Rebundling Community College

Any school offers a bundle of complimentary services and attracts partners. For colleges, the anchor is teaching undergraduate students. Undergraduate tuition provides funding for graduate students and professors’ research, who teach the classes. When students live on or near campus, there’s an industry to provide housing and meals that bolster the student experiences. Specialized counseling, medical, and financial aid services aim to help students successfully finish their degree. Athletics programs provide entertainment and brand awareness. Local businesses partner with colleges for training programs, and industrial parks are established to commercialize innovations developed at the college.

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Starting Small

What’s the smallest scale imaginable to foster healthy growth of young adults? What’s the path to growth?

  1. Participate in a home matching online marketplace as an intermediary. Rent a home and sublet to subjects. Design rules for subjects’ cooperation. Provide a minimal set of services like back-up childcare, tutoring, academic advising, job searching, government benefits and tax advice, etc.
  2. Recruit more established adults to serve as mentors.
  3. Lend reputation by helping get subjects jobs. Start a business that preferentially employs participants.
  4. Apply for grants to acquire real estate to use as permanent housing. Allow subjects to buy equity stakes, enabling rolling real estate purchases.
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Serve the Chicken with an Egg

Poverty is a chicken-or-egg problem. When is the best stage in the human lifecycle at which to intervene to break cycles of poverty? Is it better to help adults or children?

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Insuring Lives of Service

Christians are called to live in the moment. To save up treasures in heaven, not on Earth. To trust God. But we are also not to be irresponsible and an undue burden on each other. It’s foolish to trust too fully in men, even if they profess trust in Christ. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

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Empathy

One of the hardest ideas for me to wrestle with is that there are 7 billion other people living in this world with the same depth of experience as me. They each have the same depth of feeling as me. Each person experiences quiet thoughts and has clever inside jokes with their friends.

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Commune Dreaming

I dream of starting an intentional living community. For those who know me, “the Commune.” Since 2017, when I first started blathering about the Commune, the idea has remained slippery. It’s a loose collection of shifting goals that don’t accurately reflect a commune, but I don’t have a better name.

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Affirmative Action & Immigration from Africa

Since the 1960s, US governments and society have taken steps to elevate African Americans. These are attempts to reverse damage done by the same groups’ actions that repressed African Americans until that time.1

  1. The 1960s were a turning point in discriminatory policies. Many forms of discrimination of course still linger today, but they normally lack official sanction. 

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The Pace of Change is Slow in America

Wooden utility poles in America are inspected every 10 years to make sure they haven’t rotted. The workers leave behind a metal tag with the year of the inspection. I enjoy stopping and looking at the phone poles in an area to find the oldest tags. Some tags go back to the 1940s.

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One *****ist is a joke. A million *****ists are a nightmare.

One communist is a joke. A million communists are a nightmare. The same is true of racists. To illustrate, one of my favorite whackos in America is Michael Symonette, who tries to unite Blacks and Whites…by blaming everything on the Cherokee Indians. He’s deeply crazy and “racist”, but the dude is basically harmless because nobody agrees with him.

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Property Rights are Useful, not Sacred

Property rights are a society’s definition of what it means to own something. They are the bedrock on which individuals stand when they agree to trade goods or services. When I buy a candy bar or a piece of land with money, me and the seller are both depending on a clear, stable definition of what it means to “own” those things. (Watch a quick Khan Academy overview.)

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America's Place in the World

The world is a big place—but not so big that it cannot be summarized. The US has 5% of the world population. If there were 20 random people in a room, probably one of them would be American. This post is an attempt to show America in scale compared to the rest of the world.

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Rewriting America's Backstory

Fewer than half of America’s school children identify as White today. Many of these kids don’t imagine themselves in the thrill of Paul Revere’s nighttime ride or feel their pulse quicken at Patrick Henry’s heroic, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” It’s not believable to say “we” when talking about America’s past role in the world when your ancestors would never have been accepted as actors in it.

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Who Won Reconstruction?

Long ago I learned the phrase, “The North won the Civil War, but the South won Reconstruction.” The explicit statement is true – Northern Union troops won the American civil war and ended slavery, but a White Southern backlash enshrined another 100 years of racist Jim Crow oppression for Black Americans. However, the phrase also reinforces a Northern narrative of being on the ‘right side of history’ that is not fully justified.

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Remember the American Apocalypse on Columbus Day

Garfield Minus Garfield is a literary gem. With Garfield’s character removed from Garfield comic strips, Jon is revealed – depressed, absurd, and pitiful. I challenge you to try the same trick with the early history of Europeans’ arrival to America. Avoiding focus on European experiences, you’ll clearly see the apocalypse that consumed our continent.

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Who Parents? (unfinished)

In Rosen’s paper, the theory is that companies simultaneously pay a price for labor, and workers pay a shadow price for a job. The shadow price that workers pay for a job is their maximum earnings potential minus their actual earnings. Workers can be excluded from certain types of jobs if the job’s shadow price exceeds their earnings potential.

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A New Focus on the Family

Growing up, Dad liked to listen to radio programs from an organization called Focus on the Family. It’s a Christian media group centered on the premise of “helping families thrive.” I always loved that goal. Anyone with a family knows how hard family life can be!

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Name and Shame Litterbug Stores

Yonkers, New York is dirty. It’s where I live, and there is literally trash everywhere - every gutter, every forest, every highway. Most of it has a corporate logo. This article is a proposal to motivate (name, shame, blackmail) stores to pick up after their customers.

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How to Take Over (a Small Corner of) the World

What’s the easiest way to secure housing for a community of like-minded individuals with a shared purpose? This post compares the money required to (a) build such a neighborhood from scratch versus (b) orchestrate a hostile takeover of a poorly run homeowners association.

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Moving to the Best Neighborhood

When you buy or rent a home, you’re choosing more than the home. You get proximity to shops and parks, access to schools, and public services like police and fire protection. Perhaps most importantly, you choose your neighbors.

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Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods

Somebody asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” To that, Jesus replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan, who helped a wounded man he found on the side of the road.

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What to Do with Displaced Workers, Old Folks, and Children?

Jim, one of my childhood mentors, was a copy machine repairman. I don’t know his full story, but I know he got shot in the Vietnam War. Every Sunday, he carried a tote filled with candy to our church and distributed his loot liberally if we kids could recite Bible verses. He was a hero.

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Segregated Churches

Most American churches are still racially segregated. Martin Luther King called Sunday morning, “the most segregated hour of Christian America.” Are Christians really that racist? What is going on and what can be done about it?

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