Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EPA Moratorium and Ads

I just heard a radio ad that was attacking Erik Paulsen for siding with the lobbyists to in essence "pollute our air and harm our children".  I found this hard to believe since he has kids also...

See the first link for some thoughts regarding why we should slow down the EPA's good works.  And the second to listen to the ads.
WSJ An EPA Moratorium
Environmental Defense Action Fund 2011 Ads

I find it interesting since the EPA has been overwhelming our industry for 10+ yrs by requiring cleaner burning diesel engines.  And it is going to continue for another ~5 yrs.  By the time we are done we will need very clean fuel, lots of expensive hardware on each machine, and the air coming out of the stack will sometimes be cleaner than that going into the air cleaner. EPA Tier Timeline

The upside is that it has given Engineers some great job security.  The downside is that the equipment keeps getting more expensive, which is passed on to all of us citizens via higher construction costs and taxes.

So when is good, good enough?  How much are you willing to pay for excellent?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

RAS STEAM and Transportation

First off...  Sorry for being an irresponsible and inconsistent blogger lately.  Hopefully in ~3 wks my life will return to somewhat normal. This Summer has been CRAZY... (ie built paver patio, boat damaged/repaired, family member with ruptured disk/surgery, and finally a kitchen remodel, and work as crazy as ever....)  Lord I hope it slows down soon.  The upside is that I am learning a lot of information and developing some new skills. (ie paver prep/installation, fiberglass repair, recessed lighting install, the mechanics of the spine, sanding and staining of Maple, etc, etc, etc)

The topic of today is STEAM...  And NO I did not say STEM...  Apparently the Magnets committee has decided that STEAM is the best alternative. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)  It kind of reminds me of the sales tax increase we passed awhile back.  "If you can not get enough votes, throw someone else's concerns into the mix" (ie sales tax = environment and arts)  Worked well for the Sales Tax, not sure it makes a good school strategy.  Thoughts?

The second topic is the potential outsourcing of RAS Transportation. It is definitely a decision that needs to be considered, but researched carefully.  There could be some very interesting consequences for the better and worse.  The definite upside is that it would pave the way to selling off the current ESC/Bus Garage site. Then the District personnel could be placed in or distributed across other less expensive already owned sites.  Thoughts?

8Aug11 Worksession packet
15Aug11 Board mtg packet
Sun RAS could save $1 million

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Please Let Me Lower Stds

Well, if not raising funding each year is considered a cut...  Is not raising standards each year considered cutting standards?

If so, then our Commissioner of Education is asking permission to do just that.  Standards were supposed to increase until 2014 when "No Child Was to Be Left Behind".  Of course this was difficult at best and impossible at worst given the lack of control we have over Parenting or the lack thereof, and the Households these kids come from.

However it was an admirable goal.  Too bad the Educational establishment spent more time and energy vilifying it instead of trying to attain it.  (been there, discussed that)

So what do you think of the waiver request?  Is it a good move or permission to leave kids behind?  (Oh, those poor "Unlucky" kids, we forget them again???)

KARE11 MN Seeks Waiver for NCLB
Star Trib MN Wants Waiver from NCLB
MPR MN Seeks Wauiver from NCLB
MinnPost Educators Cheer Waivers
Ed Week Waivers Offered
Dept of Ed Flexibility and Waivers

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Emeperor's New Clothes

When I heard the news the weekend, I thought it is about time...  There have to be some consequences to this "spend more than we raise" or "raise less than we spend" mentality.  There would be in our personal finances, and there should be for our Society as a whole. (aka USA)

CNN S&P Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating

And of course the Administration is looking to manage the spin.

CNN Obama Official: Move "Way Off"

And the nervous investors are off and running....  Since I am a couch potato investor that stays pretty much invested all the time, I am sure this will do terrible things to my on paper net worth...  (note to self: don't look for a year or so...)  Good thing I am 15+ yrs from retirement...

CNN Sell First, Ask Questions Later

So what do you think?
  • Are you dumping your equities as fast as you can? Or staying put?
  • Is this the beginning of the end?  Or just another bump?
  • Was S&P correct in taking the action they did?
  • Were they naive like the child, or very brave to say what they did?
  • Will there be retribution against them?  What?
  • Who is to blame? The spenders?  The no tax hikers?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Debt Mgmt and Women's Health

I found these comments by Daniel Mitchell very interesting in a cynical sort of way.

CNN  Debt Deal: Politicians Win, Middle Class Loses

And of course the posturing and spinning is continuing...
Fox News  Tax Hikes Impossible? Think again...

So what do you think?  Who is winning and who is losing in this deal?  Will it work?
On another topic:
Fox news: Women's Health
HP Free Birth Control

Doesn't this just make sense?  Or promoting moral decay?

I think it makes a great deal of sense...  If unlucky kids are severely taxing our Social Systems and Public Schools, then let's help those Unlucky Moms not have as many kids...  Seems pretty simple and logical...