Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

How Successful Is It To Drug Test Public Assistance Welfare Recipients?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 5, 2014

UPDATE: 07February2016
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/02/07/drug-testing-benefits-tennessee-yields-only-65-positives/79776756/

Since implementation of a law began July 1, 2014, the Tennessee Department of Human Services found only 65 out of 39,121 people who applied for a cash assistance program known as “Families First in Tennessee,” tested positive for illegal substances, or medicines for which they had no prescription.

That’s less than 1% of all applicants who tested positive.

That information was provided provided to The Tennessean by the Tennessee DHR.

An extra 116 refused to participate in an initial drug screening questionnaire, which automatically disqualified them for benefits.

The average monthly benefit of the cash assistance program was $165 per month in December – or $1,980 per year. If they otherwise would have qualified to have received assistance, the total value of the benefit to the 116 people who refused to take the test would have been $230,000 annually – if they had otherwise qualified for benefits.

Since the law began, 609 people have been asked to take a drug test: 544 tested negative, and 65 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 40 were referred for substance abuse evaluation, and 13 enrolled in a drug treatment facility or recovery support group as a condition of receiving benefits.

The total cost to Tennessee taxpayers so far has been $23,592.

There’s a meme which circulates on FaceBook and presumably, in other places as well, which appears similarly as this:

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients Meme

Honestly, the idea is a failure.

But you’d rarely – if ever – hear about it’s failures.

Florida was the first state to tread that path. What they learned was surprising. And then, the law was struck down by a Federal court. The states that embark upon Florida’s path will be wa$ting their citizen$ taxe$.

Only 2.6% of Florida applicants failed the drug test.

“Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test. As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780.”

The purported savings in Florida’s program will be negligible after administrative costs and reimbursements for the drug tests are taken into account.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html

But it wasn’t limited to Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Inequality in Government: Is there Racism in Mississippi? In 2014? Say it ain’t so!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 4, 2014

It occurred to me recently in a couple conversations I had with friends in various parts of our United States, that equal representation is a matter with which we still struggle.

While on occasion I’ve opined about injustice through inequality – the United States’ Constitution guarantees Equal Protection and Equal Rights under law via the 14th Amendment – it occurred to me recently that there are some who “just don’t get it.”

More to the point, I was spurred by a photograph sent to me by a friend in one of our Northern sister states – the Land of the Frozen Chosen, sometimes also referred to as “The Great White North.”

In gentleness, I refer, of course, to Minnesota.

It was a photograph of my friend’s co-worker which sparked my interest, and subsequent curiosity.

The co-worker was Afro-American, aka “Black.”

I was somewhat surprised to see a Black person in Minnesota, so I queried the Census Bureau for some Quick Statistics about our United States.

Here’s what I found:
Only 5.5% of Minnesota’s population is Black.

In comparison to the United States at large, 13.1% of our American population in general is Black. And in Alabama, 26.5% are Black, while in neighboring Mississippi, 37.4% of that state’s residents are Black. Alabama’s Eastern neighbor Georgia has a closely similar percentage with a 31.2% Black population, while Tennessee is nearly half, with a 17% Black population.

Examining some other states, I found that Alabama’s Southern neighbor, Florida has a very closely similar Black population with 16.6%, while Louisiana’s Black population is just about double with 32.4%. The “Natural State” of Arkansas has a 15.6% Black population, while North and South Carolina are almost evenly tied with 22 & 28% respectively.

On the other hand, Texas has a lower Black population than either Tennessee or Arkansas with only 12.3%.

Kentucky? Only 8.1% of Kentuckians are Black.

Interestingly, of the 16 players on the Kentucky Wildcats Basketball team, only 6 are not Black. In other words, 62.5% of the team is Black – a clear majority. And yet, the state’s general population is completely and disproportionately unrepresentative of the team.

What about Virginia? With a 19.7% Black population, Virginia stands in distinct contrast to West Virginia, which only has a 3.5% Black population – a very stark contrast, indeed.

But what about some of the other Midwestern states?

Missouri has an 11.7% Black population, while only 3.2% of corn-fed Iowans are Black.

From Minnesota moving West, South Dakota has a mere 1.7% Black population, while Montana…

Well.. there just about no Black folks in that state, at all. Only a mere 0.6% – 6/10ths on one percent – of that state’s residents are Black.

A casual observation would be that it’s mighty White up North.

But let’s bring it back on home to Mississippi…

In a recent post shared by someone else on Read the rest of this entry »

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Did Costco destroy 25 tons (1,000,000 jars) of perfectly good peanut butter worth $2,600,000 just to spite their corporate face?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 29, 2014

In a nutshell, “yes,” they did.

So much for good corporate citizenship, and poor hungry people.

Thanks for nothing, Costco!

Million jars of peanut butter dumped in New Mexico

By JERI CLAUSING, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Nearly a million jars of peanut butter were dumped at a New Mexico landfill this week to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall.

Bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll said he had no other choice after Costco Wholesale refused to take shipment of the Sunland Inc. product and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons.

“We considered all options,” Coll said. “They didn’t agree.”

Peanut butter is disposed of Friday March 28, 2014 at the dump in Clovis, N.M. Nearly a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. (AP Photo/Clovis News-Journal, Tony Bullocks)

Peanut butter is disposed of Friday March 28, 2014 at the dump in Clovis, N.M. Nearly a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. (AP Photo/Clovis News-Journal, Tony Bullocks)

MelindaJoy Pattison, executive director of the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, on Friday called the dumping of the peanut butter “horrendous.” She said as long as there was nothing wrong with the peanut butter, her operation would have found a way to store it, remove the labels and distribute it to the people who depend on the food bank.

“Those trucks carrying it to the dump went right by the front door of my food bank,” she said. “It wasn’t like it would have been out of the way.”

Pattison said peanut butter is a major source of protein and a staple for hungry people. Her food bank places single-serve peanut butter cups in packages it gives to children whose parents rely on its services.

“For it to just be deliberately thrown away is disappointing,” she said.

Costco officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment. But court filings indicate the product was made with $2.8 million worth of Valencia peanuts owned by Costco and had been sitting in the warehouse since the company shut down and filed for bankruptcy last fall.

After extensive testing, Costco agreed to a court order authorizing the trustee to sell it the peanut butter. But after getting eight loads, Costco rejected it as “not merchantable” because of leaky peanut oil.

Coll said “all parties agreed there’s nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue,” but court records show that on a March 19 conference call Costco said “it would not agree to any disposition … other than destruction.”

So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6 million, the estate paid about $60,000 to haul the 950,000 jars of nut butter — or about 25 tons — to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where Read the rest of this entry »

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You’re not from around here, are you?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 15, 2013

The “Georgia Walnut Pie,” seen here at Harbor View Cafe, Pepin, Wisconsin (Originally uploaded by rabidscottsman)

An alternate title for this entry might be: Walnuts, Pies, Strippers & Experts

Of course, that makes no sense. And for some, it makes neither cents, nor dollars.

But never you mind.

Pie and ice cream.

Who doesn’t like it?

Sounds dee-lish… right?

Any kind of pie, and almost any kind of ice cream. I say “any kind” with a caveat. Any kind EXCEPT Neapolitan. That’s horrid. Truly horrid. Whoever imagined the idea of “Neapolitan” ice cream is probably now suffering eternal punishment – a special torture reserved exclusively for the damned.

And, perhaps somebody should tell those folks.

I mean to refer to the folks that came up with a name like “Georgia Walnut Pie.”

Somebody should tell those folks that… Read the rest of this entry »

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Minnesota State Fair New Foods for 2013

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Minnesota State Fair is just a few months away!

The MSF is the Granddaddy of ’em all. Not only is it one of the oldest state fairs – since 1859, the only years it missed were 1861, 1862, 1893, 1945 & 1946 – it’s also the most well-attended, and the land where it all occurs is quite large. In fact, it’s ginormous!

The good people in Texas claim theirs has the highest attendance, and I suppose if the Minnesota State Fair was TWO WEEKS LONG like the TSF is, it’d put the Lone Star State to shame. However, the MSF is a 12-day event, and for that time, it draws a bigger crowd than the TSF.

Minnesota State Fair - August 22 Labor Day, through September 2, 2013

Minnesota State Fair – Thursday August 22 Labor Day, through Monday September 2, 2013

Apologies to those Longhorns.

I’ve been to the MSF once – just once –  and, I’d like to go again.

Yes, I would. It’s HUGE!!

Of course, in all fairness – yes, it’s a bad pun, but hey! It works! – I’d also like to go to the Texas State Fair, as well.

I happened to see the menu for the “new” foods appearing this year at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. It’s Read the rest of this entry »

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Record-setting White Tail Buck harvested by 13 Year-Old Minnesota Hunter

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 21, 2012

13-Year-Old Hunter Tags 28-Point, 250-Inch Minnesota Whitetail

This buck has been teasing area hunters for years. Find out how a young hunter was the one to finally tag him.

Article by Ben Romans. Uploaded on November 15, 2012

.

Record_Minnesota_Whitetail2

13-year-old Dylan Beach of Motley, MN harvested a colossal 28-point whitetail buck with a single shot from his Remington .270. The deer had enough mass to make it one of the largest ever taken by a hunter in the state.

 On Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, 13-year-old Dylan Beach of Motley, Minn. squeezed off a single shot from his Remington .270 and harvested a colossal 28-point whitetail buck—a deer with enough mass to make it one of the largest ever taken by a hunter in the state.

Sitting with his stepfather, Wilbur Verbeck, in a deer blind on his aunt’s farm, Dylan says the day started like any other and he wasn’t sure what they’d see, though never in his wildest dreams did he think they’d encounter the buck of a lifetime.

“I was hunting with my stepdad, and we got in the stand around 7:15 a.m. I was facing a field and my stepdad was facing a swamp. I first saw the deer around 7:40 about 100 yards away, and he turned and started walking towards us, but I couldn’t tell it was such a large deer. At 50 yards, he turned broadside so I shot him,” Dylan says. “I didn’t know his rack was that big because I was focusing on where I was going to shoot, not on the antlers.

After Dylan’s shot hit, the buck fell over, got up again taking a few more steps before going down for good.

Climbing out of their blind and walking towards the deer, Dylan said he didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the moment until he finally stood next to the animal.

“When we got out of the stand and walked up to it, we were Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s not a joke. Republican voting states have lower education & income.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 18, 2012

Like it, love it, or hate it… there must be something to 1.) Richard Nixon’sSouthern Strategy,” and; 2.) The line made famous (or infamous, depending upon one’s perspective) by then-Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf in 1993 about being “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.“ And, for the readers’ benefit, in context, he wrote, “Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”
— Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf in a February 1, 1993 news story.

America’s Best (and Worst) Educated States

Published October 15, 2012

24/7 Wall St., Michael B. Sauter and Alexander E.M. Hess

The number of Americans with college degrees has increased steadily in the last decade. According to the latest government data, 28.5% of U.S. residents 25 or older had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2011, up only slightly from 27.2% in 2005. While the number is relatively unchanged, there are substantial differences across the country. In West Virginia, the state with the lowest graduation rate, 18.5% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. In Massachusetts, the state with the highest graduation rate, the figure is 39.1%.

Best & Worst educated states & voting record

Best & Worst educated states & Presidential voting record

This article was originally published by 24/7 Wall St. 

Based on education data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s’ American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the U.S. states with the largest and smallest percentages of residents 25 or older with a college degree or more.

The difference in median income between those with only a high school diploma and a college degree is dramatic. The median pay for U.S. adults with just a high school diploma was $26,699 in 2011. For those 25 or older with a bachelor’s degree, median annual earnings came to $48,309. Residents with a graduate or professional degree did even better; median annual earnings was $64,322.

Differences in poverty rates related to education are just as dramatic. For U.S. adults with at least bachelor’s degrees, the percentage living in poverty in 2011 was just 4.4%. For adults with only a high school diploma, 14.2% were living below the poverty line.

The effects of wage gap by education becomes clear when comparing the states by graduation rate. Of the 10 states with the largest percentage of college-educated residents, eight are in the top 10 for median income. Among the worst-educated states, eight are among the 10 with the lowest median income.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of U.S. residents 25 or older with at least a bachelor’s degree for 2011 from the annual American Community Survey. From that survey, we obtained Read the rest of this entry »

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Extremists and Radicals in the GOP

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The official photograph of Vice President Nels...

Official White House photograph of Vice President Rockefeller, 1975

Tonight was another one for the history books.

It was either that, or one for the nearest comic book store.

There was another Republican “debate” among the GOP presidential nominee wannabes. It’s hilarious – not just in a comédie noir sense, but in a genuinely hilarious manner – because those folks actually believe what they say, and hope to foist it upon the American general public.

But from there, it gets dangerous, precisely because they genuinely believe what they say. And that makes it sad.

The crazy “debate” was held this evening with 8 GOP wannabes.

Starring were: Read the rest of this entry »

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A Brief History of… Me

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 2, 2011

On occasion, we all possess some tendency toward voyeurism – not necessarily of the unhealthy kind. That is, on occasion, our own innate sense of curiosity is aroused within us and motivates us to see, read or hear things that are not intended specifically for us. While at times harmless, it can be deleterious – though this is not one such occasion.

What you’re about to read is… my e-mail.

I had been motivated to write a letter of introduction to a friend of a friend, and… well, read on! Read the rest of this entry »

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