consultants are sandburs

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ECM Publishers endorses Siefert. Making this a post in anticipation of a Residual Forces post that has some probability of being suppressed by a personal epiphany of one prone to express controversial opinions (arguably) to a fault. Human dynamics can be one hell of an interesting thing to anticipate. Surprise is always possible.

This link. RF was checked before pulling the trigger on publishing this post. No reaction there, to the ECM Publishers endorsement action. Whatever happened to the immutable law of action - reaction? Andy, restrained? Cautious? Come on. Get serious.

Sorensen first, to my knowledge, published of the endorsement before ECM posted it generally online. (Her linking to the Argus site led me to post that same link above).

Other candidates in other contests likely are anticipating media endorsement editorials, and strategizing over how to react to adverse news, that way.

There has been party endorsement, now it is getting time for the press endorsements to counter or agree.

On the DFL side, what odds would be demanded by one wanting to bet against Becky Otto, and wanting "fair" odds on Entenza generating a groundswell of media love and support?

17 to 1?

40 to 1?

Name your odds, and I still will bet my dollar three-eighty on the endorsed, non-quixotic incumbent, free of the host of questions attaching across the same-party fence.

That belief was strong enough to have my absentee ballot cast on the Republican ballot column, a crossover effort to ensure as much as one vote can, a higher quality of character among those I likely will not vote for in the general election, but who might nonetheless prevail based on the totality of others' voting.

Why govern when you can sue?

Governing is hard. It requires a collective consensus. That means extremism must be put aside to be replaced with practical listening, suggesting, and compromising.

Suing is easy. Hire lawyers. Especially easy if it's public money - not your money - being flowed to the lawyers. Responsibility and wisdom not required. Numbers games, we have the majority it will hold with us is not wisdom, it is short-term posturing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

News from Senator Bernie Sanders.

This link.

And after you consider some of the material there, what brand are Scott Honour and The McFadden selling?

Well, it is kind of hard to tell, they're inexact on issues, but neither, curiously, wants to discuss what Bernie discusses. Go figure. The general pattern of human politics is to not criticize what you like in a status quo.

By the way, where is Emmer on the issues Sanders discusses? MIA is where, best as I can tell.

Are we again this election cycle seeing coalition candidacies? Can you infer that from one booth at the fair?

Coupled campaigning? Common purpose? Friends being friends?

Wanna sticker? Gotta roll. Had 'em printed. Signs too. Custom tee shirt. The bundle.


Downloaded June 14, Maria B. Facebook

And re-following a link to another MB Facebook photo from the Capitol during antibullying hearings, today, I see the observation about microphone placement was removed.

From what I have seen of the Buchholz pair, together observing a number of Ramsey meetings, they still are close after many years and after the children have grown and moved on, so I give them credit for that.

Wayne surely wants the council seat, and he has allies. As with Rhonda, in her contest. It would be no surprise to learn they share a number of allies.

If you are one of the 35% [within the 99%], and vote Republican, then you are a clown.

This Strib carry of an AP item.

By JOSH BOAK - AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

Beyond being a clown, you are right where the 1% wants you, behind the 8-ball and timid for being there. If you are really, really quiet, you can hear the 1%'ers at their country clubs, snickering up their sleeves.

In Minneapolis things differ from national average data:

Almost half of Las Vegas residents— many of whom bore the brunt of the housing bust that sparked the recession— have debt in collections. Other Southern cities have a disproportionate number of their people facing debt collectors, including Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; and Jackson, Mississippi.

A few major factors appear to be driving the delinquencies, said Eric Salazar, the Texas and Florida manager for the credit counseling agency GreenPath.

First, many of these workers have low-paying jobs in construction and services, in addition to minimal education on their finances.

"There is not the income growth to save and they have to make survival decisions," Salazar said. "You make the decision to pay for the roof over your head and to feed your family and that's all you can afford to do."

Secondly, these states are home to retirees who live on fixed incomes and may struggle to pay medical bills, Salazar said.

Other cities have populations that have largely managed to repay their bills on time. Just 20.1 percent of Minneapolis residents have debts in collection. Boston, Honolulu and San Jose, California, are similarly low.

Only about 20 percent of Americans with credit records have no debt at all. Yet high debt levels don't always lead to more delinquencies, since the debt largely comes from mortgages.

Mergers and acquisitions guru McFadden will grab your sleeve, and tell you about jobs, with these in particular possibly to his liking (all jobs not being equal):

The collections industry employs 140,000 workers who recover around $50 billion each year, according to a separate study published this year by the Federal Reserve's Philadelphia bank branch.

Them and telemarketers, sleaze incorporated, but with the latter being displaced from jobs, by robo calling nuisance.

If you are uncertain of what an ill-thought-out rant is, try ...

... this.

Loon, GOP incumbent; Kihne, GOP challenger.

MinnPost, here. John Gilmore, here.

REPUBLICAN SIXTH DISTRICT PRIMARY - SC Times covers both GOP hopefuls. A clear editorial policy shines through. Whichever wins, don't make enemies.

Handling with kid gloves and much ego stoking and stroking: Sivarajah, and Emmer.

ABORTION - Mississippi, Alabama, and WISCONSIN. So says the AP feed Strib puts online. Guv Walker and his idiot brigade keep distinguished statutory company. Aside from that necessary observation, the Fifth Circuit is positioned to give the Roberts court more raw meat for their biases.

Strib, here. Read it. Only quote here:

Many hospitals ignore or reject abortion doctors' applications, and won't grant privileges to out-of-state physicians. Both obstacles were encountered by the traveling doctors who staff Mississippi's last open clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization.

The ruling from the conservative 5th Circuit was narrowly crafted to address the situation in Mississippi, but it could have implications for the other states with similar laws and dwindling access to abortion, such as Wisconsin and Alabama, whose officials have said women could cross state lines if clinics close, said the center's litigation director, Julie Rikelman.

Yes the deep South, and Scott Walker's enclave - of a feather.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!  
Stand up, Badgers, sing!
Now, readers who have followed the above Strib link likely can see how two Fifth Circuit cases, from Texas earlier now from Mississippi, by different panels, can and do present conflicting positions within a single Circuit that the five zealots on the Roberts court may well seize as an opportunity to enlarge on their Hobby Lobby shuffle.

For further information, a Google search yields other coverage, and links to the actual two opinions online; e.g.: Reality Check on the Mississippi case linking in the item to its report of an earlier Seventh Circuit decision against the Walker Wisconsin measure, (source of the image); WaPo on the Texas case along with Guardian earlier reporting; NY Times Mississippi coverage; on the Mississippi case; and the two fifth circuit cases online here (TX - 34 pages long)and here (MS - 37 pages).

The Wisconsin case is online here (50 pages - Judges must get paid by the word.) Reporting on oral argument prior to issuance of the opinion rejecting the Wisconsin legislation noted:

“Across the country, extremist politicians are trying to shut down women’s health centers and make it more and more difficult for women to access abortion care,” said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a statement following the decision. “These laws have nothing to do with women’s health and are designed to unfairly target medical professionals who provide safe and legal abortions.”

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judges who heard Wisconsin’s appeal included Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee; Judge Daniel Manion, also a Reagan appointee; and Judge David Hamilton, an Obama appointee.

During oral arguments, the justices expressed skepticism at claims made by attorneys for the state that the law was designed to protect patient safety, questioning why if patient safety was the priority providers were given a very short window of time to comply. Friday’s opinion reflects that skepticism. “Is there such urgency to implementing the law, because Wisconsin is rife with serious complications from abortion and requiring admitting privileges to hospitals within short distances of abortion clinics is essential to preventing such complications?” the court asked. “As noted earlier, the state has presented no evidence.”

Indeed, the ploy of the choice haters in those backwards state legislatures is to indirectly do all they can imagine to pressure closure of abortion providers; despite the Constitution, and Constitutional rights of women, as read by the Warren Court, in Roe v. Wade. What will the Roberts court be up to, with this opportunity dumped by the Fifth Circuit into their laps? At this point, we can speculate but time will tell.

Reality Check:

seems a good resource site worth bookmarking, on women's rights and the seemingly never-ending efforts to infringe them.

One writer there cares little for impassioned indirection in expressions of opinion,

I saw it on posters last summer at the Texas capitol, during protests against the state’s omnibus anti-abortion law: “TEXAS TALIBAN.” I’ve heard pundits and preachers on cable news, decrying the “American Taliban” that wants to take away birth control and abortion access.

These phrases aren’t clever, and they aren’t insightful. They’re racist, and they’re Islamophobic, and people—especially white people—who work in social justice movements and who do advocacy for women’s rights need to stop using them yesterday.

Because there is indeed a powerful, well-funded and rigidly patriarchal religious movement behind America’s most misogynist laws, and it isn’t any iteration of Islam.

It’s Christianity.

There’s no need to try and incite fear that right-wing lawmakers are going to turn America into an extremist Islamic theocracy when they’re doing just fine turning it into an extremist Christian theocracy. The answer to countering right-wing attacks on Americans with uteri isn’t to create a turban-wearing bogeyman looming half a world away, but to look at what’s happening right here in our own country, in our own statehouses, at our own national capitol.

Yup. A quite fine resource to engage in debate disarming any tendency toward name-calling matches with the rampant choice-hater blowhards populating our nation. Remember Truman's saying he does not give them hell, he only tells the truth and they think it is hell. Extreme rhetoric is not needed. Strength of will is. Voting smart is equally needed. Do it. Even if the two party system offers meager choice, go with what's available, and look for more like Wellstone to advance to elected positions of influence. Also, look for better appointed robe-wearing personnel in the courts. Ending the national embarrassment that is the Roberts court majority cannot happen too soon. "Clear and present danger," is a judicial cliche that somehow springs to mind. But - that's perhaps too close to name calling. So forget I wrote it.

A minor point, but the site is "rhrealitycheck" and not merely "realitycheck" as I referenced it in discussion [while giving the link properly, for bookmarking]. Presumably the "rh-" prefix is for reproductive health, i.e., reproductive health reality check, which fits the general scope of postings there.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Privacy is most certainly a fundamental right, more so now in an electronic age differing from the inherently more private reality of the time our nation was founded and its Constitution written.

That core privacy notion, and a freedom of religion parallel, has to be understood as my having a freedom from your religion, i.e., folks can practice their faith and advocate and follow their belief system, so long as they do not presume it somehow entails a necessity to impose their stuff on the neighbors.

My privacy rights preclude that, in a proper Constitutional modern day world. RH Reality Check again, on that point this time, concluding text being:

The “offensive” thing that gay rights activists are doing is fighting for their own rights. At the end of the day, what this argument boils down to is suggesting that the religious freedom of fundamentalists can only be protected by taking away the freedom, religious and otherwise, of gay people to marry—that your same-sex marriage somehow deprives them of rights.

Obviously, people should support reproductive rights for the sake of women’s health and well-being. But it’s also important to understand that while the attacks on reproductive rights are quite sincere—antis really are upset that you have sex without their permission!—the issue is part and parcel of a larger campaign to end the long American tradition of religious plurality, of understanding that the best way for religious freedom to be protected is for everyone to stay in their own lanes. It’s about giving fundamentalists not just the right to practice their own faith but the “right” to foist their faith on you.

In '60s parlance, don't lay your bad trip on me.

That was how the core idea of nonintrusiveness was phrased; and if the basic and real fundamental right each sentient existing human has to demand being accorded privacy from religion-based intrusions by others means anything, it is that others have to be forced to respect the right by not being allowed the intruding.

Your right to hold your belief in no way means I must be forced to share it. You lose nothing fundamental by my refusal to play along, or to bow or kneel to any or all of your stuff.

Feelings of sin, repentance, and redemption may be proper to you in your life, now, in the past, and for the future. Belief in codes of conduct you should pursue is something you have the right to follow. But do not erect a cross for others to hang themselves to, if they prefer not to. Live and let live is a clear and simple concept, with much in its favor. Some would phrase this as "liberty" of others requires your adherence to standards of respect and nonintervention. But then, yes, there is the criminal law, and notions of not criminalizing anything that does not in any real way victimize other sentient humans living their lives their way. It is not an attack on anyone's views, to hold different ones, and to conduct oneself lawfully, but differently. It is that good old politically correct "diversity" we all hear about and some dislike or fear. And, yes, devils do lurk in details. Beginning verses of Matthew 7 were left there for a reason, one of teaching. Yet each of us does judge, so the intent likely is to suggest tempering one's judgment of others, look first in the mirror, all that. Simple stuff really.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Joe Perske.

This link to donate, or mail checks:

Friends for Perske, PO Box 824, Sartell, MN 56377

The Perske campaign emails:

We’ve made incredible progress getting Joe Perske’s name out to Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District and today we need your help.

"The governor and state legislature have moved Minnesota in a positive direction over the past two years. The gridlock and partisan politics of Washington must change in order for our nation to move forward as well. Over the next 100 days, I hope to get my message out that I will be serving the people by focusing on solving issues and not being tied to rigid partisan politics.”

We will win this race with volunteers. We will win it with Weekends of Action, phone banks, door knocking, and of course -- with all of you running with us.

Joe is an amazing candidate who is willing to take us to the finish line but he needs your help. Can you donate $5, $25, or $100 today?

Donate and volunteer. It's a chance to improve DC, something Emmer after Bachmann would NOT do.

It's Perske or more of the same.

This looks like a nice combination, all things considered:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

RAMSEY - Paths of the Oil Trains. A map from Strib. Another article too.

The map. Here.

The article, here.

Okay, the map. It shows we in Ramsey don't get it as bad as Moorhead to the west, nor as bad as the switching yard area in South St. Paul. Small favors do deserve a degree of gratitude, but emphasize "small" rather than "favors."

BNSF does us no favor by routing all that dangerous stuff through our back door.

That image is from the Strib report, which in part states:

The reports, submitted to state officials by railroads and stamped “confidential,’’ say that oil trains can be more than 100 tank cars long as they pass through 39 of the state’s 87 counties. The greatest concentration is on the BNSF Railway main line between Moorhead and the Twin Cities. Canadian Pacific, another railroad serving North Dakota’s Bakken region, sends far fewer oil trains through the state, the data show.

Almost all of the oil trains pass through populated areas. Ramsey County and Clay County, which borders Fargo, N.D., have the most traffic — 45 per week on average. In the seven-county metro area, every county except Scott and Carver sees at least 40 oil trains per week.

“We are getting a fuller picture of what is actually passing through our communities that have densely populated areas right next to these rail lines,” Rep. Frank Hornstein, chairman of the Minnesota House transportation finance committee, said of the state’s decision to release the oil train data.

Before now, state officials have said only that seven or eight oil trains run daily through the state. The detailed county-by-county information had been declared nonpublic by the state Public Safety Department until the Star Tribune asked officials to reconsider that classification.

Minnesota’s disclosure comes two days after U.S. transportation officials announced draft regulations to retrofit or retire thousands of older tank cars to reduce accident risks from crude oil and ethanol trains. At least 15 major accidents involving crude oil or ethanol trains have occurred in the United States and Canada since 2006.

[links in original] Read the item, because it gets into "Where do they go?" In that sense, try: Philadelphia. Accessible by rail, no pipelines to a near moribund refinery that now booms Bakken.

Our danger, for an East Coast bonanza, where the pipelines do not exist and where it appears that nobody in the industry or government circles is saying build that level of pipeline infrastructure, at that cost.

Just keep the trains on schedule.

Rail giant CSX at a web page:


Priority, Velocity, Flexibility

CSX – flexible transit with premier access for your crude oil trains. Visit for more information.

The United States is soon expected to become the world’s largest oil producer and CSX is in the best position to serve the major East Coast refineries and terminals.

Key Facts:
CSX has the premier high speed rail line between the Midwest and Northeast. Our “Water Level Route” between Chicago and Albany has minimal grade and is all double track, allowing CSX to get your crude oil trains from Chicago to the Hudson River, New York Harbor or Philadelphia market in less than 48 hours.

Priority access into the Northeast market makes CSX the industry leader in efficiently delivering crude oil trains to refineries and terminals along the Hudson River, New York Harbor, Delaware River, and Virginia coast. CSX also features a local crew base in Philadelphia to ensure timely service, thus maximizing your asset utilization.

CSX provides a dedicated network operations team to help manage your supply chain. With our team, your trains are constantly monitored and prioritized to move quickly through our network. [...]

... and folks along the way are impediments to that "quickly" mentality for money. They keen. They moan. As if their safety mattered. Pesumptuous 47 percenters, most likely and ya betcha. Just because there's big risk and no benefit to them, they bitch a lot as if it mattered who they think they are.

We are talking railroad profits, Big Oil profits, autos on our East Coast highways, and these tiny country folk expect government attention and answers. WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?

They gave that "for more information," so use it for that.

Even you get an interactive map, the refineries east of here, the oil fields west of here. Us, here.

The Brotherhood notes it, McClatchy notes it. The tree huggers note it. Then, there is this:

"If we didn't do what we did, the refineries are gone," said Jack Galloway, who created Eddystone Rail Co. and enlisted Enbridge Inc., one of North America's largest energy distributors, as the operating partner in the project.

The Eddystone facility is designed to receive 80,000 barrels of light North Dakota crude a day, where it is unloaded into a storage tank, and then pumped onto barges and delivered to refineries along the Delaware River. The investors aim to eventually double capacity to 160,000 barrels a day, or about two "unit" trains containing 120 rail cars.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions and PBF Energy opened oil-by-rail yards last year at their refineries to cash in on the reduced cost of domestic oil compared with imports.

The Eddystone Rail Co. is a merchant operation. "We're not married to a single refinery," said Galloway.

One client is the Monroe Energy refinery owned by Delta Air Lines just a few miles away in Trainer, which does not have room for its own rail yard. Monroe currently receives its domestic crude by barge from Albany, N.Y., where it is delivered by rail at a Hudson River terminal.

That above item is from,

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
I don't know what readers may think, but I surely would like to hear from Emmer, Sivarajah, and Perske about what each thinks, in detail and without obfuscation or smoke or mirrors, about what's to be done. And anyone suggesting a pipeline from Bakken fields to the East Coast - blows smoke, big time. That is not in the cards and we are talking about big short term profit-taking where a pipeline is long term and - hey - railroads lobby.

So what's the word from our candidate friends?

Al might have a view and state it. Good luck getting The McFadden to say boo, without five handlers giving the okay.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Support solar. Support wind power and transmission from the prairies to our west to where consumers are on the grid, the nationwide grid. Support Tesla, and its plan for a multi-billion lithium battery factory, to render the internal combustion engine obsolete for automobiles; while deisel would still rule the rails and the Kenworths.

McFadden, Mills, and that Fleet Farm logo. Is the logo as orange as an NRA vote-this-way mailing card?

image credit

image credit - 2008 - interesting commentary
Start with the logo. And the card. A fine eye is not needed to see, yes, a difference in the shade of orange. Oh, if it were only that ... But it's not.

MinnPost online today, headline: "Mills taps Scott Walker's former campaign chief to help with race against Nolan"

Go green on that one, yes?

That is about all that's needed to cover Mills III and his sorry privileged ego trip.

Moving to The McFadden -

MinnPost online today, another headline: "Mike McFadden open to raising the age for Medicare benefits"

Yes: Eric Black on pinning The McFadden down on an issue being as hard as pulling hen's teeth:

In order to head off the projected insolvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden would favor raising the age of eligibility for Medicare benefits.

McFadden is open to other fixes for the analogous problem with Social Security, but wasn’t willing — despite being pressed on it several times in a recent interview — to indicate any measures he would endorse to extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund.

McFadden took several other policy positions in an interview last week, which I will write about soon. But this piece will focus on a long, somewhat strange exchange over the big senior entitlement programs.

As regular Black Ink readers know, I’ve been pursuing McFadden for policy specifics. To his credit, he has granted me several interviews recently to pursue those positions. Last Friday, we went over a specific set of issues on which, to my knowledge, he had not yet taken a coherent position.

One of them was the projected insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. “Insolvency,” by the way, doesn’t mean going broke, as it is too often termed. It means that official and reasonable projections for both Social Security and Medicare indicate that they will in the foreseeable future not be able to pay all promised and projected benefits from the dedicated income streams (mostly FICA payroll taxes) that have supported the programs for decades.

In the issues section of his campaign website, where many of his position statements raise far more questions than they answer, McFadden says:

Save Medicare & Social Security From Going Bankrupt. We can keep our promises while also being realistic about the challenges our current program faces. The senior safety net is heading towards bankruptcy because of irresponsible politicians like Al Franken who’ve used scare tactics to win elections. We have to take action to preserve this important program for future generations.

I had been asking what action McFadden proposed [...]

Eric Black: What is your proposal for extending the actuarial life of these programs?

Mike McFadden: We have a problem in this country. We have a problem with our senior entitlements and I believe this is a perfect example of how broken Washington is. We don’t address the issue. Here’s the facts, Eric, and you know them. Right now if you look at Social Security and Medicare, in 1950 there were 16 workers per retiree. Today there are three per retiree. And we’re headed toward two per retiree. The Social Security Administration says that Social Security is insolvent in 19 years, in 2033. Insolvent. That’s from the Social Security Administration. The CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] says Medicare is insolvent six years later, in 2026. [EB: I know, the math on those two dates doesn’t work].

EB: OK, so what’s your proposal?

MM: My proposal is that we address it now, in a bipartisan fashion and that every issue is on the table. Anytime a politician in Washington tries to address long-term entitlements they get demonized. You asked about what scare tactics Al Franken used. In 2008, a Franken ad falsely implied that Norm Coleman would take away survivor benefits, [...]

EB: What is the way that you would favor. I understand that you want to negotiate, but which of the proposals to make this happen would you support at the table?

MM: What I would support at the table is sitting down and looking at, when I say everything is on the table, everything’s on the table. [...]

[...] EB: OK, so you disagree with people who say there’s no problem. You think there is a problem. You want to sit at the table and you want to do something. There’s certain things you don’t want to do. You haven’t mentioned yet anything that you do want to do. To change the program.

MM: So what I want to do, let’s look at Social Security. Social Security you have two issues. You have a demographic issue and you have health-care costs. [At this point, he apparently realized that he was talking about Medicare, not Social Security, so he switched]. So on Medicare you’ve got two issues: you’ve got a demographic issue and a cost issue. And I think we need to look at the retirement age and what age an individual becomes eligible for Social Security, excuse me, for Medicare.

EB: Obviously look at raising it?

MM: Yeah. Absolutely. [...]

[and more of the same -- you get the flavor, but read the original, it's truly a hoot]

[note - italics in original; but bolding added] What a gentleman, he'd postpone his Medicare eligibility, so his class could continue paying minimal taxes. Yes, Medicare, and while on the subject of age-to-qualify, why not Social Security in the same bucket? Goose up the qualifying age. Again, McFadden a self-consistent man who doubtlessly would willingly postpone his qualifying age for receiving Social Security benefits; same altruistic motive being likely too. How do you find a guy like that, Norm? Did you know that in advance, Vin?

HOWEVER, some Commie-Marxist liberal freaks will be whining, they do that, yet one might even yield there, FICA taxing [yes the bolding in the extended quote], give Mike and his upper class golfing partners a break and don't raise the rate.

Only raise the ceiling.

Table is from the SSA online.

The McFadden, his handlers, his golfing buddies, their entire social class including Vin and Norm, they have the income wherewithal and can pay more. The pain would be their gain. As in meeting a moral imperative. Since it won't kill them it will make them stronger. Morally. A boost in character in knowing they can do more, for more of us, and will be made to.

We should all help them along towards achieving that epiphanimonious moment of truth and character enhancement, by our reelecting Al. Help Washington to "address the issue" that way. Nineteen years from now, in 2033, you will be glad you did.

I have had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with Jim Abeler. One thing Jim Abeler is, is unevasive. He gives direct answers to clear and direct questions. Whether or not you like the answer, you can trust it as Abeler's, not handler-prompted gobbledegook.

Sure. I like Al. In the November election, I vote Al. But wanting the better opponent, in case, that's not a political fault. It's plain and simple common sense.

Friday, July 25, 2014

"... to combine military power with moral purpose. This we no longer seem to be able to do--largely, in my opinion, because we have lost our broader moral purpose in politics at home."

Wes Volkenant gets credit for pointing out a web resource, where the closing item published last month [dated May 30,2014], among other things, concludes:

And over all this hangs the ever-growing power of capital, of powerful economic institutions led by banks and energy companies, who everywhere now tend to hold sway over their governments. For the last month I have been discussing the economic effects of this situation, drawing on Thomas Piketty's new book. And while the western nations, such as the United States, have state organizations that dispose of more money than ever, most of that money now goes towards education, health care, and pensions. Those are worthy causes, but in a world in which third world populations continue to grow relative to the rest, they do not leave sufficient resources to intervene effectively in any of the conflicts taking place around the world. The American adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown, in my opinion, that even the strongest modern state lacks the manpower and political resources to impose order upon a conflict-ridden third world nation of tens of millions of people. One reason the American political order is in so much trouble is that we have wasted trillions of dollars on essentially futile enterprises, enterprises which did not increase confidence in the government.

John Kerry spoke at his Yale commencement in 1966 about an excess of interventionism. The other day he spoke of an excess of isolationism. It is true that the younger generations (which now means anyone under 53) are not showing their elders' appetite for American world power. But more important, I think, is our inability to affect the course of events around the world, either militarily, or by offering a compelling political example at home and a vision of international affairs to which everyone can subscribe. Franklin Roosevelt's genius, as both I in my book and my friend Nigel Hamilton in his complementary volume, The Mantle of Command, was to combine military power with moral purpose. This we no longer seem to be able to do--largely, in my opinion, because we have lost our broader moral purpose in politics at home.

Yes that last sentence in the quote and the headline talking of "moral purpose" clearly has a higher meaning than the sense of pulpit propagandists' "moral" rhetoric centering on abortion and contraception; a misdirection ruse when "morality" of distribution of wealth and a moral stance toward government service of the needs of the least prosperous in our nation is becoming missing in action in a way that is obscene; Paul Ryan being a standard bearer in that direction. If not evil in intention, then that man is advocating morally evil policies; for whatever motivates him to do that besides reelection in Wisconsin's CD1, and the paycheck and the power. The glory of listening to himself and seeing it taken seriously.

Then there is moral purpose and foreign policy. Remember Bismark noted war was but one instrument of foreign policy, and then he lost his war. Thus proving a policy deficit that would not have accompanied victory.

Readers are urged to follow the link. To explore published opinion by David Kaiser, that site's author.

Bookmark it.

That's the post, for now, except for noting the latest History Unfolding post at this time, "Friday, July 18, 2014 - Who Lost Iraq?" The question coming to mind is whether "lost" is a correct parallel to who lost China, or who lost Vietnam, as the apparent US policy in those situations was Chaing over Mao in the first instance, and in the second mopping up after Dien Bien Phu where an imperial intent of those leading our nation then was multifaceted; in part with an eye to the lack of unification in Korea as well as domino theories that appear as absurd to everyone now as they appeared to the anti-war activist camp then.

Robert McNamara, with guys in suits like this, our moral purpose was lost long ago, in far-off intrigues, drowned in very muddy water, well before Bush II wars and Obama follow-up:

Who Lost Iraq? "Lost" in that context implies an outcome was foreseen and wanted other than what is going on in Iraq now, which as an outcome possibly was a planned scenario from the start. The footing around that who-lost question is as unsure to "us" ordinary outsiders as is the makeup and head count of the Cheney energy policy savants assembled to set oil/geo politics going into the Bush II years. Of the three gentlemen pictured above, only Scowcroft could possibly illuminate any such who-lost questions, by not like the other two being now too dead to talk; never mind the interesting circumstances under which each death happened.

A Post Script - if you go to that History Unfolding resource, and read an item, do not ignore the comment streams. Commenters reach at times, but more often offer a range of dessert courses.

Blind Ambition was a book written by John Dean several years ago. Amazon still lists it.

Amazon, here.

The book was about Nixon, and had nothing to do with Minnesota.

It's just, I was reading an item about Matt Entenza and the book title. independent of anything else, sprang to mind.

I figured it out. Why. The syllabication. Single syllable first word, triple syllable second word accented similarly, to my ear.

Pure coincidence. Only that. (If he went by Matthew, double syllable, I am sure the connection would have escaped me).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

RAMSEY - Strib writes again of oil train traffic on the BNSF tracks, and the recent summer derailent incident in Ramsey.

This link. No excerpt. No commentary. Read the item.

Turning toward Elk River off Armstrong, along the track, at that intersection, creosoted rail ties. If the rail bed ties are suspect, halt the trains and fix it, pronto. If it is routine maintenance, and only THAT without lies or obfuscation - and without heightened hazard, somebody in government ought to find out and post a comment one way or the other to the Strib's item from today.

Strib reporting and then, new ties along the road. It is not encouraging of trust.

It would be reassuring for citizens to know, either way. Especially Ramsey's adventursome set of Flaherty dwellers, right there at the track. Ground zero, in a manner of speaking.

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.