Divernan's Journal - Archives
I was retired and doing pretty well until the 2008 economic debacle wiped out nearly all of my savings/investments. Now I am over 65, with 3 degrees, and scrambling for anything to make enough money to pay my property taxes and hang on to my modest home. For two summers I worked the sweltering streets of this country as a census worker. Couldn't find anything for the last 14 months but then got a "casual employee" status job with the Post Office. This involves working overnight shifts on a factory floor of a distribution center, with ear-splitting noise from monstrously large sorting machines, and my shoving around pallets (on casters) with 600 lbs. of packages on them. I end my shift barely able to walk.
I was hired in November for a nominal 89 day period. That means it would not be classified as seasonal employment. However, my job ends the week after Christmas, (if my body will hold out that long) so practically it IS seasonal employment, despite being counted in the stats as "a real job!"
The pay? A munificent $11 an hour. It takes 4 gallons of gas plus turnpike tolls to commute to the job each night.
There are people as old as 80 working this job - believe me, no one would do this kind of mind-numbing, back breaking work if they were not desperate for income.
So don't let the head-in-the-clouds defenders of the Great Leader, lightly dismiss "people who are retired" as if they're just working for a lark, or a little extra pocket change.
My god, it is pathetic to see the elderly working at physical labor jobs. Every damn one of our politicians and corporate board members should be forced to work night shifts, 7 days a week, and THEN let them spew their crap about raising the eligibility age for Social Security or Medicare! Easy for someone sitting at a computer and getting paid to whore for politicians, to post garbage that since life expectancy has increased, we should raise retirement ages. The facts are that people are living longer but in poorer health, and particularly people whose work involves physical labor are NOT able to keep going into their 70's.
Czar Nicholas & Czarina Alexandra listened enthfalled to their advisor, Rasputin and never heard the crowds marching through the streets of St. Petersburg and massing at the gates of the Winter Palace.
Louis the XVI was similarly clueless and ineffectual at responding to the demands of his impoverished subjects.
We thought we elected a progressive democrat, but we got a wanna-be monarch.
Of COURSE the DA didn't prosecute (this was in 1998, in relation to Victim Six in the Grand Jury report). He was a politically elected DA in a tiny county where the only major employer was Penn State. He did what he was told to do by Penn State. Penn State and its huge alumni group wields tremendous power in the state. Penn State actively lobbies every single state legislator, and a highlight of the legislative calendar is the annual football weekend in Happy Valley, where the legislators who choose to attend (nearly all of them) are royally wined and dined. Harrisburg is the state capitol, and the saying is, "The road to Harrisburg goes through Happy Valley".
From what I know, having practiced law in Pennsylvania, and worked for a major private university and the state legislature, I confidently expect that the following happened. Anytime the campus police are called in, even for a minor problem, a report goes to the university administration. In a serious case such as sexual assault of a minor child, head of security is immediately in touch with an administration VP, who immediately alerts the univ. president. In Penn State, Paterno has more clout than the Univ. President & happened to be the one who contacted a high level administrator. Cover-up and damage control immediately ensued.
Campus police would definitely have known about the state's mandated reporting law, i.e, to the Dept. of Public Welfare, but ignored it (as was pointed out in the Grand Jury report). The campus police conducted the investigation, rather than turning the matter over to the University Park police (where Penn State is located) or the state police, who are called in in such matters if local law enforcement cannot handle the matter. It hasn't been made clear yet at what point the Centre County DA was brought into the picture. We have several thousand local govt. towns/boroughs in PA. Hundreds are so small they have no police force and rely on the state police, or have a two man force who make Barney Fife look like Columbo.
A statement has been quoted in PA media that the campus police asked the DA not to prosecute. It appears that a deal was struck between the DA and Penn State. Remember, we're talking about the 1998 incident - some 13 years ago. At that time, the campus police discovered another 11 year old boy who had also been molested in the Penn State showers by Sandusky. So at that point Paterno knew of two children sexually molested by Sandusky.
What happened was that Sandusky was allowed to continue coaching through the 1998 football season, which extended into 1999 when Penn State played in the Alamo Bowl. As to this bowl game, according to testimony in the Grand Jury report Victim no. four, was taken (across state lines) to Texas, and listed as a member of Sandusky's family. Texas is now investigating this matter. After the game, Paterno called Sandusky in and told Sandusky that he/Sandusky would no longer be Paterno's successor as head coach. Sandusky later told Victim Four this. Victim Four described Sandusky as being emotionally upset(i.e., surprised & blind-sided) by the meeting. Clearly, Sandusky thought he was home free from the 1998 incident since he was actively sexually abusing/seducing Victim 4 within months & flaunted it in Paterno's face by bringing this child to the Bowl game.
What Paterno evidently ALSO told Sandusky at this spring of '99 meeting was that Sandusky could retire with his pension or be fired. Sandusky negotiated terms of his "retirement" which allowed Sandusky to continue having an office, phone, email, etc. on the campus, as well as access to the sports facilities, including the infamous showers. Most damning of all, as far as I'm concerned, is that Sandusky was allowed to continue running summer youth football camps on Penn State branch campuses, trading on Penn State's and Paterno's (then) good names, and thereby having a huge pool of potential victims for his pedophelia.
Penn State is a football empire with a university attached. It's a + $70 million a year business. And here in the good ole' US of A, it's all about the profit and the power.
Bellefonte, Centre County- Adding to the media storm in Centre County Tuesday, officials said a temporary protective order was filed in the county's prothonotary's office against Jerry Sandusky on behalf of his grandchildren. A woman who answered the phone at the civil court office would only say that an order had been filed. When asked if it was for protection of one of Sandusky's grandchildren, she would only reply it was for all of them.
Comment following Pennlive article linked in OP:
Once again, Tom Corbett lets the people at the top off the hook. Only this time, the world is watching.
"Paterno wasn't charged, but if Sandusky is guilty he would be guilty," writes Mike Wise of the Washington Post. "Joe Pa knew, if the charges are true. They all knew. And they never told police."
"The chief question is this: If Curley, Schultz and Spanier believed it was no longer appropriate to allow Sandusky to bring children onto the Penn State campus – an act that suggests some concern over his behavior – how could they possibly believe his actions didn’t warrant a full police investigation?" Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports asks.
Inquirer columnist Bob Ford: Joe Paterno is done.
The Post-Gazette's Gene Collier: It's truly staggering that these professional academics -- including Paterno -- when faced with an allegation so serious and so sanctimoniously mishandled by the Catholic church almost simultaneously, somehow knew only the wrong thing to do.
Around the country, everyone wants to know: if Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz are charged for failure to report a crime, why aren't Paterno and Spanier?
Welcome to Pennsylvania, and Tom Corbett's Office of Attorney General.
Paterno and Spanier aren't charged for the same reason Speaker Sam Smith wasn't charged in "Computergate." The same reason LeRoy S. Zimmerman wasn't charged in the Hershey Trust scandals. The list goes on.
The reason is that Tom Corbett's OAG simply doesn't charge the truly powerful and influential. (Until and unless he absolutely has to in order to protect his political career)
Joe Paterno, millionaire, friend of George H.W. Bush and father of Republican congressional candidate Scott Paterno - does anyone really think Corbett's OAG in a million years was going to charge that guy?
No, Corbett's OAG only charges public figures who are already unpopular, whose guilt the public already is predisposed to believe.
While the sports pundocracy sees heinous crimes in Paterno's and Spanier's failure to act upon their mere knowledge of a crime, no one seems bothered by Smith actual participation in crimes.
Smith signed the checks that paid for illegal software contracts, sat in on meetings about their use, was included on emails about the progress of the illegal scheme.
The case against Jerry Sandusky makes it clear that Paterno and Spanier knew about Sandusky's crimes and never reported them, and an outraged public demands to know why they're not arrested. The Computergate and case reveal far more culpability from Smit, but no one even notices, much less cares.
For ten years I worked for a state legislature and met almost daily with lobbyists. I quickly learned which ones were operating on a shoe string and had nothing to offer but sound reasoning and factual support for the legislation they requested, and which ones lied through their teeth to misrepresent their profiteering clients and brought in the pre-drafted legislation in one hand and the campaign donation checks in the other hand. The bright dividing line was clearly between the charitable and public interest groups like Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood, and the profit-driven special interest groups representing either individual corporations or business interest groups.
Do you feel supporting Obama requires you to trash the Sierra Club, of which I am a member, and Planned Parenthood?
The topic of this thread is that Obama has played games to appear to reject lobbyists, but in reality is still taking money from the Big Interests' lobbying arms. We are against his holier-than-thou, hypocritical stance on lobbying.
No one has said that all lobbyists are bad, or the same.
If you are thinking of adopting a dog, please consider one of the older dogs.
"When you brought me home, you said I would be your baby forever. You gave me all the toys and love I could have ever asked for. After you had two-legged children, I had to take a back seat, but that was OK because they gave me the love and attention that you no longer had time to give me.
Now you have brought me here. You told them that you can no longer keep me. You said that I am falling down and cannot walk, or was it that I have suddenly become aggressive? You have given so many excuses that I can't remember what you said today. Who do you think you are fooling? No one believes your lies. I have grown old, and I have changed just as you will one day. Why are you being cruel to me? Is this my reward for giving you all my love and devotion? Have you thought about what you are teaching your two-legged children?
It is strange that a dog that yesterday could not walk, today can run and play with the other homeless dogs. It is ironic that a dog that yesterday was so aggressive today gives love to everyone who comes to visit. We both know that you lied to excuse your callousness in dumping me when I got too old. I hope that one day you will realize the pain and anguish I suffered when I was suddenly abandoned by the only family I had ever known.
I gave you the best years of my life only to be thrown away without a second glance like yesterday's garbage. You soothe your conscience by telling yourself that you did what was best for me, but you know that is a lie. It was what was easiest for you! Very few people want to adopt an old dog. Lucky for me that the Rescue has said that I can live the rest of my life in their home just as if it were my own.
I just thank god that the Rescue knew that you were lying, and the truth was that I was cramping your style. When you grow old and feel the pain and sorrow of being neglected or abandoned by your children because you cramp their style, remember that your children are just following your example. You have taught them well!
(Permission is granted to reproduce this story giving Harlequin Haven Great Dane and Saint Bernard Rescie credit as the source.)
I happened across the above and thought it was worth sharing. I know older pets need extra care and often very expensive medications. I just picked up an insulin Rx refill for my rescue cat this afternoon, for $117. That's going to require some number crunching on my budget, for sure. But with his meds, my cat has a very good quality of life.
I know that in today's economy, many jobless people have had to give up their pets - and it's been heart breaking for them. Whether pets end up in shelters or pounds because of callous owners, like the ones described above, or impoverished owners, the fact remains that there are many, many loving animals in need of adoption. So if you or anyone you know is talking about/thinking about adding a pet to their household - maybe as a Christmas gift to their kids, please-please-please talk them into visiting a shelter or pet rescue facility to find a dog or cat.
And if there are people on your Christmas list who really don't need another electronic gadget, or perhaps kids who have a lot of toys already, give a gift to an animal shelter in their name - a great way to teach kids the real meaning of Christmas.
“While the natural gas industry has advocated for, and has been granted exemptions from key environmental regulations, it has racked up countless violations of the rules that do apply to them, and has been questioned about the validity of their gas production forecasts. Yet the subcommittee nonetheless suggests that natural gas producers should play a large role in ensuring that hydraulic fracturing operations do not endanger consumers or natural resources by providing the public information about shale gas production and adopting industry-wide ‘best practices.’
“Just last week The New York Times reported that players within the natural gas industry helped bury evidence produced by the Environmental Protection Agency that hydraulic fracturing had, contrary to industry claims, contaminated drinking water supplies. How can we trust the industry to show ‘leadership in improving environmental impact’ when it has actually gone to great lengths to cover up its detrimental impacts to public health and natural resources? Much like the hearings it convened in the months leading up to the study, which mainly reflected the views of the natural gas industry and policymakers, this study downplays the concerns of those affected by fracking—communities that have been turned into sacrifice zones at the expense of the natural gas industry’s desire to turn a profit.
“While the report recommends allowing the natural gas industry to create a new national organization to police its own practices, it proposes leaving protection of public health and the environment to ‘each relevant jurisdiction.’ We know that industry has gone to great lengths to influence local governments, and even greater lengths to avoid culpability at a national level. Why should we let the industry police itself while leaving localities to fight for themselves?
“Moreover, we are extremely disappointed that federal involvement in this matter will focus on providing money to the natural gas industry for research and development to help greenwash their practices, rather than removing exemptions from key environmental regulations. The federal government should be taking an active role in protecting consumers and the environment from hydraulic fracturing, not throwing money at a destructive and unprofitable industry.”
Scientists from 22 universities in 13 states voiced their concerns over the partiality of the panel, which they claim is “performing advocacy-based science.” As the letter outlines, 6 of the 7 panel members still have strong financial ties to the oil and gas industry, like the panel chairman John Deutch, who received more than $1.4 million from two leading gas companies, Chinere and Slumberger between 2006 and 2009 alone. Deutch currently sits on the board of directors at Chinere.
As such, the group worries that the panel will in fact “serve industry at taxpayer expense rather than serving President Obama and the public with credible advice.”
The letter is reminiscent of a July 13 letter signed by 109 community and environmental representatives also asking for the Secretary’s reconsideration of panel members due to their “substaintial financial ties” to the industry.
Both letters make the specific and base demand that John Deutch step down from the panel.
The panel, handpicked by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, is directed to investigate the safety of shale gas development and to make recommendations for both improvements to the process as well as ‘best practice’ strategies that can act as recommendations to relevant agencies.
The 41-page report makes clear the conviction that the current state of distrust surrounding the gas industry is bad for business. The industry, the panel suggests, needs to become more transparent, well-regulated and engaged. “And industry response that hydraulic fracturing has been performed safely for decades rather than engaging the issues concerning the public will not succeed.”
Despite the panel’s recommendations to make the gas production process more transparent to the public, there is still a strong industry back-bone running throughout the report’s body. Weighing the pros and cons of shale gas production against environmental risks is of no interest to the panel. Oh, the drilling will happen, they say, but we need to also “give the public concrete reason to believe that environmental impacts will be reduced and well managed on an ongoing basis, and that problems will be mitigated and rapidly corrected, if and when they occur” and so on and so forth.
The committee leaves this responsibility largely to the industry itself while making no mention of repealing the numerous exemptions enjoyed by industry at the federal level, nor the instances of industry capture of regulators at the state level.
For Libya and, unfortunately, the United States, the battle is not over. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Libya Tuesday, renewing U.S. pledges of nation rebuilding to the new Libyan authorities, represented by an unelected interim national council. The U.S. commitment involves $135 million, including $40 million to try to retrieve the surface-to-air missiles that the rebels liberated from the Gadhafi military's armories across the country, some of which are probably already for sale in Middle East arms markets.
It is hard to think of the United States committing large amounts of money to rebuild Libya while serious infrastructure needs exist at home, such as Pennsylvania's bridges, according to a new report this week. Continued U.S. involvement in Libya is even harder to accept when President Barack Obama took America into that war without seeking the congressional approval required by the War Powers Resolution.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11294/11836...
I stubbornly believe in the rule of law, and the principles embodied in the bill of rights and the US Constitution - not torture, cold-blooded murder and assassination. It was wrong for Gadaffi & his henchmen, and it's wrong for we "civilized" nations as well.
First Obama supporters insisted Obama had not gone to war with Libya. In fact, our military was not involved there of late. But then when Gadaffi is captured and executed without benefit of criminal trial, you jump in and give Obama the "credit".
I hope one day you mature enough to realize that brutal, primitive vengeance and the celebration thereof is not the mark of an advanced civilization. It is the mark of a pampered generation raised on dumbed down violent films and video games.
We Democrats in the state house had a task force on this, with serious support from then State Auditor/now US Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., but couldn't stop them. The only wasteful expenditures in group homes were/are in the salaries, benefits & profits generated for the owners and very top level executives at the supposedly "non-profit" private companies.
The state centers, which I personally visited extensively prior to their closings, were like private colleges, with beautiful campuses, comfortable and homelike private rooms for the residents and every type of therapy available. They were staffed by decently paid, unionized, well-trained, long-term health care workers. Residents had access to every type of medical specialty, and the physicians/nurses/dentists had the necessary training and skills to treat mentally retarded adults.
By contrast, local ob/gyns, internists and dentists, refused to treat group home residents because it "frightened" or "upset" their other patients, or because the medical personnel in the remote areas had no skills at keeping the mentally ill, and very strong, residents from panicking in the course of exams and treatments.
Once the centers were closed, the residents were scattered throughout the huge state - usually too far away for family members to visit and monitor their care. They were housed in single family residences, often with yards surrounded with high wire fencing. Caregivers were untrained individuals who couldn't get hired at McDonald's and got nominal on-the-job training. There was a 200 to 300 percent annual turnover rate. There would often be only one caregiver at the home, with no one supervising or monitoring how said caregiver performed their job.
Caregivers were dealing drugs, pet-sitting, baby-sitting, etc., in the group homes while being paid by the state. Friends would be invited in to be entertained by ridiculing & tormenting the residents. Sexual abuse was not uncommon. Residents drowned, unattended, in bath tubs. Residents were put outside in the small fenced yard in the depths of winter and left for hours while the caregivers watched their soap operas or entertained their boyfriend/girlfriends. Despite all the social worker/DPW bullshit about empowering the retarded and integrating them into the community, the residents were isolated 24/7 and in no way part of local communities.
The state regulations required that 20% of a business's group homes receive an annual inspection. But the same homes could be inspected every year, meaning many homes were NEVER inspected. Those homes which were inspected were given advance warning by the inspecting agency, DPW. Despite outrageous instances of deliberate abuse and criminal neglect, not one single group home was ordered closed in the years I worked for the state legislature. The worst "punishment" was having a group home's rating downgraded one level. The profits remained in place.
As in private prisons, the privately operated group homes increased their profits by cutting food budgets and caregivers' salaries.
The elderly parents of mentally retarded residents were beside themselves with worry. I had nightmares for years from the abuses which were reported, and we knew those were only the tip of the iceberg.
I'm not talking about mildly retarded adults. I'm talking about seriously retarded adults, who often had serious physical ailments as well. One example out of a hundred I could give - an individual with no swallow reflex, who had to be fed through a stomach tube, and the caretaker proceeded to shove whole, unprocessed foods through the tube. Like I said, nightmarish!
The very LAST thing the US needs is another law school, particularly one which ranked at the very bottom, i.e, 4th tier. This place will be a refuge for wealthy students who couldn't get accepted at any of the higher ranking schools.
Many of today's recent law graduates (from far more distinguished law schools) are working as "contract" lawyers, which means working 40 hour weeks for $15 an hour and NO benefits.
Some people can’t get jobs coming out of Vanderbilt, what in the world makes a person think they’ll be able to get a job coming out of an unranked, unaccredited law school in 2014?
Allan Tanenbaum is the chair of the ABA Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Profession and Legal Needs. He’s got even more snark for Dean Kinsler and the theory of opening new law schools in this economy:
“It’s not unusual to see graduates of top 25 law schools … working as clerks in department stores to make enough money to volunteer at night,” offering their legal services at clinics and other resume-boosting activities, Tanenbaum said. “Law school students are at the bottom of everything and impacted by everything.”…
“Every year, more and more law schools are starting up. One has to wonder why,” he said. “Well, one doesn’t really have to wonder. Law schools are a profitable proposition for the schools. … You admit 25 more law school students a year and you can cover a $1 million deficit in your budget overnight.”
LAW SCHOOLS ARE CASH COWS. Based on his comments to date, it seems Dean Kinsler is willing to say anything to prospective law students in order to convince them to fork over the tuition dollars. Kinsler went after the tuition dollars before he even had a building to house these people during their “education.”
Is there anything more telling about the true intentions of the people at Belmont than the fact that they’ll be accepting legal education tuition dollars before they even have a building to conduct legal education out of? I’d say that this is a case of Belmont putting the cart before the horse, except THERE IS NO HORSE, PEOPLE! Some people can’t get jobs coming out of Vanderbilt, what in the world makes a person think they’ll be able to get a job coming out of an unranked, unaccredited law school in 2014? Because the dean says “there’s a chance” that the economy will magically improve by then? Here’s a radical thought: wait for the economy to actually improve, then go to law school!
In any event, it’s great to see that Allan Tanenbaum represents at least one person at the ABA who seems to get what is happening to the value proposition of going to law school. But can he (or any of his colleagues) actually do anything about it?
Because Belmont is open for business. Kids will be arriving there next fall. The dean is bragging about how many people are interested in the school (even out-of-state people — neither God nor Man has invented a word to describe people who would cross state lines and pay a premium to go to a new law school like Belmont). Belmont, UMass, North Texas, Shreveport — these new law schools are out there now, providing ruinous economic options to would-be lawyers every day.
There’s got to be something somebody can do to stop them. Prospective law students deserve some kind of basic consumer protection just as surely as prospective car buyers deserve to know that their new purchase won’t blow up in their face and leave them scarred for life.
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