Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

On chanting Isaiah 61:10 to 63:9

                                                                                                                                                    בה
Isaiah, prophet eighth century, as painted by Michelangelo (1475-1564)

“I greatly rejoice in the Lord,”

begins the formal portion of Isaiah which I am scheduled to chant in Hebrew on Saturday September 28th, the day before Rosh Hashana. [1].

This is the Hebrew:

שׂ֧וֹשׂ אָשִׂ֣ישׂ בַּֽיהוָ֗ה

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This is how the first three verses of this Isaiah portion sounds when  Sarah Leah, my sister, sang them to help me prepare.

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What follows are these verses in Hebrew and English.These are the first verses from the Isaiah haftorah [1] reading on the day before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish calendar  New Year Year [2].

This is the first line of the selected reading. Unlike English that reads left to right, Hebrew reads right to left. This is an indication the Hebrew is a very old language. When language was first written, it was carved on stone. Since most workers are right handed,…
As a child of six, I was taught Hebrew in the morning and English in the afternoon. This happened for the first eight years of elementary school. Then, in high school, more Hebrew— compulsory after school Hebrew which I often resisted followed by one year of college Hebrew.
To this day when I am handed a book all too often I open it up without thinking. All to frequently, I open up an English book the wrong way and then pa Hebrew book the wrong way. When that happens, I feel maladjusted.

 

Later, I will discuss the considerable age of the Hebrew text which by tradition was dictated to Moses on Mount Sinai. This text has been handed down in written form for hundreds of years by and from generation to generation. The original draft contains occasional errors which are not corrected lest the instinct to correct might lead  to unwanted consequences. Instead, when a mistake does appear it’s correction appears immediately afterward in brackets. Here is an example from this haftorah.

[Insert example here.]

The Jewish Publication Society is responsible for the English translation. My mother Dr. Miriam Pell Schmerler helped in the Jewish Publication Society’s historic efforts in the late 1950s and early 1960s to produce an historically accurate translation of the Old Testament incorporating modern archeological findings and Biblical scholarship.

When I was a child, beginning at age 8, I attended working sessions of the translation efforts at summer sessions at Penn State, Cornell University, and Westchester County, NY.
While there I met some of the experts in global scholarship including experts, such as Zeev Vilnay, who wrote a classic travel guide to iIsrael which incorporated Biblical scholarship. When I was in Jerusalem in 1967, I attended his high brow Saturday afternoon teas.. All my life, willing or not through childhood and adolescence, the Bible has always been with me.

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Query

When was the last time you exalted? Or even used the word “ exalt?” This is the most beautiful and sophisticated poetry I have ever read in any language. Reading these words causes me to exalt. Learning the musical notes is hard sledding.

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How should I begin?

Ancient Eastern wisdom suggests one should begin as one would proceed.  My goal here is to invoke in you the sense of beauty and awe the prophet Isaiah invokes in me as I prepare to read/chant it at my new and wonderful synagogue Congregation Ohev Shalom ( lover of peace) here in my new home of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

In February, I moved here as a refugee from Addison Court, a de facto nursing home in State College. For over 10 years, this was the view from my apartment.

Earlier this year, my neighbor and friend John Harris lamented the death of a dear friend who seemed indispensable to our happiness. John observed that in the past calendar year 13 of his friends had died–many our neighbors.
On the average of once a week, by the estimate of the State College police, an ambulance pulled up to my window At any time, day or night, I could expect to see outside my window, a gurney carrying one of my neighbors who might already be dead or who might never return. Much of last year and the year before I was ill unable to leave my bed for more than four hours a day. No doubt this distressing view contributed to my illness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the third floor view from the balcony of the residential hotel where I live–surrounded by residents of multiple generations (children, parents, truck drivers,workers–not all my neighbor for a change are old, neglected, focused seemingly entirely on their poor health.
Daily I see this ever-changing/ever-beautiful view of the sky and mountains and it has helped me get well after serial bouts of pneumonia. I feel about this view and its ability to make me well much as I feel when reading the astonishingly beautiful Hebrew poetry of Isaiah.

 

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This is the first line of the selected reading. Unlike English that reads left to right, Hebrew reads right to left. This is an indication the Hebrew is a very old language. When language was first written, it was carved on stone. Since most workers are right handed,…
As a child of six, I was taught Hebrew in the morning and English in the afternoon. This happened for the first eight years of elementary school. Then, in high school, more Hebrew— compulsory after school Hebrew which I often resisted followed by one year of college Hebrew.
To this day when I am handed a book all too often I open it up without thinking. All to frequently, I open up an English book the wrong way and then pa Hebrew book the wrong way. When that happens, I feel maladjusted.

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[Editorial note: In the course of producing this posting, I must use multiple computers for reasons Marshall McLuhan might understand. As a result, it is easier for me “publish” this now with the firm intention of returning and completing. Hurry back, now, hear.]

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Footnotes

1. Haftorah. Wikipedia:

“The haftarah or (in Ashkenazic pronunciation) haftorah (alt. haphtara, Hebrew: הפטרה; “parting,” “taking leave”), (plural haftoros or haftorot) is a series of selections from the books of Nevi’im (“Prophets”) of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice.

“The Haftarah reading follows the Torah reading on each Sabbath and on Jewish festivals and fast days. Typically, the haftarah is thematically linked to the parasha (Torah Portion) that precedes it. The haftarah is sung in a chant (known as “trope” in Yiddish or “Cantillation” in English). Related blessings precede and follow the Haftarah reading.”

My reading/chanting from Isaiah follows a reading from Deuteronomy, the last of the five Books of Moses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How a 10 cent increase in the minimum wage put me on page one of the Centre Daily Times

Note: Sunday, September 9, 2012, State College, PA 5:57 PM, EDT.  My friend Philip Moery is fond of quoting William Faulkner’s observation, “The past is never dead.  It’s not even the past.” This observation became trenchant yesterday when I received a post from Scott W., who, like me, is a member of a lively discussion group on politics. Scott W. sent group members an article for comment entitled, “Why the Minimum Wage Doesn’t Explain Stagnant Wages.”

As it turns out, I have a part-time job at Penn State‘s virtual reality laboratory for the construction industry where I am paid a minimum wage out of funds provided by Experience Works,  a U.S. Department of Labor program for disabled and elderly individuals.

As my sister Sarah Schmerler points out, brevity is not my strong suit. I will delay additional comments on  the subject until you have the opportunity to read the story which appeared on page one–indeed the event taking place on a slow July news day, it was not only an above-the-fold front page story, it was the lead story in the Centre Daily Times published in State College PA. The occasion was the increase in July 2009 to $7.25 cents an hour. Reporter Nick Malawskey asked me how I felt about earning an additional 10 cents an hour. Below is the story as published.

While interviewing me, I told Nick about that marvelous song, “7 1/2 cents” from the musical comedy The Pajama Game. The Pajama Game, which first appeared on Broadway in 1954 and became a Doris-Day-starring movie in 1957–a movie I vividly remember but understandably before Nick’s time. After the article appeared, I emailed Nick the MP3 of “7 1/2 cents” which I had purchased on iTunes, but sadly the Centre Daily Times’ email system limited the bandwidth of emails to reporters. What with one thing and another, Nick never had the opportunity to hear the song.

For your  pleasure, here is Doris Day on YouTube:

The following is the lead story that appeared on Friday, July 24, 2009 of the Centre Daily Times (known locally as “The CDT“). Readers are encouraged to subscribe to the hard-copy version of the CDT not only to learn when, if ever, I receive another 10-cent an hour increase in pay. Also, the CDT has been covering in detail the aftermath of the child molestation scandal at Penn State, the largest employer in the county. This scandal has thus far hit Centre County with greater force than a 9.o earthquake on the  Richter Magnitude Scale.

After the article, see Afternote.

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Friday, Jul. 24, 2009

MINIMUM WAGE

Workers praise 10 cent increase

Nick Malawskey

STATE COLLEGE — While most companies are scaling back on annual raises this year, about 15 million Americans will receive at least a small bump in pay today when the federal minimum wage increases to $7.25 an hour.

In Pennsylvania, the wage increase will amount to only 10 cents an hour for the roughly 200,000 people who earn the standard. That’s because Pennsylvania raised its minimum wage above the federal standard to $7.15 per hour two years ago.

But those living on the margin say every little bit helps.

In Centre County, the region’s largest employer — Penn State — said the increase will affect about 240 of its part-time workers.

They include Joel Solkoff, who works part-time at the university through Experience Works, an employment training program for older or disabled Pennsylvanians.

“I guess there are two sides to it,” said Solkoff, a 61-year-old technical writer. “One is that any increase in income, especially if you make as little as I do, is appreciated.”

Solkoff, who is disabled, uses his monthly earning to supplement his Social Security income while building skills he hopes will land him a permanent job.

“The other aspect of it is that one hopes that the work that you’re doing will be appreciated,” he said. “And the encouragement that comes from getting a little more money in your paycheck is very much appreciated. It serves as an inducement for me to continue doing this, so I can get out in the marketplace and find a job that gets me off Social Security.”

Penn State said the wage hike will increase the university system’s payroll costs by only about $15,000 a year.

Relatively few county workers are affected, with most convenience and retail stores reporting they already pay workers more than the minimum wage. The county’s second largest employer, the State College Area School District, said none of its 1,100-plus workers will be affected.

Still, not everyone welcomes the increase.

“Wage hikes always cause a spike in the unemployment rate, and with the country in the middle of a recession, businesses are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Kristen Lopez Eastlick, a senior research analyst at the Employment Policies Institute in Washington, D.C. “The economy will continue to hemorrhage entry-level jobs unless legislators stop this summer’s minimum wage hike from happening.”

Despite the increases, the federal minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation.

David Passmore, with Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development program, said the gap between average and minimum wage pay of nonsupervisory workers has grown remarkably since the 1970s.

“When you take in the erosion of purchasing power through inflation, the so-called ‘real’ minimum wage has declined by one-third since 1968,” he said in an e-mail.

Passmore said the effects of an increase in the minimum wage are often complex.

“In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that 8.9 percent of the workforce were affected by a minimum wage increase in 2009 amounting to 7.8 percent of wages,” he wrote. “At the same time, the minimum wage increase is estimated to have brought about an 0.37 percent increase in production costs (fuel, capital, labor) and a 0.25 percent decrease in Pennsylvania employment.”

Solkoff has a different perspective.

“Minimum wage is supposed to guarantee that those people on the lowest part of the ladder will be given a wage that is minimally fair — high enough to support life and so on,” he said, adding that in his case, it will help pay the rent, buy a few extra cups of coffee at Webster’s — and, he said, help support the economy.

“That’s going to be economic stimulus money that I will be helping the economy out with,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not saving that 10 cents.”

Nick Malawskey can be reached at 235-3928.

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Afternote: During the Carter Administration (where I earned considerably more than minimum wage), I served as Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of Labor Robert J. Brown for whom I wrote several speeches on the minimum wage. Jimmy Carter would never have been elected President without the support of George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO. For those who remember the power of organized labor to affect national policy, George Meany remains sui generis. In writing about the minimum wage, I was loyal to Meany’s insistence on the significance of the minimum wage in preserving a floor for a national standard of living and for defending other legislation such as the Davis-Bacon Act providing a more-livable “prevailing wage” which helped  women and men working on federally funded projects become members of the middle-class as a result of their hard work. [Permission to use Time Magazine’s marvelous cover is requested.]

Even with the best of intentions, Walter Shapiro, whom last I heard was a columnist for USA Today, originally brought me in to the Labor Department to write a minimum wage speech for Secretary Ray Marshall. With the assistance of Tom Connoly, my drumming instructor, who also is helping me organize my files, I plan to locate the speech Walter and I wrote on the minimum wage which resulted in unanticipated consequences. Don’t leave this site; a copy of the speech with a story to go with it will be coming soon.

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Navigating

Oh, a storm is threat’ning/ My very life today/ If I don’t get some shelter/Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away/

–“Gimme Shelter” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

The site has two central parts:

I. The theme

II. Digressions (anything not related directly to the theme; for the purpose of the site my daughters Joanna and Amelia [you may ask “You really regard your family as a digression?), my stories, essays, career achievements, poems, and other flights of fancy and whimsy are off message.

Now and then being a nerd, as I am, can get in the way or as the Tibetan Book of the Dead notes sometimes you (by which I mean I) become so intense that the intensity becomes “intense pride, and the pride turns into an ice-cold environment which reinforced by self –satisfaction begins to get into the system. It does not allow us to dance or smile or hear the music.” At the risk of not hearing the music, I will leave you, dear reader, to find order in Diversions as you will. Right now, the task at hand is the order the theme.

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Navigating the theme: No shelter from the storm

  1. Where do I want to go?

To a neighborhood which must be developed to serve as a global model for providing independent living so elderly and disabled individuals can age in place.

  1. What would the neighborhood consist of?

a)      It would consist of an experimental residence for an individual or an individual family. The example of the Blueroof Experimental Cottage in McKeesport, PA is a good example. The cottage consists of a one story residence built on inexpensive land in a downtown burned out section of town where rotting buildings could be razed and a community developed.

b)      The individual residence could be built out of factory housing (the fashionable term for mobile home) where sensors and other off-the-shelf technology can be embedded in the walls to monitor and protect the resident. Including building the foundation, each residence can be constructed in three days.

c)      Technology in the residence would include:

  • Security system to protect elderly and disabled residents in high-crime areas such as exist throughout the Rust Belt of Pennsylvania—where the neighborhood would gradually change to a family friendly area attracting economic growth.
  • Motion detectors to monitor falls throughout the residence, especially high risk areas such as the shower.
  • Computer voice simulation which combined with a wireless communication system can have, in effect, the walls of the building calling family or other emergency services for help.
  • Monitoring devices to detect, for example, whether the refrigerator has been opened and to call for help after an adjusted period of time. Example of a computer generated call, “Hello, your grandmother has not opened her refrigerator in over 24 hours. You might want to look in on her.”
  • Remote medical monitoring, including taking blood pressure and other health measurements and transmitting the results automatically to a physician’s office.
Blueroof”s trial pill dispenser which monitors whether the resident has taken each required pill and after computer simulated warnings, reports failure to do so.
  • Computer terminals and other equipment to provide the resident with job training (one is never too old to learn) and work opportunities from home.

d)      A research facility at a major university, such as Penn State, where the Immersive Construction (ICon) lab develops a 3-D model of the experimental model so stakeholders can suggest design changes.

 

Stakeholders would include:

  • Prospective residents of future neighborhood (or elsewhere) housing
  • Members of the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) community
  • Caregivers

The research facility would also be able to process data collected at the experimental facility, such as remote medical monitoring and activities of daily living (ADL) so future construction can benefit.

e)      Creation of an inter-generational accessible community with shopping, recreation, and other services which make a community a community.

Stay tuned for further navigational aids which link posts on this site to the issues raised here and which answers the question: Why is creation of a new kind of neighborhood (with a variety of other options to be presented) so critical to dealing with the housing shortage throughout the world as the largest generation in history begins to retire in an environment where a previous generation of elderly and disabled individuals (including, of course, veterans) are so poorly served at a great expense to society and at a loss of dignity among people whose talents are not being developed adequately.]

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I tell you love, sister, it’s just a kiss away/ It’s just a kiss away….

–“Gimme Shelter” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nU4aiqvyt4&feature=watch_response

Report by former FBI director Louis Freeh’s on the scandal at Penn State

Beaver Stadium where Penn State plays football at home

The following Executive Summary, Findings and Recommendations are six pages from the downloadable 267 page:

Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the Actions of  The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse committed by Gerald A. Sandusky

[Note: The Board of Trustees of Penn State hired former FBI director Louis Freeh’s firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, (FSB) LLP, (with offices in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Wilmington Delaware), to conduct this report. Freeh said, “In performing this work, we adhered faithfully to our original mandate: to investigate this matter fully, fairly, and completely, without fear or favor. We have shown no favoritism toward any of the parties, including the Board of Trustees itself, our client.” The New York Times reported: “In an investigation lasting more than seven months, Louis J. Freeh, a former director of the F.B.I., found a legendary football coach bending his supposed bosses to his will, a university staff that was mostly unaware of its legal duties to report violence and sexual abuse, and a university president who hid problems from the board of trustees and was guided by a fear of bad publicity.”

[Louis J. Freeh is a former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and a former federal judge. At the FBI, one of the investigations he conducted was of the 1996 explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800 killing all 230 persons on board shortly after it took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport. “FSS has an unmatched ability to provide key strategic counsel to obtain optimum results for its clients in myriad situations, including those requiring resolution of complex litigation-related issues, creative and practical crisis management solutions, or judicious and effective interaction with the most senior foreign and domestic government officials,” according to its website.

[“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State, ” Judge Freeh said in remarks introducing the release of the report on July 12, 2012. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”]

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On November 4, 2011 the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (”Attorney General”) filed criminal charges against Gerald A. Sandusky (”Sandusky”) that included multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with minors and endangering the welfare of minors. Several of the offenses occurred between 1998 and 2002, during which time Sandusky was either the Defensive Coordinator for The Pennsylvania State University (”Penn State” or ”University”) football team or a Penn State professor Emeritus with unrestricted access to the University’s football facilities. On November 4, 2011, the Attorney General filed criminal charges against the University’s Athletic Director (”AD”) Timothy M. Curley (”Curley”) and Senior Vice President Finance and Business (”SVP-FBh”), Gary C. Schultz (”Schultzh”) for failing to report allegations of child abuse against Sandusky to law enforcement or child protection authorities in 2002 [This date was later determined by the Special Investigative Counsel to be 2001.] and for committing perjury during their testimony about the allegations to the Grand Jury in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in January 2011.

On June 22, 2012, a Centre County jury in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania found Sandusky guilty of 45 counts of the criminal charges against him. As of the date of this report, the charges against Curley and Schultz have not been heard by the court.

The criminal charges filed against these highly respected University and community leaders are unprecedented in the history of the University. Several senior University leaders who had knowledge of the allegations did not prepare for the possibility that these criminal charges would be filed. In the days and weeks surrounding the announcement of the charges, University leaders (referred to on campus as “Old Main”) and the University’s Board of Trustees (“Board” or ”Trustees”), struggled to decide what actions the University should take and how to be appropriately transparent about their actions. The high degree of interest exhibited by members of the University community, alumni, the public and the national media put additional pressure on these leaders to act quickly.

On November 11, 2011, the Trustees formed the “Special Investigations Task Force (“Task Force”) of the Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University” and selected Trustees Kenneth C. Frazier and Ronald J. Tomalis to lead its efforts. On November 21, 2011 the Task Force engaged the law firm of Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP (”FSS”) as Special Investigative Counsel, to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the criminal charges of sexual abuse of minors in or on Penn State facilities by Sandusky; the circumstances leading to the criminal charges of failure to report possible incidents of sexual abuse of minors; and the response of University administrators and staff to the allegations and subsequent Grand Jury investigations of Sandusky. In addition, the Special Investigative Counsel was asked to provide recommendations regarding University governance, oversight and administrative procedures that will better enable the University to effectively prevent and respond to incidents of sexual abuse of minors in the future.

The Pennsylvania State University is an outstanding institution nationally renowned for its excellence in academics and research. There is a strong spirit of community support and loyalty among its students, faculty and staff. Therefore it is easy to understand how the University community was devastated by the events that occurred.

FINDINGS

The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment, there was no ”attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct except as related to preventing its re-occurrence on University property.”

Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University–President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child’s identity, of what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001.

These individuals, unchecked by the Board of Trustees that did not perform its oversight duties, empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and
football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University’s facilities and affiliation with the University’s prominent
football program. Indeed, that continued access provided Sandusky with the very
currency that enabled him to attract his victims. Some coaches, administrators and
football program staff members ignored the red flags of Sandusky’s behaviors and no
one warned the public about him.

By not promptly and fully advising the Board of Trustees about the 1998 and 2001 child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky and the subsequent Grand Jury investigation of him, Spanier failed in his duties as President. The Board also failed in
its duties to oversee the President and senior University officials in 1998 and 2001 by
not inquiring about important University matters and by not creating an environment
where senior University officials felt accountable.

Once the Board was made aware of the investigations of Sandusky and the fact
that senior University officials had testified before the Grand Jury in the investigations,
it should have recognized the potential risk to the University community and to the
University’s reputation. Instead, the Board, as a governing body, failed to inquire
reasonably and to demand detailed information from Spanier. The Board’s overconfidence in Spanier’s abilities to deal with the crisis, and its complacent attitude
left them unprepared to respond to the November 2011 criminal charges filed against
two senior Penn State leaders and a former prominent coach. Finally, the Board’s
subsequent removal of Paterno as head football coach was poorly handled, as were the
Board’s communications with the public.

Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley gave the following reasons for taking no action to identify the February 9, 2001 child victim and for not reporting Sandusky to the authorities:

  • Through counsel, Curley and Schultz stated that the ”humane” thing to do in 2001 was to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague but troubling allegations. According to their counsel, these men were good people trying to do their best to make the right decisions.
  • Paterno told a reporter that ”I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”
  • Spanier said, in his interview with the Special Investigative Counsel, that he never heard a report from anyone that Sandusky was engaged in any sexual abuse of children. He also said that if he had known or suspected that Sandusky was abusing children, he would have been the first to intervene.

Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, the Special
Investigative Counsel finds that it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid
the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University–Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley– repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Universityfs Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.

The avoidance of the consequences of bad publicity is the most significant, but not the only, cause for this failure to protect child victims and report to authorities. The investigation also revealed:

  • A striking lack of empathy for child abuse victims by the most senior leaders of the University.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE, ADMINISTRATION, AND THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN UNIVERSITY FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS

From the results of interviews with representatives of the University’s Office of Human Resources, Office of Internal Audit, Office of Risk Management, Intercollegiate Athletics, Commonwealth Campuses, Outreach, the Presidentfs Council, Faculty Senate
representatives and the Board of Trustees, and benchmarking similar practices at other large universities, the Special Investigative Counsel developed 120 recommendations for consideration by University administrators and the Board in the following eight areas:

  • The Penn State Culture
  • Administration and General Counsel: Structure, Policies and Procedures
  • Board of Trustees: Responsibilities and Operations
  •  Compliance: Risk and Reporting Misconduct
  • Athletic Department: Integration and Compliance
  • University Police Department: Oversight, Policies and Procedures
  • Programs for Non]Student Minors and Access to Facilities
  • Monitoring Change and Measuring Improvement

These recommendations are detailed in Chapter 10 of this report, and include several that the Special Investigative Counsel recommended to the Board in January 2012. The recommendations made at that time were designed to assist the University in  preparing for its upcoming summer programs for children. These steps should assist the University in improving structures, policies and procedures that are related to the protection of children. Some of these recommendations will help the University more fully comply with federal and state laws and regulations dealing with the protection of children. Other recommendations support changes in the structure and operations of the Board, or promote enhancements to administrative processes and procedures. Most importantly, the recommendations should create a safer environment for young people who participate in its programs and use its facilities.

One of the most challenging of the tasks confronting the Penn State community is transforming the culture that permitted Sandusky’s behavior, as illustrated throughout
this report, and which directly contributed to the failure of Penn State’s most powerful
leaders to adequately report and respond to the actions of a serial sexual predator. It is
up to the entire University community – students, faculty, staff, alumni, the Board, and
the administration – to undertake a thorough and honest review of its culture. The current administration and Board of Trustees should task the University community,
including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and peers from similar institutions and outside experts in ethics and communications, to conduct such a review. The findings from such a review may well demand further changes.

 

Old Main, Administration Building at Penn State

 

Today is Bloomsday

State College, PA, June 16, 2012, across Beaver Avenue from Webster’s Bookstore and Café where next year [not in Jerusalem, but at Webster’s] Bloomsday http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomsday
will be celebrated properly]:

Next year, Webster’s proprietor Elaine Meder-Wilgus will be reading the role of the sensuous Molly Bloom whom Joyce deliberately paralleled to Homer’s Penelope.

“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.”

This is the first sentence of Ulysses, James Joyce’s novel, first published in 1922 and for 15 years banned in the United States as obscene.

U.S. Postal Authorities prevented its distribution in one instance burning 500 copies.

The Committee on College Reading, endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of English and the American Library Association, recommends Ulysses as one of the 100 most significant books in the world.

Today, Joyce’s novel about one 24 hour-day in Dublin, June 16, 1904, is being read aloud throughout the world–all 265,000 words.

Depending on the size of the print, as many as 1,000 pages are being read out loud today, including here in Pennsylvania where Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library houses the famous first edition published in Paris by Shakespeare & Company.

Today, say No to banning books; Yes to great literature; Yes again with Molly Bloom as she says in the last words of Ulysses, “…yes I said yes I will Yes.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_(novel)

James Joyce

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“Twenty years have passed,” writes the authoritative Joycean critic Stuart Gilbert in 1950, “since the appearance of the Study of Ulysses of which this is a new…edition…and among many notable events of these two decades one of the most interesting, from the literary point of view, was the lifting of the ban on the admission of Ulysses into the English-speaking counties. In the original Preface to my book I said: ‘In writing this commentary I have borne in mind the unusual circumstance that, though Ulysses is probably the most discussed literary work that has appeared in our time, the book itself is hardly more than a name to many….”

Consequently, in his discussion of the novel, which at one time was so hard to obtain that New York University’s smuggled copy was chained to a table in the main library lest it be stolen, Gilbert provides extensive quotations. In the last chapter entitled Penelope, the name Homer gave to Ulysses’ famously loyal wife, Gilbert discusses Molly Bloom’s soliloquy that ends the novel.

Gilbert writes,” [T]he force of this long, unpunctuated meditation, in which a drowsy woman’s vagrant thoughts are transferred in all their named candour of self-revelation on to the written record, lies precisely in its universality….”

Gilbert continues, “The concluding pages, a passage of vivid lyrical beauty…are at once intensely personal and symbolic of the divine love of Nature for her children, a springsong of the Earth; it is significant for those who see Joyce’s philosophy, nothing beyond a blank pessimism, an evangel of denial that Ulysses ends on…a paen of affirmation.”

Gilbert then quotes Joyce’s Molly Bloom saying to herself:
I love flowers Id love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven theres nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing them the beautiful country with fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is as for them saying theres no God I wouldnt give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning….yes I said yes I will Yes.”

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Listen now to  Marcella Riordan read the last 50 lines of Ulysses as your heart thumps with joy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sEOK0En6Pk

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Joyce selected June 16th as the 24-hour day during which all the action in Ulysses takes place because it was the date of his first date with Nora Barnacle who became his wife and was always his muse.

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This surprisingly sexy, mind-opening book by my one-time editor Brenda Maddox is terrific.

[Aside, in 1984, my friend Jonathan Miller, as I was about to leave for China, told me he would publish an interview on the telecommunications plans of the Beijing Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications if I could somehow get an interview. Jonathan and Brenda were editing a joint D.C. Telecommunications Daily/London Economist publication. When the interview turned into a series of articles, Brenda was an excellent editor. At the time, Brenda was also working on this biography of Joyce’s wife, long regarded by distinguished Joyce scholars as an extremely dull woman. Jonathan had read the book proposal, envied the size of the advance (as did I), and marveled at Brenda’s ability to track down erotic letters between Nora and James Joyce. When I finally read Brenda’s book, she was able to open up Ulysses for me in a way that finally opened up the pleasure of reading the great novel which had previously seemed so intimidating. ]

This is how Amazon describes:

Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom

http://www.amazon.com/Nora-Real-Life-Molly-Bloom/dp/0618057005

Publication Date: June 16, 2000
“In 1904, having known each other for only three months, a young woman named Nora Barnacle and a not yet famous writer named James Joyce left Ireland together for Europe — unwed. So began a deep and complex partnership, and eventually a marriage, which endured for thirty-seven years.
“This is the true story of Nora, the woman who, transformed by Joyce’s imagination, became Molly Bloom, arguably the most famous female character in twentieth-century literature. It is also the story of Ireland, a social history encapsulated in the vivid recreation of Joyce and his small Irish entourage abroad. Ultimately it is the portrait of a relationship — of Nora’s complicated, committed, and at times shocking relationship with a hardworking, hard-drinking genius and with his work.
“In NORA: THE REAL LIFE OF MOLLY BLOOM, the award-winning biographer Brenda Maddox has given us a powerful new lens through which to see both James Joyce and the woman who was in turn his inspiration and his salvation.”
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Next year, Events Coordinator Molly Haight will be working with the Director of 2013 Bloomsday at Webster’s.

Molly is currently accepting email applications for the position of Director of 2013 Bloomsday at Webster’s at the following address:[email protected]

We are looking for a faculty member in the English Department at Penn State sufficiently familiar with the 18 episodes of Ulysses who will:

  1. Provide audiences with a brief overview of each episode before reading begins
  2. Organize the readings
  3. Recruit readers
  4. Designate a preferred edition so readings can take place smoothly
  5. Be prepared for the gratitude and adulation of the Webster’s literary community
At next year’s Bloomsday celebration, Cafe Manager  Meg McAuley will be dancing to your table with Irish tea and real Pennsylvania cream plus lots of wonderful Irish soda bread. Special orders for kidneys will be taken at the appropriate time.

Right now, Robbie Mayes has just received a shipment of James Joyce scholarship, really juicy books.

Next year, film lecturer Anne Triolo will be in charge of all video arrangements. You saw her win on Jeopardy, imagine what she will do in her own metier.

Until “met him pike hoses” (metempsychosis) [“Yes. Who’s he when he’s at home?”], watch this selection from the 1967  movie Ulysses:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQcrVND-N8o

Webster’s on the web:

http://www.webstersbooksandcafe.com/

Webster’s on the map:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=webster’s+state+college&fb=1&gl=us&hq=webster’s&hnear=0x89cea899c13bdb73:0x9ce1c6c2833c8091,State+College,+PA&cid=0,0,4409987300851388285&ei=pB_dT8HkAoSE8QT-roH_Cg&sqi=2&ved=0CA4Q_BIwBQ

This is how Bloomsday is observed in Dublin.

 

Celebration of the Use of Virtual Reality to Improve Housing for the Elderly and Disabled

University Park, PA.  On Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 10a.m. Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering and its Smart Spaces Center for Adaptive Aging in Community celebrated progress made in a coordinated effort to reduce the cost of housing for Pennsylvania’s elderly and disabled residents today and in the future.

The celebration took place at the virtual reality Immersive Construction (ICon) Laboratory. The celebration:

  1. Demonstrated the use of full-scale 3-D virtual models on large display screens for evaluating cost-effective designs to allow for aging in place. The animated model, based on the Blueroof  Technologies housing initiative in McKeesport, PA, is the work of graduate student Sonali Kumar. The virtual reality approach allows for an avatar to enter the wheel-chair accessible cottage and evaluate tasks such as making coffee in a kitchen to appropriately design for residents who desire housing where they can grow old without having to move to a costly institution.
  2. Allowed participants to meet the leaders of Blueroof Technologies in McKeesport, PA using a live video connection.  Blueroof is using prefabricated housing with embedded sensors for improving user interaction with their residence.  The environment can inform a resident when to take medication, monitor for falls (then, call 911 if the resident slips in the shower and does not get up), and provide televised links to medical facilities reducing routine medical care cost.
  3. Show the work of the Computer Integrated Construction Research Program, directed by John Messner, associate professor of architectural engineering,  focusing on the application of advanced computer modeling to improve the design, construction, and operation processes for buildings.
  4. Present the work of architectural engineering students  trained in using 3-D experienced-based design.  Virtual modeling is rapidly becoming an important tool for the construction industry, providing the ability to make changes in health care and other facilities before construction actually takes place.
  5. Provide an opportunity for residents of Addison Court, a State College independent living facility for elderly and disabled individuals, to see what the future will bring and serve as critics who can use their life experiences to aid in the design process.
  6. Highlight the work of  Penn State’s Smart Spaces Center, directed by Richard Behr, who leads an interdisciplinary effort to address the needs of the rapidly increasing number of baby boomer Americans who wish to age successfully in their own homes.
  7. Recognize contributions made by the Raymond A. Bowers Program for Excellence in Design and Construction of the Built Environment, the Smart Spaces Center, the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence, and other private and public organizations working with Penn State to improve life for Pennsylvania’s elderly and disabled.
  8. Using a scooter from Amigo Mobility, Blueroof will begin to experiment on how to help residents with mobility disabilities make better use of the technology around them. The Amigo scooter will have an iPad 2 and other remote devices so residents can turn the lights on and off and perform other functions without leaving the chair.
After Florida, Pennsylvania has the highest per capita of elderly of any state in the union. Not all news about health care costs is bad news. Come learn about some of the good news.
Computer Integrated Construction Research Program:
Immersive Construction Lab (ICon Lab):
Smart Spaces Center:
Immersive Construction Lab
306 Engineering Unit C
University Park, PA 16802

Saving Medicare billions: Trying too hard can get in the way

Ambulance parked in front of my bedroom window waiting to pick up a neighbor

Today is Sunday, February 26, 2012.  I took the photograph above last week. My apartment is within an eight-story building housing 90 low-income elderly and disabled individuals, an ambulance parks outside my window at least once a week. Sometimes my neighbors and I return. Sometimes, not. The cost for Medicare, Medicaid, and other services to go on the gurney ride to the hospital and beyond is many times higher than the cost of preventing and treating.

The following article appeared in the October, 2011 issue of  HME News and it still reflects an ongoing concern. Following the article, I will provide a memorial note on one of the residents who did not return.

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The money saved as a consequence of concentrating on what is right will astonish the body politic

” I have saved up enough pills to kill myself,” a neighbor told me, “if I ever have to go to Centre Crest.”

I live in an independent housing apartment building in downtown State College, Pa. The nearly 100 residents of Addison Court are disabled or elderly. Most of us are poor–the more affluent are on Social Security or Social Security Disability and Medicare.
At least once a week, the ambulance stops by my window and a resident goes off to the hospital. The lucky return. The not-so-lucky move on to Centre Crest, the default public nursing home about 11 miles away, where assisted living means expensive round-the-clock care, diaper changes, attachment to machines that keep the biological aspects of life going, medical personnel who make sure medications are taken correctly, and a world view that echoes Dante’s inscription over Hell: “Abandon hope, ye who enter here.”
Last year, Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging estimated it costs Medicare $40,000 extra each year for a resident to move from an independent living to an assistive living facility. The loss of dignity to the individual is incalculable.
The French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre observed that when one tries especially hard to listen, often the trying gets in the way of hearing. Medicare is trying too hard to do the wrong thing. Medicare‘s purpose is not to save money, but to provide health care in a way that concentrates on improving the quality of life. Recent evidence on the brain’s adaptive capacity provides hope that not only can individuals resume physical capacity from the devastation of a variety of afflictions that affect us at Addison Court, but also we can regain our talents to improve this society, not simply take from it.
“The Brain that Changes Itself, Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science,” by Columbia University’s Norman Doidge, M.D., points to the brain’s ability to recover from strokes and other disorders with rehabilitation and concern.
“Traditional rehabilitation,” Doidge writes, “typically ended after a few weeks when a patient stopped improving, or ‘plateaued.’ And doctors lost the motivation to continue.  But…these learning plateaus were temporary…Though there was no apparent progress in the consolidation stage, biological changes were happening internally, as new skills became more automatic and refined.”
The Obama administration’s penny-wise-and-pound-foolish cutbacks on availability to durable medical equipment, rehabilitation services, and home health care are forcing residents of independent living facilities into the Centre Crests of this country. For example, the narrow focus is apparent in Medicare‘s frequent citations of the Congressional Budget Office‘s competitive bidding estimates of relatively insignificant savings for Medicare Part B ignoring the astronomical costs that will result to Part A when disabled individuals like me can no longer pick up the phone and call my local medical equipment provider. Instead, I must wait for a competitive bidding winner (several have unsavory reputations and some are based out-of-state) to provide a battery. Delays could easily force me into Centre Crest as a result of falls, problems getting to the bathroom, etc. Delays would rob me of the ability to work as an adviser on virtual reality models for construction of future aging in place housing–construction which will result in significant Medicare savings.
Medicare is discouraging the necessary alliance between rehabilitation therapists and medical suppliers. This alliance will help restore the ability of my fellow residents to function and contribute to society.
“Individuals with disabilities remain one of our nation’s greatest untapped resources,” said Rep Jim Langevin, D-R.I., the only quadriplegic in Congress. To release the untapped resources of the elderly and disabled, Medicare must stop thinking about saving money and start thinking about improving health. The money saved as a consequence of concentrating on what is right will astonish the body politic. Providers of durable medical equipment require the support of consumers like me. Providers and rehabilitation therapists have been slow to recognize that in unity there is strength. Together they must spread the word that when an individual becomes old or disabled, science is rapidly increasing the ability to regain talent and good health.
–Joel Solkoff is the author of “Learning to Live Again, My Triumph over Cancer” and is adjunct research assistant at Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering.
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Memorial Note: Tonight, November 14, 2011, Jack Seidner aged 93, my neighbor and friend at Addison Court, State College. PA, died while talking to his son who had called from Israel. He died at Centre Crest, an assistive care facility in Bellefonte, PA, 11 miles from Addison Court.
Jack was a veteran of World War II and was a monthly calendar boy on the Jewish War Veterans calendar last year  He will be buried beside his wife in Harrisburg at a private funeral.
Jack was a wonderful man. He was basically an intellectual although he hid it as much as possible. When I wrote a story about home medical oxygen, oxygen which he received to stay alive, he refused to be photographed saying, “I have been studied enough.”
His sense of humor was ever-present, sometimes to the point of reciting bawdy limericks to the residents of Addison Court. I will miss him. He died at Centre Crest. The article below, originally published in HME News on September 27, 2011, is dedicated to his memory. In these days of turmoil at Penn State University, the need to care for the real needs of this community should be apparent.