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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2013/ 25 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

A Royal Scam

By Peter Funt








http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Music Man showed up here the other day, hoping to separate school kids from their money.

Like the fictional Prof. Harold Hill, whose fast talking convinced residents of River City, Iowa, to invest in a boys' band, this Music Man raises hopes, makes promises and leaves town with the loot. He's worked this con across the U.S. for more than a decade.

Each year some 20 schools cough up a total of over $5 million because they mistakenly believe they've earned the "honor" to play in London's New Year's Day parade. In fact, it's no more an achievement than, say, getting an encouraging letter from Publisher's Clearing House.

The charlatan is Roger Bramble, who carries the meaningless title of Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster, and represents himself to U.S. schools as an emissary of Queen Elizabeth II. He pulls into town bearing trinkets, such as royal cuff links, tells school officials that their band has been "selected" to play in London, and gives them a full year to beg or borrow enough money to pay for it. In the case of Scottsdale's Desert Mountain High the tab is $300,000.

It is stunning that year after year high school music teachers and administrators -- along with local media -- are taken in by this scam. Bramble and his confederates operate a travel agency. They "select" schools, usually in affluent communities like Scottsdale, without so much as a tryout or audition. They make a grand appearance, often in costume, whipping up interest.

The catch: schools can only attend if they travel to London, at inflated prices, via the organizers' own agency. It's no different than if a car dealer "selected" you to buy a new Cadillac and required you to pay more than the sticker price.



There are similar scams preying on students in the U.S., usually involving trips to Washington, D.C., for which students are misled into thinking they have been chosen based on merit. Often the promoters hide behind non-profits with official-sounding names, while funneling the travel money through for-profit agencies.

Impressionable students and even careless educators can be forgiven for falling for these schemes, but the degree to which local media take the bait is shameful. Recently, for example, CBS News in Baltimore gushed that the Dulaney High School band performed so well in 2011 that, "in glorious British fashion, two reps from the London parade showed up (in September) in person to ask the band to come perform in 2014." Cost: $350,000.

On Oct. 24 The Oklahoman newspaper reported: "It's not every day that the Queen of England invites your band to play in London on New Year's Day." That's for sure. In fact there is no way that Her Majesty had anything whatsoever to do with the "invitation" to the 200-member Southmoore High band to make the trek to Europe in 2016.

Frequently Bramble conveys the impression to students that not only have they been selected by the queen, but that she's likely to be there on New Year's Day to hear them play which is, as the British say, rubbish.

Here in Scottsdale, the Arizona Republic ran the story about Desert Mountain High on Oct. 26 without qualification. "We'll start selling chocolate and washing cars," band director Michelle Irvin told the paper, "and see if we can schedule some performances to pay for this huge expense." The report dutifully noted that the visitors, "presented gifts to the band and the school, including a plate commemorating the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth's coronation."

Fact is, some students do enjoy these overpriced trips, even if there is no particular honor connected with the experience. But collecting money under false pretenses is nothing more than Trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with C, and that stands for Con.

Peter Funt's latest book, "Cautiously Optimistic," is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Comment on Peter Funt's column by clicking here.




Previously:


10/14/13 Siri Tells All
10/08/13 Rushing Print's Demise
08/08/13 Pervs in the Press
07/24/13 Monitoring Media
07/16/13 TV on Trial
07/03/13 With Trayvon, who has won? Not us or the U.S.
07/01/13 When history comes with ink stained fingers
06/25/13 An E-Z Fix
06/11/13 Mister, Mister
06/04/13 Branded


© 2013, Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate

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