Questionable Calls in the Sports Department

  by Walter Brasch   With the opening of the high school football season, local newspapers and TV stations have again been running lists of what they believe are the top teams. Most lists rank teams in the “top 10.” One Pennsylvania TV station, whose on-air number is 16, runs the “Top 16.” There are several problems with these lists. First, we don’t know how they got those rankings. We don’t know who makes up those lists or what criteria were used. It could be a sports editor and her grandfather. It could be a bunch of station personnel sitting at a bar, throwing back vodka slammers and team names. Even if we know how the lists are compiled, a … 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

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

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

Setting America’s Priorities for 2015

    by Walter Brasch Marci Rosenberg, a senior speech language pathologist at the University of Michigan, earns about $73,000 a year. Desmond Patton, who studies the problems of gang violence, is a professor at the University of Michigan. He earns about $80,000 a year. Patricia Reuter-Lorenz, who works with cerebral palsy children, is a professor at the University of Michigan. She earns about $136,000 a year. Ursula Jakob, a molecular biologist who is working on proteins to unlock new disease cures, is a professor at the University of Michigan. She earns about $112,000 a year Dan Habib works with children who have disabilities; Martha Bailey is doing research on the correlations between living in disadvantaged neighborhoods and criminal behavior; … Continue reading

Losing the White Democratic in the Deep South

    Democrat Mary Landrieu lost her Senate seat to Republican Bill Cassidy in a runoff election in Louisiana. As of 2015 there will be no white Democratic elected officials in the Deep South at the federal or state level. I lived and worked in Alabama for six years of my life. I’ve also traveled several times to Georgia and Mississippi. Honestly, I love the Deep South. The people are some of the most welcoming, thoughtful people in the world. I interned for the Alabama Democratic Party. I traveled across the state and met some of the most dedicated Democrats, both black and white. In 2008 Barack Obama became this country’s first black President. In my last two years in … Continue reading

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

Africa for Africans Capitalism Defeating Communism

President Obama just concluded a conference of African Heads of State. The conference was the first in our Nation’s history, which is a sad commentary in America’s relationship with Africa. I believe the conference needed to happen, even if only for historical purposes. The President of the United States, an African-American, in the rose garden taking photos with African leaders; the symbolism of this historic conference can’t be ignored. The concern I had for this conference is we have been “talking” about the issues of Africa for the past twenty-five years, since colonial rule left Africa to fend for itself. Millions of dollars, both public and private funds have been thrown at Aid to African economic and social issues. Missionaries from … Continue reading