Pennsylvania

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Randall Collins, sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, speaks at the College of Liberal Arts on Friday afternoon over the collapse of capitalism. Technological development and the weakening of the middle class, he argues, will lead to the demise of capitalism by the year 2045.
Photo Credit: Chris Foxx | Daily Texan Staff

Technological development and the weakening of the middle class will lead to the demise of capitalism by the year 2045, said Randall Collins, sociology professor at University of Pennsylvania.

In a lecture on campus Friday, Collins said capitalism has historically used five “escapes” — new technology, globalization, financial industry expansion, government investment and educational credential inflation — to prevent the collapse of the system. These escapes are no longer viable, he said.

“Capitalism depends on having an income-earning population that can buy its products,” said Collins. “Displacement of workers by machinery is the formula for the self-destruction of capitalism.”

Higher levels of educational attainment will no longer serve an as “escape” because the marketability of a particular educational certificate in a job market declines when more people obtain them, Collins said.

“In the U.S., the high school diploma was comparatively rare before World War II. Now high school degrees are so commonplace that their job value is worthless,” Collins said. “University attendance is now over 60 percent of the youth core and is now on the way to the same fate as the high school degree.”

According to Collins, this phenomenon could become an endless cycle, as workers seek further education as “the best response” to the diminishing value of their previous degrees.

Collins said educated workers from other countries who are willing to work online are another factor increasing the competition for middle class jobs in the U.S.

“The Internet creates a much wider pool of workers who can access available jobs, especially if they do not have to move to a distant place of work,” Collins said.

Sociology associate professor Alexander Weinreb disagreed with Collins’ theory of the collapse of capitalism because it “glosses over” cultural and national economic diversity. 

“Capitalism may look different in 30 years, but it ain’t gonna be dead, and it ain’t gonna smell funny,” Weinreb said. 

Government professor David Edwards also said the current “anti-government” political culture seems to undermine Collins’ theory because it does not allow for a strong public sector to form after the private sector collapses.

“Most of what [he] said about the possible way out of this depends on a dramatic growth in the role of government. But what’s most striking about discourse today is the strength of the anti-government movement, which has infected some of the left, as well as most of the right,” Edwards said.

Title Fight’s third studio album, “Hyperview,” feels like a car ride down a forest-lined road. It feels like the days after a breakup, where the world stands still except for the quiet beating of your heart. It feels like the uncertainty and confusion of being young. 

“Hyperview,” the Pennsylvania natives’ junior work, expands on the band’s previous experimentation with shoegaze, a musical style that blends distorted guitar and subdued vocals, which they attempted in their second album, “Floral Green.” “Hyperview” officially marks the band’s transition from the abrasive pop-punk that made them famous to ambient, angst-drenched indie suitable for hours spent lost in sound with your forehead pressed against a bus’ cool glass window. 

For long-time Title Fight fans, who are accustomed to seeing the band delve into different genres, this album serves as a reminder that the band has the flexibility to evolve in any direction. 

The album’s premier track, “Murder Your Memory,” envelops the reader in a dreamy haze of guitar and low-key, repetitive vocals. For anyone familiar with Title Fight’s previous work, this track serves as a disclaimer: “No, this is not Floral Green or Shed. Yes, we are trying something new. Yes, we can pull it off.”

The album’s strongest track, the lovesick ballad “Your Pain Is Mine Now,” appears halfway through the album. Its amorphous mix of guitars and vocals are simultaneously relaxing and heart-wrenching. Vogue called the track “the pretty side of punk.”
Although the album does mark a definitive shift in the band’s sound, fans of their old material will find solace in songs such as “Mrahc” and “Hypernight.” Although these songs are decidedly relaxed, they maintain hints of the band’s former aggression. 

In 31 minutes, “Hyperview” delivers a solid listening experience, but the best thing about the album is that it isn’t perfect. “Hyperview” exemplifies the band’s search for a sound they feel truly comfortable in because, at times, it is disjointed and strange. The album has its dull moments, and, at times, the tracks seem to bleed together because of their similar-sounding guitar riffs. The album also conveys an odd sense of urgency — at any moment, the sound could explode. Far from diminishing the album, these blemishes make “Hyperview” an emotional piece, and they are the reason the tracks stick with you long after the music stops.

“Hyperview” suspends the listener in a void between the real world and a dreamy space of personal reflection. Though its brilliance might not be immediately apparent, the listener will want to immediately start it over after the final gripping note of the album’s last track, “New Vision.” 

With their new album, the foursome from Kingston, Pennsylvania, prove they have matured since their formation in 2003. Although they have yet to find their niche, “Hyperview” shows that Title Fight can play multiple genres and play them well. 

Listen to "Murder Your Memory," from new album "Hyperview," here:

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Many Texas players saw their first collegiate postseason action Sunday afternoon, and the fifth-seeded Longhorns were shaky at times before pulling away from No. 12 seed Penn, 79-61 in College Park, Md.

Head coach Karen Aston’s team struggled early, repeatedly trading leads with the Quakers early in the first half as neither team led by more than four points.

Texas fell behind soon after, as 12 first-half turnovers and poor shooting kept the Longhorns stuck at 17 points for more than nine minutes. Sophomore guard Celina Rodrigo finally broke the drought with a jumper, but the damage had already been done.

“They came ready to play and they’re a good basketball team,” Aston said in a statement after the game. “I think we just didn’t know how good they were.”

It was Aston’s first time in the tournament since taking over as head coach for the Longhorns, but she had been there before, when she helped lead Texas to the Final Four as an associate head coach in 2003.

Among Texas’ challenges was scraping off the rust. The Longhorns hadn’t played a game since March 9, when West Virginia defeated them in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship series. The Longhorns finally seemed to get warmed up at the end of the first, though on a 14-6 run to cut the deficit to seven.

Texas continued its spurt after halftime, featuring a complete role reversal after Penn’s dominance nearly took Texas’ chances. 

“We told them at halftime: either you wanna go home or you don’t,” Aston said.

Apparently, they didn’t. The Longhorns newfound energy and drive, sinking the first two baskets en route to a lead around the 14-minute mark. Within minutes, Penn found itself dug deep into a hole. 

The Quakers — playing in front of a supportive crowd only two hours away from home — knew they had lost  with just over a minute to go. As each player returned to the bench, she received a standing ovation from the crowd and hugs from coaches before settling into watching the season end. 

The Longhorns’ victory was their first NCAA tournament win since 2008, and they will face fourth-seeded Maryland on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Terrapins will be playing on their home court.

“We’re gonna have to play harder for 40 minutes,” Aston said.

Photo Credit: Jarrid Denman | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns have put on their dancing shoes as they head to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for a date with No. 12 Penn, which will take place Sunday in College Park, Md. 

The Quakers recently captured the Ivy League championship but had just the 130th toughest schedule in the nation compared to fifth-seeded Texas’ 10th toughest schedule. The game will be aired on ESPN at 2 p.m.

The Longhorns have put on their dancing shoes with a No. 5 seed as they head to the Big Dance for a date with No. 12 Penn. And head coach Karen Aston says they’re putting in their all.

“As a coach, most of what you feel about your team is how they react to practice and I feel good about the way they’re preparing,” Aston said. “They’re focusing on the little things, paying attention to details.”

Coming off a 67-60 Big 12 Tournament semifinal loss to No. 7 West Virginia, the Longhorns spent no time moping around. The team immediately focused on preparing for the tournament, building off mistakes as a foundation for improvement.

“We got a little too high when we beat Oklahoma in the [Big 12] tournament,” Aston said. “In less than 24 hours we had to turn around and play again and we didn’t get our motors going. If we’re fortunate enough to win one game, we’ll learn how to better prepare ourselves for the next.”

Advancing past the Ivy League champion Quakers (22-6, 12-2) is among Texas’ goals for its first NCAA postseason game since 2012. The Longhorns hold a 32-25 record in their 26 tournament appearances but just one title in 1986 to show for it.

Though Texas (21-11, 11-7) faced the 10th toughest schedule in the nation this year compared to Penn’s 130th, Aston isn’t taking her competition lightly. She said she watched a lot of film over spring break to scout out the competition.

“They’re very solid across the board,” Aston said of Penn. “They had people who can shoot and a presence in the paint.”

But Aston doesn’t doubt her own squad against the Quakers. She said she predicted great things from the 24th-RPI team since season’s start.

“We have talent and really good players,” Aston said. “It’s just a matter of them believing they’re good and putting the chemistry together. The core group is talented enough to go places. I don’t think we’re through yet at all.”

Texas faces Penn for the first time in program history at 2 p.m. Sunday in College Park, Maryland. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Philip Wood, a 22-year-old former distance runner on the Texas track and field team, was killed early Sunday morning in a hit-and-run crash.

Originally from Yardley, Penn., Wood served as a member of the Longhorns’ track and field team from 2009 to 2010 and from 2011 to 2012. Wood competed in several meets over his tenure, running predominantly the 5,000 meter and the mile.

A car struck Woods around 2:17 a.m. Sunday while crossing MoPac. The vehicle was not at the scene when police arrived soon after.

Wood came to Texas as a strong distance recruit. He was an AAU National Cross Country Champion at his Pennsylvania high school and placed third at the AAU Junior Olympics. After redshirting for a year, Wood competed in indoor and outdoor track and field, along with cross country, in the 2010-2011 season.

Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses political advertising at the Belo Center for New Media on Monday afternoon. Jamieson, a former professor at UT, recently won the DeWitt Carter Reddick award for excellence in the field of communication. 

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said political advertising is warping the way politicians make decisions.

“We are now affecting governance without having a policy debate about the underlying information,” Jamieson said in a lecture on Monday, which was sponsored by the College of Communication.

Jamieson, who has spent years studying the subject and who recently won the DeWitt Carter Reddick Award for excellence in the field of communication, said politicians are making important national decisions based on sound bites. She pointed to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s campaign, in which he attacked proposed “welfare work waivers” for stripping the federal work requirement from welfare, supposedly turning it into a free ride for recipients. In fact, she said, the waivers were only requested by Republican governors, because they could then implement other work requirements of their own.

“Here’s the rationale: States are different ... you might in those circumstances administer differently,” Jamieson said. “You might have different populations.”

These, Jamieson said, were the programs President Obama granted welfare work waivers to. However, explaining this to voters takes too long, she said.

“Imagine we’re Republican governors who just wanted the waiver,” Jamieson said. “[Republicans will say] I don’t want the waiver ... because I don’t want this ad from the Democrats next time I’m running for governor.”

Jamieson said this effect of political ads is too often ignored, because it is assumed that political campaigns and actual governance operate separately.

“What would Romney have done as president had he been restrained by his own advertising?” Jamieson said. “This is a broken system.”

Jamieson said it is even harder to discover how to fix the system, because correcting false advertising takes 1,000 words, while the advertisements themselves take only 30 seconds.

“They’ve created a collusion between misstatements of fact tied to basic human fallacies, moves that we make almost viscerally,” Jamieson said. “We ought to worry about that...if not we’re not going to get the kind of governance we need at a very difficult time for our country.”

Communication studies junior Heather Lorenzen attended the talk and said she has witnessed the effect of negative advertising first-hand.

“My ... parents still swear Obama’s not American,” Lorenzen said.

Roderick Hart, dean of the College of Communication, said there are important ways communication students can implement lessons from Jamieson’s lecture.

“I think the great journalism question is ‘How do you know [what you think you know]?’” Hart said. “Very few people are saying ‘Given the deluge of advertising, what’s the effect of advertising?’”

Printed on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 as Political advertising dictates public policy, speaker says 

Joe Michetti holds a sign to demonstrate the opposition of Pennsylvania’s new voter identification law during the NAACP voter ID rally, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court justices are scheduled to hear arguments over whether a new law requiring each voter to show valid photo identification poses an unnecessary threat to the right to vote.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A court-imposed Tuesday deadline is looming for a judge to decide whether Pennsylvania’s tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification can remain intact, a ruling that could swing election momentum to Republican candidates now trailing in polls on the state’s top-of-the-ticket races.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is under a state Supreme Court order to rule no later than Tuesday, just five weeks before voters decide whether to re-elect President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or replace him with Mitt Romney, a Republican.

Simpson heard two days of testimony last week and said he was considering invalidating a narrow portion of the law for the Nov. 6 election. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is possible.

The law, opposed furiously by Democrats, has nevertheless been a valuable Democratic Party tool to motivate volunteers and campaign contributions as other critics, including the NAACP, AARP and the League of Women Voters, hold voter education drives and protest rallies.

In recent months, Republicans have sent out fundraising appeals highlighting legal challenges to the law or an inquiry into the law by Obama’s Department of Justice, and the party no doubt would add a court defeat to its rallying cry.

The state’s Republican Party chairman, Rob Gleason, insisted Monday that supporting the law is about good policy, not about motivating party voters. But then he criticized Democrats for opposing the law and for using it as an election issue.

Don Adams of the Philadelphia-area Independence Hall Tea Party Association said his membership of thousands is closely watching the issue.

“I think it’ll drive our people even more, but I think they’re already driven,” Adams said. “I don’t know how much more you can drive them.”

Christopher Borick, a pollster and assistant professor of political science at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, said he would expect Republicans to use the law’s defeat to warn of higher Democratic voter turnout and make it part of the case for why efforts to turn out Republican voters are essential.

Pennsylvania’s new law is among the toughest in the nation.

It is a signature accomplishment of Republicans in control of Pennsylvania state government who say they fear election fraud. But it is an emotional target for Democrats who call it a Jim Crow-style scheme to make it harder for their party’s traditional voters, including young adults and minorities, who might not carry the right kind of ID or know about the law.

It was already a political lightning rod when a top state Republican lawmaker boasted to a GOP dinner in June that the ID requirement “is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

The high court told Simpson that he should stop the law from taking effect in this year’s election if he finds the state has not met the law’s promise of providing easy access to a photo ID or if he believes it will prevent any registered voter from casting a ballot.

The injunction Simpson was considering revolves around the portion of the law that allows a voter without valid photo ID at the polls to cast a provisional ballot. It would effectively excuse those voters from having to get a valid photo ID and show it to county election officials within six days after the election to ensure their ballot will count. Instead, they might be required to submit a signed declaration to the county.

Last week, Simpson heard testimony about the state’s ongoing efforts to remove bureaucratic barriers for people to get a valid photo ID. He also heard about long lines and ill-informed clerks at driver’s license centers and identification requirements that made it harder for some registered voters to get a state-issued photo ID.

Surrounded by members of his family Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announces he is suspending his candidacy effective today in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, April 10, 2012. (Courtesy of the Associated Press)

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Bowing to the inevitable after an improbably resilient run for the White House, Rick Santorum quit the presidential race on Tuesday, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to claim the Republican nomination.

“We made a decision over the weekend, that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign today, we are not done fighting,” he said.

Santorum, appearing with his family, told supporters that the battle to defeat President Barack Obama would go on but pointedly made no mention or endorsement of Romney, whom he had derided as an unworthy standard-bearer for the GOP.

The former Pennsylvania senator stressed that he’d taken his presidential bid farther than anyone expected, calling his campaign “as improbable as any race that you will ever see for president.”

“Against all odds,” he said, “we won 11 states, millions of voters, millions of votes.”

The delegate totals told the tale of Santorum’s demise. Romney has more than twice as many delegates as Santorum and is on pace to reach the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination by early June. Still in the race, but not considered a factor: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Santorum had hoped to keep his campaign going through the Pennsylvania primary on April 24, but decided to fold after his severely ill 3-year-old daughter, Bella, spent the weekend in the hospital.

He said that while Romney was accumulating more delegates, “we were winning in a very different way. We were touching hearts” with a conservative message.

In a statement, Romney called Santorum “an able and worthy competitor.” With Romney on his way to the nomination and a contest against the president, Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, sharply criticized Romney for waging a negative ad campaign against his opponents.

“It’s no surprise that Mitt Romney finally was able to grind down his opponents under an avalanche of negative ads. But neither he nor his special interest allies will be able to buy the presidency with their negative attacks,” Messina said. “The more the American people see of Mitt Romney, the less they like him and the less they trust him.”

Santorum said the campaign had been “a love affair for me, going from state to state. ... We were raising issues, frankly, that a lot of people did not want raised.”

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho man accused of firing an assault rifle at the White House believed he was Jesus and thought President Barack Obama was the Antichrist, according to court documents and those who knew him. At one point, he even suggested to an acquaintance the president was planning to implant computer tracking chips into children.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, was charged Thursday with attempting to assassinate the president or his staff. He is accused of firing nine rounds at the White House last Friday night — one of them cracking a window of the first family’s living quarters — when Obama and the first lady were away. If convicted, Ortega faces up to life in prison.

Ortega was arrested Wednesday at a western Pennsylvania hotel when a desk clerk there recognized him and called police.

Ortega’s public defender, Christopher Brown, declined comment after his first court hearing in Pennsylvania. Ortega’s mother has said he has no history of mental illness, though when authorities were looking for him, they reported he had “mental health issues.”

In Idaho Falls, where Ortega is from, a computer consultant told The Associated Press that the two met July 8 after Ortega asked for help editing a 30-minute infomercial. Monte McCall said that during the meeting at Ortega’s family’s Mexican restaurant, Ortega pulled out worn sheets of yellow paper with handwritten notes and started to talk about his predictions that the world would end in 2012.

“He said, ‘Well, you know the president is getting ready to make an announcement that they’re going to put GPS chips in all the children, so they’re safe,’” McCall said. “... And then he said, ‘That’s just what the Antichrist is going to do to mark everybody.’”

At his first appearance in court in Pennsylvania, Ortega sat quietly, his hands free but his feet shackled. He said only, “Yes, ma’am” when he was asked if he understood that he would be going back to Washington to face the charge.

According to a court document released after the hearing, authorities recovered nine spent shell casings from Ortega’s car, which was found abandoned near the White House shortly after the shooting. An assault rifle with a scope was found inside.

A person who knows him subsequently told investigators that he had become increasingly agitated with the federal government and was convinced it was conspiring against him, the document said. 

Published on Friday, November 18, 2011 as: Idaho man attempts Obama assassination