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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
William Mattox's picture
William Mattox hates politics -- but loves ideas. So, his columns rarely deal with politics, but often address public policy problems. In addition, Mattox enjoys writing about larger cultural questions that arise in sports, arts and leisure, religion, and the interplay of the sexes.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 — William Mattox

Imagine you’re watching your favorite football team try to stage a furious comeback against a relentless opponent.  At a critical moment late in the game, you’re convinced your head coach ought to call a running play to get a first down.  Yet, inexplicably, the quarterback drops back to pass instead.  You exclaim, “What in the world is he doing?”  Then, the quarterback completes the pass.  For a touchdown.  To win the game.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013 — William Mattox

A small schoolhouse along Florida’s “forgotten coast” may seem like an unlikely place for a big idea to be born anew.  But the fifth graders at the Franklin County Public School did something last January that got the attention of Gov. Rick Scott and is now spreading to other parts of the state. 

They celebrated thrift.  


Wednesday, January 09, 2013 — William Mattox

Amid all the talk about gun control and mental health reform, one important question begged by last month’s tragedy in Connecticut has gone unasked:  Is there anything we can do about the structure of education that might help lower the risk of another school massacre?  I believe there is – and a poignant story (and some very interesting research data) will help explain why.

Two of my children once attended a small private school in a town where we had just moved.  Early in the fall semester, another new kid at that school – a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who would now be 19 or...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012 — William Mattox

Several years ago, some bohemians in the capital city of Texas began distributing bumper stickers that read, “Keep Austin Weird.” It was their way of calling for the preservation of Austin’s unique identity against cookie-cutter chain stores threatening its “McDonaldization.”   

Now, I do not consider myself a weirdo – my kids probably have a different opinion – and I actually like some national...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 — William Mattox

Now that we know Paul Ryan’s playlist runs from AC~DC to Zeppelin, let’s hope the Republican vice presidential nominee can convince Mitt Romney to listen to some songs that fall under the letter “O” -- for Offspring. Because there’s a very important – and often-overlooked – aspect to the jobs debate that the southern California punk band seems to appreciate.
In the 1990s, the Offspring got lots of air play with a string of hits, including Self-Esteem and Come Out and Play...

Thursday, August 30, 2012 — William Mattox

When Chris Christie gave his keynote address at the Republican National Convention, I couldn’t help but notice that he bears a curious resemblance to all three major candidates from the 1912 presidential election. 

In girth, Christie looks like a William Howard Taft Republican. In style, he uses the bully pulpit like that pugnacious Bull Moose, Theodore Roosevelt.  And in position, he serves as...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — William Mattox

When Florida students head back to the classroom this month, 14 year-old Willow Tufano of North Port will not be among them.  Willow, you see, has more important things to do – like collecting rent from the tenants who live in the house she bought recently with earnings from her small business.

If you need to re-read that last sentence, go ahead.  Because it isn’t every day that a 14-year-old...

Monday, July 16, 2012 — William Mattox

It was a brouhaha that left many students and parents in Florida’s capital city without a beloved principal. But for folks well beyond Tallahassee -- and even Florida -- it ought to serve as a wake-up call for re-thinking our society’s upside-down patterns in compensating educators.

Here’s what happened: On the Friday before Independence Day, the local school superintendent announced Leon High School...