Saturday, March 31, 2018

Tribalized Media

From Minnpost: On Trump's stable approval numbers and today's tribalized media landscape
"Karen, I agree with you that many Far Right "news Outlets" are way out there. However I also find that the Mother Jones, Think Progress, Dailykos, etc outlets are pretty out there also. I found this piece from Fox pretty interesting. I really mostly on NPR, CNN, NBC, etc, however I can see how they are pulled in to covering symptoms instead of the real problems. They cover whoever is talking or protesting...  Stossel Red Blue 
Eric, Excellent piece. These echo chambers that the tribe members live in worry me more than anything else.After almost 10 years of challenging both sides on my blog, I don't think any of the people have changed their views in any significant way. I am not sure how to bring Americans together when they seem determined to segregate." G2A

How People Choose a Neighborhood

We have spent a lot of time discussing how our communities became so segregated over here at the G2A Life of Privilege post.  And there is no doubt that the beliefs of citizens in the mid-1900s contributed a lot of the segregation via government policies and their personal purchases. (ie democracy and capitalism)  Apparently a lot of people wanted to free the Blacks, but they did not want to live next to them.

However I also believe that like the early immigrants most people like to live near people from a similar culture, religion, language, race, etc.  And that this contributed equally to how our cities ended up the way they are.  This an interesting piece that discuss how people perceive and choose communities.  VOX White America is quietly self-segregating

Since it is on VOX, they seem to blame the outer suburb White folks for being scared of diversity. And they see it as all about "Race"... Very little discussion about home type available, lot size, school student poverty level, number of languages in school, crime rates, work place location, etc or the many other reasons that drive home ownership decisions.

After 20 years of listening to White folks who have run from our diverse school district, I have never heard folks verbalize that race was the issue. Mostly it was the amount of in school disruption that has increased as the number of unlucky kids increased. Well that and some gang activity, drug sales, fights, etc, etc, etc.  Now for the big questions as always.... 

  • Should they have stayed like my family did to support their community?  
  • Or should they have run fast for the good of their kids?
  • When all the responsible self focused Parents run, who is left in the community they ran from or avoided?

So what do you think of the VOX article...  Thoughts?

Friday, March 30, 2018

Codependent Safety Nets

Sam at MinnPost does a good job of discussing the farm bill negotiations.  I am never certain why the Feds are involved in these areas at all, it seems to me that food and farm security should be handled at the State level.  However the reality is that many citizens seem to believe the States can not take care of their own citizens and land... :-(

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Life of Privelege Explained

This excellent video showed up on my FB feed. It shows how fortunate the "Lucky People" are.

I always wonder how it is that many "successful people" find it easy to proclaim their greatness and speed, and look down on others as failures... When they were just lucky to start life half way to the finish line.

Now how to fix the challenge is a different issue... But just acknowledging this reality is a first step that many people struggle with.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Left Keeps Pulling on the Boat

Since no one wants to think of Trump with his pants down getting swatted with a magazine... Let's move on. At G2A How to Unify Americans, Jerry and I exchange some comments that deserve the light of day.
"You are correct about the wide divide, but two things: 1) Who moved? and 2) When did we decide that the federal government was the first resort for solving all our problems? " Jerry

"Thinking of my boat on a rope... I think the Liberals kept pulling Left until the rope grew tight... And since the rope was slightly stretched, the Conservatives are trying to pull it back to the right.

So I am not sure either side really changed. Unfortunately now both tribes just keep living in their echo chamber worlds that vilify the other tribe while praising their own tribes genius." G2A

"I think your own analogy makes my point. The Left kept pulling to the left and are now FAR outside the mainstream. The Right would have preferred to keep going "straight." The Left moved, making the gap larger, and continues to strain against the rope.

Actually, unification is simple. The Left simply has to agree with us, and quit pulling on the rope. " Jerry

Now one has to remember that Jerry's idea of "main stream" occurred back in about 1950. Where as I think we should try to limit Total Government spending to ~33% of GDP. However I do agree that it is the Far Left who inexorably strives to pull us out to sea.  Thoughts?

Source: USGovernmentSpending

Stormy Interview

So who watched the 60 Minutes Stormy Daniels interview and what did you think?

To me she seems to be a very pragmatic and believable source. I really appreciated that she knowingly and consensually had sex with Trump. She did not try to blame it on his wealth, power, etc.

Now the question is how will Trump handle it? I am not sure why he does not just fess up, say that he was a cheating womanizer and has now changed his evil ways... I don't think his true believers will care.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Power of Full Engagement

A FB friend linked to this interesting article the explains How to Work Less and Accomplish More. My comment to him though was.
Excellent piece except for this silliness..."Top performers work 60 hours a week, on average. That’s a lot of hours, but it’s not 65 hours, either." In my opinion if some is working over 45 hours per week in a normal job, they are taking those hours from "their life" side of the balance. I may spend 55 to 60 hours in the office, but 10 to 15 of it is spent building relationships, blogging and/or taking breaks every couple of hours during the day. 
I am a believer in this book. The Power of Full Engagement
 What are your thoughts regarding being deemed successful at work and at life?

Another excellent tool is the Balance Wheel.  I have done this occasionally to figure out how am doing at all the different roles I have as an individual, son, husband, father, co-worker, philanthropist, blogger, etc. So much to do...  So little time...  😅

Friday, March 23, 2018

Thank God for American Internet

After a week in China, I am so happy to have made it back to Seattle. Connectivity was okay at my hotel in Shanghai, however I was down to using my Iphone in Tianjin and Beijing. The Chinese Government has been trying to crackdown on VPN usage so their citizens can not see youtube, google, facebook, etc and it seems to be working.

Bloomberg China VPN
VPN Update
"A certain amount of commercial VPN traffic is allowed as well, because the government knows that many foreign visitors and investors need to access blocked websites and blocking VPNs completely would be very bad for the economy and foreign investment. During sensitive political meetings or other sensitive times, VPNs will be partially blocked or speed-throttled, but they will never be completely blocked.

You will notice that during these times of political meetings or events that the companies which have Chinese language websites and market their products to Chinese people will be hit the hardest by the blocking.

The VPN providers that don't target Chinese customers are left alone to a certain extent. It's not a matter of these VPN companies outsmarting the government censors, but rather the government censors carefully controlling the level of blocking. They could completely block any single VPN provider tomorrow if they really wanted to. "
Hopefully it was just a matter of timing and next time will be better.

On the other hand, their construction business is booming as usual.  This picture was taken on the East side of Tianjian.  How many cranes can you count?  I think I see 13 very large buildings being constructed simultaneous in that one shot...  It is just impossible to believe unless you see it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What Will Trump Do?

As time draws near for Trump to talk to the special prosecutor, he seems to be wriggling like a fish on a hook.  For someone who is certain that he has acted appropriately, he sure seems to fear Mueller and crew.  Thoughts?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

WH Termination Signs

This is a somewhat amusing list of warning signs for people who work for Trump.
CNN 6 Signs You Are Going

I especially like:
"3. Be the subject of too much press attention.  Good, bad or ugly, it's well-established that Trump wants his staff, whether they run a massive federal agency or keep a small office in the West Wing, to stay out of the headlines -- his headlines."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Government Control

Jerry took issue with how a Nolan Diagram depicts government control.  In the following case there will be little argument that this is our elected government seizing control of a challenging issue.  By doing so they will place firm controls on businesses and individual citizens, for the good of citizens and tax payers.

VOX Nicotine Limits
Politco Trumps FDA Weighs Nicotine Limits

It is kind of odd that they did not do this earlier...  I mean nicotine is highly addictive, cigarettes are very deadly and for some reason we kept letting companies lace cigarettes with high levels of nicotine.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Yes Men" Need only Apply

It is very strange that Trump says he appreciates different opinions and creative conflict... And yet "President Donald Trump signaled on Tuesday he's prepared to dismiss aides with whom he's clashed -- including national security adviser H.R. McMaster -- as he works to surround himself with advisers more aligned with his populist agenda and freewheeling style."  CNN More Changes

And how terrible can he be at interviewing... I mean look at the astronomical turnover.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Good Principals Matter

Another good piece by David Brooks. NYT Good Leaders Make Good Schools

We often focus on holding Teachers accountable, however getting the correct management in place and enabling them to make a difference can be just as important.

And Lord knows a questionable manager can ruin a work place very quickly...

Monday, March 12, 2018

How to Unify Americans?

Ezra Klein at VOX wrote an interesting piece.  Americans unify against foreign threats. Can we unify without one?  It reminded me of something a friend of mine said this weekend as we discussed political issues.  It went something like this:

When people are hungry, they have one problem.
When people are well fed, they find lots of problems. 

Maybe that is the biggest problem we have in the USA at this time... Most everybody has too much money and time, therefore they spend it making mountains out mole hills?

I mean we have people out striving to save owls, own pretty much useless guns, use one bathroom or the other, prevent people from marrying the one they love, shelter illegal residents, give rich people tax cuts, give lazy people free money, make it difficult for some citizens to vote, etc, etc, etc. 

What are we thinking???  And how do we get back to supporting common core goals that will make America safer, stronger, smarter, more competitive, etc?  Or will it take a national or international crisis to make us all re-evaluate our tribes, positions, beliefs, priorities, etc?  Thoughts?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

VOX Teacher Pay

VOX Your State's Teachers are Underpaid, See How Much

This is an interesting piece, however I have not been able to determine which inflation rate they have chosen to use.  The normal CPI Inflation Measure, GPI Inflation Indicator or something else.

Just a note.  The comments at Minnpost White Progressives are on going.

Mayor Warns Illegals

I am still stunned by the news that the Oakland Mayor warned ILLEGAL workers about pending ICE operations. What in the world are California Liberals thinking?

And how do we law abiding citizens stop them from sheltering illegal workers who are harming the income potentials of our most vulnerable legal citizens?

CNN Sessions California and Illegals
FOX News Oakland Mayor Warns Illegals
NPR Oakland Mayor Supports

Is Massive Immigration an Unmitigated Blessing? An Interview on Immigration With Harvard Economist George Borjas

Friday, March 9, 2018

Trump and Stormy

The great thing about this whole story is that pictures of Stormy and her incredibly attractive friends are everywhere. 😁   The down side... Sometimes there is also a picture of Trump there too. 😢

Any deeper thoughts on this whole fiasco?

Gun Control Summary

G2A's Simplified Gun Policy Goal Statement:
  1. Ensure that trained, responsible people can keep and carry their hunting and self defense weapons.
  2. Ensure these weapons are removed from the homes of scary angry, insane and generally irresponsible people.
  3. Minimize the death, injury and/or trauma to the innocent citizens of the USA when the system fails and a scary angry, insane and generally irresponsible person does not have their weapons confiscated.
G2A's Supporting Policy / Tools 
  1. Mandatory back ground checks for every gun purchase or ownership transfer. Eliminate gun show / internet sales loop holes.
  2. Mandatory confiscation of guns from people with anger issues / restraining orders. (Red Flag Laws)
  3. Improve NICS, and State and Agency reporting into the database.
  4. Mandatory Gun Registration (especially for hand guns and semi-automatic rifles)
  5. Severe penalties for ANYONE holding a gun that is NOT registered, that should be.
  6. Allow law suits against people who allow their guns to be stolen, especially if they have not reported the theft.
  7. Allow trained school personnel to conceal and carry.
  8. Limiting clip sizes to ~15 or fewer bullets
  9. Banning weapons that are bump fire-able.
The good news is that Florida bill addresses some of these common sense changes. CNN Florida Gun Law Awaits Govs Signature

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tariffs: The Tipping Point

From Sean:
Well, I'm just glad that we've found the tipping point for many Republicans. It wasn't the racism of Trump and his cronies or the deficit busting tax plan and budget or the multiple instances where hush money was paid to cover up his affairs or the fact that he and his family are using the Presidency to line their own pockets in brazen and unprecedented ways -- no, the issue that got them to finally criticize this President is tariffs. Tariffs!
VOX Trump vs GOP
FOX Busn Trump Adamant
BI Cohn Resigns

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Bank Deregulation

Why White Progressives Fight School Choice

Why white progressives should stop crying over black parent choice and ‘segregated’ charters. By Lynnell Mickelsen

I love reading the pieces written by Lynnell... This is classic.
"Alas, there's no nice, noble or non-colonial way to tell parents of color to stay in schools that fail their children because, dammit, middle-class white people need jobs and middle-class white neighborhood schools on the other side of town need bigger budgets."
Other Related Pieces
MP Lynnell was Correct
MP Fix the White Liberals
MP Three Suggestions
MP Closes the Doors Again
MP Transformation
MP Stop Teacher Wars

Regulations Can Be Good for USA

I am not going to take the time to read this in detail, though it does seem interesting. Thoughts?

VOX Trump White House quietly issues report vindicating Obama regulations
The Hill Quiet Release
McKnight Regs Save Money
OMB Report

Monday, March 5, 2018

Chaos After Trump

From Laurie
Here is another opinion piece that I found interesting and a little depresiing in its predictions:

The Chaos After Trump

Immigration Costs / Benefits

From Laurie.

This is the first I have ever heard of him and based on SPLC link I have no interest in learning more about him.

Here is an interview I came across that seems to support some of John's views on immigration:

Is Massive Immigration an Unmitigated Blessing? An Interview on Immigration With Harvard Economist George Borjas

A Brush with the Alt Right

For the first time in all my comment exchanges I was recommended to study the work of Stefan Molyneux. (Western Civilization Butterfly Effect) This was what I then replied back to the gentleman.
"Okay I have listened to some of Stefan's talk. If you think he is a usable source, I think your views are likely far from mine. And part of the problem. Sorry."
However I figured it would be interesting to see what folks here think / know of Stefan.

Here are some randomly selected search results
FDRL The Real Stefan Molyneux
Wiki Stefan Molyneux
SPLC Stefan Molyneux
GR Stefan Molyneux Quotes
AZ Stefan Molyneux Quotes
FB The Lies of Stefan Molyneux

Guns and The Culture War

I do greatly appreciate they way David Brooks thinks.
NYT How Progressives can Win the Culture War

Now I wonder if Hard Right Conservatives will ever learn to be more rational and pragmatic with regard to social issues, or if they will keep losing credibility with the thinking citizens of the USA?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Keeping Kids Safe 6 Hours per Weekday

After exchanging 100+ comments with pro-gun folks on G2A and Facebook, they seem to be obsessed with this one issue...  How do we keep kids safe in the schools from the time they enter to the time they leave?  Some of the recommendations make sense:

  • Armed Guards
  • Armed Teachers
  • Secured access points
  • Other?
Now I am fine with all of these, however I think they will be expensive, burdensome and somewhat useless.  Please remember that schools are:
  • Large soft targets with distributed staff / targets
  • Many of their doors are glass
  • The active shooter has access to really dangerous weapons and body armor
  •  Video 1   Video 2   Video 3
  • The active shooter is angry and likely suicidal
Not to mention that it does pretty much nothing to help protect the kids the other ~17 hours per day. Or when they are outside for gym, field trips, etc.  Attending school sporting events...  Etc.

Okay Jerry and Richard, Take it away...  
  • Why is this issue so important to you and the other pro-gun folks?  
  • How do you see this helping in any significant way?  
  • Are you willing to pay to harden all of our schools and pay for the armed guards?
  • If the active shooter comes in wearing body armor and bump firing an assault rifle, do you think a few armed people in a big school can "take him out" before kids are killed? 
  • If not, how many dead kids / year are an acceptable trade off for allowing people to continue having easy access to body armor and these types of weapons? 
  • Other? 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Why Do People Dislike Unions?

"So can anyone name the 5 freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment?
  • Speech
  • Religion 
  • Press 
  • Petitioning of the government.., 
So if I understand correctly, people do have a constitutional right to associate with other like-minded people to form a group that will strengthen their power- you know, like the NRA, or even some other association that for example will negotiate on their behalf, like a UNION. One of you who despise unions, tell me please, do you think unions are hurting YOU?  I think this is just one more Republican sacred cow- hatred of unions they cannot control. (disclosure- I'm not a union member nor do I benefit or get hurt by others' union activities.) 
Why do people want to take something from others when it would be otherwise one of our essential freedoms? Other associations, which exert much more influence and control over average Americans are the ones using the aforementioned 1st Amendment "right to petition their government".  Among these are the AMA, PHARMA, the banking lobby, ALEC, the insurance lobby and more-- 
These are associations designed to leverage the power of corporations and profit seeking individuals to actually make the laws that govern those of us that belong to a church and maybe a township board. They make tax law, banking law, state government legislative agenda and more... So why the hate on unions? They are small potatoes except for their members and their contract negotiators. Richard

"I think most people are fine with like minded people lobbying for their self interests. That is part of living in a democracy. The challenge here is to remember what Public Employee Unions seem to have for goals now days:
  • Keeping their existing employees employed
  • Raising the compensation for the employees
  • Fixing the work rules
None of these are aligned well with the goals of us citizens:
  • Make government more effective and less expensive
  • Improve the quality of government services 
We live in a very competitive world, and the burden cost of government needs to be minimized if we want to maintain or relatively high standard of living. The Unions seem to not be aligned with that goal. 
Now Private Unions will fail when they drive the business costs too high. Our American Consumers have proven that they are not willing to pay a Premium for their involvement. Unfortunately there is no such control on the Public side." G2A

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Trump Trade War

Well people say they want someone to increase wages and costs in the USA, maybe Trump is the answer to their dreams...  Of course the efforts will likely have some terrible unintended consequences...  Thoughts?

CNN Trump Chaos Goes Global
CNN White House Chaos
CNN White House Feuds
FOX News GOP Pushes Back Against Tariffs
FOX News Trump Says Trade War Good
VOX Tariffs and the Stock Market

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Why Operate on Grandma?

On one hand Americans are obsessed with the cost and availability of healthcare.
On the other they have a great fear of rationing / using health dollars wisely.

My FB Friend pointed me to this fascinating piece.  Below are related links, and I threw in the obesity one to remind folks that comparing America to other countries is not as straight forward as looking at the numbers alone. We are a very different culture...

Other Links...
OECD Doc: Americans are Tubby
G2A American Healthcare Cost Drivers
Peterson Infographic
Common Wealth Review
Atlantic How We Spent $3.4 Trillion
HBR Seriously Ill Patients
From HBR... "One-quarter of all Medicare dollars are spent on treatment during the final year of life, with one-third of the final-year expenditures squeezed into the last month before death. Over that period, 80% of spending is for hospital-based treatment, much of it in intensive care units (ICUs). America’s medical model has mastered trauma, infections, and other curable conditions — but it fails when it’s applied to advanced chronic illnesses."

Guns: Public Health Threat?

VOX Guns are a Public Health Threat

I have not read it, but the title caught my eye.

Are Union Dues Mandatory?

Sam does a good job of discussing this SCOTUS case; MinnPost Janus vs Unions Case  Here is my first comment that has garnered no responses. 
My usual questions.
  • How many here who strongly support Public Employee unions make your personal spending choices in order to support Private Employee unions and their employees?
  • Do you make your purchases to ensure the products and services are provided by American Union Workers whenever possible?   KOGOD Index 
If so, excellent !!!   If not:
  • What is your rationale for being pro-public employee union when you know that it drives up the taxes for all of us?
Here are some wise words from FDR Regarding Public Employee Unions
Now I am against Free Loaders in general, however I am not sure that forcing someone to pay dues to a non-governmental organization they oppose is acceptable either.  It will be interesting to see how SCOTUS rules.