Richard Elfers

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

The politics of fixing bridges | Politics in Focus

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.

Two schools of economic thought inform modern political split | Rich Elfers

Two major theories have been battling in America: Keynesian Economic Theory and the Chicago School Economic Theory propounded by the late economist Milton Friedman. Their conflicting positions have struggled for dominance in fixing the economy for decades. Understanding these two views helps to clarify the differences between liberal and conservative economic thinking in America today.

There’s no end to second-term troubles | RICH ELFERS

Do you ever wonder why every two-term president since Richard Nixon has had a scandal or three during his second term?

Second term presidential scandals | Rich Elfers, Politics in Focus

Do you ever wonder why every two-term president since Richard Nixon has had a scandal or three during his second term? Nixon's Waterloo was the Watergate scandal that started during his campaign and ended with his resignation and pardon. Ronald Reagan, the next two-term president, caused the nation to suffer through the Iran-Contra Scandal where his government condemned and sanctioned Iran on one hand, and with the other sold them weapons to fight Saddam Hussein, our ally, whom we also supplied with weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. Clinton's was Monica Lewinsky; George W. Bush's scandals number as high as 34, according to one source. They include Abu Ghraib and no WMDs in Iraq. Now, Obama has three scandals going all at once: Benghazi, AP and the IRS.

Failure just one step to success | RICH ELFERS

It’s paradoxical, but true: Sometimes failure is good for us. That was my experience several years ago. I had been teaching high school history for 22 years by then and still had no sympathy for students who didn’t work hard and did poorly as a result. They would often give up rather than try to succeed. Sometimes they would act up in class, further frustrating me.

Failure isn’t the end | Rich Elfers

It’s paradoxical, but true: Sometimes failure is good for us. That was my experience several years ago. I had been teaching high school history for 22 years by then and still had no sympathy for students who didn’t work hard and did poorly as a result. They would often give up rather than try to succeed. Sometimes they would act up in class, further frustrating me.

Be like Ben, examine your life | Rich Elfers

Do you know what your life thesis is? You have one whether you realize it or not. We all do. It’s the spectacles we use to interpret everything that happens to us. That life thesis comes as a result of major life events that shaped our thinking when we were young.

What’s your life thesis? | Rich Elfers

Do you know what your life thesis is? You have one whether you realize it or not. We all do. It’s the spectacles we use to interpret everything that happens to us. That life thesis comes as a result of major life events that shaped our thinking when we were young.

Feds, state let issue of mental illness slide to cities | RICH ELFERS

Enumclaw and Buckley mayors relate how King and Pierce counties have dumped the problem of the homeless mentally ill on the cities—with no funding to handle it.

Marathon bombings illustrate how brutality objectifies | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

In 1915, during World War I, Imperial Germany made a fateful decision that has rippled down to us in the recent Boston Marathon bombings. Kaiser Wilhelm, in desperation over the British naval blockade of Germany, ordered a German U-boat to sink the British ocean liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. Of the 1,119 passengers who died, 114 were Americans.

North Korea strategy is failing | RICH ELFERS

Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, North Korea has used a strategy of “ferocious, weak, and crazy” to stay in power.

How the Kims leveraged North Korea’s shortcomings into power (and why it might no longer work) | Politics in Focus

Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, North Korea has used a strategy of “ferocious, weak, and crazy” to stay in power. Up until recently the strategy has worked brilliantly for the Kims. But the situation is changing under the leadership of twenty-something Kim Jung Un. Because of his actions and rhetoric China has to reconsider its stance of protecting the North Korean regime. Additionally, the current U.S. response toward North Korea is forcing other changes in the region.