About Walter Brasch

Columnist, author, journalism professor. Latest book is BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW: STORIES FROM THE REVOLUTION, a look at the couterculture from 1964, as seen through the eyes of a "flower child" who is now middle-aged--and of the reporter who covered her story. The book is available through Amazon.com . . . Check out website, www.walterbrasch.com for further info. Or, just write me: walterbrasch@gmail.com

Three Commandments for Every State Capitol

    by Walter Brasch   The Oklahoma Supreme Court this past week ordered the legislature and the executive branch to remove a six-foot tall Ten Commandments granite monument from the front of the state house. The monument was placed there in January and is a direct violation of the First Amendment. The response by dozens of legislators, most of whom may be illiterate about the Constitution, was to call for the impeachment of the justices. The state’s attorney general who, presumably, took Constitutional Law in college, said he would appeal the decision. He, and many legislators, are also thinking of repealing the part of the state constitution that prohibits the use of public funds for religious purposes. The only … Continue reading

Whoopin’ and a-Hollerin’ for the Plantation Life

  by Walter Brasch   Judge A. Joseph Antanavage, with shotgun in hand, stood before a modified Confederate battle flag, and looked as if he had planned to defend whatever it is that the Confederate flag stands for. But, this wasn’t in the South. This was at a pigeon shoot near Hamburg, Pa. Pennsylvania is not only where the only legal organized pigeon shoots still exist, but where it’s not unusual to see shooters waving the Confederate flag or wearing clothing that features the flag. Pennsylvania is the Keystone state, the state where the Declaration of Independence was written, and the Articles of Confederation approved. It is where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863, four months … Continue reading

The Business of Wall Street

  by Walter Brasch   If you don’t mind working hard—and partying even harder—why not get a business degree, take a couple of state and federal tests, and become a Wall Street trader? These are the people who are the current crop of Gordon Gekkos—you know, the pretend-fictional character portrayed by Michael Douglas in Wall Street. The men spend thousands of dollars on suits, ties, and cocaine. The women spend thousands just to own a closet of Jimmy Choo shoes. But their existence is shrouded by a coop they call an office or cubicle. Their tools are multiple phone lines and computer screens. The chase for money—and perhaps the excitement in getting people to give up a chunk of their … Continue reading

Citizen-Journalist Fined for Telling the Truth

  by Walter Brasch   Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., was found to be in contempt of court, Thursday, and fined $1,000. Her offense? She tells the truth. Truth is something that apparently has bypassed the court of Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, who retired at the end of 2014, but came out of retirement to handle this case. The case began in October 2013. Scroggins, a retired real estate agent and nurse’s aide, was in Common Pleas Court to explain why a temporary injunction should not be issued against her. That injunction would require her to stay at least 150 feet from all properties where Cabot Oil and Gas had leased mineral rights, even if that distance was on … Continue reading

A Call for Fair Pay for College Athletes

  by Walter Brasch   Some people foolishly believe the purpose of a college education is to further one’s education. To explore new cultures and views. Perhaps to help make a difference in the world. They, of course, are wrong. The purpose of going to college is to party, make contacts, and get a job. Sometimes the job is as a shift manager at a fast food restaurant. Sometimes it’s as a professional athlete. March Madness, the nation’s annual tribute to tall teenagers who can dunk a basketball, is now over. A few of the starters will become professional basketball players this year; some in the next year or the year after that. The University of Kentucky and Duke University, … Continue reading

The Morality Police

By Walter Brasch In Saudi Arabia, the Mutaween are 3,500 public officials and thousands of volunteers who work for the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. They are responsible for enforcing strict religious laws. Among the many laws are those that require all women to wear head scarves and black gowns when in public. The “Morality Police” also exist in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several fundamentalist Arab countries. It isn’t only in Arab countries that morals are regimented and institutionalized. In France, the minister of health, a physician, believes there should be laws to prohibit companies and advertisers from using anorexic fashion models. He believes overly thin models—the ones who can make six-figure incomes by … Continue reading

America’s Real Traitors

by Walter Brasch The Tea Party wing of the Republican party thinks House speaker John Boehner is a rhino. Not the thick-skinned horned mammal that lives in Africa. This rhino is an R-I-N-O . . . Republican in Name Only. The Tea Party thinks Boehner, by sometimes listening to both sides and occasionally, but rarely, agreeing with some Democratic ideas, is a traitor. They believe anyone who disagrees with them is evil. A traitor. A RINO. The extreme right-wing is also delusional. John Boehner is as much a RINO as the one-ton plant eaters are Chihuahuas. The latest dust-up between the Speaker and the right-wing came when they wanted to block funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The Tea … Continue reading

They Brand Cattle, Don’t They?

by Walter Brasch “Branding! We have to make you a brand!” “I’m not cattle,” I told my sometimes faux foil assistant Marshbaum, who had just burst into my office. “And if you think I’m getting a tattoo,” I replied, “my body isn’t a canvas.” “It’s sure wide enough,” Marshbaum flippantly replied. Before I could throw sheets of wadded up paper at him, he explained what he meant. “It’s not a fire-iron brand,” he explained. “It’s strategic marketing.” “I’m a journalist,” I reminded Marshbaum, “I don’t do that kind of thing.” “You will if you want to stay in business.” “I’ve been in this business four decades, and I’ve never been branded.” “That’s why we need you to do TV commercials,” … Continue reading