Friday, August 31, 2018

China is Oceania from 1984

Now I enjoy my visits to China, things are neat, people are nice, infrastructure is incredible, etc. However when I read these things I have to wonder... At what cost?

VOX China’s brutal crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, explained

BI China has started ranking citizens with a creepy 'social credit' system — here's what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you

HP Welcome To The Surveillance State: China’s AI Cameras See All

I may have to read 1984 again to check... But it seems we have a modern day Oceania...
“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Thursday, August 30, 2018

MDE Northstar School Accountability

From Jerry over here
"I don't know where you get your ideas of "the religious right." I doubt you will find many child abusers, and certainly not those tolerant of such, among them. What is fascinating here is that you seem to suggest that the 1% of kids who are abused by their parents are somehow a good reason to ignore the 99% of kids abused by the government's education system. Both are unnecessary and wrong, and even government itself finally recognizes their efforts are inadequate. 
Star Tribune MDE Accountability Review  Results. Not sure what this "extra help" consists of-- probably high-sounding phrases-- but at least we are identifying the problem and putting blame where it belongs, on the schools.

By the way, one of your citations on the incidence of abuse says that poverty only accounts for something like 20% of cases (on 1% of kids). Schools account directly for 100% of educational failures. We should be looking at proximate causes of education failures, not secondary determinants."

MDE School and District Accountability
MDE Schools Recognized for Success
MDE Resources for Struggling Schools

Just a quick reminder...
Jerry thinks that the status quo public schools own ~100% of the academic achievement gap problem and that school vouchers and free choice will in some way work miracles. (ie lower costs, increase performance, eliminate the gap, end poverty, etc)

Where as I believe the status quo public schools own maybe 30% of the academic achievement gap problem, and that it will take holding irresponsible, incompetent and/or neglectful parent(s) AND Schools / Social Services accountable to turn this around.

Anything is possible, given the right mix of Parent, Student and School Qualities. However we need systems that start before age 5 and do not leave out the truly unlucky kids. Remember that race and poverty are not the cause of poor academic performance... The cause is incapable or neglectful parent(s)...

Here are some links from the Desegregation Post Comments for your convenience.
Best results are Whiter and Wealthier...
Best Performing MN Schools
Struggling Schools
This is a very interesting link
Poverty is correlated to Low Kindergarten Readiness
Another interesting source.
Great Schools Changes Criteria
Great Schools New Criteria
Harlem Children's Zone first failures...
Whatever It Takes
It looks like Obama did try.
Promise Neighborhoods

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Social Media and Free Speech

FOX News John Stossel: Will social media put freedom of speech in jeopardy?

CNN Debunking Donald Trump's latest conspiracy theory on Google

The above remind me of Should the President Shutdown the Media?

Apparently these Conservative folks want to tell private businesses what content they must allow on their sites and how it will be displayed.  Isn't that an about face from the supposed...  Government control should be light.

Here are some people debating the issue on NPR.

And just to make clear, I am fine with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Youtube, etc having and enforcing content rules. When idiots like Alex Jones do this...  Time for him to be blocked.

Trade Commentary

This is an interesting pragmatic piece from an interesting source.
WAPO Two cheers for Trump's trade agreement with Mexico

Hopefully Trump heals the wounds he inflicted soon and gets focused on the elephant in the room. (ie China)

I mean our consumers have already help fund their military...  Probably time to slow that funding down.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Who Is Economy Good For?

Bloomberg Trump Promises Undercut by Wage Stagnation
Now I can relate to this article since I do not see any significant changes occurring in my compensation anytime soon.  The corporate tax savings is being used to buy back stock, not reward workers... And Lord knows expenses keep increasing...

So how are the voters going to take Trump bragging about the great stock market when half of them own no stock and for the most part many have no savings?

Double Std? How to Behave Now

FOX News: Cal Thomas: Mark Penn was right about Trump, Hillary and double standards. Trump should respond by doing this

This is an interesting piece of pragmatic opinion writing.  Of course, Trump can not likely exercise the self control that the author recommends.  Which bodes poorly for the GOP  in November.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

McCain Misunderstood

This is a pretty cool piece... VOX We asked 11 senators what’s most misunderstood about John McCain 

I think we will all miss John McCain...  Especially as the 2 tribes keep working to tear our country apart.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Trump Should Resign?

This article caught my attention since it was in a Conservative publication, and the author makes an excellent case.  Washington Examiner via MSN Trump doesn't deserve impeachment (but he should resign)

I am not sure why any American would want to keep this divisive tawdry soap opera going on in our country's highest office, especially when it seems that Pence would do okay as President.

Of course it is highly unlikely that Trump will have the humility and/or wisdom to do what is best for the country.  I mean he is a narcissistic meglo-maniac who loves the attention / notoriety.  But we can keep hoping that he someday puts the nation's needs before his own pride.

I just had another thought: I really feel for Melania and his children. I mean they probably knew that their patriarch was a sleezy philanderer since he is on his third younger trophy wife, however having to see it proven in the media day after day has to be traumatizing. 😣

Friday, August 24, 2018

Why Mandatory Health Insurance is Good

VOX The success of Medicaid expansion, explained in 5 charts

The above may fit in well with the discussion we were having at Obamacare vs TrumpCare  In summary, I believe that every citizen in the USA should be required to:

My logic is pretty simple...  When something serious happens people go BROKE, then us tax payers and/or consumers end up paying the bills + collection / bankruptcy expenses... (ie bankruptcies, uncollectible debts, etc)  The "patients" poor choice costs us MONEY...

We force car drivers to carry liability insurance for the exact same reason. We want to make sure that the driver has the money to pay their bills in case something BAD happens. We do not want some one else to pay for their buying a bargain policy or driving without insurance.  Therefore society through the government demands that people buy insurance of some minimally acceptable amount / type.

And yet for some reason Conservatives like Jerry have no problem with letting people save money today by going along without health insurance. Which of course is like letting people drive with NO LIABILITY INSURANCE.  I mean we know that some percentage of these people will  get cancer. heart disease, or some very expensive illness...  And unfortunately we tax payers / consumers will end up paying their bills since we are not allowed to let them die as a consequence for their being CHEAP and TAKING A BAD RISK...

Therefore, mandating appropriate healthcare insurance is to protect all of us from irresponsible people transferring their expenses to us. (ie bankruptcies, uncollectible debts, etc)

Below are a couple of comments from Jerry and Sean regarding my belief.
"...let people decide if they need liability insurance on their car." Not what I said at all. Liability insurance is mandated because it affects others (though many cannot afford it and don't have it, which is why I need "uninsured motorist" coverage), but if I want comprehensive I can CHOOSE to have it and pay for it. Health insurance is ALL for your benefit, so none should be mandatory by YOUR analogy.

And you are still not grasping the difference between health care and health insurance. Those who are under-insured, deliberately or by virtue of it being unaffordable [under the "Affordable Care Act" :-( ] still get health care through the emergency room, or charity, or by running up bills they can or cannot pay. Yes, we "all" (some of us far more than others) "pay" for that care, in some fashion. But YOUR solution would have us all pay for INSURANCE against those events, whether needed or not, whether wanted or not, or usable or not, or whether the cost of care could be covered by any of a number of other mechanisms. And that drives UP costs for everybody, meaning FEWER people can afford coverage. It's just backwards.

Just look at what happened after Obamacare mandated that everybody have "acceptable" insurance. Emergency room visits for basic care went UP. People lost the plans they liked. Doctors left the profession rather than accept the mandates and poor reimbursements. Like all liberal utopias, Obamacare was long on good intentions and short of sensible policy. Trumpcare, regardless of what it may be, must be better." Jerry
"Here in the real world, the number of licensed doctors in the U.S. increased by 100,000 between 2010 and 2016. A Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States, 2016" Sean

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Twin Cities Past Desegregation Effort

This is an interesting article by Erin at Minnpost.  I remember back when I used to see the taxis pulling up at the Rdale schools.

How Does Sarah Huckabee Sanders Do It?

I can not even imagine having to go out in front of millions of people each day a try to dance around the truth / lies everyday. One would think her credibility for any future jobs is shot... Except for maybe a tell all book... Then again it seems many people / companies want an employee with her skill set.  :-)

CNN Sarah Sanders on Michael Cohen case: Trump 'did nothing wrong'

VOX In Fox interview, Trump seems to confess a campaign finance violation while trying to deny it. He doesn’t get what the illegal part was.

FOX Trump insists he learned of Michael Cohen payments 'later on,' in 'Fox & Friends' exclusive

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Luck vs Effort

Now we discussed this topic before in G2A Are You a Self Made Person, G2A Why Are Poor People Poor and at other time, however this VOX piece gives us another opportunity.
VOX The radical moral implications of luck in human life
I agree with much of what it has to say.  I have tried to convince some people that luck was the major factor for their success in life...  And needless to say but many successful people DO NOT LIKE and CAN NOT ACCEPT that luck is why they are near the top of the heap.
Where as I think acknowledging my good fortune is critical to living by my G2A Principles.  I mean just think of how good I had it compared to many others:
  • I was born at Methodist Hospital in St Louis Park MN  USA.
  • I had 2 loving capable and sometimes nagging parents.
  • Though not perfect, my parents were good role models.
  • I lived for ~12 years in the cities and 6+ years on a farm.
  • I developed a solid work ethic on the farm.
  • College was not an option, and my family helped pay for it.
The other advantage I am still uncertain of is that I was born to 2 white parents. I do acknowledge based on years of discussion that it was a significant factor, however I want to remind people that it SHOULD NOT be an excuse for the high level of single parent and broken dysfunctional homes going forward. 

Please remember that I think my life should not be considered a life of privilege. I think it should be considered normal, and a life that we should expect / demand for almost every child in America.  (well except for the hospital and the farm... :-))

Now the questions are:
  • How do we stop Liberals for making excuses for poor Parent(s)?
  • How do we get Successful people to be more humble and willing to help others who were born /raised in much worse circumstances?

Monday, August 20, 2018

GOP Has a New Face of Evil

And she is much cuter than Nancy Pelosi... :-)

From Sean:
"The RNC -- the national party -- released a statement attacking Ocasio-Cortez today, accusing her of wanting to turn the U.S. into Venezuela. Don't tell me that conservatives aren't trying to make her a symbol. As a comparison, can you think of a case where Democrats have similarly nationalized a Republican legislator? The Democrats haven't nationalized Roy Moore, tying him to every race in the country. Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty sent out a mailer with Ocasio-Cortez's picture on it. "

VOX Why conservatives love to hate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

To answer Sean's question, I guess I think the DEMs are currently using Trump and his Tribe as the face of evil today.  I mean every local race seems to be about him and them in some way.

And it seems that Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez are naturals for the GOP. I mean they are putting themselves out there on the national stage preaching tax / spend and the social state.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

John Dean: Rat or Hero?

Trump certainly has a flawed concept of what a rat is and what a good citizen is...

but then again he is the guy who said while a jury was in deliberation to determine if Paul is guilty on 18 counts of serious crimes that may get him locked up for the rest of his life...

"He happens to be a very good person, and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."

His idea of "good character" is certainly questionable.

Truth isn’t Truth

Maybe Jerry is actually Rudy Giuliani, he is making a very similar argument over here.

First there were "alternative facts", and now Rudy has another winner.

VOX “Truth isn’t truth”: Rudy Giuliani offers a new explanation of why Trump shouldn’t talk to Mueller...   Chuck Todd’s response: “This is going to become a bad meme.”

Why do these folks fight so hard against just saying... Yes Trump Lies Often...  We knew he did and still elected him....  This is nothing new.

Friday, August 17, 2018

ObamaCare vs TrumpCare

Jerry referenced the opinion piece by Alex M. Azar II is U.S. secretary of health and human services that was posted on WAPO.  There is some truth to it and yet it is also worth serious review and analysis.   Obamacare forgot about you. But Trump didn’t.  I copied it here for your convenience.
For all the discussion of Obamacare since its passage, it is too rarely known that the law effectively split the United States’ individual insurance market in two .

One group of Americans — about 8 million enrollees in 2017 — now pay, on average, less than a quarter of the cost of their health insurance, receiving ever-growing taxpayer subsidies to insulate them from Obamacare’s high premiums. But there is a second group of Americans who have faced the full premium increases driven by the law’s broken regulations. Roughly 5 million Americans, as of 2017, have chosen to pay those premiums without any subsidies, while 28 million other Americans remain uninsured, many priced out of coverage entirely.

The law’s skyrocketing subsidies have kept subsidized insurance enrollment fairly steady — although more than 50 percent below what was once expected. But Americans who make too much to receive subsidies have begun to opt out of the insurance market en masse. An independent analysis found that the entire unsubsidized individual insurance market shrank by more than 40 percent from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2018. In other words, Obamacare has forced unsubsidized Americans to choose between unaffordable insurance and no insurance at all.

This is unacceptable. It is one reason the Trump administration recently expanded an affordable insurance option the previous administration had all but discarded, providing new choices for these forgotten men and women.

Americans will once again be able to buy what is known as short-term, limited-duration insurance for up to a year, assuming their state allows it. These plans are free from most Obamacare regulations, allowing them to cost between 50 and 80 percent less.

President Trump said on June 19 that association health plans will "rescue Americans from Obamacare."

Insurers will also be able to sell renewable plans, allowing consumers to stay on their affordable coverage for up to 36 months. Consumers can also buy separate renewability protection, which will allow them to lock in low rates in their renewable plans even if they get sick.

Unsurprisingly, experts believe there will be healthy demand for these affordable options. Up to 2 million Americans, and possibly more, are expected to enroll within the next few years.

Such plans were offered for terms of up to 12 months for decades until, in an effort to push Americans into Obamacare, the previous administration restricted the plans to 90 days and prohibited insurers from renewing them beyond that time period. This eliminated them as an option except for the shortest transitions between other sources of coverage.

But these short-term plans can be a good option for many Americans priced out of Obamacare’s regulations — especially small-business owners, independent contractors in today’s “gig economy” and younger Americans transitioning between school and employment.

The Trump administration has gone to significant lengths to ensure customers know that these plans are not subject to the same regulations as Obamacare plans and that they are not the right choice for everyone. In fact, we require more robust warnings about the limits of these plans than President Barack Obama’s administration did.

Some have raised concerns about the possibility that short-term plans will pull healthy consumers out of the Obamacare exchanges, driving up premiums. But estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services actuary suggest any such premium increases would be minimal and would not affect subsidized consumers. This is, in part, because those without subsidies who were previously enrolled in Obamacare plans have already left those plans in droves because of premium hikes under the law. For these consumers, short-term plans can offer an affordable option. Our decision to allow renewability and separate premium protections could also allow consumers to hold on to their short-term coverage if they get sick, rather than going to the exchanges, which improves the exchange risk pools.

Fundamentally, this administration believes in more options, not fewer, for consumers. Expanding short-term insurance is just part of President Trump’s larger agenda to improve health-care choice and competition for Americans.

The president signed legislation that will end the individual mandate penalty starting in 2019. Repealing the mandate and expanding short-term plans mean that millions of middle-class Americans who couldn’t afford health insurance will now be able to do so. The Labor Department has also made it easier for small businesses and self-employed Americans to band together to purchase more affordable insurance through association health plans. And last year, the Trump administration took rapid, decisive action to help stabilize the Obamacare markets and end ways to game the system. We have also worked closely with states to develop solutions that can bring down premiums and expand choices.

Starting about two months from now, thanks to this president, insurers and states will have more freedom to offer consumers more options. Obamacare remains broken at its core, but this administration isn’t shutting out the law’s forgotten Americans. Instead, we’re finally giving them affordable choices.

Here is what Kiplinger Finance had to say about the "bargain plans". And here is a Politico piece describing Trump Admin spin.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Freedom of Speech

These stories are all very interesting:
"Additionally, Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations – wild outbursts on the internet and television – about this Administration. Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation’s most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos. " Trump

Of course, the Trump True Believers will believe him.  That is what they do.  Thankfully most of will see this as petty revenge by a petty man who truly does seek to sow division and chaos through lies and incorrect statements. Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

MN Primaries

I am finding it hard to see Jeff Johnson as a Trump Republican...  However one must remember that this is a national news guy stating an pre-determined view.  My guess he had no idea the conflicted views Minnesotans had regarding Pawlenty.

Even VOX was tracking our results...  Thoughts?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Romney for President

I think our country really screwed up when Romney lost in 2012...  Just think..

We would have had 4 fewer years of Obama in office and Trump would never have gotten in.

However the ever diverging Far Left and Far Right voters keep rejecting moderate politicians.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Is Laura Ingraham Speaking for Many?

When I watch the FOX News channel while visiting Mom and Dad I find it almost surreal what Ingraham, Hannity and the other Opinion folks say. There is pretty much no real news, just a lot of propaganda spewing that apparently folks from Tribe Conservative are happy to hear because it aligns with their beliefs.

I want to give her the benefit of the doubt that she is not a big time racist, however it is real hard given the vitriol she spewed...  I mean when she has to clarify her message and tell the Klan folks that she does not support their views...  She certainly said something stupid.  Now the question is ...

Did she learn something that she will do differently next time?

CNN What Laura Said
The Hill Laura Saudi
DH Laura Clarifies Her Message

Monday, August 6, 2018

National Debt and Higher Interest Rates

This is an interesting opinion piece regarding why the National Debt will get more attention in the coming years...  And yet the same Republicans who cried foul when Obama was President are silent now days...

CRFB Summary
G2A Hope Our Kids Forgive Us

Jury Notice Page 2

Here is what I learned last night and today... And how I explained it to my co-workers...
Good Morning,

Well it looks like I will be working from the Hennepin County Gov’t Center juror pool waiting room until they release me…  I read Page One and did the on line work as directed, including giving them phone and email contact information. So I assumed I was all set up… :-)

Unfortunately Page 2 explained how I had to call in by LAST Friday if I wanted to be “on call”… :-(

 The good news is they do have WIFI and Free coffee on Monday only… Now if I only drank coffee... :-o

Talk later and wish me luck… And remember to Read Page 2 when dealing with the government… :-)


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mueller Probe Harming USA?

CNN Trump says Sessions should Stop Mueller Investigation
"This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"

What is funny about this of course is that most of us would not even know that a probe was on going except that Trump brings it up every chance he gets.  I mean Mueller has been keeping his head down, investigating and filing charges where appropriate.

CNN Lawyers Try to Walk Back Tweets
FOX News Stop the Investigation

All this and Trump now saying that Collusion is not a Crime makes me wonder how close Mueller is getting to Trump or his family members...

Blevins Protest Commentary


A man sitting in town shooting a gun.
A man runs from police and takes gun with him.
A man repeatedly ignores officer commands
A man pulls gun from pocket .
The police shoot the foolish man......

And they choose to protest instead of praise the officers.

I will never understand these folks.