Tuesday, February 24, 2004
North Dakota's young people are leaving despite a healthy economy, this USA Today article says. I can relate, I was one of those kids once. The article does a good job of laying out some of the good things that are happening in the state as well as the challenges they face in stabilizing the population.
I've always thought that the way to hold people would be to steal a page from some of the New England or European towns and build charming places -- I love my hometown, but to the outsider does not begin to compare with even the below average towns in Vermont or Maine. Part of that is inevitable -- North Dakota doesn't have mountains or oceans to build around -- but not all of it. The Great Plains can be beautiful, after all. Somehow, North Dakota needs to use its natural assets to create a mystique -- a unique and desirable lifestyle that will carve out a spot for the plains in the American psyche.
Why not have community beer gardens in every small town as a community gathering place rather than dark smokey windowless bars? Surround communal tables with a few small pubs and restaurant kitchens, and give people a reason to reconnect with their community. Put a big open pit fire in the middle to keep out the cold. Let the kids run amok in the aisles.
Why stop there? Build a reputation for the best locally brewed beers in the nation (using locally grown barley). Bread and pasta are other products that are made out of raw ingredients grown in the state -- why isn't North Dakota known for them? Why are jello salads and lutefisk the only dishes the state is known for?
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Centerfield is being berated by a Bush fan who says that too many "centrists" (me included) are reflexively going to vote for the Democrat, no matter who he is. This is a worthwhile bipartisan topic. (Where are the Bull Moose Republicans when you need them?)
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Monday, September 08, 2003
Amir Taheri is noting a trend toward freedom of speech, at least, in the Arab world. It's time for Arabs to step out of the shadows and assume the rights and responsibilities of free men -- that's the one sure way for them to throw off the shackles that have bound their culture for the last 500 years and achieve the respect they so crave. Our insistence on standing up to the Saddam's of the world is making this possible.
The fact that Howard Dean refuses to countenance the notion that this is a good thing is the main reason why I won't vote for him in 2004. (Via Instapundit.)
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
This Time article discusses Gerald Posner's "Why America Slept", which makes some interesting claims about the Saudi and Pakistani governments' involvement in al Qaeda. It sounds a bit too pat to be completely accurate, but may be worth adding to your conspiracy reading list.