Category Archives: media

A Vote for Democrats as a Public-Sector Union Member may be a Misguided Vote

On the ballot in Minnesota are two items that public-sector union members should consider very closely when/if voting straight Democrat in the 2018 Midterms: 1) Single-Payer Healthcare and 2) $15 Minimum Wage. These items are directly contradictory of the hard work that has been done to fight for your benefits and your living wage as a public-sector union member, let me explain my thoughts on these two items and how they could be undoing recent accomplishments of public-sector unions.

  • $15 minimum wage for all does not increase your living wage as a public-sector union member, in fact, it may make your wage less livable, more futile. It may also reduce the number of employees in the local workforce, triggering more unemployment, in order to make up for increased wages paid without increased profits earned. This does not benefit you as a public-sector union member and it does not benefit your community. Many Democrat candidates champion $15 minimum wage as a good thing with little evidence to prove their point, it is already being implemented in St Paul, MN (one example of concern about Minimum Wage locally); recently, perhaps, jobs have gone, businesses have and will close and move elsewhere in lieu of this policy change. These items impact us all. Here is a resource on Minimum Wage.
  • A Single-Payer Healthcare System implementation is an item of considerable speculation, ambiguity, and concern. If you have good healthcare/insurance now, one your union fought hard for to attain, perhaps you can kiss that benefit goodbye under Democrats who want a Single-Payer Health Care System. What’s more, not only could a Single-Payer Healthcare System give you theoretical universal healthcare and take away your unique healthcare plan, one based on your individual needs, one that fits you, but it could increase the taxes for you and your community–keep in mind Minnesota has the fifth highest tax burden in the nation, currently. Could you afford to go on a plan that isn’t built for you precisely and that may cost you more? I don’t think I could, and we are all different with special and unique healthcare needs. And what is the quality of Single-Payer Healthcare and is making it mandatory for all even constitutional? I have just a few questions on this topic, you should as well. I am open-minded. Here is a resource on Medicare for All.

These items, and the policies related to them, concern me as a public-sector union member, as a taxpayer, as a dad, as a husband and as a voter, especially when the rhetoric is at a fever pitch and the focus is on what President Trump does personally on Twitter or how bad he is or was as a person or ubiquitous smear campaigns against both political parties and not on actual government policy that change things for you and I and ours.

These policies are paramount to all. But do we all understand them entirely? Do we understand he Bill of Rights or the Constitution? I am not sure I do. Further, do we vote because we hate something or someone, or because we love something or someone, or their ideas are good? Do we vote for what was benign in the past, what might have worked out OK for that moment, or do we move forward and vote for ideas that work for the future, our future?

The items mentioned above, even though mere rhetoric, could have grave impacts on wages and benefits and communities actually. Think about that when you vote, it does matter.

Moreover, when you vote in the upcoming midterm election, don’t think about the party or something far away or some big ideas or some boilerplate talking point, think about your pocketbook, think about the Constitution, think about the law, the Bill of Rights, small changes for positive, and think about your local situation, good or bad, and how you can improve on it. You have the opportunity to say you want better, your voice is your vote. That thought and decision and voice on who you vote for will impact you most. That and recall, maybe the party that claims to represent your public-sector union vociferously is not the party that represents you personally.

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BREAKING NEWS: No Study Ever finds that your Life is Fated by Pennies, People, and Problems

This week has changed my life. Events unfolded and I became apart of the solution. This fix took up a week, and a majority of my time allotted for other projects. But the things I did learn through experience taught me one thing– oh, and finding pennies and Easter Eggs throughout let me know that I was where I was supposed to be, like everyone else is–it taught me to take it as it comes. Be where I am when I am right here right now.

Firstly, events take place, happen, go down, and unfold beyond our humanly control. (I read a tweet about this: worry is a waste of time, the past is the past, we cannot worry about things we cannot change, etc.) I understand I cannot change the past I can only change the future, hopefully. In this new “special project” I have found that positivity is the only way to move forward together. We must move onward positively together. Getting down or bummed or saddened about something will only hamper your forward progress.

Secondly, everywhere I went this week I was met with a smile–or by the end of the meeting, a smile had fixed a frown or a grimace, at least in most cases. Furthermore, I kept finding pennies placed throughout my experiences. I got lost, found a penny. Someone needed me to do an alternative task, I found a penny. At the train station, found a penny. In this, I don’t believe pennies are lucky. But if I find a lot of pennies, a lot of pennies add up. Or maybe god is buying me a beer, I have no way to knowing. Also, these finds act like checkpoints for my life. Look for your pennies and you will see dollars. Then retrace your steps along that path, how did you come by three cents?! WOW! 🙂

The most important part to all of this is the worry factor. I read this last night, for a moment. The last few days, I saw people worried, upset, and frustrated. I stayed calm. I have no idea how. I just stayed calm and collected. Because it is how we act during times of uncertainty that matter most. (Someone famous said that, or something similar). Beyond the stress, the unpredictability, I was learning something unique, something new. Something different. It didn’t matter what; but if you are doing something different from your regular routine, you are learning something new. Remember that in a shitty situation that you have never had to deal with before.

Some people could say their week was a wash, many others could call it a major success. And the point here is, this is every week, could be every moment. They did something. They made something happen. The reason this contrast is important is because we can see life in this way every day, or in another way. One day it is shit. One day it is good. Four letters, two different ideas completely. Why can’t they all be good? Why can’t we make it as such? And I think we can. Thought I would share.

You have made it here, right where are you are supposed to be. Now go look for your pennies.

A Vikings’ Win when it counts turns Minnesotans into Captain Ahab, hunting his Moby Dick for all Eternity

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.” -T.S. Eliot

Last night, after the Minnesota Vikings got DESTROYED by the Philadelphia Eagles, I was flipping through channels on my rabbit ears and found the Gregory Peck film version of the classic American novel Moby-Dick. I found this story to be an apropos metaphor for all die-hard Vikings’ fans at the moment, and for eternity. We are all perpetually Captain Ahab looking for the majestic white whale (a Vikings’ Win when it counts), becoming dangerously obsessed, eventual that idea becomes our mental and physical downfall, to the point of mortal apathy. The game last night ended like the Pequod and it’s ill-fated crew: figuratively eviscerated in a vast ocean of literal Eagles fans and defeatist nostalgia. We, us Ahabs, may never get our Moby Dick–that one win to take our Purple Pride to the Superbowl, especially in our hometown (fuck). Ah, but we will all yell at our TVs, clench our fists, ask the whys and hows, and hope every season, as we scream, THAR SHE BLOWS! that this year will be the one in which we the Vikings will win!

I washed my car yesterday in 40 degree Minnesota cold and then I ate some Ramen Noodles, it cost me nothing and saved me a lot more

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Even notice how a boat with a few holes in it sinks over time and it becomes more worrisome the farther you are from land? I do. Now place this image of a boat sinking on your financial situation. You lose a dollar here, ten over there, $2.50 on that one thing; the boat is your bank account. That boat is sinking slowly and you are out to see, sharks, such as creditors, banks, and lenders are following in the murky deep. We almost sank again, but this time I told my wife instead of paying for a car wash I would do it myself. Watch.

Yesterday day came and went with a car wash in the 40 degree Fahrenheit warm of St Paul, Minnesota. I think people looked at me as though I were crazy, carrying buckets from my basement to splash and lather a car I cannot afford on a side street. Yeah, I feel pretty dumb leasing it, though the lease is up in less than 20 months and we will be on to something new. The whole time I polished this machine I thought of how stupid it made me feel, to live beyond my means. People watched that spectacle, another Subaru driver waved, my neighbor sold a beater and asked me how my day was. Great! Beautiful day!

And that is why I eat Maruchan ramen noodles and rice. (With a price tag of under $5 for a number of meals I can consider myself winning.) SO, imagine now your boat sinking, money floating away, those sharks behind, empty fridge at home, wife wondering what is going to happen, and then $10 is about to go away for a car wash that leaves you wanting better. Yeah, and that car is parked in the garage losing value, begging for insurance to be paid–the expensive kind. I can get a bit cold and wet outside on such a nice day, save us money, buy us time. My debt snowball is about to be rolling, debt avalanche.

After all this, I learned something. If you can’t get creative and do it yourself, it ain’t worth doing. And if your food restrictions do not work with your frugality or goals towards financial fitness, you may need to think about your goals. Because, how I see it, you can either be gluten free or debt free, I know the gluten is asking me to buy their beach house on credit, but that’s just my opinion.  That beach house is where those debt institutions are watching your boat sink slowly from afar, thinking about monetizing your financial death on YouTube (which is another story), so they can earn more.

We cancelled our #Netflix because you can get most things for free at the #library

I wonder if people know they can get most things for free at the library, even an original series on Netflix… I told my colleague this just before lunch hour yesterday. He seemed surprised. Was I lying, was I crazy, could a person really do this? Ah, yes. To the latter that is. Here’s how I know. Before mentoring last week I was at the public library and saw on the hold shelf: Stranger Things (both seasons). SO, that was what did it for me. Yeah, I could be sad about not getting Netflix exclusives any more, but now I know I can get them at the public library for the cost of having a library card: free. This should be no surprise society, and it was a surprise to me. Again, you can get most things at the library for free if you know what you are looking for, how to ask for it, and who to ask. Everyone wants to help you. Do you want to save money and help yourself? Get it at the library.

If you want the impossible, you’ll have to do the impossible

If you want the impossible, you’ll have to do the impossible to get it.  Not sit around and diddle, or sit around and post on social media.  Limit these distractions.  Limit all news but the weather.  You don’t need prescription pill commercials nor paid for ideas.  Every day is another day to make it right individually, to attain everything that you want or need in YOUR LIFE.  Sitting here at 5 a.m. on a Saturday, every Saturday, I teach English abroad to make my impossible possible.  I am a dad, human, American.  I have obligations.  There is no questions about it.  I want the impossible.  And the only way to get it is to be realistic, and do the impossible.  If you want something hard work is the key, that shouldn’t be impossible.

THIS JUST IN: The News May Be Bringing You Down

I have heard it many times before: you get what you give, and surround yourself with what you want to become. So, then I think about American politics, American media, and I think I don’t want to be surrounded with that. And then I don’t surround myself with that, not even for a moment. For weeks I feel better.  Like getting over a sickness, like overcoming my problem.

A month or so ago, I could not go without viewing or reading the news in the morning to start my day. This had been routine.  I thought about The Art of the Deal, by Donald Trump. He stated in the beginning he would read the paper every day to see what was going on, to see where his day would take him. I wanted to be like this, not because I loved the guy, but because I wanted to know where I was.  Somehow I got to the bottom.

After killing my Facebook and realizing I didn’t really need to be told where I was by something fake, I used the news as a way of gauging my day, of coming to terms with my reality. But what reality? These papers and pages, full of advertisements, had an agenda, something beyond their words. I learned that a story was only a story if it proved positive for the advertisers, which means most likely scandalous, negative, or fearful for readers.  I didn’t need it. This negative. Why feel bad for reading?

Here I sit now, understanding where I stand. and where I stood.  I don’t need talking heads to tell me how I feel. I don’t need them to say something is wrong or horrible or bad. I don’t need someone to tell me I need change in my life. I guess, if I can’t see it why that is, do I deserve to change? And what is my purpose if someone getting paid to talk to me about the the “news” can decide better at fixing my life than I can?

It’s very sad, very sad.  Everyone plugged in always, asking “did you see” this or that “on Facebook”? No, I am not there, I am right here. Something someone did through skewed eyes making money.  I heard it was bad though. INCREDIBLE! I can’t believe it! The president did this deplorable thing as seen by the interpretation of an entity that hates him.  NO WAY! This politician is doing this, I CARE! You should care too…  The world is ending, ERMERGERD!!!  

The echo chamber becomes too much. Then you fill it with negative and your life becomes more negative. You see the trade off?  I read the news one day and didn’t want to leave my house. I wanted to avoid life because a story told me to be sad, worried, depressed, and afraid. I felt terrorized. No wonder the anti-depressant ads in the commercial breaks.  Days later, I put down the news. I realized if I had not read it, I would not have been mentally unable to be positive.

I guess now, I wonder who reads the news and who doesn’t. Are they OK?  Who believes it and who doesn’t. Can we scientific method it?  Any why would they would want to add something negative to their generally awesome and positive life? There is no news like bad news they say. It doesn’t bother me if I don’t waste my time reading it. That is the breaking news you should strive for: what is the weather, can I pay my bills, medical, daycare, and is my family happy to be around me… This just in, it happens without the negative.