Clean Water Scam of Minnesota

rubbish

Every year, we hear the same cry from the spending crowd about our terrible water conditions and every year the duped citizens jump on board for another sack full of money to fix the problem.  I’m guessing that a lot of states have the same situation as Minnesota does.  Here are some facts to consider the next time Minnesota politicians post pictures of dead fish and water bottles floating in the water and holding their hands out for more money. (Insert picture of Native American with a tear running down his face.)

 

Since 1972, after having had $850,200,000 to fix our water problems, we get this from our Governor:

“Last year the condition of Minnesota’s fresh water was laid bare after pollution experts revealed the toll intensive farming was having on Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and groundwater.

And the high-profile contamination of water supplies that led to lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, this month thrust the issue of water safety into the national conversation.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton presented a plan to tackle these problems in 2016.

The governor wants to spend $220 million from his upcoming jobs bonding bill on upgrading and protecting Minnesota’s freshwater supplies, according to a press release.”

 

History of Clean Water funding in Minnesota

2008 Lessard Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act ammended to Minnesota Constitution

The Post-Bulletin March 14, 2009

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment adds more than $300 million per year in revenue by increasing our state sales tax 3/8 of 1 percent.

The proceeds of this additional sales tax are to be divided among the following areas:

  • 33 percent for water quality
  • 33 percent for wildlife
  • 19.75 percent for arts funding
  • 14.25 percent for parks.

From 2008 – 2016 Clean Water Projects received approx. $800,000,000 from this program alone.

Clean Water Legacy Act of 2006

Governor Pawlenty signed the Clean Water Legacy Act into law on June 2nd, 2006. The CWLA provides a new operational framework, tools and first-year start-up funding that will help ensure Minnesota’s famed legacy of clean water passes intact to future generations. Enactment of this law places Minnesota in a position of national leadership in developing a collaborative and innovative approach towards implementing the Clean Water Act.   $24.5 million was appropriated

Federal Clean Water Act 1972 Appropriations to the States.

SEC. 106 [33 U.S.C. 1256] Grants for Pollution Control Programs

   (a) There are hereby authorized to be appropriated the following sums, to remain available until expended, to carry out the purposes of this section–

(1) $60,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1973; and

(2) $75,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1974, and the fiscal year ending June 30, 1975

$100,000,000 per fiscal year for the fiscal years 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 $75,000,000 per fiscal year for the final years 1981 and 1982

Such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 1983 through 1985  (What?)

$75,000,000 per fiscal year for each of the fiscal years 1986 through 1990; for grants to States and to interstate agencies to assist them in administering programs for the prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution, including enforcement directly or through appropriate State law enforcement officers or agencies.

[106(a)(2) amended by PL 96-483; PL 100-4]

That comes to 1.285 billion dollars nationally or 25.7 million dollars for each state to be used in the course of 17 years.

 

$850 million dollars to fix one problem and our Governor wants $220 million more added onto the annual $300 million we get every year from the Lessard Act to tackle the same issue.   Just a wild guess on my part, but if you or I were that inept at correcting problems in our workplace while draining the revenue stream so we could keep trying, we would probably be holding a cardboard sign on the street corner sooner than later.

Whadayathink?

 

Short Post For Christians

Around the dinner tables and around the water coolers – at gatherings of our families and friends there’s a common lament – the decaying social fabric of our country.  Our Constitution says we have freedom of religion, yet the group, “Freedom from Religion” is winning at every turn.  Why is that?  It’s two-fold.

Number 1:  A lack of spiritual knowledge in the newer generations.

When I was young, almost every kid went to church at least once a week.  If the dad was a drunk, Mom managed to get the kids to church by herself.  In our society, it was a given that Sunday mornings were not available for work or socializing because everyone went to church before doing anything else.  Regardless of how we lived out our spirituality during the week, Sunday was a day for God and rest and the family was offered a moral alternative to unfettered hedonism. Continue reading

We’re Not The Wolves

 

 

 

Picture of snarling wolf

In the movie, American Sniper, Chris Kyle’s dad said that there are three types of people.  There are sheep (victims), there are wolves (oppressors), and there are shepherds (defenders of the sheep).  The United States has always been a shepherd to countless millions of people around the world who needed a defender.

Recently, there were 21 Christians publically beheaded.  A Jordanian pilot was burned alive. A 7 year old girl had a bomb strapped on her and sent into a crowd of people.  I doubt that she really knew that she would be gone forever when she pressed that button that took five lives and wounded forty others.  Boca Haram kidnapped 250 young girls in Nigeria and gave them to terrorists to be wives and slaves.  Platoons of 10 year old kids are being indoctrinated to fight and die for terrorist causes.  And what does the United States – The Defender – do?   The most compassionate and powerful nation in the world sits on the sidelines fighting brutal injustice with a Twitter hashtag held up by Hollywood personalities and politicians. Continue reading

I Profile People

The last ten years that I worked at Ford Motor Company, I was working in Statistical Process Control.  In 1958, Charles Demming created a system of data collection and analysis that allowed us to understand and improve  manufacturing processes, among many other things. Our mantra was: Manage with Facts.

To begin the process, a minimum amount of data has to be collected over time, so the results will have credibility.  After the data is collected, it is plotted in its proper place relative to all the other similar data.  The visual representation of the compiled data will be a “Bell Curve” like the one pictured here.

blog-bell-curve

Continue reading

Big Business Isn’t the Problem

Only Government Can Make You Do Anything

I’m reading a book that I really enjoy, but the author is continuously saying that  “Big Pharma” (the pharmaceutical industry) or “Madison Avenue” (the ad agencies in concert with “Big Business”) are causing us to make bad decisions that affect our lives.

It’s true that businesses want to make a profit.  It’s true that they use creative methods to advertise their products or services.  It’s true that they don’t actively advertise the possible negative effects that overuse or misuse of their product may produce, but they can’t make us do anything.

Have you ever wondered why there’s a label (required by Government) on a power lawnmower that warns against putting your hand under the deck while it’s running?  How about the warning label that tells us to not use the hair dryer in the shower?  What about the label that tells us to not stand on the top of a step ladder? We all know the reason that these labels exist, don’t we?  Some lame-brain has already either maimed or killed themselves by putting their hand under a running lawnmower, using a blow dryer in the shower, or standing on the top of a step ladder.  Some people aren’t too bright.

I’m going to be nervy, here and suggest that if you think that the government should protect us from all advertising and other persuasive methods that businesses employ, maybe you need a warning label about watching advertisements.

I hope that all of you know that the only thing that Big Pharma and Big Business can do is TEMPT you to take action in some way or another.  They can’t garnish your paycheck, put you in jail, or threaten your life if you don’t buy their product or service.  Now, you might say that they are misrepresenting their products or services.  That could be, but there are already laws that punish that behavior.  If it were true that advertising could make you do something that you shouldn’t or buy something that you really didn’t want, then virtually everyone would be susceptible to advertising about everything.

That’s simply not true.  Ask a life-long Vegan how much deceptive advertising it would take before they would eventually grab a greasy, hormone-injected double Whopper with bacon on it and wolf it down.   My guess is that they would tell you that no amount of advertising in the world could make them do that.  As a former alcoholic, I can tell you that nothing – financial disaster, loss of a loved one, or terminal illness, much less deceptive advertising – would cause me to drink another drop of alcohol.   The same is true about luxury cars.  Someone would have to give me a luxury car before I would own one and even then, I’d trade it in for a truck as soon as I could.

There’s a reason why the Vegan and I can’t be tempted in these specific areas.  It’s because there’s nothing in our subconscious mind that sees any value in having the burger, the booze, or the luxury car.  As many of you know, it takes almost no advertising for me to buy another handgun.  They just have to advertise a brand or caliber that I don’t already have.  Here’s a small list of things that I could be tempted by or that I’m not susceptible to be tempted by:

  • Dark chocolate with almonds – susceptible
  • Full time job – not susceptible
  • Pasta – not susceptible
  • Smoking – not susceptible
  • Tools – susceptible
  • Suits – not susceptible (but could be a legitimate necessity at some time)
  • Cowboy boots – susceptible
  • Pets – not susceptible
  • Anything my grandkids want – highly susceptible

What does your list look like.  Do you have things that you would never be tempted by?

The point is – if you’re running up credit card debt, don’t blame the credit card companies and the product advertisers.  There’s something inside of you that wants stuff that you can’t afford.  If you’re still smoking after your first drag off a cigarette that nearly choked you to death, there’s a belief inside you about cigarette smoking that most people don’t share.  If you buy a $300,000 house with nothing down, and monthly payments of $250 a month for the first two years and you don’t think there’s anything odd about that, it’s ‘cause your subconscious desire to own a house completely obliterated any common sense you might have had.  Don’t blame the mortgage company.  I had a client who was a second-generation welfare recipient with an extremely limited education who bought a house with a sub-prime loan and even she knew enough to convert it well before her payments were scheduled to go up.  If you change the meaning attached to having these things, you’ll stop being tempted to have them.

Let’s take a little personal responsibility, here. Until we challenge our internal reasoning about these things, how about if we start an accountability partnership.   You keep me away from dark chocolate, tools, guns, and cowboy boots, and I’ll keep you away from the stuff that you’re tempted by, but let’s get over blaming everyone else for the self-inflicted misery that comes from being undisciplined, uneducated, and naïve.  O.K?

 

Whadayathink?

It Could Get Ugly

Picture of an ugly manYes, it could get ugly.  I was thinking about the content of my blog posts and came to the conclusion that there was something missing.  I’ve been doing a lot of teaching about how we all became who we are and that understanding the beliefs and meanings of others with whom we associate would be  beneficial when we have disagreements.

I’ve thrown in a couple of “safe” posts about cultural things, but being safe is boring.  I’ve been told a million times, since my youth, that we shouldn’t talk about religion or politics.  As I ponder that admonition, it occurs to me that there are no other more influential aspects of our lives than government and spirituality.  The government is reaching deeper and deeper into our lives and our spirituality or lack thereof has a huge influence on how we live our lives and how we interact with others.

I just wrote a blog post about being offended.  When I open up the possibilities for new blog content, I guess we’ll see if my readers will get offended and leave or join in a debate.    So, “There’s a new Sheriff in town”.  We’ll be talking about new stuff – guns, prejudice, race, politics, religion, “rights” and responsibilities, white privilege, and the American Dream.  I think the next post will be call “Babies and Patriotism”.

Are you up for it?  I hope you are.

Whadayathink?

About the Minimum Wage

The debate about raising the minimum wage resurfaces every few years – usually in an election year. I’m not sure why the advocates of a “living” minimum wage stop at $9.50 or $10.10 per hour. Can you really live comfortably on that? Can you travel, buy a nice house, buy a new car, send your kids to college, have a swimming pool in your yard if you want one, or all the other things that people with regular jobs can do? Why not ask for $20 per hour for people who make hamburgers, change your oil at Jiffy Lube, or bus tables at a restaurant? Seriously – those who advocate for a higher minimum wage, please answer that question for me. Maybe those jobs that pay minimum wage were never intended for anyone who was trying to support a family in the first place.  But, there are some who are using McDonalds to survive. Therein lies the problem.

A lot of people deny the negative implications of raising the minimum wage. Most simply say that the company should just absorb the cost, but that’s a discussion we’ll have on another blog. It’s not just the rising costs of goods and services at that workplace that negatively affects the economy. Consider this:

I’m a worker who has gone through hours of training to improve my skills so I can qualify for a better job. I’m paid $18 per hour. It seems reasonable that a sixteen year old kid, trying to make just enough money to pay his cellphone bill, who goes through three hours of grueling training to take orders at McDonalds will make considerably less than I do. If the kid’s wages go up, arbitrarily without even requiring any new skills or efficiency, I think I should be making at least $22 per hour to keep things “fair”. When wages go up without market pressure, the costs are passed on to the consumers.  The price of goods and services go up and higher wages are needed just to stay even with where you were.  Pretty soon, the workers who were pitied at $7 per hour today are pitied again at $9.50 per hour tomorrow.  Nothing has changed and new legislation will be passed to raise the minimum wage again.  And the beat goes on.

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Priorities and Potholes

Pothole3As the story goes, a man who has a wife and four children under the age of eighteen sets up a transportation budget for the family. This budget will be funded to cover new purchases, travel costs, and maintenance on travel-related assets.

Since none of the children were old enough to drive at the time, Dad’s first purchase was a big family car – an SUV to be precise, to carry the brood wherever they had to go. Continue reading