “fact” has not added up to an easy verdict regarding a Paterno cover-up in the Sandusky case, yet we continue to heap responsibility and punishment for Sandusky’s crimes on Paterno. Do we really believe the proof is in the pudding? How quickly that revered statue came down when the details of the report revealed Tim Curley was uncomfortable moving ahead with the suggestions Paterno made in the mysterious, undisclosed email exchange between Curly and Paterno. Suggestions, indicated in an NBC article titled “GQ publishes excerpts from Joe Posnanski’s bio on Joe Paterno,” posted by Ben Kercheval, reveal Paterno followed university guidelines, in place at the time, by reporting his knowledge of Sandusky to Tim Curly and further, that Paterno desired to disclose this information to other university officials. These claims are exemplified in the following quotes, “The general media takeaway from this email chain [discussing how Penn State officials should handle McQueary's testimony] was that Paterno had convinced [athletic director Tim] Curley to back off reporting Sandusky and to handle this in-house. Others familiar with the emails believed instead that Paterno had demanded they confront Sandusky. “The email in question, according to the Freeh report, comes just weeks after Sandusky molested Victim 2. ‘After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps,’ the email reads. “The report also indicates Curley, former president Graham Spanier and former VP Gary Schultz were prepared to execute an
Overdue, pg. 36
ASK Co smo
Campus and Culture from the Canine Perspective beat the rap on some technicality, but they’re no Boy Scouts, that’s for sure. What does your crystal ball say about their upcoming trials? Signed, Confident In Justice
Dear Cosmo, What do you think about the election? Any last words of wisdom for us here in Rural Pennsylvania? Signed, Any Tip Appreciated Dear Tip the Waitstaff, Not the Cows, Unfortunately, we go to press the week prior to Election Day, so any predictions are pretty much going to be stabs in the dark. I can say with some certainty that somewhere around half the voters will be saying, “I can’t believe they elected that guy,” or else the other near-half will be saying “I can’t believe they re-elected that guy.” The same proportion will be saying either, “At least the voters finally came to their senses,” or “What the heck were the voters thinking?!” However, ALL the voters will be saying, “Thank God election season is over.” So maybe now those political ad geniuses can drop the seasonal specialty of political ads and get back to their generic line – hawking the suitability of matchmaking services. It’s the same courtship ritual of TV viewers, minus the scary music and snarky remarks. Dear Cosmo, I couldn’t believe that Jerry Sandusky still insists he’s innocent, and that the trial was all a big conspiracy to get him. There’s still the question of what the rest of the administration did. They might
Dear Just Us Ex-Cons, I don’t rely on crystal balls – just the factory-issue ones. They’re sturdier. I’m afraid this package can’t be opened until well after Christmas. Who can say what the outcome will be, whether it will be just, or whether it will even make sense? I read a saying that could relate to your faith in justice: “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” And I really must take offense at your saying the administrators are not Boy Scouts. You’re talking about Penn State’s LEADERSHIP. You should be comparing them to Boy Scout leaders. Dear Cosmo, What’s the story with all the car insurance ads on TV? If the economy is so bad, why would people be worrying about insurance? Or cars? Are the insurance companies hurting for business so badly that they have to advertise so much? Signed, Sick of Car Insurance Dear Carsick, As you kick the tires of the economy, maybe you should also look under the hood to see how it actually works. Insurance companies are not advertising because they’re hard up for money. They’re turning
Cosmo, pg. 37
On prison reform: Facts and conclusions by Greg Brown Contrary to hysterical popular belief reinforced by mindless action movies and other entertainment fiction, violent offenders make up the great MINORITY of incarcerated criminals. Granted that they are so thoroughly outnumbered, dangerous inmates should therefore be relatively easy to manage and control in theory. However, given the generally dysfunctional nature of the US prison system into which they've been cruelly shoehorned, their behavior is neither completely manageable nor entirely predictable, even with expert administrators and qualified professional guards. Everybody, cons and staff alike, is forced to coexist as best they know how within a fatally flawed institutional setting. Jerry Sandusky is no doubt a horrible excuse for a human being —but NO ONE "deserves" to be raped and possibly murdered, particularly as state-sanctioned "moral" retribution for his crimes. In a nation of laws and (supposedly) due process like the USA, such an outcome would constitute torture, not to mention cruel and unusual punishment. If Sandusky experiences the same fate as say, Jeffrey Dahmer did in 1994 for many of the same reasons, that unfortunate-forus-all event will merely serve to confirm the following five essential truths: 1) There are some particularly repugnant criminals who are instinctively despised even by other violent criminals. In natural accordance with the demoralized system of values characterizing America's gang-dominated convict communities, mob bosses and cop killers are especially highly regarded in prison. Not so child molesters, who usually don't last very long in the general population without major incident. Imprisoned pedophiles are routinely relentlessly harassed, often mercilessly beaten, and not infrequently raped— all by individual or likely multiple assailants. It is currently estimated that more than 300,000 incarcerated Americans, over 98 percent
of them male, are sexually assaulted EVERY YEAR. 20 percent or more of men entering United States prisons or county jails can expect to be raped (often repeatedly) during their term of sentence. For perspective, that's 7.5 TIMES greater than the number of American military service personnel killed (58,138) in the entire Vietnam War during the 10 long years of US involvement there. And jailed child molesters are sometimes murdered—child killing cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer and disgraced pedophile priest John Geoghan spring immediately to mind, though there are countless other such victims documented in every state of the Union. 2) Most violent criminals were set upon their life's path because they were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused as children, which understandably perverted their values for all time; as adults they are frequently rabidly homophobic. Consequently, once such shattered personalities end up behind bars, they tend to strongly resent pedophiles ("short eyes") as the worst of the worst in their prison's social hierarchy, fully as bad as informants ("snitches")—and, much like on the outside (but exponentially more serious due to the claustrophobic pressure cooker conditions they live under), some will do anything up to and including murder to rid their environment of these especially "dirty" criminals existing so closely and inescapably in their midst. 3) The United States is so pathetically shortsighted, draconian, and behind the times in the realm of criminal justice (especially sentencing and incarceration) — that all too frequently it can't even manage to keep its own citizens safe and alive IN PRISON. Some 7,000 or more Americans die in US prisons and jails every year —from natural causes, serious diseases left untreated (such as AIDS, which is rampant among convicts), undiagnosed mental disorders, murder by fellow inmates, and suicide
(mostly prison rape victims and drunk tank habitués). Many of these deaths are preventable, and represent a manifest failure of both correctional security and healthcare — inhumane unconstitutional bureaucratic
lawbreakers go in — but only rarely is any serious sustained institutional effort made at genuine rehabilitation anymore. Fast forward a bit and you observe newly-minted hardened ultraviolent psychopathic
Statistics on Incarceration in the United States of America: The following readily verifiable conservative relevant statistical information, which come mostly from our own Federal Government (Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Justice Statistics, etc.), are several years out of date, but supremely mind-numbing nevertheless. More recent figures, where they've been reported, are trending notably worse. • The United States alone, supporting a paltry 4.5% of the world’s population, incredibly warehouses ONE QUARTER of all the world's prisoners. Over 2.3 million Americans (greater than 1% of our population) are currently incarcerated in the USA. That's by far the highest prison inmate percentage of a country's citizens on Planet Earth — well ahead of vastly more populous Russia or China, not to mention numerous sizable Third World police states (totalitarian dictatorships) across the globe. The total US prison population is in fact larger than that of the 35 most densely populated European countries COMBINED. • America currently imprisons its citizens at a rate that is FIVE TIMES the
international average; we have the highest incarceration rate on the planet. The USA's federal prison population has drastically risen in recent decades, more than DOUBLING since just 1995; our total inmate population has increased by a staggering 500 PERCENT since only 1980 (1000% since 1970). Meanwhile during this same period, our domestic murder and robbery rates have been cut in HALF (presumably mainly because the population is aging). So how come we're now putting more of our citizens in jail than ever ?! • Currently in the United States, 1 out of every 31 adults (3%) is either in jail or prison (2.3 million) or on parole or probation (5 million). That amounts to conservatively 7.3 million Americans under correctional supervision. The total number of US citizens accountable to the American corrections system is the highest in the world. It even exceeds the combined prison populations of the Soviet Union and China at the height of the Cold War Communist Era. Extrapolating the current rate of growth of our domestic corrections industry, by 2030 fully 15 PERCENT of the American people will be under direct supervision by police
administrative neglect at its very worst. And what in fact became of incarcerated pedophile priest Father John Geoghan ? He was housed in "protective custody" (like Jerry Sandusky is now), but was murdered in 2003 by a fellow inmate—who lived right alongside him in, you guessed it, "protective custody". 4) Anger, ignorance, and hate don't fix anything. Traditional American prisons function as a supremely effective training school for up and coming sociopaths. Poor uneducated emotionally ravaged young
criminals being released right back into the degenerate urban or rural subculture from whence they originated. What was the most important and valuable lesson they learned during their years away at Crime College ? Next time, don't leave any witnesses. Arizona's infamous racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his supremely unenlightened "cuff 'em, stuff 'em, then forget about 'em" breed in all 50 states are blindly intent upon punishment and retribu-
Reform, pg. 36
tion, not earnestly attempting to rehabilitate convicts into solid productive citizens where possible. So nothing really
changes or significantly improves in prison or out in the world most of the time, and America's perpetual cycle of societal violence continues unabated. 5) Pernicious twisted individuals like Jerry Sandusky, demonstrably too danger-
and/or prison authorities. So without sweeping substantive effective changes undertaken in short order—the "land of the free and the home of the brave" can look forward in the very near future to becoming a de facto prison colony and police state. Some constitutional representative democracy we'll have then, you betcha. Racial Inequality in the US Justice and Prison Systems: Black Americans account for slightly over 10 percent of the total United States population—yet nearly 50 PERCENT of the total convict population currently serving time in the USA. One out of every 11 African-American men and 1 out of every 27 Hispanic men reside in US prisons or jails compared to 1 out of every 80 Caucasian men. One in seven (actually 6.6) black males between the ages 20 to 34 is behind bars in America. ONE THIRD of all black American men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. African-American men are TWICE as likely to spend time in jail during their lives as they are to earn a bachelor’s degree. Blacks are involved in
less than 9 percent of domestic crimes but have the highest annual conviction and incarceration rate of any other group in the country. Blacks and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched during traffic stops than white motorists. African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times more likely to experience the use of force during encounters with police. Nearly 5,000 of our country's own citizens have been executed in American jails over the past 80 years, some of whom were later proven innocent. As Amnesty International has observed, no genuine democracy should be in the business of "legally" murdering its own citizens, even the guilty ones —because murder is the principal method police states utilize to silence protest. Revolving Door Justice— Recidivism Rates: 67.5 percent of all individuals released from prison are rearrested within three years, generally for felonies or serious misdemeanors. Over a 20 year period, 82 PERCENT of all ex-convicts wind up back behind bars.
Reform, pg. 35
Overdue, pg. 34
action plan after hearing about the Sandusky allegation. The plan included informing the board chairman of Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, child welfare services, and to speak with Sandusky. After Curley spoke with Paterno in late February, 2001, the plan changes.” Though we don’t know why “the plan changes,” these excerpts do not necessarily indicate a cover up on Paterno’s part; they may indicate Curley’s reservations in moving forward on Paterno’s conscientious advice. Joe Paterno, though enormously iconic, is one man, and other conspirators in this cover-up, such as Gary Schultz, Tim
Curley, and Tom Corbett, whose office was investigating Sandusky a decade ago, are escaping the media’s guilty gavel. As Dr. Bérubé wrote, “The Sandusky scandal is a criminal matter. It is not an opportunity for those of you who hate college football to opine about the evils of college football.” We’ve crucified JoPa in Jerry Sandusky’s case because Paterno embodies the greatest symbolism for our university and in the process of nailing him to the crosshairs of journalism, we’ve diminished our greatness, our culture, our pride, and our sense of reason.
ous to remain at large, belong in maximum security psychiatric institutions where they can possibly be treated, not some standard or supermax jail. Once society takes away a criminal's freedom (which is arguably the worst fate we can bestow upon him), must we invariably also find it necessary, both in prison and after, to rob him of his remaining humanity as well? If you consistently treat even ex-convicts like criminals, they will consistently react like criminals. No wonder the great majority of newly-released prisoners can't cope on the outside without soon resorting to outlaw behavior once again, and usually end up right back inside The Gray Bar Hotel. In America, the recidivism (return) rate for convicts who've done their time and been released stands at a disgraceful 82 percent. Other nations manage far more positively impressive correctional statistics than those outlined in Part One. Why can't the United States? Bottom line fact is, we can--provided enough American citizens want that outcome badly enough to work for it. An enlightened humane prison system would make everyday existence both in and out of jail astoundingly physically and psychologically easier for us all. So what's the holdup ?! The proverbial ignorance and apathy of the citizenry, naturally. Most Americans are unaware how thoroughly destructive current laws and corrections policies are to the safety, comfort, and
stability of their society, and seem disinterested in learning. Apparently content with or resigned to life in their longstanding but steadily crumbling siege mentality culture . . . they don't know, and they don't care. Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." In the 150 years since, surprisingly little in our country's long-trumpeted traditional system of values has fundamentally changed for the better. The same tired old simplistic solutions to our increasing social problems don't work any better now than they used to, and cumulatively leave us even worse off. The basic quality of American life has in fact declined over the last couple generations—though by no means solely due to our recently struggling economy. In that historically brief time period, the United States has begun to actively degenerate into a demoralized, selfindulgent, opportunistically criminal culture. "We have met the enemy — and he is US !", to quote Walt Kelly's insightful vintage Pogo comic strip. When you largely ignore many of your society's urgent major public issues for several decades on end—by and by those relentless problems inevitably fester, then worsen, eventually start to seriously threaten overall social stability (like now), and then ultimately overwhelm. NEXT MONTH: “Solutions”
November 2012 from
Cosmo, pg. 34
Credit: Peter Morris
Voices does not endorse any candidate
Solution, p. 39
enough profit that they can afford to advertise heavily. And TV time is expensive, so they must be turning an extra tidy dollar to be able to support that heavy a habit. They’re not foraging, they’re feasting! I must say, though, it seems like they’ve really skimped in the jingle department. Maybe there’s just nothing all that compelling to sing about when it comes to insurance, and the whole field is just a creative desert. Maybe there are no words to describe the importance of insurance or any expressive devices to exalt the good feelings that stem from the security that insurance brings. Or maybe they’re just economizing on frills like lyrics to their theme songs. Consider the evidence: The muse obviously took the day off with Safe Auto’s
account. Words simply don’t do justice to their pitch: “bah dah dot-dot daaah, Safe Auto!” The same can be said for Twentyfirst’s spokesmime who is a throwback to the bald-headed Tide guy putting clothes in a washer and making knowing, exaggerated facial expressions, except he’s armed with a jumpsuit and a hardhat and smashed up cars instead of dirty laundry. Another company at least put the brand name first, so that probably reflects some kind of marketing strategy, but then they kinda ran out of gas in the descriptive department: “We are Farmers’! Bump a dump-dump, dump dump dump!” What’s the difference between the insurance racket and the Pennsylvania lottery? Not much. They both encourage us to “keep on scratchin’.” Flea collars are cheaper.
dissoi logoi: from the Greek; “arguing all sides of an issue.” This is a new feature of Voices’ opinion section. If you have ideas for future themes, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Balance by Andrew Timberlake-Newell Arguments on various sides of immigration typically rely on empathic appeals or staking claims on the past. All those make fine sounds bites for bringing an audience to a debate or firing up voters, but for rationally determining policy they’re a distraction at best. We must look to what we need for the future. To maintain and ideally improve our common prosperity for existing citizens and new immigrants alike, we need growth balanced with stability. More than most other factors, demography pushes economic growth. So long as most other factors remain more or less steady, extra people to feed, clothe, shelter, and supply with goods means more commerce. Nations with dwindling population growth, such as Japan, find their economies naturally stalling. Many pundits talk about Japan’s “lost decade” as if it were the result of some sort of massive national mistake. But given their long slowed, recently peaked, and now declining population growth, it was almost certain fate. With population slowing to decline, any positive level of economic growth stops being a default and instead becomes a monumental achievement. Our own economic growth is fueled in large part by our population growth. Yet as our previous waves of immigrants achieve greater affluence (often partially on the backs of the latest immigrants), each set adopts the American Dream. That dream includes rising expectations for our children, which means fewer children so we can give each one more and better of everything. Our longer established citizens typically have lower birth rates, sometimes not even up to the replacement rate needed to keep population steady. For growth, we depend upon incoming immigrants both for the new arrivals directly and for the chance
that the latest wave will not immediately adopt smaller family size but likely produce more children for a generation or two. In order to keep our economy growing by conventional means, we need a steady flow of immigrants. Yet while we typically benefit from population growth, we need to keep the other factors steady or growing, especially wages. Too many workers in specific industries can suppress wage growth, limiting our expansion of affluence. Ideally, we
Facilitate by Mike Hill An estimated twelve million people live in America today who are here illegally. Our chronic levels of unregistered aliens have effects both good and bad on our nation every day, by straining infrastructure, stimulating the economy and even, depending on your perspective, stealing jobs from legal citizens and registered
Issue: Regulating immigration should always be accepting in a mix of workers that fit the layout of our industrial and commercial needs. Where we have a shortage in one industry, we should offer preference in immigration to those applicants who have the needed skill set. Where we have an industry suffering from unemployment, we should strictly limit the number of immigrants we allow to add to such a glut to only some few that we might let in for strict humanitarian reasons. For instance, if we have massive unemployment in home construction, it wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors to add potential immigrants skilled only in home construction so that they could join the ranks of the unemployed. Whereas if we have a shortage of midwives or EMTs, the more midwives or EMTs we can convince to come our way the better. In order to even attempt to match up our labor needs to our immigration flow, we need to have both our immigrants and seasonal migrants coming and going through proper channels of application and documentation. In order to balance growth with stability, we need to encourage legal immigration yet reduce the flow of illegal immigrants so that we can match incoming skill sets to
Balance, pg. 39
aliens, or filling in the cracks of the labor force for hours and wages no one else would touch. The intertwinings between our illegal residents and our economy alone are too complex and deep for a simple solution to work. Even if we magically gained the ability to deport every illicit resident of America at once, we would only cause serious economic turmoil at a time when we need it least, and the only sure result would be an incoming tide of immigration to pick our fruit, clean our hotels, groom our lawns and perform all the other tasks where they've learned to compete and thrive. At the same time, a simple amnesty is a gimmick solution with temporary results, as Ronald Reagan's immigration reform program proved in the 80's. Instead, a comprehensive solution is needed, one that's tailored to a fair and just resolution of a situation that every single person in America believes to be unfair and unjust, one that benefits America, an America with millions of new citizens and millions of registered foreign workers. There's no doubt, it's a buyer's market for labor in America today. But even when the economy's booming, there never seems to be enough money to pay fruit pickers or day laborers something that Americans are willing to consider a “living wage” on a
regular basis. As a result, illegal alien labor has found its way into the foundations of American agriculture and industry, providing a low-cost work force that generally performs our dirtiest, most thankless jobs. Stripping these millions of laborers out of our labor force willy-nilly would cause calamity. Instead, we should harness the traditional American economic engine of cheap labor that allows the vast majority of these laborers to stay. At the very least, we must be willing to provide millions of green cards – many of the unregistered are here purely for economic reasons – along with a path to citizenship for those whose desire and commitment to America can be made plain. We must also accept that we'll be issuing visas to spouses and children so that families no longer suffer the hardship of separation. We can effectively dry up the influx of new illegal immigrants by legalizing those already here and allowing them to continue on, largely as before. The primary differences are that all of them will be registered, and all of them will pay their fair share of taxes and contribute fully to supporting the infrastructure whose use we all share. Many unregistered aliens are already paying taxes through the use of fraudulent social security numbers, but many are simply off the books. Those who cannot prove they've been paying their taxes will need to pay a financial penalty. Felons should be imprisoned and/or deported to their homelands. But at the same time, we should provide a fast-track to immigrants who've already spent years learning the art of being Americans. Studies indicate that Hispanic immigrants, for example, are assimilating as quickly into the fabric of America as the Italians or the Irish before them, and quicker than some groups, like the Amish or
Facilitate, pg. 39
Balance, pg. 38
our needs. This balance will not happen so long as we have a schizophrenic system that depends upon a flow of migrant workers for labor needs yet doesn’t foster sufficient legal options, acceptance, and recruitment for such migrant workers. The solution we implement must expand our guest worker options to bring in temporary migrant workers for seasonal labor and shifting industries, or else we hamstring
Facilitate, pg. 38
Orthodox Jews. Many undocumented residents are ready to be citizens, as ready as anyone could be, given their years of intimate experience with America. Those who are willing to go the extra step, prove their sincerity with service to America, should receive a twelve-month path to citizenship. Methods could range from military service, emergency service employment or even aiming at a bachelor's degree in hard sciences. The rest should have a longer and more arduous path, one that presents every chance for success but that isn't terribly attractive, at the same time. A multi-year path to citizenship that includes increased tax burdens should dampen the ardor of future would-be illegal aliens, and harsh fines for those found to employ undocumented workers in the future should curb business's thirst for cheap labor. In Pennsylvania, many of our ancestors followed a similar path. It's easy to forget
our farms and factories by robbing them of seasonal and temporary workers for projects unsuited to the longer term employment that would appeal to citizens. Meanwhile our immigration system should keep a constant pulse of sector by sector employment and adjust to accept more permanent immigrants where we need more and fewer where we need less … but always at least enough to keep the steady growth that avoids the demographic hurdle of declining population that has been so hard for Japan. that Western Pennsylvania's first white settlers were violating both English law and treaties the English had signed with various Native American nations, leading up to the time of our country's independence. Between now and then, Pennsylvania's been a hotbed of bootlegging, tax evasion, abolitionism, pacificism, heavy industry, bootlegging again, professional wrestling, baseball and football. Texas was founded by immigrants who got out of hand. Oklahoma still celebrates the “Sooners” who snuck out to stake out their land before the starting gun. There's no reason to expect today's immigrants to follow a different path, if only we give them the opportunity here, now, in America, the land of opportunity, where we have a gigantic statue raising the lamp of liberty, freedom and prosperity. Let us fulfill not a policy based on fear and division but rather one based on America's great traditional virtue. Let us open up that golden door, just a hair wider.
Whitey Blue on Schlow by David Silverman I was talking the other day to Whitey Blue, longtime Centre Region resident and hard-nose. Whitey, have you been following the discussions and voting on Schlow Library funding? “I certainly have and I have a solution that would end all debate on the issue.” That would be great! What is it?
“Close it down! With all the on-line info available, public libraries are passe!” What about people who can’t afford the equipment and on-going cost to get on line? “Those people are also passe. Just a bunch of doddering old fools and losers who can’t even comprehend what they read!”
Hark, Juliet cat sits upon her window, yearning for Voices: “Parting is such sweet sorrow. That I shall say good night till it be morrow.” Never fear, Juliet, Voices will be back next month.
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The November 2012 edition of Voices of Central Pa, Artists and Depression, 2012 election candidates, Pennsylvania elections, Ferguson Townsh...
Published on Oct 31, 2012
The November 2012 edition of Voices of Central Pa, Artists and Depression, 2012 election candidates, Pennsylvania elections, Ferguson Townsh...