Lakota is Paying Matt Miller $169,900 Per Year: We need new school board members–if you want to run, I’ll help you

It was in fact Governor Kasich’s super PAC that got into the heads of the feeble-minded senators at a critical time of the health care debate on repealing Obamacare. The Ohio Governor is of course trying to undermine the Trump presidency for his own run in 2020.  But for such a character in politics, as a public employee Kasich only gets paid around $150,000—more or less.  That’s for being a big player on the national stage of politics.  His Lt. Governor makes a bit more, but not much.  I think we’d all agree that whether we like him or not, the Governor is the big job in Ohio from a public perspective and is well compensated.  However, and I told them not to do this—but they did it anyway, the Lakota school board hired a new superintendent—a kid from Price Hill and paid him $169,000 as a base salary—well over what the governor of Ohio makes.  Lakota is the eighth largest school district in the state of Ohio and it is in one of the most affluent areas of the country—and its located where my home is—so I care a bit about this issue.  Already if West Chester residents look at their tax bill the entire township of West Chester—where half of Lakota is located—they pay roughly 21% to them.  They pay a whopping 61%–roughly—to the Lakota school system and that school is just throwing away money on these overly paid administrative employees—who make more than the radical progressive governor of our state.

Obviously, the scaling is way off in these unionized public-sector schools. While the administrators aren’t typically formally part of the union they often come out of that system and have pay expectations formed by their experiences in the public sector which has been roughly 30% too high for several decades now.  I mean it’s not Miller’s fault he’s been told he’s worth more than he really is—it’s our school board who thinks they need to pay this money to meet some invisible standard that the public education system has created in the industry to “compete.”  But in public education there isn’t any competition.  Builders build homes.  Real estate agents sell the homes and support school levy’s to attract new “family aged’ buyers.  The cycle runs its course.  And over the next twenty years new homes are built elsewhere and people move to those new districts and wherever that is becomes the new “hot” school district.

Lakota is not a “hot” community anymore—as far as education. It may be a stable excellent community but it is not the latest thing in the real estate world.  It has more people living within the district that do not have children attending the school system than it does new families moving to the area to buy a new house freshly built on previously productive farmland.  So the necessities have changed for the community as a whole where the school system is just one of the reasons for moving or maintaining property within the Lakota school district which encompasses Liberty Township and West Chester Township, Ohio.  Among the top reasons for living in the area are highway access, standard of living—many of our neighbors have household incomes over 100K a year so we don’t have to deal with too many slack-jawed losers while pumping gas and eating at restaurants.  There are great commercial offerings and the government is small enough to not pillage the homeowner continuously—except for the big open hands of the top heavy over scale pay of the unionized Lakota school system.  People put up with them out of sentimental value, but that only goes so far and news reports that they were paying a superintendent—which is mostly a political role anyway–$169,000 per year doesn’t help.  The job is at best worth half that for a 45-year-old employee such as Matt Miller.  If we paid him more than $85K per year we’d be getting ripped off.

Well, it just so happens that this year there are several school board members who have seats expiring—and it’s safe to say that none of them are exactly conservative bastions of valor. They care about Lakota itself as a microcosm but have been part of that culture that asks for a lot more than Lakota really plays in the success of the community for which it resides.  The people who make Liberty Township and West Chester Township great places to live are the people who live there—the community is not great because of Lakota schools.  The school board members who are up for re-election just don’t seem to understand that.  So this is an opportunity to run against them and challenge the board to have more people properly representative of our district helping to manage the finances.  There are lots of people I know who would be good for doing this job but most of them are older and really don’t want the pain in the ass of attending all the ridiculous meetings and the procedural lunacy that usually takes place. But for those inclined to number crunching and wanting to help with the situation, I’ll make a deal with you.  If you guys will run, I’ll help you with the campaign.  There are three seats open and I’ll help three candidates as a team if we can find the right people.  But it would have to be hard working good people who think correctly about this matter.  If those people are willing to come forward I’ll help with making it not so scary to run and win the seats.

The filing deadline for prospective candidates is August 9th, which isn’t much time from this writing.  I was catching up on summer news over the weekend and Lakota is somewhere down around #400 on my priority list (only because they cost me money) so I didn’t notice that the hit piece reporter Michael Clark had moved to the Journal News and I hadn’t followed up on the Lakota hire for superintendent.  I spoke to a few school board members over the winter and they seemed like they had a good read on the situation so I left them to their business.  But after catching up on the news about Lakota over this previous weekend it was obvious to me that these people haven’t learned anything and they need better management of such a volatile and expensive resource in the Lakota school system.  They are used to runaway train budgets saved only for the fact that Lakota has a projected decline in enrollment which takes the pressure off an immediate levy request.  But these people just don’t know how to budget a check book and the proof is in throwing money at this new superintendent hire.  If they’ll over pay for him they’ll do it for everything.

I know most of the normal people around Lakota’s district view a lot of this as a serious pain in the ass. But Lakota charges so much money for what they provide that we have to deal with them before they are too problematic.  The ideal candidate for school board would be people who have some evenings to give each month to this monstrosity of educational burden and a genuine love of numbers and how they roll together.  Jenni Logan does a good job as treasurer at Lakota and is good to work with, but it’s the system itself that needs to have a re-calibration of thought and some good sound conservatives sitting on the board to keep the costs down.  I’m offering to help and that help won’t stop once elected.  I’ll help fight the union more than willingly and keep them at bay so good management of our tax payer resources can be applied.  But we need smart people to sit in those seats.  I’ll ensure that you are not alone and exposed—but we need formal positions filled to manage the budget properly. If we don’t then Lakota will be asking for a levy again soon because they don’t have control of their costs.  The costs control them—and we just can’t have that.

Rich Hoffman

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‘The 15:17 to Paris’: Sully’s very American story

I was very excited to learn that the next movie Clint Eastwood is working on is the film version of the book by Spencer Stone, Anthony Salder and Alek Skarlatos, called The 15:17 to Paris. The book like the movie chronicles the heroics of those three young men as they stopped a terrorist attack on a train to Paris and became worldwide heroes before even turning 25 years of age.  The heroes are all boyhood friends and the story will display how their lives intersected to that key point in history, and honestly, I think only Clint Eastwood could make the movie version of that book.  Even more stunning to me was that Clint has cast the guys to play themselves in the film which is really unprecedented for a feature presentation.  Clint Eastwood is such a good director, and the three guys so naturally charismatic that they all felt only those people could tell this very unique story and I’m excited about it.  If anyone wondered what Clint Eastwood’s answer to American Sniper might be, this is certainly it.  This film will play well in the core of America and will resonate around the world deeply concerned about terrorism.

But the news about that film reminded me that I had not yet seen Sully, Eastwood’s last movie about the Miracle on the Hudson where Chesley Sullenberger lost both engines in his commercial flight A320 aircraft over New York City and had to land somewhere.  The trouble was that in New York at only a few thousand feet altitude there was no place to land without coming down on someone’s home or building.  People were going to die one way or another unless Sully—the 40+ year airman working for US Airways could think of something fast—which he did.  He landed the big plane on the Hudson River, literally the only place he could have and it was his unusually quick thinking that saved the lives of all 155 passengers on board.

Well, I knew the story and had read the book so I felt I knew what was going to happen so I waited for the film to come to home entertainment systems and was a little upset that it wasn’t available to rent on either the PlayStation network or Amazon Prime. A film that had done as well as it had should have had a decent rent value.  It did make $238 million worldwide so it was inconvenient to me that it wasn’t easy to watch—because I wanted to see it over the weekend after I had heard the announcement of The 15:17 to Paris. So we went to Wal-Mart, bought the Blue-rey, and watched the film over some carry-out from Chili’s—and it was just a wonderful movie.

It is a shame that Clint Eastwood is now 87 years old because I want to watch movies directed by him for the next hundred years. The guy is just sooooo good at what he does.  It’s the kind of thing that only a person with 60 years in the business could pull off.  Eastwood does these big, gigantic true stories full of top-tier actors and production talent and he presents them as small piano music scores underplayed just right   From a production stand-point Sully is a great movie.  It was nicely paced, wonderfully photographed and compelling—even though we thought we already knew the story.  But the NTSB needed someone to blame for the insurance claim made by US Airways and that was where the drama really kicked in and had me very interested.  Again, I think only Clint Eastwood could have told this story in this way.

I love the competency of pilots. They are one of America’s greatest contributions to the word.  They are by their very nature solid people who do not panic easily—otherwise they wouldn’t be pilots.  Watching the bonus footage on the Blue-rey I learned that Harrison Ford is really the person who got the story rolling by introducing Sully’s book to the producer Frank Marshall.  From there it found its way to Eastwood and production started right after American Sniper was making a lot of money at the box office for Warner Bros.  But this was a movie about pilots from pilots and Harrison Ford may be known for his roles in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but in reality, what he really is, is a pilot.  We might recall the time he landed his vintage aircraft on a golf course shortly after having engine trouble out of Santa Monica.  His landing was very similar to Sully’s only he hit harder.  Sully at least had water to soften the hit.  So here were a couple of pilots bringing to light a story about pilots and securing a director who knew better than to get in the way of the story.  What ends up on-screen is really a wonderful depiction of the employees of US Airlines—not just Chesley Sullenberger.

Eastwood also cast some of the real people to play in this film, like the air traffic controller and the ferry driver who first arrived on scene to rescue people from the stranded aircraft. What all these people did in a moment of crises was very admirable and Sully turned out to be one of the most inspirational films I have seen in a long time.  I had a feeling it would be good which is why I went out of my way to see it, but it turned out to be one of those extraordinary movies that you just don’t forget.  Eastwood not only captured the heroics of the Miracle on the Hudson, but he captured well the spirit of New York in a crisis.  In the end, even though the National Transportation Safety Board had been looking for someone to blame they came around to seeing things Sully’s way and the story really became an interesting commentary on the nature of individualism standing up to the necessities of institutional collectivism without really making anybody look bad.  The members of the NTSB were after all just doing their jobs in the context of it—but the situation was so extraordinarily individualistic that no part of that institutional framework had even considered such a possibility—even in hindsight during simulation runs.

History will remember these late in life film contributions of Clint Eastwood as being a very accurate commentator on American life. Taken as a three-part trilogy, first with American Sniper then with Sully culminating with The 15:17 to Paris Eastwood is telling of the same type of lost America that he did in his Dirty Harry movies—only now with the all-encompassing view of an 87-year-old man who has literally seen it all and done it all.  And he’s telling these true stories in a way that will resonate for centuries.  Clint Eastwood is proud of the role that America plays in the world and he finds that joy in these little stories without being cheesy, or over-the-top.  Now that I’ve seen Sully and will likely watch it several more times, I am really excited for The 15:17 to Paris. That film may turn out to be the best of all and it will come out in a time where Trump is reshaping the concept of Americanism to fit Eastwood’s vision—and that has a lot of power—and it will happen at a perfect time.

Rich Hoffman

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Disney’s Fantasy Island: Where imagination intersects with reality to create mythology

I have been just a little enamored by all the news coming out of D23 in Anaheim, California over the weekend of 7/14–7/16.  I know many of my readers come here looking for political commentary, or uplifting insight into some complicated matter, but for anyone who knows me; the key to living that I find most valuable is mythology.  I credit the great Joseph Campbell as being the only teacher I ever really found valuable as I spent much of my youth digesting his vast work in the realm of mythology.  And in the modern sense, Star Wars is the greatest realization of modern myth that there is.  To the extent that Star Wars can expand the imagination of the human race is something I find infinitely valuable and is important if we look out beyond the limits of our present political entanglements. Even in the realm of education, Star Wars is changing the game and now under Disney’s guidance the results to me are mind bending—as was revealed by the entertainment company at their D23 Expo.

When I was a kid there was a popular television show called Fantasy Island that came on Saturday nights and I enjoyed it immensely. The premise was that whatever fantasy a visitor might have they could visit Fantasy Island and live it out only to learn some life lesson by the end of their trip that was important to their return to the regular world.  Well, Disney with all their resources are using the mythology of Star Wars to create their own version of a real “Fantasy Island” at Hollywood Studios with an exhibit they are calling now “Galaxy’s Edge” which is a fully immersive Star Wars land designed to take the theme park experience to the next level.  I wrote about that the other day, click here to review.  But in addition to that they are opening a Star Wars resort which is a completely immersive “fantasy island type of experience where you actually will be a part of a Star Wars story which I think is phenomenal on many levels as these videos will reveal.

Many years ago as I was one of the core members of The Joseph Campbell Foundation invited to Washington D.C. by Campbell’s wife Jean and a few other people who were very close to George Lucas who at that time was a board of director member—to review a very special Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  It was a big event and we had the VIP experience of getting there first before it was opened to the public.  So I took my kids because I knew it would be important in their lives.  And they never forgot it—and neither did I.  It was an experience that bonded us all very tightly—and that is what a good mythology can do.  You should never get lost in some fantasy and avoid living life, but I often say that Star Wars to me is like a vacation that I take in my mind.  I’m always thinking about very intense things and get myself into very stressful acts—and Star Wars in the form of some video game, book, or movie puts ideas onto a place where I can see them differently and usually solve problems by changing the perspective a bit.  For instance I’m currently very excited for the release of Battlefront II.  When it comes out I’ll probably spend a month playing it very diligently because it helps me manage very complex real life situations through the problem solving that you get while playing acting in battlefield strategies and war-time scenarios set in a Star Wars context.  I thought that these Battlefront games from Electronic Arts were the ultimate first person Star Wars experience.  Until this year’s D23—a Star Wars resort with a new land within Hollywood Studios called Galaxy’s Edge.  Compared to when I took my kids to the Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1997 as a proud member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation from the perspective of a “mythology insider,” what Disney is doing is incredible, and I’m a big fan of it.

But that wasn’t all.  Over the past year I mentioned that I bought a Playstation VR device essentially so I could play the Battlefront Star Wars VR mission that came out on it over the previous Christmas.  It was to me a jaw-dropping experience and it has been a feature attraction to anybody who has come to my home over the last 6 months. The ability to fly an X-Wing Fighter into combat in and around a Star Destroyer was incredibly well done and if that was the extent of it I would be forever impressed.  But now a company called Lenovo has teamed up with Disney to create what is called an “augmented reality” experience meaning that you can see reality as you normally would only with a special headset new things can be introduced to it.  In this case you can embark on Jedi light saber training and play the Holo Chess that was so popular in the Star Wars films with this “augmented reality.”  That brings the experience of Star Wars and its mythology even more to the private world of the home environment.   Mythology is driving technology in ways that are then coming back to the personal experience of living the power of myth.   I will certainly be getting the new “augmented reality” headset by Lenovo as soon as it hits Best Buy likely this fall.

But this home technology only hints at what a company like Disney can do at these theme parks now to provide that truly Fantasy Island experience for their guests.  Star Wars is a powerful mythology.  On the surface it’s for kids, but the themes it contains are very primal and communicate with people in ways that nothing else currently does.   For adults Las Vegas has created some of that Fantasy Island mystic, but it doesn’t contain enough mythology to be a truly beneficial experience.  You get the sights and sounds of some fantasy thought, but not the problem solving that comes with experiencing an “augmented reality.”  I typically read a lot which works for me, but most people don’t take time for that kind of experience and the mind does get fatigued if it is not fed a steady dose of imagination.  A mind filled with imaginative elements whether from a fantasy situation or just from stimuli works better than a mind weighed down with the weights of reality.  Mythology helps people think bigger about things and that is a truly beneficial service.   But the ability to move directly into a mythic circumstance is truly revolutionary.  It is a real Fantasy Island type of experience and I think it will have vast importance over the coming decade culturally.

I knew when Universal Studios opened up that Harry Potter experience in their Florida parks that we were moving into a new kind of mythic experience.  And I knew that Disney would have an answer.  But I didn’t think it would be possible to be this cool.  What is happening is far exceeding my expectations and the possibilities are obvious.  I remember all too well how powerful Star Wars was to me and my family when these new options were not available.  What they will do to the mind of the up and coming to me is truly mind-blowing with benefits.  And I’m very excited to see more.  I was looking forward for quite a number of months to see what this year’s D23 would reveal.  What they showed was far more than I anticipated which is hard to do.  That leaves an astounding thought, what will be next?

Rich Hoffman

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The Beauty of a Long Goodbye: Institutional failure and a new kind of day


I think the best way to explain it is that we are now in a generation of people—mostly youth driven—who grew up entirely with The Simpsons, South Park, and The Daily Show.  Those people went to college, were fed large doses of Marxist influence, graduated from some form of journalism and are now working in the media and other culture shapers within our professional institutions.  Their cynicism and hatred of Donald Trump comes from some foreign place for sure.  For instance, we are now on over a week of the whole Russia, Donald Trump Jr. story—which is nothing yet the ferocity for which the media presents the information is truly amazing.  The subconscious message to the Trump family has been that they did not use the professional pundits, lawyers, and inside the box thinkers—and pay them accordingly during the presidential campaign, so they feel entitled to pounce on the Trumps for their inexperience.  But if a few controversies emerge from saving the kind of money Trump did during the election with just good ol’ fashion hard work, then why not.  That is the biggest difference between the parades of phonies that typically would act as a foreign representative to major events.  President Trump is doing a great job—and he’s doing it rather easily.  At the Bastille Day parade the newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife had a very sincere reaction to President Trump and Melania’s departure resulting in a long handshake that virtually everyone made fun of who presented it through the media.  I thought it was a beautiful thing—four people with very important jobs who are normally very fake with one another in similar circumstances were overflowing with positive emotion.  It showed me that Macron might be a guy who will actually do a decent job in socialist France—but to the media, they saw nothing but negativity and they pounced in a way that was clearly out-of-touch with the flow of modern observation.

When Trump was running for president and I was so vocally supportive it was fun to watch these establishment types squirm in dealing with Trump.  It is fascinating to me because it is a microcosm of a much more systemic problem and I always knew that if a sincere businessman as opposed to a person breed within the political institutions—a person from Harvard—the typical Skull and Bones initiate—a military guy, or a senator formed within the fraternity of Capital Hlll—or even a state governor who was at least a part of an association, ran for any politically powerful position that they would excel because business has a way of forcing people to deal with reality and they’d do a far more superior job.  So I knew Trump would be very effective and I wanted to see that change.  What is happening with the stock market having all the incredible gains it is producing and the global reaction to President Trump’s natural charisma was something I counted on.  Trump as a personality has always loved controversy and attention, but under it all he’s always been smart.  Just read a few of his books and its very obvious that Trump knows exactly what he’s doing, including the whole controversy of the Don Jr. story.  Trump isn’t the only one with these skills—most people who are good at business have similar abilities and they get them outside of the institutional systems that we have in America—but that was always the point.

Clearly Jeffery Zucker who is running things at CNN is deeply jealous of Donald Trump.  He wants to think that he made Trump through The Apprentice when he was head of NBC Universal.  Now he’s the president of CNN Worldwide and the evidence that it wasn’t him who was so successful, but was the talent around him has been a harsh reality.  He’s failing miserably because he has gone after Trump in a way to sink the President in a very personal way.  For a guy whom Trump spoke so highly of in the book Think like a Billionaire, Zucker hates Trump because the evidence within the circles of business is so obvious.   As they parted ways leaving Zucker to run CNN in 2013 and Trump to run for president in 2015 there was nobody for the former NBC head to hide behind.  Zucker fell from grace quickly as just another overpaid institutionalist while Trump no matter what anybody threw at him continued to succeed.  Nobody understood it at the time, but the situation was obvious.   People build the institutions, the institutions do not make people—that is a basic law that all successful people understand.  I knew that if someone who had always made things work behind the institutional façade that they’d be great in politics for a change—and that is what is going on with Trump.  He’s always been good at anything he does because he loves to work, he’s intellectually curious about the world around him, and he has a natural love of life that emerges from whatever he’s involved with.  Once people had a taste of that, they’d never go back to the old institutional model—but business people would from now on be the choice of every political office, from school board members to future presidents.  The mold has effectively been destroyed and now everyone involved can see that it was always people like Trump who made the Jeff Zucker’s in life, not the other way around.

Ayn Rand wrote about this phenomena many years ago, it was obvious to her how institutions fail and how it is individuals who constantly carry them as a value.  Without strong individuals institutions always fail.  They are only propped up by a kind of social ignorance which has always been used as a collective way to hide the truth from human beings.  Whether the institution was a church, a television network, or a political party their effectiveness is always a mask hiding the reality that there must always be a strong individual who is doing all the heavy lifting that makes the institutions successful.  It is never the collective whole that does it.  Trump will always be successful whether he’s working at NBC with Jeff Zucker or running the Republican Party as he his now—but Zucker cannot be successful on his own without someone to carry him.  Within just four years of running CNN Jeff Zucker has nearly destroyed that network.  It may not be so obvious now, but they’ll never recover from his terrible management where he went after a popular president in very personal ways just to prove that it was the institutions that made Trump, not the other way around.   The failure of The New York Times, CNN, and NBC to recognize the basic talents of Trump is proving to be their undoing—and these young people who grew up over the last twenty years watching The Simpsons and South Park have been taught to either trust institutions too much, or to make fun of them without offering solutions.   Virtually everyone has missed the point except for those who understand that individuals make institutions, institutions do not make individuals.  Pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into any institution, whether it be a college, a network or even a religion cannot make success.  Only individuals who have mastered basic elements of life can do that and that reality is essentially what people are upset about in Trump.

It’s not always easy to see but the reaction that foreign leaders have in Trump whether it’s Russia, Saudi Arabia, China or the newly elected president of France, displays clearly the skills of a person at the top of his game in communication.   That’s because Donald Trump is a real person—a star of his own making.  The institutions tried to keep him at NBC working on a television show, but as a self-made person not really interested in millions of dollars for hosting a popular show, he wanted to apply his skills at the highest level and he walked away from the money.  Money is usually used to soften up individuals so that they never challenge the supremacy of the institutional controls that are used to mask the individual contributions of their talent.   Trump stepped away from one institution to another—one that had previously been forbidden.  He won and is now doing such a marvelous job and the institutions themselves have no other means of correcting the situation except for resorting to an infantile rejection of the behavior.  But the results can’t be ignored and the evidence was on full display between Macaron and Trump.  The French President didn’t want Trump to leave—that much was obvious.  Institutions can be scary because in them are a lot of little people like Jeffery Zucker who want to take credit for what good individuals do—but when someone like Trump comes along, things aren’t nearly so scary because it’s obvious that he’s the source of success and people want to be close to it, including the French president.   The truth has been revealed and all the institutions can do in defense of themselves is to use their young employees to verbally assault Trump hoping to protect themselves from further embarrassments.  But it’s too late.

Rich Hoffman

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D23 Reveals the new Star Wars Land: Where science and technology meets mythology and imagination

I’ve been saying it for quite a long time and for fun you should go back and read what I first said about this topic way back in October of 2012—but this year at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California Disney finally unveiled their elaborate plans for Star Wars Land.  The immense impact that I think this has on the human race is incalculable.  It’s not just another revenue stream for Disney’s massive media company, it is a launching point for new ways in thinking about mankind’s role in the cosmos and it is a jaw dropping culmination of imagination, engineering and philosophical debate all splashed down into a reality created from myth to be shaped by minds into an actual future.  What they revealed to me at D23 exceeded my expectations by a lot and it is certainly worth talking about.

I remember when I was a kid what it was like to ride the submarine at Disney World way back in the early 80s for the 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea exhibit.  It was I thought really well done.  I loved that Jules Verne classic both in novelization and the Disney film and it was very fascinating to me as a young pre-teen to see that ship in some scale that represented reality.  To be up close to it, to touch it, to ride inside it as it went slightly under water was something I’ll never forget.   And that was the case for much of Disney World back then, I had seen all these movies and at the early days of the Disney World’s Magic Kingdom before even the Epcot Center was built really launched me into adult pursuits mixed with adventure, a very detailed love of engineering, entrepreneurship, and literacy.   Even though I knew the exhibits were not real it always fascinated me to the level that Disney Imagineering was able to simulate what the imagination could create and apply real engineering marvel to those creations taking our minds from conception to reality.

I’ve always loved Star Wars maybe more because of how the movies were made than in what the stories actually said.  Most of my youth I watched and read of how my favorite movies were made and Star Wars filled my mind with technical details of how simple things were made into big things to make those films appear to be set in a galaxy far, far away a long time ago.  Largely, Star Wars was shaped by the Imagineering at Disney World because what they were able to do early on at Disney was carried directly into the production of Star Wars so the enormous market potential created by Disney Imagineering is really incalculable.  It is extremely difficult to know how deeply our modern society has been affected by just the very rudimentary exposure that we’ve seen in technology from 1970 until the present.   So by applying the same trajectory of thought, what they have been exploring in “Imagineering” at Disney over just the last decade is truly uncharted ground.  There are literally millions of young people inspired into the sciences by their experiences at these amusement parks.

When Universal Studios did their multipark Harry Potter experience I knew that we were unlocking a whole new theme park experience.    If Disney World set the stage for how these theme parks took movie magic and made them into a reality then Universal Studios took things to the next level and what they did in Orlando at Universal Studios with the literature of Harry Potter, first from the books then to the movie experience was just phenomenal, and it continues to be.   A visit to Universal Studios in Orlando is a trip into the imaginary worlds that Jules Verne and H.G. Wells could have never comprehended as a reality for young people.  And if you visit the NASA complex at the Kennedy Space Center you’ll quickly see how much reverence they have for the author Jules Verne.  The book From the Earth to the Moon framed early engineers and scientists at NASA and the rocket program before the space agency was created, into flying to the moon.   The human imagination is a very powerful tool and many of the products we see today are a direct result of our ability to think then make those imaginings into some sort of reality.

Well, Star Wars went several steps further in what had previously been done with imaginative thinking and once Disney acquired the property I had a feeling they would do something with Star Wars that would put it on a grand scale.  And now, at D23, they have shown us the model of what they are building—a 14 acre deep dive into the depths of extreme imagination.  The Disney Imagineers have been given a free hand to create something with Lucasfilm that will take visitors not only into the films that are so popular, but into a story they can then invest in themselves.   These Disney people weren’t just trying to duplicate some memorable events from the movies but they are going several steps further—and what they are coming up with will have explosive results on our human population.  I can only imagine what impact it will have on young minds visiting these Star Wars Lands in both Anaheim, and Orlando by having their minds ignited toward careers spawned from that experience.

You have to remember dear reader that while all this Star Wars stuff is going on at Disney, in new movies, theme park worlds and video games, NASA has been given the green light to return to space working with the private industry.   President Trump literally wants to return to the moon just a year after Disney opens up this new Star Wars Land—so space is going to be on everyone’s minds very soon.  I can say that I’m presently looking at what role I can play in this new space race as a grown adult.  There will be opportunities to build hotels and factories in space, on the Moon and on Mars over the next twenty years so for me as an adult it will be very fun, and stimulating to visit Star Wars Land and bridge reality to what the imagination has come up with there.  The idea of space ports interacting with many different species coming together over a vast galaxy is a strong philosophic concept that must be reconciled before actual science takes us to those places—and as the news of these phenomenal events begin to fill our basic reality soon, these fantastic theme parks are literally going to inspire us in ways that From the Earth to the Moon couldn’t.  I don’t think these Star Wars Lands are just for fun and excess—I think they will actually advance our technology and science by inspiring young people in ways that we’ve never experienced as a species thus far in our evolution.

I always enjoy the news that comes out of D23 and other science and fantasy conventions whether the topics are theme parks or from Fantasy Flight Games where our imaginations are stretched out for comprehension of new ideas massaged in brand new ways.  But this year is quite different.  If you combine the science and imagination of what Disney has been planning now for over five years—from when I first wrote about this story—with the optimism of the Trump presidency—we are talking about some very special days ahead for us all.  Even those who don’t think much of the Star Wars movies will find that the basic spill over of that fantasy will flow directly into our science of tomorrow—and THAT is a very exciting prospect that leaves me hungry for each new day and what might be revealed yet to come.

Rich Hoffman

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When the Lights Go Out: The difference between “us” and “them”

Did you ever notice how when either in a school or a place of business that when a storm comes and knocks out the lights some people clap? Then there are others—usually an extreme minority who try to continue to do their work next to a flashlight or a candle?  This has always been a baffling concept to me, that people would be so happy to be relieved of their work that they could return their minds to a thoughtless existence talking about some television show, new pop song, or about some peer who isn’t present in the form of gossip.  People who clap when the lights go out are people who are essentially afraid of action and thought because they don’t want the responsibility of accomplishment.  They are essentially lazy people who struggle through life avoiding problems until the ultimate happens—all their problems catch up and destroy their life.  Then they wonder why they are unhealthy, unhappy, and why nobody wants to be around them—because they are essentially negative people.

People who clap when the lights go out are people who are looking for an excuse not to live—which essentially makes them evil—(evil is live spelled backwards). They are anti-life and are the type of people who can’t be trusted with much of anything and are always looking to make trouble.  Typically they are second-handers in life—those who live by the actions of others but usually they disguise their tendencies behind little emergencies like the lights going out, or they had a flat tire, or that it was raining.  They work harder at not doing things than actually doing things because they find the threat of responsibility much more terrifying than the work in avoiding things.

You can often tell who will clap when the lights go out by those people who complain that it’s “Monday” or utter at 4 PM on a Friday, “TGIF.” They are the same people who put “hump day” on their Facebook posting revealing that they are happy the week is half over.  These are the people in life who make it terrible for all those who enjoy life and have an optimistic view of it because it’s those who work hard even when the lights go out that carry the rest of those idiots while they hide their tendency toward inaction behind an emergency situation which they are always silently praying for.

These same people are the ones who say, “the devil is in the details,” because they hope to slow things down by getting everyone to look for that devil so they can stand to the side and avoid action. If they stall long enough maybe something will get pushed to Monday buying them a weekend to avoid the inevitable.  And on Friday night they drink to forget and to ease the pain of their life from the pressure they always feel they are under.  Those kids who grow up in school hoping the bus gets stuck in the snow, or clapping when there is a power outage are the same people who grow up drunk on the weekends because they can’t hack the pressure of living, and they don’t have the fortitude within them to always look for ways to solve problems no matter how bad things are.

People who like to work so much that they don’t let emergencies stop them are the people who make America great.  It is not the people who clap when the lights go out.  It is the people who look for a lighter in their pocket or a flashlight so they can continue reading or writing something when darkness arrives.  They don’t let the darkness stop them.  They work on weekends, they work in the middle of the week and Monday is just another day to them.  A democracy will never work in any political system so long as there are people who clap when the lights go off, and there are only one or two people who pull out their flashlights to continue working.  We are not all equal.  Some of us look for every reason to not do something while others try to squeeze every moment of life for the richest possible of goodness available.  Those who insist otherwise are those who clap when the lights go out.  Or hope for a snow day to keep them from having to attend work.

There is a reason that professional sports are so popular. Sitting in the stands while other people perform on the field is the prefect job for people who clap when the lights go out.  All they have to do is just sit there and watch other people do things—and that makes them happy.  Some of them are so arrogant that they believe all that is required of them is that they buy a jersey and attend a game and that they have somehow made an investment toward the success of that franchise.  When their team losses they get very upset and speak as if they made some grand investment that would justify their anger.  But they are just sitting in the stands waiting for the lights to go out so they can hide the fact that they are fearful of life, and always hoping that they can jump on to someone elses success at the last moment and share in the heroic efforts.  When a professional team is winning these fans say “we.”  When those teams are losing they say, “they.”

Government is filled with people who love it when the lights go out. They love it when there are funding talks and government shut downs—because they like to not work and have someone else to blame for their lack of productivity.  They hide in bureaucracy so that nobody would ever blame them for doing nothing because the invented details of muddled thinking allow them to appear majestic when they are essentially cowardly people waiting for death to ultimately take way the responsibility for living from them.  They aim to slide through life from excuse to excuse until it all ends and they can then blame God, or even the universe for their sad, pathetic existence.

That anything happens at all it is from the private sector where there are handfuls of people who still work when the lights go out, or whether its Wednesday or Saturday—every day hold the promise of something new if only they can solve this, this and this problem.  In fact solving problems is what makes them happy which is why they look for a light when they go out to continue working.  It drives them.  It is they who make the lights work in the first place.  Without those types of people there would be perpetual darkness and a string of excuses from here until the dawn of mankind.  Nothing would ever happen because always a majority of the people clap when the lights go out and only a very few look for alternatives to continue their work.

It is quite obvious what is going on with the Trump presidency—Trump and his family are a light. They always have been and the people of their core associations are of the same type.  But Washington D.C. has a culture that is nearly entirely made up of people who always have clapped when the lights went out for whatever reason.  And those people don’t like it that Trump is in the White House putting light everywhere and making people work even when the lights are turned off, and there are tornado warnings as well.  Trump won’t let those who like to hide in the dark continue doing so, so they are doing everything they can to push back at the light.  And that’s just not acceptable.  Trump was elected by people who like to work to push away the influences of those who don’t from ruining the world further.  It’s no longer fashionable to clap when the lights go out and no longer allowed to be one of those people who use chaos to hide their laziness.  Those people have been exposed and are now required to act or be run over—and that is essentially what is driving our world today.  And that’s not going to change.

Rich Hoffman

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The Innocence of Don Jr.: Why everyone should love the Trump family

Of course Donald Trump Jr. met with a person who claimed to have dirt on the candidate running against his father in the 2016 election. I’ve met with lots of people over the years under very similar conditions, so I can completely understand how many such meetings would be needed while running for president of the United States.  Back then the Russian story which has been made up by the media to attempt to slow down the winner of the election from implementing tax reform, a repeal of Obamacare and the enforcement of immigration policies, wasn’t even a consideration.  Back then it was unclear if Republicans would even get behind Trump at the convention so Don Jr was looking for a deal closer to unite the party around his father. Makes perfect sense.  It was a nothing meeting, he acknowledged as much then he moved on.  The media hoping to distract the senate from the healthcare debate however pounced on this story with everything they had during the weeks after the 4th of July one year later as President Trump was having great success both overseas and domestically.  They keyed on the Don Jr. story with great ferocity.  But in so doing they have exposed themselves yet again.

The meeting between Loretta Lynch and former President Clinton that took place secretly at an Arizona tarmac occurred even more recently than the meeting Trump Jr. had with the Russian lawyer so it’s certainly still relevant. If the Trump case is a mandate for so much investigation and discussion then the Lynch case is enough to fill libraries of books on such matters, because that one is much, much more serious.  Here you had the investigating attorney general at the Justice Department meeting with the husband of a candidate for president of the United States who was under investigation by the FBI for mishandling classified information.  After the meeting James Comey clearly was called away from any incrimination into Hillary Clinton by his boss—Lorretta Lynch, giving Clinton a free pass to continue her presidential run without worrying about going to jail.  The Democratic Party rallied behind the cause and defended all the parties involved culminating in one of the most contentious runs for president that we’ve ever seen in America. Even with all the effort and scheming involved the Democrats still lost to Trump deflating them terribly.  They had gone all in—even to the point of breaking the law on several occasions—at the highest level—and they still came up empty.

In May and June of 2017 Comey revealed to a Senate committee that Loretta Lynch had put pressure on him to alter his investigative prerogatives. Once that information was revealed first in May, then made more elaborate in June, Trump fired Comey just a few days later of that May testimony.  Obviously crimes were committed by Loretta Lynch and Comey played along with it taking this case to a much higher level than anybody ever anticipated.  The crimes are quite serious and still pending as the nation struggles to wrap their minds around such majestic travesty. Because for a lot of good people, all this is just too much to comprehend.  Great evil often hides behind unbelievable acts of bad conduct—and that is what we see so often in regards to the Hillary Clinton campaign and those who supported her, from Loretta Lynch to the basic protectors of the swamp from both parties in the House and Senate.

We were told that all these crimes the Democrats committed were misunderstandings, and were at best conspiracy theories—yet when a much less act committed by Don Jr was revealed it was portrayed literally as the end of the political world. Do you see what’s cooking here dear reader?  Don Jr. is completely innocent in this case and was functioning in the best interest of his father—who won the presidency fair and square.  Trump was the better pick and the Democrats essentially lost because they had nobody to run against him.  It was they who picked a woman who was under FBI investigation and had flubbed up a lot in her years of elected office.  They hung their hats to her star and they lost big.  And they have only themselves to blame.

But there is something else at work behind the Don Jr. case that is worth mentioning. There is a reason that President Trump is doing such a great job in spite of all these aggressive tactics.  And if anybody wanted to discover why they’d go back and re-read some of the books that Donald Trump wrote over the years.  For a person who is supposedly not very smart according to the political left, Trump has written more bestselling books and had a span of one of the most successful television shows in the history of entertainment in America.  He knows a thing or two, and that’s not even how he became a billionaire.  President Trump is and has always been that I can see, a person who not only wanted to be personally successful, but he wanted to inspire others to do the same.  For a good example of this just read his book Think Like a Champion.  Trump has been offering ways to improve the lives of everyday people most all of his life, and he’s used himself as a motivating factor to drive people toward success.  But to the truly lazy and shallow minded they look at the targets Trump has set out there even before becoming president and they hate him because they are essentially too lazy to do the work.  They hate Trump because the president asks them to do a little work just to be good people and this extends back through the years to their core dislike of Donald Trump to begin with.   They don’t want to work hard.  They just want to get by through life doing the bare minimum at everything.  You don’t find too many Democrats who are fundamentally hard-working people.  The philosophy of hard work and political mentality just don’t align.

Making matters worse, Trump has a nice family. Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka and the rest of the kids are nice people. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Eric at an event once and he was a sincerely nice young man.  You don’t get the feeling that they are the kind of billionaire caricatures made up by the media to represent Mr. Burns from The Simpsons which are overbearing and intolerant billionaires out of touch with everyday people.  The Trumps are everyday people in America and for years they have tried to share that experience with the rest of the country teaching them to also be successful.  There is nothing pretentious about them.  I think it took Donald Trump a while to figure out the right balance and as a result he went through a few marriages—but once he got it right, everything clicked into place for him. In a lot of ways I would give Melania Trump the credit for really bringing that family together—but regardless—they are good people who serve as the first family to the world marvelously well. Show me anybody anywhere in American culture better—because I’d bet you couldn’t.  Trump has it going on every level and the Democrats can’t compete.  All they can do is complain and try to stop the inevitable.

I liked the Trump family before they were the First Family. But after all they’ve endured I actually have a love for them.  These are great people from the President all the way through to his 12-year-old son Barron.  Melania has been fantastic in her role—in every phase and the kids are all just fabulous. I am proud that they represent our country—especially overseas.  When Ivanka sat in for her dad for a short time at the G20 I thought she looked and acted just wonderfully competent.  No complaints at all from me.  But it is truly scary to think what would have happened if with all the law breaking the Democrats managed to get their person elected.  That would not have been good. In that regard, I wouldn’t care if Don Jr. met with 100s of Russian lawyers to keep those Democratic idiots out of the White House.  Because it would have been worth it. However, that wasn’t necessary. The Trumps won fair and square and it’s time for the political left to either get over it, or leave for a country more aligned with their insurrectionists ideologies.  Because with the Trumps, good things are coming whether the Democrats are ready or not.

Rich Hoffman

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