Pink Sneakers Cushion a Will for Women’s Rights

wendy davis filibuster

Walter and Rosemary Brasch: State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat and a 50-year-old Harvard graduate lawyer, put on a pair of comfortable pink sneakers this week, and talked for more than 11 hours to block an oppressive Republican-sponsored bill to kill almost all of the state’s medical abortion clinics and impose their governmental will upon all women.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Totalitarian State

nsa listening

Walter Brasch: Americans who have been paying attention should also know that electronic spying—it sounds better when the government says it’s data mining to prevent terrorism—has been going on at least a decade.

A Father’s Day Barbeque—Washington-Style

chasing obama

Walter Brasch: It’s Father’s Day, and that means the Great White Republican Hierarchy in Washington smells burnt charcoal and is ready to barbeque some Democrats.

Fracking America’s Food Supply

wheat field oil well

Walter Brasch: Fracking — the process the oil and gas industry uses to extract fossil fuel as much as two miles below the ground—may directly impact the nation’s water supply, reduce water-based recreational and sports activity, and lead to an increase in the cost of food.

Circumventing Transparency: Pennsylvania’s Latest Shell Game to Protect Big Energy

old tires

Walter Brasch: The failure to maintain records in an easily searchable method continues to allow the DEP to withhold public information from the public by burying the requested data within piles of irrelevant documents, most of which need interpretation from scientists.

Keystone Pipeline Landowner Rights

julia trigg crawford

Walter Brasch: “The gas companies pay a one-time fee for your land, but you lose the right to utilize it as anything more than grassland forever. . . . You can never build on those easements. They took my retirement away by eminent domain.”

‘A’ Is for Average

graduation day

Walter Brasch: Because of grade inflation, students avoid professors who believe the grade of “C” is the average grade and who set up standards that require students to do more than show up, read a couple of hundred pages, and answer a few questions.

Oh, That’s What the Boy Scouts Mean by Being ‘Morally Straight’

boy scouts and gays

Walter Brasch: If there was a Pathfinder merit badge, the Scout leadership would be unable to earn it—they’ve been wandering the wrong trail for many years.

Pennsylvania: You Are Fracked

fracking pennsylvania

Walter Brasch: It is important that the people push a weak-willed Congress, inflated by Big Energy political contributions, to force the natural gas industry to be accountable for all laws that protect the public health and environment.

NRA Liars and Congressional Cowards

nra-background-checks-590

Walter Brasch: Until the members of Congress develop that one iota of courage that President Obama asked for, the United States will continue to have the highest number of guns per population of 178 countries—and also rank among the world’s top 10 countries in the rate of deaths per population from guns.

Mitch McConnell’s ‘Whack-a-Mole’ Dirty Politics Campaign

ashley judd and mitch mcconnell

Walter Brasch: Bound in a political black hole from which truth never escapes, McConnell and his staff launched a “scorch-earth” attack to divert the public from the facts on the leaked tape was the far greater sin than what was said.

The Politics Behind the Killing of Americans

rick perry

Walt Brasch: Fifteen states, dominated by Republican governorships and legislatures, by declaring they won’t allow Medicaid expansion, are on record as placing political interests before the health of their citizens.

No Merit Badge for Courage for Boy Scouts

gay-boy-scout-590

Walter Brasch: Gays are part of every business, trade, profession, and even the military. Only the most paranoid, homophobic, and ignorant see any problem.

The Paul Ryan Magical Mystery Chop, Dice, and Slice Budget

ryan lessons

Walter Brasch: The American people broadly rejected Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2010. They need to now reject Ryan’s so-called new budget that proves the Republicans are nothing more than the lackeys of corporate greed at the expense of the rest of us.

Sequester: Holding the American People Hostage

boehner cuts off nose

Walter Brasch: The Congressional Budget Office says the sequester could cut more than 750,000 federal jobs. Republicans like that idea, especially since most federal employees are also members of unions. But, those jobs include public health officials, social service workers, teachers, air traffic controllers, and others in critical jobs.

Universal Neglect: A Failure to Protect Americans’ Health

paul krassner

Walter Brasch: The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect next year, moved the United States closer to universal health care, already enjoyed by the citizens of 28 industrialized countries. But, it doesn’t cover dental care.

America’s Culture Is Signing on the Dotted Line

signing an athlete

Walter Brasch: When you’re looking at a four-column picture of a smiling athlete at a signing ceremony, ask yourself why do we wring our hands, furrow our brows, and complain about low educational scores.

You Can’t Wash Away Fracking’s Effects

fracking

Walter Brasch: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is ecstatic that a side benefit of destroying the environment and public health is an improvement in the economy and more jobs—even if most of the workers in Pennsylvania now sport license plates from Texas and Oklahoma.

Weathering a Blizzard of News Media Bravado

ginger zee

Walter Brasch: There is absolutely no need to put someone onto a deserted street with a hill of snow and wind to tell us there is a hill of snow and wind, and to stay off the roads.

The No News News Media

notre dame

Walter Brasch: Subway is accused of making foot-long hoagies that are 11 inches. The media seized this major fraud and, ignoring anything Congress or Wall Street was doing, slathered layers of hype on a story that should have died with three paragraphs in one day.

The Problem with the Bahmas

beyonce inaugruation

Walter Brasch: When I last saw Fishbottom, he was calmer, chatting with a couple of dozen of his Congressional colleagues, not planning to do anything other than convene a hearing that he hoped would lead to the end of recorded music—and an impeachment.

Confessions of a Juiced Journalist

sosa-juiced-wide

Walter Brasch: I must confess now. While Stephen King, Aaron Sorkin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and thousands of other great writers used coke or pot to get high and produce great works, I used steroids.

America’s Uncivil Phone Manners

vintage phone

Walter Brasch: More and more we see a loss of civility by people and organizations that may think they’re just too important to deal with the people.

Fiscal Chicken

tea party caucus

Walter Brasch: The obstructionists in Congress need to realize this isn’t a deserted two-lane highway, and Americans don’t want the Republicans playing chicken with our nest eggs.

America’s Gun Culture This Year

newtown shootin

Walter Brasch: There were 12 mass murders so far this year. There will be 33 more deaths from gunshot wounds today. There will be 33 more tomorrow. And the day after that and the day after that.

Dissolving a Stain Painted by Henry Ford

henry ford

Walter Brasch: It’s possible my family, and thousands of other Jewish families, may some day buy a Ford. The stain the company’s founder painted onto his product has faded.

Walmart: Discounting Lives to Maximize Profits

bangladesh

Walter Brasch: Imitating Sgt. Schultz of “Hogan’s Heroes,” Walmart executives claimed they knew nothing—NOTHING—about working conditions in a garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 workers died and more than 150 were injured in a fire.

Truckin’ to Treason: The Hot Air of Secession

secede

Walter Brasch: The Civil War—known as the War Between the States among Confederate sympathizers—is still being fought. Almost 25,000 Pennsylvanians have now signed petitions to have the Keystone State secede from the union.

University Governance Doesn’t Represent the People

penn state

Walter Brasch: About 800,000 Pennsylvanians are members of labor unions, and the state has a long history of union rights and activism, but neither of the two largest university systems has a labor representative on its governing board.

Intruding Upon the Constitution by the Religious Right

billy graham

Walter Brasch: 28 percent of Americans, according to a First Amendment Center poll in February, don’t believe there is a Constitutional separation of church and state.

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