Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Prosecute Mall Protest Organizers

Before I get started... If you appreciate MinnPost, please donate some money to them TODAY. I finally pried open my wallet yesterday in order to help them meet a year end goal. Unlike me, they actually need some income to operate.
I know neither of these statements will surprise you.
  1. I disagree with some of the Liberal commenters regarding the following MinnPost article.
  2. The MinnPost moderators and I have a difference of opinion regarding what is an acceptable comment...
MinnPost Make and Example

So here we go...
"I don't understand what is happening in this country. Nor do I like it. Maybe it's a generational thing, but lawlessness isn't the answer.
These protestors were warned by MOA letters, and personal police visits, that they would be BREAKING the LAW, as the MOA is private property. So they all should have been arrested on site.
Also, all of my adult life~I'm a Sr~it was commonly known (and perhaps the law) that while one could protest peacefully, one could not 'impede commerce'. So no blocking of highways or entrances or exits of businesses. No physical damage, either. Etc.
I don't know when things changed. Or if they officially have. But getting involved proactively in the formal processes is a far better use of one's time and energy than mob mentality protests. And one has to wonder why so many folks have so much time to spend protesting, too. Do they not have jobs, and have homes & families to attend to? Or volunteer activities to participate in?
I don't see any positive gains in all of these protests. In the case of ongoing protests still in Missouri, who is paying for all of it?? The extra police presence, the store & other property damage? That is normally a tax payer expense. But again, if many of the protestors aren't working, they aren't paying taxes....
We all need to be grown ups and learn to calmly discuss issues and work on and negotiate practical resolutions that work well for the masses. Not to just always REACT." LK
"First, let me note that the protestors did not block entrances or exits of stores, that is was the police and the mall security that did so.
Second, let me note that American history is replete with protests that not only impeded commerce but also did physical damage, but if you are over 250 years of age you may possibly remember a time when our country was not like this.
Our nation was born of protest that impeded trade and actually damaged property, that being of course the Tea Party. In fact, pretty much nothing about our nation's birth was 'legal'.
The illegal protests, sometimes including damage to property or actual violence, went on to such things as the whisky rebellion all the way to the labor movement riots in the early 20th century.
The 60's of course hardly need to be mentioned as an example of not just protests but violent riots.
There was no time in American history devoid of protests, and in fact this point in time is relatively quiet compared to some. Things have not changed- a nation born in protest continues in protest- and even gainfully employed people with homes and families do have time to engage in them." Theo
"I am fine if people choose to break the law to make a point or generate publicity.
That is if they are fine accepting the punishment for choosing to break the law.
To break the law and assume there should be no punishment "because they arre protesting" seems silly.
I hope they enjoy their time in jail, paying restitution and/or paying fines. And that the publicity they gained was adequate to justify these expenses." G2A
"I'm not sure if your statement above was really a reply to mine or a separate point altogether because I'm not seeing a connection. Are you somehow thinking my argument was that nobody should be punished...because I'm not sure how you could from what I wrote(?).
My understanding is that about a dozen protestors got arrested, and they are therefore being punished. Going after the organizers for further punishment is ridiculous. Nobody participating in the protests are under the organizer's control, they all made individual decisions to participate and each took on the individual risk of arrest and some of them took the punishment that such risk can result in." Theo
Now for the first concept I can not get past Moderators...
"Theo,  So are you saying that people should be free to organize events that they know are illegal with no fear of consequences?  Does this make sense?  Does this mean someone could plan crimes without risk prosecution?  As long as they don't commit the crime..." G2A
Now here is the other string. 
"I wouldn't find it very amusing for people to protest on my private property. Illegal activity should have consequences." Alfred

"Protests on my property would not last long." Pavel

"Is that a challenge? Post the location of your private property and let's see how long it does last." Matthew
 And my response...
 "Matthew, If you owned a business, would you really allow people to protest on your property?  Even if by doing so you may annoy or alienate your paying customers who disagree or are indifferent to the protestor's message?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

In of chaos, discord and disagreement, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas !!!

Comic 1    Comic 2    Comic 3   Comic 4   Comic 5

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Black Officers Perspective

This is an interesting read.

CNN Black Police Officers Thoughts
The Grio Officers Open Letter

Of course, then there are these sad stories...
CNN Officers Executed
CNN Florida Officer Shot

So what do you think, are all these protests encouraging the crazies to get violent?

Or are these murders just a normal risk of being a police officer?  If so, I think I would be shooting first and asking questions later...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cuban Vacation Anyone?

No time so I will keep this short.  What do you think of Obama re-engaging Cuba?  Will the Congress embrace this bold change or balk?

CNN Obama and Cuba

My friend who went their for agricultural business said they have beautiful beaches...

Monday, December 15, 2014

That Stubborn Achievement Gap

Now if you want to talk about systemic racism, maybe this an example.

MinnPost Painful Truths About Mpls Schools

Are we saying that the education system is systemically racist?


Is there something else at play that is keeping these kids from getting ahead? (ie parents, culture, priorities, attitudes, capability, lead, etc)

See the Minnpost comments for some more of my thoughts.

G2A Why are poor people poor?
G2A Factors Affecting Educational Success

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Do We Want Police to Stop Thinking

 I found both these comments very interesting, especially Ilya's.  Thoughts?
MinnPost US Too Many in Jail
"Police officers are taught to evaluate the risk (to them and community) and act accordingly. So they do use their prior knowledge, experience, and statistics to make a decision (which they often have to make quickly). Imagine yourself walking down the street and seeing a Golden Retriever running at you. Unless you are afraid of all dogs, most likely you will not feel fear. Now imagine a Rottweiler running at you… So basically you will be judging the situation based on your general knowledge and statistics of dog bites which is a very reasonable thing to do. The same with police officers – and the danger is higher. Obviously, all three things police officers are considering before making a decision involve noticing the race of people around them but that is not the same as racism. In other words, race is taken into account but most likely that is not due to racism (even though there are racists around in general and in police force in particular but not as many as some want to claim).

For example, George Zimmerman did take Trayvon Martin’s race into account when he made a decision to confront him even though his supporters may say that he did not. But it wasn’t racism that influenced him, as Martin’s supporters assert, but the knowledge that young black men had burglarized the neighborhood. Zimmerman acted rationally on the basis of very specific information he had because his goal was to prevent possible burglary in his area. If he were to confront a black teenager in this manner in, let’s say, Disneyland, it would have been much less reasonable and the possibility that he were acting this way because he was a racist would have been much higher.

Here is another example. Imagine police are called for a burglary in progress in a store. When a police officer arrives, she sees a person running out of the store; clearly she will try to stop that person because the behavior looks suspicions. Now imagine she sees two people running out of the store – a man in a suit and a man in dirty ragged clothing. If an officer may stop only one person, she will have to make an immediate decision and most likely she will go after a disheveled man based on experience even though in this case it may be wrong. Imagine now that there is a man and a woman running out of the store. Again, if she can stop only one, she will stop a man and not because she is sexist but because it is more likely that a burglar is a man. Same with the case if there is a black and white man running out of the store dressed about the same; again, it is more reasonable to go after a black man based on statistics, not bias. A police officer may be wrong in her judgments in all of the above cases but she is doing what is the most logical thing in each case which has nothing to do with racism or sexism or any other bias.

The fact that there are more black people in jails affects people’s perception in general and police officers’ perception in particular but not because they are racists. So while there may be some truth to saying that it may be more difficult to be a young black male, that is not because of racism (and obviously, I would tell my white son not to grab police officer’s gun and cooperate with them all the time, just the same as a black father should tell his son). But the only way out of this situation lies within black community, not white community. If blacks commit less crime (and now they do commit more crimes regardless of effect of perceptions) then perceptions will go away.

Sure, I can see people saying that this perception I am talking about is racism. But it is not –because racism is subconscious and this behavior is rational, just like fearing Rottweiler more than Golden Retriever.

Mr. Rovick, the question should be how many violent and repeated criminals on the street can a society support? I am sure my system will result in fewer people in prisons, less crime, and not so overworked court system." Ilya
  And Jon had an equally interesting comment.
"The dilemma is that street crime and crimes against other poor people occur where poor people live which tend to be disproportionately African-American. Poor people also are involved disproportionately in crime for survival, e.g. drug trade. Also, law enforcement has attempted to lower crime rates by so-called "broken window" policies that also has a tendency to target poor people for petty offenses, like jaywalking, turnstile jumping and shoplifting or possession. (It would be interesting to see some comparative statistics on level of arrest and prosecution for possession of firearms (conceal and carry) by race and class.).

The other side of "broken windows" policies is that poor people tend to be victims of more serious crimes which "broken window" law enforcement policies often ignore. I've read that many residents of poor communities feel unprotected by the police who are unresponsive to the serious crimes committed there against them while feeling and often being victimized by the police for committing these petty offenses. I personally know someone (white) who used to live in a racially mixed but poor section of Milwaukee whose home was burgled 20-30 times and who, when reporting one of the crimes while in progress to the Milwaukee police was asked to call back after the criminals had left the home. This person confirmed this perception for me.

I wonder of anyone has seen the HBO show "The Wire"? This show really grapples with the topic of Eric's post in a realistic way from a dramatic angle. It was written by a former Baltimore Sun reporter and a former Baltimore homicide detective and featured among its cast former members of the Baltimore police as well as former (and in some cases not completely reformed) criminals. I've read that many cops have confirmed the realism and authenticity of this show from a law enforcement standpoint. What this show dramatizes so effectively (and probably understates ), is just how law enforcement and law enforcement policies work (or really don't work) in the poor sections of our cities and how damaged and broken our cities are in this respect. (Caution: while I recommend this show, it's definitively in the "Rated R for violence, language and sexual conduct" territory.)." Jon

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Governmental Obstruction

Here is another comment I can not get by the Moderators over there...

MinnPost Can Klobuchar's MN Nice Melt Senate
"Four letters, VETO. Learn to love them conservatives, because you'll be seeing them, a lot. Then in 2016, when your heroes have regained minority status, perhaps somethng might get accomplished in the short time until the midterm. Welcome to governance in the 21st century." Matt

"Matt, If Obama starts using his VETO often, will you then write scathing comments that claim him to be the one obstructing the effective function of government like you did regarding the GOP controlled House?" G2A
We may get our first test of this concept, since there is a private pension reform rider on the spending bill.  If Obama vetoes, will he now be the one threatening to "default" on our commitments? Thoughts?

FOX News House Spending Plan
NY Times Spending Bill Hits Snag
CNBC Assault on Private Pensions

Saturday, December 6, 2014

MN 1 Billion Dollar Projected Surplus

Thankfully the GOP will be there to hold the DFL in check when it comes time to decide what to do with this surplus. Last time the DFL put some in the reserves, and spent most of it or gave it to people that typically vote DFL.

MinnPost $1 Billion Surplus Projected

MinnPost Anatomy of $1 Billion Surplus


Friday, December 5, 2014

Diversifying Police Departments

Speed Posting...  From MinnPost 94%

"Would it be beneficial to lower the standards for officers to get more local / minority officers?" G2A

Why do you think that for more minority officers to join the police force, standards need to be lowered? Jonathan

 "Then why don't we have a more diverse police force in Minneapolis.

Are you now saying that fully qualified Black, Latino and American Indian candidates are being turned down in a city that has been trying to diversify their police force for decades?

Police Employment Requirements:



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fewer Police is the Solution

Moderation over kill at MinnPost has me bring discussions back here again.  I have had 10 comments denied over the last couple of days...

MinnPost Why Riots?
"As to your talk of 'scapegoating' Darren Wilson... I for one don't believe that officers of the law should be able to violate that which they are sworn to uphold. Police must be held to a high standard, as should anyone who is sworn to duty should be, whether it's police, military, politicians, etc etc etc. The issue at hand is that we don't have an equal application of the law in our society, and you are directly blaming blacks for that problem." Jonathan
I thought my response was pretty tame and professional as usual, it went something like this.
"Michael Brown was very high on pot, he had stolen property from a store and physically threatened the clerk, he ignored the police officer when he was asked to get out of the middle of road where he brazenly walked, he then was foolish enough to attack a police officer carrying a gun. Wilson, a decorated experienced police officer who had never fired his gun in the line of the duty was then subjected to a full Grand Jury that exonerated him and confirmed that he broke NO laws.  Now he has had to quit his job and go into hiding because racist people want to hurt or kill that White police officer who killed that violent young Black man who physically attacked him.
If the problem is that there are too many police in the poor communities and they are too strict with the people living there.  The solution is simple, reduce the number of police in those communities until the ratio of officers per citizen is similar to say Plymouth or Minnetonka.  If the police were the problem, the crime rates should go down, local citizens should be happier, property values should increase, bars should be removed from the windows, and people should feel very comfortable walking the streets at night.
So if we cut the patrols in North Minneapolis, do you think the community would be safer and more desireable?" G2A 
Here is another article that holds promise.

MinnPost Racial Bias Discussion


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Obama Immigration Action

I am busy with the most vexing of seasonal problems, the annual fight to make all of my Christmas light strings actually light.  The most problematic is that beautiful "pre-wired" Christmas tree.  After years of struggling, I am finally removing the strings and starting over.  Which in itself is a challenge because the Chinese folks that put them on were very thorough.

So please feel free to discuss your holiday challenges.  Or you may find this article and the comments worthy of further discussion.  The typical commenters and myself have been having a good time with the topic.  And as usual we went a bit astray.

MinnPost Obama Immigration

By the way, since I was busy visiting family and forgot earlier.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend !!!

Comic 1    Comic 2    Comic 3 (immigration)  Comic 4

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

China and Censorship

In many ways I think the government of China is doing some really good things for it's citizens:
  1. Though draconian in some ways, the one child law stopped an out of control unsustainable population growth rate.  This has helped to increase the size of their middle class.
  2. The government has spent a huge amount on excellent high speed trains and other infrastructure.
  3. Most of the citizens I work with seem just fine with their current form of government, which I assume means they are "not too unhappy" with their lives.
One must remember that just 30 years ago China was very far "behind the times" and today they have pretty well caught up , and working hard to pull ahead. (ie other than that air pollution problem...)  As one of my peers and I noted, China pretty much was technologically stagnant for nearly 50 years as the rest of the world progressed.

 The one thing that I have a hard time dealing with though is their blockage of web sites.  I apologize for not commenting or posting during my trip, however I could not access my blog which is hosted by a group within Google.

And I did not have time to take Jerry's advice to take a river cruise from Shanghai to Chongqing.  That is apparently a 9 day cruise.  It would be beautiful though.  Going from the Chongqing airport to the customer who was somewhat out of town was very scenic.  Chongqing is different from the other Chinese mega cities I have been in because it is built around some small mountains that are heavily covered with forest. (ie kind of like the Appalachians)  Therefore it is rather spread out and has more green space.  And as the last time I was there, they are putting up 30 story apartment/condo buildings everywhere. Thus my pet name for China... "The Land of 1 million Tower Cranes"

It looks something like these pictures I found on line.
Pic 1   Pic 2   Pic 3

And if you have visions of a backward China, check out the nice shack I had to stay at...  It was really roughing it...Hotel Hengda  The worst things about it was that it had 0 English speaking TV channels and I was only there 1 night, therefore I assume most of it's client are usually Chinese as they were during my stay.


Ps. Back to the topic of my post...  Apparently the Chinese government is telling it's citizens that the Hong Kong rallies are being sponsored by us Americans for some reason...  And those folks are likely to believe it because they have been raised on this type of misinformation since birth...

Friday, November 14, 2014

SCOTUS and Gay Marriage

Well for better or worse I leave for Shanghai & Chongqing tomorrow, so I will leave you with one of our favorite topics to discuss.  It has been a hot topic at MinnPost again due to the rural folks kicking DFL politicians out of their districts and with the potential SCOTUS case.

MinnPost How GOP Conquered Rural MN
MinnPost Same Sex Marriage will likely become a Supreme Court case

My simple views and questions are:
  • Rural citizens voted for the amendment to ban same sex marriage.  Soon after, their elected DFL representatives ignored their clear voice and voted for a bill to make it legal.  Of course they were not going to get re-elected and they shouldn't be.  They are elected to represent their district.
  • There is at this time no way to tell if a person is gay or straight, except to ask them. Whereas sex, race, disabilities, age and the other typically protected/constitutional status markers can be determined through records, observation, testing, etc.
  • Since there is no way to tell (yet), there can be no real classification of an LGBT person.  Pragmatically, there are people who live the LGBT lifestyle. I do believe that in time research will identify the factors, however at this time they have not.
  • Now religion is a very specific lifestyle / belief system that does have constitutional protection.  That was a very sensitive topic when the country was formed.
  • It seems to me that the same sex marriage proponents are arguing that all adults have the constitutional right to get legally married, and that it is illegal to keep any adults from getting married just because they live a different lifestyle or have different beliefs.
  • In summary, if adults want to get married the government must sanction those wishes.  Even if the majority of people in their state disagree with that lifestyle or belief system.
Center for Public Justice: Same Sex "Marriage" is not a Civil Right
Gay Marriage ProCon
Slate Same Sex Marriage is a Constitutional Right, Not a Democratic Issue
PEW Forum Constitutional Dimensions
WP Inverted Equal Protections
Gay Marriage Bans in 4 States Upheld

Personally, I think it should be left to the States and their citizens/governments to resolve this issue.  Definitely not to the Federal courts.  Thoughts?  And be polite...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Give to the MAX

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

Odds are good that I will be supporting PRISM and Seven Dreams as usual.
Seven Dreams Foundation
Banaadir Academy (Laurie's School)

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.
Parents United

Finally, I should give to MinnPost and MPR, since I enjoy the content they provide.

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Common Core and Mandated Process

So Jerry says that Common Core mandates how Teachers teach.  Of course, there is no source or proof provided:
"The problem comes in when the zealots start to mandate HOW we must teach these standards. I would wager I can teach addition without that cumbersome, mind-deadening drawing of squares that CC requires. I think teachers are smart enough to figure out how to teach and teach best when given that authority. If a master teacher or principal can evaluate and then guide young teachers into these "best practices" sooner, that's great. If through good student evaluation we identify better best practices, that's continuous improvement, and if those student evaluations help us to concentrate on those who are struggling or even modify our approach to do so, that is exactly what's needed so we have "no child left behind."

It was rather funny, a few days ago, when discussing some of the changes in the math curriculum, a teacher asked me, "what do we do about the tactile learners?" I had always smirked at the notion that there were different kinds of learners until I ran into (and eventually overcame) an extreme example at work, and so I now immediately relate when somebody tells me about children who are similarly hampered by some "one-size-fits-all" instructional technique dictated by some bureaucrat who doesn't understand that kids are not all the same "size." " Jerry
Ed Week Many Ways to Subtract
WP Common Core Math
Edutopia Visual Learning
Hechinger Report Math Problem
Common Core First Grade Math

I am wondering if people are:
  1. identifying real problems with common core
  2. trying to make mountains out of mole hills
  3. showing their personal resistance to change (sonny... it was good enough for me when I had to walk to school uphill...  both ways...)
Personally I am thinking 2 & 3 are the winners.  To me it looks like the Common Core describes what concepts children should know by what year.  The curriculum gives ideas regarding how to accomplish this, however it seems both leave how that is accomplished to the Teachers.


Tenure Turned on It's Head

Beth has a link to a video you need to watch.  It is a fascinating concept.

MinnPost Young Teachers Most Protected


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Minneapolis Teachers / Schools Conundrum

Beth posted an interesting article at MinnPost.  It discusses Sunday's article in the Star Tribune that details how many of the "highest performing / senior teachers" reside in the schools that have have the fewest unlucky students.  Whereas the schools with the most unlucky students tend to get more of the new / poor teachers. It also includes a letter from Supt Bernadeia Johnson to the Teachers...

I left a few comments there, including these:
"The article says:  "School administrators, union and district officials say high-poverty schools often have the least experienced teachers. Those schools generally have the most openings when more experienced teachers move on."

How did you extrapolate this to "Edina teachers are miracle workers and North teachers are vile scum"?

The reality is that seniority allows Teachers to choose where they teach, therefore they move out of the most challenging schools when given the opportunity. And the silly "steps and lanes" comp policies limit the ability of Districts to pay Teachers more to stay in the more challenging schools.

If districts actually had the freedom to pay Teachers on their performance and the difficulty of the position. Good Teachers at North would be paid more no matter how many degrees they had or how many years they had worked in the district." G2A

"Excellent coverage !!! What I found most interesting were the following. I am very curious if they "fired" any tenured teachers or just those in the "probation" status. That "catch them early" seems telling.

"Minneapolis Public Schools fired more than 200 teachers last year over performance issues, more than any other year in recent history."

"District officials would not talk about dismissals at specific campuses.

“We catch them early,” Nordgren said. “We don’t let them go 20 years being ineffective.”" G2A

"How old are your kids and do you speak with parents that have older kids? Some teachers get all praise, some get mixed reviews based on the style of the other parents.

But sometimes there is consensus that a teacher is just disorganized, communicates poorly, can't control the classroom, etc. And then you will wonder why the Union puts that employee's job before the welfare of your kids." G2A

Nascar, MN and Communists

It seems like a good time to retell my friends NASCAR driver story...

"In the 1960's my grand father was eating in a diner in Ohio when a famous NASCAR driver came in.  They started to talk and the driver asked my grand father where he lived.  My grand father replied that he was a citizen of Minnesota.  To which the driver responded, "Oh you live with all them Communists...""

Well we may not all be communists, however we have again shown that a majority of people in the Twin Cities metro support more government involvement in our lives, higher government spending and higher taxes. I say this because Hennepin county alone pretty much ensured Dayton's win over Johnson.  Politico Results Maps: Minnesota

On the upside, the GOP took back the MN House !!!  So hopefully we can slow the tax and spend spree that the DFL led during the last 2 years.

Other thoughts?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Election Crystal Ball

Since I am way too busy enjoying the sun shine, I'll keep this short.  I have no idea what is going to happen on Tuesday.  What do you think will happen in the State and National races?

Will the Liberal voters show up at the polls in this mid-term election?
Will the Conservatives show up and stand the polls on their heads?
Have people just given up and don't care?
Will the GOP control the Senate?
Would it make any difference?

Real Clear Politics 2014
Star Tribune Politics
MPR Politics
MinnPost Politics

Monday, October 27, 2014

MN Politics: DFL Cause and Effect

Sorry for the slow rate of posts, however it is a BEAUTIFUL Fall and being on a PC seems somewhat like a waste of a blessing.  Though the lake water is very very cold...  We pulled the toys off the lake yesterday. (brrrr)

So the commenters at MinnPost are once again praising the marvelous economy and employment that the DFL and Dayton have given us.
MinnPost Big Business

Of course this puzzles me, so I left my usual response.  To which none of them apparently have a response.
""Now you do realize that the Democrats in MN did not do anything in MN until ~16 months ago, and many of the laws / taxes did not take hold until later.

My point that no one knows what the DFL changes will mean for MN. Our current success is still a result of fiscal restraint that occurred before..."

Since large companies take a long time to do anything, I assume the changes motivated by the DFL controlled Governor and Legislature are just coming to or soon will come to light.

My guess the GOP is responsible for the changes until this Spring, and the DFL motivated changes will begin soon. For better or worse.

I mean we have not even seen the impact of the minimum wage change, which is only partly implemented." G2A

CBS Dayton Hockey Ad Reality Check

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Robbinsdale 281 Referendum

RDale Referendum Information

My Views on Question 1
  • Voting YES is a no brainer, it just extends the existing locally supplied operating funds.
  • Without it, our district would need to make extremely painful cuts in 2 years.  This would be really bad for our community.
My Views on Question 2
  • Anyone who maintains their own home network and computers understands that it is not cheap or easy in this ever changing world.
  • In the old days, a school system did not need routers, servers, hubs, antennas, security, computers, etc to be a premier school.  It is not the old days...
  • If you want our community to compete with Wayzata, Minnetonka, Hopkins, etc for excellent citizens, and if you want them to be willing to pay good money for your home at some point, our schools need to be technologically equal or better than them.
  • So a YES vote is a vote to maintain your community and home value, a NO vote is vote to give up and let your neighborhood degrade and your home value drop.
  • I guess Voting YES is a no brainer in this case also.
The unfortunate reality is that much of the housing stock in our communities is not highly desireable in the eyes of modern higher income buyers.  However if we maintain excellent schools, we can attract young middle class families who don't want to spend money commuting in from St Michael, Elk River, Hanover, etc.  To do this we must invest in maintaining modern highly desireable schools and safe communities.

To say... "They are spending too much" is to deny the simple reality that this is a contest and the communities with the best schools / communities win.  Smart responsible parents/citizens simply will not move to and invest in a community where the current citizens are unwilling to do the same!!!  Would you?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Earth Warming and Resistance Forces

Since I am back in the states, exhausted and the weather is beautiful.

I am going to be a lazy blogger.  Lance wrote this piece that the CAGW folks loved.  However I asked one question and did not get any answers.   MinnPost Earth Warming Faster  Thoughts?
"There is a form of insanity peculiar to humans that comes into play when politics and money are allowed to dominate in discussions in which they have no legitimate place, or only peripheral involvement at most. It is called "magical thinking".

People, most people, are so used to feeding every issue under the sun into the political meat grinder that they think they can do it with physics too, as if the basic laws by which the universe operates can be influenced by opinion polls, PAC money, votes (bought & sold), and postings on comment pages. I blame it on our abysmal educational effort in science and mathematics. People opt out of the "hard" classes, but then proceed to blather about the topics they didn't study.

MODELS: AGW denialists love to attack climate models as being inaccurate. You know what? They are. That's why they're just models, which are by definition imprecise approximations of the real world, using only a subset of all the myriad variables that go into the real world system. They are useful in testing which variables are the most important, thus improving our understanding of the natural system, and over time become more precise as they are adjusted based on new data. But this is all a red herring. We don't need models to know what happens when the Earth is out of energy balance, because we have ample record of what *has actually happened* in the Earth's past when energy imbalance has occurred due to nonhuman forcings. We also have the examples of Venus and Mars, which started out much like the early Earth, but went in radically different directions. The bottom line is that when more energy is coming into the system than is going back out, the world warms, and this has various consequences to the climate system and the biosphere. When warming is extreme or very rapid, the climate system is destabilized and species go extinct. It's all there in the paleo record, you only have to look.

PHYSICS: CO2, methane, and other gases are greenhouse gases. This means when they are present in an atmosphere, they retain heat by preventing it from radiating back into space. There's no good arguing about it, this is a physical fact. Add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and more energy is retained in the system. Period, end of story. As I and many others have noted, physics cannot be bargained with, wished away, or voted out of office. It just is, and it had better be accounted for when making decisions. Ask any engineer or astronaut about physics. Leave it out of your calculations and disaster results.

ENERGY: The various forcings impacting the Earth's energy balance can be measured with precision. Pre-industrial civilization, the Earth was more or less in energy balance. Natural forcings would sometimes push the climate toward cooling, and sometimes toward warming, but over time the system would re-balance. Human activity has now pushed the Earth out of energy balance. A NASA study ( of the Earth's energy balance during the period 2005-2010 - a period of unusually low solar activity - found that reduced solar radiance had a negative forcing of 0.25 watts per square meter of the Earth's surface. If the Earth were in energy balance, that would result in cooling. However, the carbon people are pumping into the atmosphere produces a positive (warming) forcing of 0.58 watts per square meter, more than twice the natural negative forcing (there will never be another ice age as long as humans maintain an industrial civilization). This energy is not being radiated back into space, it is staying in the system. 0.58 watts per square meter. Multiply that times the surface area of the Earth - that's a heck of a lot of energy. In order to restore energy balance, atmospheric CO2 would need to be reduced to no more than 350 ppm. We are now at 400 ppm, give or take a couple of ppm. The last time this happened, horses and camels lived in arctic. Given that we are doing nothing effective to reduce emissions, we will certainly reach 450 ppm. The last time that happened, there was no sheet ice anywhere on the planet, and that means dramatically higher sea levels.

TIPPING POINTS: The issue is not just the CO2 level, that isn't even the most important issue by itself. The real danger is crossing a tipping point after which warming accelerates dramatically and out of any hope of control. In the past, long periods of warming led eventually to the melting of methane hydrates, releasing vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere, which abruptly spiked the temperature. Methane lasts only a short time in the atmosphere, but is oxidized to CO2, which lasts a long time. Temperatures spike, and all the extra CO2 holds in the excess energy. Civilization would end, as quite likely would the human (and all or nearly all other) species. Depending on how things play out, the world could enter a Venus Syndrome phase of unrestrained warming. It's just nothing to play with. In recent years, elevated release of methane has been detected in the arctic. It seems the melting may have already started. We had better hope not, because if it has, we have no hope of stopping it no matter what we do.

BUT NO WARMING?: Nonsense. It just hasn't been where you expected. According to the same study, "the upper ocean has absorbed 71 percent of the excess energy and the Southern Ocean, where there are few Argo floats, has absorbed 12 percent. The abyssal zone of the ocean, between about 3,000 and 6,000 meters (9,800 and 20,000 feet) below the surface, absorbed five percent, while ice absorbed eight percent and land four percent." The energy is there, the ocean has absorbed most of it. The ocean may temporarily be keeping the Piper at bay, but the Piper will be paid in the end.

CONSEQUENCES: Greenhouse gases have risen this high and higher in the distant past, and the Earth has been far warmer than it is now. Life survived. Life did, but not most species. Once major difference between then and now is that pre-humans, these changes happened over periods of thousands and tens of thousands of years. Species had time to adapt if they could. They had time to migrate. Not so, now. We are accomplishing in a couple of centuries what took tens of thousands of years through natural means. The natural world has no time to adapt. We are already in the midst of a 6th Great Extinction, mostly due to human activity. We have also confiscated and farmed or developed vast areas of habitat, and imposed blockades on most migration routes. Adding human induced climate change to the pressures we have already put on the biosphere means that most species will not be able to adapt, with enormous risk of wholesale collapse. If that doesn't scare you, you're not thinking hard enough. That is the chief problem from my point of view, because as much as we might like to think we're separate from nature, or somehow above and in control of it, we are not. We cannot survive without the web of life that supports us, and it is in imminent peril. That doesn't even get to other consequences, such as agricultural disruption (7+ billion people well on our way to 10 billion, and they all want to be fed), sea level rise when the ice melts (how many trillion $ to move our seaports "inland", or try to shelter them with massive seawalls?), acidification of the oceans (attacks the food web from the bottom up), human migrations (if you think immigration is a problem now, wait until the heat is on), and the list goes on.

The part of all this that makes me angry is that the denialists are willing to subject their descendants to all of this, mainly because they don't want to spend any money now to change how we do business, or compromise their lifestyles in any way for the benefit of our posterity, or because they calculate they can cynically use the issue to win elections in the short term. The Koch brothers I understand - they're in it for the money and the power, and they won't be around for the consequences, so what the hell. But why their disciples, who are not rich and powerful and will be victimized by all of this, allow themselves to be used so cynically is something that escapes me. I don't understand how they can care so little for their grandkids and great-grandkids. I can only put it down to gaps in education.

I am reminded that Carl Sagan warned that advanced civilizations may be rare, because they may tend to snuff themselves. With regard to climate, he said "Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate. How will we use this power? Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family? Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth? Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet? The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished."

Carl was wise. And we can no longer tolerate ignorance and complacency in such matters." Lance

""Natural forcings would sometimes push the climate toward cooling, and sometimes toward warming, but over time the system would re-balance." So if humans are accelerating the balance in one direction, when and how will nature adjust to push it back? The CAGW folks seem to deny that Mother Nature has self corrected before and will again.

As for Venus and Mars, maybe they are just like the story of the 3 bears. Venus was too close to the sun, and Mars was too far from the sun, whereas Earth was just right..." G2A

Thursday, October 9, 2014

School Cliques: How to be Popular?

I tend to be a practical person who isn't in to style, fads, sports, arts, etc.  And I have never felt a desire to act differently or dress up to impress people.  Therefore I need your assistance.

I got these images from the RDale Demographics presentation.  They definitely show that the demographics of our student population with regard to affluence are changing very quickly.  Now that would not be a problem except that low income is the factor that almost always is directly correlated to poor academic performance, struggling schools, falling property values, higher crime, etc.

Now there are many factors that are driving this change. (housing stock, neighbors, businesses, stores, crime rate, schools, aging community, etc)  For this discussion, let's focus on schools since that is why I typically lose my younger neighbors when their oldest child is ready to go to kindergarten. Remember, I live near 494 & Rockford Rd, so we have newer houses, businesses, safe streets, etc. Yet still they run.

With this in mind, what can our community do to stop my young smart well to do neighbors from selling their homes and running when their children approach school age?  I understand Numbers Guy and R Five's views that the money needs to be spent wisely, however the reality is that we also need to be judged as modern, safe, effective, and have lots of offerings.  How do we become a "Popular District" again and therefore a "Popular Community"?  Are we willing to invest to attain that status?

Robbinsdale Vote YES Org
Robbinsdale Vote YES Facebook

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

District 281: Vote YES Info Mtg

I have been so busy with the work and the MinnPost topics that I have been neglecting my local duties.

District 281 Referendum Info Page
League of Women Voters Info Mtg: 8Oct14 at ESC at 7 PM
Robbinsdale Vote YES Org
Robbinsdale Vote YES Facebook
SUN Letter 1
SUN Letter 2
SUN Decrease in Levy

In case you are curious given my fiscal conservative leanings, I will be voting YES on both questions.  My logic is pretty simple, I believe in funding our communities at the lowest and most efficient level.  So as a resident of the Robbinsdale school district, I believe it is critical to make sure our schools are well funded by us.

And if you need a selfish reason for voting YES.  If our schools are not Good to Excellent, Good to Excellent families with financial means will leave our community.  Which will leave a void to be filled by others who are less particular, which makes it harder to maintain Good to Excellent schools, which degrades our community, which reduces your property value, which reduces your safety, etc.

So remember to Vote YES on both questions !!!  And if you want to make sure it passes for the good of the children, community or your property values.  START VOLUNTEERING NOW !!!  Only ~4 weeks until the vote.

As always, this a blog.
Anybody out there have a reason for voting NO that they want to raise?
Or kinder and less pragmatic/general reasons for voting YES?

As time permits, I will be digging into the details and discussing further.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Americans Want Everything

We were discussing "excessive executive compensation" and if government should interfere in some way.  This got me thinking about all the ways in which us Americans are goofy.  We want so much, and so much of it is not aligned:
  • We want good paying jobs with good benefits
  • We want good deals when shopping
  • We want the freedom to buy what we like.
  • We want investments that earn good returns
Of course this makes no sense, does it?  I mean:
  • if our retirement investments are not returning adequate growth and dividends, we change to a different investment where the returns are better.
  • if not ourselves, we delegate maximizing our gain to the pension managers, the mutual fund house, the financial planner. our company, etc.
  • to fulfill our demand and stay in business, companies need to make more profits than their competitors. (ie raise stock price and afford dividend payouts)
  • to maximize profits, companies need to aggressively control costs while attracting and retaining the best employees they can afford.
  • the vast majority of American customers are not going to pay more for a product or service just because the company chooses to pay their employees more than necessary.
  • the vast majority of American customers want to maximize the value of the transaction for themselves. (ie low cost, high quality, high features, etc)
  • the company is then highly incented to hire employees where their quality and effectiveness is high and cost is low.
  • the investors who are often employees and customers demand high profitability
  • the employees who are often customers and investors demand high wages and benefits
  • the customers who are often investors and employees demand high value and low cost
Let's use GE as an example, I would dare to say that everyone with stock or blended mutual funds in their 401K, IRA, Pension, etc own some of GE.  And we all are customers of GE, whether we know it or not.

With this in mind, are we okay if they start paying their employees more than the market requires?  Remembering that as their costs increase and profits decrease, the growth of our retirement fund slows.

Are we willing to buy their product just because they pay their employees more, even if it came at the expense of less R&D and their product does not keep up with the features, quality, effectiveness, value, etc of a competitor who paid their employees less?

And yes GE is paying their CEO a small fortune, however that is because the Board of Directors thinks that CEO is worth the expense...  I mean most of them are also GE stock holders who want to maximize the return on their investment by attracting and retaining the best employees they can afford.

That said, I do agree that there is too much mutual back scratching and collusion between Board members and Management now days.  Though I am not sure how to control this if the financial houses who own most of the stock in our names don't work to fix it.

So are you willing to buy low value product or accept lower returns on your investments if a companies decides to pay higher wages and benefits than their competitors?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Liberals are Never Happy

I am so tired of Liberals saying that the Conservatives are changing and becoming irrationally Conservative, when it is pretty obvious that it is the Liberals who are never satisfied in their effort to pull this country towards becoming a "Social Democracy" like the folks in Northern Europe.
~100 years ago people got to use 95% of the GDP as they wished, now people are down to having 62% of the GDP to use as they wish.  And if the Left has it's way that will be reduced even further.
So in reality, Conservatives have likely become more Liberal than their predecessors as they tried to "negotiate" with the Liberals and meet them half way.  However enough is never enough for the Social Democracy folks, so when them Conservatives finally say enough is enough...  The Liberals have the nerve to call the Conservatives Extremists who are unwilling to "negotiate". 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why So Few Active Voters?

These are pretty interesting articles and discussions.

MinnPost Why do so Few Participate?
MinnPost We Make It More Difficult

It is hard to understand how the voter participation rate can be so so low...


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Republicans Strive to Harm?

 The discussion regarding the Democrats Targeting Mills Wealth at MinnPost took an interesting turn.
"I do find it interesting that Liberals pride themselves on being tolerant and accepting of different people, yet they seem happy that the ads are trying to drive wedges by making people envious and jealous of the Mills family. A local group that seems to have made their money by providing good products for good prices. Definitely one of my favorite places to shop.

And of course there was that goofy hair ad where they replay the same clip over and over. I guess this is likely good news, it likely means they have nothing of substance to go after him for." G2A 
"No John, I don't envy his wealth, I don't need it. I'm not jealous of him or his family, from their history, it sounds kind of sad. I dislike Mills because he is arrogant, smarmy, and has a vision for this country that is designed to make life worse for people like me and those I care about. Why is that so hard for conservatives to accept? It is possible to think a person is a jerk, independent of their financial status." Matt

 "Then all the ads mentioning his salary, family wealth, etc should be stopped?

Personally I don't know if he is arrogant, smarmy, etc. I have never talked with the man.

And the correct statement would be . "I believe his vison will make life worse for ..."
I am always amazed that people think Republicans are actively trying to "make life worse" for their constituents. Many of whom are just like you. The reality is that they believe in a different way of making life better for us." G2A

"I don't believe they have any care for their liberal constituents at all. Then again I don't think they care about the conservative ones without money to fund campaigns either. You forget, I'm a cynic. Go ahead and believe your "just like me" malarkey all you like, conservatives don't care about me and mine, and never will. Don't act so surprised when I express my distaste for them as a result. You're all welcome to change your views and behavior if you'd like to win my support or assistance, but of course that won't be happening in my lifetime, so here we are." Matt
What I was fascinated by is the idea that Matt truly seems to believe that all Republican politicians care about are the wealthy.  I mean almost half the population of American citizens vote Republican, including people who are poor, middle class and wealthy, White, Black, Hispanic, Religious, not Religious, etc.

I mean both the Democrats and Republicans believe in a mixed economy.  The Democrats just want to pull it to the Socialism side and the Republicans want to pull it towards the Capitalism side.  Do all Liberals truly believe that the Republicans are out to "make life worse for people like me and those I care about"???  I mean wouldn't that be kind of counterproductive and likely to annoy their voters who come from almost every demographic?

Just a note: from what I can tell Matt's household is middle to upper middle class.  And I am guessing White, but I have no idea.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Minnesota: Then and Now

As promised in G2A MN Elections, here are the calcs and sources.

1964 Cost per capita in 1964 dollars
$2 Bil/3,413,864 =

2014 Cost per capita in 2014 dollars
$57.5 Bil/5,379,139 =

1964 Cost per capita in 2014 dollars

Change is cost
$10,689/$3580 = 2.99 times

State and Local Spend
MN Population History

And here are some responses and questions.

"Therefore "local / state government" costs 3X what it did in 1964. Since much of the additional cost goes to education, special education and health/human services, are we getting 3X the value?" G2A

"So, what do you think the State could do for its people with the same level of spending as 50 years ago? Annual expenditures of $19.257B. Ready. Set. Go." Joel

"All of the things that government did 50 years ago, when everything was just great. I think it's just like our school district. We still produce the same number of national merit scholars as we did back when we spent half as much. Anyone want to bet that MN has done not quite as well?" J

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Control Freaks: GOP or DFL?

My spending proof will need to wait another day or so, I misplaced a source and need to find it again...  To fill the void: here is a new discussion from the MinnPost Is the Party Over for the Independence Party article.  A couple of the other readers disagree with the following Nolan diagram.

This Nolan Diagram would likely draw similar criticism. For diagrams see G2A Moderate MN.
In summary, they think that only the GOP is interested in using governmental laws to control the behaviors of others. (ie social engineering, morality, etc)  I'll let their statements speak for themselves.
"Let me spell it out for you...your perception of what a liberal democrat is nothing but myth. And it seems to me that the only party that continues to want people to tow a certain line is the GOP. They're the party of social engineering." Jason

"Democrats and Liberals have a long list of principles we're very passionate about. One of them is allowing people the freedom to have their own principles." Paul

 "As we have discussed here over and over again, Liberal Democrats want many many laws to control the actions and behaviors of people based on their beliefs. Here are just a few:
- forced acceptance of the gay lifestyle in private arenas
- forced purchase of birth control methods that are against a group or individual's morals
- loads of regulatory emission control laws
- endless attempts to control gun ownership
- forcing to employers to pay employees more than the market requires.
- forcing people to pay to subsidize the health insurance, food bills, housing, etc of other citizens
- oppose free trade: try to limit the choices of people and businesses
- limit legal immigration by giving illegal immigrants priority
- other

All of these being excellent examples of why the image creator placed both the DFL and GOP below the Independents on the social freedom axis. Both groups avidly pursue laws to control other citizens." G2A

 "Right and you're so moderate that you only listed "Lib'rul offenses." 'Loads' and 'endless' and 'forcing' of things going on here... long on drama and short on specifics, or thought, or empathy. I notice the homophobia is still present, as ever." Jonathan

"The point of disagreement was regarding the DFL and their desire to use Laws to control personal freedoms. Paul and Jason denied this reality. I argue that they belong in the lower portion of the diagram along with the GOP.

If you want me to list how the GOP wants to use Laws to control personal freedoms. Here you go...
- Force women to carry embryo / fetus to birth.
- Deny people the right to physician assisted suicide.
- Deny people to marry a person of the same sex.
- Deny people the right to clean water and air.

As for things that both sometimes support...
- Deny people to be legal prostitutes, strippers, etc
- Deny people access to certain drugs
- Deny people the freedom to gamble
- Excessive taxes to disuade people from smoking/drinking

Now have I shown that I can see both sides?" G2A
Now what is interesting about this topic is that the far right conservatives say the same thing about Democrats.  It seems that both sides want to complain about Government mandated "Social Engineering" while striving to use it to their party's advantage.  Therefore they believe they belong in the upper half of the diagram or at least in the middle, and for sure not below the center line.  I mean both think they are fighting for freedom, not against it...


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Who are the Independent Party Supporters?

I joined in on the comments here.  MinnPost Is the Party Over for the Independent Party  It has many people commenting on what the Independent Platform is.  Here is what I think the supporters look like.

"I thought an Independent was just a Fiscally Conservative Democrat or a Socially Liberal Republican, since neither of the parties have room for these folks." G2A

Paul disagrees:

"Yes and No:  The IP party is comprised of republicrats and conservative libertarians, - THAT'S what makes it branch of the republican party rather than a truly "independent" party. In some ways it's an even narrower dogma than either of the major parties.
Meanwhile the democrats have "room" for Colin Peterson while the republicans have no "room" for Arne Carlson. The size of the democratic "tent" is part of their problem, it's rather like herding cats on occasion. The increasingly exclusive membership of the republican party, and the republican nature of the IP, has become it's downfall. The IP and the republicans represent two faces of the same dogma. I don't think even Arne Carlson "fits" in the IP because he may fail the fiscal conservative test.
We've seen so-called "conservatives" make this mistake before, they decide they're a "majority" of some kind, i.e. "moral" or "silent" majorities only to find out that the population is more liberal than they realized, and getting more liberal as time goes by. The IP thought that they were appealing to a majority, they're simply wrong, the more people get a look at the IP the more disinterested they are." Paul

I like how this Nolan Diagram depicts it.  I assume many more people would vote Independent if they could explain this better, standardize their platform and have a chance of winning...


Sunday, September 14, 2014

MN Elections: What Matters

I just left a somewhat cynical comment over at MinnPost McFadden and Franken

It went something like this.  Is it worth spending any time talking about who will be the most effective politician if elected?

I mean Franken and many other DFL candidates want to make taxes very progressive on people and companies that are financially successful, and they want to give that money to people who are not financially successful whether those people make responsible decisions, work hard, etc or not.

So people who support somewhat arbitrary government mandated wealth transfer will vote DFL and those against it will vote GOP as usual.  With this in mind...
  • Who are the undecideds?
  • What percent of citizens do you think are in this group?
  • What do you think will sway them?
I am guessing less than 20% are in that moderate undecideds group...

MinnPost Mills
MinnPost Gov Debates

Thursday, September 11, 2014

281 Care and Right to Lie in Politics

Hey 281 Care made the news and I think it says they made their point, as convoluted as it is... 

MinnPost The Right to Lie

Numbers Guy, Thoughts?

Others, Thoughts?

This particular referendum is what drew me into Blogging...
G2A CARE 281 Letter
G2A CARE 281 at It Again 1
G2A CARE 281 at It Again 2
G2A Referendum Passes

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Koch Brothers: Heroes or Villains

I thought this was a fascinating video clip.
CNN Democrats Favorite Bogeymen

Personally, unless they are trying to rule us through generosity...  I vote heroes...


Here are some more links:
Those Evil Koch Brothers
Wiki Koch Brothers
Koch Brothers Exposed
Forbes Inside the Koch Empire

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who is Being Pre-Judiced?

I questioned the folks crying racism and bashing the cops/city at MinnPost. MinnPost Skyway Arrest Video Of course you can guess the comments that generated.  To which I responded with.
"I guess I have never seen what this gentleman looked like, sounded like or smelled like at that moment. The commenters here want to jump to the conclusion that these officers were raving racists out to harass the Black citizen.

What if... They were just good cops who could tell that something was off with the gentleman. Check out the book "Blink".

I find it interesting that this group of commentors dislikes people who are prejudice, yet they have no problem judging the police officers from a poor quality video clip.

I acknowledge that they may or may not have profiled, but I sure don't know for sure one way or another. You must see more here than I do. Or you think you do." G2A
An interesting point I had not heard before was that this victim did have marijuana on him when he was arrested.  Video  More interesting is that it does not look like he was charged with possession.

Washington Times St Paul Man
Fox Dad to File Lawsuit


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Give How Much, To Do The Right Thing?

I am finding it interesting in this discussion thread that people who have very strong opinions regarding what tax rate is FAIR...  Have very little willingness to express what level of charitable giving should be expected of us American citizens.  MinnPost GOP Values

Brag vs Facts vs Motivate:

Often folks here state their inaccurate belief that Conservatives are selfish, greedy, money oriented, not compassionate, etc. And there are some that are, just like there are Liberals who do not give to charity or volunteer. My point in sharing is not to brag, since that would make no sense since I have not attained my personal goal.

My point in sharing is to help the readers understand how one can be generous and compassionate, while not believing in government mandated wealth transfer. Which seems to be a very foreign concept around here.

Also, I am hoping that some readers would accept my challenge to set a personal charitable giving target and pro-actively work towards attaining it. This can be through giving money or time. And for you single folks out there, I had a very Conservative friend who volunteered through a singles organization.

Remember: the more you give, the more you attain... " G2A 
"The more you give, the more you attain:

I don't give with the idea of attaining anything, whether it's tax deductions, bragging rights, or personal goals. By the same token, I cannot abide the currently fashionable term "giving back."

There are things we should do because they are the right things to do." RB

"Win Win

Do you have something against being healthier, happier, more fulfilled, more socially connected, etc?   PS Mag Be Happier, Spend on Others

So how much should a person give or volunteer to do the right thing?
Us silly Christians picked ~10% as an ideal amount, what do the non-religious think is the "right" amount?

Can't abide.  Isn't "giving back" the liberal mantra in justifying "tax the rich"?

Your comment is interesting with that in mind." G2A
So with this in mind:
  • what do you think people should give or do for charity and others to be doing the "right" thing?
  • have you set goals for yourself?
  • do you monitor and work to improve your performance?
  • does giving and helping others make you feel better?
  • other?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Could You Personally Stop a Beating Heart?

The comments here took kind of a weird bounce and it gave me even a stranger thought that could not get by their Moderator.  MinnPost GOP Priorities
"Better Opportunities for Children"

In the same paragraph as you seem to be supporting better opportunities for children, you support abortion rights so as not to "obliterate the legal concept of privacy". Let's pause for a moment and consider those two ideas together. A moment wasn't long enough.

How about giving a child a chance to live, how is that for an opportunity?" Steve

"You consider Paul's comment inconsistent because you believe a fetus is the same thing as a child.

But for someone who does not believe a fetus is the same thing as a child, there is no inconsistency whatsoever.

It is unlikely that repeating this clarification will change your beliefs in any way, but it is still worth repeating it." Pat

 "Pat, Roe v Wade acknowledges that a fetus is a person once viability is attained.

"The Court later rejected Roe's trimester framework, while affirming Roe's central holding that a person has a right to abortion until viability.[1] The Roe decision defined "viable" as being "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid", adding that viability "is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks."

Now I know you pro-abortion folks like to say a fetus is not a "human", therefore lessening the tragedy of what is occurring... (ie dehumanize it) But here is something that should probably concern you. With improvements in medical technology, I am guessing the number of weeks to viability will continue to drop. That should make for some interesting court cases." G2A
Now my strange unacceptable comment went something like this...
"Being raised a farm boy, I am comfortable with hunting, killing and cutting up various animals. I am comfortable falling in a feed lot and cleaning up terrible messes. (ie sometimes it gets slippery) I am even ok with killing a sick family pet to put it out of its misery. However, I simply could not with my own hands discontinue the life of a 12+ week or older fetus.

Pat's comment made me wonder. Would folks who consider a 12+ week old fetus "inhuman" be willing to personally squeeze that little body until it's heart stopped beating? I mean if it is truly no different than some cancer cells or a mole, then it shouldn't be a problem.  If they did personally stop that heart, would their conscience plague them?" G2A
So what do you think, do these folks truly see the 12+ week old fetus as similar to a tumor?  Or is their dehumanizing it actually their way to protect themselves from the consequences of the action that is occurring?  And the freedoms they are defending?"


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Education: Apples and Oranges

I thought this was a wonderfully pragmatic look at the topic.

Education: Apples and Oranges

Though I don't think the Teacher's Unions or some others will like all the comments.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Corporate Tax Inversions and Consumer Behavior

Jonathan asked me if I support "Corporate Tax Inversions" over at this MinnPost article.  The following discussion ensued.

"Post Idea: 
I will need to think more about it. My initial questions are:
  • Are people who buy Hyundai's unpatriotic and selfish since they spend their money outside the country?
  • Are people who shop online to escape MN sales tax unpatriotic and selfish?
  • Are people who open enroll or move to a "better" school district not community minded and selfish because they desert their old community that could really use their help?
  • Can companies be sued by stockholders for spending more money than they have to?
  • Why aren't America's business taxes competitive with Canada, Ireland, Scotland, etc? They aren't moving to Somalia..." G2A
 "Here is my opinion:
  • my Honda was made in the US and my Suburban in Canada -it's a bit more complicated than it seems
  • I shop on line not to escape taxes but because there is a larger selection of what I am looking for and I hate shopping. Although I do have to say many of my ABE book purchases were published in England originally
  • no they aren't because they are just choosing how to invest in human capital
  • boy I wish they could
  • I have no clue but I will look" Jody
"More than Assembly:
  • Cars have many aspects to "American Content" and some Honda models are very high in domestic content.
  • You are like me, however many folks go to Best Buy to test drive the product. And then they go on line to get a better deal and avoid state taxes. What do you think of that behavior? I figure if I am in a MN store using their inventory and personnel, I will happily pay a bit more.
  • My daughters attend Robbinsdale schools which are good but a bit rough at times. Many people move to or open enroll in Wayzara, Orono, Osseo(Maple Grove side), Privates, etc. The fact is that every "active academically focused well to do family" that leaves the community means fewer volunteers, fewer role good role model students, fewer funds, less money, etc. They are doing what they doing what they think is best for their child, but they are deserting a community where their presence was beneficial. When one family runs it isn't a problem, when thousands of families run it is a big problem.
  • I hope not, every company would need to move as necessary to maximize profits. Or face law suits. Us investors like it when companies make profits and increase our retirement funds.
  • I think you will find that these countries understand that attracting growing companies creates jobs.. And lower business taxes attract companies. And those employed citizens then pay more in taxes than what was lost." G2A
 "I presume the answer is a 'yes' then? None of the questions you asked were about Corporate Tax Inversion strategies, but they seemed to be attempting to be leading towards a "well, if liberals who buy hyundais can send their money oversees, so can corporations" argument." Jonathan
"My answer is Maybe:
What are your thoughts?  Do you think poor and middle class citizens can act in their personal self interest and it is okay, however when companies or well to do people do it is betraying their community and country?" G2A
Now if you are unsure what a corporate inversion is, here are some links.
Forbes Medtronic Inversion
NYT Dealbook Taxes Due
CA Corp Inversions
Bloomberg: US Tax Holiday
CBPP Tax Holiday
WP Burger King
Heritage Repatriating Funds (Tax Holiday)
Telegraph Taxes too high
Forbes Are Taxes too High
Bloomberg Canadian Taxes

I think I'll need your help to push me off center on this one.  If the US business taxes are not competitive, my stockholder /"competition is good" side says get moving.  Yet the side of me that makes me fight for my school district and buy high content American products when possible finds the behavior disturbing.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Police Get Cool Toys

I think I found another topic where the far Left and far Right meet.  Unfortunately my comments wasn't acceptable, so here we go again.  MinnPost Homeland Militarization

The commenters there seem to be nearly unanimously against letting our police department arm themselves with the cool toys and practice using them.  They seem to fear that the Police are going to declare martial law at any minute.

I actually know a guy who puts plastic over his windows in fear of someone listening in.  And that is what their comments remind me of.  The irony of course is that these are the same folks who want all of our citizens to register their more powerful weapons or sell them off.  Of course, those most likely to have the most exciting weapons are people who fear a government take over. Just like these Liberals seem to.

The Hill: Obama Orders Review
NYT War Gear

While we are at it, what do you think of the Ferguson situation?  Personally, I am curious to hear what Michael's toxicology report shows.

CNN Ferguson: What is Next
AT: Beatification of Michael Brown
NBC: Brown Robbery Video
TP: Brown Video

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Christian Values Maligned ?

 I am not sure this was a good title...
MinnPost Fall from Grace, How Christian Values Became Non-issue in MN Elections

Here were my first comments...
"Of course, religious values will continue to be important in all elections. Just one issue is quiet this time.

Here is an interesting take on this.

I also found this comment humorous.

"it doesn't make a lot of sense to vote for candidates who are promising to use the power of government to enforce Christian or any other religious values"

What exactly are the "Liberal Rob from the Rich to Give to the Poor" values? The passion with which it is pursued seems nearly religious in its fervor."  G2A

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Freedom as Defined by Liberals

 I have run into moderation issues over there again, so I'll expand over here.
"Reagan Tax Cuts: We've seen a lot of comments about the Reagan tax cuts but one thing that's been overlooked is the over-all tax increases that resulted. The Fed rate bounced around but much of that revenue demand just got pushed out to state and local governments. We saw the same thing with the Pawlenty cuts where property taxes and local fees increased in response to ALG cuts. In the 80s the same thing happened on a national level when the Fed cut tax rates. This is why the cost of government never really goes down with these magic tax cuts, in fact it actually went up in many cases. Republicans like to pretend that they get more efficiency with tax cuts but all they really do is cut services, then someone else picks up the tab, they don't really reduce over-all cost.

It's really just math. If you have 50,000 people in your city, and your getting $1 million in state aid, that money is costing you 25 cents (1 million divided by 4 million people in the state). If you eliminate that state aid and have to raise a million in your city it will cost you $40. The state can brag that they've cut $1 million from the budget but that budget cut cost you $39.75. This is the problem with magic tax cuts. Depending on what level of government services get cut, they can end up increasing the cost of government for individuals." Paul

"Local is Better: Thank heavens for National and State spending cuts, when and if they actually occur. The closer the collect and spend decisions are to the citizen / tax payer, the better it is for all of us.

Now I agree that national defense, inter state rules/commerce, post office, etc belong at the national level. And I can even agree that SS/Medicare belong there since the benefits are delayed and a citizens often cross state lines.

However the idea that the Feds are involved in welfare, medicaid, etc is just wasteful. It seems to indicate that states are not capable of deciding how to best help their friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, etc." G2A

"Your third paragraph is absolutely correct: A number of states have decided NOT to help their fellow citizens (I assume they don't regard all citizens as their friends).

And of course Federal agencies such as the VA and Medicaid are far more efficient than most state agencies, so I don't see where the waste is in having the Federal government provide for "the general welfare". That's what the Constitution says it should do." Paul

"Wasteful?: Hardly. As it's been pointed out to you numerous times here, the Feds involvement in welfare, medicaid and other safety nets is crucial in maintaining continuity for those seeking help. Republican majority houses at the state level have already proven that they have virtually no capacity for empathy and no interest in helping anyone they deem unfit or unworthy. It would be tragic to those seeking help if people like you were making those types of decisions." Jason
"Jason and Paul, Per your comments, apparently you believe Minnesotans know "how to help" people that are thousands of miles away better than those citizens that live in that community?" G2A
Now Liberals continually say that they support freedom of choice.  Freedom to marry who one wants.  Freedom to abort a fetus. Freedom to form an employee union and blockade an employer until they meet terms. Freedom to work where your beliefs are not appreciated. And all other kinds of social freedoms.  And I am fine with most of these.

Yet Liberals apparently believe in denying the citizens of a state the simple freedom to choose how they care for their friends, neighbors and country persons.  Apparently the Liberals know how to help the poor folks in other states better than the residents do.  Or at least according to Paul and Jason.