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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Podcast Corner: The Battle at Southgate Pond: a Real Live Drama

Click on the post for the battle.

Gov. Walker kills Biofuel project; WSJ

Click on the post for the latest.

Estimates of 4K for Evansville released; Gazette

Click on the post for the latest on the 4K proposal in Evansville.

Public Works Meets Tonight: 6th Street Detention Pond on aganda

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Observer on Blog Talk Radio: Topic: The Tea Party

I was pleased to visit California over the weekend to enjoy a short tour of Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach and participate in a blogtalk radio program hosted by Richard Ginnaty, CPA that discussed the Tea Party, and a study that has been written about it.

Click on the post to access the radio show. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

OpEd: Increased setback for Industrial Wind Turbines is sanity, not politics:

Click on the post for an article on the proposal of Gov. Walker of Wisconsin for increased setbacks for industrial wind turbines in Wisconsin.

This is just sanity, not politics. One must consider the neighbor---Doug Zweizig went over the concept on the Joy Cardin show recently on WPR. Whether it is the property rights of the neighbors, or the health of the neighbors, the Governors' proposal reflects a way to get wind development in Wisconsin that will work, and leave the bickering behind.

Reading Corner: Baker: The Social Media Handbook:

Click on the post to see this essential book that Paul is reading now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Memories of the Mercury Conference:: Chants

Magical Moment at the Mercury Conference in Madison: The Chant of the Leech Lake Indians---For Purification, For Protection, For Peace

MP3 File

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WSJ: Governor Plans border war with Illinois---

Click on the post for the story in the Wisconsin State Journal....Stay tuned as we follow this story....Some aspects I have not figured out yet...

We are going to knock em, sock em and beat them on the football field, and when they are dazed we are going to ask them to move to Wisconsin where the taxes are higher....


WSJ: New Options for Local Schools Coming

Click on the post for discussion of what might be coming in the new governors educational plans...Some of these ideas are long overdue....

Med Flight called to Baker Manufacturing---Gazette

Click on the post for the latest.

CapTimes; Wendell Potter speaks on his book "Deadly Spin"

Click on the post for coverage of Mr Potter's speech last night in Madison.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Listen to Podcasts of the Observer on your EReader

Whether it's a Nook Reader or any EReader, just click on the podcast of your choice on the Evansville Observer and listen in to your audio selection. FREE. Enjoy.

Audio: Nostalgia: 2007: North Prairie Productions Groundbreaking-

Groundbreaking Ceremony for North Prairie Productions Biodiesel plant on March 26, 2007 in Evansville, Wi. Featuring Keynote remarks by Gov. Jim Doyle and Mayor Sandy Decker, and Michael Robinson, President of North Prairie Productions.

MP3 File

Friday, January 14, 2011

Minnesota faces Economic Disaster---Vikings want new stadium anyway----

Stay tuned as the facts unfold on this story.

Boxing Lessons Sold out as Reporters train to fight for the Open Meeting Law: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

A little Mano a Mano on the Open Meeting Law

Click on the post for the latest.

Evansville Park Board Meets Monday, January 17th----

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Bull Run Ahead; Stocks: Yahoo: Finance

Click on the post for a video from Yahoo Finance.

History: Audio: 2007: Supr. Carvin: 4K as Summer School Option

History: 2007: Supr.Carvin asks Board for approval for planning of 4K as Summer School Offering

MP3 File

"A lesson in Weather accounting...and more

Nostalgia: 2006: Comparison and reflection of how weather forecasting relates to other areas of life like school accounting, municipal accounting or even running times.

MP3 File

2007:Classic Observer: School Board--2-2007

School Board Forum: February 2007: "On Focus--What is important and What is NOT. 4K and Half Day Kindergarten are settled issues. Governance. Open Media. Developing Public Trust

Download File

Nostalgia: 2007: Classic Observer: School Board Forum

Observer: The Aqua Velva Man, Plans on voting not abstaining due to conflict of interest; On improving media relations; On why improving public trust is essential to school administration success.

Download File

2010 Minnesota Housing Market Grim: StarTrib

Click on the post for the latest.

Wendell Potter to speak in Madison on Jan 17---Author of "Deadly Spin"

Wendell is a senior fellow on health care with the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, and has written the book "Deadly Spin" regarding the assertion that corporate PR is killing health care and deceiving Americans.

He will speak at the Goodman Community Center, 139 Wabesa St. at 7PM

Click on the post for his blog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hwy14/138 Rebuild Meeting is January 25 in Oregon.: CapTimes

Click on the post for the latest.

Erpenbach; Joining Lawsuit to block health care reform a waste of taxpayer money: CapTimes

Click on the post for the latest.

Wis. Gov. proposes larger setbacks for wind turbines: Gazette

Click on the post. The setback would show greater respect for property, and not even to mention human health.

Video:: Catch the Culture: Terry Whipple

Video: 1 of 11: Intro. Catch the Culture: Speech of Terry Whipple to Evansville Economic Development meeting. full podcast coming.

Download File

Video: 3: 4K: Any difference at 3rd grade?

Video: Mrs. Hurley askes the question whether the skills acquired all even out at 3rd grade whether student had 4k or not. No answer to question, except that the stress of the child that is behind affects their experience at school and feelings about it.

Download File

Mailbag: "Bear Trader" Reviews the Unemployment numbers:

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota, who will vote on the interest- rate setting Federal Open Market Committee this year, has said (I can't remember where I read this) that he thinks that "structural" unemployment is about 6% to 8% at this time and will be for the unforeseeable future. When we add in frictional unemployment of 3% we get the unemployment rates we see now. If he is correct then the unemployment we have now will continue for a period of years or decades, who knows? Could be better, could be worse.

Kocherlakota is talking about U-3 unemployment here, that is, presently 9.4% (Apparently 500,000 people dropped out of the job market last month.!!??) I prefer the same technique for measuring unemployment as was used during the Great Depression, though, guess what, unemployment using that metric is worse now than then. Heh.

Discussion of structural unemployment from Wikipedia, which is OK:


Structural unemployment is a form of unemployment resulting from a mismatch between demand in the labor market and the skills and locations of the workers seeking employment. Even though the number of vacancies may be equal to, or greater than, the number of the unemployed, the unemployed workers may lack the skills needed for the jobs; or they may not live in the part of the country or world where the jobs are available.

Structural unemployment is a result of the dynamics of the labor market and the fact that these can never be as flexible as, e.g., financial markets. Workers are "left behind" due to costs of training and moving (e.g., the cost of selling one's house in a depressed local economy), plus inefficiencies in the labor markets, such as discrimination or monopoly power.

Structural unemployment is hard to separate empirically from frictional unemployment, except to say that it lasts longer. As with frictional unemployment, simple demand-side stimulus will not work to easily abolish this type of unemployment.

Structural unemployment may also be encouraged to rise by persistent cyclical unemployment: if an economy suffers from long-lasting low aggregate demand, it means that many of the unemployed become disheartened, while their skills (including job-searching skills) become "rusty" and obsolete. Problems with debt may lead to homelessness and a fall into the vicious circle of poverty. This means that they may not fit the job vacancies that are created when the economy recovers.


The fellow doesn't mention the fellow with thirty or forty years of job experience whose industry just ain't comin' back. The new jobs don't just require retraining, they require a whole different sort of person, smart, willing, capable - and young. Older folks want their experience to count for something. When it doesn't then they join the line to apply for a Wal-Mart greeter job.

Wisconsin one of worst states to retire in: In Fiscal Peril: Yahoo Finance

Click on the post for the latest.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

video: 4: 4K and Head Start Compared

Video: Some Discussion of Head Start and 4K and how they compared;

Download File

Video: 1 of 5: Overview: Mrs Hurley Intro:

Video: 1 of 5: 1/10/2011: Mrs. Hurley opens the discussion with Early Childhood Teachers at Evansville Levi Leonard School: What are the advantages of 4K:

Download File

Nostalgia; Jan 2007: Mr. Pierick speaks on 4K

Nostalgia: Jan 2007: Mr. Pierick Speaks on 4K------
(Ed. note; Mr. Larson of the Evansville School Board asked that 4K be placed as a board goal for the upcoming school year, or at least a review of it. I have reprinted Mr. Michael Pierick's comments about 4k at the time of the recent defeat of this proposal. It was the second consideration of 4K in one year. Mr. Larson is coming up for reelection in April of 2008.)

"I have a subjective bias about preschool, and I personally believe that there are benefits to 4-year-old kindergarten. Both of my sons attended preschool, and my opinion is based upon the positive learning experience that they had.

However, I have very strong reservations about going forward with this program, and even about going ahead with a pilot program. If I were to vote today, I would vote not to continue. In fact, I question why we are investing so many District resources and so much planning time on something that appears less than fully compelling.

My reservations are varied.

I don’t see any widely based community support for 4-year-old kindergarten, and there were more comments at the public hearing opposed to this program than in favor.

This was initially presented as a program that would benefit and be supported by the existing providers of 4-year-old preschool in the District, but most of those providers who came to the public hearing spoke against it.

The State legislative task force on this topic was presented a few days ago. The task force admitted that it did not vote on the recommendations. Regardless of the recommendations, there is a statement in the report that is unlikely to be refuted soon by anyone: “in our current limited resource setting, increased funding for 4 year old kindergarten programs is not likely, and would only be found at the expense of another education program.”

We have a facilities consulting firm, Plunkett Raysich Architects, which has given us some preliminary analysis of our facilities. According to Plunkett Raysich, we already have a need for three additional rooms to serve our elementary school population, and will need another by 2011 – in just four years. We are currently at the level of classrooms that we need to serve our intermediate school population, but will need three more rooms in four years. We now have the number of core curriculum rooms needed to serve our middle school population – not the best facility, only the right number of core curriculum rooms -- but we will need five additional classrooms in four years. And we will need one more classroom in the high school designed just five years ago. Altogether, this means we need to add about 13 classrooms in four years. The preliminary report also talks about numerous facility deficiencies in the three older buildings – some of them major deficiencies -- and even a few facility deficiencies in the new high school. (Edited)

I believe that the Evansville community will support this District when we go to them and demonstrate our need for additional classrooms in order to teach additional children who have moved to the district or been born in the district. But I very much doubt that the community will support us if we increase the number of students in our buildings by adding 4 year olds over the next few years, and then turn around and say it’s too crowded.

I think we need to stop planning for any 4 year old program that will place additional children in our school buildings. I think this Board needs to give a strong message about this now, so that valuable administrator and staff time can be spent on other important curriculum and planning endeavors."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oscar Meyer workers win worktime lawsuit: Wisconsin State Journal

Click on the post for the latest. Now other companies can change their ways.

Evansville School Board: 4K Meeting 1/10/2011

Audio; Subgroup meeting at 3:15PM, Monday 1/10/2011; Evansville Early Childhood Teachers Speak of the reasons for a 4K program.

MP3 File

Wall Street dumping bonds for stocks: Bloomberg

Click on the post for the latest.

History: 2006: Melissa Hammann Speaks on 4K---

2006: History: Hammann declares all the assumptions of 4k Proposal have been shown to be debunked

Download File

History: 2006: Daycare Providers Speak at 4K Hearing

Evansville Daycare Providers speak at 4K Hearing in 2006

Download File

Sunday, January 09, 2011

4K Meeting Monday, January 10th: 3:15PM Levi Leonard: School Scoop

Click on the post for the information about this meeting.

Mailbag: "Bear Trader" writes on QE2, QE3, QE4 and much more:

I sent you my thoughts on China buying Spanish Sovereign bonds.

Those buying bond funds are buying into leverage, as you point out. There are few bond funds operating without it. I could be interested in a bond fund that uses only futures for leverage if they were used prudently. Ah, "prudently", that is the rub.

Comparing the Carter era with the present, I think the Bond Vigilantes nowadays are, on the one hand, benefiting greatly from QE2, and are making money for nothing hand over fist with it, and don't want to be cut off; on the other, nobody in USG bonds wants to cross the FED because the FED just swamps the market with QE2. There is no telling how many Treasuries the FED has bought, but it is in the $Trillions - some think that the FED has bought well over half of the Treasuries coming to market on occasion. I am sure they are targeting 30 years at 4.5% and 10 years at about 3.4% with an absolute upper limit of 4.0%.

The Primary Dealers buy the Federal paper and then immediately sell it to the FED. For some profit, of course.

This is why those in the know sometimes talk about QE3, QE4, QE5, etc., because how do you stop? Unless Happy Days Are Here Again?

This is what is known as "monetizing the debt". Historically this has always lead to massive inflation, not the Carter era variety, but the money killing kind. Bernanke is sure he can handle it, of course. Hubris. A very, very destructive guy.

Watertown Fire Dept in Turmoil: WSJ

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag: Bear Trader: Why the Chinese want to buy Spanish Debt Explained

Part of the deal with Spain is that the Spanish oil exploration - drilling - production company Repsol gets chunked up some and China gets to buy majority stakes in various pieces. That is, the Spanish Government and Repsol are negotiating with China and Sinopec, the Chinese entity functionally similar to Repsol, to sell China the pieces of Repsol China is interested in. So, China buys Spanish Government bonds and then is allowed to buy the latest deep water drilling technology as well as a lot of other fully modern oil technology from Repsol.

Repsol and Sinopec have already set up a joint venture in Brazil, including the very deep very large under open ocean "pre-salt" deposits off the north shore. Sinopec gets all the technology it wants to copy, naturally.

The East Asian continental shelf appears to be loaded with oil. China is setting up to monopolize any off shore oil production from the Sakhalin Islands south to the Bay of Thailand. This is why they are developing/making new aircraft carriers, stealth fighter - bombers, anti - ship (anti US Navy aircraft carrier, actually) highly sophisticated terminally guided ballistic missiles, etc. China at this time launches more military payloads into earth orbit than does the USA. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Viet Nam are very alarmed. Looking at what China is doing militarily it looks like China plans to control the Pacific west of Guam.

And that is why China buys Spanish bonds. Besides showing the European Central Bank and the Bundesbank who is the top dog, that is.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

SchoolScoop: School Board Meeting Coming Monday, Jan 10th: 4K on the Agenda

Click on the post for the latest.

School: Minnesota: Lakeville School faces closure:

Click on the post for the latest.

Yahoo: Finance; Congress unlikely to extend more aid to States:

As the stimulus money ends, the tough budget decisions loom. Click on the post for the story in Yahoo Finance.

Mailbag: "Bear Trader" comments on Turning Natural Gas into Fuel Liquids

My belief is that the NYT overestimates the cost and difficulty of producing fuel liquids from natural gas.

SASOL uses what is known as Fischer - Tropsch synthesis to make fuel liquids from coal in South Africa. Fischer - Tropsch synthesis is expensive. The Third Reich had little petroleum available, essentially only from Romania, and produced synthesized coal derived fuel liquids to the max. The official cost of synthetics was about twice the cost of fuel liquids made from Romanian oil, and Germany was paying through the nose for for that stuff. I suspect Fischer -Tropsch from coal in the USA would deliver gasoline at over $10 per gallon.

The American Army Air Force finally bit the bullet and systematically bombed the hell out of the Reich's synthetic fuel plants. The Germans defended them with all their might. It cost the lives of many of our youngsters and maybe a thousand or two of our bombers. Albert Speer (Third Reich Minister of Production) said, after the war, that the English bombing was like terrible body blows but that the American 90%+ destruction of synthetic fuel plants was like having their throats cut.

Anyway. The chemistry of making fuel liquids from a combination of natural gas and coal is way different than what is needed to produce fuel liquids from coal alone. The natural gas can supply the hydrogen needed for what is known as the "solvent refined coal" process, cutting energy waste and initial investment substantially. Not "off the shelf" technology, though, needs some R&D.

Maybe, not including the cost of designing and building the plants, putting in pipelines and railroads (to handle coal) and going for economies of scale - say, replacing one half of oil imports - you could make gasoline that would sell for $4 - $5 a gallon in today's money. The reason I use this relatively high price range is that using this much natural gas on a continuous basis would mean natural gas prices in the order of $10 - $15 per million Btu instead of under $4.