Disability and Elderly Issues

Covid 19 impasse: Why architects need to know how a member of the US Congress must be expelled by the end of the month and how that relates to building emergency housing at a time when its absence is deadly and dangerous

“A nation divided against itself cannot stand,” Abraham Lincoln said in New York City in a speech that many believe resulted in his receiving the hotly contested Republican nomination

Whatever do Congress’s rules to your architecture practice? Seek and you shall find. Until then, trust be that this is relevant: “The Constitution empowers both the House and the Senate to expel a sitting Member who engages in “disorderly Behaviour,” requiring a two-thirds vote of those present and voting in the chamber to which the Member belongs.”

Screenshot by Joel Solkoff

The substantive issue here is the question of whether poverty leads to crime (as Rep. Cortex believes as opposed to Rep. Ted Yaho of Florida who assets that cause is irrelevant police must be given the resources and authority to put down crime.

The contrast between these two positions has become a major political issue in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, currently in jail charged with second degree murder. The non-violent protests and the very violent rioting that has dominated the landscape of cities in America this spring and summer. This protest in the wake of Covid-19 deaths in Detroit showing that blacks in Mic die from the virus at three times the rate of whites has focused on the importance of constructing emergency housing so the most volunerable in our society preventably do not conract the virus, spread it, and die from it.

Having worked as a political appointee to President Jimmy Carter, a consultant to Congress, and a speech writer to Democratic and Republican Chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission, I can tell you that in Washington DC if you want to get things done rarely is the shortest distance between two points a straight line.

In a House floor speech, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., details the offensive comments used by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., during a Monday incident outside the Capitol.This is my second posting today of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’ speech on abuse of civility and power by a fellow member of Congress who is obliged by the rules of the House of Representatives to treat his colleagues, including Ocasio-Cortez with courtesy and respect.This is the nearly 11 minute version of her speech under the Capitol dome–a speech that will appear for generations– a model of correct behavior in a time when being controversial does not mean one being uncivil. Thanks to CSPAN the obscenity hurled against her is heard rather than blipped out as in the shorter ABC version.Rep. Yoho;s failure to act like what I regard as how a man should behave falls short. I request that the Speaker introduce expulsion proceedings against Rep. Yoho.Readers please react instantly, Go to your representative in the House’s website, enter your nine-digit zip code in her or his contact form and demand a vote to expel a member of Congress who refuses to be a gentleman. You do not have to agree with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to be appalled by how she has been treated.

Disability and Elderly Issues

Rain: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

“Boy, I got vision. The rest of the world wears bifocals.”

— Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy ( written while I am wearing bifocals.)

”All I know is John Wayne don’t run away.”

John Wayne once granted me a telephone interview on his experiences with cancer. For those readers too young to remember [a concept that defies imagination], John Wayne (nicknamed The Duke) was an Academy-Award winning actor who appeared in 142 movies. His cowboy and other macho roles served as an icon for my generation on how a real man is supposed to behave.

This is a column about fear. Miriam- Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines fear as, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” Fear “implies…loss of courage.” I am familiar with the fear that comes from:

Having an oncologist look up from my pathology file and say, “There is no doubt about it. You have cancer.”

Sitting for hours in radiation waiting rooms as my fellow patients look at each other and wonder who will live and who will die.

Experiencing the side effects of radiation slowly burning my spine and resulting in the odd experience of standing at a jogging track ready to run (forcing myself to run) and being unable to do so.

Being unable to walk across a room without falling—I once fell in front of a prospective employer three times during a job interview.

I cannot go from my bed to the bathroom without transferring to a power chair. I know about courage and my lack of it, about appropriate and inappropriate anger and the need to put my past behind me and be human—not a cripple; human. Here in my apartment in State College, I recognize my New Year’s resolution must be to behave (to excuse the sexist expression) like a Man.

Twenty-one years ago I was an arrogant journalist writing an article for The New York Times on the emotional effects of surviving cancer. At the time, society was still pondering such questions as whether it was a good idea to tell patients that they had cancer. Doctors thought it prudent not to disclose likely side-effects. The newspapers, examining the statistics on cancer mortality, featured headlines on the failure of the War on Cancer. By doing so, the media had masked the remarkable progress being made especially among children and young adults. At a time when my mother refused superstitiously to say the word cancer out loud, spelling it letter by letter, parents of cancer survivors had trouble conveying the reality that when a child has cancer it need not be a sentence of death.

I was not sufficiently savvy to realize that the vagaries of life were mirrored in the familiar vagaries of journalism. As I later learned, the chief editor of the Times’ Magazine made it a practice to reject the first draft of every free-lancer. Wendy Moonan, my immediate editor, wanted my revision to include an interview with John Wayne. Wayne had lung cancer and since 1964, despite the objections of his business managers, he served as a spokesman for the American Cancer Society. His commercials, which featured a pitch for early detection, were model John Wayne sounding essentially like someone who would shoot you without pause if you did not immediately send a check, which many viewers did. Wendy warned, “You cannot tell him where you got this telephone number.”

I dialed. John Wayne [JOHN WAYNE!] answers the phone and says, “Unless you tell me where you got my phone number, I am going to hang up on you.” I turned in my editor without a moment’s thought.

Two weeks after the doctors removed Wayne’s lung, he was back at work making a movie. “I jumped into a river with handcuffs on in January…and that was tough. It kept me from developing a protection which I thought I needed but which I didn’t need.” I replied that my experiences with cancer left me with unresolved feelings that were getting in the way of living my life. He dismissed the idea that I should, as he put it, feel sorry for myself. John Wayne said, “The thing to do is just try your damndest without telling anyone else about it.”

For its own reasons, The Times published my first draft which did not include the Wayne interview (making this a Voices exclusive). Less than a week later, I was on Good Morning America feeling sorry for myself for a brief moment of public acclaim. Less than a year later, Wayne died of stomach cancer. Today, I still remember his advice with reverence, despite the fact that I detested Wayne’s politics. In February, I plan to discuss:

  1. The wisdom of John Wayne
  2. How to implement that wisdom here in Centre Country to help reduce fear among our disabled and aged population.

(Our community’s considerable private and academic emotional counselors are invited.)