Thursday, December 28, 2017

PR Over Service

You may have noticed there are radar speed signs in Dunwoody. You may have heard that an allegedly drunken driver took a plow thru the DUMC tree retail operation[1]. In fact you may have seen the DUMC kerfuffle on the Police Facebook page. Where you might also have noticed how the PD is chowing down at a trendy local restaurant[2].

That's right, unsolved murders[3] and all, the police have time for constant updates on social media. Some top brass have their own web sites where they publicly polish their own brass[4]. It seems Council's sycophantic symphony of praise leaves a few interludes to interject a self-congratulatory chorus of How Great I Art.

What you will not notice in the detritus of this public relations campaign is meaningful information. Like what, you ask? Glad you asked. Remember those radar speed signs. They can actually collect data on every vehicle passing by. That data could be made available to the public, to inform the public, to serve the public. But it isn't. And it will not be. Why? Because the PD is too busy tweeting and face-booking. And that is just one example. Of many.

So here is a new year's resolution for our elected officials and their city manager: let's make this the year that we replace Grogan and his brass-heavy tribute band with leadership that is interested in serving this community. And when we get our officers to put down their tweeters and get back to the job we might really consider paying them a living wage.

[1] Do they have a business license for that? What, because it is a church? Could they sell booze w/o a license? Why not?
[2] It seems that the "International Association of Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Code of Ethics" explicitly forbids accepting gratuities defining this as anything you receive by virtue of your profession. That would include free and discounted meals. Unless you're in the Dunwoody PD.
[3] The unsolved Abbotts murder
[4] If it were something other than brass you could go blind doing that.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

They Have A Name For It

They call it "supply-chain attacks."

These are cyber attacks making stream encryption, two factor authentication, finger print scans and questions about your first dog a Maginot Line. How do they do this? By leveraging the humans who operate a company's network rather than the technology these humans operate.

You might want to ponder this the next time you align with the Flat Worlders' View. You may think you're doing business with the First Baptist Bank of Dunwoody, but they're giving their business and your information to India, Inc.--where they don't even have to attack the supply chain, it's handed over to them. That's why you keep getting those phone calls from "Dave" who sounds more like he's from Bangalore than Bangor. You see, they already have all your information and now they want your money. You can give it Dave or they can just take it.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Horror Classics

The recent real-life horror of the ATL power kerfuffle reminds us of what can (and will) happen when a complex system is confronted with the prospect of what in isolation seems like a simple, single failure. The entire house of cards collapses and the KaseemKeishaKingdom has more than a little difficulty sorting Humpty's mess. The problem is of tragic proportions when a company secondarily noted for being closed on Sunday delivers food to stranded travelers. On Sunday.

But it is also a time to reflect. On what is. What was. And what just might be. In the spirit of the season TOD will offer some reading recommendations to scare the bejeezus out of you this holiday season.

Topping the list has to be Ted Koppel's Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, a well researched treatise on the fragility of the nation's electrical grid. While the title focuses on the prospect of a cyberattack which resonates with today's "the Russians are coming! the Russians are coming!" terror-mongering the author does reflect on lower-tech approaches to flip the switch on our darkest days. No high tech, no frightening assault rifles required. Nor commandeering of any fuel laden transports. Just a few disgruntled bubbas (aren't they always bubbas?) with deer rifles, decent aims and a middling, operational understanding of the magic of PGP and we could see the grid dropping like pine trees after a blizzard. The ease of creating the calamity is just a tease as the real horror is our country's inability to survive for more than a few days without power. "What do you mean you cannot pump gas without electricity? Who knew?" He offers one ray of hope for those who want to survive: become a Mormon. THEY know.

For those a little more into Charles Manson than Hitchcock there is the legal thriller from Timothy Sandefur: The Permission Society: How the Ruling Class Turns Our Freedoms Into Privileges and What We Can Do About It. This is a story about how you, the reader, may think you are a prince when in fact you have become a frog. A slowly boiled frog. Unlike Lights Out, religion offers no refuge. You're screwed. Your parents were screwed. Your grandparents were screwed. And it is only getting worse. It becomes like a twisted version of bells and angels' wings from It's a Wonderful Life: whenever you hear "there oughta be a law" you know someone is getting screwed. More times than not that someone is you. While the title promises a way out it only raises false hope. There is no way out. You cannot even chew your arm off to escape this one.

While fact is often more frightening than fiction and some say fear of the unknown is greater than any other, it is Lionel Shriver's The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 that will scare your mule. This dystopian novel set in the not so distant future depicts a United States after the Social Democrats have their way. Based on simple economic truths running headlong into persistent political expediencies the US economy and social fabric collapses like an imploded 20 year old football stadium. Virtually nothing in Shriver's novel stretches credulity leaving the reader convinced that this future is highly likely, if not entirely unavoidable. Spoiler alert: there is a wall on our southern border; Mexico did pay for it; and they built it to keep us out.

You may think these are fairy tales where bad children get baked in a witch's oven. But look around. We've got electrical infrastructure so fragile that a City Councilman felt compelled to dress down company managers in a public meeting (to be fair that was probably just political grandstanding) and parts of Dunwoody did indeed lose power in the recent snow storm. The very existence of the City of Dunwoody is an affectation of a ruling class benefiting from more government, more restrictions, more regulations and more permits, all at your expense. If recent run-ups in gold and bitcoin haven't convinced you that the value of currency is NOT the full faith and credit of a government and its bureaucrats but instead the faith of those holding that currency then you really haven't been paying attention. For those thinking real estate is a safe repository of wealth you might ponder that it is the most heavily taxed vehicle for holding wealth--until the government comes to get it.

So if you have the courage and would like some good reads these should find their way onto your list.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

It's Not About The Money

And always is.

Atlanta's annexation of Emory was going so well with DeKalb Commission and BOE approval after they extracted meaningless concessions from the ATL. Then Mother Maria "rose up" and demanded that APS expand its boundaries to remain the same as the City.

The undisputed facts are pretty simple: APS is getting approximately 10 students and DeKalb is losing about 2.25 million USD. Now APS will not get THAT much money as their millage rate is lower than the usurious rates imposed upon DCSD taxpayers. Based on the squealing from the usual pigs you'd think this was an enormous amount of money and if it were what you inherited from uncle Ned on the occasion of his untimely demise, it is. If you compare it to a nigh on billion dollar budget it is like that penny in the parking lot. Hardly worth the effort to bend over and pick up. Another view, one slowly surfacing, is a "gross profit" perspective. In no way are those 10 students getting 2.25 million USD of services so there is a lot of meat in that gravy. Enough to [almost] cover the compensation packages of the super and his chosen ones.

But as is common in polite society it is the taboo subject hiding the greatest truths and the topic least discussed in education is, well, learning. Not a single member of DCSD administration or board is initiating or engaging in a fact based, meaningful debate on how this change impacts learning for these 10 students. We ARE subjected to political platitudes about serving every child and protecting the interests of 102.000 students in DeKalb. Someday maybe those interests will include learning. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

What Works

Use What Works
Even in Dunwoody.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thank You Dunwoody!

Local businesses would like to thank the voters of District 1 for ensuring that "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" has retained her role of protecting our freedom to ignore what you seem to think are your laws. Silly you.

Remember, it is NOT ticky-tacky if we say it isn't.

Oh, and our trucks? Well you can expect them to continue to barrel thru "your" school zones.

Thank you. Thank You. Thank YOU!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Is It Really Charity?

When you must be paid to do it?

Any number of groups are hating on tax reform. It is only a bit surprising that some vocal hating is coming from "charitable organizations" who otherwise self-profess to do all manner of good things for all manner of people. Just not interested in helping people who pay taxes.

As currently proposed, changes to the tax laws would raise personal exemptions and lower incremental tax rates. Charitable organizations see this as an existential threat as they are convinced that donations come not from recognition of and support for their good works but because their kind of American gladly gives them a dollar to screw the feds out of twenty eight cents. The AJC has the cat far removed from their bag:
Someone with a tax rate that goes as high as 28 percent could give a $100 donation to a charity, but they’d see a $28 drop in taxes with the deduction. Which means that $100 donation ultimately only cost them $72.
What better reason to give? While Habitat for Humanity, a local fave, touts their good works, they fall just short of demanding direct public funding by insisting that the government incentivize taxpayers to divert taxes to H4H:
“Habitat for Humanity has serious concerns about the proposed tax bill’s impact on charitable giving,” Chris Vincent, a vice president for the organization, said in an emailed statement. “Habitat strongly urges Congress to preserve and enhance charitable giving incentives, to preserve the vital work that organizations like Habitat do with low-income families across the country.”
Just because these organizations are not for profit does not mean they are not all about big bucks. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Let No Entitlement Fail

No matter how few are affected or how minor the impact (to the individual or society) any aspect of any tax plan negatively impacting an entitlement seems DOA. The AJC recently reported that a tax loophole in place for graduate student stipends might close and the beneficiaries of public largesse are furious.

There is the not-so-subtle subtext of "this is for the children and their education" but the chicken-little hyperbole from "student leaders" is almost unbearable.
“Many current graduate students will be unable to afford this new tax, and would fail to finish their programs as a result.... Universities would suddenly produce fewer graduates, and would be left with fewer instructors for undergraduate courses.”
Really? Wow? They get paid THAT much? So much that they would clear the limit to pay any income tax at all? Honestly, in some fields PhD candidates do get a stipend and generally tuition is waived (you're still on the hook for books and fees) but this doesn't rise to a level of burdensome or even any, income tax.

Then there is the loss of cheap labor complaint noting that fewer grad students, supposedly forced out due to this onerous though unsubstantiated tax burden, would mean fewer graders thereby driving down the quality of undergraduate education. They seem quite ignorant of the quality of graders and missed the memo from the IRS indicating excluded income was for work required for the degree. Grading homework in no way clears that bar. Are they cheating on their taxes? Are they saying it is OK? Sure. Why not? It IS an entitlement, isn't it?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Beggars ARE Choosers

It is rumored that yellow corn is unpopular in Africa because it is associated with foreign food aid and indicates poverty. Yet no one is discarding yellow corn whilst demanding white corn or brown rice.

Puerto Rico is a completely different disaster. Chronic financial mismanagement has driven the territory to insolvency with this man-made disaster fostering a culture of dependency. That's why we've heard the increasing demands for financial relief. That is until recent natural disasters brought poignant hardship to each and every resident. No power. Limited communication. Water and food in short often non-existent supply.

And yet.

They turn their noses up at freely offered food, brought to them by Uncle Sam's foreign aid version of Uber Eats. Why? Because it is not acceptable to the delicate, refined palettes of the Puerto Rican gourmet.

What was this odious fare? Potted meat.

Many a nanny-stater agrees with the not-so-famished in Puerto Rico turning their noses up at a meat spread requiring no refrigeration. Or so we hear from their tweets, bandwidth limited not by character restrictions but the time demands of debating which is the better pinot, noir or gris, between sampling canapés. But here in the Southland, where these food packages originated, many a callous handed redneck has made a working lunch of potted meat on saltines. Many dismiss this as folklore or nostalgia gone the way of peanuts-in-the-Coke and certainly those hardworking rednecks have been displaced by hardworking slave-wagers from much further south. Nonetheless...

In today's world our handouts are supposed to be culturally appropriate, by which the nanny means "sensitive to the culture of the recipient, not the giver" and should be quickly withdrawn and replaced with something more desired if any recipient finds the gift "demeaning." Maybe so, but it sounds like there are a lot of folks in Puerto Rico who aren't very hungry and have plenty of time to complain and demand entitlements. Or maybe they are nostalgic too.
"Ev'rything's free in America!"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Geese And Ganders

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

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Censorship

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

And they must be punished.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shorter College Department

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's All About You

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Mayor Can't Get Rich...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

Only God Can Make A Tree...

...but Spandex can bring them down.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Knee Replacement

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rural Outreach

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

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

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

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

* Higher Ed survey conducted with Gallup

Monday, October 16, 2017

Guns And Campus Deaths

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

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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

DeKalb Negotiators

When it comes to the upcoming annexation of Emory, Inc. into the City of Atlanta, DeKalb fancies itself a Trump-like, Art of the Deal negotiator. The Commissions top dog, who must be coming up for election, toots their horn thusly:

“The idea was to make sure that our citizens are being protected,” said Gannon, the commission’s presiding officer. “We had to raise those concerns in good conscience.”
Protected? From? Concerns? Really? Here's what she was able to deliver:
The agreement grants several concessions to the county. The city will pay $1 million a year for up to a decade for county firefighting services, adopt the county’s zoning restrictions on development and tall buildings for a year, and require a public meeting on MARTA’s transportation plans.
For up to a decade is an interesting qualifier. Turns out one year fits that definition. As does one month. And nearby residents are protected from the overbearing shade of tall buildings for an entire year. Twelve full months. And MARTA is going to have a public meeting on their transportation plans. Now this seems odd if only because both Fulton and DeKalb and therefore the City of Atlanta are charter members of the MARTA Tax Club.

What no one seems willing to discuss is the transfer of a significant tax based from the County to the City. What tax base you say? Isn't Emory, Inc. tax exempt paying no property tax? Indeed. However they do pay franchise fees and given their power bill that ain't chump change. More important is the occupation tax which is essentially an income tax paid either to the county or, should there be one, the city. Annexation moved these taxes from DeKalb's account to Atlanta's with nary a peep from DeKalb's "leaders." 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Ending

Tolerated (encouraged?) by District One's business representative.

Constituents know what they've been getting but November is nigh upon us and maybe there will be a happy ending.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Take A Knee

The recent theatre of the absurd that is society in America has NFL players "taking a knee" rather than show the more customary respect for flag and anthem at the start of football games. Setting aside that their bloated celebrity is based on little more than playing with pigskin covered balls, their antics have nonetheless captured the nation's attention. We all hear the hyperbole, "giving 110%," "leaving it all on the field," but they believe it.

Pushback has come in the form of calls to boycott all things NFL. Games, in person and televised. Merchandise. Memorabilia. These will have limited impact. After all who is really going to give up fantasy football? But there is one group that should boycott immediately and permanently.

And that would be the U.S. Military. All branches. All manifestations. No Marine color guard. No Army band playing the anthem. Not even the local high school Junior ROTC. No "surprise" re-unions. And certainly no fly-overs. No symbols of national pride for those with no pride in their nation.

Those taking a knee may be surprised to learn that nearby to almost any game played on any given Sunday there is a National Cemetery. Let them go there. Let them find the final repose of a soldier who died in service to this country. Then let them take a knee. Let them reflect as they kneel at the feet of a soldier who gave only 100%, who was not left on the field of conflict. Who gave up their future to secure a present where those with an inflated sense of self can speak their shrill opinions born of shallow thought. A soldier who gave that last full measure, fighting for the country and under the flag that now stand guard over them both.

And as they rise from their genuflection, if they have anything else to say, let it be "I'm sorry."

Monday, October 2, 2017

Isn't That SPECIAL?

Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Special? Really? How so?

The plan, if you can call it that, includes routine operations, including maintenance, that are part of what any reasonable government should provide as a matter of course. Nothing special there.

There is also nothing special about local governments, bureaucrats and politicians alike, squandering every penny they get their hands on and then demanding more. More. And even more. And this is a 14% increase in sales tax rate representing systemic incompetence within local governments when asked to meet even minimal fiduciary obligations.

It may be time to raise taxes but if it is then it is also time for the voters to upgrade the capabilities and integrity of those who have backed us into this corner. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thank Gawd For APS And Clayton

The AJC has reported ACT scores for the region and no DeKalb school ranks in the top fifteen. DeKalb's composite score of 19.8 neither topped the national average of 21 nor the statewide average of 21.4. But that's OK because we have teacher pep rallies and billboards speaking the truth--we don't really suck. That much.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump's Taxes

Remember those? Very vocal anti-Trump groups were demanding, as some kind of made-up-as-we-go-along "right," to access then candidate and now President Trump's tax filings. Inquiring minds must be in the know.

Didn't happen. Turns out not many folks in government want very many of the financial truths revealed because it looks less than unsavory as even casual examination indicates government insiders are making out like bandits. And this isn't just the sudden millionaire M. Albright or the laundering operation of past presidents. As long ago as 2004 the Wall Street Journal reported on Senators cleaning up in the stock market getting upwards of 12% better return than Wall Street pros. And it is not just the Senate. In 2011, the New York Times reported similarly over the top returns for Representatives in the House.

And it isn't just politics that pays. It is government as well. Recently the AJC reported that working stiff wages and salaries average $23.15/hr whilst government "workers" rake in $30.12/hr, a 25% markup. Benefits fare worse at $10.11/hr for us and $17.94/hr for them, benefitting them with an additional $0.75 for every dollar we work for. No wonder government employees are such fans of a big and growing government.

But it isn't just inside-the-beltway bandits. Have you ever noticed how it isn't very long before a gold dome Representative or Senator is bringing home the gold, often to a really nice second home on Tybee or up in Blue Ridge? Or how a City Councilor's wife's cousin's husband lands a cushy job with a local Audi dealership? You know, the one owned by the bloke who's wife needs a wee little favor, a business friendly ordinance perhaps to help her business. And others like it, of course. And then magically a nice nearly-new, just off-lease A7 comes available at an extraordinary price. And why wouldn't that politician get first dibs? After all a shirt tail relative works at the dealership. And this is above and beyond (or below and under-something) long standing traditions like calling utilities to task for your neighbors or jumping queue for things like private school slots. That's old school.

So maybe the folks screaming for Trump's Taxes have a point. But it may be they don't go far enough. Maybe all politicians should publish their Tax Filings and their property holdings/interests. Many do. But the next logical step is for any incumbent seeking re-election to submit to a life-style audit. That might actually go a ways towards breaking the rule that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Software Enginerr

The Equifax news has been top of many a mind for a while now. Upwards of 143 million have had their personal information compromised. To put that in context there are 126 million households in the US (88%), 11 million illegal aliens (7.7%) and 800 thousand "dreamers" (0.6%), so all things being proportional one would expect enormous outcry from the "Financial Lives Matter" activists. There are calls for criminal charges for executives, based on what is not clear but perhaps SEC violations, and everyone is settling into the calm after the storm assuming nothing will happen, nothing will change. And that is probably the case. Maybe Financial Lives Don't Matter. Maybe that is because the only folks with the time to whine and complain and march about What Matters don't have a job and don't have a financial life.

In the early days Equifax pointed their fickle finger of blame squarely at the Apache Project and the Struts framework in particular upon which that particular group of FOSS-ers broke it off by pointing out how many months ago they had released a security update. Even luddites know you install a security update the very minute it is available, after all the black hats get the word at the same time as the white hats.

So what happened at Equifax? Are they institutionally incompetent? Maybe. Are they culturally steeped in an NIH syndrome and only reluctantly use any FOSS and consequently have great disdain at being told, from the Open Source community, you better do this and do it now? Maybe. Are they soaking up the rays in the Last Millennium Lounge and just haven't a clue how you work with FOSS and how that affects your development and operational processes? Clearly.

So what can we, inside and outside the industry, do to turn down the incompetence? Some have suggested we try what we do in other domains and require that systems with significant potential for public harm should they fail be designed, deployed and operated under the close supervision and sometimes direct effort of licensed professionals. Maybe it is time to enforce our laws. You see, to call yourself a lawyer, to practice law you need a license. Same for a medical doctor. Same for a structural, mechanical, electrical or aerospace engineer. And think about it. Would you want the bridge your child drives over to be designed by some off-shore company whose employee have whatever education and degree from a school no one has ever heard of and may be as ephemeral as Trump Academy? Well that's what happens with software. But this practice is not going away and fact of the matter is the underlying FOSS is globally developed largely by folks with no affiliation to anything other than being a good programmer. Not bad in and of itself and this simply points out the real problem--it is not the professionalism of the programmers it is the professionalism of those in Equifax who selected the components, built the system, deployed it, and then neglected to maintain it.

Maybe it is time to license Software Engineers just like any other Engineer and to quit calling anybody who can drive vi a Software Engineer and prosecute companies that call them that. After all, those companies are breaking the law. And Equifax is one such company.

You think these jobs require a PE? Nope. Why not? Because the State of Georgia doesn't license Software Engineers, nor do they enforce their prohibition on calling yourself an Engineer when you are not licensed. That might be bad for bidness. They do license lots of folks but that is just for the revenue:

And yet they do not license Software Engineers. In fact, one of the only states to offer a PE for Software Engineers is Texas and they are also one of the few to enforce their own laws, at one time penalizing Novell for calling their trained Command Line Jockeys "Network Engineers."

Some will argue that the guild socialism of licensure by a permission society is outdated and superseded by industry certifications and self regulation. That argument has much merit as industry is likely to keep up with rapid changes in technology and practices while government devolves into bureaucracy and red tape. However it is neither unreasonable nor overly restrictive for the State to require that key individuals in organizations like Equifax have these industry certifications, that they are current and for the State to bring significant criminal charges against those who fail to adhere to industry practices and against the managers who who allowed, or supported, the negligence. 

Monday, September 18, 2017


Why can't Dunwoody get their act together regarding signs in the Dunwoody Village Overlay District?

Maybe they should take a field trip up the road to Roswell, GA and see how professionals get it done.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rose d'Irma

Après la tempête

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dunwoody Gets A Roundabout

A constituent in District 1 has been attempting to work with the City to address some quality of life issues directly affecting his home and family. Now this is not your ordinary whiner. That would be TOD. In fact, this bloke was one of the starry-eyed supporters of city-hood. A card carrying member of Dunwoody Yes! and Citizens for Dunwoody, participating on at least one of the pre-city-hood Task Forces. How's that for more Dunwoody than you?

A recent take-to-task issue has been the lack of enforcement of a no-truck-zone on Chamblee-Dunwoody from Roberts to Spalding. While this has been a no-truck-zone for some time, pre-dating the City, thru-trucks have sped thru unmolested as the City refused to address the situation.

Until now.

Last week the City "fixed" the problem by removing the northbound truck restrictions from that stretch of Chamblee-Dunwoody which lies entirely in the City and has imposed new, never before northbound truck restrictions on Roberts between Chamblee-Dunwoody and Spalding, which is partially in the City. This is not in the transportation plan. This was done without notice and without opportunity for public comment. This is about much more than silencing a complainer nonetheless this constituent's case is rendered moot because the offending signage has been relocated.

What Dunwoody has really done is route truck traffic in a loop. North on C-D, South on Roberts with the loop closed at the north via Spalding. And this is just the first, baby step. The full plan calls for conversion of these sections of Roberts and Chamblee-Dunwoody to one-way for all traffic creating a huge roundabout as shown in this map.

Inconvenience to residents is mitigated by the two cut-throughs (shown in red) with the Dunwoody Knoll route improved by the removal of the stop sign at the bottom of the hill. The right of way reclaimed will be re-purposed to protected bike lanes similar to those cropping up across the nation.

Note that only cyclists will enjoy bi-directional connectivity once the planned changes are completed. While there has been some discussion around sidewalk widening and other improvements that part of the plan has not been finalized as Staff remains unconvinced there is sufficient pedestrian traffic.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ordinances Do Not Apply To Private Property

Dunwoody has gone all libertarian on us. Staff charged with enforcing ordinances, particularly the sign ordinances and Dunwoody Village Overlay restrictions have indicated that these rules do not apply to private property. This comes with the backing of the incumbent representing businesses in the area at the expense of constituents who remain without representation.

So the first thing you should be wondering is "what was all the hoopla about the chicken ordinance?" After all, ordinances do not apply to private property so you can keep all the chickens or goats or geese or whatever barnyard animal you are fond of on your private property because as City Hall will gladly tell you City ordinances just don't apply to private property. And let's hope you didn't waste money on drip edge when you had your roof replaced because that ordinance doesn't apply to private property, your house, either.

Upon realizing their new found liberty a few neighbors near 'bouts Redfield are joining together to exercise their private property rights by starting an alligator farm. Now rest assured there will be chickens involved as there is nothing a growing gator likes more than a decomposing chicken.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Mysteries Solved

See all those wine, beer and liquor bottles parading in front of the recycle dumpster? Wonder why they are there? That is because the bins are filled to overflowing with their brethren.

So if you have been thinking this City looks like it is being run by troop of drunken monkeys you may be on to something. At least now we know why City Hall seems addicted to all things alcohol.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Election Is Coming

And they are not uncontested.

Maybe we can find a candidate who can read. And understand. And not become so easily confused.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

And They Call It Puppy Love

Over by Dunwoody United Methodist Church, the birthplace of Dunwoody, there is a holding pen for rug rats that is transitioning to a strikingly similar operation hosting dogs. Being labeled "doggy daycare" does little to disguise the fact that it is more like a "doggy hotel" of the extended stay variety. Yes, we're talking sleepovers with proper human chaperones to avoid the near occasion of a doggy brothel. But it isn't the prospect of squeals of delight but incessant barking that has human neighbors lighting their virtual Tiki Torches. One neighbor summed it up thusly:
"The city needs to establish a new code for affluent neighborhoods.
Now why would anyone think the city must ask "how high" whenever the affluent say "jump"? The easily jumped-to conclusion is "entitlement," but just consider that it might be something else. Perhaps, watching how malleable city hall seems whenever a business needs an ordinance custom tailored to their needs, they might have thought that voting taxpayers, especially rich ones, might carry similar gravitas. Regardless, the neighbors may want to get accustomed to incessant barking as the new business intends to join the BYOB club giving it Most Favored Business Status with the Council. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cis-tra, Cis-tra

From the Agnes Scott College Statement on Gender Expression and Gender Identity:
“We support students, including students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or questioning (LGBTQIQ). This support takes the form of a variety of campus services designed to create a safe learning and living environment for all. We recognize and value individuals across the spectrum of gender and are proud of the trans women, trans men, and non-binary individuals who have been admitted and/or graduated from Agnes Scott. We embrace our identity as a women’s college and as a community are committed to inclusive excellence in our mission.”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Exceptional Students

Students must believe they are exceptional because they are always asking for exceptions. It has been going on for decades but has become all but universal recently. They've gone from the first day of class notification that they "are an 'A' student" to threatening to gang up for career-killing course reviews. It is not an idle threat.  Before launching the nuclear option they will demand "extra credit" oblivious to the fact they've not bothered to do the work required of "usual" credit. Once their god-given right to an 'A' seems threatened they run to the department head on their way to the dean. If the institution has integrity the entitled darlings will then provoke their parents to intervene usually leading to a discussion of FERPA.

But if a Prof really wants to screw with their little self-esteems it is easier than one might imagine. All you have to do is tell them they can have whatever grade they want. Don't want to do the work? Don't do it. Take an 'A'. Don't like the project team you're in? Get out. Take an 'A'. Upset because your loopy candidate lost an election? No problem. Take some down time. Oh, and take an 'A'. Turns out the entitled little snots find this 'Take an A' policy insulting. Almost as if the professor is telling them their work ethic sucks, they haven't learned and aren't likely to start any time soon and yet still expect an 'A'. It only hurts because it is true. But they want the transactional appearance of "earning a grade" when in fact they have no intention of doing half the work needed to earn a 'C' a mere thirty years ago.

And the University is in on it. Like any other business it is grow or die. Expand at all costs even if it means lower standards for entry as well as retention. A society that believes a college degree is a pre-req for success is not going to resist the decline past mediocrity into absolute educational fraud. Yet the school doth protest:
"The syllabus did not conform with the university's rigorous expectations and policy regarding academic standards for grading. Rest assured, this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom."
As an academic endeavour Business must be laser focused because this statement clearly ignores the history of the University. Turns out the University has a documented history of passing out grades without necessarily handing out tests. Passing grades for ball passers. And this University is not alone. The practice is nationwide. And now it is being expanded from money-making athletics to money-taking academics. All this professor did is what was done before: expose today's 'education'  for the sham it has become.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trail Of Tears

The Georgia GOP, who otherwise advocate free-market economic policies, have come out against legalized gambling offering this nugget as justification:
legalizing gambling could open the door "for any Indian tribe to venue shop for property to open casinos" around the state
Really, Kemo Sabe? You mean like your forefathers venue-shopped the Cherokee to a distant state or a nearby grave? Do you really find it that offensive that descendants of the original inhabitants might return, buy back their land and operate a business offering a much-wanted service paying taxes, to you, all along the way? Or are you just protecting your gambling business from legitimate competition?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Unenforced Ordinances

Someone with the City was noted for openly pondering why anyone would pass an ordinance that would go unenforced. Perhaps this was rhetorical. Perhaps it was just a thought, meant to remain unspoken, that escaped. Perhaps it was a sincere though naive question from someone new to government in the U.S. and this burg in particular. These ordinances are being used by politicians and bureaucrats to create a totalitarian government destroying what our country's founders intended as a free society.

In his book, The Permission Society: How the Ruling Class Turns Our Freedoms into Privileges and What We Can Do About It, author Timothy Sandefur identifies the radical innovation our country was founded upon: personal liberty derived from inalienable rights and bolstered by self-evident truths.  He then spends the rest of the book chronicling how politicians and state bureaucrats have whittled away at these liberties creating an authoritarian state King George III would envy. One of the most powerful weapons in the statists' arsenal is the at-will enforcement of laws, regulations and ordinances. The ruling class attacks their foes, including you, cutting with both edges of this sword.

At-will enforcement pushed the power of judge and jury to the edges of the ruling class allowing officers and bureaucrats to punish or persecute those who meet with their disapproval. Look no further than Dunwoody's Police Department with a Driving While Black policy so egregious it put the City on the losing end of court cases. Or the City lawyer who took it upon himself to berate and threaten a taxpayer who hired goats to clear his property of weeds and brush because by the lawyer's assessment the property owner infringed on government dictated right-of-way. The other edge is the "don't ask-don't tell" approach to ordinances espoused by at least one member of Council. This allows members of the ruling class, Staff, Mayor and Council, to curry favor with Friends and Family in private and business sectors. The potential for filling campaign coffers or securing personal wealth is no disincentive to this practice.

If you believe the deflective ruse that at-will enforcement is really on-complaint then put it to the test.  Report speeding in school zones expecting serious, effective enforcement and you will be disappointed. Try that with trucks in a no-truck zone and you'll get a dismissive email about insufficient infractions to justify police attention. If you get anything. Try as you might you will find nothing but a City devoted to destroying what our fathers brought forth on this continent.

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's All Your Fault

In his tenure as DeKalb School's chief Michael Thurmond started riffing on the notion that public schools were just fine and the real problem was failures in the communities they serve. Green and his administration brought deflective blame-the-society, blame-the-community to a crescendo complete with pep rallies and self-congratulatory billboards. This strategy does not supersede or obsolete the tried and true tactic of trotting out the teacher-proof student as a shining example of public schools' capabilities. In fact, a staunch proponent of public schools, the AJC is doubling down.

In a recent posting it is suggested that the success of public schools is due to work ethic, another external factor and yet somehow crediting schools, and not the external actors with that success. The author dances a jig around racial issues by singling out successful east asian families, Tiger Parents and their Tiger Cubs, for the high priority they place on academic achievement and the work they devote to that achievement. The posting paints a picture of "this is how public schools can work for you"--dedicated, devoted parents with high expectations taking primary responsibility for their children's care and education using the public schools as one of many tools at their disposal.

The author pulls up short in any examination of the primary and subordinate roles of the featured actors lest the argument backfire exposing that these academic success stories have little to do with public schools or their wrap-around services and bloated administrations. This would required poking around in Tiger Mom's toolkit. Music schools--violin, piano not Sousaphone and marching bands. Math programs--Kumon, Mathnasium, the Art of Problem Solving as teaching mathematics was abandoned decades ago by public schools in favor of "math concepts." Summer math, robotics and computer science camps. Perhaps, depending on what part of "East Asia" the Tigers come from there may be some soccer involved. World of Warcraft? Maybe not so much.

And then the author would need to explore how this works. How does the Tiger Parent find the programs? How do they choose between them? What does the student's schedule look like? You can cite directed, funded research to fill the page, but in Atlanta many folks know or are Tiger Parents. You may start with a beginning keyboard program advancing to smaller studio lessons based on Tiger Referrals, studio visits and recitals. Similar approaches are used to select the math programs, summer experiences and online education where Tiger Cubs acquire their educations. The key element here is why proponents of public schools avoid all but a passing examination of Tiger Families: they have choices and they make choices. Choice is a wooden stake thru the heart of vampiric public schools.

So just how does this all turn out? Well, you can get an immediate sense by googling Kumon locations noting where they are and perhaps more importantly where they are not. Now if you believe they are missing in south DeKalb because the schools in that part of the system are doing such a wonderful job that a market doesn't exist then you need to check some facts. To Thurmond and Green's original point, there are no supplementary educational operations in that community because there is insufficient demand. This drives the on-going wave of self-segregation with Tiger Parents putting miles and sometimes school districts between themselves, and their children, and those suffering from an Elektra complex with regards to paternalistic governments, including schools. Since it is politically impossible for even a concentration of Tiger Parents to break the stranglehold public schools have on education tax dollars they will leverage their political power to ensure that "working for the children" is more than a platitude. If the best teachers, measurably better than others, are not teaching their children there will be changes. This self-segregation and political pressure will continue until the system modernizes giving Tiger Families complete control over the full spectrum of education options. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Wikipedia entry on the Dunning-Kruger Effect should include a picture of Dunwoody--Staff, Council, Mayor--the whole schmear. They, like all governments, work diligently to avoid transparency but many-a-time their disdain for competence shines a light. Take this faux-transparency on the Smart City website.

Pretty cool, huh? Who knew this City had any ethics let alone such an abundance that a Board is required to keep up with it? Only one problem with this. See that puke-green text "Ethics Ordinance?" That is one of them-there fancy "hyperlinks." You know, the kind that takes you to another web page. Only this one takes you down a rat hole.

Turns out Dunwoody doesn't have an Ethics Ordinance. Or maybe they do and just don't want anyone to know what it is. Or maybe, just maybe, they are hopelessly mired in the early phase of the of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

School Silly Season

In preparation for the upcoming school start dates all the sayers, not doers, are out in force. We've got a billboard campaign out of DeKalb proclaiming "We don't suck as much as you think we do," perhaps a deflection from the school system's tax increase. We've had the release of what passes for state public school performance metrics followed closely by mainstream media dragging out the tired excuse of "free and reduced lunch stats as a proxy for poverty" -- an annual excuse for the abysmal state of public education implying it isn't the schools' fault but rather it is society. But their "investigative journalism" is weak as they never point out that qualification for semi-formal poverty is never verified by the schools' nor do they look into why society would continue pouring money down the rathole regardless of the root cause of the failure. The comedic value of media's juxtaposition of their neo-America impoverished state where many schools have 100% free/reduced and their stories on "healthy" bento-box recipes for your darlings' lunches is lost on no one. Given their dire depiction of poverty in the classroom how can they possibly justify that much ink for the dozen mothers in Georgia who can afford the food for a packed lunch?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Daddy Dearest

Dad's mad.

You see Dad bought each of his kids a car. Not really his idea but he was at the Friday Fish Fry and heard all the other Dads talking about the cars they bought for their kids. When, make, model, know, regular "man-measure" kind of talk. So Dad starts to thinking...if you can call herd mentality "mentality" then Dad was thinking. He was thinking he better be fixing to get ready to get his kids some cars.

And so he did.

Then something unexpected happened. Kids took to driving. Every chance they got. Seemed like if they didn't have to be at home they were gettin' in them cars and gettin' the hell out in a Dodge. Probably because Dad was paying for the car, the insurance and the gas. Why not? Road Trip!

Unintended consequences. See, Dad wanted the kids hangin' 'round town not toolin' 'round north Georgia with their buds. 'Murican Iron but not Chevys and Levees. What's a Dad, especially a Mad Dad to do?

Well, being the kind of parent that Rosemond says has destroyed America, Dad figured he'd just pay them to stay home. So that's what he's gonna do.

The real problem, in case you were wondering where this was going, is with the City and Petty Paternalism. Not the kind where they want to keep your goats outta their right of way, make you cut your grass, make sure your roofer installs drip edge or prevent you from working at home. This is turned inward. As hard as it is to believe this is directed towards the police, arguably the most responsible folks on the payroll and certainly the only folks held in high enough esteem to be packing in City Hall. When there is political hay to be made Cops Is Tops but when it comes to deciding how to live their own lives they are just like the rest of us.

Cops shouldn't take this personally as it is basically as thoughtless as the Fish Fry Decision. Other cities give their cops "take home" cars and if Dunwoody is anything it is unoriginal so our Cops get cars too. They also get pretty much the same craptastic pay because, well, that is what all the other cities pay. It has come to the Sauron-like attention of our Powers-That-Are this level of pay might keep your take home car out of a Dunwoody Driveway unless you marry well or are on a call. Persistent paternalism precludes them entertaining the possibility of a cop wanting to not live in Dunwoody. It's not like any of the Cops out there are Ryan Seacrest.

But there is a simpler way than playing the Parenting Game. Here's a thought: let's pay Cops a living wage. Yeah, yeah. That's not what everyone else does and well, we're part of the herd. But we don't have to be and it really isn't that difficult to break free.

Take the cars for instance. What does it cost to own and operate one of those beasts? Before you add all the do-dads that make a nice ride a Cop Car. Cipher on that and come up with an annualized cost, gross it up and add that to their top line pay. Let them pick their own car. If they want to get an off-lease Camry because they're saving for a college education then that is their choice. After all if we can trust them to make responsible split-second decisions where firearms are involved we can probably trust them to pick a ride.

Then there is the calamity of where City Hall wants them to live. First requirement: City Hall needs to get off its collective high horse and let our employees decide where they want to live. If you think the factors influencing a car buying decision are tricky try juggling school choice, two jobs and increasingly "what do we do with the parental units?" Not to worry. Someone down at City Hall knows just what you need. NOT! Like the cars, housing is a cost/comparative study. How expensive is DaVille? Compared to? Pick some comps, here and abroad. Make an assessment, gross it up and make the adjustment. No one is saying that a Cop's pay gets you a million dollar infill McMansion but there are some Four-Four-and-a-Door Dunwoody Classics needing a little TLC that are well within reach.

The bottom line is this: pay Cops a living wage and let them live their lives. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Because You're Too Stupid

Living in The Smart City it can be ice-bucket shocking being told you're stupid. But the Associated Press reports that Federal Bureaucrats have done just that:
The USDA had indicated that it would use "soy beverage" in official policy documents, but it wanted to use "plain language" in materials for the public.
This all came about when the powerful milk lobby objected to the [mis]use of the word "milk" to brand anything other than lacteal secretions of mammals, preferably cows. The bureaucratic pissing contest pitted the FDA against USDA with the FDA taking the "F-Word" seriously with the position that "milk" was directly from a lactating mammal objecting to the USDA's cavalier [ab]use of "milk" when it wasn't "milk" at all. The USDA acting as federally funded shills for Big Ag defended their position on the basis that while fellow bureaucrats are intellectually equipped to handle such a fine distinction, you, with your Sesame Street intellect are an idiot. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dunwoody Sign Company

Regis Corporation

Hugh E. Sawyer III, President, CEO, Director
Jim B. Lain, COO, Executive Vice President
Annette Miller, Senior VP, Chief Merchandising Officer
Rachel Endrizzi, Chief Marketing Officer

7201 Metro Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55439-2131
If you point your browser to your favorite investment site and look up Regis Corporation you'll find a company in decline. Dividends ended years ago. Profits are now losses. The five year high is well over twice the 52 week low. It fell off The Cliff Of '08 but unlike others never recovered.

Why should we care (unless you are a long-term shareholder)? Because Regis Corporation owns Supercuts. Is there a correlation between business success and being a good corporate citizen? Is Regis aware of the franchisee whose persistent visual pollution flies in the face of our Village Overlay and the wishes of our community? If you are concerned that these executives are unaware of what is being done in their name you might drop them a note. It won't be the first they receive. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

What's Wrong With College Today

The AJC drops this nugget in an article on the challenges and stress of college, particularly Smith:
With workshops on impostor syndrome, discussions on perfectionism, as well as a campaign to remind students that 64 percent of their peers will get (gasp) a B-minus or lower, the program is part of a campuswide effort to foster student "resilience," to use a buzzword of the moment. 
Setting aside the fact we're talking about Smith, and ignoring the made-up edu-babble of "impostor syndrome" and "resilience" let's just focus on the key failing of 36 percent getting NOTHING BUT A "B" OR BETTER! Really? An entire college career without even a B-minus let alone an ego-crushing C? And this is at Smith. What is your darling facing at a state school? Nothing but A's?

Back in the day, before every snowflake had a constitutional right to a college diploma, over 69 percent earned a "C," plus, minus, it didn't matter. It was a generally accepted fact that most folks were average, only a few were exceptional and equally few were not cutting the mustard. When you moved from high school where you were in the top ten percent to college where you were surrounded by all the other schools' top ten percent you were then confronted with a new average. Where you may no longer be in the top ten percent.

Absolute standards of learning and performance were set to be met, or not met. There was no curve and whenever a whiny class suggested such it was met with the observation that under absolute standards there was nothing preventing a class with nothing but A's whilst a curve guarantees as many F's as A's and as many D's as B's with the vast majority getting C's. Nonetheless, The Curve became the norm.

The Curve ran its course in the nineties dying out in the naughties but there was no return to the high expectations and academic rigor that preceded The Curve. The Curve coincided with high school grade inflation, low standards, a tuition-driven business model and the intellectually bankrupt notion that everyone, including the ignorant and ill-prepared are college material. More importantly the normal distribution (none dare call it The Bell Curve) was supplanted by a bi-nodal distribution, known as The Dumb Bell Curve, with Tiger Cubs at the top end and the flotsam and jetsam of failed public schools anchoring the other. Blowback over getting C's evaporated but the mantra of "Success for All" pushed the entire Dumb Bell Curve into the range of B or better. Academia continues to blow fluff into their tuition driven bubble by replacing academic achievement with a mere participation award. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Blizzard Hits Dunwoody

A local Gangsta Pranksta set off a storm of silly when he gathered up a bunch of Ossoff and Handel campaign signs, cut them in the shape of snowflakes then re-distributed them throughout Dunwoody. Seems silly and harmless enough. Until a local pol channels his inner Trump and just cannot stop himself from going vocal and public. The local rag reports:
Dunwoody Councilmember Terry Nall, a Handel supporter, said he believed the city cleanup "is an unfortunate use of public resources." 
Of course this directly contradicts city spokesperson Bob Mullen who reports the cleanup of these signs is NOT expected to incur additional costs because the city does this all the time anyway. Then there is common sense. Mista Pranksta collected the signs from the right of way and if he put them back right where he got them it would be net zero cost to the city. But Da Pranksta appears to have his snowflakes in drifts making city cleanup easier and cheaper. But Nall cannot let it go:
“While I do not know if this was meant to be a political message, a decoration for the upcoming Independence Day holiday, or a prank typically seen on April Fool’s Day, I do know it will be a city expenditure to remove these from the public right of way,” he added. “For a city with a small, lean budget, this is an unfortunate use of public resources. Clearly, someone must have a lot of extra time to modify these signs and then place them around the city.”
Wouldn't it be nice if the Mayor or Council cared as much about the flagrant sign violations in the DVO as at least one of them seems to care about humorous snowflake signs? 

Monday, July 3, 2017


This little nugget appeared in an AJC movie review:
"...with a number of Twitter users pointing out the movie's lack of intersectionality."
Only thirteen words and so many problems. Twitter users? Really? That's what passes for a valuable, printable component of a professional movie critique? And "a number" is exactly how many? And what percentages of the tweets directed at this particular twit mentioned this particularly cinematic failing? The cherry on top has to be intersectionality. They are just making this stuff up, even the words.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tale Of Two Roads

Two roads. Two contractors. One City. Same problem.

You may have received an email blast from City Hall bragging about how they're holding a contractor's feet to the fire over newly paved and yet still sinking parts of Chamblee-Dunwoody. Similar problems are cropping up on Mount Vernon. Different contractor. Same problem. And a different approach by the City.

Why? Because the Mount Vernon contractor told the City that their requirements for backfill would result in compaction issues. Which is exactly what has happened. On two different streets with two different contractors. The City's story is the requirement, though non-standard, is not the problem but contractor workmanship is at fault. On two different streets. Two different contractors. Same problem. Same requirements. Same City.

Is it possible that a common problem has a common root cause? Apparently not in this City.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Removing Signs

Neighborhood Services Director Richard Oswald has responsibility for illegal signs within city limits. The city sign ordinance, available online, covers temporary signs which require a permit. In a recent article in the local paper Oswald speaks to the issue of illegal signs.
"If you look at any major intersection, you'll see numerous signs, and we try to get them pulled as quick as possible," Oswald said.

Although it may seem like a lot of rules, Oswald said it's a problem that can get out of hand quickly.

"If we didn't regulated it, imagine how cluttered it would be and them climbing up poles," Oswald said.
If you guessed this city is NOT Dunwoody you would be correct. It is Davenport, IA where it would appear they care about quality of life.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ossoff: Handel-ed

Though not nearly as bad as that fateful Wednesday when hordes of women queued up at Goodwill to drop off tear-stained blue pantsuits[1] this Tuesday's results have left them confused, angry and conflicted. Clintonistas whose argument inevitably devolved into "don't you think it is about time we had a woman president?" found themselves battling against sending the first female Republican to Congress instead supporting an ill-qualified rich white guy, a man who's money came from deceased relatives, a man who so loves the district he choses not to live here. But neither character nor logic has a place in personality, gender or party politics. Not then and certainly not now.

What of those who voted for Ossoff to "send a message"? These folks see our representative government as little more than an opportunity to raise the boy scout sign as they screech "read between the lines" to some far off unseeing, unhearing mythical foe. Are they of such an intellect or character that they can accept that a message has been sent? And that it has been sent to them? And what of the outside monied interests promoting an outsider for what is otherwise a local issue in the sovereign state of Georgia? Are they different in kind to the alleged Russian meddlers they blame for the bad press used to excuse their candidate's failure in November? Are the millions of dollars their establishment spent a projection? Does it say "Our votes in Congress are for sale, so we cannot comprehend how we cannot buy yours"? They tried. They failed. They will spin. But at least, for now, we can bask in the benign neglect these coastal elites afford the fly-overs.

[1] While you may have thought your Mexi-Maids had been issued new uniforms the fact is the second-hand market was flooded with blue pantsuits sporting only one wear, no wash and deep discounts.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How To Read The Paper

It is increasingly difficult to read the paper, not because of what is in it but because of what isn't. Back in the day, when newsprint was ink on paper and journalism had some integrity, a basic tenet of competent reporting was to answer the four key questions in the first sentence: who, what, when and where. This slowly eroded to the "get these in the first paragraph" and as that slippery slope got steeper it is uncommon to find these questions answered anywhere in the entire article.

So here is an effective and efficient way to gather information from a "news" paper: read the first paragraph of an article and if all four questions are not answered move to the next article. With this approach you get all the information available in the paper in under thirty minutes of which twenty nine are spent in the sports section covering the last remaining meritocracy in America.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Tax Man Cometh

Dunwoody's deceitful backdoor tax increase is about to scoot thru the process in the same kind of "What Happened During Your Summer Vacation" approach used to sneak in the cityhood referendum all those tax increases ago. The city is flogging the propaganda angle:
"No one owning a home when Dunwoody incorporated is paying more for the same property as they did in 2009 with this credit," wrote the city finance department."
Crafty bit of work, that. True enough that if you bought after 2009 your home was marked to market at the time of sale and there is no good basis for comparison but let's not knock the city logician for not understanding that your city tax bill was $0.00 in 2009 if you did not move here until 2012. The deception is a bit more troubling when considering that permitted work is another trip wire filling the city coffers. Their CYA is in the technicality of "the same property" because if you added that sunroom or replaced that drive it isn't considered "the same."

If you were paying Dunwoody taxes in 2009 let's hope you were not fooled into believing that more government would be better government when it is really just more, and growing taxes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Circus In Village Overlay District

And the ever-present, cold-sore that just will not go away:

And why does the City seem hell-bent on giving Memorial Drive a run for their money as "armpit of the city?" It is by order of the Councilor "representing" this area.