consultants are sandburs

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Perry to send a thousand to the Texas-Mexico border. An Arizona paper says it's stupid, but then, it's Perry. One big question ---

Coverage a-plenty, Fox here, CBS here, the Arizona "it's stupid" item, here; the latter source stating:

In a wildly popular political move Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced that he will deploy about 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexico border, a decision that will cost the state about $12 million a month. Perry also has said that he would commit $1.3 million each week to the state's Department of Public Safety to assist in border security.

[...] So what will the National Guard do beside cost Texas taxpayers money?

It will help Perry, who wants to be a player in the next presidential election.

"If the federal government does not do its constitutional duty to secure the Southern border of the United States, the state of Texas will do it," Perry said Sunday at a Republican barbecue in Iowa (home of those early presidential caucuses.)

The move makes Perry look like he's doing something.

And he is.

He's costing Texas taxpayers a bundle of money.

Which is exactly what the Republican candidates in Arizona's race for the governor's job are promising to do.

It's the kind of tough talk that does nothing except waste cash and gain votes.


The ellipsis material covers why the thing is regarded as stupid beyond it being a Republican spending binge.

(Those tax-and-spend Republicans, their send-in-the-troops first move for every situation, is there no end to it in sight?)

Curiously, the entire Arizona item is without mention that Arizona has a Mexican border too, and how that might factor into opinions presented in an opinion piece out of Arizona, about Perry's use of his Guard troops.

In any event, CNN weighs in, this way:

Key questions about Rick Perry's border plan
By Leigh Ann Caldwell, CNN
updated 7:20 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014

Why did Perry call on the guard? [...]
But isn't this a crisis about kids? [...]
How does that stop the influx? [...]
So what will the border patrol do? [...]
What won't they do? [...]
How much will it cost and who will pay for it? [...]
Will it work? [...]
When will this take place and for how long? [...]
Is politics playing a role? [...]
Has the National Guard been sent to the border before? [...]
What is the situation on the border? [...]

Yes. If you want info beyond the sequencing of those sequential outline questions, the article format blurbs, follow the link. Make it a game, guess how CNN handles each question, write down your guesses, then calculate a score of your percentage of correct guesses. I leave it there since I did not read the thing.

My big question in all of this:

Will Rand Paul now try to set a new Senate filibusterer record, as a Tennessee politician's [i.e., no Mexican border to its south to grandstand over, only Missippi and Alabama] quid-pro-quo in the I want the White House as mine I can almost taste it, I need press attention, sweepstakes?

That's of interest, isn't it? The beat goes on.

Has the Tennessee National Guard been sent to any border before? The Arkansas border? Keep the Clintons at bay?

let them cross to come to my store
photo credit
How's immigration playing as a GOP hot-button issue in Minnesota? MPP, here. BluestemPrairie, here, re a Willmar rally at the library; and an interesting look at GOP money in the CD8 contest involving FleetFarm scion, Stewart Mills III's wannabe-politico-lust, while securing the Canadian border seems a non-issue. (FURTHER UPDATE - Quisling hunting in GOP CD8, aka the circus comes to town.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dan Burns at MPP says Arne Duncan should go, and Diane Ravitch would be a good replacement.

Burns makes that two pronged presentation online here. Read it. No paraphrase or quote, so go to the original.

Well, Ravitch agrees with the first part, judging from the report card she gave the gentleman. (Flunkin' Duncan).

Probably she'd take the job, if offered. First there is the detail of an ouster, however.

It is hard for me to suggest any "reform" of the education status quo. This is because I have no true expertise regarding education issues at K-12 levels, along with the belief that it is university post-graduate excellence that really matters and the big danger is we neglect that because of the politics of the grade school - a politics of parents with young children for whom they hope to see a prospering adulthood as feasible in an ever harder world for upward mobility to be grasped, in terms of social status and income where entrenched money talks out of proportion to the voice it might have.

That hopefulness makes those parents low-hanging fruit for the unprincipled among politicians, the snake oil salesmen, and are there any other kind when it comes to the bottom line nitty-gritty of vote counting being decisive? Politicians who are aloof or indifferent to the pressures of vote counting usually can be called ex-politicians.

 Posturing gets press. How it is.This or that charter experiment, or the tiny trial prototype demonstration does not easily scale to levels of Anoka-Hennepin enrollment numbers, with class size limits imposed on budgets by those same hopeful and ambitious parents who want exceptional public education on the nickel but not the dime. It is a conundrum. (A polysyllabic way of saying between a rock and a hard place, and where some tiny band-aid approach that worked in some tiny cosmos of differing nature, one that cannot scale to realistic size and application, is nonetheless trotted out for purposes of political gain, or just for shaming or guilt-tripping our actual in-the-trenches teachers).

No future time is better than the present, except given the severity of student loan debt being ginned up from those in that woeful line of commerce, earlier would have been better.

This Strib link.

I don't like this.

Story at Strib updated, here. This image - poster board and all. A jury-ready exhibit, perhaps.

I don't like this or this.
But if this were on Facebook, I'd give it a like.
Piling on is what it is. Coordinated piling. Unfair. Politics.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty's 685 p. text, translated from French by Arthur Goldhammer. My library hold has finally matured. Now I can see what it says.

Between the dotted lines is the Anoka County Libray's entry for the text:

Capital in the twenty-first century
Piketty, Thomas, 1971-

Capital in the twenty-first century

Piketty, Thomas, 1971-


Personal Author
Piketty, Thomas, 1971-

Uniform Title
Capital au XXIe siècle. English

Publication Information
Cambridge Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.

Physical Description
viii, 685 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

General Note
Translation of the author's Le capital au XXIe siècle.

Income and output -- Growth : illusions and realities -- The metamorphoses of capital -- From old Europe to the new world -- The capital/income ratio over the long run -- The capital-labor split in the twenty-first century -- Inequality and concentration : preliminary bearings -- Two worlds -- Inequality of labor income -- Inequality of capital ownership -- Merit and inheritance in the long run -- Global inequality of wealth in the twenty-first century -- A social state for the twenty-first century -- Rethinking the progressive income tax -- A global tax on capital -- The question of the public debt.

Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns and shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities. He argues, however, that the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth will generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values if political action is not taken.

Subject Term
Income distribution.
Labor economics.

Added Author
Goldhammer, Arthur,

LibraryMaterial TypeCall NumberLibraryLocationHolding Information
Northtown LibraryBook332.041 PIKNorthtown LibraryNonfiction Collection
Northtown LibraryBook332.041 PIKNorthtown LibraryNonfiction Collection
Northtown LibraryBook332.041 PIKNorthtown LibraryNonfiction Collection
Northtown LibraryBook332.041 PIKNorthtown LibraryNonfiction Collection
Northtown LibraryBook332.041 PIKNorthtown LibraryNonfiction Collection
Northtown LibraryBook332.041 PIKNorthtown LibraryNonfiction Collection

Interested readers, from the ISBN, title, and author info, can search the web. Amazon would likely carry it, and there are numerous commentaries and reviews online.

The book has established traction as a text worth knowing.

As I understand things in advance of having the book in hand, Piketty looks at return on capital and rate of growth of the economy, and reaches conclusions about distribution of wealth [capital] trending.

I had earlier posted a "who's that" and got only one comment, correctly noting an online item:

Hat tip to Wes.

For those living in Anoka County, the waiting list is substantial, even with multiple copies in the holdings, indicating some number of people in the County are aware of the item. If you are interested but do not want to buy a thick academic book, join the queue:

In the contents blurb the library posts, "A global tax on capital."

Now you're talking, Thomas. I'd say, "Right on," even before having the book in hand. Just based on nice policy for the 99%. Aside from justification by hundreds of pages of economic discourse and conclusions.

Just, policy. "Spread the wealth," is how Huey Long phrased the idea.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oh, no. Say it's not so. That same old GOP cliche. Warmed over Kiffmeyer, ya betcha.

Gun bunny, ya betcha. Stooping for photo ops.

you guessed it - from AW's facebook, but - no face

While a bit distanced - correct me if wrong - the target looks a bit like Justin Boals.

Why not debate the guy instead?


And that super nice "like" begs the question, who is Steve Abeler in the Whelan sphere of influence? Influnced or influencer? Whoa, even a Rasputin perhaps?

At least when the Ol' Kiffer did it, it was not anything like overly stale back then.

Oh, well. That advanced degree in whatever, an experienced student, taking aim, straight shooter, all those implications.

YET -- Also, worth noting, the Kiffer had the sense to photo op her frontside.

More of the same:

It wears thin after a while.

Q. Abigale, where are you on the real issues?

A. Look, an NRA hat.

Boals has ideas he is not fearful of sharing. What's Whelan's problem?

All those years in college, so what's your ideas? Can you not spell things out beyond soundbite/photo op? It really, really does wear thin, possibly even for the facebook mavens, although that's doubtful.

The worse thing, what's the future if saying nothing but "NRA" and a few website buzzlines along with facebook fluffing, "Wow, doorknocking is such fun," works this primary?

____________FURTHER UPDATE___________
In tracking down Boals' website link again, to post it above, I noticed friend Tossey being concerned over real issues:

Jason and I do not agree that much, sometimes though, and it appears we are alike in valuing content above cautious emptiness.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
This, from here - stoking generational discord instead of we are all in it together:

Team Whelan recently introduced a new hashtag for our campaign: #MillennialTakeBack.

This is a call to the newest generation of voters – the 18-34 year olds. Specifically, I hope to encourage others in our generation, and every generation, that it is not hopeless. We can make a difference if we engage in the community, educate ourselves, and shed the apathy that seems so rampant.

This does not mean it will be easy. Making a lasting difference takes hard work.
As the great men and women throughout history have shown us, in order to make true reforms, diligence is required. I will work hard for our district, for every generation, to make this state a better place today, and a better place for the generations to follow.

The older folks, we've already got functioning well-tuned bullshit meters, I suppose.

"TAKEBACK" it says. Boldly in capital letters. So, what does the candidate want to take, from whom? Then, "As the great men and women throughout history have shown us, in order to make true reforms, diligence is required." Who lady? Jefferson, Ghengis Kahn? Mother Theresa? Catherine the Great? Frederich the Great? The last two at least had "Great" as part of their persona, their badge, so you must mean them, right?

A. Why, really -- you cannot get to specifics, that might alienate a voter or two, so keep generic platitudes as the staple fare, up to primary election day; it's the Whelan way.

Give me a break.

RAMSEY - Again noting there has been recent ABC Newspapers coverage of things in town.

This link has been posted before, but it is a quick way to find and reach town-specific news items from the City's official newspaper's online website:

The ABC homepage allows readers to view news reporting affecting other communities too, but for a focus on reporting about Ramsey, that tagged link provides the focus. And the more recent reports have footer content, relating back to earlier coverage of a related nature. For instance, one recent item relates back to here, with this quote:

Westby said ideally a Ramsey city street should last 60 years, but only if it receives nine crack seals, six seal coats and two overlays, which means the city must be steady with funding even in difficult budget years.

He said the problem with funding road projects through the property tax levy is it fluctuates depending on the council’s priorities.

That reminds me of the numerology in Revelation, except there it was seven seals.

Such on average numbers, out of the blue, and apparently not based on review of actual city streets but likely from some generic study ignores soils differences, traffic differences, and bed conditions from the fairly steady grading and regrading most Ramsey roadbeds received to stabilize them well before the city tarred most Ramsey streets.

It is like saying every adult needs 2.3 years of college, because that is some historical average actually not related to the fact each of us is a unique individual, with varying DNA, needs, beliefs, and opportunities.

"On average" can be misleading terminology. Averaged over what sampling pool, when, by whom, are a few interesting details that merely saying "on average" will gloss over, and it's a folk wisdom the devil is in the details.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Have YOU given up yet on the "We the People" petition page at

A sampling, by screen capture, with 100,000 a big number for a short time -- yet, what's likely and why bother:

Executive order powers do exist for a range of reasons, fairness and justice being one:

I guess I just have not read Marx as carefully as Andy Aplikowski.

The gentleman posted again, finally on July 17, an item you can and are encouraged to read in its entirety, headlined, "Obama’s Latest Marxist Usurpation." In it he, Andy, not Obama, complains of a Treasury department suggestion that tax law be amended to retroactively remove the incentive Medtronic has to not only merge with another firm but to nominally shift headquarters to Ireland to screw the US public out of a fair share of taxes.

I am unaware of any writing by Marx about corporate mergers to evade taxes in one nation by slight of hand ghost relocation to another.

But than Andy has a penchant I suppose for long, detailed - even turgid - readings, witness his love of Atlas Shrugged.

In that sense, I also do not believe Ayn Rand wrote of corporate mergers with any such tax avoidance motives, but I yield to Andy's clearly superior familiarity with the body of writings by Mr. Marx.

It is like I did read Conscience of a Conservative, out of curiosity, it was a snippier read than Capital, but Goldwater did not fully convince me. Andy in turn has carefully studied Marxian writings, and came from it equally unconvinced.

Certainly, please, nobody suggest Andy bandies about the "Marx" label without having read that body of work - and that all he's doing is blowing smoke. Andy would never stoop to that.

If memory serves me correctly, Gen. Goldwater never suggested it proper nor attempted to nominally move the headquarters of his Arizona department store enterprise out of state for tax minimization reasons. I bet if still alive today, Gen. Goldwater would view it as kind of a sleazy move, the Ireland ploy. He had integrity, although his basic theme is we in the nation are overtaxed. His approach to the question was honorable, suggesting lowering of taxing more than individualized overly cute gaming of the system. Ayn Rand suggested capitalists all move to Colorado and quit working, going to a canyon with magical physics-defying devices placed there to conceal their whereabouts, with that step advocated by some guy she wrote of as having invented a prepetual motion machine, prior to going on strike yet keeping an eye on the railroad lady. Neither Goldwater nor Marx, to my knowledge went that wonky, but like Atlas, in my not fully understanding all Andy knows, I shrug.

Did I already post Microsoft's laying off 18,000 permanent employees [part timers can guess]? Yes, but this guy describes it so well, I say it again, with a link.

This link. It's raining.

And is that author holding lingering feelings toward Boeing, barely suppressed, not subconscious?

Beyond that editorial analysis, Ars again, here:

beginning of the second linked item
click the image to read

That photo, it reminds me of the occasional high school assembly our school in the 'burbs of St. Louis would hold. Everyone brought together, to share an experience.

The child in each of us, and Toys R Us for tech-happy adults.

There are racing cars, racing boats, even lawn mower racing (leaving the blades on might thin the herd). Can you envision the John Deere factory team in intense competition with Toro?

Go-kart stuff, we have that in Ramsey.

Now, putting aside privacy worries being publicly discussed concerning private drone use possibilities, there are toys on sale now, that way, as this is written, presently costing more than a decent laptop computer these days, and capable of easy inept destruction.

Suggesting as a counter-destructability answer, putting all those flying bot toys each inside a buckyball structure, as in one Swiss experimenter's implementation, here, this image below, with the thought that the buckyball crash tolerance layer might even include chicken wire or its equivalent to lessen bird strike damage, to hardware, and to the birds.

How that would affect the absolutely essential purpose of owning one of the things, piloting it remotely to get a birdseye view of one's neighborhood and home and area, might mean camera optics adaptations would be needed, with chicken wire inappropriate by the camera ports, but conceptually a crash-resistant toy likely would be better as a purchase answering some basic toy-lust outcry of the child in each of us.

And what's your judgment, own a flying drone, or would you rather own a racing lawn mower [wholly specialized, w/o blade, not suited for routine lawn maintenance]?

On the serious side of things such a device, properly handled, could be helpful via GPS capability in surveying and in county GIS use for terrain tope mapping that might identify wetland zones within planning areas, while avoiding overhead utility wiring by launching from a fine open area and operating above treeline and powerline heights.

Even a lawfirm with substantial neighbor-vs-neighbor boundary dispute resolution business might pop for such an inexpensive tool where, again given built-in GPS capability, fine evidentiary presentations could be generated of a disputed boundary area, giving a birdseye view with boundary markings superimposed via video software editing. Effective evidentiary presentation being the goal in such an instance.

Such well presented evidence might even serve to keep judges awake during litigation of what are generally unexciting inter-neighbor putzing matches.

(Barna Guzy, are you paying attention?)

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Can you imagine the City of Champlin's use for this? Having a few police trap cars, and a number of these things hovering at prime locations - with radar - and you can envision how it would bloster the town aim of having its police force an ever more productive town profit center.

Ask Dennis Berg about all that Champlin stuff. But stand back, the hollering might be hard on your ears.


Municipal broadband vs. municipal real estate development. Which is more like a public good, like the town road grid?

First, it is noteworthy that there is lobbying opposition by entrenched profit seeking private sector interests against municipal broadband, evidenced by such opposition gaining influence in Congress, this Ars Technica item.

Look at that and Ramsey Town Center and Ecuador's national tech-city dream, Seattle Times carrying this report on Ecuador. If some of the analysis in the Ecuador dream town tech plan has the taste and smell of Town Center "have a dream" thinking, back then, it is because pushing on a rope does not work, many can foresee this, and real advances require realistic context for success.

Moreover, getting back to the headline, real estate development has traditionally been the domain of profit seeking private sector entities and persons [real and corporate]. That towns compete with one another to subsidize it is a flaw rather than a feature, but while subsidy is bad enough the Matt Look crowd's buy it and they will come Town Center thing by now is discredited. They did not come, and burger-fries short sightedness is not what "the dream" back then envisioned. Nor is it what we should fall back to now, in place of a proper degree of patience.

Next, broadband. Is it being overhyped? Is it the answer to long commutes and costly highway projects, once work norms are changed and telecommuting grows in acceptance? Is it essential, as with town roads and electricity distribution? Or puffery, and a leisure thing, mainly? Will it leave a more-than-adequate highway system, for the purpose of moving goods by truck, if rush hour misery could somehow be abated?

And, should a strong positioning in broadband growth and low-cost availability be a Ramsey town goal?

These are questions council candidates and candidates for our state legislature should consider, and for which we may hope they articulate views in some public manner for voters to judge.

It seems, however, the question is best posed in Minnesota at the state legislative level, since a mood comparable to that of the Tennessee lady noted in the linked item in the opening paragraph would moot municipal decision making were that mood to grow legs in our legislature. It seems with a November election, we should ask.

Indeed, rural Minnesota got a broadband bonanza last session; and are the rest of us not as deserving? Those of us now commercially served, but underserved in comparison to what internet speeds are feasible? That seems an easier question than the others. The rural folk got pork, and we urban/suburban dwellers deserve it as much.

Simple? Not politically where commercial suppliers like their cushy cash flows, and have voices that can lobby loud enough to be heard, and to drown out voices of simple, ordinary citizens with a view.

A few links: here, here, the Blandin Foundation here (with this map), here, and here; the latter item stating:

The new legislation requires communities to come up with at least a 50 percent match to get any money. That could come from public sources, telecommunications or other private companies, cooperatives or combinations of those organizations. The maximum grant will be $5 million, Schmit said. The money has to go to areas that don’t meet the state speed goals of 10 megabits per second download and 5 megabits per second upload, and the top priority will go to areas that have far slower speeds.

The Office of Broadband Development in the Department of Employment and Economic Development will administer the grants.

About three-quarters of Minnesota households have access to the Internet at speeds the state considers adequate. To make that service available to everyone would cost as much as $3.2 billion, the governor’s task force on broadband estimated earlier this year.

Gov. Dayton lauded the legislation, saying it is important for economic growth. Schmit said he “absolutely” would push for more broadband infrastructure money next year.

Back to the opening paragraph's linked news; not all elected officials in DC are in cahoots with the profiteers; i.e., our luck with Franken and Klobuchar, this link. Another Blandin Foundation link, here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mixed headlines.

Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza.

Chris Christie launches ground offensive in Iowa.

In each case some reports claim they are knocking them dead. With force, in Gaza. With charm and smarm, in Iowa. Victimhood in different ways.

Microsoft has announced a round of record layoffs, under their new CEO. It is a very hot real estate market in Seattle now, so will it cool?

Announced layoffs? Readers can do a websearch = microsoft layoffs

There are multiple online reports, and some speculation that the firm's current reliance on temp workers instead of full time salaried employees might affect the Seattle job market more than Microsoft is now publicly disclosing.

The real estate market? Detatched small-lot urban homes, low end in size and amenities, what's to say, beyond, this item says a lot.

Pricing there has been bid up, with, presumably, banks sitting on foreclosed inventory and bleeding it out slowly to keep supply beyond demand. How will the layoff ripple alter demand? And will the banks just adjust the trickle to a lesser one, in order to maximize the return on their foreclosure portfolio.

Big bucks from busted dreams? Same as it ever was. It is not the dreamers getting the bucks. Bucks for bankers IS a theme that somehow repeats itself, different times, different places, same story.

Dr. Todd, please claim your profile.

Don't know why I'd post it, but I am posting it:

Apropos to nothing special, just a name, only a name. Every reason to believe he's a first rate diagnostic radiologist; bringing in lots of wealth for the family, entitled to do so by profession. Those entitlements again ...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blaine does roads. The old fashioned way. 4F. Free from franchise fees.

Eric Hagen, ABC Newspapers reporting, July 16, 2014, here. This excerpt, (and there's a photo showing a road comparable to some in Ramsey).

ABC photo credit - click to enlarge and view
The Blaine City Council July 10, over the course of four votes, approved street renovation projects and a bond sale to pay for these projects in the short-term before funds are available to cover all costs.

[...] To have the funds for the city’s pavement management program for projects like this, the council also approved the sale of $3,245,000 of general obligation bonds. The interest rate will be 1.88 percent.

“It’s darn near free money,” Councilmember Russ Herbst said.

Finance Director Joe Huss originally anticipated the principal amount of the bond sale would be $3,420,000 and the interest rate would be 1.91 percent, but the nine bids the city received came in favorably. The city received a AA-plus bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, which is the second-highest rating a city can receive.

Mayor Tom Ryan said they are entering the fifth year of the pavement management program that seeks to have a more defined schedule and budget on road projects and an emphasis on keeping up with maintenance needs – such as sealcoating and overlays – before more expensive reconstructions are needed. The council approved bids for these lower-cost maintenance projects in other areas of the city earlier this year.

That is bond for the capital, service the debt from general funds [levy funds]. For the lower cost stuff, just budget general [levy] funds. No retrogressive taxation. Just, the old fashioned way.

I believe it was Jim Bendtsen who was the most vocal [indeed the only speaking] citizen at the last council franchise fee public hearing, with Bendtsen strongly arguing that general funds raised by the levy should be used for fundamental, expected municipal expenses subsumed in the very nature of operating a town and providing expected, anticipated, needed public goods.

Not rocket science. Not disfavored assessment. General funds. Bonding where you have to, meaning state statutory levels of assessment might be required, but no turning to franchise fees.

For another untraditional approach [avoidance of using general funds for general needs], other ideas exist. They may not be perfect ideas, or may need enabling legislation to see usage, but what's wrong with the old fashioned way?

That being -- Those more able, as reflected in having higher value property in the town, pay proportionately more, but with a flat levy rate and not a graduated scale where the marginal extra half million or million in property, whatever, is taxed at a higher rate. That IS another way to run city taxation. Our better off citizens should not forget or ignore it. Once getting them thinking that way, they may be more amenable to plain old general fund ways and means. More favorable to those having less, but not unfavorable to the plutocrats as far as a graduated property tax would be, (or having an excise tax attaching on say any single family home over a half-million in assessed valuation).

The old saying is there are many ways to skin a cat; (and likely it's cats alone that most dislike that expression). Get to skinning plutocrats ...

One thing you have to say -

Some explanations show a lot more imagination than a big patriarch in the sky saying, "Ptolemaic cosmos," "Seven Days," "Female subservience," and making Galileo recant heliocentricity.



More believability? That you can debate ...

With somebody. Not me.

RAMSEY - flying off the grid.

Nope. Not about town politics. Ramsey the owl. This link.


Ramsey Fud. "Just Wait. I'll get that Wabbit."

A friend I respect sent an email comment which I publish.

This is it, with one typo caught/changed:

Telling people you think are stupid, they are stupid is not a very helpful tactic. If they are stupid and you are smart what do you hope to accomplish? Based on your own premise, you already are smart and they probably will never be. So in that scenario who is really smart and who is dumb - from a practical standpoint?

Abortion is ending a life - that is a principled reasonably considered position. That is what I believe, but I also think a woman should be allowed to make that decision for something living inside her body. So we agree on many aspects of this. The Dems have won most aspects of this issue. Why force others to PAY for your abortive medicine? The backlash could be far worse than the potential benefit. What is the cost of "Plan B" pills?

You should accept their right to believe that way as fully as they (perhaps reluctantly) accept others who don't. They must accept your side can have divergent opinion. You should accept they don't want to collaborate/enable what they believe is wrong.

That is the essence of tolerance/acceptance. The Dems claim to be tolerant - it's time to step up and be tolerant in practice. Without that you'll get what you see in the middle east. Take a step back from your rant - for the sake of civility and the mutual benefit that can be derived from it.

Okay. There is little doubt of the sincerity of those putting religious upbringing ahead of other things. Indeed, the Constitution says it is an inalienable right to do just that. But the same First Amendment also says there shall be no establishment of a forced national religion. Broadly read, the Establishment Clause says that equal protection and equal enforcement of the laws is required. Not as to belief but as to conduct, that was the gist of Scalia's Smith decision (as to the penalty side of equal protection/penalization/criminalization).

Now a lawful requirement of equal availability of contraception to all wanting access to contraception as part of healthcare availability law has been judicially undermined, the Smith author agreeing it is fine with him to not have symmetry. On RFRA and Hobby Lobby, noting Smith, this link. Early in the Hobby Lobby 5-member majority opinion, Alito wrote:

Congress enacted RFRA in 1993 in order to provide very broad protection for religious liberty. RFRA's enactment came three years after this Court's decision in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872 (1990), which largely repudiated the method of analyzing free-exercise claims that had been used in cases like Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U. S. 398 (1963), and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U. S. 205 (1972). In determining whether challenged government actions violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, those decisions used a balancing test that took into account whether the challenged action imposed a substantial burden on the practice of religion, and if it did, whether it was needed to serve a compelling government interest. Applying this test, the Court held in Sherbert that an employee who was fired for refusing to work on her Sabbath could not be denied unemployment benefits. 374 U. S., at 408-409. And in Yoder, the Court held that Amish children could not be required to comply with a state law demanding that they remain in school until the age of 16 even though their religion required them to focus on uniquely Amish values and beliefs during their formative adolescent years. 406 U. S., at 210-211, 234-236.

In Smith, however, the Court rejected "the balancing test set forth in Sherbert." 494 U. S., at 883. Smith concerned two members of the Native American Church who were fired for ingesting peyote for sacramental purposes. When they sought unemployment benefits, the State of Oregon rejected their claims on the ground that consumption of peyote was a crime, but the Oregon Supreme Court, applying the Sherbert test, held that the denial of benefits violated the Free Exercise Clause. 494 U. S., at 875.

This Court then reversed, observing that use of the Sherbert test whenever a person objected on religious grounds to the enforcement of a generally applicable law "would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind." 494 U. S., at 888. The Court therefore held that, under the First Amendment, "neutral, generally applicable laws may be applied to religious practices even when not supported by a compelling governmental interest." City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507, 514 (1997).

Congress responded to Smith by enacting RFRA.

[Those wanting links to cited cases can follow links in Hobby Lobby, online per Google Scholar. Pagination of the official published [reported] case is not yet set so the quote page cite is not yet available]

And that, RFRA, is the peg Alito and his four confederates hung their Hobby Lobby opinion. Conveniently, while trumpeting the Free Exercise Clause, they ignored the Establishment Clause, violation of which arguably renders RFRA, as interpreted by the gang of five, unconstitutional; i.e., the putting of religion ahead of compliance with law that facially is religiously neutral on its reach is "establishing" employer religion beyond what is properly Constitutional as to employee rights under law.

And there are nuances some do understand, while demagoguering, e.g., this brief item. Indeed, there are nuances some find puzzling, even troublesome. (Some find the Chief Justice troublesome, and hope for better down the line.)


Same friend emailed this link, which has an irony that while not subtle, nonetheless holds a great degree of truth and underpins some frustrations some feel with how DC is set up to run, not always for us, but at times over us.

"Is Mike McFadden running to lose?" So asks a writer at MN Progressive Project.

This link. It is an interesting speculative piece of writing.

You have to read it for the full flavor, but one speculation, a prep-run to shoot for Governor next cycle that office is in play, on the ballot. Presuming Dayton follows the George Washington pattern in Minnesota, two terms and step aside, it would be an open contest. McFadden would then have name recognition. Much as Jeff Johnson getting hammered against Lori Swanson but now having a party endorsement and name recognition in the Governor primary election, GOP ballot side.

Or Emmer, losing the Guv race, but positioning to succeed Bachmann who is leaving to MichelePAC her life after DC. Emmer now with a party endorsement and name recognition. Not having to say much, which has been Emmer's problem. Just name recognition, district demographics, and being there.

It has been a script some besides McFadden have followed.

The basic thesis of the MN Progressive Project author is why else would McFadden be running an amateurish ineffective campaign, but to gain name recognition while losing.


from google maps - click to enlarge full size

Yes this Romney clone has the $1.3 million dollar home, waterfront, 3.5 acres and 8500 sq ft of home, (6 bedrooms, 5 baths). But Romney does not live under a power line. McFadden's home is under a big hummer, check it out by enlarging that image, and we all have heard the lore about what that does to the productivity of dairy cattle. Perhaps his dental work is picking up the field, and, who knows? While improbable, it IS compatible as an explanation for lackluster, questionable campaigning. An explanation that does not discount fire in the belly. Nor does it discount McFadden being sharp, educated, and not anyone's dummy.



(Yes, two alternate theories. Surprised?)

from Secretary of State's pollfinder service

Yes, that is CD2. Col. Kline is taking on age, and this election our Col. with the "football" just might get Obermullered into retirement. Yes, let us hope.

If not, mid term Kline retires with some prearrangement in place for McFadden to be named to serve out the term, or if Kline is reelected and such a deal cannot be arranged, he Bachmann-McArthur's out, "My last term, it is time ... old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

McFadden would then have name recognition to run for the GOP to hold (or reacquire) the seat (or hope to), all it would mean is taking the storage wrappings off McFadden and presenting him that way - that seat - and hoping demographics that served Kline well might again play a GOP tune.

DON'T LIKE THAT THEORY? Then form your own.

That headline at MPP reminds me, everybody has their grammatical or spelling foibles, some having trouble in general with the possessive case, past tense of "to lead," etc., while I might have in haste written, "Is Mike McFadden running to loose." Just a mistake I make as with the possessive form, its, confused with the contraction, it's.

But then McFadden if anything is running too tight. Not too loose. Tighter than a drumhead stretched to tearing, as I see it. But many, many, many - too many - TV ads are yet to come. Look for it, football pre-season, World Series time, politicians to the point of saturation advertising. Outspending Budweiser/Coors, and pick-up trucks.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
In that sense, the pick-up truck analogy, Emmer is the one I can see using, "Like a Rock."

Monday, July 14, 2014

ABC Newspapers reports, the north metro/suburban League of Women Voters will be modifying its candidate forum rules.

First, the LWV branch is the LWV-ABC Minnesota chapter, this webpage, this Facebook page.

Prior to a Coon Rapids candidate forum for primary election candidates (which as of today has already come and gone), a Community Contributor press release item was published by ABC Newspapers, stating in part:

The [July 9 Coon Rapids candidate] forum will be broadcast multiple times later on Quad Cities Community Television and will also be available for viewing online from QCTV’s website.

“We hope voters will avail themselves of this opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of candidates and present questions,” said Geri Nelson, voter services co-chair. “For voters unable to attend the forum, we’re pleased to have the services of QCTV to record the forum for residents to view at a later time.”

[...] Leading up to the general election forums will be held at city halls in Andover, Anoka, Champlin, Coon Rapids and Ramsey and will include candidates for city offices and Minnesota House of Representatives. A candidates forum for Anoka County Board of Commissioners will be held at the Anoka County Courthouse.

[...] “This year we’re making a policy change that responds to voters’ concerns about our policy for cancelling forums when an opponent in a two-candidate race was unable or unwilling to be present,” Nelson said. “We will now hold the announced forum. The candidate in attendance will have an opportunity to express their positions on issues in their opening and closing statements and in response to questions submitted by the audience and read by the moderator.”

Nelson further explained, “We feel this policy change respects the time and interests of voters and candidates in attendance, and we will conduct the forum in a manner that is neutral to the absent candidate. Candidates will be notified of this absentee policy in their invitation to the forum.”

League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

As an individual valuing past LWV forum events for providing helpful candidate information and having candidates face voters and say who they are, I was most disappointed by last election's cancellation of the Ramsey general election forum when there was a collective refusal to attend by one of the two finalist candidates, for each open council seat.

That bloc of "dodgers" did not fare well in the election, none winning, and of them, only Wayne Buchholz is running again this time for the open at large seat, after having in 2012 lost the election for the then open Ward 4 seat to present council member Chris Riley.

Equally disappointing was the Anoka County general election forum which was held, but incomplete, because two incumbent candidates, for whatever personal reasons each had, declined to attend.

Specifically, incumbents Rhonda Sivarajah and Robyn West, having the advantage of incumbency, declined to participate. Other open seats had both candidates participating, so the event itself was not cancelled. Even so, voters had to be disappointed by half a forum instead of a complete one.

Presumably this election, with Sivarajah now the underdog to GOP endorsed CD6 candidate Tom Emmer, Sivarajah will value every opportunity she has to shine.

Attitudes can change, but I expect I was not alone in being disappointed by the informative forum opportunities being gamed by individual candidates. In effect: Voters showed up for the Anoka County event, but candidates did not all do so.

In Ramsey, voters would have shown up, but the collective boycott ended up causing a cancellation of the entire event, with voters left less informed.

Many readers may recall that the prior League policy had been in place for a long time, and the guess is League members were a bit disappointed in believing it necessary to change a long standing event rule.

The reasoning of the League rep as reported in the news item (quoted above), deserves major attention. The underlying motive seems to be fairness to other candidates and to voters wanting to be informed, with the rule change cautiously aimed to be as fair to non-attendee candidates as feasible, but not overly so that they can game the system.

Minnesota House District 35A, with Jim Abeler stepping aside: My hope would be voters look forward as I do to the HD35A forum appearance of unopposed DFL candidate Peter Perovich and the GOP primary winner between Abigale Whelan and Justin Boals. It would be interesting if there had been a Whelan/Boals forum for GOP primary voters to become best informed, but it apparently will not happen.

Whelan and Boals differ on who they are and what they represent, so that GOP primary voters should look beyond Whelan's caucus/convention endorsement to see which of the two resonates with their own issues thinking and world views.

In any event, Perovich against the GOP finalist will be worth attending, as the differences likely will be as great or greater than between the pair of GOP contestants.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

RAMSEY - AUTHORITIES. Ramsey currently has an EDA (Economic Development Authority) and an HRA (Housing and Redevelopment Authority). It has no Port Authority and should never have one. It has no Port. And the term "Pork Authority" has been used with cause in the past, about the St. Paul Port Autority.

The council before the last election used HRA operation quite a bit, including the Flaherty adventure, with the faces at the table for the HRA being in one-to-one correspondence with those on council.

Authorities presently are not mentioned in Ramsey's Charter, making their use subject to whatever powers and limitations state law has created.

The EDA has some overlap at present with the council.

Council members are: Mayor Strommen, and council members Backous, LeTourneau, at large, and Ward 1 Rep. Johns, Ward 2 Rep. Kuzma, Ward 3 Rep. Tossey, Ward 4 Rep. Riley.

EDA members are:
Jim Steffen, Chair
Wayne Skaff, Vice-Chair
Phillip Brunt
Glen Hardin (a former Ramsey mayor)
Kristine Williams
John LeTourneau, Council
Chris Riley, Council

EDA member Williams presently is one of four candidates seeking the single at-large seat in the primary election, with two of the four who end up as leading primary vote-getters to continue to the fall general election. Were Williams elected and to stay on the EDA, there would be an even greater council-EDA overlap than at present. Both LeTourneau and Riley were EDA members before being elected to council, and each has remained an EDA member.

EDAs, HRAs, and even Port Authorities are creatures of statute, having been authorized by the Minnesota legislature, with powers and functions set out in Minn. Stat. Chapter 469, online here, with that statutory chapter also covering joint powers stuff.

TIF and other things are grist for the EDA mill, and presently the EDA has a separate levy. My understanding is they can act in some ways independent of securing council approvals at televised meetings, (by recorded council votes upon resolutions or ordinances, which is how the council conducts official business). That is a point I need to have confirmed. An understanding is also that proposed "business subsidy" items vetted by EDA do appear from time to time as council consent agenda items.

My understanding is that while the EDA has a separate levy, the combination of EDA and the general levy are together subject to state imposed levy limits. If the one hand takes more, then if pushing levy limits, the other hand must take less. Exactly how such levy balancing is handled is unclear to me, with my understanding being that current budgeting [in total] is roughly half a million dollars short of hitting the levy limit so that apportioning slices of the pie appears to be non-problematic, at present.

The staff person now primarily responsible for interfacing with EDA is:

Ted LaFrance
Economic Development Manager
7550 Sunwood Drive NW
Ramsey, MN 55303

Interested readers might find helpful information in Ch. 15 of the League of Minnesota Cities [LMC] handbook.

Mike Mulrooney has been a long-time retained city consultant. (Back during Town Center's genesis days in the first decade of this millennium Mulrooney was scheduled to be at one council meeting to report about what he'd found out concerning the financial wherewithal of Bruce Nedegaard, who was then seeking to enter the project via a master development LLC position; however, at the meeting on record, Mayor Gamec said Mr. Mulrooney "was ill" and would not attend. Given Bruce Nedegaard's subsequent difficulties, Mulrooney's attendance and reporting to the public at that early stage would have been helpful.)

Mike Mulrooney is considered expert in North Metro "business, financing, and real estate," e.g., this screen capture [links in original are inactive within screen captures]:

That item identifies Mulrooney as "President" of "CMDC Business Financing in Andover." Mulrooney has a brief online bio on a CMDC contact page, and a LinkedIn page. CMDC has a "news" link.

Given his SBA lending ties, Mulrooney's continuing consulting can be viewed as having pluses and minuses.

A plus is that in the course of consulting Mulrooney remains aware of business financing needs in Ramsey and can report on general North Metro financing and business growth, while a minus is that SBA loans negotiated via Mulrooney's CMDC business are given not only in Ramsey but in other North Metro communities, which communities likely have business expansion objectives conflicting with Ramsey's. Conflicting interests can arise and if they do past experience suggests they can be quite problematic.

Before the City's hiring of Ted LaFrance, Mulrooney frequently attended EDA meetings, e.g., this minutes page showing Mulrooney's having advisory comments at an Aug. 2, 2012, EDA meeting.

Also, e.g., these October 2012 minutes pages:

I am unaware of Mr. Mulrooney's current consulting status, the written contract terms and conditions, etc. Those minutes pages date to before the current council was elected and seated in its present make-up, as well as before the LaFrance hiring. Presumably with much function transfer from consultancy to a staff person Mulrooney's involvement would be lessened. There would be economic advantage to substituting one for the other, rather than having parallel salary and consutancy costs added together. With CBRE now the official city's real estate brokerage, it again would be interesting to see if Mulrooney's role [and billings] have lessened.

Of interest regarding EDA and "business subsidy," and the LaFrance hiring, there has been ongoing ABC Newspapers coverage, here, here and here. Interestingly, none of the three items mention Mr. Mulrooney's consulting arrangements or his EDA participation record.

In response to a data request Ted LaFrance provided items I still am reviewing. They can be the subject of a later post, but the lead page of one item is presented below, for purposes of example:

That item gives a flavor of earlier items in this post, in a Developer/Business entrepreneur fact sheet format; with mention of SBA lending, and TIF, for example. Also helpful as background, this LMC sample form document, prepared for LMC by Ehlers & Associates, as a pro forma outline for required municipal filings with DEED.

For those interested in the earlier meeting page examples of deliberations Mr. Mulrooey participated in about a data center use possibility for the former city hall site on Nowthen Blvd (by the school), there was a community meeting and community task force that met over several months, with the matter ultimately reaching the council recently, for a vote. With neighborhood concerns and opposition over such a use, as things are understood to stand, the council voted that the site, if rezoned or changed in the comprehensive plan, to be designated as "residential." And so the data center concept apparently died. Yet the process for reaching an outcome seems a good model, for any future major land use thinking. Indeed, as to major land use decision making, many still believe moving city hall at very great cost from Nowthen Blvd to its present Town Center "catalyst" spot should never have been done short of referendum approval by the voting public (who are still paying bond debt service for that decision during the Gamec-mayor, Norman-Administrator days).

Last, for those wondering about the mystery called TIF, two online items (one from another town) are here and here.

Clearly they are introductory, and not exhaustive treatments of the subject. Presently I remain still low on my own TIF learning curve. Probably we all do, with only a chosen few having a leveling off learning curve, that subject.

As anticipated, concern about EDA consultancy relationships does appear moot now that a permanent staff person has been hired and with CBRE providing brokerage services to Ramsey.

My understanding is Mike Mulrooney's consultancy services for Ramsey began in the late 1990's. Always on a limited as-required basis.

Consulting use of Mr. Mulrooney's services has not been a factor for about a year.

And this apparently is nowhere near a Landform scale of things. My understanding is that since the beginning of 2011 to the present roughly $40,000 has been expended on his services. In total, since end of 2010. Nowhere near the seven figure cash flow from city coffers that happened with Landform during the Bob Ramsey mayoralty, and while McGlone was chairing or exerting strong influence over Ramsey's HRA.

Most recently when utilized, services were billed at a reasonable rate [under $200/hr for one who has broad experience in state government and is knowledgeable of SBA practices, is well respected in his profession, and offers judgment and advice based on decades of experience].

Again not Darren and Landform, not somebody Mike Jungbauer introduced to Matt Look and Bob Ramsey, or however Darren was first noticed; no Cronk or Flaherty or other out-of-state loyalties or attachments.

The one incident noted earlier, regarding Mulrooney missing a meeting where impressions and information concerning the Nedegaard fiscal strength to handle a major development was to be reported, Mulrooney's failure to attend and publicly discuss things likely was due more to a failing of local officials in their choices than to any failing of Mulrooney. And Nedegaard was able to borrow from an institutional lender to cover the entire multimillion dollar cost of his land purchases and beginning operations, unlike Flaherty's requiring asking for and getting a favorable multi-million dollar loan of city wealth.

Later, bank irregularities surfaced regarding loans to Nedegaard, but at the time credibility at the bank was shown. Clout at a bank for an eight figure amount with letters of credit to Ramsey's benefit is no small proposition.

In sum, the Mulrooney consultancy, to whatever small extent it may in the future be used, presuming it will be used only at a small level, is a non-issue. The man appears worth his hourly charge, and with a staff person now on board EDA reliance on consulting from Mulrooney is lessened. Ehlers & Associates continues to be used, by the City and not specifically the EDA, and the expertise there is separate from that which Mulrooney offers.

Last, Mulrooney does not consult as a business proprietor or in partnership. Advance Consulting Group, Inc., in business in Minnesota continuously since 1977, has been the vehicle he has used when invoicing the city.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chicago suburban transit-oriented Flaherty housing expansion reported as apparently successful early, financially.

Orland Park is the locale. This Trib link.

Time to organize and become active? To counter the blind droves of Hobby Lobbyists?

Dawkins, here, this quote:

Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one's intelligence or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious . . ."

The four exceptions didn't show the opposite, of course. They merely failed to show statistical significance in either direction. I haven't seen the original 42 studies on which the meta-analysis is based, so I don't know how reliable it is. I would like to see more studies along these lines. Incidentally, many of the brightest atheists in the country are, of course, lapsed Jews.

In 1998, Larson and Witham polled the cream of American scientists, those who have been honoured by election to the elite National Academy of Sciences . Among this select group, belief in a personal God dropped to a shattering 7%. About 20% call themselves agnostic, and the rest are atheists. Similar figures obtain for belief in personal immortality. Among biological scientists elected to the National Academy, only 5.5% believe in a god. I have not seen corresponding figures for elite scholars in other fields such as history or philosophy, but it would be surprising if they were very different.

We have reached a truly remarkable situation, then: a grotesque mismatch between the American intelligentsia and the American electorate. A philosophical opinion about the nature of the universe, which is held by the great majority of America's top scientists and probably by the elite intelligentsia generally, is so abhorrent to the American electorate that no candidate for popular election dare affirm it in public. If I am right, this means that high office in the greatest country in the world is barred to the very people best qualified to hold it, unless they are prepared to lie about their beliefs: American political opportunities are loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest.

How it is, folks.

An ultimate hope: Time will favor those who think rather than those liking to be told stories and declining to accept that death ends all aspects life, which is a hard truth:

As a Post Script, Sean Nienow has finally formally filed for bankruptcy, leaving the federal government holding an uncollected debt. If he had gotten a student loan instead of an SBA bonanza, he'd be blocked from doing that. A theocrat-politician gets a favor and skates. Young folks wanting to learn things get screwed into the ground. How's that for priorities?

UPDATE: Earlier coverage, here. While reported as listing few exempt assets, Nienow does have Jesus to be close to. Bless the man's heart, and tiny brain.

And bless the tiny brains of those who put this individual into a public office position of responsibility after he campaigned as a "fiscal conservative," whatever he meant by that - as well as touting his faith as an asset for holding office. I believe he suggested "fiscal conservatism" entailed responsible self-reliance and cautious good judgment as guiding lights. All of it resonated in his district.

FURTHER UPDATE: Oh, look. Atop the sidebar. Two of the nation's best and brightest.

Not just a simple idiot. A characterture of an idiot. An idiot's idiot.

photo credit

If this is not enough convincing for you, try this.

Some critters are more primitive than others. I recall in Seattle, gardening folks often followed a trail of slug slime to find the critters. The GOP must have done something similar in locating its chosen candidate for HD47A.