Penn State

I think the NCAA statement sums it up well. Penn State is only the most egregious example of a sports program that has outgrown and overshadowed the academic mission of a public university. I don’t believe they’re the only school that has looked the other way at questionable and even criminal activities, and I don’t believe the taxpayers have either a moral or a financial responsibility to supply a farm system for the NFL. We have some very real problems in our economy right now, and it would be nice to see academia placing their full attention on them.

As to the tearful Penn State students seen crying as the news was announced, I would like to offer some motherly advice: Don’t pick your college on the basis of its sports teams.

(Reuters) – The governing body of U.S. college sports fined Penn State University $60 million and voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons in an unprecedented rebuke for the school’s failure to stop coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said the school had put “hero worship and winning at all costs” ahead of integrity, honesty and responsibility.

Penn State was not given the so-called “death penalty” that could have suspended its football program but it was banned from post-season bowl games for four years and had the number of scholarships available to players reduced from 25 to 15.

Penn State officials were accused of not taking action after being alerted that Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was sexually abusing children. The scandal tainted one of college football’s leading coaches, the late Joe Paterno, and led to his firing last year along with other top school officials.

The punishment, announced by the National College Athletic Association at a news conference in Indianapolis, was unprecedented for its swiftness and breadth. It was the latest blow to an institution still reeling from Sandusky’s conviction last month on child molestation charges.

The case was another blotch on the diminishing legacy of Paterno, who until Monday’s action had held the record for victories among big-time U.S. college football coaches in a career that spanned more than 40 seasons. Paterno lost that status since the NCAA’s punishment includes voiding the Nittany Lions’ victories between 1998 and 2011 – the time period covering when allegations against Sandusky were first made and Sandusky’s arrest.

The Paterno family said on Monday the NCAA’s actions “defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best.”

“This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public’s understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did,” the statement said.

Actually, I think it’s a rational response to the public’s understandable revulsion at what Joe Paterno didn’t do.

Fighting tyranny

From Hecatedemeter, some common sense:

When those men wrote the Second Amendment to our Constitution, America didn’t have a standing Army, Navy, Air Force (they could never have imagined!), Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard. We didn’t have a police force in every town equipped with tasers, drones, heat sensors, electronic spies, and the ability to nab your cell phone and entrap your friends. We can argue, as an esoteric exercise, about whether or not all of those abilities are good things, but they are, right now, facts. We, the people, have turned over to the government, our need for a “well-regulated militia.”

Here’s what I do know.

I do know that no matter how many guns any one person or group may purchase, if the United States government decides to take you out, they are going to take you out. They will, literally, out-gun you. Until you can, Dune-like, employ the family atomics, (not to mention the family chemical weapons, the family heat sensors, and the family ability to cut off water) and, really, even then, you are not going to hold off the firepower of the United States government, which spends more money on weapons than any other country on the face of the globe. Maybe that’s good; maybe it’s bad. But it’s a fact.

I know that letting every nutjob in America load up on automatic weapons is inimical to the “security of a free state.” People can’t be free if they are constantly at the mercy of an armed nut. Ironically, the reaction to the tragedy in Aurora isn’t to limit the ability of crazies to purchase arms. Instead, theaters are going to limit the freedom of patrons to wear costumes. Let’s be clear: costumes. Costumes don’t kill people. Guns kill people. But we apparently can’t limit the ability of nutjobs to buy guns, so we’re going to limit the ability of free people in a “free state” to wear costumes. Some underpaid usher at a movie theatre is going to decide whether or not your pentacle, or your Goth make-up, or maybe just your beard renders you unable to see a movie. Because we can’t tell nutjobs that they can’t buy automatic weapons. And you can now surrender your bodily freedom and allow, again, some underpaid usher at a movie theatre to grope you in order to allow you into the theatre.

I know that letting every nutjob in America load up on automatic weapons is inimical to “a well-regulated militia.” Ask any police force in America what they think about reasonable gun control and they’ll tell you that they are all for it. There’s nothing “well regulated” about letting every nutjob out there buy all the automatic weapons s/he can buy.

Bucks County action alert

Minimum Wage Workers Call on Rep. Fitzpatrick to Catch Up to 1968

What: Raise the Wage! Minimum Wage Walking Tour

When: Tuesday, July 24 at 1:00 pm

Where: Levittown Town Center, Route 13 & Levittown Parkway, Levittown, PA 19054

*The tour will begin in front of the Wal-Mart SuperCenter. 

LEVITTOWN– As controversy heats up over Mitt Romney’s tax returns and outsourcing, the national conversation has again turned to the growing gap between the rich and the poor. On Tuesday, July 24 at 1pm, community members and minimum wage workers will gather at the Levittown Town Center to continue that conversation and call for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. The group will gather for a “Raise the Wage” Minimum Wage Walking Tour to call on Rep. MikeFitzpatrick to support The Catching up to 1968 Act of 2012 which would raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Through visiting several low wage-paying businesses like Wal-Mart and Taco Bell, the tour will highlight the struggle of minimum wage workers who are getting by on a wage that has not been raised since 1968, when adjusted for inflation. The group will also highlight the economic benefit for local communities when the working poor have more purchasing power.  Thousands of people, many of whom earn the minimum wage, are expected to participate in more than 30 events across the country on July 24 as part of a national day of action.


Swift, severe punishment from the NCAA for Penn State:

Penn State was socked with a four-year postseason ban, the loss of 40 scholarships over four years and a $60 million fine stemming from its actions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

In addition, all victories from 1998-2011 have been vacated, a huge blow to the coaching legacy of Joe Paterno, now formerly the leader in Division I college football victories.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the penalties, saying that “one of the dangers in our love of sports is that sports themselves can become too big to fail, too big to challenge.”


I am oh so shocked that there could be anything crooked about the tangled web of for-profit education and political connections. Who could have known?

Without warning, Delaware Valley High School – a for-profit education firm whose records were recently subpoenaed by a federal grand jury – has laid off all 50 teaching and administrative employees at the four alternative schools it operates in the region.

Staffers said lawyer David T. Shulick, whose company operates the schools, owes them each thousands of dollars for work during the 2011-12 academic year. They had been expecting back pay last week but got furlough notices instead.

In late February, the FBI raided Shulick’s Logan Square law office, searching for documents related to Delaware Valley’s relationship with Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr., 29, whose father is U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat. They also interviewed Shulick.

Delaware Valley had paid 10 percent of its $4.5 million contract with the Philadelphia School District for the 2010-2011 school year to 259 Strategies L.L.C., a minority firm owned by Fattah Jr., who had an office in Shulick’s law firm. After firing Fattah Jr. last summer, Shulick rehired him in December but did not renew his subcontract.

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