Saturday, February 21, 2015

Middle East Destabilization

Between being overwhelmed at work and upgrading my garage, I have been too busy to spend much time blogging.  However the garage is now fully insulated, has ~700 sq ft of storage above the insulation, has three more electrical circuits to eliminate those frustrating circuit breaker trips, and is now kept heated at a balmy 32 degrees. With the option to warm it up further as desired.

After ~19 years of freezing out there, it was real nice when I had to work on my daughters car last weekend !!!

So Friday I decided to take a moment to comment over at MinnPost, and was intrigued to find that their moderators are as odd as ever.  My comment that disappeared went something like this:
"Arguably, his older brother’s decision to bomb, invade, occupy and then “democratize” Iraq in 2003 was the key event that triggered the destabilization of the region, with (mostly unpleasant) consequences leading up to the present moment." Eric Black

"Really: You think that after thousands of years of instability in this region, you want to blame the USA's efforts to over throw a ruthless power hungry dictator for triggering instability?

On the other hand, you may be right. Maybe the USA should be backing Dictators and Oligarchs like Assad, Hussein, Jong Un, Putin, Gaddafi, Castro, etc. They do seem capable of maintaining peace in the areas they rule." G2A

Sunday, February 8, 2015

GOP Fights for the Middle Class

I read this and thought to myself, how in the world are they going to accomplish this goal.  CNN The GOP Battle for the Middle Class  Especially when compared to Obama's proposals that want to make the taxes on capital gains and dividends more similar to ordinary income.

Here is an interesting discussion on the topic. CNN What will it Take to Boost the Middle Class  The last comments were interesting, the male speaker said that only the rich will win if societies and economies are set up to encourage lower wages and rights for workers.  This seems aligned to my thoughts, since our personal consumer and investor choices continually encourage companies to pursue lower costs and higher profits.
  1. Are you willing to pay more for American designed, developed, manufactured, managed, distributed product and services?
  2. Are you willing to buy and hold stock in companies that make you less money, because they pass on moving jobs overseas? (ie this includes your pension funds, mutual funds, IRA, 401Ks, college funds)  Or do you invest in the fund with the highest rate of return?
G2A Made in America. The Myth
G2A How to Buy American? Why?

ACA / Obamacare : You Can't Handle the Truth

Now Jerry and Hiram have been having a long winded debate regarding ACA / ObamaCare.  G2A SS Disability

Jerry then made this outrageous comment that I think is very incorrect. "No, and Obamacare is the prime example. Every criticism that Republicans made has proved true, and almost every promise of Obamacare has been broken."

Now I am not a big ACA proponent, especially with regard to how much money was spent on setting up, marketing and operating the "market places".  And the wealth transfer aspects of it are not what I would prefer in our capitalistic country.  However it has accomplished much of what was intended:
  1. Health insurance costs lower income people less due to the expansion of Medicare and the premium subsidies that they are receiving. (ie tax credits)  Of course I am not happy that people like myself are paying more to fund this, but one can not get money out of those who have little.
  2. People with "pre-existing conditions" can now get insurance with somewhat reasonable premiums, and children can stay on their parent's plans longer. Of course this is costing us all a bit more, the insurance company actuaries need to adjust rates to cover these previously not covered situations.
  3. People get insurance policies that meet a minimum standard of coverage.  Again, we pay a little more if the benefits increased due to this.
Though Jerry likely disagrees, I think the primary purposes of ACA were to increase the number of people with health insurance (private or public), encourage more people to use preventive care, improve the quality of the low end insurance policies and stop insurance companies from dropping people just because they got seriously sick.

Now I agree that this has been an expensive way to pursue these worthy goals, and it has limited the choices of some people. (ie high deductible policies, doctor choices, etc)  However, I don't see the GOP offering any better option.  That is other than wishful thinking that somehow charities will take care of the medical bills for all the poor and unlucky in the USA.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Public Schools: Different Punishments

Laurie had pointed me to this Minnpost post.  And Jerry says that the Public Schools are not trying new things. In this case the schools are trying to reduce the number of suspensions.

The logic being that these kids do not learn anything by being sent home. It is deemed unfair since a much higher percentage of minorities experience this punishment.  And as I heard second hand from one school administrator, sometimes sending the child home to some parents can be dangerous for the student.

Minnpost MN Discipline Gap
Sun Sailor Suspension Rates Down
Sun Sailor Clean Out Bad Apples
Sun Sailor Fine Tuning at 287's NECA