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Grace Kelly

Emotional Consequences of Climate Change

by Grace Kelly on April 18, 2014 · 1 comment

 In the cold war, the people on the planet faced the threat of all-out nuclear war. The Bay of Pigs incident brought us to such a war. In many ways, facing climate change is like facing nuclear war. The comfort of nuclear war was that for most of us it would be over, either we were safe or we were dead. Only in the fallout areas, would there be slow lingering death. The difference with climate change, is that it will slowly impact all of us. Only rich old billionaires can now live without any regard to what is happening.

 

So how does one live knowing the world is always going to get worse and worse? This is the opposite of the American dream. How does one say to one’s children – this is the best that it will ever be? It is even worse because we could see it coming, did see it coming and did not respond to the threat.

 

The frog-in-boiling-water metaphor seems to apply. It was too slow a threat. It was not immediate and individually threatening. As a species, we are unable to respond to something that kills us very slowly. Yet we are willing to spend millions of dollars on preventing shoe bombs that never worked.

 

Indeed our whole culture seems built on immediate profit/indulgence while ignoring long term costs like pollution, deforestation, and dwindling resources.

 

Right now, the realization is strong enough that if we had the social and government mechanisms, then we would respond. However, the richest people concentrated all wealth and power to ensure that we would not respond. The richest people are going to live the good life for the last 20 years by ensuring that we all pretend that nothing is happening.

 

Here is the sad thing about the rich people’s decision. There is only so much indulgence that one can buy and their wealth is already way beyond that point. One of the few things that few people have the chance to be is to the heroes saving human civilization. Priceless, as one ad would say.

 

So when rich people had the choice, they chose to be continue to be the original scrooge instead of the heroic scrooge. Maybe they just wanted to be able to party as the world fell apart.

 

For the rest of us, we are trying to find ways to adapt on a local level without major institutional support. The market is not helping change, since rich people have forced the government to subsidize the wrong things.

 

The one thing that seems to have benefited from all of this is humor. The jokes on the stupidity of policies, government and humans in general are now endless. The human race totally demonstrates that intelligence and wisdom are entirely separate characteristics.

 

During nuclear war, we would have only minutes to agonize. Now we have our lifetimes to agonize. How does one emotionally go forth with diminishing expectations? What does one say to children? Do we give up and just start partying until the end?

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Why No Republican Should Ever Volunteer Again

by Grace Kelly on April 11, 2014 · 1 comment

money claim your fair share

Our democracy has changed from people and votes to corporations and money. Now, with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the McCutcheon case joins Citizens United to allow money to speak very loudly. Even before these rulings, Open Secrets estimates that in 2012 alone, $301 million poured into the dark money system.

 

With this abundance of money, any Republican who volunteers – works without being paid real money – is daft. The reason to sell one’s soul is to actually get the real money. Republican power has ensured that Kochs and the richest get everything for almost free. The Republicans who put and keep them there should get the spoils. The Kochs get the cheap rents on land where they extract oil. The Kochs get to spill oil and damage the land for free. The Kochs get to transport oil across freeways. Republican volunteers need to figure out that they deserve their entitled share.

 

Indeed my counterpart bloggers ought to be in the highest tax bracket. It takes real talent to lie about being taken every time. There is a reason that Rush Limbaugh sounds like a raving lunatic. It is because the policies are lunacy.

 

Volunteering for Republicans is especially wrong because competition determines worth. Republicans value people by money. In the Republican world, volunteers are therefore just conned people with no monetary value.

 

Why would any Republican ever demean themselves by volunteering? Indeed even the minimum wage would be offensive. Republican workers ought to be paid the same as plumbers, a simple blue collar wage. That would be the minimum of respectability. Last I checked, plumbers charge $150 to walk in the door and $60 an hour after that.

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fine print mag glassMaryellen is the author of this post. I am just posting for her.

 

Are you age 55 or over? When you completed the MNsure application, did you get put into Medical Assistance? Then read this. We thought the state would only recover estate assets for people who were in long term facilities while on Medical Assistance. They also recover estate assets for people age 55+ who are on Medical Assistance.

 

MNsure put my husband and me into Medical Assistance. We are both over age 55. We researched, and discovered that Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.15, Subd 1a(e), says the state can recover Medical Assistance expenses and capitation rates (monthly premiums) from people who are age 55+. Our state representative verified this with the office of the State Medicaid Director, Cindy Mann. We live in Hennepin County. The only data we could find on the Medical Assistance monthly premiums are from the 2012 Hennepin Health contract with DHS. The title is “Appendix II-B: Capitation Payment Rate Hennepin Health, PMAP Rates January-December 2012.” The monthly rate listed for a female aged 50-64 was $1205.44, and the monthly rate for a male aged 50-64 was $1293.06. It looks like our Medical Assistance premiums will cost about $30,000 a year, far more than regular insurance. We’ll run up about $168,000 in Medicaid premiums alone by the time we reach age 65.

 

Check your county’s rates, and do the math for your family. Then contact your state legislator, Gov. Dayton, and Pres. Obama.

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The DFL Feminist Caucus Earthquake

by Grace Kelly on April 4, 2014 · 5 comments

worldviewWow, I am blown away. For a long time, I had thought that women’s groups were just a case of reverse sexism. Now of course, my experience is that generally women are better and just not recognized. That is just a fact of life. However, I had seen cases where male candidates had better represented gender equity and civil rights and were not endorsed. I even knew of one candidate endorsed because of who the parents were.
 
That just changed. The DFL Feminist Caucus just endorsed a young Somali male over an experienced older white female. I don’t know enough about the particulars of qualifications to judge the actual endorsement. The fact that this ever happened in a women’s group is revolutionary.

 

The DFL Feminist Caucus announces today it’s endorsement of Mohamud Noor for State Representative, House District 60B.

 
Laura Nevitt, the President of the DFL Feminist Caucus said, “We are proud to support a courageous man who has shown unwavering support for gender equity, access to reproductive health care, anti-bullying legislation and comprehensive sex education.

 
The work of feminism is ongoing, and all too often we are still fighting old battles, but there is also new work to be done in communities that are just beginning to address these issues. Noor is uniquely qualified to be a champion for feminist values in those communities

 
Noor brings a voice and perspective to the Capitol that is not yet present, but is a much needed voice as we move forward in making Minnesota equal for everyone”

 
As an officially chartered caucus of the DFL, the purpose of the DFL Feminist Caucus is to support, advocate and promote the health, safety, human rights, and improved socioeconomic and political conditions of all people in their home life, work life and communities through the elimination of sexism in accordance with the Principles of the Caucus. Those principles can be found at www.dflfc.com

 

I used the metaphor of the world map on this article because “up” and orientation to the North is arbitrary. Could it be that we are seeing real gender equity?

 

I still like the chair/vice chair balancing of the DFL for that has saved us on many occasion as people move on in their lives. Keeping gender balance is important. It could also be that the DFL Feminist Caucus also becomes gender balanced while still being successful at the same mission.
 
I think this change is really going to help gender equality because this endorsement proves that a man can get an endorsement over a woman in the DFL Feminist Caucus. Now everyone will be working to prove themselves in gender equity. May the best candidate win endorsement!

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Billionaires Bet on Destruction

by Grace Kelly on April 1, 2014 · 0 comments

An utterly bored group of billionaires were celebrating the first April 1st of the new century in one of the most exclusive midnight parties ever. A challenge came up on how much power each billionaire actually had. One billionaire had an aide create a pool of the most outrageous options like:

 

• Cause a nuclear power plant to melt down
• Sink Venice by another foot
• Destroy two tall buildings illegally in New York and get away with it
• Convince 33% of the US that the world is less than a million years old
• Cause an earthquake in Oklahoma
• Make a river in California disappear before it reaches the ocean
• Cause a massive 100 square mile fire that lasted more than a 100 days
• Melt one glacier
• Buy 100 US legislators and get them to vote against health care 100 times
• Force one meteorite that is at least 3 miles wide to hit earth
• Multiply the wealth of the top 1000 people by a 1000 times

 

Billionaires drew options out of a hat. Each had 22 years, 22 days, 22 hours and 22 minutes to accomplish it. It was called the 22 challenge. The only restriction was that it had to be done discreetly so it was not traced to the original billionaire.

 

Everyone laughed hilariously as each option was drawn. Comments were made that it would be impossible to make even one of those events happen. Anyone who achieved their goal was going to have great bragging rights.

 

Instead of a challenge, it turned out to be incredibly easy. Destroying anything is easy. Building anything is much harder. After the initial waves of successes the billionaires no longer meet, for it is too embarrassing. The original aide who wrote the list is perpetually drunk and tells his story often. No one believes him.

 

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holding accountable magnifying glassThe performance of Janice Rettman as Ramsey County Commissioner slipped under the local news radar. It is our local proof that coverage of local news is in severe decline.

 

While Rettman claims to be a Democrat, she did not support a resolution denouncing the Voter I.D. amendment.

 

Ramsey county’s mission statement says that “ensuring the public’s health and safety is our top priority”. When money comes from grants or the federal government, one would expect unanimous support from the Ramsey County board on health and safety initiatives. That tends to be true with one important exception – Janice Rettman.

 

Here are examples:

 

1) January 12, 2010 Voted against a grant enabling participation in a MN Department of Health survey to assess and improve Ramsey County’s lagging immunization performance

 

2) February 16, 2010 Voted against seeking Federal funding for a Young Adult Offender Transitions program

 
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Respect in Local Jails for Ethics and Religion

by Grace Kelly on March 27, 2014 · 0 comments

sheriff bostrom official photoAcross cultures, the concept of what needs to be covered and what is “naked” varies greatly. In my own European cultural history, legs were once too provocative to be seen. As a diverse society, it is good that we respect the cultural differences. Our community depends on respect for each other and respect for the law. A person detained or arrested should still have respect within the constraints of safety. It is great that both Ramsey County Sheriff Bostrom and Hennepin County Sheriff Stanek are not only respecting religious headgear, but also stocking religious headgear to be available on request.

 

I sent a thank you note to Sheriff Bostrom, and received permission to reprint his response:

 

We’re just trying to do what is best. We don’t compete for attention. We had been functioning under this policy for a quite awhile, we just didn’t announce it publicly. It shouldn’t be newsworthy that we make improvements every week. it’s what the public should expect from us.

 

Sheriff Bostrom in his previous work within the St Paul Police was known for respecting the homeless by ensuring homeless were taken care of during downtown demonstrations. Bostrom also developed policies and contacts for new cultural groups like the Karen from southeastern Burma (Myanmar).

 

It is nice to have government improving even when no one is watching.

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How could a progressive have supported building the stadium? This question is asked by Professor David Schultz and others. What Schultz does not know is that the issue was not enthusiastically supported, it was accepted with great pain. Schultz, being an outside commentator, could not know this. I was in the middle of the discussion.

 

For Progressives that question was whether one can ever compromise or whether one embraces absolute values.

 

Here is what made the case for an acceptable compromise:

 

Minnesota was badly in need of stimulus. At the time of this decision, power was split between a Democratic Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature. A stadium was possibly the only building project that both Republicans and Democrats could support. Remember the possible alternatives are like Polymet that poisons our water for 360 low-paying jobs. I would gladly pay more in taxes to build a stadium in Northern Minnesota to keep out all copper sulfide mining.

 

A wise state senator told me his reasoning for supporting the stadium. In addition to the stimulus reason, there is the reason that no state has ever successfully resisted building a new stadium. In all cases, the stadium supporters eventually won. Building a stadium in the economic recession meant the lowest cost that we would ever get. Buying on sale makes great economic sense.

 

Another person pointed out that having a great stadium makes a Minneapolis, a “destination” city – a place one goes to. Being a destination city means more cash inflow. Proof that the stadium attracts more cash-flow than its’ costs is hard to find. Yet Minnesota is doing better than other states.

 

In this state, Progressives govern, going for every incremental step. It made sense to support building the stadium. But when the stadium support passed, there was no wild cheering. Instead the passage was marked by a funeral-like silence. We, Progressives did what we had to and we don’t like it. For better choices, we need to always turn out the Democratic vote.

 

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Dave Pinto Captures the Hearts of 64B

by Grace Kelly on March 24, 2014 · 7 comments

Best of 64B Convention10

Dave Pinto won the DFL endorsement for Minnesota House Representative 64B. The field was originally 7 candidates, where one candidate had to drop out for long work hours.

 

This was a very competitive race where Pinto only led with a margin of 26 votes in the first round. Pinto came from 29.6% in first round to win with 61.43% in the fifth round. The perception of being the leader definitely helped since the convention liked all the candidates and would therefore be likely to vote for the leader, just to go home earlier.

 

The fact that the field was well liked was displayed by the fact that the lowest vote-getter received a standing ovation. The top two candidates were very good friends. This was a race where the network of friendships and connections really mattered. Pinto had a strong champion persuader in every social/interest group.

 
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Protect Our Water, Stop Polymet

by Grace Kelly on March 12, 2014 · 6 comments


Minnesota is being sold a false choice between picking between jobs and environment. We can do both. The Solutions Project maps out an transition project of going to wind, water and solar that would create 63,500 construction jobs and 39,300 operation jobs. Contrast that with the 360 jobs that Polymet is promising.

 

Polymet is proposing a different type of mining than we have had before. It is a mining that is heavily polluted with heavy metals and sulfates. Storage is simply done in open pits, open to the weather, open to seepage. Even the company’s own models show pollution with expensive treatment for 500 years or more. Let’s be real. Once pollution gets into the underground aquifer, there is no undoing it. Our rivers will carry the pollution all over. At that point, we will have to treat all our drinking water or suffer the health effects. We have an incredible growing brewing industry that will be put at risk because good water is essential to brewing.

 

Let’s face it, we are being held hostage for 360 jobs. Polymet can go elsewhere and will go elsewhere if it has to pay for safe mining. There are still third world countries who will allow any type of toxic mining. Minnesota wants to lose those 360 jobs, because the cost of losing safe drinking water is way too high. Do any green energy project from the Solutions Project. Please consider raising my income taxes now for green projects instead of having me pay more for clean water forever. It will cost me much less.

 

That is the letter that I am sending to the DNR by 4:30pm this Thursday, March 13th. Feel feel to use this letter or other options or simply post “bad idea” at  http://dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/polymet/comments.html . We really need every voice. We need your voice. Make it easy and just do it now.

 

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