Richard Elfers

Political landscape has a lot to do with geographic landscape | Politics in Focus

Every year, when I travel to visit my friends and family in eastern Washington and Montana, I’m shocked to see how geography affects political attitudes.

The politics behind Mount Rainier National Park | Politics in Focus

What part did politics play in the creation of Mount Rainier National Park? To answer this question I used information from the book, "Mount Rainier Wonderland: An Administrative History of Mount Rainier National Park."

Can conservation and capitalism walk hand-in-hand? | Politics in Focus

Which is more important, saving the environment or creating new industries and jobs? This issue was one of the main themes recently in PBS’s six-hour presentation on the National Parks and how they came to be.

National parks spurred political debate| Rich Elfers

Which is more important, saving the environment or creating new industries and jobs? This issue was one of the main themes recently in PBS’s six-hour presentation on the National Parks and how they came to be.

Conflict needs healthy resolution | Rich Elfers

I bet I can predict how you deal with conflict. How can I do that? Because there are only five possible ways: avoidance, accommodation, compromise, competition and collaboration.

The five ways of handling conflict | Politics in Focus

I bet I can predict how you deal with conflict. How can I do that? Because there are only five possible ways: avoidance, accommodation, compromise, competition and collaboration.

Modern world short on virtue | Rich Elfers

Do you know the seven virtues? The ancient Greeks gave us four of them: prudence, justice, temperance (restraint) and courage. The Bible adds: faith, hope and love.

Whence virtue? | Politics in Focus

Research has shown that if we think about certain virtues when we are confronted with difficult issues, our personal behavior changes as a result. If, for example, we read about the virtue of honesty before we make a decision about a moral issue, we are more likely to act honestly.

Union seeking more influence | Rich Elfers

Why does it appear that unions and political parties are starting to support candidates for nonpartisan races? Why would I be thinking that, you might ask?

Are non-partisan endorsements a sign of ‘mission creep?’

Why does it appear that unions and political parties are starting to support candidates for nonpartisan races? Why would I be thinking that, you might ask?

Arctic ice melting more rapidly than predicted | Politics in Focus

Arctic ice is melting even more quickly than scientists predicted. At this time last year, an area the size of Venezuela (350,000 square miles) had melted at the North Pole. According to the article, “The Coming Arctic Boom” by Scott Borgerson in the July/August 2013 Foreign Affairs, the melting of the ice is supposed to make Arctic summers ice free by as early as 2020 – a rapid increase from the original 2070 prediction.

A brief history of The Pill | Politics in Focus

By 1962, 1.2 million U.S. women were using the Enovid birth control pill. By 1963, the numbers almost doubled, according to a PBS timeline. Between 2006 and 2008, 82.3 percent of American women aged 15 to 44 were using an oral contraceptive pill (Centers for Disease Control). Today, between 80 million and 100 million women worldwide are using The Pill.

Do you know the difference between fact and opinion? | Politics in Focus

Think back about the last argument you had. Someone made a categorical statement that you strongly disagreed with. How did you react? Did you come back at them with an equally strong statement? Did the views expressed become heated and angry? Did you raise your voice and get red in the face? If you sit back and think about the argument, could either of you tell the difference between what were facts and what were opinions?

Modern tale of trash, treasure | Rich Elfers

Did you ever wonder what became of all the aluminum cans, scrap paper and plastic containers you faithfully recycle every two weeks?

Enumclaw library acquisition brought improvement | Rich Elfers

Voters narrowly approved the Enumclaw library acquisition by the King County Library System back in April 2012 by 35 votes. Where would we be today had the vote been different? Let’s examine some potential scenarios.

Law often complex, and it often depends on… | Rich Elfers

Edward Snowden leaked information about the National Security Agency PRISM Program that spied on emails and phone calls between foreign nationals and American citizens.

Lesson shows power corrupts | Rich Elfers

When I taught sociology in high school, I employed something called a simulation as a class lesson. I divided the class into three groups. Each was given a mixed bag of colored chips: golds, reds and blues. The students didn’t know it, but I had added more gold chips to one bag than to the others. Golds had the highest value. Students could trade their chips with other teams, trying to improve their scores. I did this several times.

The balancing act of individual rights and public safety | Politics in Focus

Recent revelations bring to the fore larger issues elected officials must struggle with: where is the line between protecting the public versus guaranteeing individual rights? The answer to this question is not easily determined.

The relationship of wealth and power, miniaturized | Politics in Focus

When I taught sociology in high school, I employed something called a simulation as a class lesson. I divided the class into three groups. Each was given a mixed bag of colored chips: golds, reds and blues. The students didn’t know it, but I had added more gold chips to one bag than to the others. Golds had the highest value. Students could trade their chips with other teams, trying to improve their scores. I did this several times.

Problems cannot be ignored | Rich Elfers

Another bridge collapsed recently. This time it was on Interstate 5 just north of Mount Vernon. Fortunately, no one was killed, as occurred when the interstate overpass collapsed in Minneapolis a few years ago.rich