Latest Article Posts

As Acting Schools Struggle, Students Have More Opportunities Than Ever

December 12, 2017 by Logan Albright

In a lengthy elegy published by the New York Times, the paper mourns the looming downfall of many of the city’s boutique acting schools that have trained film and theater greats for the last century.

Rising rents and changing market conditions are driving many of these old landmarks out of business, something that’s easy to see as a tragedy to art and history.

It’s always sad when we reach the end of era and things we’ve grown used to have to change. And it’s okay to grieve for the loss of things that are no longer as important as they used to be. But it’s also worth looking at these changes in context, for once we understand the reasons behind painful transitions, they can be as inspiring as they are tragic. …

Do Americans Really Oppose a Government Shutdown?

December 12, 2017 by Logan Albright

Oh no, it’s government shutdown time again!

We are always told that a government shutdown is the worst thing in the world. And even if it isn’t the worst thing in the world, everybody thinks it is. The voters will simply not tolerate shutting down the government, and any political party that attempts it will surely suffer the consequences at the next election. Never mind that this was conclusively proven to be untrue when, in the 2014 election, Republicans made significant gains despite having shut down the government earlier that year. Forget about that. It’s history. The important thing is that, as government funding is about to expire, Congress must unconditionally authorize more spending … or else! …

Why Conservation Shouldn’t Be Government’s Job

December 5, 2017 by Logan Albright

Late in his second term, Barack Obama controversially designated large portions of Utah as a national monument, essentially snatching the land from the state and its residents under the assumption that the federal government knows best how it should be used.

As the feds already control most of Utah’s land — as well as that of many other western states — it really felt like a creeping takeover that was totally unjustified. Now, President Trump is significantly reducing the Bear Ears’ national monument designation, over the howls of conservationists.

This is a good move — respecting federalism and standing against federal overreach. But the broader point I think needs to be made here is the false belief that we can rely on the government to preserve things that the private sector would exploit and destroy. …

The TSA’s New Big Threat; The Disabled

December 5, 2017 by Logan Albright

The TSA has announced that it will be ramping up security procedures at airports next year, following reports of an embarrassingly low success rate for finding hidden weapons. The new procedures will, among other things, focus more heavily on screening passengers in wheelchairs or with casts on broken limbs. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down.

Americans by and large loathe the TSA because its personnel a) don’t keep us safe and b) violate our basic dignity as human beings by groping us, prodding us, and gaping at body scan images that might as well be nude photography. They do it to keep us safe, so they claim, but that’s the problem. …

Forget Policy, Politics Is Just Team Sports

November 29, 2017 by Logan Albright

Go, team! Come game day, our boys are going to mop the floor with your guys. It’s a rivalry that goes back almost as long as the game itself, and we’ve got a score to settle. Never mind that the players today aren’t the same ones who made the team great originally. Heck, they’re not even the same town. They’ve bounced around from team to team, sure, but today they’re ours! And never mind that ownership of the team has never remained a constant, with billionaires with no connection to the sport able to buy and sell franchise as a way of boosting their portfolio and/or their public profile. …

The Mixed Messages of Disney’s “Coco”

November 29, 2017 by Logan Albright

Over Thanksgiving, I took my two young nieces to see the latest Disney/Pixar animated film, “Coco.” In brief, the film is about a boy, Miguel, who pursues his ambitions as a musician in spite of his music-hating family’s wishes. Through a supernatural mishap, he finds himself transported to the land of the dead, struggling to get home before it’s too late.

But more interesting than the story itself is the film’s political context. The SJW crowd has put studios, Disney included, in an impossible position. You’re not allowed to make too many movies about white people, and when you make movies about other cultures, accusations of cultural appropriation come flying. …

The Road Goes Ever On: What’s Next for Middle Earth?

November 20, 2017 by Logan Albright

It’s the end of an era. Christopher Tolkien, the son of renowned fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien, has announced at the age of 93 that he is resigning his position as literary executor of his father’s estate. What does this mean for fans of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”?

I’m a major Tolkien fan. Some might even accuse me of being a nerd, but we all have our cross to bear, and I’ll try to soldier on.

A long attention span and obsessive attention to detail must run in the Tolkien family. Coincidentally in light of this news, I just finished reading the monumental ten-volume series that composed much of Christopher Tolkien’s life’s work, an annotated collection of almost every word his father wrote about the history and mythology of the world he created, Middle-earth. …

Don’t Buy in to Black Friday Propaganda

November 20, 2017 by Logan Albright

Hey everybody, it’s that time of year again! Black Friday is upon us, and that’s just the start of the frenzy that is the holiday shopping season. And with the season come the perennial claims that it’s your patriotic duty to go out and spend as much money as you can afford to. How else are we going to stimulate the economy and make sure everyone has a job for next year?

Not to be a Grinch, but I’m afraid I’m here to bust a hole in the common misconception that consumer spending is good for the economy. As counterintuitive as it might sound, saving, not spending, is the primary instrument of economic growth. …

What Should Be Done About Anti-Vaxxers?

November 14, 2017 by Logan Albright

Following a recent outbreak of measles in Minnesota, the familiar battle cries of the anti-vaccine movement and their detractors are being heard yet again.

On the one side, you have people who claim that vaccines are bad for kids — a scam perpetrated by the medical profession that could lead to serious health consequences. On the other, you have those who are worried about herd immunity and who think that anti-vaxxers should be forced to comply with medical recommendations for the good of society as a whole.

Personally, I take a somewhat more nuanced position in this ongoing argument. First, the facts: I do not believe that vaccines are harmful to children. …

It’s Open Enrollment, and ObamaCare Is Still Awful

November 14, 2017 by Logan Albright

Well, it’s open enrollment season again, that festive time of year when we all realize just how much money we are throwing away on medical insurance that barely functions. Every year, I almost forget just how much damage Obamacare has done to the country, but every November the federal government makes sure to remind me.

Last year, I received exactly zero dollars’ worth of benefit from my mandatory policy. In a sense, this is a good thing; I’m healthy and don’t have to see a doctor very often. But on the other hand, it seems ridiculous that I’m forced by law to buy a policy that I’m not using. …