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home : opinion

Giving aid and comfort to ISIS
The Seattle media is awash with the story to ban the Polar Pioneer from Seattle's waterfront. The argument is that drilling for oil in the Arctic is an environmental disaster that will cause the oceans to rise and fish to die. In the words of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, "..things like oil trains and coal trains and oil-drilling rigs are the past. It's time to focus on the economy of the future."
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 More...

Socialization as a religious phenomenon
Every home schooling parent has been asked the S-Question: "What about socialization?" The implications of the question are less than flattering:

• Students who attend schools outside the home are socialized better because they spend so much time with their immature peers, whereas students who attend school within the home are poorly socialized because they spend so much time with their mature parents.

• Home school families do not interact with one another.

• Socialization that occurs on the soccer field, during debate rounds, and in church doesn't count (or is somehow inferior).

• Students who attend school outside the home are always well socialized.

• Your kids are so weird.

I would like to put the S-Question to rest by summarizing research I conducted along with my colleagues. We surveyed 223 families, 95 of whom were schooling at home. The results point to three important observations: home schooling teens socialize more than other teens, they socialize differently than other teens, but both of these observations miss the point. Socialization is not a home schooling issue; it is a religious phenomenon.

First, home schooling teens socialize more than other teens. Using a standard measurement scale of 21 questions, we measured the extent to which the teens spend time interacting with their family, their friends, and other significant adults. Home school teens indicated significantly more social interaction than other teens. The S-Question assumes that home schooling teens are not engaged in social interaction. This is contrary to what is actually occurring.

It is true, however, that the home schooling teens are not in every category engaged in more social interaction. There is a difference in the target of the interactions. When asked about interaction with their families, home school youth indicated significantly more interaction in comparison to other youth. They indicated significantly more interaction with other significant adults. However, they indicated significantly less interaction with their friends. Home school youth interact more with family and adults, less with friends. The social interaction of home schooling teens is different from that of others.

The teens tell us that home schoolers have more social interaction overall, but less with their peers. We are confident that this reflects genuine differences because we saw the same differences when we asked their parents.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 More...
What slowed down the economy?
This year has been pretty boring. The stock market is up a little bit. The economy is growing a little bit. All the same stuff is happening in all the same places across the globe. There's just not much compelling stuff for me to report. Maybe I'll get lucky and we'll get a big crisis I can write about. That'd be awesome.

The biggest story continues to be the slowing economy. Almost every measure of the economy is slowing down: GDP, employment, consumer spending, retail sales, durable goods, manufacturing... But not only is the economy losing steam, corporate earnings fell for the first time in years. So what's happening here?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 More...
Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 More...
Tearing down America
The very fabric of our nation has come under attack in the last few weeks. The fundamental constitutional freedoms that have made America exceptional are being questioned and challenged.

The first amendment to the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion. It is one of our bedrock principles. There are no limits to those freedoms as written. No place that says you can exercise your freedom of speech as long as you do not offend anyone. No place that says you are only allowed to practice your deeply held religious beliefs in private.

Yet, we are increasingly confronted with challenges to those freedoms.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 More...
Overcoming stagnant wages
Stronger Unions and Higher Minimum Wages are Not the Answer

Recently, many economists and politicians have expressed concern about stagnant wages and rising income and wealth inequality. Such concerns prompted 20 states and the District of Columbia to raise the minimum wage this year. Some economists, such as former treasury secretary Larry Summers, also argue that steps should be taken to increase the number of workers who are members of labor unions so they can bargain for a greater share of corporate earnings. Strengthening unions and raising minimum wages, however, will do little to help low- and middle-income Americans, and will instead reduce job opportunities for young and inexperienced workers.

Progressive economists, such as Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, argue that low- and moderate-income workers' wages have been held down by their lack of bargaining power, which is partly the result of reductions in the influence of labor unions and of minimum wages that have not kept up with inflation. The percentage of workers who are members of unions fell by more than half between 1973 and 2007. Union membership in the private sector declined even more. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is now 25 percent below its peak in 1968.

Thursday, May 7, 2015 More...

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