Thursday, October 30, 2014

Props

As much as it pains to set aside gadfly for gladfly it is time for credit where credit is due. And once again it is Councilman Shortal who has seen thru the Smart City's BS and spoken out against it.  This particular BS centered around the tax-hike fueled budget presented to Council wherein the grow-at-all-costs paradigm was applied to police department budgeting.

Councilman Shortal wants to know "what a lieutenant can do that a sergeant isn't doing now" to which the obvious answer is "cost this City more." Shortal's preference is that if more officers we must have then those officers be indians rather than chiefs. Furthermore he would really prefer that the budget be more focused on infrastructure (e.g., roads and sidewalks) over bloating the police force. He is spot on.

Shortal seems to have an insightful understanding of facts that should be, but apparently are not, obvious to all. Dunwoody's borders, it's geographical expanse is fixed and will not change.  Territorial expansion is not going to drive the clear need for more officers of any rank, but especially not the higher ranks. Population may increase but Dunwoody has been quite aggressive in limiting high density development. Population growth and demographic transformations will not drive police expansion either. Significant percentages of Dunwoody crime emanate from the Perimeter Center area most notably the mall--the crime rate per square foot at the Ravinia complex is significantly lower than Perimeter Mall. Even with that, the Mall itself is limited in growth opportunities that might drive crime and consequently police force expansion. Making the Mall a safer place requires presence but not an army of high ranking officers.

So Councilman Shortal is on target in suggesting that we may need more mall cops but we certainly do not need more desk jockeys.

While Shortal is spot on and should take a well-earned bow, he does pull up short. Clearly we need to end the interim positions. We need to hire a police chief that is aligned with the Dunwoody reality. One who understands this city will grow in quality, but the footprint is fixed and the demands relatively stable. That Dunwoody is not a place to grow your budget and head counts by double-digit percentages year over year. We also need to make progress on hiring a capable, experienced City Manager who will oversee operations including the police force. Dunwoody voters and taxpayers deserve no less.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Random Number Generator

Randomness is a very important tool in cryptography. Not so much for speed limits.

But that appears to be what we have with our new variable speed limit signs on top end 285.

If you enter 285 at Ashford Dunwoody heading towards Spaghetti Junction you will pass more than four of these signs, spaced about an eight of a mile apart, before you get to the Doraville Speed Trap. One recent morning the sign at Chamblee Dunwoody read 55 MPH, the next was a slowdown to 45 MPH and the very next one (near the GM plant) was 65 MPH.

Seems a bit odd though it was clear that drivers were no more paying attention to these signs than they did the previous, low-tech, low-cost ones. From the very beginning those who drive this stretch of interstate knew just how silly these signs are doomed to be. Drivers ignoring any signage undermines the key assumption of the ill-fated plan: that drivers will observe the signage and obey the currently posted speeds.

We've been told that the speed is set according to "where you are going" rather than to the immediate conditions near the sign. This in no way explains the 55-45-65 MPH sequence. We've also been told this is about safety, about wreck avoidance and prevention. Of course any wreck on 285 has the knock-on effect of bringing traffic to a standstill so safety and congestion management are inseparable. Still, this is nonsense.

Perhaps a more likely explanation of this silliness is that the agency controlling  these signs is seeking an IGA with local law enforcement putting in place a revenue sharing plan. Until then speeds will be set to minimize speeding tickets but once the agreement is in place then speeds will be manipulated according to the revenue needs of these agencies. Perhaps they will even set the signs at the shoulder to a different speed than the one right across at the barrier wall (they are not always showing the same speed) so the Local LEOs have discretion on how much they get for which ticket (and ticketed party).

Or perhaps it is just another case of grant-grubbing out of control.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Boots On The Ground

On promise of anonymity a White House staffer reports that Obama pulled back from the very brink of putting U.S. boots on the ground in Kobani. Upon hearing that Kobani was to fall and the Kurds destroyed the First Lady stormed into the Oval Office and demanded the President take immediate and decisive action. Thankfully an intern, a Yale post-graduate who cannot find better work, informed the First Lady that Kobani is not "Chobani" and that Kurds are an indigenous ethnic group and not a milk byproduct. Apparently the loss of her favorite Greek Treat would rock the First Lady's world.

At first she would not be convinced assuming, as First Lady's so often do, that she is right and everyone else is wrong. In support of his case the intern pulled up Google Maps on his phone showing that Kobani is indeed a town on the border between Syria and Turkey. Disaster averted.

While this did convince the President and the First Lady that her yoghurt was indeed safe the intern was fired on the spot. Apparently all things Google have been banned by the administration because Google have taken measures to secure Americans' personal data making it absolutely necessary that Federal Officials obtain a warrant to get all up in your business. No good deed goes unpunished by this administration. Not by Google and not by a lowly intern.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cultivating Ebola

In a recent BBC interview a health researcher suggested models were showing Ebola cases in West Africa would peak in January unless additional efforts were applied to care for the infected. Were that to happen the peak would occur a FEW MONTHS LATER.

The backup singers in the Bleeding Hearts Club Band are already screeching "Lies, Lies, Damn Lies" but this is in fact the case. Have you asked yourself why this outbreak seems to be much worse (in number of cases and fatalities) than previous Ebola epidemics? Bear in mind, you really do have to ask yourself because the CDC either does not know or would lie to you.

The real answer turns out to be quite simple.

Ebola is extremely virulent and in previous outbreaks it quickly ran its course amongst the group that went skinny dipping in the animal reservoir where the virus hangs out when not killing humans. The very speed with which it attacked that limited population meant it did not have time to spread beyond the village that went all bat crap crazy. Left to its own devices, Ebola is inherently self-limiting. It attacks. It ravages a community. It burns out.

But then westerners, the U.S. in particular, step in and declare a WAR ON EBOLA (hashtag StopEbolaNow) and by slowing progression amongst the initially infected, they support the spread of the disease outside that limited community ensuring that even more die. So what the U.S. and its CDC are really doing is turning an epidemic into a pandemic exposing the truth that their War On Ebola is in fact a War On The World. With its PC fueled agenda the Obama administration shows more concern over offending African nations than protecting the American people. But at least he is consistent.

So not only are the CDC and the Obama Administration bringing Ebola to America and doing a damn fine job of spreading it around, they are helping kill more people in Africa--the only people they really seem to care about.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Downtown

So go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything's waiting for you

The Ballet has taken their pas de deux to the burbs. The Braves are hot on their heels. Surely the Hawks are giving relocation its due consideration. Dante Stephenson tried (twice) to make a go of it in Underground only to go under. Way under. In an attempt to salvage something the ASO had (as in past tense) performed at Verizon amphitheater in the northern burbs. City proponents prefer to speak of perceptions. Of crime. Of inconvenience. Of filth. Of course that is a self-delusion as long as there is so much evidence on display making what they see as a perception a very real thing to most. About the only fact not in question is that most folks from the burbs only come downtown to work. Then they go back to their live-play sub- and ex-urban communities. As it turns out the hyphens in live-work-play as simply shorthand for "commute to".

And it isn't just the urban core--the ATL. The Atlanta paper made a move to Perimeter Center. Then they threw themselves a housewarming party calling it a Wine Fest. Perhaps they watched all the folks surrounding their new digs and thought this would be a sell out (pun intended). Of course they sold tickets but the prices were more along the lines of a rent party than a wine tasting. By abstaining, the folks flittering about PC effectively RSVP-ed "NO" causing the AJC to cancel due to lack of interest.

Basically Perimeter is no more a Play-Station for folks who live around these parts than downtown Atlanta. Coffee before work? Sure, at the chimney Starbucks. Work lunch at Perimeter Mall? Expensive, but every now and then. Drinks after work? Only if we leave early. Work that is. Use some of your "fun time" to schlep back down here for some extremely expensive wine? Yeah--NO.

Perimeter may be a nice place to work. Certainly a great place for business entertainment at one of the expense-account restaurants. But as a place to spend precious free time looking for fun it is just another downtown.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fly, Delta

If you ever get the chance to go to Dallas
Take it from me pass it by
'Cause you'll only sing the blues down in Dallas
Take it from me don't go and cry
"Dallas", Roger Bartlett, 1974
Being a corporate entity we all know that morals do not apply to any actions taken by Delta. This has been no more evident than with their recent pissin' and moanin' regarding events around an airport near Dallas. Not Dallas, Georgia, but Love Field near Dallas Texas. Dallas (TX) is kicking Delta out of Love Field (they will still fly in/out of DFW) and Delta has chastised Dallas, expressing disappointment "that the City of Dallas has made the decision to reduce competition and travel options...".  That warrants a big ole high flyin' WTF. How 'bout this Mister Delta: how about you apply that same logic regarding the airport over here near the other Dallas? You know, support competition and travel options by throwing your support behind commercial service at the Paulding Airport. Say what? Not going to happen? Oh, so your definition of "competition" is "we win and everyone else loses." Another mystery solved.

Later in the week the AJC reported that Delta's lawyer was whining that Dallas had decided that "available gate space should go to hometown favorite Southwest...". Would Delta like to give up some prime gate space at Hartsfield, or would they prefer to maintain their status as "hometown favorite"? Exactly.

Again, Delta is a corporate entity with no soul, no moral fiber and expecting it to behave inconsistent with that nature would be sure to disappoint. While shameless hypocrisy is consistent with that makeup the pissy attitude exposed by the juxtaposition of homonym and diametrically opposed actions breaks more than a few camels' backs.

So fly, Delta. Please. Just spool up them big ole jet engines and fly away...far...far...away.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Airborne Ebola

We've been told all the ways that Ebola does NOT spread and the agenda seems to be convincing the public that it is not an airborne contagion. Well, sorta.

You may have noticed this is not the first outbreak of Ebola and it seems to come, die off (with many of its victims) and then after taking a break comes back. With a vengeance. But where does it go? The answer is the same as with other contagions: animal reservoir. Animals are successful at harboring contagions, including Ebola, until an opportunity arises to (re)infect a human population. Then it is off to the races.

So far only one animal has been found that harbors Ebola. Bats. So technically Ebola is carried in the air. It just requires a bat to help it along. This explains how the spread of the disease does not track movement of infected humans as much as one would expect. It tracks the migratory patterns of the bats.

We know how the virus transfers to humans. Bats are part of the human food supply in that part of the world and folks pick up Ebola when making bat charcuterie.  No word yet on how bats get Ebola.

But now we've allowed folks to bring Ebola to the United States-hell, we've all but invited them in. Thank goodness we don't have any bats.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Honky Town Blues

In Birmingham they love the governor (boo, boo, boo)
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Now tell me true

Now that the Civil Rights Barons have fled to the next honey pot taking their unrighteous indignation with them let's have an honest conversation about who was really insulted by Bruce Levenson's comments--Southern Whites. The inflammatory remark centered around his observation that the attendees at the games are predominantly black and that these fans show up late, don't seem to engage and don't spend money. The Barons who made themselves rich by whipping out their bully horn every time a white guy says something other than "here you go" to about anyone with melanin claimed Levenson didn't respect the Black Man's money. Dissin. But it turns out they share the same love of money as Bruce and once it became clear there was none coming their direction they tweeted on out. Hashtag gone.

But sweet Jesus Levenson did take it one toke over the line when he waxed poetic about Southern Whites and their terror at being surrounded by blacks. By implication he is asserting these Southern Whites would spend more money. Just not around Black folk.

Well, it is time to represent.

First off he doesn't want Southern Whites, he wants Yankee transplants who by and large came here to make more money than they did in the frozen north. Consequently they have more money and the fact is he just wants some of it. He would love the same fan base as the Braves: the rich Yankee transplants who have self segregated to the northern suburbs. But he's stuck down by the gulch giving free tickets to folks so the stands look full and even then they don't show up on time. Maybe they had to work late.

Second, being white and living below the Mason Dixon don't make you a Southern White. And since this guy seems to have a mail order degree in demographics he must know that Southern Whites are much more likely to be the son of a son of a share cropper than heir to the plantation. For us it's a proud day when your firstborn lives in a house that didn't arrive on wheels and the family reunion counts a full head of teeth before a dozen kinfolk show up. We ain't got much money, can't afford to self-segregate in one of those high fallutin' gated communities and we are therefore much more likely to find ourselves in the company of Black folks. Go figure.

But we also don't have enough money for Levenson which seems to be the only reason for him to be layin'  a hatin' on Southern Whites. But you know what? It don't matter and we don't care.
Well, I heard Leven-son sing about her
Well, I heard ole Bruce put her down
Well, I hope Hawks fans will remember
A Southern Man don't need him around anyhow

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Guest Post : Ebola, The Press And The CDC

This drifted into TOD's in-box about 21 days ago and of course we thought nothing of it. Then a fever set in...
I'm left to wonder what is NOT being reported by media, including AJC, about the ebola patients and their care here. I have questions, including the following:
  1. The doctor and aide worker were both following a safety protocol in Africa. Because they both contracted the disease, we must conclude either (a) the safety protocol has flaws, or (b) someone in the chain of care did not follow the protocols. Which was it? How are we to be assured this will not be repeated in Atlanta?
  2. All protocols require strict adherence to pre-ordained rules. Each person in the loop, from the lowest janitor to the most talented surgeon, must do exactly as the rules require each moment of each day. Mathematically, statistically, this cannot be maintained indefinitely—especially over a long period of time, in the stress of life-threatening actions and disease containment. An argument for chaos theory (ala Jurassic Park), there will be a breakdown somewhere. It's human to make mistakes. The CDC over the last months has proven that even their highly-trained personnel do not follow all procedures all of the time. So far, the CDC has dodged the bullets of disastrous accident results, but the laws of probability suggest that it's just a matter of time. Add the stress of 24/7 requirements, a growing number of patients, and consequently a worsening ratio between the number of trained health workers and the number of patients, and the probability of containment drops off a cliff that a lemming would envy. What are the plans in place for breaches of containment? The public has a right to know.
  3. The treatment of ebola requires blood transfusions and IV fluids. According to the media, nothing else can be done. What follows is that there is nothing being done here for these patients that was not already being done in Africa. The only reason the CDC would be involved in bringing these two patients to Atlanta is to further their knowledge of the disease. These two people are human guinea pigs. The only reason to bring them to the USA is to study the effects of the experimental medicine they both received in Liberia. Labs here are better than labs in Liberia. What is the public not being told?
  4. Emory has advertised the safety of their isolation unit. Let the public see some of those safety built-ins. The air circulation system is a closed loop, but ebola is not spread by air. Are there any walls or ductwork or pipes shared with other parts of the hospital? Are medical wastes handled differently in this unit than they are in the rest of the hospital?
  5. The media repeats that ebola is spread neither by air nor by mosquitos. That it is not airborne has been proven in labs. But from what is in print, the only reason mosquitos are not considered agents of spread is that no one has proven that they are. More importantly, has anyone done studies involving two of most big-city disease spreaders—cockroaches and rats? I have personally attended the grand opening of an infection control center in a large US cancer ward (in the South, but not in Atlanta), and witnessed cockroaches running across the floor as the ribbons were cut. Roaches are known spreaders of other non-air borne diseases. How are these vermin being handled in this situation?
  6. The screening of travelers from West Africa at US airports is a waste of time. Experts stress that an infected person may go 3 weeks before symptoms appear. How will someone at a screening center know that? Required blood tests? No one is going to be responsible for that. And what about people who had intermediate stops in other African, Asian, or European destinations? Is it not ironic that laws make it more difficult to bring a pet dog into London than an exposed Liberian into the United States?
Talking heads saying nothing new, footage of a patient in a moon-suit, interviews with ambulance cleaners, pictures of planes with pod-containments—these are all nothing but sound and sight bytes for broadcasting to an ignorant public too trusting that we are really being informed of anything substantive at all.
Like many others we in The Other Dunwoody were initially dismissive of this missive. After all we'd been told that proper procedures were in place, not only in Africa, but in the U.S. That should any visitor display symptoms these would be immediately recognized as Ebola and prompt and effective treatment would ensue. That was before we DID have the first case diagnosed in the U.S. That was before we learned that the infected individual went to the hospital, not once but twice, having been send home the first time without a correct diagnosis. That was before we learned that the infected individual had contact with school children. That was before we learned the many things we are just about to learn...making the above concerns look like the tip of the iceberg.

Monday, September 29, 2014

At The Other End Of The Barrel

Since the recent episodes of Cops Gone Commando the world, and by that we mean politicians, have focused an increased but insufficient amount of attention on the para-military "police" force they have created across the country. Naturally this forced the commanders of the Commando Cops to retaliate.

This includes some of our local Andy's and Barney's.

A neighboring city has taken up the "we're in an arms race" mantra. This harks back to the 1997 North Hollywood shootout where cops faced long gun and machine gun fire with .38 calibre handguns and the occasional shotgun. The official response seems to have been "I want a machine gun! Everybody else has one!" Of course this has a rather undesirable knock-on effect. Especially if you're of the belief that only the chosen ones should own guns and normal, free people in the U.S are certainly not "chosen." You see, there is a public reaction to firepower wielded by cops: if that's what a cop needs to protect me from the Bad Guys[TM] then that's what I need to protect myself from the same Bad Guys[TM]. Chicken-Egg. Vicious Circle. Take your pick. But when the cops start sporting AR-15's don't be all that surprised to find "ordinary people" doing the same thing.

But Dunwoody is best of all. Billy says Military Training is a great policing tool. OK... So would that be "tactics?" Like we see when our military forces are doing a sweep thru a village in Afghanistan? Coming soon to a neighborhood near you! Can't wait.

Then there is the military equipment Our arsenal includes an Armored Personnel Carrier: such a big toy for our little boys. But Billy claims it is just a "ride" and not as "militarized" as what the real army has.That it just looks menacing. But isn't that exactly the same argument coming from the cold-dead-handers? The ones who say their AR-15's are not the military, fully automatic version. That they just look like a military weapon.

And that is where it get's funny.

Many of the folks who want you to hand in your gun are the same ones doing a Michael Dukakis in their tanks whilst sporting a uniform from the Idi Amin estate sale and now they're using the gun nut's argument to keep their toys.

You can't make this stuff up.