Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Does Hollywood Teach?

The last few weeks the media has been filled with discussions about "assaults on women". Its always easier to simply blame and dismiss than it is to study where attitudes potentially come from. Since I personally have had a hard time watching anything for the last year except the Hallmark channels, I took note this Thanksgiving week of the Lifetime Network offerings, just a channel away from my standard location in the directory. I frankly was appalled at what the daily fare on a channel purportedly managed by women for women had as its content. Is this what trendsetting Hollywood women think is a good example and fare for an audience of potentially young women to watch? What message do they display and endorse? One is left wondering what the rationale is for this content. I know for me it is depressing and distressing to think someone considers this the norm or something to celebrate.

From their website their "broad focus" statement is:
Lifetime's Broad Focus is a major initiative designed to provide women with more opportunities to write, develop, produce and direct content for the network. Lifetime is proud to claim 52% of our writers and 29% of our directors on all movies last year were women. For scripted series, 59% of our writers and 55% of our directors were women. 
So one would think that this would be an endorsement for what they feel should be good behavior and appropriate messages to both women and men who watch the channel. But a quick scan of the titles and synopsis shows something that I both cringe at and avoid completely.

This is the complete 6am to midnight schedule for November 22, 2017.
The Other Man
After his wife Lisa disappears on a business trip, Peter finds evidence that she has been having an affair with Ralph. He flies to Milan and enters into a complicated charade by befriending Ralph and slowly teasing information about Lisa out of him.
Another Woman's Husband
A shared detail threatens to snap the tight bond between two female friends (Lisa Rinna, Gail O'Grady).
Love Thy Neighbor
A family moves into a seemingly idyllic community but starts to receive threats from an unknown source.
When Husbands Cheat
A woman (Patricia Kalember) becomes a detective, then uses her skills to check her policeman husband's (Tom Irwin) fidelity.
Her Best Friend's Husband
A woman faces a moral dilemma when she tries to save her friend's marriage but falls in love with the woman's husband.
Nightmare Nurse
After a bad accident, Brooke's boyfriend Lance requires at-home care during his recovery. His attractive nurse seems perfect until her troubled past comes to light, making it apparent to the happy couple that someone is trying to destroy their lives.
A Deadly Affair
A woman who suspects her contractor husband of having an affair trails him to a house and finds him dead.
A Perfect Murder
A commodities trader (Michael Douglas) takes action when his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) has an affair with a bohemian painter (Viggo Mortensen).
Love to Kill
A man (Rick Ravanello) learns that his seductive wife (Blanchard Ryan) is responsible for the deaths of her previous husbands.
A Perfect Murder
A commodities trader (Michael Douglas) takes action when his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) has an affair with a bohemian painter (Viggo Mortensen).

We as a society may be hesitant to claim that movies and television affect moral attitudes, but constant bombardment of negative stereotyping eventually takes a toll, conditioning us to the content. I know its one I cannot stand to watch in the entertainment I will partake of!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Question for a Presidential Forum

What question would you want to pose for a Presidential forum? As I wait to attend and video record the Ted Cruz event tonight I was thinking about what question I would ask, were I chosen to ask a question during the media press conference, and this came to mind:

After 7 years without a Federal Budget, where the government funding is decided basically by omnibus continuing appropriation bills that carry everyones favorite expenditure, which they could not get passed by any other vehicle, is there a way to get back to "regular order"? And what steps can a President actually take to help that? Or has the coalition of Obama-Reid-Pelosi so destroyed the system that constitutional process cannot be restored?

Or after having ruled the country essentially by Presidential executive order fiat (it could certainly be read as "dictatorship" or "totalitarian", by the above mentioned cabal) for 7 years does it simply reassert because the liberals will see it as the best way to continue to force their agenda? Because regular order helps representation of the minority, and their agenda continues with each bill increasing government and regulation. The current "executive order" process simply does it ever at a much faster pace.  That is one reason why progressives like MN Rep Betty McCollum have been so strongly supportive of Barack Obama executive orders and regulation (bypassing Congress). While it diminishes the power and authority of Congress, where she serves, it achieves the progressive goals much more quickly and can much more easily ignore the rights and desires of even a majority, let alone a minority.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Case for a Dayton Shutdown Blame Game

During the 2011 shutdown, Governor Dayton made certain that the most egregious shutdown actions possible were conducted. Essential services were cut and pain was exacted so that he could have good talking points for later use.

Is the DFL Senate majority and Governor Mark Dayton trying to force another shutdown on Minnesota? There is significant evidence to indicate that they may be working towards that. Here are the reasons.

After the 2011 shutdown in an interview Governor Dayton was asked about it:
Dayton:  And this was not apparent to me or other of our negotiators at that time of June 30, but the Republicans said subsequently [it was stated in a letter PRIOR to the shutdown] publicly that they would take all these policy items everything from banning stem cell research to abolishing teacher tenure to abrogating contractual bargaining rights to uh of employees, all that was going to be taken off of the negotiating tables so we would be able to focus just on the budget. That was not at all clear to us at all on the night of June 30th and so it really put it in a different context, and it also uh they have agreed to my $500 million bonding bill which would go a long way to putting more people to work in Minnesota [not borne out in results subsequently] .

Interviewer: Its sounds like governor, without putting words in your mouth, that it sounds like this could have been worked out on June 30th without a shutdown, except for miscommunication.

Dayton: Well uh, eh, ya, you know we were in constant communication [except for reading negotiating letters], but uh I don't know whether there was miscommunication or subsequent revision [misdirection?], I don't know, but anyway you know what's done is done and the important thing now is to get an agreement very quickly where you have our groups working very quickly on that today, we've got 10 o'clock today deadlines…

Sounds similar to Hillary's "what difference does it make" comment about the dead in Benghazi and blaming it on a youtube video no one had seen?

The 2011 interview is at 91 seconds...

So this year there were some rather banal leading questions by the media, at a Governor Mark Dayton press conference in March (full conference where Mark Dayton decried the 2011 shutdown and said he hopes other people remember it, he certainly does. See the shutdown questions from the beginning of the link above
Dayton: Compromise means you agree to things you don't agree with, obviously I'm going to have to compromise if we are going to get a resolution and avoid the serious consequences of 2011
But what he appears to remember, is how to set up the conditions for a shutdown.  In 2011 he vetoed all the bills

And he is repeating that strategy again this year!

Rather than actually working through it, he simply vetoes clearly bi-partisan compromise bills, since they had to pass both a DFL controlled Senate and GOP majority house.

Where Mark Dayton demands concession and compromise, he is far from inclined to offer any such on his part to avoid a shutdown.

While GOP House leader Daudt said:
“With his vetoes, he is rejecting bipartisan efforts to put more than $17 billion toward students in every classroom, provide resources to help farmers devastated by avian flu, send relief to miners facing unemployment on the Iron Range,” Daudt’s statement said. Daudt added while the legislature, including the DFL-majority Senate, finished its work, “the governor wants more time. We will continue to work with him for Minnesotans.”
Dayton has used inflammatory rhetoric to vilify the GOP and further draw back from any potential compromise.
They hate the public schools, some of the Republican legislators," the governor said. "They're loathe to provide any additional money for public schools and for public school teachers because all of the good programs I've seen around this state for pre-K and all-day kindergarten..
Dayton said his previous budget offers are now off the table and he intends to push for even more school funding. But he wouldn't say if he'll insist universal pre-K be a part of the final deal

And then there is the question of the blame game, because of course the DFL and Mark Dayton must ultimately be seen as blameless in the failure to negotiate and compromise

By J. Patrick Coolican MAY 12, 2015 — 1:25PM
[Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook] said he'd seen seeing polling data that would place blame for a shutdown on Republicans, but said it's not his intention.
On Mitch Berg's radio show it was revealed that no one in the Republican caucus has seen or heard of such a poll. Which means its almost certain that early during the Legislative session the DFL has had a poll taken that gives them both comfort that they will not be blamed if they bring about a shutdown, and the clear freedom to go beyond brinksmanship. All punishment for their actions will be meted out to their political opponents. That is smoking gun evidence of underhanded dealing and negotiating in poor faith by the DFL.

Sen. Tom Bakk has stated that he is not going to negotiate with House Republicans. As Senate Majority Leader, doesn't he have an inherent responsibility to make sure that the Senate has a seat at the table? Of course we know that by deferring the responsibility, he's essentially siding with Dayton in the negotiations. So with Senator Bakk abrogating his responsibilities and Dayton's radical brinksmanship approach, the evidence suggests are they simply pushing us into a shutdown deliberately?

Hopefully voters and state workers threatened with layoff notices will remember next year what transpired, and who really caused the pain that the state will go through. It was not the media's favorite piƱata, it was the Democrat Party!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Betty McCollums Dangerous Naivety

In an article written by Betty McCollum, she states her rationale for not going to the speech by Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a heated re-election campaign. Yet he is traveling 5,900 miles to give a speech before a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday--just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls.

In her analysis, the only motivation is political gain in an election.

There  are just too many holes in such naive, and very dangerous, logic. It ignores the main issue of a nuclear Iran poised to destroy the tiny nation of Israel, our best ally in a very dangerous region, with a looming acceptance of its nuclear ambitions coming from a treaty in the immediate works with Barack Obama. With Betty McCollum's almost certain support.
But some US administration allies are puzzled that what they consider a soft deadline for a framework agreement for a final Iran nuclear deal has seemingly become the de facto deadline, rather than the June 30 deadline that Iran and the six world powers agreed to in November.

The US administration has “bought two months, but sold three,” a Western diplomat, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor.

Some Democratic Senators who have signed onto a letter from Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to President Barack Obama have told interlocutors that the Obama administration asked them to give it until the end of March to see if a framework deal could be reached, before voting on new Iran sanctions legislation.

Read more:

Lest anyone think that this is not an issue of immediate importance to all the people of Israel, and our own National security, not merely a "political stunt" as she prefers to think of it, one needs go no further than today's article of the Jerusalem Post
JPOST.COM STAFF \ 03/03/2015 04:50
US Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, released a bipartisan letter on Monday, to be sent to President Barack Obama, highlighting concerns over ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Royce and Engel circulated the letter to other House members, in hopes of garnering support and signatures.
With a looming deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, the letter outlines a series of "difficult issues" which have surfaced during negotiations and have yet to be resolved. These “grave and urgent issues" pertain to the size of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, its lack of cooperation with international inspectors, and the need for an intrusive inspection regime.

And in case there is any question about "one ups man ship", this all comes on the heels of Barack Obama telling Congress to get lost on attempting to weigh in on the treaty
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama would veto a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any deal the United States and other negotiating countries reach with Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the White House said on Saturday.

"The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran.  If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council.
more here and here

So in terms of rude treatment, I think the prize goes to President Obama and his ardent supporter Betty McCollum.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, March 17, there will be a significant delay in furthering the case for change to the proposed treaty. A new government will have to form and begin negations with Barack Obama. Negotiations that have met with pointed resistance and dismissal in the past.  So the time is now for presenting any message that has a hope of making an impact in the thinking behind this treaty. Since President Obama seems dedicated to making the decision this March, almost during the Israeli elections, rather than even the agreed upon June deadline. It would be difficult for the Israeli elections to be able to do anything but prevent their voice being heard.

Thus I believe it is very evident that Betty McCollum's arguments are wholly specious!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Betty McCollum and Irreconcilable Statistics

Betty McCollum shows us once again the perils of naive thinking and use of poorly handled statistics.

Arguably she does not do the analysis herself, she simply reports what her favorite organizations (agenda driven, not truth driven groups) put out, without adequate investigation. This is an excellent example of the use of "happenstance data".  In this case from the:

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.
Below is a sampling of data from the Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota, an ongoing collaborative research project of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the University of MN Humphrey School’s Center on Women & Public Policy. Annually, data specific to Minnesota women and girls is gathered and analyzed in economics, safety, health, and leadership.
As is standard for these egregious studies in the misuse of statistical data, it is an "apples to anvils" comparison taken simply by naively saying "compare all men to all women", irrespective of life choices that put them in completely different economic paths and positions. It is a statistical strategy guaranteeing flawed results that will never give a picture other than what they want, not a search for "truth". They are simply looking for "victimization" rubrics. It is a way to continue to demagogue issues, that they feel promotes their political agenda.  It is an "issue" that can never be "solved" if the data is viewed naively. Thus providing perpetual outrage and growth of pet programs.

When the data is more correctly handled, the analysis gives a much different picture. These results were published at the Huffington Post. It is a very thoughtful article with this take-away:
That's not a comparison between people who do the same work." With more realistic categories and definitions, the remaining 6.6 gap [Note: they had explained away most of the purported difference earlier in the text] would certainly narrow to just a few cents at most.
Could the gender wage gap turn out to be zero? Probably not. The AAUW correctly notes that there is still evidence of residual bias against women in the workplace. However, with the gap approaching a few cents, there is not a lot of room for discrimination. And as economists frequently remind us, if it were really true that an employer could get away with paying Jill less than Jack for the same work, clever entrepreneurs would fire all their male employees, replace them with females, and enjoy a huge market advantage.

Read the original, statistically honest/well handled, study here.

Illogical analyses like this study must never be used for determining public policy. That is how we get so many truly bad policy laws. Thoughtful analysis and prudent probative evaluation is required to have the information to make good policy decisions. Decisions that benefit our country, not undermine it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Betty McCollum and Politics of "The Big Lie"

As I was out dropping lit for a candidate, I was engaged in a discussion with a gentleman who wanted to talk about the lack of accomplishment of Congress in this session.  While he tried to portray himself as a moderate/Republican, he continued to point toward the shortcomings of "tea partiers" as the source of the divisiveness in Washington.  His speech sounded very much like the continual referencing (with disrespect intended) of "tea-party Republicans" by Congresswoman Betty McCollum. The name calling approach is a standard tactic of those who want to dismiss and marginalize others, rather than engage in dialog and really accomplish a task. He had been swayed by the "politics of disrespect".

As I told this gentleman, the original intent of our Constitutional Republic was to create a system with "tension" (like a spring) that would make passage of poor legislation difficult.  In other words - gridlock was a decidedly good thing in the minds of the founders, because it prevented the loss of liberty for the minority.

When the Constitution was up for ratification, there was an ongoing debate, for and against, recoded in the writings of the Federalist and Anti-Federalists papers. The fears of the people for a government that disregarded the rights of the minority had to be allayed before ratification. From Federalist 10:
[Madison] thinks that "the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society". He saw direct democracy as a danger to individual rights and advocated a representative democracy in order to protect what he viewed as individual liberty from majority rule, or from the effects of such inequality within society. He says, "A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths".
Disrespect and incivility are standards of the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals:
5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...
     "...any target can always say, 'Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?' When your 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments.... Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the 'others' come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target...'
So here is the most recent example provided by Congresswoman McCollum:

What this "politics of disrespect" accomplishes is to "poison the well" and attempt to shift the blame for a perceived "lack of progress".  Never forget that the "progress" that some may want may be a direct violation of the rights and property of others. That will get lost in the din of the ensuing flurry of accusations.  Follow the tactics of the "Big Lie"
never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
The demagogic use the "victim" politics appears to be the plan of the Democrat Party this year. The empty argument should not be believed, but history has demonstrated the effectiveness of the "Big Lie". If you want a real change in tone in Washington, those who practice the "Big Lie" are not who you should support.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

MNCD4 GOP Endorsement - Sharna Wahlgren

Minnesota Congressional District 4 (MNCD4) Republicans held their 2014 Convention April 26. They endorsed, by acclamation, an exciting first time candidate -- Sharna Wahlgren.

Sharna Wahlgren is a lifelong resident of Minnesota Congressional District 4. Attending Harding High School, graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Economics, worked with Senator Rudy Boschwitz in Washington, and spent 20 years working in the private sector with hard working, energetic, entrepreneurs.

Sharna realized that more is required if we are going to change the course our country is now set upon. Who represents our diverse communities priorities in congress? She contrasts her middle class priorities against the far left priorities of Betty McCollum (who receives a significantly divisive 93% progressive rating) in her nomination speech at MNCD4. Watch her speech to see her describe her views and plans for winning the hearts and minds of people in CD4. Responding to the demagogic claims of Betty McCollum that Republicans engage in a "War on Women", Sharna states: "We know a strong economy is the best friend any woman has. Single or married, we know that women don't want government dependency but want to live their lives free from the grasping claws of those in government who claim to know better -- they do not know better!"

Sharna's 2014 MNCD4 Convention Speech

Sharna Wahlgren is an attorney focusing in Patent, Trademark & Franchise Matters.  The processes, tools and requirements for innovative new products, businesses, and jobs are the heart of her work for 20 years.  Her experiences have been in a very diverse range "including gemstone enhancement, chemical compounds, computer software, medical devices, commercial refrigeration systems, snowmobile equipment, automotive maintenance equipment, adhesives, consumer products, and a variety of other consumer products and mechanical devices." Sharna has also worked in real estate, including condemnation and tax appeal. Giving Sharna a base and breadth of experience that will greatly benefit constituents of CD4.

Sharna has a broad depth of understanding of business, regulation, and government policy that affect you, your job, and improving the environment affecting job creation for you and your children.  Here in Congressional District 4 we have watched as businesses have diminished and jobs have left the area and the state.  Much of the reason for this is an environment of intrusive governmental regulation and obstructiveness. Current policy and policy makers are dedicated to a path that continues to disadvantage business growth and stifles job creation.  Sharna will bring enthusiasm, knowledge, and proven ability to changing that path in Congress.

Follow Sharna's plans and efforts at: (@sharna4us)