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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Republicans Can Reach for a New Path Forward

The Grand Old Party may be tarnished and bruised but isn't necessarily irrelevant in today's world. It has a place and is still part of our national development. Many Republicans are grappling with what to do now and where their focus should lay. I don't need to talk about what happened at the capital as these problems were brewing for some time. What it did do is push Republicans and the nation to question our direction. Republicans have an opportunity to rebrand and focus.  

In a previous post I noted that I'm fiscally a Republican, socially a Democrat, but first and foremost an American. Over the years it has come to be known for its low taxes, capitalism, and conservative social policies. Parties change from these essential values and sometimes take on temporary values around key "influencers". Democrats' are not immune to this shifting of temporary values and run similar risks when they shout down alternative perspectives. 

In the article Why Republicans Should Brand Around Their Core Principles? there is a little discussion on being more inclusive to their brand and open to new ideas. Success comes from thinking about things in new ways that happens through diversity of thought and exploration of the value of new ideas. It doesn't come from silencing differences of opinion and incivility.
In recent times you could sense that the party has become less inclusive and more focused on very narrow principles that appear to be hung over from an older time. Young people were not much interested in joining the party and out of some of those that did you could see them bounce back in their head if I said my name was "Murad". 

A party that is relevant must solve problems in a way that attracts and motivates are larger societal base.

Its important consider the needs of the Millennials and brand our brand around principles that are inclusive and designed to help young people achieve their goals. We live in a diverse America and the next generation will put their money where their values reside. You may read the article Why Are Democrats Out Funding Republicans? 

What I say is unlikely to make everyone happy. Republicans are accustomed to thinking about things in one way and people like me challenge them to think about their long-term value. No snickering from the other side please 👀. It is important for Democrats to remember that without counter balance they will themselves will eventually implode through over focus on internal differences (It has something to do with definitions of purpose). 

As long as both parties are working to create a beneficial nation and are focused on grounded principles the political system can push for adaptation into a stronger entity. Dominating differences, finger pointing, and hyper politics from both sides destroy growth for everyone. We have seen national decline over the past 10-20 years and our leaders fight over depleting resources (We need a paradigm shift to a growth economy that creates opportunities). 

If I were to pick six major principles during my morning coffee that Republicans can refocus on I would initially pick the following:

1. Local Governance: Solving problems as close to the people as possible for maximum democratic participation. Encouraging people of different backgrounds to get involved in government. Let us have people feel as though they have an avenue for grievances and issues.

2. Economic Development: Pushing for the growth of a business environment that encourages small, medium and large business to have a fair capitalistic system that is well balanced. Develop a nation that attracts international and local investments.

3. Human Capacity: Inclusive development of American skills and abilities that leads to equal access to opportunity and a more competitive nation. We can't succeed on 49% of people. Republicanism has nothing to do with a particular race.

4. Values and Ethics: Religion, ethics, and values have something to offer. Protecting religious practice and encouraging ethics and values is important to create a central values system Americans can support. 

5. Evidence Decision-Making: We need people focused on facts and evidence. Science and logical decision making should guide all of our decisions. 

6. Fiscal Responsibility: We don't want our nation to be plagued in debt that stretches from generation to generation. Focus on using money wisely to help us be more financially wise for long-term sustainability.

I am getting to an age I realize people will be angry with just about everything. It probably has something more to do with their lives than anyone else. Yet that is just what we have become and I hope that wiser more central voices can become central to national guidance.




Saturday, January 9, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Holds Briefing (January 9th, 2021)

 Discussion on ow vaccines will work in NY.  Some of the policies he puts forward will likely influence other areas. 

Plenty of Politicians and Only a Few Leaders-No Excuse for Officers Getting Hurt!

Our nation needs new leaders that are willing to get off of their ideological pulpits and do what is right for our nation! We are not talking about the interconnected political hallways that come to define the have and have nots of our society. We are talking about the need for radical economic, social, and political reform that pushes us to the next level of functioning. The officers in this video are doing their jobs while the politicians rev up their rhetoric. If our leaders continue pointing fingers and engaging in destructive dialogue (Republican and Democratic) they run the risk of ripping our democracy in half. 

The officers in this video acted with honor and sought to protect the capitol building from an unrulily mob. They were unsupported by other local and national forces that could have been there in quick pace to help them maintain appropriate protection of the building and lawmakers. Seeing officers get hurt for doing their job is saddening and frightening. It is sending a message to people that our national purpose and very viability as a republic is being thrown into question. 

I'm not always in support of everything officers do as I have seen an officer commit crimes with immunity and at the same time I have seen officers stand up to do the right thing when it wasn't popular. As it relates to the capital situation, the officers were doing the right thing and the people were doing the wrong thing. Protesting is one thing but swarming the capital is another. I pray for the officers that were hurt in this demonstration and in may ways wish I could have been there to help them.

I thought about getting involved in politics but I'm increasingly concerned that we are experiencing leadership failures across the board. Politicians and statesman/woman should be focused on building a stronger country and pushing us to be better versions of ourselves through inclusivity, honesty, and evidence-based decision-making. We instead prefer to race to the bottom creating a politically dicey and toxic environment where "reasonable" candidates are blocked out thereby leaving the capitol to more fringe beliefs.

If I ever run for politics I will do so off of science and evidence based decision-making that respects the rights of a diverse society to develop their skills to improve our national competitiveness. While that reform may include making it easier to remove corrupt officers it will nevertheless seek to enhance the ability of police to function and support their communities. Police have an important purpose in keeping the peace and I respect those who want to serve their communities and country. Our politicians are great at pushing for their own ideological lines and demanding social adherence but they are terrible at seeing the bigger picture of the context of their words and how the environment is turning sour. 

If you wonder what my political leanings are, they are the same as they have been for a long time. I'm fiscally a Republican and socially a Democrat but first and foremost "An American". 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Social Investing (ESG) for Profits in Emerging Environment Technology

Investing is the blood that keeps financial markets rising and fuels nation with needed financial capital. Without access to resources we chock our prospects and smother our options. There are winners and losers in the market where large fortunes are made and hopes dashed on peaks and valleys of stocks. While we may not instinctively want to throw ourselves into the rapids of profit seeking thrills we must consider investing in industries that have value beyond the dividends of dividends. Changes in climate legislation and increased international coordination on carbon emissions are likely over the next decade as the values of the young grow up and invest on the market. 

Investing for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) seeks to put money where our values lay. Dr. Max Schanzenbach a professor  of Law at Northwestern University is an expert on empirical analysis of public institutions and Dr. Robert Sitkof  a Professor of Law at Harvard specializing in probate, investment and trust law have done some research on this topic and believe ESG can be sustainable under the right conditions "The original motives for ESG investing were moral or ethical, based on third party effects rather than investment returns." (Schanzenbach, & Sitkoff, 2020, pg 2).

 ESG can invested in for profit via (1) active investing; or (2) active shareholding. 

1. Active Investing: Must search out and find mispriced/underpriced stocks in order to continue to earn money in ESG investing. 

2. Active Shareholding: Trustees and other investment managers for entities like pensions, charities, trusts, etc. and often amount to trillions of dollars. 

Some individuals will actively seek out investments that have helpful benefits to society (i.e. carbon emissions). Billionaires and crowd-capital type investments could have a large impact on these types of companies. Institutional investors are likely to be the best bet (i.e. pension funds...) because they can hedge profits with good works investments. 

One company I looked at and bought a small amount of shares (disclosure) in was KNRLF. It doesn't necessarily matter that it is this company, but that it is in line with two different trends 1. climate control and 2. innovating technologies. When investing I look for different ways to understand larger trends by individual stocks I can follow that can help understand how economic elements and trends interact.

You can read the description of their flagship product and how it could be used once its fully developed for multi-purpose use. KNRLFKONTROL ENERGY CORP COM

BioCloud is a real-time analyzer designed to detect airborne viruses. It has been designed to operate as a safe space technology by sampling the air quality over time. With a proprietary detection chamber that can be replaced as needed, viruses are detected, and an alert system is created in the Cloud or over local intranet. BioCloud has been designed for spaces where individuals gather including classrooms, offices, retirement homes, hospitals, mass transportation and others. Additional information about Kontrol BioCloud can be found on its website at www.kontrolbiocloud.com

Notice that the company has grown significantly over the past 6 months while prior to that not much was going on. Its interesting 👀

I don't want anyone to assume that I'm giving advice. I'm not. What I am highlighting is that there are emerging technologies that can have an impact on our climate (and other social issues). In order for these companies to grow and innovate they need additional investment designed to solve common problems. We can solve problems through legislation but it would be more prudent to develop industries capable of solving problems. This is a Canadian company but certainly you could search out American companies.  I would like to search out public traded companies exist in Delta County MI and related private industries and their core competencies to see where the best growth paths are likely. See if we can find a path and sprinkle it with investment "magic" to explore the concept of pack investing (multiple investments in industries that can cluster) to spark innovative clusters that can lead to perpetual sustainable growth. With the strengths of the area they may be able to attract investments, manufacture (and/or assemble), and distribute from local resources that leads job growth and economic development.

Schanzenbach, M. M., & Sitkoff, R. H. (2020). ESG Investing: Theory, Evidence, and Fiduciary Principles. Journal of Financial Planning, 36(10), 42–50.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Upper Peninsula May be Experiencing Global Warming w/ Less Cold and Snow?

 The Upper Peninsula was always a safe place for Mr. Snowman who likes cold and snowy winters. For those of us who grew up making them we know the beauty of snow and how hot cocoa and rum cider become part of the culture. Global warming is impacting our region in new ways and we know we must change but many of us don't know how. I think investment in new technology and companies that are inventing that technology is important. Put our money where our mouth is! That would mean we invest with some type of purpose by stepping outside of our own self-interests. 

You can read a solid article by Keith Matheny entitled Michigan winters, as generations have known them, may be coming to an end. 

As a nation we will need to start thinking about stewardship of the land. We all seem to know the answers but we seem to get them wrong a lot. I guess we are a people driven by self interest and it is hard for people to see a bigger picture about a bigger world. We have opportunities to start building the technologies and be a national leader on sustainable and cost-effective methods of improving our planet. 

As a nation are we able to rise to difficult occasions and build new things, new ideas, new people's, and new places? I guess we may need to wait until our leadership stops thinking about themselves; regardless of one's political background or philosophical vantage point. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Roots that Bind-Seeking Knowledge

Pictures often say a thousand words. Scientific discoveries follow the lead of many different studies and people. Without these essential roots we cannot hope to support the body of knowledge that often stems from existing discoveries. Background research helps scientists create new testable thoughts that leads sometimes to whole new branches of discovery. 

I actually took this shot a few days ago along a river. 😃








Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Hate on Social Media-Are Current Michigan Laws Adequate?

Hate radicalization often starts with group chatter. Research highlights how hate spreads in online forums such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Messenger. We have limited laws in Michigan to deal with such issues and as of now our state's leaders have not yet taken the next step to bolster Michigan socially and economically. Hate isn't an isolated incident but is a social learning process embedded in influencer chatter and social coaxing. 

One thing that politicians discuss publicly is economic development but are often short on details on how to get there without considering lost human capital due to a legacy of hate.  I'm a firm believer in developing people and their skills to use modern tools to compete on the global market through natural motivations and innovations. Not strengthening our laws mean that we run the risk of dissuading half the population from fully engaging and limiting the type of investments that state can attract from international investors.

Stepping up to stop hate means we are setting a signal that our society follows universal principles that seeks to be open arms to those who want to grow, develop, be productive and contribute to society. Capitalism relies on the ability of people to pursue their natural interests and that will be difficult if we do not dissuade hate groups from limiting our ability to grow as a people and a state. 

Hate Groups Encourage More Hate

One way to see why its important to follow up on hate groups is to focus on how their behavior impacts others to engage in similar behaviors through hate speech. A study of 21 million posts and 314K social media users that hate speech encouraged other people to engage in similar hate speech. It also found that voices of maturity and reason were drowned out by hate speech and even those who are silent can be come radicalized. You can read the research HERE. 

The study highlights how hate speech is often mixed with other types of speech, "Hate speech is a complex phenomenon, intrinsically associated to relationships among groups, and also relying on linguistic nuances. It is related to some of the concepts in social science such as incivility, radicalization, cyberbullying, abusive language, toxicity, profanity and extremism. Owing to the overlap between hate speech and these concepts, sometimes it becomes hard to diferentiate between them" (Binny, et. al, 2020, 92:3). 

Intensity of Hate

Intensity of online hate can be determined by using a DeGroot model and can be measured by providing a numeral rating 0 to 1. 0 being low levels of hate motivation and 1 being high levels. We can look at certain key words of members of the group to help determine their hate lexicon. For example, the words members of the group use to discuss and define others (out group) is an indication of their current beliefs and stance toward others.

As members interact with each other they will naturally influence what beliefs are socially acceptable and how hate behaviors encourage more hate through social learning. We can capture this behavior through the DeGroot model that evaluates how some preexisting beliefs and updates those beliefs as they interact with other members. Thus as a person posts and becomes connected to others the group will continue to adjust their beliefs raising or lowering the propensity of hate beliefs.


The model basically calculates intensity of hate by how members interact. For example, an original hate post by j is repeated multiple times by user i. Therefore one can continue to take snap shots of social media activity at various intervals to create a hate score for each of the group members. We may also determine who are the influencers of hate and how core members build off of each other's values. 

Best Case Scenario:

In the best case scenario healthier group members can raise dissenting view points and correct malignant opinions before they become fully adopted by the group. When people begin to speak up against hate it sends a signal that such behaviors are unacceptable in modern societies (No matter if small or large towns) and in turn dissuades others from engage in similar rhetoric. If a group cannot adapt to a higher moral form and develop values that are in alignment with our American spirt of justice and free capitalistic society then they are detracting from our future prospects. 

Unfortunately, groups sometimes are unable to self-monitor and in turn move toward hate consensus of In and Out-Group dynamics. This is where laws come into play and we need leaders that are able to draw as many different societal stakeholders into a single national vision as they can. At present our divisive politics, mixed with underlining demographic shifts and economic uncertainty are playing havoc with our need for an orderly and peaceful society. As our nation falls behind on multiple fronts our leaders have not yet grasped the need to pass new hate laws that provide the maximum flexibility (i.e. moving beyond felony to misdemeanor, mental help and other solutions that are warranted) to law enforcement so as to encourage all of society to activity engage in national development. It would be great if Michigan would spearhead our Information Age Renaissance. Michigan still holds competitive advantages in basic data infrastructure, diversity, human capital, educational capacity and a unique spot on the global supply chain  to revitalize our economy for another 50 years. We must only believe in the American dream again!

Mathew, B. et. al. (2020). Hate begets Hate: A Temporal Study of Hate Speech. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 4, CSCW2, Article 92 (October 2020), 24 pages. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3415163

As a side note. It is possible that clusters also work like this through sharing ideas and expectations that signal to other connected cluster members to engage in co-innovation. Putting "innovators" in the same virtual and physical space can improve developmental prospects.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Delta County Receives $18.5 million for Broadband Access

If you live in the U.P. you know how difficult it can be to find strong Internet just a few miles out of town. NMU has great Internet for a cheap price but you must be able to point it to the right signal spot. Broadband is available in Gladstone and Escanaba but if your on a dirt road somewhere in the forest you must use satellite with slow upload/download speeds. Satellite data is expensive! Creating alternatives that are cheaper helps to Plug the U.P. In in a way that leads to improved technology access and business development.

Investing in our data infrastructure helps keep the U.P. competitive in terms of education, business and global access. Delta County has $18.5 million of which are broken into two awardees (HERE): 

1. Consortium of AEG and Heron Broadband I: It means an association of AEG and Heron Broadband I. providing services.

2. Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX). You can see the total amount HERE. Bloomberg provides an explanation HERE. A short description is, "The Company develops crew and cargo capsules, engines, cryogenic tank structures, avionics, equipments, guidance, and control software." You can't really invest in SpaceX unless you are a chosen investor but you can research and invest in industry suppliers.

We may know from public release that there will be space flight and frigate building in the area starting up. 

First District Slated for Increased Connectivity Through Federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
Washington - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that an estimated 388,000 rural Americans living and working in Michigan will gain access to highspeed broadband through the Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction, according to auction results released on December 7th.

In Michigan, the auction allocated $362,985,055.60 in support to expand broadband to 249,263 unserved homes and businesses over the next 10 years. Nearly all locations in Michigan that were eligible for the auction will be receiving access to broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with an overwhelming majority (80%) getting gigabit-speed broadband. The auction unleashed robust competition that resulted in more locations being awarded at less cost to Americans who pay into the FCC’s Universal Service Fund.

“The results of the FCC’s auction are an important next step in connecting unserved Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula constituents and businesses who lack access to highspeed broadband internet. The proposed deployments in our district will total $205,484,001 and serve an estimated 87,503 homes and businesses,” said Rep. Jack Bergman.

“This historic auction is great news for the residents of so many rural Michigan communities, who will get access to high-quality broadband service in areas that for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.“We structured this innovative and groundbreaking auction to prioritize bids for high-speed, low-latency services to deliver the best results for rural Americans, and the results show that this strategy worked. This auction was the Commission’s single largest step ever taken toward delivering digital opportunity to every American and is another key success in our ongoing commitment to universal service.”

A list of winning bidders, number of homes and businesses to be served, and total support for 10 years in Michigan’s First District can be found here.

Happy Sunday

 Its a nice Sunday out. Stock markets are down, internet streaming the news and not much going on. :)




Friday, December 25, 2020

Nashville Terrorism Attack-FBI Press Release

Nashville has experienced a travesty in terms of physical damage to buildings downtown. Thus far it doesn't appear that anyone was hurt. What is more chilling is that it was downtown, gave a warning and was on Christmas Day! A first impression might bring to mind domestic orientation and/or display of abilities. 

The reason for this act is going to be elusive for a while and investigators are going to match forensics, surveillance, online/offline chatter, and tips/leads to gain a better sense of what is going on. They will need to work backwards and answer questions as they relate to location, 15 minute warning, domestic/foreign initiatives, material access, etc....    

This situation highlights why we need to work together as a unified people working to solve problems and encouraging people to engage in the political process with positive intent. Fingers crossed that no casualties occur.