Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Guns:Trump and Wall Street Speak

This is getting exciting. The NRA and stubborn GOP folks against the American consumers and investors. Capitalism in this case is an excellent thing.

And then we have Trump trying to keep things moving... And here I thought this was going to lead to nothing like the other times.  Thankfully I was wrong.

VOX Trumps Madcap Meeting
VOX Trump Mtg Transcript
VOX Walmart and 21 years
VOX Stocks Toxic
VOX Dicks Said That Before
CNN Dicks Stops Selling Assault Weapons
CNN Wall Street Weighs In
CNN GA vs Delta Airlines

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Assault Weapon Trade Off

One of my gun loving FB Friends linked to the following image.  Of course it is incorrect because there are legal definitions of Assault Weapons.  Common attributes used in legislative definitions of assault weapons include:
  • Semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine
  • Folding or telescoping (collapsible) stock, which reduces the overall length of the firearm
  • A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon
  • Bayonet lug, which allows the mounting of a bayonet
  • Threaded barrel, which can accept devices such as a flash suppressor, Suppressor, compensator or muzzle brake
  • Barrel shroud, which prevents burning of shooter's arm or hand as a safety device.
  • Grenade launcher

Now I can understand how gun lovers would enjoy owning one of these Rambo looking bad ass weapons.  What I can not understand how they feel having them readily available in our society is worth the lives of young children, concert goers, etc.  My point is that each weapon has an optimal purpose.  The first two rifle styles are perfect for most hunting and personal defense. I am even fine with them being semi-automatic with a ~10 round clip.

The last "rifle" is only really good for shooting a lot of bullets very quickly in a general direction while rarely reloading.  There is very little use for this when hunting or defending...  It may be fun once in awhile, but my friends who would own these are too stingy to shoot it often. (ie bullets are expensive)

 The big question to me is... Is that occasional thrill really worth the lives of children, women and men who are killed when they get into the wrong persons hands?  Because the ultimate reality is that no one in the USA would be murdered by an "assault weapon" if they were not present and readily available in our society

For comparison:  Canada Laws      Swiss Laws

Monday, February 26, 2018

Trump's Approval Rating Update

Eric at MinnPost reluctantly reported that Trump's approval ratings had improved.  Of course that generated some interesting comments.  And with Trump's challenges of late it may struggle to stay even as abysmally low as it has been. However the DEMs are still happy with the polls.

Then there is his sadly laughable Super Trump self delusion...  Though he may have ran in if they had free burgers in the cafeteria or Playboy Bunnies giving a motivational speech. :-)

Trump: Avatar of Democracy?

Learn Liberty: Trump the Avatar of Democracy  A co-worker sent me the link and I thought you may find it interesting to consider.  Or to complain about... :-)  Here are some definitions for your convenience.  Thoughts?
Avatar: "a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher."
Democracy: "a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections"  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

MN Tax Debate

Dueling Memos

Well the DEM version was finally released, which confirms the obvious.  
  • There were many reasons why the Justice Dept and Feds were watching these bad guys who were in communication with our long term national enemy. (ie Russia)
  • During the initial surveillance they found enough additional detail to obtain renewals of the warrants.
FOX News Memo
CNN Compares the Memos
CNN Trump Keeps Fighting

And yet Trump chooses to continue to ignore the fact that good intelligence was found during the surveillance. And he continues to work hard to blame everyone except the Russians. It is like blaming a police officer who checks into a home with a broken down door, and giving the burglar who broke the door and robbed the house a pardon.
"The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!" Trump
Schiff summarized the situation very well.
"Wrong again, Mr. President. It confirms the FBI acted appropriately and that Russian agents approached two of your advisors, and informed your campaign that Russia was prepared to help you by disseminating stolen Clinton emails. " Schiff
And yet the Trump True Believers seem happy to look at the "shiny object" Trump is holding up in his right hand, instead of focusing on the fact that Trump's personnel were in contact with a our "arch enemy"...

Friday, February 23, 2018

Is Trump a Russian Operative?

I greatly respect Thomas Friedman, he is well traveled smart and has a great deal of common sense.  So I had to stop and listen when he makes a point to question Trump's inaction regarding the confirmed Russian election meddling.  And worse yet, Trump is dragging his feet on implementing Russian sanctions that Congress passed overwhelmingly last Summer.  Finally, he certainly does not seem to be working hard to prevent the Russians from doing it again in 2018...

With all this in mind, why do you think Trump is protecting Russia and not working to thwart their efforts?

  • It is hard for me to believe they can blackmail him with dirty pictures, I mean he already admitted to grabbing the pussies of women without their permission.  And Lord knows he has enough women accusing him of that and/or affairs.
  • My guess they either hold his "money" or "popularity" in their hands somehow.  I mean that seems to be what he values most.
  • Other?

CNN Money Friedman Code Red
MinnPost Is Trump a Traitor?
VOX Trump's New Blame Obama Gambit
The Hill Trump Delays Implementing Russian Sanctions
Daily Beast Trump Delays Sanctions

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Prove It

A FB friend of mine posted a link to this.  I personally think it is excellent. I would also add checks to ensure parents are responsible and capable...  I just don't see the Liberal or Conservative tribes buying into this...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Gun Control Again

As I watch the pro-gun and anti-gun folks fill my FB page with stuff, I can not understand why it is so hard for these 2 groups to come together. I mean it is seems pretty logical to me that US citizens should:
  • have the right to have guns that are optimized for personal protection and hunting.  
  • not have the right to have weapons that are optimized for killing large groups of people.
Why pro-gun rights folks fight the following common sense changes amaze me:
  • Limiting clip sizes to 15 or fewer bullets
  • Banning modifications that enable semi-automatic weapons to perform as an automatic
  • Mandatory back ground checks for every gun purchase or transfer
 Or some other logical changes include:
  • A national database to track who has loss their right to own a gun (ie felony, mental illness, etc)
  • Mandatory Gun Registration (especially for hand guns and semi-automatic rifles)
  • Severe penalties for anyone holding a gun that is NOT registered
  • Allow law suits against people who allow their guns to be stolen, especially if they have not reported the theft.
Why anti-gun rights folks fight the following common sense changes amaze me:
  • Conceal and carry for all, including teachers at school
It seems to me the goals are to ensure the:
  • good responsible citizens can go hunting and defend themselves
  • criminals, unstable and irresponsible citizens do not own guns, especially those that enable the murders of tens or hundreds of people.
Now for the folks that believe citizens should be free to buy and own mass casualty weapons because you are somehow going to "fight the government" someday...  Get real it is 2018, not 1776...  And our children, women and other innocents deserve more responsible behaviors from us.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Will Power Or Attitudes / Planning

This VOX article does an excellent job of discussing the combination of habits, planning, focus, attitude, and even genetics that can help people to be successful
"In a specific situation, sure, you can muster willpower to save yourself from falling back into a bad habit. But relying on willpower alone to accomplish goals “is almost like relying on emergency brake when you are driving your car,” Saunders says. “You should focus on things that drive you toward your goals rather than stopping things that are in your way.” What’s more, the human “emergency brake” that is willpower is bound to fail in some instances, causing you to crash.

And it’s time we all took these lessons to heart. Focusing on failures of willpower leads to shame, both public and private, and holds back our curiosity from finding and enacting solutions that actually work. " VOX Why Willpower is Overrated
One small example of how I have used this is in the area of French fries. I love McDonalds fries and used to eat quite a few of them.  To pretty much eliminate my temptation to eat them I chose to focus on what they are.. Oil, carbs, starch and salt...  In other words absolutely useless to harmful food that works to defeat my bigger goal of being healthier.

Along with this I focused on everything I like about salads, vegetables, etc.  Therefore going to the salad bar instead of the grill station in the cafeteria is pretty easy and requires little will power.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Being a Good Mom is Expensive

VOX Gender Wage Gap Is Really a Child Care Penalty

I find this to be perfectly logical...  Life is full of choices and if a woman chooses to dedicate their lives to their career / education instead of having a family, it is logical that they will get promoted more often and make more than a woman who splits their focus between work and family.

And since often couples choose that the wife is the primary care giver for kids, of course that impacts her promotions and compensation more than the husband. 

I find it a case of folks wanting to have their cake and eat it to.  They want to have a rich family life, free time to support their kids and have the same income as those who choose differently.  That is part of why I find the furor over the wage gap over blown.


Trump Initial Best President Ranking

Sunday, February 18, 2018

MN Pre-School Funding

MinnPost Universal Pre-K Hurt Childcare Access Here are my first thoughts:
"We know which children need the most help if we really want to close the achievement gap and end generational poverty. And yet it seems people here are advocating for free Pre-K for all kids... Instead of making that money stretch further to help the truly unlucky kids through pre-k for low income household scholarships.

Now I understand that Ed MN wants more members, and middle income households would like free childcare. But wouldn't it be better to advocate for the unluckiest of kids who truly need the help?"
Useful Links:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The DEMs Could Have Done That?

The Hill: Trump, the DEMs could have passed gun control
Wiki 111th Congress

Now I know that Obama and Congress spent much of their majority years on ACA and Financial regulations.  However I have often wondered why they did not do more on gun control, immigration, etc when they were in control?

I understand why they would not want to raise taxes given that the country was in the midst of a economic disaster....  But the other normally DEM hot button issues seemed pretty low priority at that time.

That was in my pre-blogging phase, so I really did not watch politics very closely.  Thoughts?

MinnPost Moderation

Time for my usual venting about MinnPost ModerationRB and BW replied to a comment of mine and I am simply not being allowed to post the following seemingly simple response.  You will have to go there to see BW's comment, however it was similar to RB's.
"For example, just think of the controversial things that have been said about rural voters when it comes to the Illegal Immigration, LGBT Rights, Mining / Farming Regulations, Abortion Rights, etc. Just to name a few." 
Why is it controversial to disagree on social issues? Should we just keep quiet about anti-Muslim fora on communities? Is it wrong to call out those who oppose illegal immigration while relying on that immigration for a cheap workforce. 
In any event, I thought voters chose Republicans because of economics and that the demagoguery on social issues was not all that important. This is the line that is used to try to convince suburban and even urban voters to go Republican--it's not about the gay bashing or the Muslim hating, it's about free markets! On the other hand, we've heard that the rural parts of the state abandoned the DFL because issues like LGBT rights and abortion have been "forced down their throats." Which is it going to be?" RB 
"To disagree regarding issues is fine, however just think how often Liberals here have referred to people that they disagree with as bigots, xenophobes, misogynists, racists, ignorant, hypocrites, polluters, irredeemable deplorables, etc. Now she made the claim that the educated urban Liberals she knows do not do put down the folks in the Conservative tribe, unfortunately it seems that many do though. 
And yes Conservatives do vote for more personal responsibility, lower taxes, less government mandated wealth transfer, more religious freedom, etc. However they also vote against people and candidates who insult and threaten then. They are just normal people after all." G2A
 Now can you see anything in the green text that seems to violate MP's guidance?  I even removed all links, names
MinnPost welcomes user comments on our stories and posts. MinnPost's mission is to engage the public in news analysis of issues in their community and to encourage interaction with our editors, writers and other posters. We intend for this area to be used by our readers as a place for civil, thought-provoking and high-quality public discussion. In order to achieve this, MinnPost requires that all commenters register and post comments with their actual names and place of residence. MinnPost reserves the right to remove postings that include the use of foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that may be libelous or interpreted as inciting hate or sexual harassment; however we are under no obligation to do so. User comments may be reviewed by moderators and may be included or excluded at our discretion.
Now they do allow both Liberal and Conservative views at times, so I am still happy to continue supporting them financially, however it is vexing to have to cross post everything over here because it may disappear over there...  I keep hoping to find a method to their madness.  😀

Thursday, February 15, 2018

MN a GOP State?

David Schultz posted and interesting possibility at the MinnPost Community voices section.
"This most Democratic of states in 2018 could finally turn Republican, following the path of Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. What happens in Minnesota this year could also decide which party controls the U.S. House and Senate."
Now I find it hard to believe, however it is an interesting concept. Will the rural and suburban MN voters say enough is enough, and vote for:
  • more personal responsibility / control
  • less government mandated wealth transfer
  • more improvement expectations for welfare recipients
  • smaller government and fewer mandates
  • more pay for performance / job complexity
  • less pay for unions, seniority and degrees
  • less regulation and lower taxes
  • better roads and less light rail
  • more religious freedom
  • a more business friendly environment
  • less enabling of illegal workers
I am not going to hold my breath the way the National GOP party is behaving, and with the poor candidates that the MN GOP seems to field, but it is an interesting idea.  Thoughts?

Here are some interesting links.
Wiki Right to Work States Grow (including Mich, Wisc, Indiana, etc)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Political Tribes Continues

From MinnPost Politcs and Tribes. Paul made some more Far Left comments that I just felt the need to reply to.
"You're producing garbage data. Again, you don't seem to be able to distinguish between economic systems and political systems and priorities. If you put garbage into an analysis you can only get garbage out no matter how much magical thinking you dump into the equation.

You can compare GDP to government spending ratios all day but it's not going to tell you what an optimal percentage is aside from the basic fact that those nations with higher ratios are more prosperous than those with lower ratios. At the end of the day you're just making this up. At some point you might want to consider the possibility that this "problem" might be beyond your capacity to "solve". Paul U.

"We have normal bell curve with clear majorities of the electorate distributed in the middle. Furthermore our majorities tend to cluster around liberal agendas like universal health care, civil rights, and environmental protection. What we don't have is a political party that is clearly and substantially devoted to servicing those majorities.

The Democratic Party is currently focused on resisting some Republican initiatives but beyond that they still haven't embraced any of the long term proposals that are supported by clear majorities of Americans. We can predict that they will "win" in the next election cycle, and then lose some more. It's kind of a one step forward, one step back affair with Democrats.

Bernie Sanders isn't an outlier in any way comparable to Roy Moore. Sanders is actually the most popular politician in America while Moore is one of if not the most reviled. These attempts by Republicans and centrist to portray Sanders's as some kind of "leftist" are simply facile.

Although a minority of American's get their information from unreliable sources, clear majorities informed by reliable information still manage to emerge somehow. The minority just keeps spinning ever further out into it's alternative reality, but that's a minority spinning out into an alternative reality, it's not a process of polarization wherein one group is spinning out into it's own reality while another spinning in the opposite direction." Paul U.

"So we know that spend vs gdp percentage isn't perfect, however it is pretty good. I mean we know that Welfare expansion, Medicaid, ACA, Public employee unions, Special education funding, etc have all flourished during the past 50 years. And these are clearly increasing the cost and control of government. And the cost of servicing the growing National Debt is also driving the ratio up.

So this makes sense...
1967: total government spend was ~30% of the GDP.
Today: it is about 38% of the GDP.

Therefore it seems pretty clear that our culture has moved further Left during the past 50 years. (not to mention Civil rights, LGBT rights, Environmental protections, etc) And if the Liberal tribe has their way by socializing healthcare and higher education, and passing many more regulations... It is pretty clear that the Spend vs GDP percentage will increase further. Just as it is much higher in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc. Seems logical to me.

As for the bi-modal distribution, and if you focus on the left hump. I agree that Bernie Sanders is popular amongst the Left side of that Liberal tribe. However that again is only maybe 1/6th of all American voters.

And as disturbed as Roy Moore was, there was a group on the Right side of the Conservative hump / tribe that supported him in much the same way. And if the young woman allegations had not surfaced he likely would have been a Senator now... (scary...)

As I have said elsewhere, I think we used to have a normal distribution of voters in the USA. However our freedom to pick our social network friends, our news sources, etc... It is clear that the 2 distributions/ tribes are growing more separate. The Liberal tribe who believes more federal government control/ wealth transfer / regulations are how to improve the USA. The Conservative tribe who believes that less federal government control/ wealth transfer/ regulations are how to improve America.

Both tribes have the same goal... Just totally different beliefs about how to attain them. :-)" G2A

Why We Give Our Money Away

This seems related to my last post:
CNN Bill and Melinda Gates: Why We Give Our Money Away
Gates Foundation Home Page

Any Epiphanies...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Money and Beads

I have been thinking about money a lot lately.  Not how to make it, how to spend it or even how much I have...  With 2 of our daughters in or approaching their college years, spending it is not a problem right now. :-) What I have been pondering is how different people:

  • perceive money / wealth / assets
  • make saving, investing and spending choices
  • balance labor / effort vs spending

Now you must remember that my rural Grand Parents, Uncles and Aunts pretty much saved and invested every penny that ever came their way. (other than charitable giving...)  And working seemed to be their passion. In fact when my Great Uncle Ike died in ~1979, he still had a hand pump in his kitchen for water, an outhouse out back and his car was a 1962 Impala that seemed to double as his farm vehicle.

I was conditioned pretty good into this life style, at least with regard to working, doing my own home renovations, saving, investing and giving to charity.  However after my anxiety attack in 2004, I had to really stop and reconsider this "all work, few toys and little play" lifestyle.  I had learned that it was just UNHEALTHY... From then on I bought more big toys and our family went on more vacations.

As part of my pondering, I created the following jar of beads. I liked beads because they are very scaleable... Each bead can equal $1, $100, $1,000, etc. And I believe that money can easily change forms. One hundred $100 beads can be a car, a boat, savings, stocks, bonds, a home improvement, etc. Please note that vacations and that coffee are not wealth exchanges, they are spending for joy, experiences, etc...

Warning: this exercise will not work well for people who have not saved and/or invested....  One does need an income and some savings to play effectively.
  • The blue beads represent the part of one's net worth that is made up of property that one owns and plans to hold for a long time. This could be your home, business, land, etc.  These are your fixed assets, therefore at the bottom.
  • The pink beads represent the part of one's wealth that is made up of savings accounts, 401Ks, stocks, bonds, boats, motorcycles, cabin, etc. Some of these hopefully are pretty well "fixed", where as some of them are what I call toys and tools. The top beads can easily be exchanged for green beads if one wishes.
  • The green beads represent income, capital gains, etc. Money that you choose how to spend, save, invest, etc.

It is the green beads and the top of the pink beads that fascinate me the most. I know people who:
  1. Find a way to spend every green bead instead of ever converting them into pink beads. They are great people who seem to just need that new motorcycle, that exciting vacation, Starbucks coffee, etc.  They may be having a "great time now", unfortunately they incur a lot of financial stress and will be very unprepared for retirement.
  2. Do a good job of balancing the desires of today while investing for college expenses, future big purchases, retirement, etc.  They seem to be able understand that experiences today are important, as is having wealth for the future.
  3. Are simply resistant to spending, they seem to have spent so much of their lives scrimping, saving and investing, that it is really hard for them to spend money just to make their lives easier. (ie Uncle Ike) These also are great people who's favorite words are "we really don't NEED that". My concern is that these folks are missing the best of what life can offer because they are working too hard and/or avoiding the cost of great vacations.
So what do beads mean to you?

  • Are more beads better? Do those who die with the most beads win? (what?)
  • Is making your life simpler more important than beads? (ie hiring things done, buying better equipment, etc) 
  • Are beads a waste to you? You want to live for now?


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Political Tribalism

These seem to be worth a read, though I typically find people are resistant to admit they are part of the "tribes". Thoughts?   Minnpost Tribalism     New Yorker Tribalism

Personally I liked this quote from the New Yorker.
"One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you don’t actually have to think very much. All you need to know on any given subject is which side you’re on. You pick up signals from everyone around you, you slowly winnow your acquaintances to those who will reinforce your worldview, a tribal leader calls the shots, and everything slips into place. After a while, your immersion in tribal loyalty makes the activities of another tribe not just alien but close to incomprehensible. 
It has been noticed, for example, that primitive tribes can sometimes call their members simply “people” while describing others as some kind of alien. So the word Inuit means people, but a rival indigenous people, the Ojibwe, call them Eskimos, which, according to lore, means “eaters of raw meat.”"

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I Hope Our Kids Forgive Us

Personally I am so frustrated with how selfish the people living in America at this point in time are.  The Conservatives demanding lower taxes and higher spending.  And the Liberals demanding even higher spending, more programs and higher taxes.

Isn't anyone actually fiscally responsible anymore?  Don't our current citizens care if they are tying a big anchor to our children?  Think about it.
Well I hope our children will forgive us for this mess in a decade or so.  Or I hope they choose to discontinue SS and Medicare payments in retribution for all the greed we are and have been showing for the last 20+ years.

Just imagine the simple stupidity of this whole situation. We all know the National Debt is too High, and that the SS, SSD and Medicare programs are unsustainable as is. And people on both sides are pointing fingers at each other while demanding cuts or expenditures that benefit them personally !!!  One really can not make dysfunction like this up. 😖  When you see your kids or grand kids, I think you should beg their forgiveness.

CNN House DEMs Face Choice
VOX House DEMs Demand DACA Vote
FOX News Pelosi Demands
FOX News What Is In the Deal

Goal: Social Democracy?

Sean and I have been disagreeing about where Democrats want to take our country in the long run.  My argument is that they will not be satisfied until they make us like a Northern European Social Democracy and he disagrees. 

Below is an OECD Data Comparison Graph - Spend vs GDP You click on it to make it bigger or hit the link. Here are the values for the countries I pointed to... USA: 37.6%, Germany: 43.8%, Sweden: 49.6%. Please remember that if we "socialized healthcare", we may be at Germany's spend percentage.

My belief is that as Democrats accomplish their "reasonable" goals, they will just move the goal posts further Left like they have been doing for 50+ years. I think of them as a boat tied to a dock, and the GOP is the rope. The GOP gave a gave for decades, however now the rope is tight a strongly resisting further motion. And for historical reference.

And when the Conservatives push back even harder against the "newest goals", the DEMs will complain that the Conservatives are irrational and extreme!!!  (sound familiar?) When in reality it will have been the DEMS moving relative to the fixed datum of Spend / GDP... Thoughts?

Governor Race and Lynx

I have nothing today...  Maybe it is the winter doldrums, or it just feels like politics lately is like the movie "Grounds Hog Day".

So here are 2 topics.  One for discussion and one for fun... :-)

I just don't know why Jeff Johnson is running again, he seems to have no charisma from what I have seen. MPR MN Governor Race

Our family's North Shack is up between Grand Marais and Tofte. I have been going there since I was born and have never run across or heard about Lynx up there...  Usually just Moose, Bears, Deer and Wolves. :-)  These pics are pretty cool.
MPR Lynx Pics

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Flawed Democracy and Moderation

The USA is rated as a Flawed Democracy AND I am frustrated with the MinnPost Moderators again.  I have had comments not showing up again lately.

Here is some of the text from the piece.
"The U.S. scores, which used to be much higher, have been declining since 2006. The chief problem with U.S. democracy, as the EIU scores it, has been a decline in what it calls “social cohesion,” which has been diminishing for years, in part because of the increase in what is often called “polarization,” across partisan and political lines. As the EIU scores democracies, our poor cohesion led to low scores for “Functioning of government: 7.14” and “Political participation: 7.22.” 
As I’ve often mentioned, the United States ranks horribly against other democracies for voter turnout, which in an important factor in our poor “participation” number. But the low score for “functioning of government,” which obviously did the most damage to our overall number, reflects the fact that even with one party controlling almost all the levers of government, America borders on unable to enact legislation. 
The EIU’s writeup on our democracy said various kinds of polarization, social, political, economic and otherwise, undermine our exercise in self-governance, adding that, “If Mr. Trump is unable to reverse the trend towards increasing social polarization, U.S. democracy will be at greater risk of further deterioration.
In essence the scoring system has decided that a "Full Democracy" is one in which the majority agrees and can get things done.  And my unacceptable comment went something like this.
So apparently the BORG from Star Trek are an excellent example of what these folks value in a Democracy...  Most people share common opinions and have the power to enforce them on everyone in their country...  And if a large minority with different views have the power to stymie that action...  That is consider a bad thing?
Here are some interesting links that use the BORG concept.

Parent / Public Roles and Responsibilities

Jerry and I have been continuing a pointless argument back here regarding the roles and responsibilities Parents and Schools.
G2A Grad Rates Up Proficiency Down
G2A School Boundary Gerrymandering
G2A Freezing Schools

Jerry is an advocate of giving every child a check for $13,000 so their Parent(s) can send them to a school of their choice.  The idea being that:

  • Parent(s) are subject matter experts and know which school / education is best for their child.
  • The "great schools" will succeed, the "bad schools" will fail and all kids will be better off.
  • And kids that cost more than $13,000 to teach will not exist because competition will work miracles.
  • Or the Parent(s) will just need to pay more. Or these most unlucky of kids will need to remain in the Public School system. And we are not sure if Parent(s) would get to keep any extra if their kids are less expensive to teach. And we are not sure how to keep the "choice schools" from cherry picking their students. 
  • However these details seem unimportant from Jerry's perspective.

So Jerry has a point, for kids like mine that would be great deal.  All 3 are smart, well behaved, have no special needs, have excellent role models and they have 2 parents at home to coach, tutor and hold them accountable for beliefs, friend choices, behaviors and results. One of whom works from home and is available to them 24/7 as needed.  Not to mention we have money for pretty much any instruments, sports equipment, etc.  My girls are the epitome of Lucky Kids.

I mean just think... Not only do we have the option to move, go to a private, open enroll, go to a magnet, go to a charter, etc...  Now we would be free to choose a Private and maybe get a cash rebate back...  (side note: We could have left Rdale at anytime, my daughters were adamant that they loved their somewhat crazy and very diverse schools... And dreaded moving to those boring snobby rich districts.)  Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

So in essence Jerry's idea of giving freedom, opportunity and knowledge is totally summed up with one word: Vouchers

Where as I see giving children freedom, opportunity and knowledge has much more to do with ensuring they have the following:
  • fed, washed and clothed
  • live in a stable nurturing home
  • live in a safe community
  • are read to and experience pre-school, museums, etc
  • observe positive role models
  • given complete and accurate sexual education
  • given access to reliable birth control 
  • coached regarding positive beliefs, values and personal interactions
  • held accountable to do homework, behave, learn, etc
  • etc
The irony of course is that Jerry seems indifferent to all of the concerns I have listed.  His answer is something to the effect of that those are the Parent(s)' responsibility.  And that society / government has no place interfering in the home unless the abuse is severe.

Of course I disagree...  I think society does have the authority and obligation to ensure child(ren) are raised by responsible, capable, mature adults who can afford to do so.  If I had my way every adult would be on Long Acting Reversible Contraception until they could pass a parenting test. We won't let anyone legally drive until they are trained and have proven basic competency.  Being a responsible Parent is much harder than driving and has more serious longer lasting consequences.

And especially in the case where the household is receiving payments from tax payers.  What do you think ?

Here are some links from those post comments:
NPR Teen Rates
TP Teen Pregnancy
What poor women want
Single Parent Household Graph
Teaching: Then and Now
Charles Sykes Rules of Life
HP Punish Parents?
WAPO Punish Parents?
Ed Week Accountable

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Memo

It is amazing to me that Trump and the idiot GOP folks released this silly GOP created memo... Hopefully the DEM version is released soon so we can see the whole picture.
CNN Disputed Memo

And for you Trump True Believers and Conspiracy Theory Lovers

Here are my thoughts regarding some of the excerpts.

I mean it clearly shows that Papadopoulus was the cause for the investigation of the Trump lackeys...
"The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok."
It shows clearly that Steele was a trusted FBI source until after this situation.
"Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn."
It shows that the surveillance was justified since the probable cause of what had been learned justified re-authorizing the warrant 3 times. Some detail from VOX.
"The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. "
So in summary:
  • questionable things were happening and warrants were issued
  • multiple sources pointed the law enforcement officials to Trump's staff
  • the taps were yielding valuable information so the warrants were renewed
  • the Trump organization feels threatened because they know inappropriate things occurred
  • meetings with Russian operatives, other?
  • the Trump supporters want to discredit what started the investigation
  • in hopes that everything learned since then will be forgotten
I really don't think that is going to happen, but I have been wrong before.  Thoughts?

One more thought, if Congress is responsible for oversight... Why again would they release this half baked letter to the public?  It is like a Boss sending a note about an employee to the whole company instead of just working with the employee or firing them.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Can DNC Get Over Itself?

From MinnPost Can the DNC get over itself?

"Regulations come with good and bad consequences. (ie cost vs benefits) These need to be evaluated. More regs is not always good.  As for the deficits, I was against the tax cuts especially for individuals. However now that they have been made I hope they start cutting spending and making government more effective, efficient and accountable. Though my faith that this will happen is low. Too many people who want the money from us tax payers." G2A
"Regulations are almost always a response too something, we are not a very proactive country. Point: No home land security until after 9/11. Cost benefit meaning what, that is a tag line to nowhere, less regs. is not always good either, we just accomplished nothing. There are tons of C:B analysis on climate change, but as folks have been posting forever (Big corporations like to socialize costs and privatize profits) and if they can buy the votes, as they have done we get deregulation, (socializing costs and privatizing profits), there are many examples we can go after in another time. 
Cutting spending, I agree faith is low to none existent. The real answer may be some of both, but we have just seen how interested the "R's" are in raising revenue, especially from the wealthiest of the wealthiest. 
So to Sam's point, can the DNC find a perspective that resonates with folks about, (Socialized costs and privatized profits?) Without aliening folks on the (steal all my money) redistribution of wealth propaganda? ." Dennis W. 
"The DNC also lives for socializing cost and privatizing profits. 
What is the answer when individuals choose to squander the hundreds of thousands of dollars we tax payers spend on their education? Or when individuals choose to have more children than they can afford? Or when individuals choose to become addicted to smoking, gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc? Or when individuals choose to not be highly motivated towards improving themselves and attaining better paying jobs? Or when individuals choose to violate our borders or over stay their Visa? 
From my perspective the DNC's typical answer is to raise taxes so that money can be collected from those who chose differently... 
And distributed among the above mentioned individuals in the form of free healthcare, food, housing, etc. 
Now companies sometimes do screw up, however we don't hesitate to sue them, charge them, regulate them, demand they change, etc. However who here is willing to do that to the individuals above who screwed up themselves, and often their children?" G2A