Thursday, November 16, 2017

Geese And Ganders

As sure as the sun rises in the east there is one thing that comes around every so often in public school: dress codes and whiny students who don't like them. The AJC recently devoted way too much ink to the issue spotlighting 10-year old Falyn Handley and her fifth grade cohort Ruby Segerman styling selections from their vast collection of leggings, the fashion faux pas du jour. Logic has never been commonly associated with 10-year olds and Falyn sets the stage, beginning with "my leggings are your problem":
"I do not believe that clothing is a distraction. It is just the reaction that matters. I should not be punished for other people’s behavior. I am not a distraction.”
Those are some skilz, slickly laying out an article of faith as a matter of fact, seamlessly transitioning to deflection. But then Ruby offers a logical chop block calling the play back:
“I don’t believe that leggings are a distraction. I would be very annoyed and embarrassed to be called a distraction.”
The faith-fact conflation remains intact but Ruby invokes the pot-kettle paradox. If being "distracted" is a reaction owned by the distracted and not the distractor then maybe, just maybe, you own your own annoyance and embarrassment.

One good point was raised at the APS meeting: maybe the schools have some things to address that are more important. The need for education was clearly on display.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Censorship

The anger from last year's stunning electoral upset still resonates throughout parts of America with current aftershocks around the epicenter of "The Russians Are Coming!" The narrative suggests that Hillary lost because Russian operatives used new media to disseminate Russian propaganda intended to influence the election. In some bubbles it is the only acceptable explanation for the resounding defeat of the Democrats' Heir Apparent.

And they must be punished.

Some have taken a direct approach, calling for social media platforms to police users according to a provided agenda much like mainstream media curates letters to the editor. Vox Populi is lifeblood of populism who, with her sister nationalism, is not goose-stepping to the New World Order. Others have called for an end to anonymity, not because it unleashes inner angers but because it allows creation of false and apparently credible personas. That this comes from the political wing heavily supported by Hollywood actors and actresses is an irony (hypocrisy) lost on no one. A radical fringe has even suggested requiring proof of citizenship or national affiliation but was quickly squelched as this might silence the voices of illegal aliens. Well monied and left tilting Silicon Valley has generally said "No!" to all these efforts.

Saving face demands something be done, so the Coastals have found something politically, if not practically, possible. Restrict Russian Olde School Media, specifically RT, a Russia-based news outlet. This is a bit like limiting Al Jazeera, politically correct after Al Gore cut ties, in that it is basically political grandstanding. Having a news outlet "register as a foreign agent" is pretty meaningless since the only folks who do not know the background of RT are those who've never seen it or heard of it. Would that we had as much information about the "agency" of CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS as with RT. Would that these outlets provided news or sent their news staff to journalism school instead of clown school. [ed: different rant]

And this is a slippery slope. Who else is impacted? How about France 24? How about the BBC? After all, the dreaded disease of populism is sweeping Europe. What about Asian news outlets from India, China or Japan? They have certain unaligned nationalistic tendencies. And what are the triggers? What line must be crossed to get on their list or is that a secret? And what media? RT isn't broadcast over the air, it is streamed over the internet. Do these ivory tower elites not understand that a VPN bridges their moat? New world globalism except for the most global technology of all--the internet? Would it extend to media formats a bit newer than "television," even if streamed? What about podcasts? WSB is quite proud of theirs and make no mistake the content is well aligned with their philosophy and world view. But it is the BBC's Hard Talk podcast that offered the best, most insightful interview with Bernie Sanders, and some suggest Bernie's refusal to toe the Hillary/Party line was key in their failure.

At the end of the day we now live in a culture where the end justifies the means and when the end is popular and hash-tag fueled any means will do. Even censorship. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shorter College Department

From the outset let there be no doubt about the seriousness of sexual harassment in the workplace nor any less about the serious of charges leveled from one worker against a co-worker. If we'd taken this half as seriously in the late nineties as we do in these hashtag fueled times, Al Gore would have been president if only for a while. But that was then and this is now and the case at hand is projected thru the distorting lens of Ivory Tower Academia.

What could make this more bizarre than real-world accusations with defamation lawsuits in response? The Media! Combine academia with mainstream media and you are guaranteed a special kind of silly. This time, as usual, they do not disappoint.

The basic accusation is pretty straightforward with one colleague allegedly making unwanted advances and clearly inappropriate physical contact with another. Here is where the media sprinkles their own silliness with a WSB-TV interview where the accuser (shown below) "said she didn't want her face shown, but wants everyone to know about what she says happened to her on campus."

Perhaps only the accused have a right to face their accuser but it does seem odd that someone appearing in a local news report with a photo would not show their face. Was this to lend an air of gravity? Perhaps allowing the casual viewer to infer that bad things might happen if anyone recognized her?

And this is where it gets really odd. Her photo is on a Shorter Department webpage. Why? Because she is the Director of Campus Safety. The accused, Shorter VP Corey Humphries' official Shorter webpage has been removed like bleaching your four-year-old's sheets to remove that nasty urine stain. In academia it is called "Do Process" not due process.

On the one hand if this can happen to the Director of Campus Safety, it can happen to anyone. On the other hand someone who thinks not facing the camera somehow enhances the impact of the moment might have offered an opportunity to upgrade the position.

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's All About You

They say all politics is local, certainly true with tomorrow's elections for Dunwoody City Council and local taxes.

All council races are contested offering some hope for change, perchance to improve. In one case the incumbent said one thing and immediately did exactly the opposite. But instead of yielding an obvious preference for the opponent, very often the electorate choses the devil they know, fearing the unknown even when it offers clear improvement. All too often these choices put popularity over principle.

On taxes the county would like you to look past their Charlie Brown tree and the broken ornaments and grab the shiny new Christmas Pickle. As Vernon Jones famously said they are "going to pay your property taxes." But that IS only the county taxes, leaving you to pay the education and city taxes comprising the lion's share of the bill. With the next car you buy the requisite bump in sales tax will leave you in the hole. But that pickle sure is shiny.

The politicians know all this and they think they know you--or at least how to manipulate you to their will. And in that regard tomorrow really is all about you. Will you be what the ruling class thinks you are or will you be what this Country's Founders hoped you would be?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Mayor Can't Get Rich...

...but the Mayor's friends and family can.

It's a political cliché believed to have originated in the heyday of Chicago's politically corrupt machinery of the last century. Rather than disappearing with the machine this practice has become standard operating procedure throughout politics in America. Dunwoody is no exception.

Some is institutionalized. There seems no end to the number of authorities, bureaus, committees and administrations. Not that those appointed to positions with these rather suspect groups receive enormous paychecks. At least not directly. But they wield power and to the point of the cliché politicians and their appointees are well versed in monetizing power.

Sometimes it is fairly direct. Favor is curried by those who need a favor, say a custom ordinance, and manifests itself as campaign donations. Down the road, perhaps when a friend or relative of the pol or appointee needs a job, a well paying position appears. Or maybe it is a charitable organization dear to the pol. Perhaps it is a good one that does much for the community at large and society in general. The pol makes their support known thereby encouraging support by those who seek a closer relationship to the pol and the power therein entrusted.

Or it may be a rather narrow, targeted organization, like say the booster club for a local school. And perhaps the pol, in order to expand their reach and increase the impact of their outreach uses communication tools of their official position. Some see no problem with this. Ethics officials often disagree.

Think this could not and does not happen in Dunwoody? Then you'd be wrong.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Only God Can Make A Tree...

...but Spandex can bring them down.

As reported in a local paper a key factor in the removal of trees at the site of the new Old Hickory House Bank of Dunwoody is the requirement, primarily to appease a vocal, militant minority, for bike lanes. It should be noted that these Lance-a-littles never use these lanes. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Knee Replacement

Lost in the media circus around the athlete-cheerleader attention junkies, none of whom have offered a coherent, logical explanation of their goals and how their actions achieve them, is an even better question. Why does old glory fly over those fields?

After all these are athletic fields of glory where "giving it all" means you are unusually tired and sore. And this is not to the greater glory of that flag and the country for which it stands. It is first and foremost about money. Even at the high school level there is money involved from boosters to salaries to equipment. Moving up the food chain makes the money component even more obscene but in no way does this contribute to or commemorate the innovation of this country's founding or celebrate what this country offers to its citizens and the greater world.

And "we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground." Why not? Because nothing, not-a-thing, has or ever will happen on this field that is worthy of anyone's dedication, consecration and hallowing. If you think there is something there rising to that high bar then you need more sessions with your therapist.

But we need not question why that flag still waives o'er that field of sport. No, we simply need to remove it. That flag stands for more than a mere game--a paternalistic game where men take the glory while women, and only the pretty, cheer them on--pageantry to be relegated to the dustbin of history not condoned and certainly not celebrated by this nation's foremost symbol. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rural Outreach

Industrial academia, while still smarting from a stinging loss is not taking the defeat of Hillary Clinton lying down. They are fighting back in the only way they know how: they will grow their business, replacing foreign students frightened off by Trump's rhetoric with sons and daughters of the deplorables themselves. Really.

The money game is simple and obvious. As out-of-country tuition-payers flee, colleges and universities might fight it out for the limited pool of non-deplorables but this is a tragedy of the commons they only preach to others. Another option is to reach out to those peculiar folk living in the fly-over states. And that is what they intend to do.

Thirty eight percent of surveyed* schools have increased recruitment in rural areas, but not to fear, only eight percent have shown interest in recruiting students of the conservative persuasion. There is some reason to believe that colleges and universities may have briefly realized that they are not in touch with nor in any way aligned with the sensibilities of the greater community. Rather than apply much ballyhooed critical thinking to their own worldview they are taking to proselytize the susceptible as half have reported they would not increase diversity by recruiting those with conservative views and hardly a third as many suggesting they might give that a try.

While money is in play it would appear that a significant goal is to turn rural America blue, seemingly thinking if you take the student out of the deplorables you can take the deplorable out of the student. After all, indoctrination has been their stock in trade for some time.

* Higher Ed survey conducted with Gallup

Monday, October 16, 2017

Guns And Campus Deaths

The fact that the only gun death since passage of the campus carry law was a suicide by cop[1] has done nothing to quiet the hysterics in the ivory towers. A herd of them have gathered together to petition the Courts to intervene assessing that the state constitution deems their work place a sovereign entity. Perhaps that explains why campus harassment cases lack anything remotely resembling due process. To their credit they have listed their new-found fears catalyzed by the possible presence of legally borne weapons, though, as usual they ignore the presence of illegally carried weapons. And yes, the irony of University Professors promoting "safety thru ignorance" is lost on no one.

So who are these blokes? Of those making the AJC's cut we have one philosopher[2] and two geographers, one of whom is also a local Board of Education member.
University of Georgia geography professor John Knox, who is described in the complaint as a gun owner, said guns on campus “make the learning environment less safe for everyone and negatively impact his educational mission.” Valdosta State professor Michael Noll fears “armed intimidation or gun violence from students who receive failing grades.” Noll has posted a “no weapons” sign on his faculty office door, according to the complaint. Aristotelis Santas, a Valdosta State professor, said he “will no longer promote discussion of hot-button issues in his classroom” and allows students to leave his class if they don’t feel safe.
Armed intimidation? Really? Perhaps an argument against tenure because until you cannot be fired bad course reviews pose as real an existential threat as any "intimidation." At least he pulls up short with a vague allusion to "gun violence" by not indicating this might include suicide. Noll toes the party line pretending that the sign posted on his office door actually works but exposes the signage silliness by offering only virtual office hours for the foreseeable future. Just imagine how pissed off that gun-toting, F-enraged snowflake is going to be when they bust into his office only to find it empty.

[1] Too soon?
[2] "PhD" kinda, sorta means "Doctor of Philosophy," so technically all PhD's are "philosophers." Another mystery solved, right?