Thursday, August 31, 2017

What Went Wrong in Houston

From Sean:
Anyone want to talk about our lax regulatory scheme that led to the chemical plant explosions?

A couple of years ago, the Houston Chronicle did a tremendous series on how little control there is over hazardous chemicals in Texas (and to a lesser extent nationwide).  Chemical Breakdown

From Moose:
We could also talk about lax (zero) zoning regulations that ultimately led to some of the serious problems Houston is facing.

I feel bad for the people of Houston, but I don't feel bad that Texas' Republicanism is showing...and it's not a good look.

Additional Links from G2A

Of course my view is pretty simple, it is the same reason a poor Baby Mama has 3 kids that she can not afford to feed on her own. They both know that the tax payers will pick up the cost of their irresponsible and stupid decisions.  I mean look at what we spent after Katrina so many irresponsible people and businesses could rebuild in a high risk location.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

G2As MBTI and Social Style

For your amusement, I have decided to share my latest MBTI and Social Style test results.

Apparently I am an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, no surprise here since this has been consistent for decades. What has changed is that I have become more extroverted, less sensing and less judging over the years. For better or worse I am still extremely Thinking biased... Though I am sure this will come as no surprise to you.

The new test I was given is with regard to my social style. Unfortunately it just said that I was in the Expressive quadrant. My guess is that I am near the middle because I find it pretty easy to shift into the Analytical quadrant when necessary and my behaviors sure don't fit a true Expressive.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change?

Okay we know that hurricane Harvey is Jerry's fault... He just had to write this inaccurate statement... "Hurricanes have been almost entirely absent for the last ten years."  😀 Of course, now we have one of likely the most damaging ever, given its stalled state and dropping rain that is measured in feet, not inches.

For more of Jerry's wisdom ...
G2A How to Deal with Rising Oceans
G2A RCPs and Forecasts
G2A More on Climate Change

Trump Inconsistencies / Turnover

I think this is interesting.  CNN 3 Stories Hidden by Harvey

After promising to support the rights of LGBTQ citizens during the campaign, Trump chooses to ban transgender people from joining the military,  Even though thousands of them have served admirably in the past. How people see Trump as honest and/or reliable is beyond me.

After promising to be the law and order President, he chooses to pardon a Sheriff who knowingly violated the orders of a US District Judge. And important here is that apparently he did not have the Justice department review the situation. He just saw that a Politic Crony was in legal trouble and chose to pardon him.  This bodes poorly for the future. Why have a legal system if our President is going to ignore it?  And Conservative thought Obama acted like a Dictator...

And then there of course is the continuing incredible turnover in the White House.  So either the President is totally incompetent at interviewing and hiring, or he is nearly impossible to work with.

Great Job Skills Training

It looks like a I may have found a reason to bring even more stuff to Goodwill...  This looks like an excellent program!!!

MP Job Training Program

Goodwill Easter Seals Training Site

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Trump Unhinged... again...

I often wonder how people can still listen to Trump speak and not just shake their heads at his delusional view of reality...  The American business leaders defected at such an alarming rate and yet the Trump believers seem to be willing to listen to his cherry picked phrases and cheer...  While forgetting that it was the complete sentences that got him in trouble.

CNN 57 Most Outrageous Quotes
CNN Trump at War with Himself
CNN Fact Checking Phoenix
FOX Trump Goes on Rampage


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Matter of Priorities

MP America's Fall? A Matter of Priorities  Here is the first comment I posted there.

I do agree that "we have met the enemy and he is us".

The folks who choose to buy the best value product / service for themselves, no matter who's job it eliminates.

The folks who have more children than they can responsibly raise, thus squandering our country's huge investment in free public education and dooming their children to continued poverty / low academic capabilities / low skills.

Those folks having more children than they can afford to raise and care for, thus being dependent on others and drawing down the disposable incomes from their friends and neighbors.

Those who choose to not pursue a life of continuous learning and self improvement, thus remaining trapped in poverty and limiting the benefits they could have provided to our country's success.

Now I do agree that some improvements can be made on the other end of the wealth spectrum, however to deny the challenges I have noted above is irresponsible. The reality is that Defense spending is pretty low as a percent of GDP. It is the Entitlement spending that has massively increased with questionable consequences.

Defense Spending
Entitlement Spending
PEW Half of Kids Live in Traditional Family

What to Do with Afghanistan?

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Very Busy Weekend

Though I am sure there are more exciting things to discuss, I thought I would share something less earth shaking.  So this weekend I moved my oldest daughter to Oklahoma City for her new "post college" job !!! (ie one less tuition bill !!!)  And here is how it went:

  • Wednesday: Hooked my 2002 Suburban up to my big enclosed trailer and secured the last of her belongings for the trip.
  • Thursday: Drove to Ivanhoe, MN and picked up my friend for this adventure.  I also brought my golden lab Izzy because my daughter who was already in OK wanted to see her. Then we visited a friend in Lake City Ia and stayed over night.
  • Friday: We took the long trek to OKC and it was nearly 100 degrees when we got there.  We had dinner and unloaded .
  • Saturday: We went down and toured part of OKC called Brick Town and some lovely gardens they have downtown.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  Then the air conditioning compressor on my trusty old Suburban decided that 100 degrees in town was just too hot...
  • Sunday: Tim, Izzy and I drove in our very hot vehicle to Manhatten KS and stayed over night with his brother.
  • Monday: We headed to Cameron, MO for lunch and to checkout the eclipse. Unfortunately the weather did not fully cooperate, but the clouds did make the drive more comfortable. (see pics below) It was fun to see, however I am happy it was on the way... And now I am home and Tim is taking my Suburban and trailer out to the farm until Winter comes.
Well it was an excellent and memorable weekend, however I am sure going to be happy to be sitting at my desk tomorrow in an air conditioned office building.  :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Harris Charlottesville Poll

WNYC Harris Charlottesville Poll

"Nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) believe both sides are to the blame for violence in Charlottesville (vs. 39 percent who blame the white nationalists alone), lending credence to President Trump’s assertions this week. "

"The majority of Americans (54 percent) are either ‘not at all or not very satisfied' with how President Trump has responded to the Charlottesville protest. And 63 percent of Americans think The President should condemn white nationalists and other hate groups (among whites, 59% agree). And three-quarters of Americans believe the killing of Heather Heyer is an act of domestic terrorism."

Overall these results make sense to me...  Though it seems to me that:
  • Trump did condemn the White Nationalists on Monday.  Though he sent a mixed message on Tuesday when he tried to explain that both sides contributed to the violence and broke laws.
  • I am still on the fence regarding if the car incident was domestic terrorism or if the guy just lost it.  (terrorism defined: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Use BMI with Care

On a much lighter topic... Or maybe heavier... :-)

Personally I like referencing the BMI chart, it is an easy and pretty accurate tool for the majority of people.  However the linked pieces do cover some exceptions that every one should be aware of.

Unfortunately even after losing 10+ lbs I am still at ~27 and unlikely to ever get back to a 25.  At 6" I would need to get down to ~185 Lbs.  I think I am pretty comfortable in the 195 to 200 range.

CNN: Calling BS on BMI
HN Using BMI Chart (chart below from there, touch to increase size)

Partisanship, Propaganda and Disinformation

A gift from Laurie:

Here is a post / link from K. Drum that I found interesting, maybe because it paints a picture or media consumption more favorable t the left. This will give you something new to argue against if it interests you. a link is provided to the full report if you don't like Drum's brief summary.

Fake News: It’s Mostly a Right-Wing Phenomenon

Harvard Report

I'll need to study it in more detail later. I do agree that folks on the Right and Far Right do have a hard time with the big picture and conflicting views. I mean their willingness to watch FOX News pretty well proves it.

Though it may be statistically significant, I sure don't think they have a monopoly on it. I can pretty much guarantee what my Liberal FB friends will post on, and it is not an unbiased middle of the road link.

As for the Trump vs Clinton coverage, I am curious if they counted all the media coverage of Trump's outrageous claims as discussing the issues... Like when Trump said Mexicans were murderers and rapists... The news gave him all kinds of negative coverage...  Now was that counted as discussing immigration or ripping on Trump?

Stereotyping and Prejudice

In the G2A Unite the Right post we have been discussing who was at the rally and why. Especially after Trump doubled down on his belief that both sides were responsible for the escalation. Here is some of the discussion.
"So you are all absolutely certain that every protester there was a neo-nazi, skin head, racist? Source please. It just seems to me that you are dehumanizing them, just as you accuse them of doing." G2A

"OK, let's assume that a person felt that from a purely historical standpoint that the statue should stay and said person was not racist or antisemitic. If you show up and see that the march isn't a bunch of like-minded folks, but rather a bunch of neo-Nazis, why do you stay around and join with them? Who says, "Hey, I bet these dudes with swastikas and yelling the n-word and talking baout how Jews control everything are just the right people to help make sure the Confederate status stays up?" Sean

"There is no way an intelligent, non racist person should / would join that rally with neo nazis and the KKK. If one joins them they share in the blame for their views and actions. The racist views were central to this demonstration and not from some tiny faction. Someone could take their deep love of confederate history and write a letter to the editor about don't remove the statue." Laurie
Then I provided some links that explained the diversity of groups that were gathered in town that day.
DP Unite the Right Attracts More Radical Attention
NPR Collection of Groups
SLPC Bickering Galore

Now apparently the Liberal logic is that if you choose to join a broad scoped protest...  You are now officially part of the worst faction who participated in the protest...  So with this in mind, does that mean that Liberals who participate in a protest where folks from Antifa show up in black masks and break stuff are now full fledge supporters of political violence?

I will never understand the desire by both the far Left and far Right to Stereotype groups and be Prejudiced...  :-(

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Centrist Health Care

I am just putting this here because it fell of the front page at MinnPost and comments were occurring until now. MP Centrist Health Care  On second thought I chose to bring Sean and my discussion here...  No sense waiting for their Moderation.
"The problems of the Medicare reimbursement rate can be solved. In fact, Maryland has taken a couple of critical steps to solving it. First, they have an "all-payer" model, where all third-party payers (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance) pay the same rate for the same service. The rates are typically higher than Medicare/Medicaid, and lower than private insurance rates from before the reform. This has been combined with initial steps to move beyond a fee-for-service model by capping hospital revenue on a per capita basis." Sean

"It will be interesting to watch... Maryland Plan  Do you know if all hospitals and Doctors have to accept that one rate?" G2A

"If they are accepting third-party payments, yes. If the individual is paying out of pocket, then the provider is free to charge whatever rate they see fit." Sean

Sunday, August 13, 2017

How to Deal with Rising Oceans

I thought this was an interesting concept...
CNN Tech Dutch Test Floating Islands
Wiki Off Shore Wind Farms

And just think how easy it will be for rich people to set up their own exclusive island country with it's own laws...  They can just have it built in the future. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Unite The Right and Opponents

Sean asked... "Are you enjoying the "economic anxiety" rallies going on in Virginia? "  My google search took me hear...  CNN Unite the Right  Is this what you are talking about?

If so I guess my answer is that it takes 2 to fight...  My guess is that the Far Left folks will out number them and cause most of the problems.  I am also against taking down so many historical statues just because they are politically incorrect.  Kind of like the silly people who a going to rename Lake Calhoun to something people can not pronounce.

MN ESSA Feedback Request

From Jerry:
MDE has asked for public comment on a tediously long and politically correct document, full of high-sounding words and woefully short on real substance. I predict 10 more years of education failure in MN. See what you think. MN DOE Asks for ESSA Plan Feedback
Of course I went immediately to the ESSA Accountability Document, which is long and full of words.  Unfortunately as I often say, I just don't see accountability improving until Education MN and the Public School bureaucrats are willing to truly change the system...  Which unfortunately for the unlucky kids is not likely to happen anytime soon.

History of Gerrymandering

Eric explains the history and significance of gerrymandering in this MP post.  And he details a case in Wisc that is pending.  It and the comments are somewhat interesting. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Balance of Power

I really wonder if Trump will ever figure out that he is not the Boss?  I wonder if this is how he treated potential customers and business partners when he was trying to make a deal?

CNN Trump Just Picked a Dumb Fight with McConnell
VOX Trump Tweets McConnell Should Back to Work
FOX Trump Blasts McConnell

Let's think, McConnell is 75 years old, just got elected for 6 years and reports to the People of Kentucky.  Why again should he care about taunts from a petulant youngster?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fixing Income Inequality

From Laurie

I am going to stick to the topic about jobs and wages with a K Drum link about wages:
Chart of the Day: Middle Class Incomes vs. the Rich, 1946-2014

I believe the median income should go up and the super rich should pay more taxes. We could use some tax revenue for infrastructure which would help middle class jobs.

Can't decide what to add about education subtopic except educating low income ELL (learning English) students is very difficult.

from NYT piece Drum Links:
Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart

"It’s true that the country can’t magically return to the 1950s and 1960s (nor would we want to, all things considered). Economic growth was faster in those decades than we can reasonably expect today. Yet there is nothing natural about the distribution of today’s growth — the fact that our economic bounty flows overwhelmingly to a small share of the population.

Different policies could produce a different outcome. My list would start with a tax code that does less to favor the affluent, a better-functioning education system, more bargaining power for workers and less tolerance for corporate consolidation.

Remarkably, President Trump and the Republican leaders in Congress are trying to go in the other direction. They spent months trying to take away health insurance from millions of middle-class and poor families. Their initial tax-reform plans would reduce taxes for the rich much more than for everyone else. And they want to cut spending on schools, even though education is the single best way to improve middle-class living standards over the long term.

Most Americans would look at these charts and conclude that inequality is out of control. The president, on the other hand, seems to think that inequality isn’t big enough."

Monday, August 7, 2017

How are Jobs and Wages Doing?

As Trump claims that he is making a big difference...  I find the following links and quote interesting.

CNN We Still Have Jobs Problem
CNN Money How is the Economy
Politico Jobs Growth at 1 Million

"The pattern of job growth in 2017 remains essentially the same as in 2016. According to the Labor Department, an average of 184,000 jobs per month have been created this year, compared to 187,000 in 2016. If you eliminate January, when President Barack Obama was still in office, the monthly average is a somewhat lower 179,000.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) called the report “solid” and said, “Our economy is making steady progress with more people entering the labor force and continued job creation.” But he cautioned that the report “also shows too many Americans are still having a hard time finding good-paying jobs, getting a raise, and providing for their families.” " Politico Piece

A Centrist Health Plan

Apparently Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (moderate Democrat) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (moderate Republican) made an interesting pitch on "Face the Nation" Sunday.  Eric at MP discusses it here.

Unfortunately with so many citizens living in their Far Left or Far Right bubbles...  I really do not know how this would happen...

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Can DFL Reconnect with Rural / Outer Burbs

This MP Post discusses one of my favorite topics. Here is the first comment I left here.
"I agree with Karen:
Matt, I keep hearing that the Democratic Party is supposed to be open to people with different views, and yet your response seems more typical. Apparently Democratic politicians need to comply with your views on social issues our they don't count. 
It seems to me that the Democratic and Republican politicians have the same problem... They are focusing on their further Left and further Right party members, and therefore losing the votes of those who live in the middle. 
The good news is that more moderate folks like myself will have greater impact in future elections. The down side though is that who ever wins always wants to take a hard left or right..." G2A

On Vacation. Again...

Now isn't Trump the guy who said he would have no time for vacations because he would be too busy working for us citizens?

Didn't he also criticize Obama for taking too much vacation and playing too much golf?

Now it turns out Trump is the guy spending a LOT more time on vacations and golf.  Not to mention the huge amount more his travel and security is costing us citizens.  I truly wonder sometimes if Trump feels any regret for all the lies he spews forth?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Grading Immigrants

I personally am fine with scoring immigrants and prioritizing the entry of the ones that will make America great...  And since there is no shortage of English speaking workers from most countries who would love to move there.  The CNN reporter was just being silly.

My thoughts from Beijing...