consultants are sandburs

Friday, January 30, 2015

Romney declares himself out, find your own headline on that. What I'd like to see the Republicans do ...

The GOP should collapse the front men, and either nominate the Koch brothers directly - they could flip a coin for top spot vs veep - or go past the talking heads to the counting houses, with a Karl Rove - Norm Coleman ticket.

But will they take outside advice? Not likely.

Do you suppose there'd be traction to a gender-balanced ticket?

Follow-up question, on that ticket, who'd Kent Sorenson support for top spot, in Iowa?

And this -

--  a  FURTHER UPDATE for the comment troll.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) on Tuesday condemned the conservative blog of a Republican state Board of Education member over its description of President Obama as a "half-breed," according to the Omaha World-Herald. "While many Nebraskans disagree with our president on many issues, he is deserving of the same civility and respect we give one another," Ricketts said, according to the World-Herald. "There is no room for bigotry. I am deeply disappointed and unequivocally condemn these comments."

While political correctness can be debated, the Nebraska story thread can and did lead to strange places.

First, current Nebraska stories, the first of which yielded this post's headline, are online here and here.

Of interest is that googling the term "half breed" leads to yet more Republicans' revelations, Wikipedia here, and a follow-up on President Garfield's death, here, with the latter item unfortunately not noting whether any depredation to Garfield's wallet attended his "treatment" after his being shot, while otherwise being not particularly friendly to the medical profession (or a part of it) in Garfield's time.

So, the Republican "half breeds" - back then of course - were in favor of civil service reform over the spoils system and hence were regarded by many in their party as not being true Republicans. Nothing related to Ron/Rand these days, and true Republicanism litmus tests, as they may be formulated, these days.

A bad joke, from a band of jokers set on love of the fiction of a "newspaper," not an emperor, without clothes.

image link

Read of it here and here.

It offends. Greatly. Of a magnitude the Chairman likely comprehends.

And scoffs at.

So, who scoffs with him while admiring his sartorial splendor?

Woof, woof, woof.

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

with a sub-archive

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.

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?

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.

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.



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.


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

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.

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?


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!


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 ( 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.


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?


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 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 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.

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: 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?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

“ 'Going after a judge, saying that ‘she’s crooked because she said that we’re crooked’ — I don’t know how successful from a [public relations] standpoint that’s going to be,' said John Wendt, a professor of ethics and business law at the University of St. Thomas." He was talking about an appeal by Wilfare recipients, not on the merits but implicating the judge with the hammer.

Strib, here.

The quote in the headline is the final paragraph of Strib's item.

Petraeus in current news.

See links currently returned by a

google = Petraeus

UPDATE: Joined by at least one other news name from the recent past. Also, this link (Hillary likes it, others too).

County Board visions and revisions. What is most interesting is who gets appointed to this newly formulated committee, because that will largely presage what direction will be adopted.

This online report.

Board setting of the makeup of this new committee apparently is yet to be specified.

PiPress reports: Hope 4 Youth met its million dollar fund-raising goal.

This link.

RAMSEY COUNCIL ACTION: "Future development of Rivers Bend Park prevented"

The headline quote is ABC Newspapers' headline of its thorough report, online here. The only thing helpful that is absent from that report is pinpointing the location under consideration; with the below google maps screen capture presented to add that context. Otherwise, read Eric Hagen's ABC report. Click the image to enlarge and read.

It is at the Hwy 116 overpass on the Rum with the park on Ramsey's west side of the Rum, and Anoka's housing growth development on the east side. It is threatened with growth creep, and the effort to prevent that in a more permanent way than zoning would entail is the aim of the present council and Ramsey staff; as Hagen reported.

Our CD6 current Congressional sweetheart and Bachmann surrogate, Tom Emmer; for "Foreign Affairs," he has Neil Bush as a potential role model.

He says he wanted to be on the transportation [aka pork-for-the-district] committee, but Boehner assigned him: Foreign Affairs. While he's been largely midwest-USA-bound his adult life, he has staff some of whom possibly may be helpful on a learning curve.

"I am very pleased with the great team we have assembled to work for Congressman-elect Emmer," said David FitzSimmons, Chief of Staff. "Emmer is ready to hit the ground running as a freshman congressman, and now has a strong staff to stand beside him."

Right, not FitzSimmons as another locally experienced only chief of affairs, to be the Rep's foreign affairs ghostwriter/ghost thinker. But hopefully one of the others on staff is there for Committee heavy lifting and explaining to Tom. Fitz's big thing to earn the appointment was to keep the gag on Emmer during the election so no embarrassing $100,000 waiter kind of stuff came out. And he handled the job, and was rewarded full GOP style. Often the jockey is as important as the horse.

Moving on -

Getting Emmer flexibly positioned on the Ag committee and Foreign Affairs committee will surely help serve Cargill international interests, never mind the need for good roads in Minnesota, (i.e., moving Cargill pork worldwide vs. bringing roadway pork back to our very needy TC and rural Minnesota areas); SC Times reporting:

The Delano Republican has additional responsibilities with his spots on the House agriculture and foreign affairs committees.

“I’m incredibly relaxed for whatever reason,” Emmer said in an interview Monday in his new Capitol Hill office. “It feels good. I’m ready to work.”

He hadn’t expected the foreign affairs appointment. He had initially requested assignment to committees overseeing financial services and transportation, an issue that was a cornerstone of his campaign. So over the next few weeks, he will be attending intensive briefings on foreign policy covering everything from North Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan and the battle against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Emmer says he has general opinions on those fronts, but wants to learn more before casting a vote or taking public positions.

“I don’t have the benefit of the information that a lot of people here have,” he said. “I would guess that within the next couple of weeks at the minimum and probably within the next month as a maximum, I’ll be able to say, ‘This is where I’m at.’”

Strangely, from Cargill's home state he omitted mention of soybeans in Brazil from being in his study packet.

But Fitz will find a way to serve. Emmer, and Cargill. Already, wave those flags:

Yup. Fitz and Tom, and that paragraph in the pic -

By exporting the promise of liberty and free markets to the nations of the world, we can achieve these goals. Regions such as Latin America, Africa and Asia present us with emerging opportunities to increase trade and diplomatic relations.

Well, "emerging opportunities to increase trade and diplomatic relations," segues into the Niel Bush thinking.

Niel Bush is a man who took "emerging opportunities" in foreign affairs to levels we Minnesota citizens can only imagine. Read all about it. With that Salon headlining, " The return of Neil Bush -- Even in the Great Recession, the dim bulb of a dynasty manages to cash in on the family name," that "dim bulb" mention should resonate with Emmer, as well as with his attentive minder, Fitz.

The Salon story is lurid, featuring slush money and more, and hence easy flowing reading for most of us. The thing Fitz will have to mind and Emmer will have to have to have included by staff as part of his catch-up schooling - on foreign affairs:

Yet for all the handouts from the Bush family network, Neil’s ventures still failed to generate much profit. His famously nasty 2003 divorce proceedings with Sharon revealed that he was essentially broke. At the time, a well-placed source told me, he drove a minivan owned by his mother. The proceedings also revealed that on at least three business trips to Asia, women Neil didn’t know came into his hotel room unbidden and had sex with him. The practice, he acknowledged, seemed “very unusual.”

“You don’t think he was picked to be part of all of those business deals because he was so brilliant, do you?” Marshall Davis Brown, Sharon Bush’s attorney, asked when I met him at his Houston office. “He had a big hat but no horse.”

Neil has received relatively little press attention since his divorce, though he has been living well. In February 2005, Mexican magnate Jaime Camil hosted a 50th birthday party for Neil at his estate in Acapulco. The Houston Chronicle reported that two dozen Houstonians flew down for the festivities. “Saturday night, the host-with-the-most pulled out the stops at his expansive villa,” wrote the newspaper’s society columnist. “A lavish fireworks display topped off a night that included a 16-piece mariachi band, dancers from Mexico City’s Ballet Folklorico and gourmet fare.”

The truth is, failure has been very good to Neil. [...]

[link in original omitted]

A "dim bulb" story of how to nonetheless prosper might not be news to Emmer. But that part about the visiting ladies, Tom and Fitz need caution once some of the potential junketing begins. Presumably Cargill will be attentive and minding as well.

We watch Emmer and can only marvel at how adeptly he slips into the role previously held by Michele Bachmann.

And where Bachmann had Andy Parrish, Emmer upgrades; quietly having Fitz, (Bachmann's primary skill was publicly and loudly having fits).

Ain't politics grand?

And while Dayton went and called DC "a cesspool," we look forward to seeing how Emmer navigates his way through things.

Examining that staff list, the word "mediocrity" comes to mind, but it is not a new word when considering Emmer. It appears campaign workers get rewarded with intro into DC streams, while it bodes ill to see staffers who are Bachmann holdovers, Liberty University graduates, or both. Not a staff listing to be viewed as very promising for a wide reaching Minnesota Gestalt and service perspective, but the spoils system truly is not new with Emmer.

The thing on that staff, the closest to a Cargill-tight person might be

Landon Zinda, Legislative Counsel/Legislative Correspondent
Landon Zinda will be serve Emmer's D.C. office as Legislative Counsel. Landon graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and received his J.D. from American University. A native Minnesotan, Landon previously spent six years in the government affairs department of The Heritage Foundation following a series of internships for Minnesota legislators, including Rep. Mark Kennedy in the Sixth District.

Congressional staffs have a history of change and adaptation over time; and we can hope that Emmer's turnover of staff will mirror Bachmann's in terms of churning, but with upgrade, instead of conscious parallelism, happening at transitional times. It is a staff one would have expected of Emmer.

______________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Do we ask Emmer where he stands, or where he's been told to stand, on TPP and/or fast track (opposed by sustainable farming advocates, so also ask where he stands/is told to stand, on sustainable agriculture - as an appropriate question for an Ag Committee appointee, and a Foreign Relations appointee; or does he have to await a "briefing" to reach firm convictions)?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

First, poison all the fish in the Great Lakes ... Then recreate.

Daudt and colleagues appear to have formulated a new Minnesota House Committee tasked with "Mining and Outdoor Recreation," with Hackbarth heading it. Hence the headline.

Fox chairing the henhouse committee, all that. And more. They amaze.

Full committee membership listed here.

Sorensen, months ago reporting of plans then afoot, here.

With an outstate Minnesota perspective ever present, Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie delves into the "real ag" and family farm dilemma.

This link includes links back, and parallel, on the issue.

It would be nice if somebody with expertise I lack would publish analysis of the water availability issue impacting agriculture, the MPCA, the DNR, and Met Council growth lust.

If anybody wanting to take on the inquiry/authorship task, either from personal expertise or via interview reporting on those with the expertise and how they are thinking and planning, a guest editorial/report offered for publication on Crabgrass would be welcome.

A family farm with insufficient water is not a promising thought. The question of whether Big Ag is more or less of a drain on the aquifers (measured in, say, gallons of water per bushel of corn/soybeans, whatever, per gallon of milk, all the meaningful measures if there exists reliable data) in comparison with more widespread Family Farm Ag is a question about which I have seen no sound answer given. It would seem to be a kind of inquiry for which government funding should be available - at least in an ideal world where the future health and sufficiency of our aquifers is considered in policy and planning.

Readers with any knowledge of agriculture-water issues and questions are urged to submit comments.

Ramsey - The council. Swearing in new members, considering lingering decisions.

The televised meeting's agenda is online here. Carryover business, developer proposals, PSD,LLC - in Town Center; agenda here. NIK - Nowthen Blvd former city hall land use; agenda here.

Tinklenberg - more of the same cash-flow out of town coffers proposed.

Work session navel gazing agendas; here and here.

Of interest per the latter link, with a third sitting EDA member having been elected to join two others on council, this quote:

There are a couple of items to note: Currently there are two Council Members appointed to serve on the EDA; however, there has been a request to discuss appointing three Council Members. The policy now states that there must be two Council Members appointed, but the language doesn't necessarily prohibit more than two from serving. The EDA discussed the number of Council appointments at their January regular meeting and the consensus was that it would be acceptable to appoint either 2 or 3 Council Members, however, the EDA had the following concerns they wished to pass forward to the Council:

-- the intent/expectations of the community for the EDA is to have an appointed citizen board, not Council Members. The make-up of the EDA should be fundamentally different from that of the HRA , which the Council recently abolished, and which consisted of all Council members..
-- All three current Council Members that have served on the EDA (LeTourneau, Riley, Williams) would bring value to the EDA by continuing as members. An alternative, would be to make one of those three an alternate member, who could attend on an ex-officio basis, and provide a substitute as needed.
-- The EDA is supportive of either alternative, however, the City should clearly address reasons for making any changes in the current make-up of the EDA.

Is the EDA necessary? That's a question left off the agenda, with some in the community believing it might should well head a work session meeting, and soon. Is Tinklenberg necessary, that's another one to ponder. And if so, why? That's a real loaded question - one touching on how the legislature should work, and how it does.

We should all join in wishing departing council members Jason Tossey and Randy Backous well, in moving on. Each has been a sound voice in decision making, and the independence they provided will, hopefully, not end now but instead be shown by their successors.

The election is over. It is time to govern. Wisely, hopefully.

ABC Newspapers does a retrospective on sixteen years of Jim Abeler in the House.

This link, this paragraph:

“Out in this neck of the woods people just wanted me to keep it off their back. They’re up to their necks in their family, paying their bills, their taxes and getting the schools going … so they’re grateful for somebody who they trust who would do their best,” Abeler said.

That sounds as if a stint on the County Board for something a bit different might be in the crystal ball, foggy, but there. An agenda for a campaign that could sell, at that level of government.

For naysayers, measure this:

“I thought that I would broaden out my expertise to become an expert in more areas,” Abeler said. “To my surprise, my focus narrowed – instead of growing broader, I went deeper.”

Well, ...

The Fridley City Council adopted the final 2015 budget and levy during the final meeting of the year on Dec. 22. The final tax levy for 2015 is about $11.7 million, an increase of $223,319, or 1.94 percent, over 2014. This is the same amount that was set as the preliminary levy in August.

The above headline is from opening paragraphs, this link.

And the ill-motivated, wishing for a nation of sheep, will early on want a way to segregate out any goats, and while it might affect future goat career paths, it is all aimed for the common good.

Jeb with his Big Brother.
WaPo photo credit, read the item

And when cyber-teaching, the equivalent of robotics on the auto assembly line, is entrenched, who may be watching the directions of evolution of the practice? Those in charge. And what with centralized data collection and data mining capability, expect the best video gamers to be recruited into the Drone Pilot Corps.

Pure paranoid science fiction, or possible whether or not a likelihood?

Would you want one of your children designated "goat" in somebody's centralized database run out of NSA computers in Utah? If not, where do you take your first stand?

But they are our corporate benefactors, leaders in pushing the envelope. MinnPost interestingly reports on a designated goat, from one of our winter-frigid-too but prosperous TC 'burbs. This link, this excerpting:

Right before the holidays, a Twin Cities teen by the name of Nathan Ringo authored a first-person account of an ongoing digital privacy tussle with his school that was published in the popular online magazine BoingBoing.

Co-edited by writer and prominent copyright reform advocate Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing is a pretty big deal. In a very few minutes, Ringo went viral in a particular international community.

The school district administrators he left in the hot seat? It’s not hard to imagine that it’s something of a relief that student privacy laws prevent them from discussing Ringo’s claims. The young man has quite clearly received an excellent education.

Ringo’s story neatly illustrates a raging national debate about the implications — ranging from commercial retention and use of student data to overreach in censorship — of increased use of technology in the classroom.

Ringo’s BoingBoing commentary was especially pertinent because of a case in the news at the time concerning tablets distributed by a Pennsylvania school district. The cameras in the devices were turned on remotely, capturing female students undressing.

In the fall, Ringo reported to Wayzata High School to start his junior year. Eleventh-graders showed up on the third of four “back-to-business days” to have their photos taken for IDs and to pick up their schedules and — new this year — an iPad.

Only one actually reading the contract

[...] “I was the only person reading it and I just realized, Hey, we’re supposed to have the right to privacy,” Ringo recalls. “Under the [U.S.] Supreme Court case Katz vs. United States, which we actually learned about in school, in civics and government — we just call it civics.”

In the 1967 decision, the jurists held that the government could not use evidence obtained from the warrantless wiretapping of a public phone booth.

“That court case gave citizens the right to privacy,” Ringo explains. “And then the school is asking us like two years after we are learning about this in class and being tested on it to give away that right.”

[...] Not only would students have to agree to waive rights in school, they would have to agree to an impenetrable series of conditions and licensing arrangements imposed by Apple.

At the same time, Los Angeles schools’ 2-year-old, $1.3 billion plan to provide all of its students with iPads loaded with software from the testing concern Pearson has unleashed a tsunami of controversy, including an FBI investigation into the underlying dealings.

Few people understand the thorny web as well as Ringo, and fewer still have crafted solutions. Minnesota was not among the 22 states to attempt to legislate the issues last year. Congress has made even less progress and appears on the verge of accepting a controversial proposal that the industry police itself.

[...] A couple of days later, Ringo says he got an e-mail from the district’s tech department revoking his Internet privileges for “hacker talk.” His school account was closed.

Which was no trivial matter, given that the school’s curriculum was structured so that without access to a tablet and the Internet a student would be shut out of a lot of in-class activities, homework and other things necessary to keep up academically.

To Ringo’s way of thinking, this made the supposedly voluntary privacy waiver in the iPad contract coercive. [...]

Digital limbo for months


[links in original, red highlight added]

Read it all at MinnPost. Franz Kafka is alive and well and living in Wayzata.

In harsh sunshine terms - this ain't science fiction; it's Wayazeta. Where Skull and Bones ritual and commitment is a distant thing. Yet if you fret about the intrusiveness of "the Chinese," or "North Korea," save some fret juice for the Boners. They are real. They are close-knit cohesive. They are secretive. They have money. They have agendas.

Like ALEC.

And -- If that young Ringo individual does not score high on fast twitch v-game coordination he's not going to be let into Drone Pilot Corps, where because of attitude he might wash out anyway. Our nation and our future. Or one possible scenario of many.

In closing, readers should in their minds answer:



Once having a minds-eye pair of answers; with implications - what's next? Where and how do you go from now to a future? How can you bend the direction your nation takes in its future in ways you think better than other possibilities?

Friday, January 09, 2015

DNR news with Ramsey overtones.

Not being skilled enough to navigate the DNR contorted website to find news/press releases, but having heard the news, I will link to the Jan. 8, 2015, report as disclosed to me by Google:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr announced two high-level appointments today.

Sarah Strommen, acting deputy director at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), was appointed DNR assistant commissioner. Luke Skinner, deputy director for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, was promoted to director of the Ecological and Water Resources Division, replacing Steve Hirsch who retired.

“I am delighted Sarah and Luke have agreed to take these positions,” Landwehr said. “We have developed a very strong senior management team, and the combination of experience and skills Sarah and Luke bring will serve Minnesotans very well.”

As assistant commissioner, Strommen will oversee two divisions for the commissioner’s office, Parks and Trails and Fish and Wildlife, and the agency’s strategic direction with land management and the Legacy amendment. She fills the position vacated by Assistant Commissioner Mike Carroll, who retires Jan. 13.

Strommen brings 20 years of experience integrating the field of biological science with citizen education and engagement and with public policy-making. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, where she majored in biology and Latin American studies, and a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University.

She previously served as policy director for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and as associate director of the Minnesota Land Trust. She joined the state of Minnesota in 2012 as an assistant director at BWSR before becoming acting deputy director.

After serving several terms on the Ramsey City Council, Strommen was elected mayor in 2012.

Habitat preservation and planning is important to sport hunting, and that is a part of the land management responsibilities the assistant commissioner position entails. It is good to see a sporting website covering the Strommen appointment. The NRA, for all its bellicose politicking should be as attentive to sports habitat and game preservation considerations as they are to handgun sales volumes, conceal/carry, and stand-your-ground issues. It would be a credibility boost for that organization were it to do so.

Days ago the Campaign Finance Board held MFC not at fault for its Sheila Kihne stuff.

This link. It speaks for itself. No excerping. No commentary.

Well --- No commentary, beyond noting:

MFC surely did pick the slower horse in the race.

Education? An issue? What are Daudt's companions up to?

JEBBERWOCK Image credit: Wikipedia
MinnPost's Briana Bierschbach reports:

Education, education, education
The 2015 session is already shaping up to be an education year — if the two parties can bridge major differences in how they think Minnesota should improve its schools. House Republican’s second bill was all about education policy, including provisions that would alter teacher retention policies to focus on merit instead of seniority, and new licensure standards that could open the door to out-of-state teachers. A major point of contention with the state’s teachers union, Education Minnesota, will be a proposal to allow the state’s new teacher evaluation system, launched last fall, to be used as a criteria when cutting back on staff. In the Senate, DFL senators want to fund voluntary pre-kindergarten programs for all four-year-olds in the state to better prepare children for the classroom.

[italics added]. Criteria is a plural noun. The singular form is, criterion. Perhaps even the best schooled ...

As to education-related mischief, HF 2 "as introduced" bill text is online, here. Initial bill log, online here. The HF 2 database entry, here. Loon is chief author.

Daudt and Loon are close in a belief akin to Emmer's ranting about $100,000 per year restaurant workers. She and Daudt want to implicate food service worker tips into a minimum wage calculation, even at the horribly low $7.25/hr level. (Do read the detail, a less onerous but still very low $12/hr is in play as a part of their aim.)

Talk about kicking folks that are down ...

Here and here.

Let us hope each has outgrown such mean-spiritedness toward low-paid wage earners working what is a harder job than sitting in the legislature acting as if important.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Andy at Residual forces, this post, argues the opposite, (i.e., arguably favoring low wages for hard workers). Andy specifically argues that restaurant tips should be in any accounting/formula regarding minimal compensation for labor. That, after all, is the formal Republican position, and formally, Andy is one of them; inner party.

Sorensen publishes an image that looks as if Emmer could have been greenscreened in Norm Coleman advertisement fashion, to fit into any backdrop du jour.

This image:

It is from Sorensen's post, this link, and please read the item.

Now, let's talk metamorphosis. In the insect world, a butterfly can emerge from a cocoon it entered as a grub.

Sorensen publishes of the grub phase of our CD6 Rep. Emmer, prior to his entering into the cocoon Stanley Hubbard and GOP strategist and present Emmer Chief of Staff Fitzsimmons put Emmer into for the duration of the CD6 2014 campaign.

My guess? Seemingly like Sorensen's. Same old grub.

Which leads to the main point of this post.

Could our local politician du jour of yesterday, Branden Petersen, be greenscreened to somehow fit into this report and image? And, hopefully it's a guys thing, so our latest du jour, Ms. Whelan, would not fit in and more importantly, would not want to. We can hope she proves to be more than a dump on the teachers union, like BP.

One Jebberwock's chirping Jubjub bird from north metro is enough. Indeed, one is one too many.

Please email Andy A. at Residual Forces, and tell him it is raining in Anoka County, where he lives and breathes.

What with Andy's County Board raising property and Northstar taxation, get him the message he seems to be overlooking, for whatever motives he has, in having one blind eye, his right one. UPDATE: Don't feel it? Right leg?

Rhonda in the crosshairs. But whose crosshairs is the interesting point.

The Anoka County Board has multiple members, with Sivarajah being its most noted member, as its head and as one craving higher office. But there are others and there might always be coup planning that never meets with the public's radar.

Or not.

In any event, Harold Hamilton's henchman has on his Anoka County Record blog published an attack on Sivarajah that curiously only mentions her; not her henchpersons. Here's the thing, by screen capture - click to enlarge and read:

Grab a hold on that closer, "County board chair Rhonda Sivarajah was e-mailed and asked to comment on this issue. As of the date of this publication, she has not responded." With the board having members beyond Chairperson Sivarajah, one would expect an ostensible reporter/editorialist to reach further, were getting an explanation of collective practices an actual goal.

The Jan 9 installment of the chairman's friends' thing is due out on the web today, so let's see if there is follow-up stuff. Also, who is the chairman's most favored County Board member - something requiring speculation between the lines because the chairman has not publicly published an express preference among his favorites (aka Republicans) on the Board.

The chairman does not like tax increases, nor Limburger cheese, and the Board has voted one (a levy rate increase along with the Northstar tax exaction being hiked for 2015), but that stuff goes by Board majority vote, so what's up?

Is some purge or coup attempt afoot? If so, we now might only guess at possible perps. It's fun, guessing at what might unfold in the future, but it unfortunately is error-prone. In hopes of shedding light, as a Board Dist. 1 resident, I emailed the following follow-up inquiry to my district rep, Matt Look, and will publish the expected reply in its entirety, once it is received:

You have to like a prompt reply:

posted soon after item timestamp

Well gee, neither John K. nor I thought of a legal opinion. Perhaps Harold (and John K.) will contact Palumbo, or, better, post the Palumbo viewpoint on the website where the attack was posted. You never know ...

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Below is text of an email sent by County Attorney Tony Palumbo on December 23, 2014, to Bryan Olson, a person serving on behalf of the website publisher in ways and under terms with which I am unfamiliar. This text was made available in response to an email inquiry to Palumbo's office after receiving County Board Dist. 1 Commissioner Matt Look's email, as a most convenient way for that office to respond to my emailing:

I’m sorry it took me a couple days to respond to your previous email but I had to verify some things with county employees.

As to item #1 on the 12/16/14 Management Committee agenda, the only written information considered by the committee members was listed on the reverse side of the agenda and my understanding is that the agenda and the consent items were made available to the public before the meeting.

As to item #2, there was a single page given to the Committee members entitled “Economic Assistance Department Request Authority to Restructure and Fill a Vacant Position”. This page I’m told was also available for viewing by the public at the usual desk space in Room 710 outside the board room.

As to item #3, this was an administrative appeal by a license applicant concerning his license revocation. The Management Committee was considering the arguments on whether to sustain the denial of the appeal. You are correct that Minn. Stat. 13D.01, Subd. 6 (a), in part, requires materials relating to the agenda items of the meeting shall be available for public inspection while the governing body considers their subject matter. However, there is an exception. Minn. Stat. 13D.01, Subd. 6 (b) says that Subd. 6 (a) does not apply to materials classified by law as other than public, as defined by chapter 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act).

As this was an administrative appeal, the classification of the data relating to the appeal is governed by Minn. Stat. 13.39, Civil Investigative data. Minn. Stat. 13.39, Subd. 1 defines a “pending civil legal action” to include administrative proceedings. Minn. Stat. 13.39, Subd. 2 states, in part, that data collected by a government entity as part of an active investigation undertaken for the commencement or defense of a pending civil legal action, or which are retained in anticipation of a pending civil legal action are either protected nonpublic data in the case of data not on individuals or confidential in the case of data on individuals. In either case, the County could not disclose the data until the appeal was completed. At that point, the data become inactive civil investigative data and is considered public.

In this case, the appeal was an administrative matter considered to be a pending civil legal action. Therefore, any data could not be disclosed until the matter was concluded, which happened when the County Board decided to deny the appeal. The material concerning the appeal was properly not disclosed prior to the action denying the appeal because it was nonpublic, or confidential. It is now considered public data and if you would like a copy of the materials of that administrative appeal, please contact Jerry Soma, County Administrator, and he will provide a copy to you.

As to item #4, Minn. Stat. 13D.01, Subd. 6 (a) requires materials relating to agenda items of the meeting be available to the public for inspection while the governing body considers their subject matter. As to item #4, the Management Committee was provided a copy of bid tabulations but the Committee did not consider it for approval. (My understanding is that you were given a copy of the bid tabulation after the meeting.) The matter will be considered by the County Board at their next meeting. If the matter is not considered by a government body, Minn. Stat. 13D.01 is not applicable.

I hope this addresses your concerns about Minn. Stat. 13D.01 violations.

Tony Palumbo

It is worth posting that text to supplement the record, but none of this fleshes out why only Sivarajah was targeted by Mr. John K. in his post at the Record website. Others who may care more than I do might want to contact John K. and/or Bryan Olson for clarification of that specific targeting question. I leave the thread here exactly as it stands.

For those interested, there is this email address for reaching John K.

Harold Hamilton has affirmatively emailed me in the past that he will not respond to any further email from me, and it is his thinking and not John K.'s that is of interest to me. That goes for almost all John K. puts on the web.