#21. To Achieve Equality, Seattle Public Schools Destroy Excellence
March 2, 2020
When I was in elementary school, I was part of a gifted program. (I can hear my critics laughing — but, indeed, it’s true.) From second to fifth grade, gifted students were kept together and placed with teachers who implemented a unique curriculum.
#20. Crime, Homelessness, and Decorum Should Be Top Priorities for Seattle City Council
January 27, 2020
We are now in the year 2020, a metaphor for perfect vision. Though President George H. W. Bush once derided that “vision thing,” Seattle is in dire need of one. The mayor and City Council should embrace the following priorities.
#19. A Healthy Dose of Perspective Will Help You Be Happier in 2020
January 3, 2020
I hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but I fear that 2020 will be an awful lot like 2019 — only worse.
Not only will we face a 10-month-long election cycle bound to be as intellectually stimulating as a middle school insult contest, we will participate in the kabuki theater known as impeachment, the outcome of which — like the Globetrotters versus the Generals — is known in advance.
So how does the average person survive a year that is guaranteed to be filled with hyperpartisanship, faux outrage and disinformation? I don’t know — but here are five resolutions to make 2020 palatable.
#18. Seattle and Washington State Quickly Become a Lost Cause for Moderates
November 27, 2019
Those of us wishing that decency and practicality would emerge victorious at the ballot box were left defeated and dejected. Conditions were ripe for an overhaul at the City Council. Yet, Seattle voted in favor of the status quo, and the rest of the state voted for dysfunction.
#17. We Have More to Fear from Big Tech than Big Government
November 1, 2019
I like to tell people that I have experienced three life-changing events: The day I got married, the day my daughter was born and the day I bought a MacBook.
#16. Change Is Inevitable, But NIMBY Fights Continue
September 27, 2019
I have mixed emotions as I see a skyscraper going up in the U District. Apparently, at least eight more are on the way. These uneasy feelings were compounded when I visited Kerry Park, and much to my dismay, I no longer recognized the skyline of Seattle.
#15. Too Many Businesspeople Are Duped by Pseudoscience
August 26, 2019
As a scientist who has spent time in the business world, I am continually shocked by how some of the greatest business minds are susceptible to pseudoscience and magical thinking.
In a way, it’s not surprising. Businesspeople, and CEOs in particular, must be relentlessly optimistic. When investors are scarce and revenues are dwindling, it is a survival strategy. That probably explains why executives often recommend fluffy self-help books — it’s sort of like the prosperity gospel for entrepreneurs.
#14. Don’t Feed Leviathan an Income Tax
July 26, 2019
I used to freelance for The Economist, and one of my favorite covers is from 1992. Under the headline, “Who would tame Leviathan?” is a grotesque, blue monster (donning a bowler hat, of course) with an insatiable appetite for money.
Who is Leviathan? Leviathan is the government.
#13. It’s Time to Take Back Control of Seattle
July 15, 2019
Every once in a while, it is worth pausing to ponder carefully on current affairs and our place in history. I’ve come to the unsettling conclusion that, despite the towering cranes and shiny new buildings, there are some deep pathologies running in our city’s veins. Seattle is in crisis.
#12. Olympia Receives a Failing Grade
May 31, 2019
During the final days of the last legislative session, lawmakers in Olympia — seemingly without much thoughtful consideration — decided to overhaul education in Washington state by giving in to various demands from the teachers’ union. In a flurry of activity, lawmakers reversed a ban on affirmative action, essentially eliminated a basic competency test for prospective K-12 teachers and cut funding to charter schools. What effects will these policies have?
#11. When Lawyers Take on Science, the Future of an Industry Is at Stake
May 7, 2019
Last month, a team of scientists obtained a picture of a black hole, providing visual evidence of something astrophysicists have long known to exist but were unable to see. This triumph of modern science was celebrated all around the world.
Meanwhile, television ads by law firms are recruiting Americans to join in a gigantic lawsuit against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) for allegedly causing cancer with its widely used herbicide glyphosate.
#10. Gov. Jay Inslee’s Green Record Should Raise Red Flags
March 15, 2019
Every four years the political circus comes to town. Unlike the actual circus, there are neither peanuts nor animals performing tricks. Instead, we get platitudes and pandering politicians who treat Seattle like a giant ATM and leave as soon as the check clears. If we’re lucky, they don’t come during rush hour.
#9. Secular Evangelists Are Bad Ambassadors for Seattle
February 15, 2019
The church that my wife and I attend has the motto “Every member a minister.” It is meant to serve as an encouragement to be loving and charitable, as well as a reminder that, whoever you are and wherever you go, you represent the Christian faith. Behave accordingly.
Seattle as a whole is not very religious, at least in the traditional sense. Instead, we have invented our own civic religion – a combination of progressivism, environmentalism, social justice and a knee-jerk opposition to anything labeled “conservative.” And we wear this religion on our sleeve for all to see, oftentimes behaving as obnoxiously as the Bible-thumpers we routinely mock. We thump the New York Times op-ed page, instead.
#8. At UW, Hostility to Dissent Is Spreading Silence
January 17, 2019
When I was a graduate student at the University of Washington in 2005, I was told by a professor that the department was gossiping about me. My crime?
#7. We Lost Models of Civility in 2018
December 24, 2018
On Feb. 3, 1959, singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” died in a plane crash. That tragedy became known as The Day the Music Died. Similarly, though there was no single catastrophic event, 2018 may become known as The Year Civility Died.
#6. Seattle City Council’s Ideological Mission Interferes with Good Governance
November 29, 2018
Is there a major city in America more overtly hostile to small businesses than Seattle? If there is one, I don’t know what it could be.
#5. La Croix Is the Latest Victim of a Junk Science Lawsuit
October 18, 2018
La Croix, a popular and “naturally” flavored sparkling water distributed by the National Beverage Corp., has been sued for including synthetic ingredients, among them a cockroach insecticide. This is yet another example of trial lawyers using junk science in an attempt to score a jackpot verdict, and the outcome of the trial has implications for local beverage companies, such as Talking Rain and even Starbucks.
#4. Shoddy UW Study Threatens Washington Wine Industry
September 21, 2018
The University of Washington has just released a study that boldly declares there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. If true, this would have a profound impact on the Washington state wine industry. But is it true?
#3. Zillow Taught Us How to Sell Our Condo and It Worked Perfectly
August 16, 2018
Earlier this year, my wife and I decided to decamp from Seattle and head for the suburbs. We put our small, Northgate-area condo on the market, and it sold in less than 24 hours for $30,000 over asking price. How did we do it?
#2. Seattle Politicians Should Pay Attention to Seattle, Not National Issues
July 27, 2018
Seattle City Hall obviously thinks that it has solved all of our community’s problems. How else can we explain Mayor Jenny Durkan’s decision to take a hiatus from governing to protest immigration policy at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas?
Seattle faces a public health catastrophe if King County and the Seattle City Council don’t deal with the squalid conditions at the city’s homeless encampments.