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Saint Paul Mayor Candidates
October 16, 2017

Elections aren't about voting for the best candidate. There isn't a best candidate. Usually.

St. Paul has ten candidates:  Tom Goldstein, Elizabeth Dickinson, Melvin Carter III, Dai Thao, Pat Harris, Trahern Crews, Barnabas Y’Shua, Chris Holbrook, Tim Holden, and Sharon Anderson.

Having read their positions, none of them seem to have a plan or a background for fixing the problems of St. Paul.

Soon to be former mayor Chris Coleman and his city council ran St. Paul as if it were the Field Of Dreams city -- build it and they will come.  Every new stadium and project and ribbon cutting ceremony raised property taxes and pushed employers away. Downtown office buildings are transforming into residential apartment buildings and condos.

Three candidates for St. Paul mayor are or were on the city council while Chris Coleman has been mayor:  Melvin Carter III, Pat Harris (12 years!), and Dai Thao. Three candidates have owned commercial real estate or are residential landlords:  Elizabeth Dickinson (rents a single-family home, a duplex, and a triplex), Chris Holbrook (rents three duplexes), and Tim Holden (commercial real estate). Nearly all of the candidates had legal problems.

Mayor candidate Tom Goldstein recently identified St. Paul's problem like this:
“The reason I’m running for mayor of St. Paul is I want to change our priorities. We in St. Paul need to invest in things like job creation, to do something about the 13,000 jobs we have not recovered since 2000...

“No one is talking in this city about poverty. If as much time in the last 10 years have been spent talking about alleviating poverty — which is 25 percent, and if you include people living at 185 percent of the poverty level it gets as high as 40, 50 and even 60 percent in some of our neighborhoods. What’s our plan to address poverty? What’s our plan to address affordable housing? We know that when it comes to building a Saints ballpark, we have $70 million for that. If you want to build a luxury apartment in downtown with a Lunds store, we have $62 million for that. If you want to renovate a private practice facility for the Wild, we have $11½ million for that. If you want to build a soccer stadium — even though we have a gentleman who’s worth billions building the stadium supposedly for free — we’re putting $18½ million in public money into that. Imagine what you could do with all of that money in St. Paul to alleviate issues, to building affordable housing, to provide job training, to create a loan fund particularly for people in the midway, all the ethnic businesses and woman-owned businesses, to repair Rondo and invest in those neighborhoods that we have not done.

“For some people in St. Paul who are affluent, who have the political connections, the lobbyists, longtime political insiders, they’re doing fine. But what about for the rest of us? When are we going to be a city that truly works for all of us? We’re not going to get there by continuing business as usual. We’re not going to get there by continuing to have subsidies for things that will benefit developers and monied interests but not do anything for the rest of us.”

Music Association: Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now?

American Refugees
October 3, 2017

As the American people of Puerto Rico are struggling to clean-up and rebuild from Hurricanes Irma and María, it's sometimes difficult to know what mainland Americans can do.

Here are three charities that help deliver cash donations:

United for Puerto Rico
United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María. 100% of the proceeds will go to helping the victims affected by these natural disasters in Puerto Rico.

UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund
Hispanic Federation has launched the UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund to help meet hurricane and earthquake-related needs and recovery in Puerto Rico and Mexico. 100% of gifts to UNIDOS go to help children, friends and families recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake.

Save the Children
Save the Children, which puts 86% of donations into programs, currently has about six people in Puerto Rico and it is trying to get more there. The organization is working with partners such as American Red Cross and FEMA in evacuation centers to set up child-friendly spaces within the shelters, making sure there are supplies needed by children (wipes, diapers, cribs, playpens, and bassinets).

Double-Checking Charities
Here are several resources to use to oversee charities.

  ★   Charity Navigator
  ★   Charity Watch
  ★   Give.org
  ★   Guide Star

Music Association: Tom Petty - Refugee

Hopes and Dreams

The Long Good-bye
Thanks For The Mammaries
September 28, 2017

Hef mentioned the unmentionables
airbrushes glossing over wrinkles
folded center pages held by staples

He influenced through editorials
excited over liberal principles
with tastefully exposed nipples

Shallow beauty encapsules
paper-thin respect, lifestyle hustles
with Cosby and Trump twisted values

Angels, models, a llama soares
fictional long walks along beaches
visuals read for the articles.

Music Association: Ray Anthony - The Bunny Hop
“Life is too short to live someone else's dream.” - Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner Did Not Love Women

Uniquely Minnesota
The Long, Long Good-bye
September 22, 2017

During a late-night dinner at a restaurant, I noticed a group of people standing outside the window. I smiled knowingly, after realizing they were the same people who had left the restaurant five or six minutes earlier.

I recognized their roles by their body language. Some of them just liked standing there, feet planted solidly, breathing in the mild evening air, satisfied to continue to endlessly prompt the conversation with new subjects worthy of another whole evening. Some of them were moderating and responding and being polite, trying not to end a pleasant evening on a bad note. Some of them were in the road, doing the Let's Go dance, popular with people easily chilled or of weak bladder. They would rather be hit by traffic than stay because at least then they would get somewhere.

The long, torturously-long good-bye is uniquely Minnesota, defined and sung about.

I like to think it has to do with blizzards and long distances. It probably started here before there were cars and highways. Maybe it was inherited from the Dakota or the Ojibwe. It's part of this place.

And I can laugh at the group outside the restaurant because I've been there. I've played all the roles. I know them like a Shakespearian performer knows Hamlet or Macbeth. I've been reluctant to end conversations and reluctant to start conversations. I have dialed the number for the ambulance and started paddling the canoe. I know these people.

So... let me describe for you -- in detail -- what's been going on in the Twin Cities this past year. The US Bank Stadium hosted U2 and discovered glass stadiums provide echoing acoustics. Every major road and highway is or was and will be again under construction. The Sculpture Gardens were just renovated. The Minnesota Capitol was just renovated. The Target Center was just renovated. The 35W bridge LED lights will be replaced at a cost of $1.1 million. Saint Paul just hiked property taxes an additional five percent beyond their excuse for raising property taxes, so they will be able to afford next year's Ice Castle, even if it will be too warm in February for an ice castle (cancelled October 11th). All of this means the Super Bowl preparation year is starting its fourth quarter.

Next February, I'm hoping some 70,000 people will get to witness the long, long Minnesota Good-bye first hand.

Music Association: Julian Lennon - Much Too Late For Good-byes
“Okay, now we wave until they're out of sight.”

bear waves back

bub-bye... bye... see ya... adios... good-bye...

Mind Games
Angry and Right
September 10, 2017

People tend to become more economically and politically conservative when angry, according to researchers.

A combination of four studies discovered the angry - rightward shift, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by University of Cincinnati assistant professor of marketing Anthony Salerno and University of Manitoba assistant professor Keri Kettle. The researchers pissed people off and then asked them to rate their views. “We got people angry... and then we asked them, ‘Oh by the way, we want to ask you a few basic personality questions,’” says Salerno.

Then the researchers added to the anger study problems related to resource scarcity versus resource abundance. The economic views of those who were influenced to believe that resources were scarce shifted more than those influenced to believe they were abundant.

The researchers also tested gratitude, asking what makes respondents grateful before asking them about their political beliefs, and found a more economically liberal response.

Music Associations: Arthur Crudup - That's All Right & Climax - Couldn't Get It Right & Free - All Right Now
& John Lennon - Mind Games & The Beatles - All You Need Is Love & Alanis Morrisette - Thank You

Hopes and Dreams

Weakest LinksHurricane Irma on September 5, 2017
Insecurity Blanket
September 8, 2017

Even if hurricane winds of Harvey or Irma or Katia are swirling around you, there are expectations of stability. 

Your heart will keep beating. No one can stop that.

Power lines might fall, but the power grid itself is unstoppable, right?

And nothing will stop Capital One and American Express from sending credit card offers to the modest scores from the credit rating services.

Cough - cough - hack!

Heart A Hackheart stops
Six types of pacemakers for 465,000 patients have been recalled due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The St. Jude Medical brand by Abbott, radio-controlled implantable cardiac pacemakers, fitted to patients with slow or irregular heartbeats, or patients recovering from heart failure, could be hacked to run the batteries down or alter the patient’s heartbeat. No heart hack has happened yet, and such a hack would require a complex set of circumstances for Columbo to unravel but still, oops.

Symantec detected operations-level, power grid intrusions in the United States and Europe this past spring and summer, allowing hackers to control circuit breakers and shut off power. Symantec did not say where the power grid hackers were from, but... the blackouts would be similar to Russian-hacks of Ukraine power plants in 2015 and 2016. Russian hackers have been also tied to the July attack on the Palmetto Fusion nuclear facility in Kansas.

The U.S. power grid intrusions did not cause any switches to be thrown... yet. What could  Russia  the hackers be waiting for, some big event next year?
U.S. blackout
National Identity Theft
One of the big consumer credit rating services, Equifax, discovered on July 29th that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, it was announced yesterday. It could easily be one of the largest data breaches in the United States. A website application vulnerability enabled the hackers to waltz in and take personal identifying information:  names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver's license numbers, about 209,000 credit card numbers, and 182,000 “dispute documents.” Oops, again.

Music Associations: Meghan Trainor - Credit
& Billy Joel - Movin' Out

“Working too hard can give you a heart attack -hack -hack.”

Hopes and Dreams

Otters Copy Each Otter
September 5, 2017

Cornwall researchers have discovered otters may learn by watching each other and copying behaviors.

Using puzzles baited with fishheads and peanuts, University of Exeter at Penryn researchers tested smooth-coated otter parents. Then, the otter offspring solved the puzzles more than six times faster than their parents.

The results may suggest smooth-coated otters adopt a “copy when young” strategy.

Isn't that interesting?

otters are copy cats

Mmmmm, fishheads and peanuts...

Music Associations: Fixx - One Thing Leads To An Otter
& Phil Collins - An Otter Day In Paradise

Climate Change Solutions

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