Katrina: A 10-Year Review

by Walter Brasch This week is the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the southeastern gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina. More than 1,800 people died. There is no estimate for the number of pets and wildlife. Damage was estimated at more than $100 billion. About 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded. In Mississippi, the water surge flooded as much as 10 miles from the beaches. The Category 3 storm should not have caused that much damage, but it exposed poorly-designed levees that should have protected New Orleans. Sanctimonious critics, many of them conservative politicians, claimed that if the residents had evacuated New Orleans like they were ordered, the death toll and suffering would have been significantly less. What they … Continue reading

Canned Pleasure: The Thrill of the Kill

By Walter Brasch Would you like to go to Zimbabwe, kill and behead a lion, just like that dentist from Minnesota or the physician from Pittsburgh recently did? They paid about $50,000 each for that experience. How about a black rhino, an endangered species? A professional hunter from Dallas, Texas, won a $350,000 lottery to stalk and kill that animal in southern Namibia. In the 1950s, there were about 70,000 black rhinos. There are now fewer than 2,400, most of them killed off by the human predators. If giraffes are your thing, you can go to South Africa and, like a woman from Idaho, kill the world’s tallest animal, pose with it, and post it onto your Facebook page. But, … Continue reading

Their Cheatin’ Souls: Short Circuiting Ethics in America

    by Walter Brasch   New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he had nothing to do with having air removed from game balls. The NFL, following an investigation, says he did. It gave him a four game suspension, which he is appealing. That four game suspension could cost him somewhere between $2 million and $4 million of his $14 million 2015 salary. If he plays well with others, doesn’t get into any more trouble, and injuries and retirement don’t stop his career before he becomes 40 years old in 2017, he will earn $31 million for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The NFL also fined the Patriots $1 million and required the team to forfeit its first round … Continue reading

Hiroshima — Seventy Years On

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… Because of the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mutually Assured Destruction forestalled World War III and became, instead, a “Cold War” in which the loss of human life was miniscule compared to what might have happened were the Eastern Bloc and the Western Powers NOT constrained by that horror. Continue reading

Hillary Lays Out Vision for Economy

In her first major policy speech today since announcing her candidacy for president, Hillary Clinton put higher wages for low-income workers at the heart of her economic policy outline saying “I believe we have to build a growth-and-fairness economy.” Hillary also spoke out about the rise in corporate profits, taking a jab at big industry, as she said, “Corporate profits are at near-record highs and Americans are working as hard as ever but paychecks have barely budged in real terms.” Clinton also took on Wall Street today in her speech saying, “Too many of our major financial institutions are still too complex and too risky and the problems are not limited to the big banks that get all the headlines.” Clinton warned … Continue reading

A Gig Isn’t A Job

The middle class is eroding. A real full-time job is a thing of the past for many working Americans. The part-time, freelance gig has replaced the full-time job and that has created shrinkage in the middle-class and income insecurity has become the norm for too many people. While some people might like having a little more free time, the average worker depending on freelance and gig type work has a hard time making ends meet on a regular basis. For many of these people they don’t know when or if they will find a gig. Many people feel that the economic crisis we faced a few years ago simply has not been addressed in a way that can facilitate real change … Continue reading