Thursday, May 31, 2018

Carrots, Sticks and Other

From The 2018 session of the Minnesota Legislature was a failure. But whose failure was it?
"It is also the choice of people to live in urban areas, fail in our free K-12 education system, make too many babies too early, stay dependent on welfare, rely on government to "fix their problems", etc

With this in mind, the map I linked to pretty clearly shows that people in Urban and Rural areas have very different belief systems.. No matter their race, religion, sex, etc.

Given how animated and aggressive our Political Tribes have been the last 10+ years, do you really think they are that different from the Shiites and Sunnis?

That I is why I fear the growing divide and intolerance between the tribes more than Russia, China, etc... Thank heavens we have a system that ensures everyone is listened to, no matter where they live or what they believe." G2A

"That hot bed of Red States, the South, has an auto industry solely because of huge government subsidies that dwarf things like SNAP. So when Righties decry dependency, they should remove the plank on their own eye first." Frank

"Carrots, Sticks or Other:
I am fine with government using carrots and sticks to help improve our country. States often entice businesses by reducing the taxes they will pay for a period of time. That is using carrots to attract jobs for their citizens. The State, business and citizens win...

I am fine with government using sticks to punish companies when they make bad decisions. Like the huge fines that were levied against the banks after the Great recession.

Now for my question... In what way does SNAP, TANF, etc serves as either a carrot or a stick? How does it entice citizens to make better decisions? How does it punish citizens for making bad decisions? How does it benefit our country and support a better future?

Or is it just a way to keep people dependent and controlled?" G2A

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

4 Topics Americans Must Resolve

'The Politics of Problem Solving': Four big topics Americans need to discuss is a pretty good piece. The writer claims the following 4 topics are important to resolve:
  • More and better jobs in the future. Job creation and our future workforce is a complex issue that includes work readiness of those now perceived as difficult to place, including providing early education assistance with a focus on literacy by third grade and adult one-on-one mentoring. Too many current workers have been both underemployed and unemployed, dating to the Great Recession of 2008. Joblessness is a national crisis short-changing people who want to invent, innovate, create and contribute. Simply decreasing taxes and regulations or increasing current taxpayer spending is only part of the answer.
  • Deficits and debt. America’s debt-to-GDP ratio is around 74 percent; that is higher than at any time in U.S. history, except for a short period after World War II, and more than double what it was a decade ago. The annual federal deficits that regularly top $1 trillion (that’s with twelve zeroes) and the $21 trillion collective federal debt demonstrates that our nation’s spending has consistently outpaced the money we generate. The burden of our increasing debt — including the interest we pay on it — will eventually crash the system unless we can phase in responsible and growing budgets while preserving the safety net to those most in need. We must do this while dealing with an aging, longer-living population, with falling birthrates and rising short- and long-term health-care costs.
  • Long-term Social Security and Medicare solvency. Americans need assurances that the solvency of Social Security and Medicare will help provide necessary lifelines for recipients for decades into the future. Social Security and Medicare are not sustainable on their current trajectories. There are no easy answers to this very important challenge, and the discussion must not deteriorate into an annual political football.
  • Energy security is a global challenge. America and the world need a lot more energy in the future; and that energy must be increasingly clean to mitigate the effects of climate change. That’s why American energy independence is no longer sufficient. What we and the rest of our interdependent world need is energy security. When the U.S. and other nations are energy-secure, it becomes far more likely that nations can manage unexpected but inevitable surprises in prices, an environmental crisis or an outbreak of war. America must strive for more energy supply from domestic sources; more efficient uses; modern, reliable and resilient electrical generation and transmission; and a more sustainable and cleaner fuel mix.
Of course the Liberal commenters jumped to attack, so here is the comment I left there.
"It seems to me that Chuck's problem statements are pretty good and challenging. And his bio seems good. Chuck's Bio What fascinates me is that the usual Liberals continue to propose their same old tired solutions to these challenging problems.  
    • "Just tax successful people more and give it to unsuccessful people"  
    • "Just mandate higher wages via Unions or laws"...  
I have yet to understand how that is going to increase the capabilities of the American work force, encourage US consumers to spend money in this country, grow the wealth of America, pay down our debts, etc.  
Where as Chuck seems to be promoting better educational outcomes, working to attract employers, growing our economy, spending wisely, etc. I wish Chuck and the group success." G2A

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Lost Immigrant Children

I am never sure who I am most disappointed with, Trump for lying or foolish citizens for believing him.
"The President said earlier this month that: "we have to break up families ...the Democrats gave us that law. It's a horrible thing, we have to break up families." 
But there is no law requiring the government to separate kids of undocumented migrants or asylum seekers from their parents -- least of all one passed by Democrats. 
It is the Trump administration's own policy to refer every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution, with the result that children are separated from their parents because they cannot legally follow them into the federal prison system. 
The law on that issue was a bipartisan initiative, approved by unanimous consent and signed by Republican President George W. Bush, as CNN's Jake Tapper and have reported. It does not require parents and children to be separated at the border."
What fascinates me is that the Trump True Believers do not seem to mind being manipulated by him and his lies... He "sings" and they dance to his tune every time... Even now they are out there likely cursing the DEMs for making Trump break up families and lose children.  Even though these are Trump's policies and his "government" losing the kids.

For reference: List of Trump Lies

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Somali Daycare Fraud

What you need to know about Somali money transfers and 'mysterious bags full of cash' flying out of MSP airport By Ibrahim Hirsi

Well I know it won't surprise you, but my comments and questions regarding this piece did not show up at MinnPost... Now I understand that Ibrahim is interested in helping us understand Hawalas and why they are a necessary money transfer method. He wants to put the best possible spin on a kind of sketchy situation. I get it and it makes sense. My comment / questions went something like this since I neglected to copy it before submitting it.
"I know very little about the Somali culture, however if you want to be candid and help us truly understand it. I think you need to also address the following questions. As to my perspective, please remember that I am a big proponent of parents only having the number of children that they can financially support themselves and raise well.
A couple of other thoughts occurred to me as I have written:
  • If these folks are "poor" and receiving government benefits to help their children.  Why is a LOT of CASH going to Somalia?
  • Does this mean that we are giving our other "poor" citizens too much financial assistance?
  • Should the US Tax Payers really be making "welfare payments" to folks who live in Somalia?

Friday, May 25, 2018

MN State of Dysfunction

This is an excellent MinnPost piece that describes what happened this year in the MN session.  Or more accurately what did not happen.  I always thought that our system is based on compromise, it seems that Dayton disagrees.

It did little to describe what Dayton was hung up over though, so here are some other related pieces.
MPR Dayton Torpedoes
AE Dayton Error
MPR Ground Water Spat
ST Dayton Promises VETO

After reading these it seems to me that Dayton was/is being dictatorial and petty.  Am I missing something?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Paulsen's Townhall Meeting Rules

From Hiram: "Having just seen the conditions that Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen have put on attending their town hall meetings, I would say they wouldn't be out of place at a Communist Party gathering in Smolensk during Stalin's heyday."

From Jerry: "Oh, piffle. Town Hall meetings should not be a place for violence and loud demonstrations. You should not only need a ticket to get in, but maybe post a surety bond as well. It isn't Lewis and Paulson creating the need for these measures, it's the rabid left-fascists."

Hiram, So what do you see as unacceptable about Paulsen's policy? It seems rational and balanced to me.
"Thank you for your interest in joining Congressman Erik Paulsen for a live town hall meeting in Hamel. We're still finalizing details of the event, but we encourage you to sign up here to attend. To ensure constituents of Rep. Paulsen have as much time as possible to speak with the Congressman, the event is limited to residents of Minnesota's Third Congressional District only. 
Please note that due to the limited seating capacity at the venue, attendees will be selected at random and will receive a ticket over the weekend should they be selected. 
Ticketed guests should plan to arrive by 9:45 a.m. to ensure adequate time for check-in. 
Please bring a valid photo ID -- the name on the ticket must match the name on the ID.
Absolutely no weapons or signs are allowed inside the venue."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Trump Russia and the Moving Bar

I still find it amazing that GOP citizens are not demanding more transparency from Trump. Are they so certain that he is guilty or incompetent?
  • First he insists "there were no discussions with the Russians"...  Oops I guess there were a few...
  • Then "I am going to hire the best people"... Oops some may be criminals, others lied to the FBI and some beat their wives...
  • The "I did nothing wrong, so I would be happy to be interviewed"... Oops maybe being interviewed is not necessary...
  • All the while trying to point to other "wrong doers".
I mean if his name was Obama they would have had him strung up by now.  We should demand that Trump sit for the Special Counsel, a truly innocent citizen would have nothing to fear by being asked about their meetings, activities, relationships, business dealings, etc.  I mean even Hillary was man enough to be interviewed by people from the other tribe.  Why is Trump such a BIG CHICKEN?

CNN Trumps Evolving Defense
CNN 11 Falsehoods in 5 Tweets
CNN Trump Claim Deja Vu
CNN Mueller Giuliani

China and The South China Sea

Apparently politicians are the same the world over.  They lie often...

"In a 2015 visit to Washington, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured then-US President Barack Obama, "China does not intend to pursue militarization." But US military officials say China's recent military activities belie that promise."  China Lands Bombers on Man Made Islands

As a reminder, an international court ruled unanimously against China on this issue.  Here is some more detailed history.  WIKI Philippines vs China  And here is a good explanation of why the China logic regarding their illegal "land grabs" are so flawed

The question is what will the international community do about China militarily invading their modern day neighbors.

And will the Chinese government use their growing military power for the good of the world?

Or will they use it to prey on their weaker neighbors like some ancient conquering empire?


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Daycare Subsidy Fraud Magnitude?

From the Fox link. "For five months, Fox 9 has been investigating what appears to be rampant fraud in a massive state program. This fraud is suspected of costing Minnesota taxpayers as much as $100 million a year. The Fox 9 Investigators reporting is based on public records and nearly a dozen government sources who have direct knowledge of what is happening."

ST Auditor Involved
FOX Suit Cases of Money
MPR Questionable Source
AN Swanson Drop Ball?

What fascinates me about this is how is an Auditor going to figure this out after the fact?

I mean let's assume that the Daycare Businesses and cooperating Parents filled in the correct forms and records that enabled them all to get paid.  How is anyone going to know if the children were at the day care on days in the past?

I assume it will come back to "who got paid" all that money?

More Children Die / Travel Update

CNN These are the Victims of Santa Fe Shooting

Well based on the G2A Gun Control Plan... (copied below for convenience) I am thinking that #6 and #7 are applicable to this shooting.  And I think the "GUN OWNER", the young man's Father should be sentenced to whatever his Son gets. It was his responsibility to keep his guns secure from use by his unstable son.  When will we start holding gun owners responsible for keeping their weapons secure?
Just an FYI, I am busily globe trotting again and being in China kept me from posting. (reminder: my blog is hosted by a google application) Here is what the "glamor" of business travel looks like...
  • Tuesday depart MSP and Wednesday Night arrive Shanghai
  • Thursday Noon depart Shanghai  for Guiyang
  • Friday night depart Guiyang for Shanghai
  • Saturday night depart Shanghai for Delhi (arrive 2 AM)
  • Thankfully I get to settle into this hotel for a few days
  • Thursday depart Delhi at 3:30 AM and arrive MSP on Thursday afternoon
By the way, Guiyang looked absolutely beautiful from what I could see from the taxi cab. :-)  Maybe someday I can spend more time looking around and less time in cabs and conference rooms. :-)

Fortunately my Delhi 3 day meeting got condensed to a 2 day meeting, so if I can get caught up on my sleep and work...  Maybe I can squeeze in a few hours of being a tourist.  If I do I will share some photos, but with an average high temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit for the next few days.  My "hotel room / office" is feeling pretty comfortable. :-)
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.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Those Evil Banks Are at It Again

So apparently after getting in big trouble for taking advantage of high risk mortgagees in the mid-2000's and supposedly causing a "Great Recession".  Now folks are unhappy because Big Banks are not loaning enough money to low income higher risk mortgagees.  And of course some people will claim that these decisions are race based and unfair.

G2A Here We Go Again
G2A Housing Debacle Revisited

Will Regarding Pence

So who is worse?  The lying megalomaniac or those who bow to and fawn over him?

WAPO Trump is No Longer the Worst Person in Government

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MN vs WI Economies

Are School Dress Codes Sexist?

A FB Friend linked to What I Teach My Teenage Daughter In Response To Her School’s Sexist Dress Code.  Apparently his teenage daughter ran afoul of the school code and had to change... So he could relate to the article.

After listening to these discussions through many years and 3 daughters, and after spending time in the schools... I side with the schools codes and would almost prefer that they went to specifying uniforms.... Even the best intentioned parent sometimes allows shorts that are just a little too short, leggings that are a bit thin, spaghetti strap tops, etc.

The irony is in our experience the rules are enforced more tightly for students with responsible parents, while the students who have challenges at home get a free pass. (ie soft bigotry of low expectations?)  Here is an example policy:
"DRESS, GROOMING T-SHIRT DESIGN AND POLICY Clothing may not include words or visuals which are obscene, abusive, disruptive or discriminatory, or which advertise alcohol, tobacco, narcotics or drugs. Dress or grooming which is disruptive of the classroom or school atmosphere is not allowed. Shoes must be worn at all times for health and safety reasons. EHS Class or Activity apparel including T-shirts and jerseys must be pre-approved (see T-shirt Designed/Ordered Spiritwear policy below). No face masks or face paint may be worn at any time. Students will be subject to disciplinary consequences in the event of noncompliance with these regulations."
Here is a more useful example of what is allowed and disallowed in many schools.  Now the folks who were anti-dress code seemed to think that they were unfairly sexist with all the focus on hem heights, straps, collar types, etc.  To which I answered that I just don't know many boys who want to wear short shorts and spaghetti strap tank tops that expose their belly button to school.

Then the discussion went towards the intent of the rules. They thought the schools unfairly enforce these draconian rules on girls to prevent the boys from being distracted.  And they believe that the young hormonal boys should be taught to avoid being distracted by attractive young women wearing skin tight clothing and/or showing a significant amount of skin.  I of course thought that was silly since I am 52 years old and still easily distracted after years of working against that millennia old male instinct.

Here were my closing thoughts over there... "As far I am aware girls are told to change because they are violating the district policy. Now I assume the intent of the policy is what you are concerned about, and I sure do not know that intent. Why do you think companies in America have casual Friday dress codes? I agree with ??? that this has less to do with boys and more to do with "appropriate dress".   So what is the consensus, should we all be able to wear whatever we want to work / school? Or should our society define common minimum expectations in these places of learning and work?"

This somewhat applies. G2A Judging vs Noticing

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Losing Faith in Social Security

This was an interesting piece regarding how retirees see the future of social security.  CNN Money: Retirees Losing Faith In SS  And it explains the problems that face the social security program.

And here are some interesting associated pieces.
CNN Money Will Women Outlive Retirement Funds?
CNN Money About  Annuities

Wednesday, May 2, 2018