Immigration Reform — My Thoughts on a Sensible Way Forward

America’s immigration debate is stuck.  The last major revision to our system occurred in 1965, and there are obvious problems with current law.  Most glaringly, our system encourages (in multiple ways) an almost random collection of folks to immigrate without regard to the skills and talents that they could bring to America.  That should change. …

Immigration in America: A (short) History and Some Guiding Principles

Immigration is perhaps the most divisive issue facing America today.  It has dominated the political discourse over the past year, and will do so again in 2018. Over the next few posts, I’m going to explore the issue.  In this first piece, I’m going to start with a review of America’s immigration history and some…

No Reason to Care: Why I Found The Last Jedi So Unsatisfying

At the risk of annoying all of you, I’m going to join the minority in criticizing “The Last Jedi.”  While I found the movie entertaining (although a bit long) and some of the scenes were really cool, I ultimately found the movie unsatisfying.  Other critics have focused on the fact that the story echos previous…

Congress gets the Job Done on Tax Reform

House and Senate leaders announced their final Tax Reform bill on Friday, and passage seems assured by the end of the year.  Enough details have emerged to grade the final product (though I’m sure we’ll learn more in coming days).  Because it makes America more competitive, will spur economic growth, and helps families in some…

Let’s Call a Christmas Truce

America believes itself to be in a culture war.  Donald Trump’s first year as President has deepened the polarization and anger that has characterized our country for decades.  The nation has essentially split into tribes with both sides being absolutely certain of their own righteousness, and having little interest in finding common ground or shared…

License to Curl? Considering State Licensure Rules

In our ever-specializing world, we are confronted by a dizzying array of service providers who are eager to help us out (for a fee).   We expect some professionals, like doctors, dentists and accountants, to be highly educated, trained and licensed.  Others, like the teen who cuts the lawn, need no training or experience.  But, what about…

“Let Us Give Thanks to God” — Thanksgiving 2017

We at the Shire love Thanksgiving.  It is such a joy to gather with family and friends around a table covered with our favorite foods (we’re particularly partial to turkey and stuffing covered in gravy).  We also savor the spirit of the holiday — it is a blessing to give thanks for all that we have been…

Rotten to the Core: 100 Years of Communism

100 years ago this November (based on the Russian calendar), Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky led a group known as the Bolsheviks in overthrowing the Russian Tsar and created the world’s first Communist nation. This event ushered in one of the world’s darkest chapters, one in which we are still living.  Given the continued existence…

Continuity, Change and Leadership

In his acceptance speech after winning St. Paul’s mayoral race, Melvin Carter said that in St. Paul, “the only constant is change” and spoke eagerly of an ever-transforming city. Not to pick on Mayor-elect Carter, but this seems like a fairly significant overstatement. Let’s list just a few things that have stayed the same in…

Welcome to the Shire

This is a mostly political forum that exists to reclaim the idea that life isn’t politics and politics isn’t life. We seek to defend and celebrate the small, the settled, the personal, the practical and the private against those who wish to exalt government, central planning, rigid ideology, utopia and experts. We believe first in…