Monday, May 21, 2018

Trump Russia and the Moving Bar

I still find it amazing that GOP citizens are not demanding more transparency from Trump. Are they so certain that he is guilty or incompetent?
  • First he insists "there were no discussions with the Russians"...  Oops I guess there were a few...
  • Then "I am going to hire the best people"... Oops some may be criminals, others lied to the FBI and some beat their wives...
  • The "I did nothing wrong, so I would be happy to be interviewed"... Oops maybe being interviewed is not necessary...
  • All the while trying to point to other "wrong doers".
I mean if his name was Obama they would have had him strung up by now.  We should demand that Trump sit for the Special Counsel, a truly innocent citizen would have nothing to fear by being asked about their meetings, activities, relationships, business dealings, etc.  I mean even Hillary was man enough to be interviewed by people from the other tribe.  Why is Trump such a BIG CHICKEN?

CNN Trumps Evolving Defense
CNN 11 Falsehoods in 5 Tweets
CNN Trump Claim Deja Vu
CNN Mueller Giuliani

China and The South China Sea

Apparently politicians are the same the world over.  They lie often...

"In a 2015 visit to Washington, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured then-US President Barack Obama, "China does not intend to pursue militarization." But US military officials say China's recent military activities belie that promise."  China Lands Bombers on Man Made Islands

As a reminder, an international court ruled unanimously against China on this issue.  Here is some more detailed history.  WIKI Philippines vs China  And here is a good explanation of why the China logic regarding their illegal "land grabs" are so flawed

The question is what will the international community do about China militarily invading their modern day neighbors.

And will the Chinese government use their growing military power for the good of the world?

Or will they use it to prey on their weaker neighbors like some ancient conquering empire?


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Daycare Subsidy Fraud Magnitude?

From the Fox link. "For five months, Fox 9 has been investigating what appears to be rampant fraud in a massive state program. This fraud is suspected of costing Minnesota taxpayers as much as $100 million a year. The Fox 9 Investigators reporting is based on public records and nearly a dozen government sources who have direct knowledge of what is happening."

ST Auditor Involved
FOX Suit Cases of Money
MPR Questionable Source
AN Swanson Drop Ball?

What fascinates me about this is how is an Auditor going to figure this out after the fact?

I mean let's assume that the Daycare Businesses and cooperating Parents filled in the correct forms and records that enabled them all to get paid.  How is anyone going to know if the children were at the day care on days in the past?

I assume it will come back to "who got paid" all that money?

More Children Die / Travel Update

CNN These are the Victims of Santa Fe Shooting

Well based on the G2A Gun Control Plan... (copied below for convenience) I am thinking that #6 and #7 are applicable to this shooting.  And I think the "GUN OWNER", the young man's Father should be sentenced to whatever his Son gets. It was his responsibility to keep his guns secure from use by his unstable son.  When will we start holding gun owners responsible for keeping their weapons secure?
Just an FYI, I am busily globe trotting again and being in China kept me from posting. (reminder: my blog is hosted by a google application) Here is what the "glamor" of business travel looks like...
  • Tuesday depart MSP and Wednesday Night arrive Shanghai
  • Thursday Noon depart Shanghai  for Guiyang
  • Friday night depart Guiyang for Shanghai
  • Saturday night depart Shanghai for Delhi (arrive 2 AM)
  • Thankfully I get to settle into this hotel for a few days
  • Thursday depart Delhi at 3:30 AM and arrive MSP on Thursday afternoon
By the way, Guiyang looked absolutely beautiful from what I could see from the taxi cab. :-)  Maybe someday I can spend more time looking around and less time in cabs and conference rooms. :-)

Fortunately my Delhi 3 day meeting got condensed to a 2 day meeting, so if I can get caught up on my sleep and work...  Maybe I can squeeze in a few hours of being a tourist.  If I do I will share some photos, but with an average high temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit for the next few days.  My "hotel room / office" is feeling pretty comfortable. :-)
G2A's Simplified Gun Policy Goal Statement:
  1. Ensure that trained, responsible people can keep and carry their hunting and self defense weapons.
  2. Ensure these weapons are removed from the homes of scary angry, insane and generally irresponsible people.
  3. Minimize the death, injury and/or trauma to the innocent citizens of the USA when the system fails and a scary angry, insane and generally irresponsible person does not have their weapons confiscated.
G2A's Supporting Policy / Tools 
  1. Mandatory back ground checks for every gun purchase or ownership transfer. Eliminate gun show / internet sales loop holes.
  2. Mandatory confiscation of guns from people with anger issues / restraining orders. (Red Flag Laws)
  3. Improve NICS, and State and Agency reporting into the database.
  4. Mandatory Gun Registration (especially for hand guns and semi-automatic rifles)
  5. Severe penalties for ANYONE holding a gun that is NOT registered, that should be.
  6. Allow law suits against people who allow their guns to be stolen, especially if they have not reported the theft.
  7. Allow trained school personnel to conceal and carry.
  8. Limiting clip sizes to ~15 or fewer bullets
  9. Banning weapons that are bump fire-able.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Those Evil Banks Are at It Again

So apparently after getting in big trouble for taking advantage of high risk mortgagees in the mid-2000's and supposedly causing a "Great Recession".  Now folks are unhappy because Big Banks are not loaning enough money to low income higher risk mortgagees.  And of course some people will claim that these decisions are race based and unfair.

G2A Here We Go Again
G2A Housing Debacle Revisited

Will Regarding Pence

So who is worse?  The lying megalomaniac or those who bow to and fawn over him?

WAPO Trump is No Longer the Worst Person in Government

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MN vs WI Economies

Are School Dress Codes Sexist?

A FB Friend linked to What I Teach My Teenage Daughter In Response To Her School’s Sexist Dress Code.  Apparently his teenage daughter ran afoul of the school code and had to change... So he could relate to the article.

After listening to these discussions through many years and 3 daughters, and after spending time in the schools... I side with the schools codes and would almost prefer that they went to specifying uniforms.... Even the best intentioned parent sometimes allows shorts that are just a little too short, leggings that are a bit thin, spaghetti strap tops, etc.

The irony is in our experience the rules are enforced more tightly for students with responsible parents, while the students who have challenges at home get a free pass. (ie soft bigotry of low expectations?)  Here is an example policy:
"DRESS, GROOMING T-SHIRT DESIGN AND POLICY Clothing may not include words or visuals which are obscene, abusive, disruptive or discriminatory, or which advertise alcohol, tobacco, narcotics or drugs. Dress or grooming which is disruptive of the classroom or school atmosphere is not allowed. Shoes must be worn at all times for health and safety reasons. EHS Class or Activity apparel including T-shirts and jerseys must be pre-approved (see T-shirt Designed/Ordered Spiritwear policy below). No face masks or face paint may be worn at any time. Students will be subject to disciplinary consequences in the event of noncompliance with these regulations."
Here is a more useful example of what is allowed and disallowed in many schools.  Now the folks who were anti-dress code seemed to think that they were unfairly sexist with all the focus on hem heights, straps, collar types, etc.  To which I answered that I just don't know many boys who want to wear short shorts and spaghetti strap tank tops that expose their belly button to school.

Then the discussion went towards the intent of the rules. They thought the schools unfairly enforce these draconian rules on girls to prevent the boys from being distracted.  And they believe that the young hormonal boys should be taught to avoid being distracted by attractive young women wearing skin tight clothing and/or showing a significant amount of skin.  I of course thought that was silly since I am 52 years old and still easily distracted after years of working against that millennia old male instinct.

Here were my closing thoughts over there... "As far I am aware girls are told to change because they are violating the district policy. Now I assume the intent of the policy is what you are concerned about, and I sure do not know that intent. Why do you think companies in America have casual Friday dress codes? I agree with ??? that this has less to do with boys and more to do with "appropriate dress".   So what is the consensus, should we all be able to wear whatever we want to work / school? Or should our society define common minimum expectations in these places of learning and work?"

This somewhat applies. G2A Judging vs Noticing

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Losing Faith in Social Security

This was an interesting piece regarding how retirees see the future of social security.  CNN Money: Retirees Losing Faith In SS  And it explains the problems that face the social security program.

And here are some interesting associated pieces.
CNN Money Will Women Outlive Retirement Funds?
CNN Money About  Annuities

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

Climate Change Update

The VOX Climate Change slides are interesting. They took them from this Nature piece.  This SciDev link forecasts we will be at 1.5C increase by 2030.

The good news is that with Climate Change Deniers in the White House...  NASA continues to maintain their fact based web page.  And so are the NOAA pages.

The Social Contract

The MP Birth Control comments took an interesting twist in the area of of the social contract... I have only copied a few of the comments. Social Contract Quotes
"Constitutionally, it is very simple. Freedom demanded must be freedom given. 
Even the conservative idea of "small government", if it is based on the proposition that "all [wo]men are created equal", will be clear: You must "butt out" of others' personal lives, and intimate decisions. You may enjoy your freedom by expecting it and protecting it for all.. 
Patriarchy, religious "beliefs" imposed upon others, and any however-well-meaning interference in the lives of others are all unconstitutional in our system of government. Priests cannot overrule the rile of law. 
Those who pursue the goal of controlling reproduction among others should study the history where it was tried. If they know the history and still oppose women's reproductive rights, they are not "reachable"." Richard 
"Freedom: Does that mean that Conservatives are free to not fund Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, Insurance plans, etc that fund many of those "intimate" decisions? 
I mean the challenge here is that doctor's appointments, birth control, "intimate" education, etc all cost money. And if a free person has a child they can not afford to care for, medicaid & welfare transfer a large portion of that cost to tax payers. 
So how does the concept of Rights and Responsibilities fit into your idea? 
If citizens are free to do as they wish and incur negative consequences... 
Shouldn't they carry the burden of their personal choices and actions? 
Or does it make sense to you that their consequences should be metered out across the rest of the population? 
I am more of a "you break it you buy it" kind guy.
Not a "you break it, we buy it"..." G2A

"Individual freedom in relation to our governments. 
To make it clear:. Constitutionally, it IS simple, and your taxes comprise no exception.
A liberal representative democracy requires an ACCEPTANCE of the Social Contract your argument rejects.. 
Here's a historic, academic presentation to inform citizens of the concept and necessity of the Social Contract:* 
(*Republicans (especially) need to grasp this concept if they are to ever going to be happy in our form of constitutional government. It is in the Social Contract itself where responsibilities of citizenship reside.)" Richard

"Conclusion. Sorry... That was too long so I skipped to the conclusion... I agreed with the last sentences. 
"Social contract theory is undoubtedly with us for the foreseeable future. But so too are the critiques of such theory, which will continue to compel us to think and rethink the nature of both ourselves and our relations with one another." 
I personally have no problem fulfilling my obligations to our society and paying my taxes. And I am fine caring for the old and truly disabled from the public purse. 
However I believe that all citizens should be held to the "Social Contract", which means to me that everyone follows the law, has only the children they can afford and are capable of raising well, everyone strives toward continuous learning for the betterment of our society, etc. 
The question then becomes what should our society do with people who break our social contract? 
Do we keep writing them checks and allow them to continue breaking the contract? 
Or is there a natural consequence that we let them experience?" G2A

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Why We Pretend to Know Things

VOX Why we pretend to know things, explained by a cognitive scientist 
New research explains why we pretend to know more than we do.

This seems to explain much about our tribal discussions...