consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The sulfide mining debate - an opinion published from within the Boundary Waters regional tourism industry, to the effect: there's a goose laying golden eggs for jobs and cashflows into Minnesota ...

This Strib link. Do not overlook that perspective.

One man's ceiling is another man's floor.

A ceiling on mining abuses will firm up the floor for tourism to continue to contribute to Range economic growth and prosperity.

In that regard, short-sightedness can be devastating because it can cause irreversible harms lasting centuries into the future.

One Bush, he dropped on us his "War on Terror," and the tar of that is still sticking. If the Jebster has his way with us, there will be a legacy "War on Tenure."

While mn2020 is no longer active, there is the archive

http://mn2020hindsight.org/

with a sub-archive

http://mn2020hindsight.org/STIE_INDEX/category/teachers/

and then, this specific item, "Teachers, RTW, and the ALEC Agenda in Minnesota, By Michael J. Diedrich, Policy Associate, March 23, 2012 (at 7:45 am)," where you can find many helpful links to follow.

[All of Diedrich's several MN2020 teacher/tenure related posts have this link. The above specific item is the latest archived item by Diedrich. A couple of other posts of interest related to the "War on Tenure" are here and here. Navigate through the archived material, with the motive that the more you navigate and read, the more you understand about the perspective of unionized teachers. Without unionization there is no solidarity, and without solidarity teachers, the best and worse of them, can be sniped down by enemy fire, one after another after another. Without seniority in unionization there is no solidarity; like it, love it, that's HOW IT IS. Unions lacking seniority protection cease to be effective unions.]

Read that stuff. Get a perspective against what our Republican friends (especially those with ALEC close at heart) are up to, including presidential wannabe Jeb Bush who is profiting handsomely from some of the standardized testing - virtual education steps ALEC and its corporate hangers-on want to see generating ever-larger private sector profits at the expense of sound public education. It is an organized and scripted tide, on that side, and it will be unfolding further, in Minnesota. Organized resistance grounded on union seniority protection is the only thing standing between present effective public education, and its being gutted.

Stay tuned.

And, reader response remains welcome, re this link. That particular organ of propaganda, the so-called "Freedom Foundation of Minnesota" [with its 501(c)(3) status which some might find offensive, indeed, highly offensive] is a part of the scripted assault on public education, aka "The War on Tenure."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Who are these idiots, and why should I, in Ramsey, care?

This link.

_____________UPDATE______________
They have a team.

And, big time surprise, a Facebook page. Replete with Pics of bunches of smiling people standing close together. Sophisticated stuff like that.

It it were not for his being a fiction and not a real person, this town would give good public money to Forrest Gump, to consult.

To survey.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Does any reader know much about this 501(c)(3) operation in our state?


This operation.  Vin Weber* is on the board, as is Tony Trimble**. [UPDATE: Quality people on the board includes a Jack Meeks, presumably kin to the operation's CEO.]

For readers with knowledge: Sending a comment or an email [see sidebar] would be helpful.

AND - How do I know they have 501(c)(3) status? They say so.

Clearly not posing as a hatchet operation, saying, "... we tackle issues important to every Minnesotan and provide real-time, proven research and policy alternatives to help further the debate."

"Proven research" seems a high standard, not getting into the gutter for any reason being the implication. And the implication is the adjective "proven" may modify "policy alternatives" as well as "research." Proof, you want it? They indicate they have it and can show it.

_________________
*Weber - here, stating

In 1993 Mr. Weber founded Empower America, a non-profit public policy think-tank, with Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett and the late Jeane Kirkpatrick and served as Founding President and CEO from 1993 to 1994. In the fall of 1994 he opened the D.C. office of Clark & Weinstock and has since served as Managing Partner. The firm’s clients have included a broad range of corporations, trade associations, and non-profit groups.

Mr. Weber is one of the most prominent strategists in the Republican Party and has been a top advisor on numerous presidential campaigns. He served as Co-Chairman for Domestic Policy for Dole for President in 1996, was Co-Chairman of the Bush reelection campaign in 2004, and Co-Chair for Policy Development for Romney for President in 2008.

**Trimble - here, stating

Some [GOP] party backers are questioning where the party's money went and several expressed surprise when told about some of the spending. [...]

Chief among their concerns are dollars paid to Tony Trimble, the party's attorney who argued unsuccessfully in the 2008 U.S. Senate recount and the 2010 gubernatorial recount. During Sutton's tenure, Trimble made more than $1 million, an amount leaders say was excessive.

Lots of proof of too little/too late watch dog policing which suggests FEC ineffectiveness. Do you remember Christine O'Donnell?

This link.

Ramsey - It is a good thing the Charter Commission killed the franchise fee.

Wikipedia image.
There was a miasma to that thing about "needing" to rebuild/maintain what seem to be effective roads, for the amount of traffic side-roads get. As if it was a back-door way to force sewer/water into big-lot single family residential areas where homeowners happily now are on private well and septic tank systems that are and always have been functioning fine, given the town's sandy percolating soil. It was as if a darker agenda lurked behind the stated one.

Now, this Strib link. A new comp plan session will be starting sometime in the next two years, between elections, and paying heed might trump paying big-ticket amounts of SAC and WAC charges.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jon Tevlin tells it like it is.

This Strib link. Some people mentioned by Tevlin seem above feeling shame.

The Tomassoni conflict situation has to rest in large part on Bakk's doorstep.

Otherwise, what exactly does "leadership" mean? Blind eye? Is that a measure of leadership?

_____________UPDATE_____________
Sorensen linking to the Saudi's lobbying SuperPAC mogul's being shocked. SHOCKED! over Tomassoni.

Sorensen is right to also be critical of Tomassoni, and Tomassoni has nobody to blame but himself for putting himself at the same low level of the Saudi's lobbying SuperPAC mogul.

(Actually those offering Tomassoni the posts he accepted, he can blame them too, but that's biting the feeding hand, so don't expect it. Would you expect ever an unkind word from Norm, himself, about Nassar Kazeminy? It's honour among ... them.)

Tax Jeb. Tax Romney. Tax Bill Gates. Tax the Bachmann clan. Give folks like Elizabeth Warren, Jim Abeler and Andy A. at Residual Forces a break.

Strib reporting on Obama's tardy realization that taxing the rich is actually a fine idea.

Better late than never.

Also, tax the Clintons. They are obscenely wealthy, and should pay a fair share. Never mind what the microscope on how they got so wealthy shows, in expected 2016 scrutiny, presuming ambitions are as expected.

With Pawlenty and Coleman now comfortably appointed, aptly tax them too.

Give laborers a break, instead of THE Koch-ALEC-GOP-type of exploitation of working families.

Scott Honour, The McFadden, Dayton, Franken, each a millionaire several times over ...

America has been great to each of them, and it's overdue time for them to be great in paying their part of the tab.

________UPDATE________
Indeed, taxing Jeb, Bill, Mitt, and Michele might allow lowering the rate imposed on the modest legislative salary paid to young Abigale Whelan, fresh out of grad school, in that the more wealthier souls pay, the less she will be tithed.

SO -- Help young Abigale. Tax the rich properly.

Money makes strange political bedfellows.

Siefert, an apparent 180 degree shift of conscience reported by Sorensen, here. (With clear detail and links not needing to be repeated or excerpted.)

Integrity teaches, compromise reaches? Lick, don't bite the feeding hand? All kept pets know that?

The Pawlenty veto override six from all indications, voted as they did as an act of conscience, when the vote was taken.

Siefert? Conscience must be an elastic thing. That, or he just has come around to love taxes?

Will the Anoka County Woofer do any woofing over this one? We wait to see.

Another possibility, misreading the Siefert tea leaves, and he's not changed one jot.

However, Probability aside from Possibility says follow the money.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yet one more police use of deadly force incident, this one reported out of Bloomington.

Strib online here.

Suicidal man dies in encounter with Bloomington police
Article by: JOHN REINAN , Star Tribune - Updated: January 16, 2015 - 4:59 PM


When they peeked out the window, they saw a man lying face-up on the curb bordering their front yard and five or six police officers, guns drawn, advancing on the man.

But by that time, he was probably dead.

According to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the case, Bloomington police responded to a report of a suicidal person at a home in the 9900 block of Briar Road at 11:13 p.m. Thursday.

The man, who had a gun, began walking through the neighborhood as police shadowed him. Voice traffic on the police scanner indicated that the man pointed the gun at both himself and at police.

The final confrontation occurred in the 5800 block of W. 99th Street, about four blocks from the location of the initial police call. Gunfire broke out after the man refused several orders to drop his gun, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said. Officials have not yet said whether the man shot himself or police shot him. The man’s name has not been released.

Scanner traffic? That's the evidence? What decent reason is there, metro-wide, for inattention to the obvious.

Here.

Here.

A hope would be that the new police chief in Ramsey, upon his retirement can say, "My legacy was the first year in office I equipped the entire force with body cameras. Keeping that policy in place throughout my tenure."

I can think of no better legacy at this time. You want sound evidence in these situations, no waffle room? The camera does not lie.

THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR DELAY. COST WOULD BE MINMAL.

______________UPDATE______________
Below is the cover page of the above cited Justice Dept. 92 page item. It's simple, turn the thing on before exiting the squad car and keep it on, while otherwise not doing anything other than what training and experience says is best for the paticular encounter. It is not in the way. No more than a pinned on badge. It can be fitted to a body armor vest.

Met Council Comp Plan vision/revison time is coming soon to a town near you ...

Sandbur image.

image credit
Last time there was the dude with the temple bell; and the Bonestroo fool. We can do better if staff simply pulls the last one off the shelf, trims here, expands there, and submits the same zoning map. It would lessen the attachments flowing public dollars to consultancies. The temple bell was independently funded, not from City of Ramsey coffers. The same cannot be said for Mr. Bonestroo.

Nothing up yet at Residual Forces, but I can envision our Republican friends, keening over their Tea pots.

Met Council. Joe Kimball reports, this MinnPost link. With more of a political spin, Strib, here. UPDATE - And then, there were Ted Mondale times including the genesis of Ramsey Town Center.

As "smart growth." TOD.

AIA awards and all. Don't wait for Flaherty to get AIA kudos.

FURTHER UPDATE: Do you think Glen Taylor has a call in to Katherine Kerstin? See what she has to cluck, editorially?

Things to be thankful about in early 2015 - such as the fact the religious right is not in power and at best, is ebbing in influece. If the fundies had their way there'd be floggings.

This link. Different in mythology but same in suppressive intransigent judgmental mentality. (see sidebar red tee shirt - don't give those wired that way the power to mess too much with the rest of us)

A three session 50th anniversary reunion concert, with a guest guitarist and keyboards player.

As a bet, Bill Walton will be there. As a fact, Jerry will not. This poster image:

From Billboard coveage, here.

Chicago Trib report; also Billboard on Trey Anastasio.

Wholly unrelated; this link.

Let us guess and expect the best: Will it be posted on YouTube?

update - Rollingstone; and http://consequenceofsound.net/

Arizona Republicans have voted already this term to impose a standardized testing requirement on student graduation. It uses the 100 question citizenship test used for foreign nationals wanting US citizenship. Absent from the report, what private firm prepares and profits from such a test, for either purpose.

Yahoo News carries an AP report, the item stating:

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona high school students face the nation's first requirement to pass the U.S. citizenship test on civics before they can graduate after the legislation sailed through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Lawmakers approved the bill amid a growing nationwide effort to boost civics education, and newly elected Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law Thursday evening.

The swift action comes as states around the country take up similar measures, driven primarily by a conservative institute whose motto is "Patriotism Matters." The leader of the organization is former California U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs, who came in last in Arizona's Republican primary for governor after running a hard-right campaign focused on immigration and rhetoric against President Barack Obama.

The Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute has set a goal of having all 50 states adopt the requirement by 2017, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. The institute says legislatures in 15 states are expected to consider it this year. The North Dakota House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the same measure Thursday, but Arizona's proposal was the first to pass a full Legislature.

The Foss Institute promotes the test to state legislatures as a way to increase knowledge of basic government by students.

The Joe Foss Institute appears to be an Arizona policy outlet, see, e.g., here and here; their homepage, here.

The item continues:

The proposal requires high school students to correctly answer 60 of 100 questions on the civics portion of the test new citizens must pass. The test includes questions about the Founding Fathers, the Bill of Rights and U.S. presidents. Passing it would be required to earn a high school or GED diploma starting in the 2016-17 school year.

The bill garnered support from all 53 Republicans in the House and Senate, plus 10 of 27 Democrats.

But opponents questioned whether the test, which relies on memorization, is the best way to engage students in civics education. And they also wonder what message it sends when the bill was the first order of business at a time when Arizona is facing a large deficit and a court order to repay schools for funding that lawmakers cut during the recession, which approaches $3 billion.

"In the midst of a budget crisis, after we purposely underfunded our public schools, we rush this piece of legislation through in the first week even before we've addressed the investment the courts have ordered us to (pay) to our public schools," Rep. Juan Mendez said, explaining his opposition.

Republican House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro cited a federal study that said two-thirds of students measured below proficiency in civics.

Wait one minute. What in the world is meant by "measured below proficiency?" More sop for the standardized testing hucksters, because if everyone passes easily, why use the test whereas if high failure can be ginned up via focus on nit-picking stuff, the test profit takers can defend it as necessary and/or helpful as a diagnostic tool.

Standard standardized testing stuff? Or, what else?

The AP item ends:

A high school government teacher, Joe Thomas of Mesa, said he was concerned that the 100-question test would take up an entire class period and requires rote memorization rather than critical thinking.

"The interest is promoting civics, and we want to see students engaged," Thomas said. "I don't know if a test engages students."

I don't know that rote memorization and procedures helps much of anything, except helping clerks to count change at the supermarket, but I do remember Ms. Smith, in high school, noting that while Grover Cleveland was running for President opponents bandied about a slogan about an illegitimate child he'd fathered, "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa. He's gone to the Whitehouse, Hah, Hah, Hah." That did help me understand the John Edwards withdrawal from seeking the presidency. It was a true American Civics lesson that way.

My bet, it's not in the hundred questions on that frigging test.

_________UPDATE_________
How do you measure the measuring stick? In terms of international measure, there is a Platinum bar kept in a controlled environment in Paris, long the standard meter in length (now a meter is defined as a fixed multiple of the wavelength of a particular spectral line in the emission spectrum of a particular element). Time is kept by atomic clocks kept by NIST, and the GPS system is based on such clocks on precisely positioned satellites.

That is science, and then there is "scientific" testing. How can we consider and weigh the adequacy of presumably a hundred multiple choice question/answer pairings, something easily machine scored, but with the caveat that if the questions are revealed in advance for citizen think-about-it evaluation, the test cannot be used because test takers will have advance notice to train to the test precisely question by question. So the thing is a "TRUST ME" shell game propagated by the testing agencies.

Can an employer in Minnesota administer an IQ test to a job applicant, is that even legal or is it illegal? What are the policy reasons and the sensible reasoning either way?

Yet this testing thing is pushed out by Pearson and others, to flow cash to corporate coffers; never mind actual merit of the stuff, it is the perception of reliability that is being sold. Hence they tell you it is reliable. What else would you expect them to say? That it's hogwash?

It is selling the sizzle, regardless of quality of the steak. Rote memory has a place, but it is not any reasoning person's be-all, and end-all.

FURTHER: There is such a thing as using loaded questions. As a thought experiment consider:

TRUE OR FALSE: Ronald Reagan was responsibe for the fall of the Berlin Wall?

-vs-

TRUE OR FALSE: Joe McCarthy intentionally ruined careers in order to advance politically?

Each a loaded question, and which would you most expect to see on a standardized test?

How about this one:

The federal government has the power to make oil and gas pipeline routing decisions the states must follow because: [A] The commerce clause in the Constitution authorizes it; [B] The federal government controls the federal budget; [C] The Civil War was fought over the question of federal vs state powers, and the North won; [D] Lobbyists want it that way; [E] Politicians in each of the two major parties are inclined to favor politicians having the ultimate say in major policy questions.

What's the correct choice?

Harold Hamilton weighs in on Tom Emmer voting for John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

On an earlier Crabgrass post that has since scrolled off the "front page," here, the tempest in a Tea Pot over Emmer voting for Boehner as House Speaker was vetted. Watchdog musings on that are online, the gist being:

Our friends over at the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance are freaking out over Tom Emmer's vote this week in favor of John Boehner as House Speaker.

Of course, that angst has manifested itself with the requisite lack of perspective, strategic thought, and class we've all come to expect from the leadership of this organization.

Their press release showed one of those grainy, black and white negative ad photos we've all seen a million times, with a red "BETRAYED" label running across Emmer's face.

[...] Emmer committed a mortal sin by apparently not returning some phone calls quickly enough.

Hey, when the head honcho at the Tea Party Alliance calls, Congress better answer! Pronto!

Yawn...

Look, Emmer voting for Boehner isn't a big deal. It [alone] doesn't signal that he's in the pocket of the Establishment or that Emmer is a failure. You may want to wait more than one day or for more than one vote before jumping to that conclusion.

[...] Get serious. We're wearing tri-corner hats here, not tinfoil hats.

[...] The world isn't going to end because Tom Emmer voted for Boehner.

Emmer isn't Karl Marx because of the vote.

[bracketing added]

Tell those tea idiots that Boehner, he's not Karl Marx either, nor is Harold Hamilton. (Besides other differences: No beard, short hair for each. Each dumber than Marx. Less accomplished.)

Don't you like the ambiguity in the one woofer's sentence, "... that angst has manifested itself with the requisite lack of perspective, strategic thought, and class we've all come to expect from the leadership of this organization."? I read it as "we've all come to expect from the leadership of this organization" modifying "lack," the lacking being the expectation. Perhaps the intent differed, but expect that bunch to be lacking and you'll be spot on most of the time.

Likewise, Hamilton arguably is spot-on correct about the amount of tinfoil the Tea idiots likely use in the course of fashioning hats for themselves.

Last, like the dog, I thought Sivarajah was brighter than Emmer, and would have done a better job; while Perske trumped both but as a DFL candidate the deck was stacked against him to where Emmer could just sit and not say boo, beyond making a video touting a contractor during the pre-election ramp-up, and win in a district that, after all, repeatedly elected Michele Bachmann, who could never sit saying nothing, except over her ethics probe and the Sorenson payments and other handling of money in Iowa when she had the audacity to suggest she was presidential.

My key expectation of Emmer? A TOMPAC, not unlike MICHELEPAC. He's got his role model. Expect it, and expect the faithful to buy in.

Dismissal of Larry Klayman's DC Circuit lawsuit against Obama executive order on immigration will be given an expedited appeal.

This link.

ANOKA COUNTY - Yes, but are they worth it? And, why was this done weeks after the last election? It would have given voters more to chew on, if enacted before they voted. And, sure he can grandstand, Michele Bachmann would grandstand, but did either ever refuse a pay increase?

Hat tip to watchdog, for earlier posting link to this ABC Newspapers item:

County Board to get 2 percent pay increase in 2015
By Peter Bodley December 8, 2014 at 8:11 am


Action by the board Nov. 25 set 2015 salaries for elected officials and non-union county employees, including the county administrator, division managers and department heads.

The salary of county board members will increase from $61,444 to $62,367. The 2 percent increase the commissioners received for this year had been their first in four years.

There is no change to the expense allowance maximum received by County Board members, which was established by a resolution approved by the board in 2004.

That put in place the expense allowance in lieu of seven-county metropolitan mileage and other unreimbursed business-related county expenses.

The County Board by state law also sets salaries for the county attorney and county sheriff, according to Melanie Ault, county human resources director.

Sheriff James Stuart’s salary will increase 2 percent from $137,355 to $140,102, but County Attorney Tony Palumbo’s wage jumps from $143,820 to $155,000.

[...] The County Board vote was not unanimous. County Commissioner Matt Look voted no, while County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah missed the meeting because of illness and County Commissioner Carol LeDoux was also absent from the meeting.

According to Look, he has nothing but praise for the quality, output and value of the work done by employees, but the county has no identified source of funding for the increases short of increasing the tax levy.

The economy has not rebounded in terms of tax base and revenues, while construction costs are increasing, in some cases as much as 30 percent, and fiscal disparities revenues are “problematic,” Look said.

Give me a break. County taxes were raised, pay was raised, and pontification is different than turning a raise down for reasons stated as cause for an opposition vote.

There is show, and there is action.

(And of course there is ducking the vote entirely, taking a hike on the meeting day, and thus getting the bigger paycheck with no vote on record to have to defend later.)

In these times when we are told of a recovery many cannot tangibly see, how many private sector pay raises are being given?

Legislators do not get that much pay, as I understand things.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Since 2002, Minnesota's state and local government revenues and expenditures have declined significantly in comparison to other states. The corresponding decline in public investment has coincided with a decline in Minnesota's economic performance and quality of life. Once a national leader in areas such as education and employment, Minnesota is now lagging. [...] No state has cut government revenue and spending more than Minnesota since 2002."

The post headline is a quote from within the executive summary of a Minnesota 2020 (mn2020.org) report.

Minnesota 2020 has ceased its activities in Sept. 2014, per this current homepage item, stating in part:

Beginning with Minnesota 2020’s first report, “Chasing Smokestacks, Stranding Small Business: Rural Minnesota’s Crisis,” Minnesota 2020 carefully examined the controversial conservative “JOB-Z” business subsidy policy. Following publication, which included recommended retasking JOB-Z funding into more cost-effective, stronger regional business development initiatives, Executive and Legislative support for JOB-Z quietly disappeared.

That first report established an analytical template. Minnesota 2020 researchers examined Minnesota’s property tax system; surveyed Minnesota’s county engineers, finding widespread concern with road quality; and made the financial and economic development policy case for increasing Minnesota’s minimum wage.

Seven and a half years later, the public policy landscape looks better. Minnesotans have a substantially more fair state income tax structure. Minnesota’s minimum wage is climbing. Minnesota’s school funding decline has been reversed with more state resources flowing to public K-12 and higher education schools. Minnesota is back to work; unemployment levels are back to pre-recession numbers.

Many people made these changes happen but Minnesota 2020 gathered economic data, crunched the numbers and made the public policy case for policy change. We traveled Minnesota, sharing our findings and explaining state policy’s impact at the local level. We published over 30 reports and thousands of articles, digging into the who, what, where, how and why of public policy consequences.

That closing was between the 2014 primary election and the 2014 general election. The concluding paragraph notes the website will remain with its report archives intact, online:

While Minnesota 2020 closed on September 30, 2014, Minnesota 2020’s body of research remains as a beacon of hope and achievement, of insight and conviction facilitated by hard work. Every published word is available here. Use it to learn about Minnesota’s policy past. Use it to guide future research. Building a stronger, better Minnesota never stops.

EDUCATION

Minnesota 2020 did a propaganda piece in 2014 to debunk the testing hucksters' assault on how things should be done and where education dollars should be flowed besides being directed toward boosting some vendor groups' cash flows from public money.

So nobody misses it, the operative word is debunk.

Each side uses pictures of happy looking, healthy looking urchins, each to suggest "our answer" will yield the better prepared and psychologically and physically above average urchins - a more bang for your buck sort of thing - with each side not heavily throwing stones at the other.

Feel good our way propaganda, that's what it is with each side of the cash-for-testing vs cash-for-tangibles debate using similar tactics - for more teachers to lower student to teacher ratios to better individualize instruction, for higher pay to attract and retain higher skilled sets, etc. from the Minn 2020 perspective - the carrot - vs - the standardized testing robo-learning approach of putting iPads in hands, upping student to teacher ratios because the iPads take over some of the teaching function, and shaving salaries by retaining "the better" teachers - those with the least experience but also with the lower paychecks; that being advanced as "dead wood" elimination, etc.; with that argument for testing, testing and see who the test "discredits" [using tests of questionable merit, prepared by somebody wanting to make money by having failures to redress] - that faction's answer can be termed, the stick.

It is propaganda from both sides, but what really is the more believable side?

Should surgeons be culled to the lower-paid least experienced ones, making their ranks fewer and less secure in their fortune, for better medical outcomes?

Perhaps.

At any rate, here is the operative page of the Minnesota 2020 item where the low-key debunking of the testing vendors is made most clear (and that's not very clear - there but very, very low-key).



Also, check the link. The opening pages. Happy urchins - varying races, they abound.

See how the happy urchin thing is used as much by one side as the other.

BOTH SIDES --- Give me a break from happy urchin image based propagandizing, please. It sucks. (As well as grossly and shamelessly insulting my and other people's intelligence.)

Abby Simons of Strib reports on Sean Nienow's relief in Bankruptcy court. [And an UPDATE about some related policy considerations.]

This link.

He stuck US taxpayers with a big six-figure one, by his SBA loan default. Coming out clean was as if born again, fiscally. But with a second trip to the relief trough by law postponed for a term of years.

Hopefully no further SBA loan waste will go that direction.

Waste of government money seems a theme he pontificated, however he behaved with money given loaned him.


UPDATE: From Simons' report:

“Businesses succeed and don’t succeed all the time. If people don’t take risks with businesses we don’t have an economy,” he said. “On paper, everything worked. Everything looked responsible. If it didn’t, the bank wouldn’t have approved the loan.”

Nienow, 46, served in the state Senate from 2003 through 2006.

After being defeated for re-election, he won back the seat in 2010, and won again in 2012. His official Senate biography lists his occupation as a consultant. He makes $31,000 annually as a senator.

People do take business risks, but usually banks do not allow super leverage; and it remains unclear from reporting what exactly in Nienow's status, background, and Nienow's proposal-business plan resonated to induce such a loan.

"On paper everything worked. ..." means exactly what? Long ago, in earlier times, but somebody approved that banking risk, and in hindsight at least it looks like really bad banking judgment. What at the time prevailed? Is the banker who signed off on the loan still practicing - same bank or elsewhere? Firms such as CMDC often serve intermediary functions between SBA guarantee decisions and actual banker-borrower pairings. Was such a firm acting back when Nienow drew the big loan? And is the presence of an SBA guarantee a moral hazard against bad practices vs exercise of due caution by a banker in lending decision making?

Surely Nienow's default on an SBA guaranteed loan was not the first such default, nor will it be the last.

Moreover, Minnesota's DEED has had (and may still have) an "Urban Initative Program," of matching loans to small business where the default rate seems fairly high, and the average wages for subsidized jobs seems very low, or at least that was the case in a found DEED online report for 2006 (when residential construction segment problems were beginning to surface). This screen capture from within the report:

click thumbnail, to read

Policy debates can rage over the wisdom of such programs as a place for government spending and risk assumption - risk shifting from the private sector, with at least one listed firm in that report having since failed as a business, with local political implications, and that loan was not made to either a woman or minority person (which the report seems to indicate as the majority of such business aid recipients with report Fig.2 identifying by pie chart that white male and white female loan recipients were each at the 7% level).

Is that good policy? Is that still a DEED program? And if so, is it funded from state general funds allocated to DEED or even in part from other DEED income streams such as employer paid UI insurance premiums (which should be earmarked and used only for the stated purpose)?

Nienow got his loan as a white male, and a legislator. Looking at the ending list of the DEED 2006 item, most of the ventures listed there looked to be more sound than Nienow's harebrained choose-a-summer-camp-brokerage adventure.

"If we are going to be connected we need to be protected."

Three items, related by the notion of broadband speed growth being a benefit, for which artificial impediments are disfavored.

First, Ars Technica, headlined, "Obama calls for end to 19 state laws that harm community broadband -- President joins FCC in tackling laws that protect ISPs from competition." This quote:

President Obama today called for an end to state laws that restrict the rights of cities and towns to build their own broadband networks.

In a report titled, "Community-based broadband solutions: The benefits of competition and choice for community development and highspeed Internet access," the White House said it wants to "end laws that harm broadband service competition."

"Laws in 19 states—some specifically written by special interests trying to stifle new competitors—have held back broadband access and, with it, economic opportunity," the report said. "Today President Obama is announcing a new effort to support local choice in broadband, formally opposing measures that limit the range of options to available to communities to spur expanded local broadband infrastructure, including ownership of networks. As a first step, the Administration is filing a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to join this effort by addressing barriers inhibiting local communities from responding to the broadband needs of their citizens."

The FCC is already examining these state laws, and considering whether it can invalidate them by using its authority to promote competition in local telecommunications markets by removing barriers that impede infrastructure investment. Community broadband providers in Tennessee and North Carolina recently petitioned the FCC to preempt state laws that prevent them from expanding.

[links in original] Interesting related links in item sidebar posting are: "ISP lobby has already won limits on public broadband in 20 states," this link; and "Verizon investors say net neutrality opposition could harm its reputation - Verizon's statements on net neutrality called 'inconsistent and contradictory.' " this link.

Second and third, of the three-item reference at the start of this post, these two items on the whitehouse.gov website, here and here, respectively titled, "These New Actions by the President Could Make Your Internet Faster," and "The President Announces New Actions to Protect Americans' Privacy and Identity."

The second of these whitehouse.gov items is the source of the Jesse Jackson like headline to this post. (In a way it reads like a sergeant's script starter to enlisted military personal who are about to go on leave in a foreign town.)

This excerpt:

In today's world, we're exchanging more and more sensitive information online -- we're managing our bank accounts, paying bills, handling medical records, and even controlling our homes from our smartphones. But as the President made clear today, the ability to do all of this online poses additional risks:

Major companies get hacked; America’s personal information, including financial information, gets stolen. And the problem is growing, and it costs us billions of dollars. In one survey, 9 out of 10 Americans say they feel like they’ve lost control of their personal information. In recent breaches, more than 100 million Americans have had their personal data compromised, like credit card information. When these cyber criminals start racking up charges on your card, it can destroy your credit rating. It can turn your life upside down. It may take you months to get your finances back in order.

"This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families, and we've got to stop it," President Obama said. "If we're going to be connected, then we need to be protected."

There follows a four-point presentation of policy change proposal; then two links with more detail are given before a concluding flag-link reminder of the upcoming State of the Union speech.

_______________UPDATE______________
Andy at Residual Forces, this post, rightly questions Obama policy on cyber security (as separate from cyber privacy - the government wanting the "security" powers, despite privacy implications). It does seem the Obama privacy proposal has that gap - private parties, other governments should honor privacy but what of our government?

Andy mentions Constitutional amendments, but omits mention of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against federal government unreasonable search and seizure as applicable to his argument, an error of omission but not a fatal flaw.

And the Fourteenth Amendment makes Bill of Rights protections applicable as limitations on state and local governmental action, so that all levels of government must act subject to Bill of Rights protections.

That said, the operative text in Andy's post worth noting is:

Don’t Worry, Only The Government Will Be Able To Use The Internet To Steal Your Private Data If Obama & The Federal Government Has Its Way. Of course they will never use that against you. Trust them.

The proposal would shield companies from liability if they share information about cyber threats with the Department of Homeland Security, which has been setting up special units for threat analysis and sharing.

If its illegal for someone to gather date online, why should the Federal Government be allowed to?

Never mind that we still don’t fully understand what actually happened in recent high profile ‘hack attacks”. Was it online terror or disgruntled employees and whistleblowers?

But hey, why figure out the facts before we surrender our rights and privacy for the greater good of Government and bureaucrats?

Do you know how many jobs politicians can say they created if they get to create a whole new Bureau to investigate cyber crimes, scour through data looking for unpaid online sales tax – er I mean online threats, and…. well you get the picture. Let your mind run wild about all the dangers of having an all knowing Government who gets to spy on your private conversations, use that information against you, and gather it in a way that no one else can.

Its a tyranny. Imagine if organizing politically against a ruling government that resembled more of an occupying force would some day become illegal.

[formatting including italics is from the original, omission of links too]

Monday, January 12, 2015

Not exactly Ivy League. Not exactly enlightened. Not anything I'd touch even with a ten foot pole. Or longer.

Two representative links; here and here. "Best" by any measure is not necessarily best by a sane measure.

What some regard as God-given others might see as pure malice and menace.

Opinions differ.

Does anyone know how much federal money gets pumped into these institutions?

Too much is a sensible answer even if it is only a dollar three-eighty; but bet on it being a staggering amount.

Subsidized bigotry, or not? You decide.

UPDATE: Dated, but relevant. This also?

FURTHER: This.

FURTHER: Explain the difference, re here, here, here and here. Oh, right. They're bad guys. Must be anti-Liberty. Somebody's put out
a scorecard that explains the difference. Can you get me a copy?