Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Travelling and Exhaustion

I have recently been reminded again of the risks of travelling when one is tired, or tired because they are travelling...  In October I let myself be talked into getting a ride to the hotel in Shanghai with "some guy", in my exhaustion the official cab line looked real real long...  Thankfully I did arrive safely, however it cost my company an extra $40...

Well, the Saturday before Christmas I got back from S Korea / China just in time to drive out to SD and SW MN for the holidays.  Then the family and I came back on Friday, packed up on Satuday and caught a 6:50 AM flight to Cancun MX on Sunday for a 5 day vacation.

Unfortunately, the Cancun airport has something that I have never experienced before.  Between where you collect your baggage and where you exit the airport, they have an area where unsuspecting tourists can be directed to a bunch of official looking people who are there to "help you".  Or so it seemed at the time to my fuzzy brain.

So with my family listening, our new best friend Hugo starts discussing all the great things we can do on our vacation and how much he can save us.  Needless to say the deals were great, my daughters were excited and had forgotten their desire to just sit on the beach, and I wanted to get to the hotel.  Therefore I did what many stupid American first time to Mexico tourist Dads would do, I paid the man and signed.

As those of you who have taken many vacations in developing countries may know, the fine print read that I needed to attend a "time share" presentation in order to claim all of my great deals.  Then to make it worse, the place we are staying at also wanted to offer us great deals if we attended their presentation, so they tried to talk us into cancelling on the airport friend so they could be our new "bestest friends"...

Thankfully we put this all behind us on Monday morning by attending the "airport guy's" sales pitch and thereby claiming the goodies we "worked" so hard for...  Maybe I'll tell you more about what my family learned about this sales technique.  I am amazed that apparently 30% of people they get to attend sign up on the spot.  Needless to say, I said "NO"...

By the way, today was the Chichen Itza tour.  It was great except they let ~1,000 sales tables setup along the walking paths.  It felt like running a gauntlet of people asking you to buy things. (strangely most of the products were apparently made in even lower cost countries...)  And tomorrow the girls get 3 hours with dolphins.

So remember to follow the crowd and just say no while travelling, especially when your brain is mush.  And more importantly. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A&E Supports Duck Dynasty

I am always amazed that the "we want freedom" gay supporting folks are so quick to bash people who believe differently than them.  Thankfully the other ~50% of the population stood up for Phil's right to voice his beliefs.

I mean as he said, it isn't his job to judge.  God will make the final call if being Gay is a sin or not.  For the Gay folks sake, I hope God is Gay friendly...
USA Today A&E Calls Off "Duck Dynasty" Suspension
GQ What the Duck?

Thoughts?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Education Reform Continued

Since MPP kicked me off, commenting over there has been pretty limited.  Which makes sense since the site reminds me of a bunch of parrots repeating each other's words.  However occasionally someone does have an original thought and some discussion occurs. (ie Lynnell)  Of course the response is often the usual bashing and name calling... 

MPP How I Got Over (Lynnell)
MPP People have seen enough Reform (Dan)

I really like Lynnell's thoughts on this topic... Thoughts?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Drug Test Welfare Recipients?

The Big E over at MPP is saying that a MN Legislator is wrong for wanting to drug test welfare recipients. (of course insulting him the whole while)  Now it doesn't look like a big money saver, however I think it is still a good idea.  At least when physical or behavioral indicators are present, and especially when kids are involved.

MPP Drug Test Welfare Recipients
Salon Inane Money Eating Sham
Deseret News Utah Saves $350K in First Year
NY Times Drug Tests Falter
Salt Lake Times Testing is a Mixed Bag

Since the "user" rate has been very low in other states where it has been tried.  I wonder how those numbers account for people who self-exited the state programs rather than be caught?  This could be by moving to another state...

Thoughts?

Income Inequality Matters?

It seems the Liberals like MPP are seizing the opportunity to spin and exaggerate some statements made by David Hahn.  I don't know if they made sense or not, but it is interesting that they made national news...  HP GOP Lawmaker Not Convinced

And after just visiting China and observing their incredible wealth disparity, I found this article to be very interesting...  Since it seems to propose that the wealth differential does not matter as long as everyone's situation is improving.  The Diplomat Chinese Leaders Not Concerned by Inequality  Of course, this Slate article about China's Treatment of Journalists may indicate differently.  Though I think this has more to do with "Political Corruption" than "Wealth Differential".

Then of course there is this article that indicates the problem  does exist.  However it explains how the Liberals are trying to take advantage of some serious perception errors to make it appear worse.
Atlantic Cities: Terrible at Estimating Wealth Gap

Thoughts?

By the way, I include these links to remind readers that I see American consumers as the key to resolving this "problem".  Not the American government.  (aka taxes and redistribution)
G2A Poor at Transferring Wealth
G2A Liberals and Foreign Cars
G2A Prius vs Volt

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tyrants / Clowns: North Korea

I kind of feel sorry for Kim Jong Un, can you imagine being the Dictator of a "small pond" who  truly believes that everyone in the world should respect and grovel at your feet.  While in your heart of hearts you know that the vast majority of humans see you as impotent, give little thought to you and often ridicule you when they do.  It has to be like a self absorbed bully's worst nightmare.
CNN North Korea Threatens By Fax

Of course, his Uncle would beg to differ.  (CNN Uncle Executed)  Even in a "small pond" it is bad to be a smaller fish when the biggest fish gets hungry or feels threatened...

Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Catholic Priest Witch Hunt?

Now I agree that if your organization is determined to make their staff give up all the little normal things that make life worth living. (ie sex, spouses, sex, children, sex, etc)  You are likely to get some atypical people signing up for your organization.  What young man in their right mind would give up SEX !!!

Then on top of this you tell everyone that homosexual feelings are sinful, and that they should fight them and be celibate if you can do nothing else.  So of course self selection will bias the sample of candidates.

However, even with this foolish doctrine in place I have to wonder if there are a lot of sinful people chasing after money, instead of closure.  Especially with this latest accusation...
MinnPost Nienstedt Steps Aside

Sunday, December 15, 2013

MN Budget Surplus: What To Do?

It sure is a good thing Dayton and the DFLers raised taxes last year...  Now they get to think of who to reward with tax cuts...  And I am guessing it won't be the "Rich" who are paying the higher rates.  Briana posted an interesting article regarding this at MinnPost Dayton and Federal Tax Conformity.

I'll be posting/commenting at strange hours again this week.  I am at the Detroit airport awaiting my flight to South Korea, and Wednseday I fly into Beijing China for meetings in Tiajin on Thursday and Friday.

So how do you think we should use these excess revenues the DFL helped to generate through tax increases.  Spend them, give them to Paul, give them back to Peter, other?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

US Budget Deal Announced

Well it looks like a deal has been announced that is not very well supported by either side.  Let the fights and rhetoric begin again...  Thoughts?

CNN Budget Deal Aims to Avert Another Shutdown
CNN Crossfire Both Sides Skeptical
FOX News Rolling Back Sequester
FOX News Summary of Bi-Partisan Budget Act

GM No Longer Government Motors

According to this article the government sold the last of their shares in the recovering automaker.  Apparently we citizens invested $49.5 billion to help stabilize the company and protect the union employees, and we recovered ~39 billion. CNN Treasury Sells Last Shares

The article notes that it could have cost us much more if the company had failed.  Thoughts?

On a related note.
CNN GMs New CEO

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Minimum Wage Increase By Executive Order?

I was stunned when I read in MinnPost that the Office of the President may actually be able to arbitrarily change the minimum wage for many by signing an Executive Order.  What do you think?  Should he? Could he?

MinnPost Min Wage Increase by Executive Order?
The Hill White House Side Steps
National Journal Can The President Raise the Minimum Wage?

Not surprisingly Rep Ellison, our MN Rep who insisted on getting paid during the government shutdown, is helping to lead the charge.  Thoughts?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Carlson Gives Credit Where Credit is Due

Here is an article at MinnPost that I can for the most part agree with.
MinnPost Carlson Credits Diverse Economy

Arne Carlson gives credit where credit is due.  Not to the politicians, but to the great businesses we have in the state. 

And I agree, thank heavens for our strong Ag and Tourism industries.  Thank heavens for all the strong companies and great employees that make our success possible !!!  Even with all those politicians trying to make it more expensive and difficult... Thoughts?
Wiki List of MN Businesses

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

China's Air Defense Zone

I was discussing this topic with one of my peers who is visiting from China.  Not surprisingly he has been told that these islands have been on China's maps for centuries and that only in the 1900's did Imperial Japan claim them.  I can't wait to speak with one of my Japanese peers to see what their view is...

CNN China's Air Defense Zone
CNN Who Claims What?
CNN Questions and Answers

I am just hoping that they keep things calm through year end...  I have meetings in South Korea and China starting in about 12 days.

So what do you think of this situation?
Do you think anyone would care about these rock islands if oil was not involved?
What do you think America should do?

Another interesting comment my peer made.  He said that he was taught that China sided with North Korea during the Korean war because if the USA controlled Korea, they would try to take over China next...  There are always multiple views of every situation...

A Russian peer of mine told me a long time ago that it was the Soviet Union that saved the day by ending WW II.  Which of course is partially true since multiple fronts had to been incredibly hard to defend...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dayton Says MN Can't Afford To Feed It's Own

Even though MPP has censored me from commenting there, I do check in once in awhile to see what the far Left is thinking about.  I have them to thank for informing me of Gov Dayton's foolish statement below.

MPP Dayton Rips SNAP Cuts
Think Progress Reconsider Pardoning a Turkey

“They’re taking away from the neediest people in the nation,” the governor said. “These federal cuts are going to be beyond our capability, or any state’s capability to absorb and make up the difference. It’s a very, very difficult time for farmers…as well as food recipients. It’s a cruel way to treat them in the holiday season.”  Gov Mark Dayton


Now he seems to believe that Minnesotan's can afford to pay more Federal taxes and/or go deeper in debt to pay for SNAP, however Minnesotan's can not apprently pay directly for their own poor and unfortunates to have food.  This of course makes no sense...

On top of this, he says that farmers need help...  Doesn't he realize that farm land prices are at record highes and the last 5+ years have been great for MN farmers...

Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

America: Poor at Tranferring Wealth

From Laurie.
"Here is another off topic link, though I don't think it will lead to any insight or mind changing, as views on reducing inequality through govt policy seem quite entrenched."
MJ America is the Stingiest

My first thought is why don't these people do some kind of comparing "relative wealth" when they create these tables/graphs?  If USA wealth distribution is bigger, but the distribution is typically higher than other countries, why should we care?  (ie meaning if our "poor" are similar or better off than their poor, but our rich are richer)  Remember that we have some incredibly nice homes, cars, vacation homes, etc compared to a lot of these other general populations...

The countries they picked are fairly interesting to me.  They seem like they are countries that are not real diverse or actively / aggressively allowing people to immigrate.  However I could be incorrect.

So I dug a little further...  It seems that MJ is abusing data to aggressively mislead...  New Yorker Inequality  See figure 3, and note that the NY says that US does less than most. And the data clearly shows that Taiwan and South Korea do significantly less than the USA.  Now do we want to be growing aggressively like Taiwan / South Korea, or growing slowly like Ireland, Poland, Sweden, etc...

Also, please note that figure 2 supports my theory.  The change occurred about the same time people stopped buying American and started buying from low cost countries...  You know, the ones like Taiwan, Japan and South Korea

Thoughts and Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

MN Dayton vs WI Walker

Laurie took the ACA post for a turn, so here the new topic gets prime billing.
"On a separate, but slightly related topic, it seems Dayton/dfl policies here lead to better economic results than Walker/conservative policies in Wisc.  NYT MN vs WI " Laurie
Of course my first thought is that the opinion writer must be smoking something...  Then again let's look at his bio. "Lawrence R. Jacobs is a professor of political science at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and the author, with Theda Skocpol, of “Health Care Reform and American Politics.”"  I think that about says it all, no pot involved... just some serious wishful thinking.

Giving the Liberal policies of the "last 6 months" credit for the strength of MN's economy has to be one of the silliest things I have ever heard...  Come back in a couple of years and maybe there will be something to discuss...

MPR MN vs WI

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Common Core Standards

Occasionally I find these gems where the Far Left and Far Right wrap all the way around to the point where they agree.  Apparently Common Core Standards is another example.  Both seem to be against adopting base national education standards.  See the following:
"John, education is NOT a nation top down standards. Education is a LOCAL issue with standards at the local level. Also, follow the money (national publishers & testing assessment companies)." Numbers Guy

"I am guessing that the global labor market disagrees. And local communities can always set their stds higher." John
I personally think we need Common educational objectives, just like we need to maintain just one official language.  Just think then maybe we could actually compare how the State and Local educational systems are performing. 

Thoughts?

Common Core State Standards Initiative
CC by State
CC Math
CC English

Baltimore CC Protesters
WP 8 Problems with CC
ASCD CC Summary
About CC Pros / Cons
CC Voices of Support
AZ Daily CC Benefits

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Liberal Comment Moderation

For a "non-partisan news organization", MinnPost must have some pretty Liberal biased comment moderators.  The normal crew of commenters were bashing Mill's views, qualifications, money, family, etc.  Including "As far as food stamps or SNAP is concerned, we have to make sure we preserve our social safety net and we wring out any fraud, waste or abuse that is in the program."  And then Doug chose to start bashing us Christians Republicans, "For a bible thumping political party this is the epitome of hypocrisy. What do the gospels teach if not helping the needy and seeing that they do not go hungry?"

So I threw my normal views into the fray(MinnPost Mills Four Pillars):
"It seems Local and State governments should be caring for their citizens. The feds should be worrying about national defense and other issues.  I'll never understand why Liberals want to fund programs that help individual citizens at the highest possible level of government... Thereby ensuring at least 3 levels of bureaucracy and waste are needing to be funded.

Please also note that the farm program funds also pay for "nutritional assistance" for middle and upper class children... http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program . No matter who you are, the tax payers are paying for part or all of your child's school breakfast, snacks, lunch, etc... It seems there is some unnecessary spending there... I think I could afford to buy my children lunch. 
The Bible speaks of charity and voluntarily caring for the less fortunate. Through this process of giving, both parties receive.  I must have missed the part that said "though shall forcibly steal from Peter and give to Paul"... Even if Paul just isn't motivated to work hard, makes poor choices, etc.  I'll have to go look through it again. Do you have a chapter and verse to point me in the correct direction.  Don't forget to pry your wallet open on 14Nov13."http://givemn.razoo.com/giving_events/GTMD13/home?" G2A
 Which of course led to comments like this:
"If you'd like to know why liberals want SNAP and other programs federally funded as opposed to the local and state level, look no further than your own comments. Too many states with Republican majority legislature or governors have the exact same attitude such as yours...that people who need assistance are lazy. They've done everything they can to shame and cast dispersions on the less fortunate, the jobless & the homeless You assume that if you can buy your kid lunch, everyone else should be able to. It's so easy to pass judgement on others without any knowledge of their personal struggles, but that eliminates any need to feel empathy. Just the fact that you can equate SNAP with "forcibly stealing" from you, illustrates why I want people like you to have zero influence as to who gets help." Jason
So I challenged Jason regarding Give to the Max, to see who empathized more with the poor when it comes to spending their own personal funds to help them?  And who preached well on spending other peoples money, while being a miser with their own?   Unfortunately we may never get an answer because about 4 of my comments have never show up, and some were there and then censored.

So apparently in the eyes of the MinnPost moderators it is okay for Liberal commenters to insult the "Bible Thumper Politcal Party Hypocrites", and insult Conservative governors (and me personally), since their comments are still there.  However comments that point out the inconsistencies of the Liberal position are censored.

At least I understand now why there are not many Conservative commenters on the site.  They learned faster than I do.  I understand this censorship from MPP, they are a Liberal blog.  I didn't expect this from a "non-partisan news" site.

By the way, here are some links I had provided for Dan and RB...  They can support both sides of the argument.
Open Bible: Welfare
Open Bible: Hard Work

Also, I am thankful for Jason's honesty.  He said what I believe is the truth. Liberals believe they know better how to take care of people in "all states" than the people in "each state".  Thus they don't trust local people to make the "CORRECT" decision for their neighbors, friends and relatives.  They believe THEY know best, therefore they want to FORCE everyone to comply by making it happen at the Federal level. No matter how much extra it costs or how ineffective it is.

They sound kind of like the "Bible Thumpers" to me.  Thoughts?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Give To The Max Day 14Nov13

Well folks, Give to the MAX day is upon us again.  So pry open those wallets and give deeply to support the causes that you think deserve the help.  Yes that means using your money, not someone elses.
Give to the Max Day
Give to the Max Categories

Odds are good that I will be supporting PRISM and Seven Dreams as usual.
GM PRISM                                          PRISM Mpls
GM Seven Dreams Foundation            Seven Dreams Foundation

However I am torn about Parents United, I do find their legislative updates useful, and sometimes appreciate their perspective.  However they seem to be highly "Education MN" friendly.  Meaning they seem to want to raise funding and rarely mention raising accountability or eliminating tenure.  So they may get the lump of coal this year, however I'll take some time to read their recent information before making a final decision.
GM Parents United
Parents United

So who else do you think the other readers and I should consider giving to this year and why?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Medicaid, Obamacare and Religion

I am puzzled why the "no comment" religious leaders don't just say, "we believe in charity, not government mandated and controlled wealth redistribution."  Thoughts?

CNN The ObamaCare Scandal You Have Not Heard About

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Democrats for School Reform

I must say that I am surprised but hopeful.  It seems like more Democrats and Teachers are beginning to understand that serious changes need to take place in the schools if we really want to close the achievement gap.

Personally I think the school issues only contribute to about 25% of the problem.  However it is the factor that we have the most control over.  G2A Education Factors List  Meaning that management, funding, performance management, training, curriculum, etc can all be adjusted.  Employees at all levels can be praised, fired, promoted, demoted, etc.  Compensation systems can be adjusted, etc.

The above are not simple, however they are much more manageable than eliminating poverty, changing Parent's methods, stopping drug abuse, changing American or local cultures, etc.

Now if we can convince the Conservatives to support Early Childhood Education, especially in the high risk households, therefore reducing the influence that deadbeat Parent's have on their kids...  Maybe we can stop some of the generational poverty issues and belief systems from being "inherited"...  Thoughts?

MinnPost Education Community Applauding
MinnPost Mayor Rybak's New Job
MinnPost Defending Teachers to Pushing Reform
MinnPost Minneapolis Education Politics
MinnPost Teacher Wars
MinnPost MFT Closes the Doors
MinnPost Q Comp for MPS
MinnPost Deeply Engaged in Schools
Terri Bonoff Education
Achieve Minneapolis
Generation Next
Strive Together

Monday, November 4, 2013

Koch Brothers: Angels or Devils?

Apparently Harry Belafonte decided to go on a tirade against the Koch Brothers.  According to the CNN article he compared their activities to those of the Ku Klux Klan and said "They are white supremacists."

Now I am used to Liberals vilifying the Koch Brothers and accusing them of a multitude of sins,  however this seems extreme even by the standards of a leftist group like the MPP folks.

Since I know nothing about the Koch Brothers other than what I have read below, I figured I'd post and see if there are some strong opinions out there.  Are these guys greedy white supremacists or generous freedom fighters and philanthropists?  Thoughts?

CNN Koch, Belafonte and the Klan
Koch Brother's Charitable Giving
Koch Family Foundations
Koch's Influence Spans...


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Washington Technology Magnet: Success Story?

Okay, as promised I have returned to ALEC's post regarding what they perceive to be a school turn around.  They say that it kept the same kids, same teachers, and they were able to improve the situation.  From the comments it seems there is some dissent regarding this claim.

And from my very brief review, I think ALEC is doing a lot of positive thinking.  Unfortunately I am having a hard time working with the new and improved MN Dept of Education site.  Sometime after Gov. Dayton joined us they "improved" the system.  Since I am pretty tech savvy, and I find it hard to find school info, I feel sorry for any technophobe trying to get anything useful out of it.  The previous version had a nice button called "School Report Card" that let you search for your school, then it would give access to general info.

MPP A Story of Reform That Worked by ALEC
Washington Technology Magnet
WTM Registration Policy

Arlington Senior High School
AHS Will Not Rise from Ashes
Tempers and Tears

Any thoughts regarding what I am missing on the "improved site", or what you know about this Arlington to Washington change / improvement would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Do Liberals Buy Foreign Cars?

Since I have to sit in traffic on 494N most evenings, I have too much time to think and observe.  And since I have been writing about Liberals, car buying loyalties, causes of the wealth gap, causes of slow growing wages for American workers, etc, I have been looking at cars...  In particular I have been reading bumper stickers... Apparently Conservatives aren't too into bumper stickers, however so far I have 5 clearly Liberal stickers... (2 VW, 1 Subaru, 1 Honda & 1 Toyota & 0 Domestics...  To bad it isn't an election year, I could collect the data much quicker.

So I decided to do a little google searching to determine if I was being biased, or if it is true that Liberals prefer cars built by foreign firms.  Well, it appears I am not alone in this belief.  The first link is actually written by a Liberal who is asking one of the exact same questions.
LHL Why Do Liberals Buy Foreign Cars and Conservatives Buy American?
Baristanet Do You Drive a Liberal or Conservative Account?
Washington Times Political Leanings Drive Car Choice
I'm Right: The Most Liberal Cars in America
Politics Daily Liberals, Get Patriotic and Ditch the Volvo
US News Is Your Car a Republican or Democrat?

So with all this in mind, the questions I posted on MinnPost still remain unanswered.  I know it is unlikely I will get answers here, however I thought it was worth one more try before moving on to new and more fertile ground.  Besides maybe it will help some folks to at least test drive a modern GM, Ford or Chrysler.
""counterfactual to claim that 50% liberal consumers buying cheap imported stuff are more responsible for wealth disparity than the other 50% of conservative consumers" Where did I claim this?

I have asked. Do the Liberals accept their huge personal contributing role in the current situation? 

And are they willing to change their personal behaviors and spending habits to help their American co-workers? 

Or are they going to keep sending their money over seas while blaming others for what they perceive to be problems in America?

If every Liberal bought a GM or Ford vehicle next time, just think what that would do for American jobs..." G2A  MinnPost Wealth
Here is a link to a site that tries to be more accurate in their Foreign/Domestic index.  They do this by trying to account for more than just the Manufacturing content.
 Kogod Now



Farm and Food Program Info

Now it seems that I will more often disagree with the commenters at MinnPost than agree.  However I do I agree with Paul's comment regarding food shelves and encouraging people to up their support for them as the supplementary funding comes to an end.
"I would suggest that anyone who can, make a cash donation to their local food shelf.
Cash enables them to buy food more efficiently than we can, and does them more good than a few leftover soup cans."
My charity of choice for this is PRISM in Golden Valley...
The Get Help function on Hunger Solutions looks like it can help you find your local shelves.  Whether you want to give or receive.

Bloomberg Food Stamp Benefits Drop
NYT Farm Bill Lobbying
MinnPost Temporary Food Aid Expires
MinnPost 3 MN Lawmakers on Farm Bill Committee
NFU Farm Bill Summaries

With all the Farm and Food Program discussions occurring, I had the following questions and thoughts...
"Any idea why in the world people want SNAP funded at the federal level?

It seems this should be a local or state issue?

Also, the farm program subsidizes the meals of all pre-school and school children. (ie Poor, Middle Class and Rich) The poor get a "full reimbursement" and the others get about a 50% subsidy.

Why don't they cut the partial subsidy and ear mark it for the poor? Thoughts?
 And ....
I'll never understand why they don't move all the welfare into one department...

Maybe people are concerned that if we actually knew of much money is in that bucket at the federal, state and local levels, we may be even less excited to fund it. And wonder how we can have any poor people at all.

Does anyone know how many dollars are in the total welfare bucket?
And how much goes to recipients? And how much goes to run the system?
 Thoughts or answers?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Obama Oversight or Lie?

This one does not look good for Team Obama and ACA cost control story.
NBC Obama admin. knew millions could not keep their health insurance

So is this a Conservative witch hunt or do you think Obama misled the American people.  Thoughts?

How to Buy American? Why?

I think one of Laurie's last comments deserves some further discussion.
"I think buy American is not easy except for a few large products such as cars and motorcycles. Are there American made TVs for instance? Or where would one find American made clothing to purchase?

In the last 5 years all of the increase in income has gone to the 1% and this is not because Americans had better shopping habits 10 or 20 years ago." Laurie


I agree that in this globally competitive world it is very difficult to buy pure "American Made" products.  However I prefer at least to err on the side of buying from American firms.  As I have mentioned before, the actual production costs are often not even half the cost of the product.

Meaning that if you pay $1,500 for a refrigerator, it is likely >$750 goes to pay for development, testing, accounting, marketing, logistics, management, etc.  Now do you want to buy that Samsung/LG unit or the GE unit?  Or that Samsung/LG phone vs the Apple/Motorola phone?  Etc.

And if you are concerned that the management of GE, Apple, Motorola, etc are paid to much...  Just remember that they likely live in the USA and they will be paying ~30% of it back to the USA.  Whereas the management of Samsung/LG will be paying ~0% back to the USA...
ABC Made In America
CNN Made In America

As for funding the Wealth Gap, the big "Buy Foreign" swing started in the late 1970s when Honda and Toyota started to be perceived as high quality low cost cars rather than cheap cars.  And the American consumers started to see the USA cars as expensive low quality gas guzzlers.  By the way, they were correct.  The Big Three and their Unions had been taking advantage of their near monopoly market power to collect their money while providing questionable product.  Of course now things have changed, and yet the customers have new brand loyalties...

So the consumers went to "Buy Foreign" to get low cost and better quality, which forced concessions by American companies and their Unions. (ie margins and compensation fell while R&D/Quality expenses increased)  Now why the Wealth Gap creation, the global competition lowered or slowed the growth rate of employee compensation in America.  Whereas the financial capital simply flowed to where ever the profits were being made. (ie people bought shares of Toyota, Honda, Subaru, etc)

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Female Brain

As Laurie noted, we have been too intensely focused on one topic for too long.  Especially since it is a topic on which we have very different views regarding how "fair" is defined.

The questions for today are:
  • Are Men and Women different due to the huge variation in our chemical make up?
  • If so, does it matter and why?
Dog Gone and I had many arguments regarding this topic. (ah, the good old days...)  She was adamant that the hormonal and other chemical differences make NO difference.  Whereas being a husband, father of 3 teenage daughters, reader of many books and co-worker to many peers of both sexes, I of course whole heartedly disagreed.
MPP Babies, Brains & Testerone
MPP Why Those That Get to the Top Generally Fail

Being the nerd, my current book on CD is 50 Psychology Classics.  A very interesting read/listen if you like this stuff.  One chapter is regarding the American neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine and her cutting edge work in the area of how the human brain is impacted by hormones and other chemicals.

Wiki The Female Brain
NYT The Female Brain

Other books on the topic are written by Michael Gurian.  I read "The Wonder of Girls" and it has helped me to survive in my current environment.  Even though I am still just a guy "who just doesn't understand" to the women of my household...

Thoughts?

PS. One more really good book is "You Just Don't Understand" by Deborah Tannen.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One Advantage of Blogging

Please humor me while I finish some thoughts that I started on these posts.  My replies have not appeared so I am placing them here...

MinnPost Crazies
RB,
It seems that both parties are very interested in "social issues".  Be it pro-life vs pro-abortion, traditional marriage vs free marriage, property rights vs wealth transfer, etc.  I really don't think one could say that one is worse than the other in this arena.

Chris,
Good idea, however I think the troops in Germany and Japan are there for our benefit, not theirs.  Meaning that those sites give us forward staging bases.
Now South Korea is a place where I think we could pull troops from without impacting global operations.  Thoughts?

Todd,
It seems to me that folks are much divided on ACA/Obamacare than you reported. Please provide your source.

Annie,
Your link does not work.

Pat,
You are assuming I was incorrect.  Maybe you also should stop assuming...

Jonathan,
Do you happily encourage folks to budge in line...  Even if it means you don't get to attend that very very important event...

And yes I do agree that the GOP alienates people just like the DFL does.  I mean how many fundamentalist Christians do you think the DFL has alienated with their views. In essence saying that their beliefs are meaningless or worse.

If you believed that stopping the beating of a human heart was murder.  What would you do to prevent it from happening? 


MinnPost Sad/Happy Day
RB,
With defense contracting, privatized prisons, and other expenditures the government gives the money to a business or other group to purchase a service or product. 

In the case of ACA, the money is being taken from one person via taxes, and given to another person via taxes.  The government is not buying a service or product, they are just picking one pocket and slipping it into someone else's. Definitely pure wealth transfer / socialistic behavior.


As always, thoughts encouraged on any of the above topics...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Government Spending: Up is Up

So I asked Laurie to help me.
"How do you rationalize that "government" cost 10 % of GDP in 1900 and now costs 38 % of GDP is not an increase? That does puzzle me to this day..." G2A

"I don't think most people compare govt today with govt 100 years ago. Thirty years seems like a more reasonable time frame. Some liberals (me) see charts that show spending is not increasing. MJ Federal spending as % of GDP" Laurie

Now to me it looked like the MJ graph was cherry picking. (ie time span, fed only, etc)  However since I am willing to try Laurie's ideas I redrew my lines on the US Spending data to be ~1970 through today...  And yes I understand that these are free handed in and could vary somewhat if I created them in excel.  The reality though is that the slope will be very similar, and that is heading up...  Especially the Total graph. (ie ~30% to 38+% in ~40 yrs)

For perspective, please review the G2A Continuum

For argument let's say that Grp1 and Grp2 are happily negotiating a service fee.  Both sides continue to be agreeable and willing to compromise within the range of say 25% to 30% for many years.  Meaning that both sides can see value trade offs in this range.  However Grp2 keeps pushing for a higher and higher percentage, and demanding that they provide services that Grp1 does not think add enough value, or services that may actually damage a good deal. 

Who is really changing and who is staying the same?

When the Grp1 is finally pushed above 35%, 5% over where they are comfortable, and they start to balk and demand change.  Who is at fault for the break down in negotiations?

Should Grp1 continue to "compromise" with Grp2, even though Grp2 never seems to be satisfied?  I mean Grp1 agreed to go from 10% to 20%, and Grp 2 asked for more.  Then Grp 1 "compromised" and costs went from 20% to 30%, and still Grp 2 said that it was not enough . Then Grp1 "compromised" and costs increased to ~35%, and still Grp2 villifies Grp1 as not negotiating and being unreasonable. 

Finally Grp1 says enough is enough and refuses accept anymore cost increases. And Grp2 cries that Grp1 has changed terribly and is unwilling to compromise...

How does Grp2 and its supporters rationalize their cries?  Thoughts?





Friday, October 18, 2013

American Healthcare: 1% Spend 20%

The MinnPost article linked below pointed to the AHRQ Brief linked below.  Then I threw in some additional links. 

"In 2010, the top 1 percent ranked by their health care expenses accounted for 21.4 percent of total health care expenditures with an annual mean expenditure of $87,570. Overall, the top 50 percent of the population ranked by their expenditures accounted for 97.2 percent of overall health care expenditures while the lower 50 percent accounted for only 2.8 percent of the total." From the AHRQ Brief

Maybe that 80/20 rule applies to this also...  Thoughts?

AHRQ Expenditure Brief
MinnPost Costliest1% of Patients Spend 21%
EOI US Healthcare Costs
Common Wealth Explaining High American Costs
G2A American Healthcare Drivers

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shutdown: No One Won?

The Republican's say they didn't win and the President says no one won.

MSN New Panel
CNN Shutdown
CNN Obama 16Oct13 Speech
CNN Obama 17Oct13 Speech (partial)

I guess I disagree, I think the President won the battle and Republicans gained a chance to win the war.  I mean repeatedly the President went on record saying he would negotiate on anything after the government was running again.  Well now it is running again for awhile....

Let's see how true his word the President will be...  Thoughts?

I mean Bush and Obama jacked up spending significantly due to 2 wars and a recession.  And one can not forget the SS/Medicare benefits that are exceeding the premiums being collected, or the extra expense of the ACA program.

G2A Spending Trends
Forbes It is a Spending Problem
G2A Political Continuum

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Socialism vs Capitalism vs Mixed

Another sub-discussion within the MinnPost Warren piece

"Economic model. Well, we've never been either capitalistic nor socialistic. The issue is really just the dividing line between the two. How much capitalism or how much socialism do you put into the mix? Personally, I feel that sometimes you need more of one and sometimes you need more of the other. It all depends on what problem you're facing at the moment and which model provides the better solution. In a lot of cases, it's a combination of both and not one or the other."

The whole "capitalism is better than socialism" is a non-starter in my book, much like the people who go on about Microsoft vs Apple and vice versa. You should look for the best solution full stop, not the best solution within your ideology." Todd Hintz

"Large and diverse. Please tell me about a successful large and diverse socialistic country." G2A

"According to you, the United States. One might add the EU, though they're going through a rough spot right now, which may have started with their investment links to our housing bubble." Paul Brandon

"Economies. John, you appear to have missed the point entirely. Did you read and comprehend my post? The main thrust was to point out that you shouldn't be wedded to one ideology or another, no matter what it is. As a counter argument, can you name one successful large and diverse capitalist country?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem wedded to the concept that capitalism is good and socialism is bad, full stop. If my perception is not correct, can you give me the pros and cons of the two economic models? I'm trying to get some sense as to whether or not you understand the implications of adopting one ideology over another and limitations of taking such a myopic point of view." Todd Hintz
G2A Continuum
G2A Spending Trends

I guess my answers are:
  • Though always somewhat of a Mixed economy, the continuum and trends indicate the USA was a very strong leaning Capitalistic country in the early 1900's. Then we started the shift leftward on the continuum.  Now we are headed towards what we defined together as a Social Democracy. (ie France, N. Europe, etc) At least it seems that is where the Liberals would like to take us? I guess my view is that the USA was doing much better when it was more Capitalistic.  I even defended my Moderate status by saying that if a 25% total spend (1950) was too low and ~38% (2013) too high, then let's strive to get back to the average of 31.5%.
  • The reality is that Socialism has been tested in 2 large diverse countries and it was proven as a HUGE FAILURE. (ie USSR and China)  Trust me, China may be a "Communist" country...  However there is almost nothing socialistic about it anymore.  On my visit, I asked about things like healthcare and was told that they have to pay for insurance, and Lord knows I have never seen so many high end cars. (ie Rolls, BMWs, Mercedes, Range Rovers, Audis, etc.)
  • In summary, I think a Mixed Economy that errs to the side of Capitalism is better than one that errs towards Socialism.
Thoughts?

Punishing the Unsuccessful / Unlucky?

I am going to break out a couple of interesting conversations from the MinnPost Warren piece.

"Quick question. Why is the 50% figure the danger line?" RB Holbrook

"I don't know. It depends on what type of government you want. Slowly we are moving from capitalistic towards socialistic. Personally I think Capitalism is better. (ie Atlas Shrugged fan) G2A Continuum" G2A

"So nothing. You just don't like government. The "fifty percent!!!" alarm has no particular significance." RB Holbrook

I love government. I dislike arbitrary wealth transfer from the lucky/successful to the unlucky/unsuccessful... It tends to reward the questionable behaviors of the unlucky/unsuccessful and punish the positive behaviors of the lucky/successful. Definitely no way to promote good choices, continuous learning, hard work, saving/investment, etc."

"First of all, it is silly to consider taxation of income as "punishment." That is the attitude of a four-year old who is being denied a cookie, because his parents are so mean. Is anyone out here not getting rich because of income taxes (why does the chairman of Ikea keep at it, living as he does in Sweden?). I also don't see what's so arbitrary about it. Capitalist icon Adam Smith regarded a progressive income tax as a no-brainer. If one of the purposes of a civil society is to protect individual wealth and property, why should the financial burden of that protection not fall heavier on those who have more to protect?

Second, why do we want to reward the questionable behaviors of the lucky/successful? Definitely no way to promote ethical behavior. Letting the architects of the great recession walk sends the message that ethics and the rule of law don't matter if you're rich enough. That hack b-movie screenwriter you profess to admire would disagree, but basing a society on greed is a terrible idea.

Third, the idea that people are unlucky/unsuccessful by some economic metric solely due to questionable behaviors is completely divorced from reality. There are millions of people who work hard yet who don't get rich or even middle class. You give this away when you talk about "lucky." Why should we trivialize or punish the unlucky?" RB Holbrook
 I did reply to this, however it disappeared into the ether...  It went something like this.

  1. Even with a flat tax situation, the high income folks carry much more of the financial burden than most.  I would say that most high income folks would see progressive policies that cause ~30% effective tax rates as a punishment which  forces them to bear more than their fair share of the burden.
  2. I believe that bankers, investors, government, regulators, mortgagees and others caused the great recession. The "greedy" bankers could not have done this on their own. Crisis of Credit
  3. How exactly are we punishing the unsuccessful/unlucky?  If they file their Fed Income taxes, they will likely receive a credit that offsets many of their local taxes.  Or at least they will pay no Federal income tax.  Then many will receive free stuff from charities, local, state and/or federal organizations. (reminder: free to them, paid for by successful/lucky) On top of this in many situations reverse discrimination policies give them funding and benefits that are not available to others.  Now they be unsuccessful/unlucky, but where again is the "punishment" you are referring to? Wiki Effective Rates 2011
The most interesting thing about the effective tax rate chart is that we should be subtracting ~7% off of everyone for up to their first ~$105K. I mean if they are entitled to benefits, these FICA payments are actually just mandatory premiums. (ie not real taxes)  This would show the Top 1% are actually paying the highest rate, and it would show the true effective tax rate for the lowest 20% would only be 10%.

Then we should probably add back any cash benefits that each class is getting from government in order to determine a real net effective rate.  I am guessing that would put the lowest 40% into a 0% or negative rate. (ie making money each year)

Now where again is that punishment of the unsuccessful/unlucky?  Thoughts?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Investors and CEO Compensation

The downside of the family "real estate assets"...  I am spending all weekend maintaining them, so I have just forwarded Annie's question to the top of the list.

"Annie: I think we all agree that CEO comp and the focus on short term profits are a problem in some cases. How would you advise fixing it?"

I wish I knew. Those who have acquired the money and power won't give it up gladly. I don't solely blame CEOs--they're the beneficiaries but not the only culprits.

I'd love to know how to culturally help businesses refocus so there are more balanced, healthy priorities on profits AND employees AND social responsibility. Some companies do it--Costco comes to mind, seems like some of the silicon valley tech giants do a good job.

Any ideas?

--Annie


A story from my previous employer was that in the mid-1980's they were losing $1 million dollars a day and the market was not happy but the it tolerated it.  In the 1990's the market pummelled them for only breaking even.  And now the market will pummel them if they don't consistently meet the forecasts.  This change does make it hard for companies to act in "long term" ways.  With this in mind they just had another layoff in the endless effort to deliver to plan...

The Investors demand immediate profits, so the Boards set compensation policy in alignment with this, so the CEO's struggle to deliver, the Markets go up and down and the Employees hold onto the whipping tail and pray...

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Elizabeth Warren: Not Anarchists

Look I found some more new friends !!!  And some of them sound like the MPP folks.

MinnPost Warren Not Anarchists

Thoughts regarding Liz's speech?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

USA Wealth Distribution

Well as I commented earlier, Annie asked some very valid questions.

"Let me take a step back for a sec and consider this--in 2011, the top 20% of Americans owned 93% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 7%. So in light of those numbers let's re-examine this statement:

"They say that the rich aren't paying their fair share, even though that minority is paying the majority of this country's bills. And instead of being thankful, they would incite people to hate them and demand even more."

Exactly how much more do you think the bottom 80% can generate?
Who, in this scenario, is the looter who thinks they're entitled to the value of others' work?

Imagine you read this figure in a financial news report for another nation. I don't know--maybe Cambodia or Bolivia or Algeria or Belarus or Finland. As an outsider, would you look at this and think the 80% would be "thankful" for their most basic needs being met, given the overall inequality? Would you think the nation's citizens should have great sympathy for those wealthy golden geese? Or would they be justified in wanting to see the nation's wealth shared among more of its citizens.

Would you look at that number and thin--yes, that's a great nation; others should emulate them. That country is doing good things, it has a strong future, their citizens are in fine shape?

Is this how a nation becomes or remains economically strong and socially secure? " Annie"
To which replied with a few questions of my own.
"Hi Annie,
You posed this so well that I think your comments will be my next post.

Food for thought though for now. Is wealth distribution important? As long as they use it to keep funding our American businesses that provide our American jobs?

If you turned all that "wealth" into "cash" and spent it, would that be better or worse for us?

I have accumulated significant wealth and enjoy the fact that my investments are working just as hard as I am to earn me additional wealth and cash. They do this by funding companies and enabling them to hire and pay people.

If the government were to seize and redistribute half my "wealth" would that help or hurt America businesses and employment. Would that encourage or discourage me from saving and investing in American companies and jobs?" G2A
Thoughts? 

Gallup: Redistribution
Big Picture: Distribution
Perception vs Reality
UCSC Wealth
Klein: Distributions
Klein: Revenue

Monday, October 7, 2013

What is Fair?

So in the comments of G2A Hold Fast or Compromise, Laurie told me what she thinks of my ideology.
"In my church we talk about the dignity and worth of each person, whereas you seem to want to include a dose of shame about receiving any form of financial assistance."
 
"What makes SS security a great program is the benefits are paid in a way that allows each person the dignity of feeling they are entitled to what they receive. It seems like you would like to change the program to include a dose of humiliation if possible. What's wrong with asking those who can afford it to pay a bit more. You could go on feeling superior to everybody and you could even blog about it."
Of course I disagreed.
"And Liberals would blatantly lie to them just as the Democrats do today?
 
They say that the rich aren't paying their fair share, even though that minority is paying the majority of this country's bills. And instead of being thankful, they would incite people to hate them and demand even more.
 
I wouldn't try to speak from the moral high ground here. It seems that the whole Liberal argument is about trying shame the successful into submission. I mean check out Grace's latest attacks...
 
You really need to read Atlas Shrugged. There is a point when Hank Rearden finally gets it. He finally understands that he is allowing his mooching lazy family to use his own morality against him. This frees him to walk away from their attempts to shame, guilt and coerce him into giving them something for nothing. 
  
I am a huge fan of showing people respect. To do this you need to be open and honest with them. You need to empathize with them and truly care about them.
 
One only lies blatantly when they are out to manipulate another person. Telling people that they earned social security and medicare once the trust funds are gone is like saying "you can't handle the truth!!!"
 
Now that would seem "superior and condescending" to me." 
Now we discussed this before and I am interested to see if anything has changed.  G2A What is Fair?
  • What do you think is fair with regard to taxation and redistribution?
  • When someone or a family succeeds through luck and/or hard work should society squeeze that golden goose for all the eggs they can get?
  • What happens to our society as the Producers get squeezed and the Looters benefit?
Thoughts?

World Around Us: Looter or Producer?
Daily Caller: Moocher or Maker?
Daily KOS: Humanism vs Objectivism
Forbes: It is Time to Give Back

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gridlock: Hold Fast or Compromise

According to this Gallup report, the majority of Americans want their politicians to compromise.

Where as Laurie seems to be pretty sure that this gridlock is wholly the fault of the GOP and the House.  And it is proof to her that our government is currently ineffective due to those minority Conservatives. 

I personally see it as a 60% GOP to 40% DFL problem, where either of them could improve the situation very quickly if they chose.  And I see the gridlock as a symptom that shows the system is working as intended.  I personally don't want the Left or Right having their way with our country.  Now of course I wish they could collaborate more effectively, however if neither is participating then gridlock is the best of very poor options. 

The last time the Left had it's way we ended up with Obamacare and look at the fights that is now causing.  One of the talking heads this morning said that the DFL passing a huge social change like Obamacare along party lines and with little Republican input was bound to cause problems.

So what do you think, should they hold to their beliefs/ideology or get the government going again?  Or stick to their ideology and core beliefs?   Rationale?

Also, what if anything can change these spending trends?  Or is it a good thing that at some point 50% of our GDP will go to or through the government?  Rationale?

More Survey Results
CNN Congress/President
NYT Healthcare
NYT Disillusioned Americans
UPI Congress/President
HP Who is to Blame

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Congressional Paychecks: Give or Take

Interesting links

CNN Paychecks Senate
CNN Paychecks House
CBS MN Specific Info

Rep Ellison is one of the few MN's keeping the check and his rationale is interesting.
"Rep. Keith Ellison (D – 5th District) said he will keep pay. In a statement, he wrote: “If handing back pay would help furloughed workers I would find a way to survive without pay, but of course it won’t. Only allowing a vote on a clean continuing resolution will do that. The focus on Congressional pay is an attempt to draw attention away from the issue.” "
Of course this implies their is nothing the Democrats could offer those "anarchists"...

Anyone know what Obama and Biden will do with their checks?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Capitol Police and Unions

So my friend Dog is attacking the GOP and defending Unions. MPP Short Shot  And there is nothing terribly wrong or surprising about this. The GOP is half the reason that government is shutdown, which is apparently disrupting the distribution of paychecks.  Of course I am not sure how many "essential personnel" paychecks were scheduled to go out within ~4 days of the start of the shutdown.  Though it does seem to make a good though illogical sound bite for the Liberal rock throwers.

As for the Unions, here is Dog's perspective.  "The reality is that there is no significant difference between the public sector and the private sector, for employment, there is no valid factual basis for asserting that public sector employees are ‘bloated tics on our backs’."

Now I guess I never have thought of them as "bloated tics".  However I guess I would disagree that there is no significant difference between the Public and Private sector...  Here is an interesting quote from the following article.

"According to the U.S. Capitol Police recruitment page, a starting salary for an officer is $55,653, which comes with 13 days of annual leave, an additional 13 days of sick leave and 10 paid holidays.
Daily News US Capitol Shooting

Now I am not sure how many personal leave and sick days you got upon starting in your Private sector jobs, however this looks a bit atypical to me. And pretty darn good...

Besides if there is no difference, why would Unions be growing in the Public sector and declining in the Private sector?

Finally, why are the Liberals so dedicated to protecting the Public employees and their affiliated unions?  I mean according to Dog there is "no significant difference between the public sector and the private sector".

Thoughts?

Ps. Hi Dog, If you want to play, it will have to be here.  Your Daddy said I was not allowed to play at your house any more.  I hope you decide to join us, however remember the G2A Rules.  They are posted on the right side of the page.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Obama: My Way or Else !!!

It seems long ago, but I think it was just last December.  Obama was holding the Congress hostage to force them to let the taxes increase on the "rich", or he would not allow the other "Bush Tax Cuts" to continue.  Finally for the good of the working American's they caved and let the tax increase occur.

How is this similar and different to what the Congress is doing?
What else could these folks do to resolve this problem?
Are the President's "Congress Bashing" and disaster threats healthy for the country?
Is the shutdown affecting you personally?  How?
Thoughts?

CNN: Only One Way Out of Shutdown
CNBC Obama: Wall St should Worry
HP: View from Congress
FOX News Can we do without it?
FOX News Obama Forced to the Table
FOX News What Shutdown: Huge or Hype?
Daily KOS Only Reason Govt is Shutdown
Daily KOS 3 Minute Solution

HP Obama's Fiscal Cliff Tax Threats

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mn Progressive Project Boots Give2Attain

According to Dan's comment I am apparently no longer welcome at MPP.
MPP Fight Within the DFL
The link is regarding Educational Reform.  My guess is that Lynnell will be next...  I am thinking their blog is going to get real quiet real quick...  Since discussion / debate is what drives my hits up.  However , maybe they just like to hear their own voices...  Don't worry we can evaluate their content from here.

Thoughts on DFL Educational Reformers?  As I said before I was gagged at MPP, I like Terri Bonoff in this area!!!

US Government Spending Trend

 
Well the government shutdown is on. The MPP folks and me are disagreeing again. Go figure...

They seem to want to deny that government spending is growing at a rate that can not be sustained.  In fact they seem to want to convince me that it is relatively flat or decreasing.  So I took the US Spending graphs and drew some lines on them.  Amazingly the federal line is the flattest...  Still increasing steadily...

Thoughts on the spending increase rate or the shut down?

G2A Political Continuum
MPP The Right? Their Wrong
MPP Democrats Pay, Republicans Don't
MPP No Pay Act
CNN Latest House Bid Fails
FOX News House Fails to Pass 3 Emergency Bills
US Spending Data





Saturday, September 28, 2013

Government Shutdown : Who Will Blink

So who do you think will blink first?

MSNBC  Odds of Shutdown Increase
CNN House GOP Plan
FOX News Obamacare Delay

Of course, Hiram will say the GOP is threatening the good name of America.  However, I am trying to figure out how in the world does one stop the excessive spending without cutting up the credit cards?

Thoughts?  On the negotiations?  Obamacare funding? Other?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ideas for Creating Jobs in America?

Now here are some quick thoughts.
  • Chongqing is incredible and very different.  It is built in a hilly/mountainous terrain so there is green space between the urban areas.
  • 20+ story apartment buildings are everywhere and they are actively building probably another 50+ based on the cranes that are everywhere I have driven.
  • There are huge variations from high tech, fashion oriented, wealthy, modern to traditional, poor and ram shackle.
  • The picture of the woman brooming along the street is a common occurrence. The plants and trees near the highways are beautifully landscaped.  Imagine driving along 494, 55, etc and there is some person with a broom and dust pan walking along the street about every 2 miles.
  • Then the construction sites vary from modern equipment, to large groups of people out there with hand tools.  Huge modern cranes right next to bamboo scaffolding... 
Maybe we could give all the welfare recipients and the unemployed orange suits, brooms and dust pans....  It would definitely reduce the unemployment rate...  Thoughts?
 
 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not in MN Anymore

A view from my 14th floor room in Shanghai.  Buildings, buildings, everywhere...

Friday, September 20, 2013

North Dakota Oil Boom

Last weekend I spent a day with my parents touring the area around Stanley, Tioga and New Town North Dakota.  My Great Aunt Bertha had asthma and moved up to Tioga before the first oil boom because the air was drier.  She then became quite the business woman and worked as a liaison between the local farmers and the petroleum companies during the first boom.  Fortunately for my family, she also had the foresight to buy some land.

It was very interesting to see all the infrastructure development over the Baaken formation. They need a lot of electricity, water, gas pipelines, train loading depots and everything else that is needed to support the rapid population increase.  From my description you might think the area is becoming highly populated, well not really...  Remember that this is ~1000 square miles of pretty widen open spaces and crop fields.  Also once a well is up and pumping, there isn't much to it, just a pumper and 4 or 5 holding tanks.

The man camps were kind of interesting structures, they reminded me some of a habitrail for hamsters.  However as you can see from the video they seem pretty nice inside.

For more details on where the rigs are you can access the ND Oil and Gas Site.  And then you can select their GIS Map Server which shows every well (old & current), the path of the horizontal drilling, every active drilling unit and more.  Apparently ND gets ~11% of whatever comes out of the ground, so all the citizens should be pretty happy.  And the land owners are really happy since they get somewhere between 1/6 & 1/8 depending on the terms.  I met some of the locals and they reminded me a lot of Jed Clampett, real nice conservative folks who have a little extra unplanned for income coming in.

Here is a video that explains fracking.  And here is a discussion of some of the claims regarding fracking.  So now it is your turn, what do you think of what is happening in NW ND? Good, bad, indifferent?

FYI, I fly out for Shanghai China at ~11 AM tomorrow. And then I continue on to Chongqing, probably the biggest city you have never heard of.  Apparently they have some significant growing pains and poverty that the Chinese government is working to address.  I probably won't have much time for touring however I am sure it will be an experience.  In case you note my posting or commenting at strange times, now you'll know why.  Wish me luck !!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Goal of American Healthcare?

Here is Sean's proposal from the last post.
"The goal should be to deliver quality health care to all of our citizens in the most efficient manner." Sean


What do you think?  "Should" this be our goal?  If not, what should it be?

It seems a bit socialistic for my taste, however I am curious how others perceive this.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ObamaCare Coverage Limits?

 Here are several statements that seem at odds.  Thoughts?
"You're the reason there's a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who'll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can't limit her coverage." Obama G2A Obama Promise to Spend More

"Health care is already rationed in this country -- by the ability to pay. So what we should be discussing is not whether or not rationing should occur, but on what basis we should do so." Sean G2A ObamaCare Shifting Costs Where?

"Sorry, I'm not going to wade through that bill. My personal experience is with my father, with scant days to live, being told that he had to leave the hospital because Medicare would no longer cover his stay. I offered to pay and was told that was not allowed under Medicare rules. Also, that is the rule under Canada's socialized medicine system and I have no reason to believe that Obama's is any different. Like Medicare and Medicaid, if they do not pay, the doctor may not accept private payment." Jerry G2A ObamaCare Shifting Costs Where?
What is the truth here:
  • Coverage with no limits?
  • Death panels wandering the nursing homes?
  • Why pay for Gold if everyone gets the surgery they require?
  • What really limited J's father's treatment? Medicare limits or Hospital greed. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why are there Fewer Women Bosses?

 Ok, let's take a break from ObamaCare.  Dog and I are disagreeing over what women think and why...  They have an opinion that women on the whole are just as foolish as men.  They believe that as many women as men are willing to put their career ahead of their children and family. MPP Why those at TOP. Fail...  Of course I disagree, I personally think most women are much smarter and more balanced.
"What about the pragmatic concept that the woman’s path to the top is blocked because many of them are smarter and therefore value a healthy work life balance?

I finished my MBA and made a conscious decision not to pursue the upper management ranks. The personal cost due to excessive travel and long days was not worth the money or position. I think most women agree, so I always find this topic amusing." G2A

"Just as there are men who want to do what it takes to get to the top, there are also women. I find the idea that women don’t want to be paid the same as men for the same work, that they don’t care about their careers as much, or that they are ‘too smart’ to want to succeed is bogus.

People want different things, but men and women want the same things. Women are just routinely not treated equally." Dog Gone


Okay ladies what do you think?  Having a wife and 3 daughters, I know I am probably incorrect for some reason...  Please enlighten me...  Thoughts?

Forbes Women Opting Out?
NY Times Women Like Childcare more then Men?
Columbia Consult
The Wonder of Girls Michael Gurian