Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Green Wall


"What reduces crime in the country is having relationships with people who live in communities."
---Cedric Alexander, in the AJC
And yet...

In Atlanta one mayoral candidate wants businesses to hire their own security because she doesn't think the APD should (or can?) police the area. Sounds like a bit more than an "arms length" relationship.

This is not without precedent. Folks in midtown (think Ansley Park and Sherwood Forest) have ponied up for their own police patrols, Midtown Blue, for a few decades now. So in the Eh, Tea, 'ell it isn't just the downtrodden undeserving of police protection.

Now you might dismiss Dunwoody's Citizen Patrol as a creeping expansion of the bureaucratic disease of Taxing Without Delivering but as all things Dunwoody it is more nuanced. We have a PD obsessed with Mo' Betta Toys for the Boys leading to pre-emptive replacement of "patrol" cars with shiny new SUVs. After all these are take-home cars and appearances count--just not in our neighborhoods. These are primarily for getting to and from home's Barcalounger and the office Aeron--stylin' transport between two stylin' destinations. We ended up with two stoned birds that needed to be killed so they deputized some of the locals, re-branded the patrol cars and sent them into the neighbors to, well, "patrol." Since they're unarmed, we should all feel safer.

But don't you wonder if we'd be safer if it were not all about money?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Failing More Than The Classroom

We long ago gave up on using public schools to deliver education preferring instead to use them for handout hotspots, diagnosis (by educators) and medical treatment, warm and "safe" spaces and of course, feeding. None of these are as complete a failure as the original mission but feeding the buggers is a close second.

Michelle's Mission for the past eight years has been "healthy[1]" food for the nation's children, with public schools playing a key role in logistics and distribution. We're not talking fried baloney sandwiches or snacks of saltines and potted meat. It's more of a Bush Backlash with heaping plates of overcooked broccoli, apples, pears and salt-less, well, everything. But fact of the matter is: Michelle is right. Our tax dollars should not be used to pump addictive salt, sugar, wheat[2], and artificial coloring and preservatives into children's diets. That's a parent's job.

But the lower ranks of the entitlement class, government worklings in school cafeterias don't like Michelle's Menu claiming the kids don't like it and won't eat it. The AJC quotes a school board member blaming this bland food on other government entities[3] saying "I would like to see the folks in Washington eat the lunch that our students eat." Consistent with All Things Public Ed it never occurred to her that a better all around solution might be to replace incompetence in the cafeteria with those who can cook tasty meals that are not a prescription for heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Perhaps she believes it is no easier to fire a blood-sludge-sloppin' cafeteria cook than an incompetent teacher. As it turns out no one makes lemonade in the lemon room despite a surplus of fresh ingredients.

So we're stuck with costs spiraling upwards as every aspect of what we are supposed to do for our children swirls the bowl.






[1] Nothing symbolizes our slide to Sesame Street intellects more than the use of "healthy" when the proper term is "healthful." Healthy food is that bumper crop of flavourful unblemished tomatoes in your garden while healthful food is nutritious sustenance contributing to your health. But then you already know that.

[2] Before you get all pissy about "healthy" whole grains you really owe it to yourself (and everyone who has to put up with you) to check out Wheat Belly. And no, that young lady is not sporting a "wheat belly" -- you are.

[3] HER government agency and associated pay and power are alright by her. No surprises there.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

APS Charter Plan Lawsuit

As reported in the AJC, APS teachers have sued their former employer because they lost their jobs in the transition from a guaranteed job on the public dole to competitive opportunities with a private charter school operator. If you look past the legalese what these (thankfully) former educators are saying is "children do not have a right to an education as much as we have a right to a paycheck for life." 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quote Of The Year

"While our office appreciates your stated concern that the Act should not be abused, your submitted proposal appears to be over broad and unduly burdens the rights of the public in inspecting the records which are, at heart, their own records merely held in the custody of the public servants entrusted by the public to maintain the public's own records." 
[Georgia] Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Colangelo

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Ref

As sure as night follows day we can count on the PC police banning books, though in this case neither those they feel entitled to protect nor those they are protecting the snowflakes from are well equipped to read a book. This all-but-diurnal debate almost always starts with Huck Finn. Why? The N-word of course.[1] Apparently Sam never heard of trigger words, warnings or micro-aggressions as he was too obsessed with macro-aggressions and how could that be of any merit or even interest? He clearly never rode a school bus nor changed trains at the Five Points station and yet he still found the N-word part of the common vernacular. But he also wrote about whitewashing fences--not history and not reality.

Thin skinned hysteria does more than just remove books, it precludes the possibility of debating simple questions like "which of Atticus' depictions of the South has more merit, was more prophetic?" Honestly that wouldn't be likely even if the books weren't banned as we are burdened with students who cannot leave their safe places and educators with no intention of leading them into the real world. No need to study history for what it might reveal when a righteous agenda of ongoing oppression is well served by simply "understanding the never-ending negative impact of slavery" that ended well before Sam put pen to paper.

Oh, and The Ref? Great holiday movie but if your delicate sensibilities are shattered by the F-bomb you may want to stick with It's A Wonderful Life.


[1] TOD could use "niggardly," "niggle" or even "niggalations" but one drop of the N-bomb, even if quoting a gansta rapper  or something overheard on MARTA, would have the PC patrol breaking down the door.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Civics Education : Epic Fail

A [fairly] recent letter to the editor of the AJC revealed something that will scare anyone who still supports how education in America is working and what is being taught:
"Electoral votes should be proportioned. If a candidate gets 40 percent of the vote then she/he should get 40 percent of the electoral votes. Since Republicans now control all branches of the government, they should change the law so that the election truly reflects the will of all the people, otherwise one could think that for them it's only the will of the people if their candidate wins."
This hits all the whiny loser points. Their candidate lost the race, as the race has always been run, and in fact Clinton was considered a master of those rules. Yet lost. Pointing to the popular vote in a race run for electoral votes is infantile. These whiners had no problem on Tuesday afternoon when Clinton was still projected to win--the electoral college. Now they cannot accept that Clinton lost fair and square and on her own merits.

But it is the writer's deep pit of ignorance regarding civics that is most alarming. States, as in each of these "United States" actually determine how electoral votes are allocated. Turns out the president doesn't write and pass legislation and while Congress actually does, this writer's ambition requires a constitutional amendment or an agreement of, by and between the States. The writer not only ignores the fact that the race wasn't run on popular vote--there were "uncontested" states--but that Clinton did not "win" the popular vote and a proportional allocation would have thrown the choice to the House. For folks like this whiner that nasty ole Constitution keeps getting in the way.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Voice

The reaction of certain cloistered demographics, particularly college professors and students, to the recent election is pretty baffling to anyone who lives outside of their bubble and might have lived thru more than one change of party in the Whitehouse. It is easy enough to dismiss the behaviour as infantile tantrums because that is what they are but that doesn't explain how so many became so infantile, entitled and willing to show their asses in public. Yes, they are the third or fourth generation raised on an exclusive diet of self esteem and participation awards and sheltered in safe places with trigger word warnings protecting their fragile bloated egos. But that is just a platform and like the agar it is the medium for growing the pathogen, not the pathogen itself.

The pathogen is ignorance and it has become virulent. Generations ago our public schools abandoned any topic that might open a mind to this country's (little c) constitution and how our electoral system (not just the electoral college) actually works. This void has been filled by ridiculous examples of "votes", popularity contests delivered by five intense minutes of thumb-numbing twittering such as last week's end of show vote on The Voice. It's highly likely that the similarity of "popularity" and "popular" confuses these feral minds and the TV format has led them to believe that a winner is "whoever gets the most votes" rather than the fifty percent plus one required in the real world. Seeing a three-way vote split 41% to 39% to 20% means that 41% is a "winner" because the producers of The Voice say so. Suggesting that an "election" where 59% vote for someone else is anything but a "win" is met with a confused look.

It's easy but dangerous to dismiss this silliness as the product of a vacuous mind. That this virulent ignorance has such a powerful grip on academia which should be all but immune does not bode well for our collective future. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Throw 'Em Under The Bus

Our City founders touted control of zoning and development as a cornerstone of the City in contrast to what many perceived as neglect and exploitation of North DeKalb and Dunwoody by the County and its Development Authority. Many assumed the new City would put the brakes on "out of control development" and may feel betrayed seeing the City promote faster, bigger development.  

Some are wondering how this could happen. Like all things strange in government it starts and ends with money.

The City's revenue side of the equation drives expansion in scope and scale of development and is based on a little known City tax: the occupational tax. This is paid by employers for the pleasure of cutting paychecks and includes a fixed per-employee fee and a percent of gross. That it is not paid by developers but by their tenants is a further incentive to go big or go home. This occupational tax is also why we constantly hear about "high paying white collar jobs"-not because the women are pretty or the men buff but because more jobs at higher pay funnels more money into City coffers.

In terms of throwing money to the developers the City is giving up their portion of property tax but the big lever is the DeKalb County School property tax that this scheme allows the City to offer up. As any supporter of Dunwoody's recent tax hike will explain the school tax is the vast majority of any property tax bill so this is not chump change, it just comes out of others' pockets with their knowledge but without their permission. Even if Dunwoody gets its own schools the pilfering will continue with the City de-funding these new schools just as they are doing to our schools today.

City founders put in place a complex machine operated by mayors and councils that drains money from our children's education for the sake of more money under City control. Perhaps it is easier for the City to rob Peter to pay Judas when they are angry with Peter and sleeping with Judas but while you graze in front of "Everything Will Be OK" they are selling your lambs for a few pieces of silver.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Those Who Can, Do

Those who can't, "teach."

Seems like the Trumpinator has scared the usual round of left wing nut pussy willows from their "safe places" and into [verbal] action. From an AJC article regarding activities at Emory University:
"...a petition signed by more than 700 students and 100 faculty members urging administrators to work with local police departments to shield the campus from federal immigration enforcement..."
Sounds like a call for armed resistance. Inciting insurrection with at least a gross disregard for violence. Violence on their behalf but of course neither at their own hand nor risk. To get your mind around this you must understand this is what passes in the Ivory Tower as "fighting for what is right" though the rest of the world sees this as "hiding behind the courage of others."

And these are our best and brightest--responsible for molding the minds and character of future generations. A responsibility unearned, undeserved and unfulfilled.

Outside of their echo chamber these whiners scream "we are totally out of touch with reality."  They have proven once again that credentialed is not educated and educated is not necessarily smart. And for a significant number of the self-important neither add up to honorable. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

American Freud

Abject failure has done little to stem the flow of pontifications from bubbled pundits. The latest is the bandwagon bumpersticker declaring "the election represents taking America's temperature." Perhaps. If so is this an oral or a rectal thermometer?

Trump ran over the Republican machine with all its off-the-shelf product in a blitzkrieg not seen since Germany walked thru Poland. He then turned to the Democrats who folded, giving up the Whitehouse like the Vichy government offered up Paris.

These pundits need to disappear (preferred option) or spend some time outside the bubble. They need some real world experience, with hands-on practice taking temperatures, starting with their own. Before they regain any credibility they must prove they've learned from this experience that the only way to tell an oral thermometer from a rectal thermometer is by taste. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Faux News

Google and Facebook are responding to claims that their laissez faire approach to  the dissemination of drivel from users' random keyboards may (or may not) have influenced the recent election. By "influence" the current crop of whiners really mean "our candidate lost." Some things never change.

But Google and Facebook are committing to change and if you hold their stock you may want to sell because they intend to cross a line from rather detached self/vanity publishing platforms to curating everyone's content. If this sounds intractable and untenable that is because it is. However briefly this satisfies friends of the Reconciliation Party it will ultimately expose these organizations, with very deep pockets, to all types of legal risks because sooner or later something will slip thru that pisses off some pissy little group of whiners. Like the ADL or the SPLC. In the end this will fall on the (remaining) shareholders.

But this is also a slippery slope and not one littered with just those checkout lane tabloids. Mainstream media, the one where the talking heads ARE the news is also now at risk. Just how far can you cross the line of "truth and nothing but the truth" before you fall out of favour? And does it matter which direction you cross? Apparently so.

The envelope of veracity in mainstream media all but collapsed in 2016 with prevarications, obfuscations and misdirections distinctly trending to a particular direction. Was it accurate to say that Clinton "won the popular vote?" Certainly not. Why? Because Clinton LOST the popular vote since she did not get fifty percent plus one and outside of Clinton victory parties no one held a runoff. While it is accurate to say that Trump lost the popular vote it is somewhat deceptive if not acknowledging that Clinton lost as well.  But like any good con job you only deceive those predisposed to deception.

This was also true with the email whitewashing effort. Private account? Indeed. When you have a private email server you will perforce have private email accounts. Again, true, but not all the truth and much like the server itself designed to ensure that the truth is never known. And the Clintons are not stupid and certainly not naive. They know that emails to and from that server originating or terminating on devices and servers subject to discovery by U.S. authorities would ultimately be uncovered though with great difficulty. These indirect discoveries are the actual cause of the Comey Two-Step. And since Clinton released what she wanted to release and then wiped the drives we will never have insight into those communications where the other parties (think foreign governments) are not subject to U.S. discovery. But instead of pounding this issue mainstream media fell in line with the email "account" obfuscation.

Much of what shows up on the interweb is click-bait and increasingly much of what shows up on incumbent media's "new media" outlets is more subtle click-bait but click-bait nonetheless. Many are blaming incumbent media's shameless chasing of ratings and click-thrus for excessive and free coverage that gave us what we got as if folks were incited to vote thoughtlessly which in their supercilious World-View is by definition The Wrong Way. This is condescension bordering on The Deplorables, but there are many who think it, who say it and who are saying it out loud. Arrogance has no shame.

Demanding that Google and Facebook curate and reject content disliked by these elitists is not the answer and we have painful evidence that the PC policies rampant on college campuses have not served us well[1].  Furthermore the subtle, insidiously slanted "news" from incumbent outlets, exempt from these PC police,  does far more damage that sensationalistic headlines and comic book stories found on bogus websites and supermarket tabloids[2]. The American public simply does not have a reliable news outlet that provides the facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts in a forthright and unbiased manner[3].  Until we do we can expect more of the same.



[1] And yes, the safety pin is silly.
[2] In case you were not really, really sure, Martha Stewart did NOT give birth to an alien's baby.
[3] TOD is not the place to get it either.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Paying For Vogtle

Much ink has been wasted in the traditional press on the deliberations over who will pay for cost overruns at Plant Vogtle. The commencement speaker at the 1981 Southern Tech graduation ceremony, a retired Bell South executive more notable for what he said than who he is, offered this pearl of wisdom:
Big corporations do not pay taxes, they collect them.
His point that governments' deflective use of corporate America as a funding pass-thru is equally applicable to the current dustup between the Georgia PSC and ratepayers. Some say that Georgia Power should pay the cost overruns but this ignores some key facts. First Georgia Power pays all its bills by collecting money from, you guessed it, ratepayers. Others argue that the company's profits or shareholders should suffer but the financial health of the company affects bond ratings that underpin the cost of borrowing money. A cost also paid by ratepayers.

When it comes to regulated monopolies the maxim "you can pay me now or you can pay me later" applies.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cut Loose Like a Deuce

If you frequent the area you know the intersection at Chamble-Dunwoody and Redfield has been re-configured eliminating the right turn lane using the spare pavement for a lane separator with a pedestrian island. That and additional sidewalks sounds like a significant albeit expensive safety improvement.

Far from the truth. First, the city will all but brag that a vast majority of the money was picked from others' pockets. Expensive? Sure. But not for us. Sorta.

The untold number of street crossers playing frogger at that location may well be safer but not so much for those on the sidewalk to the west of CD. Eliminating the turn lane and shifting thru traffic towards the curb means all the speeders in their two ton missiles that scare the bullets out of cops' guns are now aimed directly at the sidewalk across the intersection. Lack of enforcement in the area and a broken radar sign do nothing to discourage speeding and if distracted driving weren't bad enough it gets worse. On any given clear morning a driver headed to DaVille gets a face full of blinding AM sunshine. They won't know what they hit until someone's head crashes thru their windshield.

Sooner or later there will be an "accident" and someone will get hurt, maybe killed. It may be the olde farte walking his dog, or a jogger or maybe a couple of kids who just want to play tennis. The driver will be charged but someone down at City Hall will have blood on their hands.

All for the love of other people's money.

Blinded by the light...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Enough Said

From the AJC:
"[...]Auntie Anne's, has been told by Islamic authorities that its popular Pretzel Dog, which contains no dog meat, has to be renamed as it is confusing for Muslim consumers."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why NOT OSD?

There are more reasons to vote against OSD than it looking like a typo of "OCD." National teacher advocacy (note these are not "student" advocates) groups have pushed puppy food commercials aside to assault our senses with rationalizations claiming their educrats are better wasters of our tax dollars than the Governor. Unintentionally they have exposed the real reason to vote down the OSD.

Their fundamental assertion is unassailable. Incumbent educrats have earned PhDs in pissing away increasing amounts of money on decreasing success. You may be thinking "this simply cannot be sustainable." Bingo! It isn't[1]. At some point. But as long as they can trot out racially and ethnically diverse ads in support of any given eSPLOST and win "'because it's about the children" even when it is apparent to all that it is about anything but, then we, as a society, have not reached the tipping point. At some point public education as currently devised, run by those currently in charge and paid for by the current schemes will collapse. As it must.

Efforts, like the OSD, that attempt to piecewise "fix" what some see as "the problem" will only delay the ultimate outcome and the proper solution. Evolution has not worked and a revolution is required--the current system must be allowed to collapse under its own weight and by its own hand. Until then our current crop of educrats must be given absolutely everything--except an excuse.

For a phoenix to arise its predecessor must be rendered completely to ash and that is why rejecting OSD is the fastest option for fixing our public schools.


[1] There is an argument that so long as any group on the public payroll is allowed to vote, particularly on items affecting their jobs and pay, that the public payroll will grow without end. We are in the stage of metastasis with public schools where this appears to be the case but this parasite will ultimately consume the host and since it is not self-sustaining it will die. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

McIver Hill

Not a place. A juxtaposition of two somewhat similar events.

Victor Hill shoots a paramour skating with little more than a slap on the wrist. Claud McIver shoots his wife with the outcome unresolved.

Similarities? Sure. Guns aren't toys, they are deadly weapons. Both shooters are very well connected politically. Both shooters are not without controversy in their pasts and possible near futures. Both shooters are somehow involved in Law and Order with Walking Small still carrying his badge and McIver sporting a law license. Both claim the horrible mishap was an accident. Both talk too much.

Differences? Some important ones. Walking Small's victim survived to be a supportive witness. McIver's victim died leaving the driver as the only witness. Had the fatalities been reversed only one shooting would have had a witness. Hill is black and McIver is white.

Now several black activists (the white version is called the KKK) including Joe Beasley are worried McIver might be getting special treatment, telling the AJC:
"I just think we're seeing a double standard of justice. I'm worried he is getting special treatment."
It's a baby step but it is good to see that at least one black activist is concerned about an intra-race shooting. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mining The Vain

Snow White has been picking choir leaders from her posse of little people to lead the chorus of "Hi! Ho!" as they head off to her little gold mine.

It hasn't been working out so well. She tapped Grumpy and then Dopey but they both peed on the political third rail disappearing in an acrid cloud of smoke left behind from spectacular fireworks.

Wonder who she will pick next.

This Is NOT A Race

What is it with the long lines at early voting? In fact, what is it with early voting? Surely we all wish the campaign were over but fact is it ain't over as long as the Wiki leaks. Seems some folks think their vote counts for more because they got it in early or maybe this is just the first step in "vote early, vote often."

Monday, October 24, 2016

Somebody Said It Better

Right here in our li'l village. One of our very own elected officials speaking about the hasty, if not pre-emptive demolition of the theatre in Brook Run is quoted in the AJC claiming to have said:
"If a check came in tomorrow from an outside person, we'd have us a new theater"
Of course this would require that over half of Council reverse their votes reneging on their well reasoned commitment to a teardown. And it plainly states that City Council can be had for a price. If there is a better way of saying "this city is for sale" it has yet to be articulated.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nogo Logotherapy

The great thing about "branding" of new cities is that they get to "re-brand." Over and over and over again. Being geographically adjacent to the original "New City," Sandy Springs, Dunwoody seems content with the role of follower, even plagiarist. Perhaps due to a general co-opting of "Smart City" lingo or because Dunwoody proved how stupid it sounds, even Plano has moved forward with a graphic logo eschewing the needy, pushy "the lady doth protest too much" effort. Maybe it is time to toss "Smart City, Smart People" into the dustbin alongside "Every Day Is An Opening Day."

But maybe that does not justify eighty large on a new "brand." Even the spendthrifts at City Hall are arriving at that conclusion, but make no mistake this is not a wave of virulently infectious frugality. One would be hard pressed to find someone who'd admit they liked, or voted for the current brand and if you did and if they said anything it would certainly be deflective. There may also be some concern that those who brought us a logo done in crayon using a color palette obtained by closing your eyes after staring at a bright light are not stewards of good taste. But this is not a problem that will be solved by a monochromatic shift to pen and ink and a new font.

The real problem was the common co-branding of related but distinct operations. There are many reasons, some of which are good, for the separate legal constructs underpinning the City, the CVB and the Development Authority. Common branding makes it appear that when you get one you're going to get the other two. This seems so cute, like three kids playing with lincoln logs, until the inevitable fight breaks out.

So when the Development Authority wagged its lap-dog tail because Greedy Developer demanded a development "incentive" for an all-but-complete project, City Hall, both staff and politicos, were put in the uncomfortable position of explaining that the Development Authority is not really part of the City. But eyes glaze over when the explanation requires statements involving "o.c.g.a section so-and-so" as yet another politician hides behind "legal if not right" as a defense.

Advocates say moving, with the required address change on letterhead (do people still USE that?) is a good time to re-brand. Perhaps it is a good time to re-think many more important things. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Water Water Everywhere

Overall the State of Georgia has some serious water woes caused by uncontrolled growth and what appears to be a trend towards more frequent and longer periods of drought. One has to wonder when that becomes the new normal.

DeKalb County, in its own inimitable way, has self-inflicted water woes. This county is so well run that the folks in charge cannot line up enough capable friends and family to reliably and accurately take a number from a water meter and convert it into a dollar amount on a bill. They did attempt to automate their way around incompetence by installing electronic remotely readable meters. Apparently vendor selection was based more on relationships than technical assessments. While their inability to issue accurate bills makes a great platform for photo-op politicians to get some lense-time rate-payers are increasingly put out. And given that the politicos are working to their own best outcome the most a mere citizen can hope for is collateral benefits. Trickle down politics.

Or you could take matters into your own hands: install your own water meter between DeKalb's and your house. Then when you get one of these outrageously high water bills you'll have your own usage records to make your case. You may not win against a "we're here to help" government but you will get some face-time with the photo-op-ers.



An accurate potable water supply meter can be had for between $50 and $150. At the low end you will find BPA-free plastic meters with low-lead brass alloy breaking the hundred dollar barrier. Stick with mechanical readout to lower the price and eliminate one more thing that can and as DeKalb has proven, will fail. You should also check the flow and accuracy curves and select a meter meeting the AWWA standard. A removable inlet filter is a good option if you consider that a water works that cannot issue a valid bill probably cannot keep crap out of the water either. You will want to install it as close to DeKalb's as practical while installed in a separate water meter cover (~$25). All in this should set you back less than $400.

Sounds like a lot doesn't it? When you consider the high probability that DeKalb will send you an outrageously high and incorrect bill it will be well worth it to be able to contest that bill with your own readings from an AWWA compliant meter.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Halloween Comes Early

Ticky-Tacky is back! Back in the sometimes enforced "right of way."

Doesn't This Get Your Goat?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Genius Envy

There is quite a bit of idiocy swirling around a leaked Trump Tax Return that revealed The Donald reported a loss of nearly one billion dollars in one year. Tax code allows this loss to be carried forward offsetting future profits. Almost every individual investor has done this, just not to the tune of a billion dollars. A pertinent example would be one Hillary Rodham Clinton who did exactly the same thing, but could only muster a mere seven hundred thousand dollar loss. And this doesn't include the three hundred thousand ripped off by her good friend, convicted felon, father-in-law to her daughter and one-time investment guru as that loss long predated her recently reported loss. Of course both candidates have, legally, used these losses to minimize taxes on income. Anything less would be stupid.

But then her inner spin-ster kicked in with her pondering "If not paying taxes makes you smart, what does that make the rest of us?" The snarky comeback is "jealous." A more nuanced response demands we push back against Clinton Fatigue to again parse various examples of "to be" in order to explore the domain of "who be us?"

First HRC wants you to know that the Don ain't one of "us" but what about Her Highness? She differs, in this matter anyway, only in degree but not in kind. She's a tax loss Mini-Me to his Jabba the Hut. Perhaps that is her problem. If he is "genius" she is so far behind on the smart scale she is looking at the Village Idiot's ass. So we know two people who ain't us but assuming "us" is the "stupid us" paying taxes who does that really include?

We can start by tossing the infamous forty-seven percent into the dustbin alongside Don and Hill. These are the folks the Brookings Institute singled out in the last Presidential dustup. But they claim this was a bad-economy peak and that by 2020 the percentage will be down to...wait for it...



only THIRTY FOUR PERCENT.  Look to the guy on your left. Then the gal on your right. One of you is a genius. So by the time the First Freeloader finishes his or her first term we'll have almost two thirds of taxpayers picking up their tab.

Surprisingly it is not easy to earn your way to genius. The Tax Foundation reports that the top fifty percent paid 97% of taxes but by working your way in to the top five percent you'd be amongst the group paying 50% of federal income tax. If you claw your way into the top one percent you and those like you will be paying over a third of the tab. Seems like sliding down the ladder is more effective than climbing up when it comes to tax avoidance.

This is one of those times when you have to relax to a solution. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Power Grab

Opponents of question one on the upcoming ballot call this a government "power grab" which it probably is. The problem with this argument is that it grabs power from one totally unaccountable group, superintendents, principals and teachers protected from our elected board by SACS handing it over to a superintendent appointed by our elected governor. One has to wonder if SACS has the stones to pull accreditation on the Opportunity School District should the guv get as pissy with his superintendent as the DeKalb BoE did with theirs.

Ironically some educrats opposing the move cite the lack of evidence that these uber districts work. Interestingly they have never held any of their hair-brained schemes to "fix education" and spend more of our money to the same high minded requirement. But as it turns out there may be a benefit, reported in the AJC, even if indirect:
"Georgia's design may be most similar to an experiment in Tennessee called the Achievement School District, where Vanderbilt professor Gary Henry has seen little data to indicate a great effect beyond scaring local districts into doing better to keep control of their schools."
Send in the Clowns! The scary ones.

So the early indication is what many suspected all along: educators are not doing the job to the level they are capable, but given sufficient motivation they somehow improve. While direct impact is not discussed:
"Henry notes that the Tennessee experiment may be too new to have taken full effect."
Placing the states' scheme on par with anything coming out of the incumbent education industry during the last few decades. So why shouldn't taxpayers give this scheme a chance? We have to do something, this is something, so let's do it. Right?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Nobody Says It Better

The words of Fran Millar as reported in the AJC by Jim Galloway:
"It's the aftershocks of the earthquake that concern me. After Emory goes in, a neighborhood might try to follow," Millar said. "My problem is I see the liberal white neighborhoods around these abandoning the DeKalb area and going into the Atlanta school system -- and basically leaving all these minorities behind."
Wow.

The biggest champion of new cities for DeKalb takes offense at non-citizen entities tossing their lot in with a city. Could this be that it drains the tax base needed to fuel new cities in DeKalb and diverting those funds to the ATL? And what is that racial politics remark all about? Is DeKalb a better place for Republicans because liberal whites and liberal blacks will set aside philosophical leanings to vote strictly along racial lines? Or perhaps this is more about precedence than aftershocks. Maybe when a community willfully leaves a non-stop failure of a school system to join with a failed but recovering system a model will emerge that undermines the Every New City Gets Schools movement.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tragedy In Paradise

A recent trip thru the Honolulu Airport ended in tragedy for a vacationing couple, Max and Edna Bloom. Currently living in the Atlanta metro area the couple recently moved from New York to be closer to the grandkids. Max and Edna were returning from a two week second honeymoon celebrating their fiftieth anniversary when tragedy struck. Edna, angry and distraught nonetheless spoke with reporters.
"We'd had a great time in Hawaii, but I don't eat pork and I was pineappled-out from all the luaus. I just wanted a Reuben, didn't even care if it was a good Reuben, just a Reuben. So Max--Max is--WAS--always so good to me--Max runs up the concourse looking for some place selling sandwiches while I guard the luggage. You know you can't be too careful these days. Some terrorist might drop a hot cellphone in your bag. So Max, bless his heart, I see him about three gates away as he comes running back and guess what? He's got this huge smile on his face and he's waving a Reuben in the air."
"I shout 'where did you find it?' He shouts back 'Aloha Snackbar!' and that's when the officer shoots him dead." Fighting back the tears she ended with "you know the rest."
Indeed we do.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dunwoody To Build Community Theatre

You heard it here first.

You may have been wondering about the sudden urgency around destroying the Brook Run theatre. Council has been acting like a four year old who has just realized he needs to pee and by all that is holy (or unholy) that theatre is coming down. Why the rush? Because the fix is in. Someone, someone with friends, someone at City Hall has a burning need to get a theatre built and the one at Brook Run is standing in the way. But it will stand no longer.

In the absence of Russian hackers publishing emails we'll never know how this situation came about or how it will play out but rest assured--within two years of leveling the current, and only theatre owned by the City they will spend nearly twenty times as much as necessary to build a new one because by then it will be obvious that a Smart City must have a community theatre. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Test Water, Not Kids

Because testing water shows that someone else isn't doing their job and testing kids shows that Public Schools aren't doing their own job. Because that's the best our Public Schools can do.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Live By The Sword

Die by the sword.

That is what Georgia's "educators" are about to do, die from a fatal wound delivered by a sword of their own making. For decades "educators" have justified all manner of wasteful and ineffective (if not downright destructive) trial and error "educational programs." Remember new math? How about transformational (AKA "Roberts") english? Given this long list of failures we should not be surprised that educrats consider testing water more important than testing students and they should not be too surprised that those holding the purse strings want to follow their lead.

With amendment 1 some folks with the money, the State in this case, propose to do exactly what "educators" have taught them to do: "try something, anything, because what we're doing now isn't working." That is the essence of the logic supporting a Yes! vote on that particular referendum. This leaves the "educators" in the uncomfortable position of supporting their cause on the basis of frugality. The engine of modern society's explosive growth of useless but expensive administrators is cautioning against adding more. They don't really have a problem with administrative bloat, they have a problem with someone else getting the money fueling that bloat. As long as they control the cashflow, Bloat Is Good [tm].

Will it pass? Who knows. Language put before the public would do Madison Avenue (or perhaps Goebbels) proud. But this will come up against Little Johnny's Teacher who will tell Johnny's Mommy "Vote No!" No matter that Johnny, an eighth grader, cannot read. No matter that Johnny's Mommy cannot read either. Nor that Johnny's teacher struggles. You do not need to read to vote and teachers say Vote No. Hopefully the sword is sharp. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

III NOT 111

The AJC, particularly the online edition (separate rant) can be a real PITA. Mostly due to ignorance and occasional incompetence. Did you read the article on the Booth Museum? Do you know where the Booth, the second largest museum in Georgia, is located? Good, because unless you read to the last line of a long article the best you'll get is "30 minutes north of Atlanta." This isn't just violation of the Who, What, When, WHERE rule of journalism. This exposes a worm hole exclusively for the use of AJC reporters, because normal folk cannot get from Atlanta to Cartersville in 30 minutes.

Then there's the gun thingy and all things related--like folks WITH guns. They don't know the difference between a pistol and a revolver and every blackish long gun is "an assault weapon" or worse yet, with faux authority, they'll declare it an AK-57. Because that is 10 more assaulting than an AK-47.

The AJC's most recent exposition of "why idiots shouldn't write articles, but we let them anyway" revolves around the Newton Mosque. The one some folks do NOT want built. That one. Apparently one group has offered vocal (well, posted on the interweb) opposition. Problem is the AJC reports them as the "111% Security Force." Perhaps they were watching a football game where color commentary (can you still call it that?) included something like "giving one hundred ten percent" between made-up ejaculations including words like "athleticism." So it must be 111%, right? Because giving one hundred eleven percent is one percent more than giving one hundred ten percent.

But you know what? Fact checking ain't that hard these days. Google is your friend. Wikipedia is your god. And the very group the AJC reported on has a Facebook page. Look it up fer chrissakes. And if you're curious about the Three Percenters check here because the AJC is clueless.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Kale Cures

It does. Really. Just ask any Kale Muncher. And that part isn't hard because they are just about everywhere. But something the most fervent Kale aficionado may not know is that Kale Cures Cancer. Not just any cancer but the biggest "C" of all : Lung Cancer. Researchers are baffled but the twitter-sphere is convinced. And that makes it actual factual.

But. You have to smoke it. All the fun of sucking on a fag with none of the downside.

Not to worry, it's easier than you think. Kale not only looks like tobacco and tastes like particularly rancid tobacco, kale leaves dry, cure, roll and smoke much like Sir Walter's finest. TOD's not going to re-invent any wheels but point you towards some excellent references. First is the Leaf Only's Tobacco Curing and Fermenting instructions that will get you from raw kale to rolling stage. Do not skip this step. Under no circumstance do you even want to try smoking raw kale, at least not as a cigar. Once you get properly cured kale the fine folks at wikiHow guide you through the rolling process.

Once you've got your kale-bano-s you store and maintain them like any other smokable weed. And smoking is much the same as well--outside and away from others.

Enjoy.


Disclaimer. If you eat kale you get what you deserve. If you smoke kale you get what you deserve but at least you won't be breathing our air. Smoke at your own risk and to society's benefit.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Will work for benefits

The Economic Policy Institute likes to portray itself as the voice of the downtrodden at least on economic matters. This translates into pay. Apparently not compensation. In taking up for Teachers, a drum they've beaten for over a decade, they say:
Not accounting for benefits, teachers across the country earn less than other college graduates...
In the real world most folks account for benefits. There's a growing number who will damn near work for benefits. And they're just talking about healthcare.

Don't teachers get healthcare benefits? Sure they do. They also have had, and in some cases taken advantage of, abandoning Social Security for retirement options they themselves decided were superior. And these are not village idiots, as EPI like to tell us, over and over and over again, these are highly educated folk.

Even if you adjust a nine-month contract for full year equivalency it is very difficult to account for the size and expanse of holiday breaks and other time off afforded teachers. And dare we delve into tenure and the requisite "lemon rooms?" We dare not.

And EPI likes to talk about similar amounts of education as if a righteous system would reward diploma holders based on the amount of time require to get the sheep skinned. Really? Do they know that a PhD in Mathematics requires more time than a JD? Who do you think drags down the biggest bucks? The Math Prof or the Lawyer? And do they think a four year Chemical Engineering degree is as easy to secure as a four year degree in "English-Education?" Perhaps so. Perhaps they don't have a lot of folks on staff holding a degree in engineering. Why? Perhaps engineers aren't suited to their work.

Which brings us to the final point. Any teacher thinking their Art-Education degree is worth as much as that degree in Petroleum Engineering should sell it on the open market. After all every college degree requiring four years to get are pretty much the same, right?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

You MUST Send Your Kids To College

Increasingly folks, even those with kids, are asking "Why?" By the time many mortar-boreders walk under the arches they're pushing tens of thousands of dollars in debt out ahead of them. The college degree that had been touted as the gift that keeps on giving turns out to be one that keeps on taking.

But it does give, right? Right. Well that is the widely held belief but the understanding you have to ignore is that correlation is not causality. This particular universal truth is one that is quickly glossed over by academia, particularly the for-profit universities named after a far away city or state. Not only is a degree with their name on it not entering into a causal relationship with your future income, it probably will not correlate very well either. This is mostly because as schools (using the term very loosely) they are masters of convenience and do not produce graduates with much mastery of much of anything else.

So the real problem is just these new-age diploma millIs, right? Right.

Turns out so-called legitimate higher education has something of a bubble going on. They are producing, at almost every level, a number of graduates exceeding what industry can absorb. It isn't just those folks whose passion led them to an advanced degree in "Post-Coital Haiku Studies" this is true with the much Ballyhooed "STEM." TOD has already recounted the GT-EE-PhD who could not find a job until he dropped the PhD from his resume (and quit calling it a "C" "V") but this happens in the STEMiest of STEM: Mathematics. A PhD in Math should be a ticket to anywhere you wanna go, right? So long as you don't actually want to go into academia. For the past several years US universities have awarded between 1800 and 2000 Math PhDs yet a search on EIMS for tenure track Math positions a total of 32. Hardly one tenth the number of new PhDs given you discount the thousands more waiting in the wings with "Visiting Professor' (IE: post-doc) on their C.V. You think you don't even use your high school algebra? How much work you think is out there for Algebraic Number Theorists? Don't save all your pity for the poor English major.

And when it comes to education (rather than training) other STEM areas fair no better. The answer lies in the hyperbole of the high tech execs wringing their hands over the lack of skilled tech workers. They dare not say so but they are really looking for programmers not computer scientists or engineers of any stripe. That's one reason, indentured servitude being the other, they love H1B. They want training, not education. They want certificates not diplomas. Their jobs need skills, not credentials.

So is that university credential really a sound investment? Like any other investment it's relative--you have to compare to an alternative. Any public school sophomore who has endured "STEM" classes ("Here's a spreadsheet, it can add numbers. Numbers? Oh, they're a concept. We'll do that when we get the toothpicks.") should be able to drive a spreadsheet well enough to calculate the net present value of two options: "investing" in college, deferring income, or entering a trade, or the military taking an earlier salary (and making ROTH IRA contributions). Of course these models must be parameterized to adjust for starting salaries, annual raises, periodic promotions, taxes with tax increases, and the time value of debt and investments (like those ROTH IRAs). Extra credit for a pretty graph on the summary sheet showing how long the model has to run before Net Present Values cross--assuming they ever do. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Halloween Is Upon Us

Vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost
These are the things that terrify me the most
No aliens, psychopaths or MTV hosts
Scares me like vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

So say the Feds.

And just what should we be really afraid of? Well, Obama's Feds claim it is the Russkies. See they're gonna hack all the States' election systems and steal your identity. Haven't you always wanted a Russian accent? No. Well that's what should keep you up at night.

You may be wondering how the Feds can be so certain? Well these are the folks from the same Federal Government that post-facto authorized HRC's basement email server declaring it safe and secure. So you see, these guys know security inside and out, and NO there was not a political agenda in play. By all that is holy they know computer security inside and out and they know when it is important. And this is important. Really. You can trust them. They're the Feds.

Thankfully the good folk in Georgia are safe. Not because Russian hackers think we're in that Georgia. No, we're safe because when voter data escapes our incredibly secure systems it is because the Secretary of State's office sends it out to their buddies.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Goldilocks : Choosing Mediocrity

Advocates of the status quo who believe that they have arrived at just right compromise yielding the best benefits to themselves are girding for battle. The battleground? Schools of course.

This time the battle centers around a referendum, which if passed, allows the State of Georgia to intercede at the "local" school level on behalf of ill-served students. Lots of issues here.

We have one of the leaders of Georgia's Teacher non-unions, Verdallia Turner, blasting Superintendent Green who has (wrongly in her view) chosen to avoid takeover by doing a better job:
"Superintendent Green came from Kansas. He is going to leave DeKalb County. We are here to stay."
She much prefers Superintendent Lanoue of the Clarke County School system, not because his failed attempt to leave was aborted by his system's botched handling of a rape situation but rather because he prefers to ask voters to reject the referendum outright thereby preserving the status quo. Apparently Ms. Turner and Superintendent Lanoue like how the system is working...for them anyway. Lanoue seems to prefer a greater cultural or social agenda:
"We need to help you build your community around your school and we can do that outside the Opportunity School District."
Notice that it appears to be your school, your community yet they are required to build anything. Also does not really sound like the "we" being referred to are particularly invested in "your" community. If your community needed help you might even find it condescending.

Then there is the warning (not really a threat) of what happens if you don't do as Ms. Turner and Superintendent Laoue insist is really in your best interest:
"But if you vote this in, what you've said is that you're giving the responsibility to educate your children to someone else." 
Like he and she are NOT someone else? Really? Isn't that the very essence of why we put our kids' education in their hands in the first place? That, in fact they ARE someone else and we, the poor uneducated masses are ill-equipped to educate our own children? Or is she the "Goldilocks" choice? Just right--in her estimation.

The next dodge in justifying tenure-holding "professionals" strangle-hold on a never diminishing stream of funding is the "local control" unicorn. Turner claims:
"People do not understand this will take away our local control. If you don't like your board of education, vote them out."
So all of a sudden she's one of us? Unbelievable. Really. Unbelievable.

Then there is that whole BoE/VoteThemOut line of crap. Anyone who paid any attention at all to DeKalb Schools over the last decade knows what a steaming pile of BS that is. Do the incompetents get voted out? Really? Then why did the Governor have to act and kick them out? And...don't we elect the Governor? How about State Representatives and Senators? They're still elected aren't they? Can't we vote THEM out?

Oh, but the folks that will decide on take-overs are appointed-hired guns. So? Aren't superintendents, ones Ms. Turner likes as well as those she doesn't, also hired guns? Haven't we been schooled by SACS that superintendents rule and no meddling by our elected officials will be tolerated? Do we elect the folks running SACS? Hell, do we even know who they are, what they're qualified to do and how they got the job?

So the next time you're sitting at the kitchen table going over your child's homework, know this: if you truly want control of your child's education you have only one option. Homeschool.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Playing The Price Is Right

What is a property worth? How about your house? Is it worth what you paid? More? Less? Suppose you found someone who'd pay three times what you paid only two years ago, would you sell? Would you feel the least little bit bad about taking advantage of a fool?

Probably not. Not if you have "Dunwoody Values." Especially when those values mean you overpay for an asset and then in an effort to appear thrifty you deliberately under-deliver on commitments to tenants in order to drive them out without promised compensation.

But what is this bad boy we want to call City Hall really worth? Hard to tell, but there is always the sales history.


While it is hard to use this track record to justify the money that Staff, Council and Mayor are getting all wet over spending, the "over-pay" assertion is based on a notion of "arms length purchase" that doesn't exist. Businesses, the owners and renters of commercial property, operate in a community bordering on incestuous. Chambers of commerce and industry organizations are the most obvious public facing entities but for every one of these there are ten less formal but no less potent "networking" associations. Commercial real estate transactions take place at the benefit of both parties and may be structured in such a way that the full value to each party is not reflected in the recorded sale price.

The County has, as it must for tax purposes, its own opinion.


Today's opinion is around $5.2 million, a year-over-year increase of thirty percent over last year's $4.0 million. This might explain why the co-owners are appealing the assessment.


On the afternoon of September 16 the Board of Equalization is THE place to be. It would be very interesting to play back a recording of the owners' argument that $5 million is too high during the meetings with Dunwoody where they argue that over $8 million is a real bargain. Should the City persist in their argument that the County valuation is low by sixty percent what do the City have to say about other properties in the area? How about yours? Is our entire property digest low by fifty percent or more? Who are these fools trying to fool?

We can be certain of one thing: the City of Dunwoody is paying an outrageous premium for this property. What we do not know is who, on the buying side of this deal, is making out like a bandit.

Our only consolation is that the City cannot claim that enormous tax giveaways are necessary to encourage development in the Perimeter area while at the same time justifying overpaying for this property because real estate is booming in the area. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lovin' Dunwoody

Step lightly,
You're movin' too fast.
Take your time, boy,
Soon the pain will pass.
In the meantime,
You gotta find yourself a love
That's gonna last.

Step lightly,
Things will work out fine,
Nice and easy,
All it takes is time.
Please, believe me,
I wish this song was yours instead of mine.

Now don't be angry at what i'm telling you,
I'd be happy if you would see it too.
But in the meantime,
Find yourself a love that's true to you.
Somehow this just does not resonate with Greedy Developer, who, as reported by the AJC, now expects a retroactive taxpayer handout. And this isn't just an incentive (they say accelerator) for additional future development but covers the existing building nearing completion. Like a post-coital pre-nupt with assets in a trust.

As you might expect some boo-birds have surfaced. What surprises is that they come from outside DaVille, including the county and even from an expert outside the state:
"They're asking for an incentive for something they're already doing," said Brent Lane, director of the University of North Carolina Center for Competitive Economies. "We're doing away with the charade of doing something to incentivize behavior. It's just giving away money."
And our Smart City Development Authority is preparing to do just that: give away money.
Michael Starling, the city's economic development director: "The certainty that the project moves forward sooner and is definitely going to happen -- I think there's a benefit to that."
And it isn't just the city's top dog. We have another member of the Development Authority waxing poetic about his desire to respond promptly and generously whenever Greedy Developer yells "Hey mister, throw me some beads." Robert Miller reportedly said:
"If this inducement helps them to make the decision to do it right now rather than wait four or five years, then I personally feel like that's good for Dunwoody because it gets the project done. You could have something worse. You could have [the property] declining and stagnant, and people not wanting to move here."
J. M. & J!

Really? REALLY? Declining AND stagnant? Roll up the pants boys, it's too late to save the shoes. Dunwoody has way too many folks hell bent on proving this is really a quite stupid city, these are just the few two who recently took the stage.

And the Perimeter area is NOT a blighted area. If this were a residential area in the City, half as desirable  as Perimeter, there would be a bidding war to develop any property. Consider if you will the prospect of a neighboring city developing property inside their own sovereign boundaries that just happens to abut a Dunwoody residential area. What would happen then? Well Dunwoody would have
shakers and movers descending on THAT city's council advising THEM to make haste slowly lest they impact Dunwoody! Maybe we should reserve some of that deliberation and prudence for what goes on INSIDE Dunwoody.

But because of a system with Greedy Developers on the one hand and sycophantic city authorities on the other what Dunwoody has is more like Carnival: leering bureaucrats get their thrill on and taxpayers get fleeced. And just who takes the biggest hit? Schools. Do you suppose the mayor or any member of council could run on a platform of undermining public schools? Well when they let this kind of corporate welfare go on right under their noses that is exactly what they are doing.

Frankly, property in the Perimeter area will be developed and were the City to be as opposed to any development as they are fervent in catering to Greedy Developer, Greedy Developer would get his buildings built anyway. He might even pay the City for permission! What Dunwoody needs in regards to development are people with a long range vision who can guide us towards developments in the area that support a thriving community ten, twenty and thirty years from now. Instead, it looks like we have development crack-whores spreading wide for the next fix from Greedy Developer. They have sold their souls and they're selling our future.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Olde School

New School Algebra
by
George A. Wentworth
Copyright 1898

From the preface, a total of two pages from a small-format text:
The first chapter of this book prepares the way for quite a full treatment of simple integral equations with one unknown number. In the first two chapters only positive numbers are involved, and the beginner is led to see the practical advantages of Algebra before he encounters the difficulties of negative numbers.

The definitions and explanations contained in these chapters should be carefully read at first; after the learner has become familiar with algebraic operations, special attention should be given to the principal definitions.

Where to begin?

First, let's ignore the dated and politically incorrect use of the male pronoun as this was published well before women had the vote in the US or Eleanor Roosevelt published "It's Up To The Women." Then, the text is four hundred seven pages (not counting a whopping six pages of front matter) published in a four and a half by seven inch format starting with definitions and simple equations and covering multivariate equations, imaginary numbers, quadratics and simultaneous equations, properties of series and the binomial theorem. On average the book is more than fifty percent exercises (you know, where the learner does the work of learning by actually solving problems) with Chapter XII comprising fourteen pages with less than a page and a half of text and the remaining space dedicated to 66 exercises. Today's student might wonder what happened to all the pictures, the visual pop-outs of definitions and "further study," and the multi-cultural-correct photos of children having fun doing something that must be related to math if for no other reason than it is in a math book.

Today's pedagogical theorists would dismiss this as antiquated "drill and kill." Obsolete. Ineffective. Out of step with today's students. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is actually "skill and thrill." By progressively working thru exercises that demonstrate and elucidate the principles explained in the text the student learns--masters--techniques and concepts necessary for a deep understanding of and proficiency in more advanced mathematics.

This one book can take a learner from colours and counting to pre-calc. Yet you'll not see this in any modern school today. If you have a child you wish to see as a tiger-cub you don't need to subscribe to modernity in mathematics. Instead you should go to a used book sale and buy a text no less than fifty years old. Have your child learn alongside the minds that put a man on the moon. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dunwoody Slum Lords

Slum Lords are kinda mythical. We see them in cop shows, inevitably set in New York City, with plots driven by greedy landlords who are either just ripping off tenants or more dramatically are stuck with permanent renters with equally permanent rent caps. In the former case tenants freeze, cockroaches don't and any water that flows is neither clean nor hot. This is driven by profit motive with negligence only to the point that money comes in but not so much that tenants go out. The latter case usually has some underlying big-time greed motive, usually re-development at an obscene profit. The tenants don't represent benign hosts for parasitic landlords but obstacles to progress and no one gets in the way of progress. So the landlord takes immoral, and if it is a cop show, illegal measures to drive tenants out.

This is what is set to happen right here in DaVille.

And we're not talking about the downtrodden over by PIB or the aging units at 285. Nope. This is the City itself. See, we're poised to borrow 8+ million dollars (with interest we the taxpayers pay more) to buy a cute little building at the edge of the Real City to be our new City Hall. There's only one problem. OK, there are a couple of problems. First it is a real fixer upper but HGTV has not come forth with any reality star willing to reno a town hall that never was a town hall. The other problem is that the building has tenants. That's where slum-lordin' comes in.

There are four tenants and three can be kicked to the curb at the low, low rate of under $150,000. Now you might think that is a lot, but when you compare it to the reno costs it is chump change. Then there is tenant number four, an evil medical imaging service running an MRI operation and they gotta go. But setting up an MRI operation is costly and it ain't just the machine. There is quite a bit of infrastructure involved and this is expensive. Cost is more than four times the other three combined.

So what is a tax-hiking', cash-strapped City beset with a slew of losing law suits to do? Easy Peasy, just make life untenable for the tenant. As reported in the Blue Bag Rag:
Sheats offered a solution to isolate the MRI tenant from the rest of city hall, including a possible separate entrance.

Deutsch said she would hate to spend money to keep the tenant there and suggested the city make it more inconvenient for the tenant.

"Then maybe they would want to leave," said Deutsch. "Then maybe we could reach a compromise sooner."
We can only assume "compromise" means "get out, get out now and get out cheap."

If you did not already know why Dunwoody is on the losing end of lawsuits now you do. Being a smart resident of a smart city you must smile at the City's revulsion to having City Hall in the immediate proximity of a device that lets doctors see inside a patient. After all, transparency is governments' kryptonite. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

TANSTAAFL

The AJC reports on an "unintended consequence" of the growing "you breed 'em, we feed 'em" trend in public schools. As always that problem centers on money--your money and they getting their hands on it. The schools' logic, if you can stretch that definition far enough, is to reduce the stigma associated with getting free lunches. Can't wait to see how they address the stigma associated with NOT being in the talented and gifted programs.

The background issue is that schools have been (ab)using the free lunch program to claim federal funding. And it is big money. APS reports 75% enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year. That seems incredibly high. And incredible it is. Giving everyone a stigma-free free ride changes the schools' funding basis which shifts from unaudited fill-out-the-form-honey to "eligible for federal assistance" which apparently sets a higher bar. The predicted impact is a 50% reduction in funding.

We can only hope it also means a 100% improvement in integrity--but don't hold your breath, schools can be pretty clever when it comes to scamming the system.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Where Angels Fear To Tread


The courts will rush in.

Apparently someone has decided that a key battlefield in the war of gender equality is the right to bare one's breasts in public and the AJC reports that these folks are making a Federal Case out of the matter. As the reporter notes many of Georgia's local busybodies have laws prohibiting such actions. For women. And only women. This would include the self-proclaimed Smart City--we never said we were non-discriminatory.  To wit:

Sec. 24-4. - Public indecency.
(a)
It shall be unlawful for any person to perform any of the following acts in a public place:
(1)
Simulated acts of sexual intercourse;
(2)
An exposure of one's genitals, or of one's breasts, if female, except in a place designed for same.

So maybe it is time to set aside the DHA vs City pissing contest and have the DHA Board craft a new, constitutional ordinance for the City to pass.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Existential Threats

There's one problem with claims of City action posing an existential threat to the DHA--there is an existence proof to the contrary.

It wasn't that long ago there was no City of Dunwoody, but there was a DHA. How can that be? Did the DHA have a couple dozen folks down in Decatur sitting on zoning boards, planning commissions and the like? Hell no, they didn't. And yet the DHA existed. And the DHA will not cease to exist if it re-acquires the level of influence at Dunwoody City Hall that it formerly wielded at DeKalb County offices.

That the DHA views a reasonable separation, even a firewall, between DHA board negotiations with developers and official City decisions and actions regarding those same developers as an existential threat is the clearest proof that the DHA is indeed bartering with their influence at City Hall.

Comments and statements to the contrary do not pass the smell test.

First they claimed to be "just another homeowners group" which they later upgraded to "like the Buckhead Coalition." Still not quite right. The Buckhead Coalition represents the interests of the Buckhead community, not all parts of the City as the DHA lays claim to for Dunwoody. Because of that members of the Coalition suffer from a geographic constraint limiting their ability to dominate citizen boards and panels. Not so with the DHA.

Then there is the claim that members do not receive marching orders from their DHA superiors. Perhaps that is technically true. But they do go to the Sunday revival meetings where the folks in the pulpit describe the souls they've saved and how wonderful the glory. Folks come out with admiration for their workings and have certainly been singing from the same hymnal. Were they brought to the alter for the layin' on of hands to shouts of HEAL? Probably not. But there is little doubt they'll be bringing the Good Word to the unwashed down at the Big Hall.

Clearly the City does not pose an existential threat to the DHA. It is increasingly clear that the DHA poses such a threat to the City. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dunwoody Goat Rodeo


Rumours out of the Blue Bag Rag suggest that our hired-gun City Attorney has asked a higher authority, the State Attorney General, for an opinion regarding the executive session which breathed life into the no-DHA policy. Thankfully it is just an opinion and not an investigation being requested. Should someone with subpoena power embark on an actual investigation this could go pear-shaped in skinny minute.

First would be the City Hall investigation questioning not only the legitimacy of forming policy in closed executive session but singling out an individual organization. The former is surely a faux pas but the latter may light a fuse on a bigger bomb. It may be hard to limit this investigation to just City Hall as their actions were reactionary even if the risk is only perceived. One might question if there is any substance to the perception or has someone been licking some stamps from the sixties.

If the investigation were to expand to cover development protocols in DaVille, DHA genuflection costs and benefits and surety of back-room commitments we might find ourselves with a real goat rodeo on our hands. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Which Dunwoody...

...do you live in?

Do you live in Millennialopolis? You know over by construction junction where Greedy Developers are building apartments to handle the Millennial Invasion? Those would be the ten percenters as the remaining Millennials are unemployed and living with relatives or so under employed they cannot afford high-rise living.

Walkerton? Are you going to move there? That's right, across from the butt-side of a dingy Post Office where equally Greedy Developers have abandoned the impoverished Millennials in favour of the more well-endowed Olde Farts.

Or are you in Normanville? That Rockwellian dreamscape where all kids are into sports, especially baseball in which they all excel. The one where the anti-thespians have beaten down opposition to another field of dreams that is inconveniently situated beneath a theatre.

You might expect to find out what kind of Dunwoody you now live in,or could hope to live in someday soon by checking in at City Hall. You'd be wrong because they haven't a clue.

Monday, July 25, 2016

It Is BROOKrun...

...not BROOKSrun!

The haters who've been laying the hatin' on local thespians seem to think the place was named after Tyrone Brooks mistaking it for another case of deepest darkest DeKalb shoving a famous black politician in their faces. Perhaps some of the pissy little megaphone mouths are upset thinking it is named after someone who shamelessly misappropriated funds. Even then it would still be about black except in this case it would involve a pot and a kettle. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fait Accompli

Fran's Tax Freeze is under assault from a peculiar foe--he and his comrades under the Gold Dome misspoke when crafting a Tax Increase for all of DeKalb. They wanted to increase sales tax for all manner of things, including a whimsical county center parked between the jail and the mulch piles but also added language that real lawyers have determined will remove Fran's Tax Freeze. This was an act either of stupidity or incompetence, or both, and is pretty much what we expect from same-ole-same-ole politics in Georgia.

What is interesting are quoted statements from a county commish:
"At this point, even if the project list was[sic] perfect, bringing this SPLOST forward for a vote in November is irresponsible. To go forward would mean a devastating tax increase on 10 years of property value growth that has been shielded."
There is so much to mine from this shaft. The ten years applies only to those properties that have not been maintained or improved such that pulling a permit was required (and done). Yes, we're going to call a roof replacement maintenance even when the owner upgrades to those trendy architectural shingles.  Or perhaps pushing a growing portion of property valuation off the books (shielding??) was ill conceived in the first place.

What is really interesting is the implication that if a tax referendum is on the ballot it will pass. Perhaps it will. And here's one to roll around in yer noggin: maybe this is what the citizens want. Or maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, those who vote on this referendum will be informed voters making an informed decision.

Or maybe the politicos under the Gold Dome and down in Decatur were confident they could craft ballot propaganda all but guaranteeing a new tax but are pretty sure it goes down in flames if passage kills a sweetheart deal with homeowners who tend to turn out at the polls.

No matter. They'll have to wait until next year to push the new tax thru.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Elementary, My Dear Lewis

In a phone conversation that never occurred John Lewis reportedly said:
My heart was saddened upon learning of remaining pockets of racism near my home in Georgia recently exposed with the naming of local schools. This came about when members of the school board found their moral compass did not direct them down the path of arbitrary and unjust rules. Their simple act of civil disobedience has shown a bright light into dark corners of the hearts harboring hate and racism. These modern day marchers have once again demonstrated that our cause, ever worthy, is never finished. I am heartened to see this cause, started so many decades ago, has gained new momentum in their courageous actions in DeKalb County. 
Unaware that he'd not ended the call (damn those smart phones) he was not overheard saying:
Where the hell is Brookhaven? Should we send Sharpton down there for one of his "Marchin' For Dollars" rallies? Check his calendar and figure out how much he'll get. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Patriotism vs Nationalism

Patriotism is when you fervently believe your country is the best country on the planet because it is where you were born and where you live. Nationalism is when it is the other bloke and another country. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Uber ID

Across the country city leaders are being pressured by Cab companies to require fingerprint background checks for Uber drivers, especially for pickups at airports. Airports have become the battleground because it is a lucrative concentration of customers and it also services customers from afar where pissing contests between new-age and stone-age business have been settled. In favour of new-age.

Publicly the stone-age argument is about a level playing field. The hidden argument allies the Cabbies and the Politicians and, no surprise here, is about money starting with medallion fees. Political fundraising is significantly easier when hitting up a few big donors, cab companies and unions, than it would be going after an ever-changing bunch of Uber drivers.

Big money almost always keeps operations in business long after their use-by date so it is quite possible the stone-agers will win. But suppose Uber extracts a compromise--that a Georgia Weapons Carry License, which requires fingerprinting and an FBI background check, satisfies the requirement. After all, don't the anti-Constitution Nutsies always try to equate gun rights with driving "rights?" Maybe that should be a two-way street.