Sunday, September 30, 2018

More MN Schools Need Help

Erin at MinnPost writes another informative piece.  Minnesota’s new school accountability system: How is it different — and how is it being received?

For folks like me this is excellent news, it mean that data is being collected, studied and used to ensure all kids get the attention they deserve.  The challenge of course is that if folks keep protecting adults from making the necessary changes, improvement will be slow and more unlucky kids will be sacrificed.
As always...  Let's put the needs of kids before the wants of adults!!!

Where is G2A (ie John)

Sean and Laurie have been busy calling me partisan again.  So I promised to re-visit my "world map". It is a simple tool called a Nolan diagram, and it may not be perfect however I think it is very useful.

Since I am for reducing the total cost of government (% of GDP) slightly, I am to the right of the vertical line. Whereas many of the Tea Party folks want to reduce that expenditure greatly. (ie privatized social security, medicare, etc) And the Liberals and Progressives want to increase that greatly. (ie universal healthcare, free college, etc)  So yes I see myself just Right of Center compared to all the citizens in the USA.

In the vertical direction, I am for less government rules in many areas. If I were King I would legalize physician assisted suicide, let Religious people say no to LGBT people, legalize prostitution, subsidize abortions until 14 weeks and long acting reversible contraception so poor women would be a s free as wealthy women, etc. Why many Democrats and Republicans want to tell others how to live their lives is beyond me.

I am not going to make it as an Anarchist or Libertarian because I am somewhat against making more drugs legal, I want to deport people who are in the country illegally and I want to stop irresponsible and incapable baby mamas and daddas from screwing up more generations of Americans. I guess I see all 3 of them as simply enforcing our countries current laws and/or protecting innocent Americans. (ie unlucky kids)

I added the PEW Polarization matrix to this version of the G2A Nolan Diagram.  And it seems to indicate that I am just left of the median Republican, which also seems about correct.

All of this probably explains why Liberals call me a Conservative...  And Conservatives call a Liberal...

Finally, yes I usually vote Republican. I don't like a lot of what they support, however they at least talk about constraining government spending and control in our lives.  Where as the Democrats only talk about more spending and government. I could happily vote for a Democratic politician if they were more fiscally moderate, unfortunately they do not seem to exist.  However I will be looking into Phillips and Klobuchar before I vote.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Yes281 Everyone Benefits

I assume some of you may think I am against supporting the local traditional Public Schools since I advocate for eliminating tenure, steps, lanes, etc.  Well you could not be more wrong... :-)

Please remember that I support helping our nation's youth, therefore I support school referendums, school charities, other charities, etc.  Therefore during the next month I will be spending sometime researching the RDale financial challenges and promoting the referendum.

RDale Referendum Page
Yes281 Facebook Page
RDale Financial Docs
RDale FAC (Not sure where past info is...)

Star Tribune Budget Gaps
Northstar Policy Revenue Data

China Interference in US Election

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

GOP Supporting ACA Protections?

From Laurie:

"GOP candidates need to lie about their positions on healthcare because if they are truthful they will lose too many votes.  A TV ad that crystallizes the biggest GOP lie about health care?"

Trump's Delusion on Display

CNN Donald Trump bragged about himself to the United Nations. The UN laughed.

I always wonder if he truly believes what he says...
"Which brings us to Tuesday morning -- and Trump's speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. "In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country," Trump said, as he does. "So true," said Trump, clearly caught by surprise by the laughter. "I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK," he added to more laughter and some applause."
I mean other than a major budget busting tax cut and spending bill and cutting of some regulations, what again has he accomplished?  I mean they tweaked the Korean trade deal, but so far that is the only finalized agreement.

Maybe he sees pulling out of deals and starting a global trade war as some kind of an accomplishment.

What is Civilized?

Moose posted the following comment and more over on The System is Working
"Civilization: a relatively high level of cultural and technological development
specifically : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained

That we've monetized health care does not make us a more civil people.  Thank you."

This was after I had noted:
"How is this different than in the USA? Everyone can go to the ER...

We spend more than a trillion dollars per year to care for our poor, young and/or elderly...

•Medicare spending grew 3.6% to $672.1 billion in 2016, or 20 percent of total NHE.
•Medicaid spending grew 3.9% to $565.5 billion in 2016, or 17 percent of total NHE.

And yet the Far Left still sees this inadequate."
I am always puzzled when Liberals are critical of how great things are in the USA. I mean it just seems to me that they have an idealistic dream that they want to attain no matter the other consequences.

According to this UN Report, the USA is #10 on it's Human Development Indices list (page 22). And that isn't even considering the amount of effort and money the USA invests around the world to maintain peace, support freedom, etc.

The UN Report describes many characteristics of a "Civilized Society", many seem to make sense.  Though I may need to review it later in more detail.

The one question that I have rolling around in my head is how would a civilized society address free loaders?  Those people who choose not to learn, work, etc...  Or those who choose to have more children than they can raise responsibly... 
  • Does a civilized society mean that these folks are allowed to live on the efforts of others?
  • Does a civilized society mean that everyone must learn, work, contribute and make good life choices?
To me, Moose seems to think "civilized" means that people can live however they want and still have housing, food, healthcare, kids, etc.  Which sounds nice except that the money has to come from somewhere...  Thoughts? 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The System is Working

David Schultz writes on MinnPost The irony of Donald Trump: The system works

I usually enjoy reading or listening to David's perspectives.  And it seems he has nailed it again.

Federal Spend and Revenue

From Laurie
"I saw this graph and thought it might interest John, as he could revise his belief that federal spending is out of control.  Chart of the Day: A Taxpayer’s Guide to Skyrocketing Federal Spending"

Now remember that Laurie trusts Kevin Drum and Mother Jones, so what he says / shows is very important to her.  Here is a similar chart from the CBO, and it is pretty well aligned with Kevin's. Though it clearly shows that spending is higher than revenues and planned to grow, even if we miraculously do not have a recession.

Now here are CBO charts of a longer term nature. I mean the charts above don't seem to show when the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds go broke.

So yes the federal government and we citizens do have a spending and/or revenue problem. Thoughts?

Here is a late addition for your consideration. Forbes The Federal Deficit: It's A Spending Problem It is a little dated and the spend trend line is a little flatter now, however in general it is still good information.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Arguments Make You Smarter

Now here is a headline I can agree with. BBC Why Becoming More Argumentative will Make You Smarter  My Korean friends and I were discussing my opinion that none of my readers ever change their position...  I told them that though sometimes the endless disagreements demotivate...  The endless learning I gain by being exposed to thousands of links, beliefs, facts, etc has made it more than worthwhile.
"Alone, we easily fall into lazy thinking and gather arguments to reinforce our assumptions. Only by setting yourself the challenge of convincing others, of finding the weaknesses in their arguments, and letting them seek out the faults in your arguments, can you test out ideas.

That’s why I’m arguing that you owe it to yourself, the people you work with, and society at large, to get into a good argument at least once a day. And by ‘good’, I mean both rigorous and respectful. As Gallo says, “Disagreement does not have to be unkind. It does not have to be mean. You can do it with empathy, compassion and kindness.”
After reading that, I feel so sorry for people who stay quiet in their little safe space.  And those who insist that they are correct and the answer is simple.

And before you start...😄  Yes I have strong beliefs and opinions. However I read every comment and link you provide in hopes of learning something new or understanding your perspective better.

Thanks to these endless back and forth discussions with you and others, I am very ready to defend my beliefs and rationale.  Unlike many people I challenge who answer with:
  • That's what Rush / FOX says...
  • That's what Paul Krugman / Mother Jones says...
  • You should just trust me...
  • You are stupid or Conservative
  • etc
Thank you for all the arguments!!!

You Are Fired

The following report and the relative stability of the Trump entourage has me wondering:
  • Will Trump be able to exercise enough self control to make it past the mid-term elections?
  •  In what order will people leave after the mid-terms elections?
  • Will Trump muster up enough courage to actually fire anyone?
  • Or will they need to learn they are unemployed via the TV news?
FOX News Hillary Clinton says Trump will 'wholesale fire people' after midterm elections

Some food for thought
Jeff Sessions
Jim Mattis
John Kelly
The Inner Circle List
Previous Departures

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Korean Meeting

VOX:  5 powerful images from Kim Jong Un’s historic meeting with South Korea’s president Hugs, flowers, and standing ovations marked the first day of the Pyongyang summit.

I had lunch with 5 gentlemen from South Korea today, so I found the above article interesting. In summary, the gentlemen would like peace to prevail on the peninsula for good reason. They seemed pretty confident that Kim Jong Un wants that also, and trusted in Moon Jae-in's ability to broker the peace.

I am less hopeful that this time will be different from the past attempts. However they told me that Kim Jong Un is different from his father due to the years he spent in the west

They also seemed interested in re-unifying South and North Korea at some point in the future.  Being the joker I am...  I told them that I was pretty sure Kim Jong Un would happily take over ruling a combined Korea if they let him. 😁 They did not seem to think that was a good idea.

Well I am praying that they are correct and I am incorrect.  Peace on the Korean peninsula would be a very good thing for everyone.

Here are a couple more recent pieces
BBC South Korea's Moon Jae-in: Caught between Trump and Kim

NBC North Korea is still making nukes, and the Trump admin is taking a harder lineThe newest intelligence shows Kim’s regime has stepped up efforts to hide its nuclear weapons production, say three senior U.S. officials.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trump's 5 Assaults on Democracy

Hillary seems pretty accurate in this. USA Today Hillary Clinton charges that President Trump has launched five 'assaults' on democracy
  1. Undermining the rule of law. Clinton points to news reports that Trump expected Attorney General Jeff Sessions to protect him from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, regardless of the law. She also accused Trump of urging the Justice Department to go after his political opponents. Although she didn't mention it in her essay, Clinton is one of the people Trump has publicly asked the department to investigate.
  2. Failing to protect the U.S. election system from further attacks from the Russians or other foreign governments. Clinton said Trump and Republicans also are trying to suppress voter participation by putting "onerous – and I believe illegal" – regulations in place.
  3. Attacking journalists and "waging war on truth and reason." Clinton talks about Trump's penchant for making false and misleading statements. She says he needs to learn to take criticism from the media and push back without destroying the free press.
  4. "Breathtaking corruption." Trump promised to "drain the swamp," but instead, Clinton contends, "It’s amazing how blithely the president and his Cabinet have piled up conflicts of interest, abuses of power, and blatant violations of ethics rules."
  5. Weakening national unity. "Trump doesn’t even try to pretend he’s a president for all Americans," Clinton writes. "It’s hard to ignore the racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says."
I mean there is no question about 1, 2, 3 & 5.  Trump does not believe in team building, collaboration, facts and data, encouraging peace, etc.  #4 seems accurate given the number of "Trump's best people" that got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Not sure if it is breath taking though.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Trump: The Kidney Stone

Eric Black at MinnPost has a very pragmatic article here. Andrew Bacevich makes me think I might be making too big a deal of Trump. Thoughts?
"If Bacevich is right, then I, too, am guilty of making too big a deal of Trumpist America. At least, for a moment, he has me thinking that I might be. 

Trump is not the disruptive force that anti-Trumpers accuse him of being. He is merely a noxious, venal, and ineffectual blowhard, who has assembled a team of associates who are themselves, with few exceptions, noxious, venal, or ineffectual.

So here’s the upshot of it all: if you were basically okay with where America was headed prior to November 2016, just take a deep breath and think of Donald Trump as the political equivalent of a kidney stone — not fun, but sooner or later, it will pass. And when it does, normalcy will return. Soon enough you’ll forget it ever happened.

If, on the other hand, you were not okay with where America was headed in 2016, it’s past time to give up the illusion that Donald Trump is going to make things right. Eventually a pimple dries up and disappears, often without leaving a trace. Such is the eventual destiny of Donald Trump as president."
Here is the latest example...
CNN Yes, Trump can sink even lower than denying the death toll in Puerto Rico

Friday, September 14, 2018

Kerry Meets with Iran Personnel

Apparently Trump did not learn that attacking veterans is bad for his approval ratings.  Now he is going after John Kerry.

CNN Pompeo blasts Kerry's Iran meetings as 'beyond inappropriate'
The Hill Trump Slams Kerry

So should Kerry be talking with these folks or not?  Rationale?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What is Wrong with Work Requirements

From Laurie:
Here is an off topic link for John about what is wrong with work requirements
The GOP’s cruelty toward the poor is paying dividends in suffering

And We Wonder Why Our Schools Struggle

VOX Students are waging war on sexist and racist school dress codes — and they’re winning Traditional dress codes punish marginalized students disproportionately, but this anti-racist, anti-sexist dress code could fix that.

Being a fan of school uniforms and / or dressing appropriately for the activity... I mean my weekend clothes are oil / paint stained, full of burn holes and very well worn. I love to wear them to my family's embarrassment. That does not mean that I should wear them to the office.

Why are these idiots spending energy on dress codes?  Half the kids in inner city schools are FAILING ACADEMICALLY, and there answer is to let them dress for a nightclub, gang meeting or a yoga class?

I do feel for the kids when so many adults want to enable their feelings of freedom, instead of teaching them to become successful adults.

G2A Are Dress Codes Sexist?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What's in Your Wallet?

PEW Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator

This is an interesting calculator. My demographic was Bachelors Degree or more, 45 to 64, White and Married.  And it reports...

It is a pretty simplistic calculator since it just has only 1 number for household income. So should a person include IRA / 401K gains, benefits or just salary?  So instead I tested where middle class started and ended for a family of 5 in the Twin Cities region.  It turned out to be a pretty wide range:

  • Low to Middle: ~$59,000
  • Middle to Upper: ~$180,000 
So depending on what income is include my household would either be upper middle or lower upper, which seems about correct.

For comparison, here was the distribution for Black, High School Degree, Single, 30 to 44.
And Black, College Degree, Married, 30 to 44.
It may be simple, but it is interesting.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Trump vs Obama

I sure do like listening to Obama speak, he is an incredible orator.  Though I am curious who he will be helping by becoming visible again?

Will he enrage the right get out and vote?
Will he get the left motivated to actually show up at the polls?

VOX Speech Transcript

Guy in the Plaid Shirt...

This guy in the plaid shirt video is hilarious. The Trump crew apparently hand picks people to stand behind Trump and instructs them to be supportive.  Then removes anyone who does not comply.  Then replaces them with some staged hotties to make Trump look good. 

As always, I often wonder if the Trump True Believers understand how focused he is on manipulating them?  Here is some background...  NYT How He Got His Seat

Friday, September 7, 2018

Trump Says: Your Fault if I get Impeached

CNN Trump tells supporters it'll be 'your fault' if he gets impeached

I have to wonder if Trump has ever accepted personal responsibility for any of his errors???  Or if he always rationalizes that someone else failed and he is just a victim of their incompetence...  I am guessing he always self identifies someone else to blame. Remember this concept.
"Psychologists have shown that all humans are subject to “fundamental attribution error.” When we assess others, we tend to attribute successes to circumstance and failures to character — and when we assess our own lives, it is the opposite. "

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Thoughts from the Adults in White House

NYT I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

I am assuming the opinion piece is going to drive Trump even crazier... Just think how he is going to look at all of his senior staff after this...  I wonder if he will bring in the lie detector machines??? This seems related.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Trump Never Ceases to Amaze

And not in a good way... Over the weekend, Trump apparently tweeted that Jeff Sessions should have delayed indictments until after the election for political reasons.
"Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......"

The irony of course being that he begs for the Justice Dept to play politics, while accusing them of playing politics with the Russia mess.

The amusing part of the week will be reading about Trump's response to Bob Woodward's new book.