Saturday, November 4, 2017

Amazon takes cronyism on a nationwide tour



We are already a month into the process, so nearly everyone alive is aware that the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com has decided to expand their administrative operations beyond Seattle, to another metropolitan area.

Green = states where government is too big.
In a stroke of public relations genius, and setting the stage for a battle that would put Thunderdome to shame, cities across the country are very publicly competing for the prospect of being home to HQ2, and laying out the reddest of carpets. The advertised potential benefit to the welcoming city would be huge: $5 billion in investment, and 50,000 jobs, which would likely average in the low six figures.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Choice Needs a Voice



“Charter school saved my life.”

This isn’t just an anecdote from a concerned constituent that I have heard in passing. These are the words this very morning of my wife, an incredibly bright, but also quite introverted woman who moved from rural Nevada to Southern California in middle school, and felt lost – struggling to thrive in enormous classes that teachers had challenges managing. Then she was given the opportunity to attend high school at a charter school in Apple Valley, CA and blossomed. She graduated at the top of her class, while taking not only college-level courses in high school, but classes at local area colleges as well.

She credits this to the idea that all students are not alike and shouldn’t be educated as such. While charter schools like hers recognize and foster individual differences in learning, public schools regress to a mean established by whatever standard du jour is imposed upon them by the federal government. These methods may or may not make for good test scores, but even former New York state Teacher of the Year John Gatto doesn’t believe they lead to a well-educated mind that is capable of critical thinking.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Snowbound Day of Science Fiction



With winds blowing, drifting two-foot mounds of snow outside our house, we thought it more prudent to remain inside on Monday rather than brave the Montana highways. In doing so, we decided to revisit three sci-fi movies that showed tremendous promise, but ultimately disappointed for one reason or another in initial viewing. Spoilers abound, so though these are all at least a few years old, be sure before you read these that you’ve really seen them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Thoughts on Rights vs. Privileges



Writing for me isn’t like riding a bike. It is a habit more than a skill, one that if I don’t engage in it regularly, I struggle to step up to the plate when time affords. So when I solicited writing topics a short time ago on Facebook, I hoped to prod myself into action.

Well, here it is a month later and the only piece I’ve published is about Star Wars. But one of those topics offered a month ago did intrigue me. A libertarian friend asked the question “What Are Rights?”, and followed by posting his own thread soliciting opinions. Unfortunately, that thread quickly reached 100 comments, and I’ll admit to having read none. Instead I’ll offer my own opinion.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Beloved Franchise Goes Rogue



Twelve months ago, I entered a movie theater with anxious, but cautious, anticipation for the first installment in a new era of Star Wars films. JJ Abrams rewarded this anticipation with an exceptional piece of entertainment that also just so happens to be an excellent Star Wars flick.

Fast forward to this week, when I sat down for the first foray into a new realm of Star Wars entertainment, one the diverges from the episodic format of all the prior films, though still telling a story familiar to anyone who knows the universe even remotely. Reports of reshoots heightened the similarly cautious optimism that I felt and made me worry this may not live up to the example set the year before.

Was I wrong to worry?