I think I am ready for a new gig…and if I can’t do that…how do you start your own? And do they look like a fish tank or an Abrams tank…although a friend told if I don’t know which one it is I am not going to be invited.

And if I start one in Milwaukee…instead of publishing white papers…we’ll be writing Green Sheets!

Tagged with:
 

Remember the meme of the last few years? I like everything about Obamacare except the Obama part? Well it’s Deja Vu all over again to a point!

Senator Elizabeth Warren with the support of any number of senators including many from the GOP is putting forth a bill that would allow over the counter sales of hearing aids. Apparently only one in seven Americans with significant hearing loss can currently afford hearing aids. The rationale is expanded sales of hearing aids would lower the price and expand availability of the devices. Pretty common sense legislation. And certainly is supported by the GOP’s values toward a free market, private enterprise, and less government regulation core values. Right? You’d almost think so.

Needless to say the manufacturers and purveyors of hearing aids are opposed to the legislation since it would negate their monopoly and profit margins. But one of the other major opponents is the Gun Owners of America. The who? The Gun Owners of America! A Tea Party version of the NRA. Apparently allowing Walgreen’s, Walmart, CVS and Target the means to sell hearing aids to the near deaf is a violation of your second amendment rights. I kid you not. That’s the argument they are putting forth. Apparently some hunting enthusiasts purchase hearing enhancement devices to better hear their quarry and this would interfere with those purchases. It seems to me it would make those purchases more affordable with many more sources near at hand for the devices. So what the flock are they talking about.

Remember that except the Obama part? Well this comes down to opposing Senator Warren simply because she is Senator Warren…because she supports gun control legislation…and will be running for re-election in 2018…and is a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020.

And you think that’s not the point? It’s exactly how they demonized Hillary Clinton well before 2016. It is directly the point…take her off at the knees before she can gain anymore traction for the future.

Corrections: 06/09/2017 Incorrectly identified the Gun Owners of America as the NRA.

Tagged with:
 

Aleppo After the Fall : One morning in mid-December, a group of soldiers banged on the door of a house in eastern Aleppo. A male voice responded from inside: “Who are you?” A soldier answered: “We’re the Syrian Arab Army. It’s O.K., you can come out. They’re all gone.” The door opened. A middle-aged man appeared. He had a gaunt, distinguished face, but his clothes were threadbare and his teeth looked brown and rotted. At the soldiers’ encouragement, he stepped hesitantly forward into the street. He explained to them, a little apologetically, that he had not crossed his threshold in four and a half years. The man gazed around for a moment as if baffled, his eyes filling with tears. The regime of President Bashar al-Assad had just recaptured the city after years of bombing and urban warfare that had made Aleppo a global byword for savagery. This frail-looking man had survived at the war’s geographic center entirely alone, an urban Robinson Crusoe, living on stocks of dry food and whatever he could grow in his small inner courtyard. Now, as he stumbled through an alley full of twisted metal and rubble, he saw for the first time that the front lines, marked by a wall of sandbags, were barely 20 yards from his house.

Can Anyone Be Truly ‘Independent’ In Today’s Polarized Politics? : Late in the 19th century, America was besieged by grave problems: rising economic inequality, violent labor struggles, deep conflicts over immigration and race. But the nation’s leaders seemed incapable of addressing any of these things; they frittered away their hours in disputes over tariffs and trade, and when election time came, they lined up in their respective parties, each one hoping for the chance to distribute the federal spoils to itself. Presidential elections were achingly close: In 1888, Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost to Benjamin Harrison in the Electoral College, fueling a sense that the political process no longer worked properly. Some Americans demanded electoral reform; we can thank them, with mixed feelings, for inventing the presidential primary. Others turned to “populism,” a Western and Southern revolt against the East Coast elite. Still others embraced the idea that some “independent,” objective authority, standing outside partisan politics, might swoop into Washington and set things right.

Economic optimism is not just about the economy : ECONOMIC optimism is on the rise around the world. A new survey from the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, finds that residents of America, Europe and Japan are more confident about their countries’ economies than they were before the financial crisis. Rising spirits partly stem from the return of durable growth. But differences in optimism between countries cannot be accounted for by growth alone—or, indeed, by economic performance.

Tagged with:
 

Stolen from the internet:

It’s the anniversary of D-Day and in 2017 Germany and France are the leaders of the free world….think about it….

 

Trust me on this…it’s not because he’s actually read them and found them lacking. It’s simply because he didn’t personally negotiate the agreements and therefore without the master negotiator…well…they just aren’t good enough. Except they are…and he’s not what he thinks he is…his skills if he ever actually had any…have proven to be totally ineffective even within his own party…which totally owns the Hill.

And then there’s that thing that he does around these agreements. He plays the victim. Every damn time. America is being taken advantage of. We can get a better deal. It’s one thing to continually lie with a straight face and a whole ‘nother to continually play the victim card when you are the post powerful leader in the world at the head of the most powerful nation. That might play out in your real estate boardroom but it isn’t playing on the international stage. President Donald Trump has forsaken leadership of the free world, lock, stock and barrel.

Is China the World’s New Colonial Power? : Every weekday before dawn, a morning migration takes place near the desert on Africa’s southwestern coast. At 5:30 in the Namibian enclave Swakopmund, whose century-old buildings still bear the imprint of German colonization, solitary men in khaki uniforms emerge from houses and apartment complexes, the white reflective strips on their pants flashing as they walk briskly through the darkness. They are not African but Chinese. No one else is stirring in the Atlantic Coast town as the men converge on a tidy house on Libertina Amathila Avenue, the only one in the neighborhood with its lights ablaze.

James Mattis tries to reassure Asian allies about Donald Trump : DONALD TRUMP’S America still stands by allies in Asia and Europe, and “I can give you absolute optimism about this issue,” the Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, told an audience of generals, diplomats and security types at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 3rd. His words were stirring, and just what the gathering longed to hear. Perhaps no member of the Trump administration has as much worldwide credibility as Mr Mattis, a former four-star Marine general with no political background, revered by his peers as a ferocious yet learned “warrior monk”. But deep down the room did not believe him.

The MPS Budget and the Resource Gap walked into a bar : I’m not telling you something you don’t already know — the Milwaukee Public Schools budget is awful. No one involved is happy about it. Superintendent Darienne Driver’s budget proposal and commentary lash out at state legislators forcing her to eviscerate programs. The district’s construction budget, for example, will be cut by a whopping 92 percent!

One of the items included in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposed 2017 – 2019 budget is a slush fund for the University of Wisconsin. I believe the amount is $42 million and in order to get a slice, each campus needs to meet a set of criteria. Some of these criteria include x% of incoming freshman graduating in 4 years, x% of incoming freshman graduate, x% of graduates get a job in their major field, and stuff like that.

Now we have Governor Scott Walker. I am not going to rehash the stories and rumors around his time at Marquette University…but it is a fact that he left before graduating. Now of course Marquette is a private school so none of this applies, but if we were using his criteria for his experience at Marquette…he’d be a black mark on their metrics.

Now these criteria are ridiculous for a lot of reasons. One is his example. He left before he graduated. Students do it all of the time…and the university has little to no control over it.

Graduate in four years? It took me 5 and a half because I changed my major twice and had to play some catch up. University has little or no control over that. And I appreciated the fact that I could change as I found my real interests differed from my supposed interests.

Graduate in four years? What about students who have to work a serious number of hours to support themselves plus attend school? It is a pretty good chance that those students aren’t completing their course of study in four years.

And find a job in your major field? That might depend more on the economy when students graduate than the courses offered for the degree or the degrees offered by the university. Again some things that are seldom under the control of the university.

It isn’t surprising that Governor Walker doesn’t understand contemporary life at university…because it seems like he didn’t quite grasp it when he was a student. But it isn’t surprising that once more he is setting forth criteria to measure results that aren’t controllable by the institution being measured.

Wisconsin needs to step back, stand up, and support the mission of the University of Wisconsin…with enough money…and enough resources…then get out of the way and let them do their job!

The Bay View Compass is the local monthly print newspaper in the Bay View neighborhood. And the June addition has a very notable feature on well know Bay View fixture, Hans Billerbeck. Mr. Billerbeck ran a high quality personal service tailor shop in Bay View for like ever…always great service and I wish him well in retirement.

But that isn’t why I am mentioning Mr. Billerbeck. His wife Sharon helped in the shop with customer service and bookkeeping and such until:

Sharon Billerbeck worked with her husband during the first 20 years in Bay View. “My wife came in with the kids. She helped with the paperwork. Took care of the customers. We worked hard,” Billerbeck said.

After college Sharon taught in the Elm Grove school system until the couple’s children were born. In the mid 90’s, the skyrocketing cost of health insurance for small business owners forced the couple to change course.

“We got to the point where the insurance was so high we couldn’t stand it anymore. We were paying $1,600 a month for health insurance. $1,600 with a $2,000 deductible — and that was 20 years ago,” Sharon said. “It was terrible because we weren’t with a (big) group. We were with a small group…the number of people in our family. The family was your group. I missed teaching so I said, ‘I could go and sub a couple of days a week.’ And then I found out that if you do so many hours over a school year, you can get (health) insurance the next year. So then I started doing that. I subbed in Milwaukee for 14 and a half years.

Think about that for a minute. A family has a small business in the heart of a residential area but the high cost of health insurance premiums forces one of the spouses to take employment outside of the family business. THIS WAS 20 YEARS AGO.

Every politician of almost every stripe will tout the advantages of small business with the hopes that they will grow and create new jobs. But yet they are willing to let them struggle with little or no health care because we as a nation have no desire to make sure every American had affordable health insurance.

How much easier would it be if every American had health insurance? How many Americans could pursue their dreams if they didn’t have to worry about health insurance? How many small businesses could grow and take on employees if they knew that all potential employees had access to health insurance? How many Americans would take on jobs in small or start up businesses if they didn’t have to worry about where they were going to get health insurance.

And this isn’t imaginary…here we have a real life example of a health insurance situation that may have limited the growth of the business…or at minimum reduced some of the joy in it since the tailor’s wife had to work elsewhere to garner insurance…instead of working side by side with her husband.

As a nation we can insure everyone. We can afford to do that. We just need the political wherewithal to get it done!

Tagged with:
 

Imagining a Black Wonder Woman
Growing up, I was told my favorite comic-book heroine was white. And yet her struggles always seemed uniquely similar to my own.

When I was eight years old, I asked my mother if Wonder Woman was black. It was 1989—almost 30 years before I’d eagerly await the premiere of the first Wonder Woman movie. As a child, I had seen the Amazonian princess portrayed by Lynda Carter, who looked unmistakably white, on the syndicated television show I loved. But in many iconic pictures in the comic books I read, Wonder Woman appeared to have a trace of melanin that made me think—maybe?

The Sum: The Meaning of This Week by Gloria Feldt
The Sum: This week it’s all #WonderWoman. And #WonderWomen. #WW for short. We’re all around. And, wow are we needed. Here are 3 ways we can flex those superpowers..

‘Wonder Woman’ Breaks Glass Ceiling For Female Directors & Stomps On ‘Iron Man’ With $100.5M Debut
The warrior princess of Themyscira is finally leaping past the century mark this weekend with $100.5M according to Warner Bros., however, other studios believe Wonder Woman has the power to exceed $101M this weekend.