Why Does the President Want Free Community College?

business, culture, economics, politics

indexA few years ago, Mark Cuban gave what he called “soapbox advice” to the Occupy Movement by way of a long blog post.  In it, he also talked about the idea that college loans had basically become predatory.

Since then, I’ve noticed out-of-area colleges advertising on billboards like never before.  All of the marketing going on in higher education has solidified my view that higher education is truly in an unsustainable market bubble.

For that reason, I support the President’s plan to make community college free.  He’s deflating the bubble before it bursts. He’s also right to say that we need more people in essential professions than the current way of doing things can reasonably produce.  And Cuban’s right about loan debt precluding recent grads, or grads 10 or more years out of college, from participating in the economy.

The system of pricing and paying for higher education is broken. Like the broken housing market before it, it’s leading more and more people to economic calamity with a sort of “trust us” je ne sais quoi. Before he’s through, I expect Barack Obama to enact the largest presidential pardon in history: the near total forgiveness of outstanding student loans according to some qualifying formula.

Will Disney Buy Angry Birds, Rovio?

business, culture, economics, tech

I still think so. But not for Minecraft money.

Not that long ago, people were talking about Angry Birds: Stella as a shot across Disney’s bow.

A little longer ago, Rovio envisioned becoming bigger than Disney itself.

Not so much right now. But if you think the Angry Birds brand and other Rovio assets aren’t still poised for content-to-cash kinds of leverage, consider that the properties on the studio’s ToonsTv app, which streams original Angry Birds cartoons alongside offerings from Hasbro, Nat Geo, and Stan Lee, reached 4 billion views last month.

And also, Notch is building a Minecraft theme park in Binghamton.

tumblr_n1ips91H3y1st5lhmo1_1280

McDonald’s Had the Solution. It Was Called Chipotle.

business, economics, food, writing

Millennials want authenticity.  Because Chipotle has good food and invests in the kinds of things Millennials care about, they forgive the fact that Chipotle Mexican Grill is not authentically Mexican.  But when McDonald’s has to put out a video defending the authenticity of their chicken as chicken, you have to wonder what else is coming home to roost.

Here.

Why I Think Disney Will Buy Rovio

business, economics, economy, gaming, media, tech

I said yesterday that I believe Disney will buy Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, sometime this quarter.  Today, Mashable reports that Rovio is cutting 130 jobs, having staffed up for faster growth than has been realized in the past year.

Through its LucasFilm properties, Disney is already in business with Rovio in the licensing of Angry Birds: Star Wars.  Now that Microsoft owns Mojang, Disney should solidify Rovio and leverage the Angry Birds characters across its content platforms.

tumblr_n1ips91H3y1st5lhmo1_1280

Allentown won’t have its ‘miracle’ without affordable housing

advocacy, economics, justice, politics, spirituality, writing

Please click through to my recent op-ed in The Morning Call.

 

“In the wake of John Tarbay’s death at the Hamilton Street Bridge, just yards away from the Allentown Rescue Mission and not far from other agencies, a familiar chorus from social service providers and even some activists is likely to emerge: “Someone like John just didn’t want to come inside,” or “John was a ‘rough-sleeper.’ We tried,” or “John was this, that, or the other. John couldn’t live by the rules of society, or didn’t want to.”

All of those things may be true.

With the worst winter in memory finally behind us, it’s tempting to let the calls that more be done for Allentown’s and the Lehigh Valley’s homeless subside. It’s tempting to forget that “not being able to live by the rules of society” is obviously another way of talking about mental health, and mental health issues are the reasons most folks are on the street…”

Read more:

100 Homeless Tent Cities Across America? Try 1000. Maybe More.

advocacy, economics, justice, politics

“the shelters…there’s just not enough room.”

http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/16/pf/tent-city/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

The guy who says “this is a conscientious choice” (people LOVE living in tent cities!) is part of the problem.

100 tent cities across America? Try 1000. There are at least 3 in the Lehigh Valley. I doubt we own 3 percent of this issue.

And yes, the City of Allentown is shutting them down, even though there’s really no place for people to go.