DEYAN RANKO BRASHICH was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, and is an Op-Ed columnist for Connecticut's Litchfield County Times.  He writes the monthly Letter From America column for Romania’s Scrisul Romanesc, a literary magazine and is the Editor-at-Large for  The Country and Abroad, another literary/art magazine where he authors the Dispatch from Abroad column. He is a frequent contributor to Pecat, the Belgrade, Serbia weekly news magazine, Britić, a magazine published in the United Kingdom, Ekurd Daily, a multinational Kurdish news portal and Passport, a lifestyle quarterly. He resides in New York City and Washington, Connecticut.

 

 

Media
Tuesday
Apr262011

THE CURSE OF BLACK ELECTRIC SPAGHETTI

 

My kitchen counter is covered by an unsightly tangle of black electrical cords each terminating in a distinctly different charger head meant to be plugged into an electronic device: an IPhone, a Blackberry, a cell phone, an IPad, a Kindle, whatever. You grope, untangle and then blindly try one after another before finally finding the right one. Comes the weekend when your children visit, the tangle grows exponentially. What a mess, what a waste.
          Way back when, at the dawn of the electronic age, manufacturers conspired, probably in violation of present day anti trust laws, to standardize products. All radios used the same electric plug to access electrical power. You could only buy record players [remember them, those things with turntables?] that rotated at 33 1/3, 45 or 78 revolutions per minute. You could not go out get a record player that revolved at, let’s say 53 revs, no way. You had to go with the flow, the accepted universal way of doing things.
          So what is it with all these electronic geniuses, the MIT, CalTech and RPI graduates, the guys at Intel, Toshiba, Soni, Apple? Can’t they get their act together and agree that power for all of their gadgets will be accessed through a universal power plug that all devices could use interchangeably? Is simplicity, sanity and savings too much to ask?
          Some forwarding thinking electrical engineering students from, of all places, Belgrade, Serbia have just devised a “Strawberry Tree”, a free standing kiosk that harnesses solar energy and makes it available for free to passerby’s  whose electronic device are about to expire and need that an immediate jolt of electricity to keep on going like the Energizer Bunny. But in order to make it function the device has sixteen, count them, sixteen different electric chargers to accommodate the most frequently used devices.
          The “Strawberry Tree” will be installed in front of the European Parliament Building in Brussels and featured at European Commission’s “Week of Sustainable Energy Development”. But does it really take sixteen almost identical charger heads to make the idea work for most of us walking down the street? Do I really want a great big tangle of black wire spaghettini or capellini littering my kitchen counter? I think not. So to you electrical engineers out there: “Come on guys, get your act together!”
   

 

Thursday
Apr072011

REQUIEM FOR A DON

 

          The “Don”, the Mafia boss, immediately brings to mind The Godfather’s Don Vito Corleone, John “Dapper Don” Gotti, Salvatore “Sammy, The Bull” Gravano, Robert “Bobby Ha-Ha” Attanasio, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, Sam “Momo” Giancanna and Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno. All Italian-American gangsters. But this stereotype has it wrong. Think of Otto “Abbadabba” Berman [German American who coined “Nothing personal. It’s just business”], Alex “Allie Boy” Rudaj [Albanian], Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein [Jewish American], Nick “Nicky Nails” Dedaj [Albanian], Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer [German American], Jack “Legs” Diamond [100% American] and Irving “Waxey Gordon” Wexler [Jewish Russian American]. In reality “Dons” come in all shapes and sizes, ethnic origins and religious and non religious persuasions.
          Which bring us to Bosko “The Yugo” Radonjich who died at age 68 in Belgrade, Serbia last month. Now as I write this piece, this Requiem in Pace plea to the Almighty to go easy on old Bosko, to grant him a pass. Oh Lord, show him compassion and mercy for surely he has sinned. But after all, he was a friend; he saved my life and kept me out of harm’s way. The very least I can do is to humbly seek intercession on his behalf.
          Now the question is how does the life path of a fancy Madison Avenue lawyer intersect with that of a rather rough brawler from New York’s Hell’s Kitchen? It’s all a matter of chance, a roll of the dice, and easy, real easy, believes you me.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar282011

THE LIBYAN WAR: THE RIGHT WAY OR NO WAY

                                                       deyan ranko brashich & nikola kostich
          Our Constitution has been criticized for being vague and subject to interpretation with changing morals and times. Scholars and judges have wrestled with the meanings of “establishment of religion”, “freedom of speech”, “right of the people to keep and bear arms”, “cruel and unusual punishment”, “unreasonable search”. However, the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, makes it crystal clear that Congress, and only Congress, shall have Power  
“To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”
          The Civil War, America’s first modern war with weapons of mass destruction and casualties in the hundreds of thousands, was presided over by Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps it is apt to consider his take on the War Powers Clause when he sat in Congress and debated the beginning of the Mexican-American War in 1846:
“The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.”
          President Obama is not a “king”. He and his Adninistration’s  [Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Generals and Admirals constituting the Joint Chiefs of Staff] violation of the War Powers Clause by unilateral military action in Lybia should be condemned and not condonned.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar152011

TAX GOD: A BUDGET HAIL MARY PASS

 

          A “Hail Mary Pass”, as everyone knows, is a very long forward pass made in sheer desperation with only a small chance of success, usually thrown at the end of a football game. Faced with catastrophic and huge budget deficits, American politicians at the state and city level should seriously consider lobbing their own Hail Mary Pass: Tax God, Tax Religion.
          New York State is slashing payrolls and threatening to fire and furlough teachers. Connecticut is nor far behind. Wisconsin has just passed a law abrogating collective bargaining rights for state employees and mandating an 8% pay cut concession. New Jersey is closing psychiatric institutions and limiting state aid to education, the arts, cities and municipalities. California, Nevada, Rhode Island are but a few of the states considering taxing the sale of marijuana to solve the deficit. Adding insult to injury, the Town of West Hartford is considering extending parking meter hours, noting that for every extra taxable parking hour the Town will reap a benefit of $67,000 a year. 
          All of these proposals and measures seem to fall "disproportionately on the backs of the middle class, the poor, the elderly, schoolchildren, college students and inner-city residents, while leaving largely unscathed the wealthy and most businesses". OK, so why not tax dumb, fat, happy and rich tax targets, God and Religion?   

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar072011

YOU WANTS A "NO FLY ZONE", YOU GOTS A "NO FLY ZONE"

 

         You just can’t keep up with the news, even if you are engaged full time. After posting comments on the follies of war on what is known as the internet, the true meaning of which I must ruefully admit I do not even begin to understand, I was alerted by a “site” [again, don’t ask me what the hell this means] known as “Justwatch” to a profound statement made by the Gulf Cooperation Council, apparently a body representing six tiny nation states in the Persian Gulf.
          Now Justwatch is a pretty nifty site. It is run by the University of Buffalo, last heard an accredited institution of higher learning. It is apparently both totally apolitical and rabidly partisan. If you enjoy intellectual mud wrestling on an international scale, I urge you to log on. Hours of unmitigated fun tempered with liberal [pun intended] ministrations of valium.  
          Back to the Justwatch posting: “The Gulf Cooperation Council demands that the Un Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya” calling on “the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to face their responsibilities in helping the dear people” [emphasis supplied].
          When I see Saudi jets, bought for hundreds of millions of dollars from the United State patrolling Libyan skies, Egyptian F 16’s and Jordanian F 15’s, all paid for by United States military aid assistance programs, and whatever other military hardware NATO countries have sold to the Middle East enforcing a “no-fly” zone, then, and only then, will I say “You wants a no-fly zone, you gots a no fly zone”, now you enforce it. Never happen, I bet. Contact me HERE to place your bets