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.