Labor Day Assignment: Educating the Uninformed

    by Walter Brasch   It’s Labor Day weekend, the schools have been in session about a week, and the disgruntled voices of a minority drone on. Their screeching refrain, often in letters to the editor and talk show call-ins, is familiar: –Teachers only work half a year. –Teachers are overpaid. –Local school districts and their taxpayers shouldn’t have to hold the burden of teacher salaries. Often, those who complain the most are those who were average or below-average students who blame teachers, not themselves, for their mediocrity. Although most claim to be strong free-market capitalists, they believe teachers should not have much higher wages and benefits than they do, a philosophy bordering on socialism. Let’s look at each … Continue reading

Railroad ‘Bomb Trains’: Speeding to Disaster

  by Walter Brasch   It’s 3 p.m., and you’re cruising down a rural road, doing about 50. A quarter mile away is a sign, with flashing yellow lights, alerting you to slow down to 15. It’s a school zone. But, you don’t see any children. Besides, you’re going to be late to your racquetball match. So, you just slide on past. You’re an independent long-haul trucker. You get paid by the number of miles you drive. If you work just a couple of hours longer every day than the limits set by the federal government—and if you can drive 75 or 80 instead of 65, you can earn more income. You have your uppers and energy drinks, so you … Continue reading

House Committee: No Benghazi Scandal

  by Walter Brasch   The House Select Committee on Intelligence, following almost a two-year intense investigation, unanimously determined there is no basis for what has become known as the Benghazi Scandal. The Committee consists of 12 Republicans and 9 Democrats. The pretend-scandal began Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists raided the U.S. consulate, and killed the ambassador and three others. Although there was confusion, and the Obama administration didn’t have all the facts when it began to inform the American people about the events and the causes, there was no evidence of anything even remotely linked to a scandal. However, as expected, the blathering mouths of the Extreme Right Wing media pundits and politicians, and those who blindly parrot their … Continue reading

Packing Heat in the Brothers’ ’Hood

  by Walter Brasch   A group of white gun-rights advocates plan to sling rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic assault weapons onto their bodies, and walk through a Black neighborhood in Houston. What could possibly go wrong with that?! The march through Houston’s Fifth Ward is planned for August 16 to educate Texans about their rights to openly carry firearms. To deflect criticism that the march is racially-insensitive, the testosterone-enhanced group, apparently with straight faces to hide its freeze-dried minds, says all it wants is for racial equality. It says because the state charges $250 for a gun permit, it unfairly discriminates against Blacks who have twice the poverty rate as Whites, and that’s why the Whites are going to march … Continue reading

Passing Gas to the Consumer

  by Walter Brasch   Gas prices at the pump during the July 4th extended weekend were the highest they have been in six years. This, of course, has little to do with supply-and-demand economics. It has everything to do with supply-and-gouge profits. Over the past decade, the five largest oil companies have earned more than $1 trillion in profits. Last year, the Big Five—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell—earned about $93 billion in profits. Their CEOs last year earned an average of about $20 million. Included within the profits is $2.4 billion in taxpayer subsidies because it’s hard to make a living when your hourly wage, assuming you work every hour of every day, is only $2,283. “We … Continue reading

Pennsylvania Senate Committee Says Pigeon Shoots are Animal Cruelty

  by Walter Brasch   HARRISBURG, Pa.—There is a remote possibility that Pennsylvania will finally ban the cruel practice of live pigeon shoots when the state senate reconvenes in September. Pennsylvania is the last state where pigeon shoots are legally held. Rep. John Maher had written an amendment to an animal cruelty bill that would ban the killing, serving, and eating of dogs and cats. The amendment to ban pigeon shoots was sponsored in the Senate by Stewart J. Greenleaf, the committee chair; and Richard Alloway, a life-long hunter. The Judiciary committee had voted 10-4 to send the bill to the full Senate. Voting to send the bill to the Senate were all five Democrats and five of the nine … Continue reading

Scientists Predict Increased Rain, Floods for Northeast

  by Walter Brasch   Pennsylvanians will experience increased rainfall and floods if data analysis by a Penn State meteorologist and long-term projections by a fisheries biologist, with a specialty in surface water pollution, are accurate. Paul Knight, senior lecturer in meteorology at Penn State, compiled rainfall data for Pennsylvania from 1895—when recordings were first made—to this year. He says there has been an increase of 10 percent of rainfall during the past century. Until the 1970s, the average rainfall throughout the state was about 42 inches. Beginning in the 1970s, the average began creeping up. “By the 1990s, the increase was noticeable,” he says.  The three wettest years on record since 1895 were 2003, 2004, and 2011. The statewide … Continue reading

An Assault Upon Our Civility

by Walter Brasch   For awhile, it appeared the NRA leadership committed an act of sanity. But, a few hours later, the pills wore off. The story begins with a group called Open Carry Texas (OCT). This fringe group rubbed both its brain cells together, wrapped itself in what it erroneously believes is the Second Amendment, and decided it would be great theatre to bring semi-automatic carbines into family restaurants. Waving the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, a common sight at Tea Party rallies, OCT members handed out leaflets, proclaimed their rights to carry weapons and confronted citizens who had little desire to be in a place where civilians were carrying weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, any … Continue reading