Showing posts with label Penn State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Penn State. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Super Bowl That May be Someday: A Steagles Super Bowl

I've been busy lately.  I've had more consulting work lately so it has been more difficult to post here.  I have a new post on The Hill Talk on Trump's 1st year approval ratings.  It is very time consuming to post a new data analysis.  Today I will focus on a lighter subject.

I was so disappointed when the Steelers lost to Jacksonville in the divisional playoffs.  Many in Pennsylvania were hoping for a Steelers-Eagles Super Bowl but it was not to be this year.  They have come close to having one several times in the past.  In WWII the two teams combined to form the Steagles as there was a shortage of players then.  They went 5-4-1 and finished 3rd in the Eastern Division that year.

The Steagles Uniforms
The Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl of the 70's in 1979 over the LA Rams.  The Eagles made their first SB the next year under coach Dick Vermeil.  They were heavy favorites against the Oakland Raiders but looked tight and lost 27-10.

In the 2001 season, both teams made their respective conference championships but the Steelers lost to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady who went on to win their first Super Bowl and the Eagles lost to the St. Louis Rams.  Another close call came in 2004 when the Eagles won the NFC championship but the Steelers lost in the AFC Title game to New England.  Another close call came in 2008 when the Steelers made Super Bowl XLIII but the Eagles lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC title game.  

This year may not have been quite as close a call as the others but if both teams plug away it could still happen in the future.  The ideal place to play such a Super Bowl would be Beaver Stadium in State College, PA.  The home of the Penn State Nittany Lions.  It is halfway in between the two cities and can seat over 107,000.  It wouldn't be much more hectic than a normal football weekend in Happy Valley.  The fans don't care about the weather.  A man can dream can't he?  #PhillyPhilly
**Related Posts**

Another David and Goliath Super Bowl?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Clairton HS vs. Bishop Guilfoyle HS: A Contrast in Poverty

Referees break up a fight in the Class A Title Game in 2014
The Pennsylvania class A high school football championship this year was a matchup of two schools with proud football traditions: Clairton High School near Pittsburgh and Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, PA.  The two teams met in the title game in 2014 and again this year.  Guilfoyle won the game 17-0 giving them their 47th straight win and third straight state title.

On a Winning Streak: Clairton High School Football Team from Eileen Blass on Vimeo

Clairton won four straight Class A titles from 2009 to 2012 winning 60 games in a row (a state record).   This however is where the similarities end for the two teams.  The video above shows how the city of Clairton changed since 1970 with the population declining from 15,051 to 6,681, an 56% decrease according to the census bureau (the person in the video who said it had decreased from 40,000 to 8,000 may have been including surrounding communities).  The census bureau currently estimates that the city has a median income of $30,207 and 28.6% of their citizens live in poverty.  

Altoona, PA (where Bishop Guilfoyle is located) over the same period, had a population decline from 63,115 in the 1970 census to an estimated 45,344, a 28% decrease.  According to the census bureau, it currently has a median income of $36,215 and 22.1% of it's citizens live below the poverty level.  

Bishop Guilfoyle is a catholic high school with a tuition $6500 and has the advantage of being able to recruit players and giving them financial assistance.  They can even recruit international students.  Their coach played on Penn State's 1995 Rose Bowl Championship team under coach Joe PaternoClairton, as a public high school can only use players who live in their school district (though some may move there just to play for them).  

The census bureau's annual Small Area Income and Poverty Estimate (SAIPE) for the school district has Clairton with a 45.6% poverty rate for it's student population (age 5-17) which is the second highest in the state (children from wealthier families in this community may go to private or catholic schools).  The Altoona School district (which does not include Guilfoyle) by contrast has an estimated poverty rate of 25.2%.  There is a higher degree of uncertainty in the estimates for smaller school districts.

The PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) has six classifications for their schools for school size.  They have separate championships for each class.  Of the 12 teams that made it to the championship game five of them were Catholic and three of those won.  The class 6A game was a matchup of two Catholic Schools with Pittsburgh Central Catholic (Dan Marino's alma mater) playing St. Joseph's prep in Philadelphia.  St. Joe's won 49-7.

Sports can be a source of pride for a community, especially for one that has fallen on hard times.  Just as in prehistoric times the best hunter in a tribe was a leader for the community.  Sports fills the void that was created now that no one needs to hunt to survive.  Noam Chomsky argues that sports can be a distraction from people's everyday problems but our sports leaders, such a Colin Kapernick can use their prestigious position to advocate for those less fortunate than them.

  **Related Posts**

Comparing McCort's Class of '16 to the Class of '88 in their College Plans

A Higher % of the McCort Class of '16 in the NHS than in the 1980's

Super Bowl XLV: A Battle of Champions Who Couldn't Compete Now Without a Salary Cap

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Classmate's Story of Abuse

Shaun Dougherty, a classmate of mine at St. Clements grade school, has come forward with his story of abuse at the hands of one of the priests which is told on page 63 and 64 of the report.  The full text of the report can be read below.  Pictured below in our 5th grade class picture along with Shaun, the Priest in question, a nun who was a terror to us, and I.  The Diocese we were under, Altoona-Johnstown, received a scathing grand jury report from the state Attorney General.  The Diocese is now nay be investigated under the RICO statute (usually used to prosecute the Mafia).

My 5th Grade Class Picture

Below is Shaun discussing his abuse and the problems it has caused him. I should warn you it is fairly graphic.  He was very disappointed that State Sen. Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati removing the retroactive removal of the statute of limitations on priests being sued.

From Bill Cosby to Jerry Sandusky, there have been other shocking stories of individuals who were previously highly regarded to have sexually abused others and when we first hear about it we are always shocked.   Addressing the system that protects abusers is just as important as punishing the abusers themselves.  A report came out recently that Joe Paterno was told by one of Jerry Sandusky's victims about his abuse in 1976

The full grand jury report can be read below with stories of victimization by other priests.  I was not victimized by the Priest in question or any other priest.  As a victim of bullying I can sympathize with the pain of the victims.  I have often heard that if the Roman Catholic Church were to drop the celibacy requirement for priests (Priests were allowed to marry until the 11th century) and/or allow women priests (It never has) the problem would be solved.  While it would certainly help by giving the Church a larger pool of priests one should remember that married men ( ie. Jerry Sandusky) and to a lesser extent married and single women have been known to commit these crimes as well.  The whole culture of placing individuals on pedestals where they are above reproach needs to change.  Also the abusers (many of whom are victims of abuse themselves) need to find the right treatment.


Shaun Dougherty was featured in a panel discussion on a local TV station on Catholic Church abuse.  I couldn't embed the program but you can view it on WJAC-TV's website here.

   **Related posts**

Two Investigative Films: Truth and Spotlight

Say it ain't so JoePa!

Religious Freedom and Single Payer Health Care Reform

Habemus Resegnum - We have a resignation

Bullying & Society


Saturday, February 2, 2013

PA Governor Corbett at a Crossroads

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett-R will make his third budget address to the state legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 5.  He is expected to promote plans to privatize the state liquor store system, to further keep the state's budget balanced without raising taxes on the wealthy or Marcellus shale drilling.  He also may announce whether or not Pennsylvania will participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (you can see where all the state's stand on this in the map below).  This is all going on as he is suing the NCAA for sanctioning Penn State for it's role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal while at the same time being investigated by the current PA Attorney General for his own role in covering up the scandal while he was PA Attorney General.

Where the States Stand
Via: The Advisory Board Company 

To top it off he is engaging in hardball negotiations with the 14 state owned university's (including my Alma Mater IUP) faculty union (APSCUF) over their contract.  APSCUF voted to authorize a strike in December there is a discussion from the Rick Smith Show.  The website Raging Chicken Press has good coverage of this and other state issues.  

In Pennsylvania's 330 year history, no Governor has ever been voted out of office.  True PA Govs were only allowed to serve two terms since the 1960's but you get the point.   A new Quinnipiac poll suggests Corbett has a good chance at becoming the first with such a distinction with him having a 36% approval versus a 42% disapproval rating.  There is time for him to turn things around between now and November 2014 and the opposition will need to be organized.  He will have wealthy backers.  


APSCUF and the state have reached a tentative agreement on a contract which will be voted on by the membership. 
He also announced in his budget address that he will not support the expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania so my state is now colored solid red in the map above along with midwestern and southern states.  Even right wing governors like Arizona's Jan Brewer and Ohio's John Kasich were persuaded to expand Medicaid for their residents.  There will be a demonstration in Harrisburg next Tuesday to protest this decision.  He has apparently now crossed the Rubicon which means a point of no return.

**Related Posts**

States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy

The Pennsylvania Medicaid Budgetary Squeeze

Strengthening Medicaid Huddle

Marcellus Shale Fracking

The Supreme Pennsylvania Medicaid Decision

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why Elites Fail | The Nation

Chris Hayes at The Nation Magazine and at Up with Chris Hayes on MSNBC has written a book called Twilight of the Elites: America After the Meritocracy on how ivory tower elites alienate the rest of the American Public on all sides of the political spectrum.  That discussion which can be seen above with the The Nation's editor Katrina vanden Heuvel coincides with the point of this blog.

Here I use examples from real life to explain complicated phenomena such as Barry Sanders running style to explain global warming and using statistics to explain other phenomena.   It is important to make knowledge available to the masses so they can make their own decisions.


Chris Hayes appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss his book more in depth using everything from the Penn State scandal to Wall Street to Iraq as examples.  You can purchase his book at the store tab above.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pitt & PSU going private: Shifting the Tax Burden to College Families & A Bigger Story Than the Pitt Bomb Threats & Joe Paterno

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, in his zeal to hold the line on taxes, is requiring even more cuts in higher education which are forcing the state related universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and Lincoln) to consider going private which would mean a drastic rise in tuition (Carnegie Mellon charges about $50,000/year for tuition room and board).  Penn State has a total enrollment of about 95,000 students, Pitt 28,000, Lincoln 2,600, and Temple has 37,000.  This would mean a total of 162,600 students and their parents who could be adversely effected if draconian cuts go into effect.  

This should be a bigger story than the Jerry Sandusky scandal which led to Joe Paterno's firing and subsequent death.  Governor Corbett, in his zeal to hold the line on taxes is not really saving anyone money.  As stated before education is one of the few places he can cut services because of entitlement programs.  He is just shifting the cost burden onto those who most often can afford it the least.  This could have serious consequences for the future of the Commonwealth (another term for state) as colleges universities are places for developing new ideas and young minds.  Pitt and Penn State have put out public appeals which can be read in the links below.  Please contact your state legislators and Governor Corbett to keep this from happening. 

Penn State must remain a public university

Rick Santorum may think Obama "a snob" for wanting others to have a college education but Santorum had a nice affordable education at Penn State (he's on the right with a pipe with his frat buddies) and an MBA from Pitt which led to his law degree from Dickinson (It's law school is affiliated with Penn State). Where would he be now if he hadn't had that education?  It probably would be a lot more difficult for him to challenge Mitt Romney right now for the GOP Presidential nomination.


Recently there has been a rash of 100+ bomb threats on the University of Pittsburgh main campus, some of them in the middle of the night.  Campus security has been ramped up and there is a $50,000 reward for information leading to the responsible party's capture.  So far the threats have been a nuisance.  A real attack would likely have little or no warning.  Theories abound about who is responsible.  I stay away from conspiracy theories and won't speculate now about the culprit but I will say that if Pitt goes private next year a lot of students will wish they had the reward money.  The Associated Press is not taking the time to cover this story.


**Related Posts**

Change at My Alma Mater, IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Undergrads Getting Squeezed.


The Pennsylvania Medicaid Budgetary Squeeze


States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy


Say it ain't so JoePa!

Friday, November 25, 2011


It's so tempting to jump to conclusions when two events are closely related by time, distance, some other numerical measure, or all three.  Take for example the Penn State scandal.  After the alleged incidents were first reported to authorities and Joe Paterno by Mike McQueary in 2002 the district attorney for Centre County at the time, Ray Gricar, disappeared in 2005 and was declared legally dead.  His car and laptop without its hard drive were found but his body was not.  Former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht says he believes that the two incidents are related.  I have no way of knowing if the two events are related but it certainly should be looked into and the public should be told if they are indeed related.  Its only a matter of time before conspiracy theories surface of wider corruption

Dr. Wecht has also heavily criticized the Warren commission's report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy (the 48th anniversary was this week).  This is one case that has received considerable scrutiny in the years since 1963 especially after the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal.  The Senate Church and House Select Committees on assassinations reexamined the Warren Commission findings in public hearings and reaffirmed their findings.  Many still, such as Dr. Wecht who testified before the committee and was the lone dissenter among the medical experts, are unsatisfied with these conclusions.  Theories of the real culprits range from Lyndon Johnson to the Soviets to Fidel Castro to the Mafia to some combination of all of them to extinguish the bright light of Camelot (a myth that Jackie Kennedy helped create).  Again I do not have the data to evaluate any of these claims.  That is one of the problems of our modern world of having access to evidence (in other words data) so that we can evaluate evidence and make sound conclusions for ourselves.

There are lots of other conspiracy theory examples I can use that are dubious at best but some choose to believe.  Is Osama bin Laden & Elvis really dead?  Was George Bush really behind the 9/11 attacks?  Did Hillary Clinton kill Vince Foster?  Was Barack Obama born in Kenya?  I fear another one is coming, "did Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, and then PA Attorney General and now Governor Tom Corbett hire the mafia to kill Ray Gricar?  Joe Paterno has been an outspoken critic of stereotyping Italian Americans as being mafiosi, was that just a ruse?"

On this blog I concentrate on things that can be measured directly.  One can learn a lot by following the evidence trail.  In the Watergate investigation they started out investigating a burglary, they followed the evidence trail and it led them to Richard Nixon.  It's better to start there with out jumping to conclusions.  The 9/11 attacks were the result of a conspiracy, most likely by Bin Laden & friends.  More often than not conspiracies end up like an episode of Seinfeld or the kidnapping plot in the movie Fargo.

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Say it ain't so JoePa!


Statistics and Old Beliefs 


What is Sanity?


The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science | Mother Jones

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Say it ain't so JoePa!

What a shock last night after coming home and hearing that the man who had personified Penn State football since before I was born had been fired after assuming that they would let him finish his last season.  While there are many things to be learned from this and the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal the biggest one for me is if you have knowledge of sexual abuse crimes being committed at an institution report it to the authorities no matter how morally pure you think that institution is.  The people who run them are human with moral failings.  We depend on idols for inspiration and an illusion of certainty when it is better to stick to the facts and dig for the truth.  Uncertainty is an uncomfortable feeling and is one that we need to learn to handle.


Even Democracy Now is talking about Joe Paterno and PennState in the context of another student occupy protest at UC Berkeley.

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