Terrorism on American Soil

by Walter Brasch   During this past week a three-year-old boy in Rock Hill, S.C., killed himself when he was playing with a loaded gun in his house. He wasn’t the only one in Rock Hill to die from a gunshot. In July, a man killed himself after shooting his wife, her son and the son’s girlfriend. The following month, someone killed a 30-year-old woman; someone else that same week killed a 27-year-old man. Rock Hill, a city of about 66,000 is not unique. About 2,700 children are killed every year from gunshot violence; about 60 percent of them are homicides, the rest are suicides or unintentional deaths, such as that of the three-year-old. Every year, another 15,000 youth are … Continue reading

The Fracking Crisis: A Manufacturer’s Perspective

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is by Mark Lichty, a business owner and film producer.] I am asking business owners and executives  in Pennsylvania to join me in petitioning Gov. Wolf to put a moratorium on fracking. Until I became involved with the film, Groundswell Rising, I had no issue with fracking.  Ads told me it was safe.  The hypnotizing blue flame and minimal emissions,  convinced me to accept the platitudes of the industry.  Only when I began the research did I understand that there were dire environmental and health consequences. The Pennsylvania  Supreme Court came to the same conclusion when  the chief justice  stated, “Fracking is detrimental to the health and the environment.” The Secretary of Health in New York … Continue reading

The Republicans’ Rhetoric of Hate and Fear

    by Walter Brasch   Fear, laced with paranoia, is driving the American response against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. President Obama has said he would accept 10,000 refugees, all of them subjected to intense scrutiny before being admitted to the country. France, with a population about one-fifth that of the United States, despite the worst attack on its soil since World War II, will accept 30,000 refugees. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told the Senate, “We are not a nation that delivers children back into the hands of ISIS because some politician doesn’t like their religion.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), a Jew, said the nation should “not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia,” and … Continue reading

’Twixt the Cobwebs of Halloween and the Lights of Christmas

  by Rosemary and Walter Brasch   At one time, people placed carved pumpkins with a candle inside on their front porches to announce the beginning of the Halloween season. And then it became a contest. First, best Halloween pumpkin. And then who could decorate their trees and hedges with the best fake cobwebs, followed by fake witches in trees. Next came Pumpkin’ Chunkin’, where teams make catapults and launch pumpkins. The beneficiaries of all this, of course, are the candy companies—which have steadily decreased the number of miniature candies and increased the price of them in giant bags—the card industry that began marketing their products not long after Labor Day, and just about every company that has figured out … Continue reading

Snuggling Up to Celebrities Not Part of Journalism Training

  by Walter Brasch   One of the basic tenets of journalism ethics and practices is that reporters must keep their distance from news sources. They’re allowed to be friendly. They’re even allowed to share a meal with a news source. But, they must be independent. It’s a “Caesar’s wife” thing—they must be above suspicion. This past week, Lara Spencer, co-anchor of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” snuggled up to Donald Trump. In a photo posted to Instagram, she is seen with her left arm around Trump’s shoulder, her right hand across his stomach. Both are looking at each other and smiling. Spencer posted the following message to the photo: “Can’t beat having the REAL DonaldJTrump on.” She added the emoticon … Continue reading

President Obama Rejects The Keystone XL Pipeline Deal on Secretary of State’s Determination

The Keystone XL pipeline deal is no more! This is a huge environmental win for America… I applaud Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline deal. Via the Department of State, Secretary of State Kerry’s Keystone XL Pipeline Permit Determination: John Kerry Secretary of State Washington, DC November 6, 2015 After a thorough review of the record, including extensive analysis conducted by the State Department, I have determined that the national interest of the United States would be best served by denying TransCanada a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agrees with this determination and the eight federal agencies consulted under Executive Order 13337 have accepted it. Executive Order 13337 delegates to … Continue reading

These Judges Don’t Put Defendants into Prison

  By Walter Brasch   HARRISBURG, Pa.—By Tuesday’s election, the seven candidates for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will have spent about $10 million. Their expenditures can be seen in lawn signs decorating almost every part of the state’s landscape, in millions of full color postcards, some as large as 8-1/2 x 11, mailed to almost every voter in the state, and in TV ads. They have already spent about $4 million for TV ads, many promoting each one’s own qualifications, most of the ads attacking the other candidates. There are three vacancies on the Court because two of the justices had to resign over scandals. One justice used her staff to do personal work for her. One justice was implicated … Continue reading

The 24/7 Election and Media Carousel

by Walter Brasch   The national news media—and their sidekicks, the cackling pundits—had been asking the same questions the past six months. “Will he? Won’t he? Should he? Shouldn’t he? Can he? Can’t he?” The “he” is Joe Biden. The vice-president said numerous times he was still thinking about running for president, but hadn’t made up his mind. The Biden question kept the media busy speculating about an issue that even Mr. Biden couldn’t answer, nor should he have been forced to make a commitment in the media’s time frame. This past week, he decided not to run for the presidency. Although Biden explained his reasons, the media can now spend a few weeks asking the question, “But what if … Continue reading