Monday, February 27, 2017

Medium As Massage

There has been a lot of real and virtual lip flapping about mainstream media being the enemy of the people with the fourth estate shouting back about the importance of an independent press. It often seems as if the two parties are talking past one another but not really disagreeing. Politicians have always objected to media criticism and charges of bias are increasingly undisputed. So let's take a look at just a few things from the front sections of one issue of the AJC and see what the poor, ignorant masses are being fed as a daily diet of "critical, independent media."

This is attention grabbing:
Forget Texas, FEAR Tennessee!
Big data is a big buzzword and makes for a big, effective headline. If by effective you mean "grab the reader's attention without exposing too much information." And if a picture is worth a thousand words that photo screams "Tennessee is going to figure out where accidents are about to happen and send out a trooper to shoot the survivors." Is this the message mainstream media wants to send? Are they incompetent or misleading?

We also get the AP's solution to the opioid crisis:
Only The Media Knew It Was This Simple!
If the media had not squelched this information the Obama administration could have nipped this epidemic in the bud by simply paying the Chinese to close the loophole. Surely this would have been cheaper than fighting a drug epidemic sweeping our rural areas (talk of an urban problem is still off limits) but we'll never know because mainstream media hasn't "informed the public."

Media are as big a set of windsocks as any politicians have ever been. Case in point: the Swedish Immigration story.
Trump NEVER mentioned riots, only after false reporting were there riots!
So maybe media are correct. When THEY inform the public then that informed public can and will take informed action. It would be nice were the information complete and correct but hey, he was vague and that opened the door wide enough for even the AP to drive a truckload of ambiguous disinformation.

Despite having fallen out of favour with a history-purging PC crowd Thomas Jefferson was correct in his conviction regarding the absolute necessity of an informed electorate:
Convinced that the people are the only safe depositories of their own liberty, and that they are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree, I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree.
If we are to rely on mainstream media for accurate unfiltered information then our time is past.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Fifty First Star

During his world tour to soothe the nerves of Europe's leftist world leaders, Mike Pence, the U.S. Vice President, found himself in Brussels standing in front of a faux American Flag. It was blessed with an extra star. Now we know what the lower fifty represent--one for each state in the union. But what about the Brussels' uber-star? What does that represent? It could be the EU or NATO or even the UN or perhaps all three. But it does represent what these world leaders think of the United States: a source of gold star families to protect their borders and do their bidding.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Yet Another Logo

The City appears doomed to yet another attempt at copping a logo. That presentation does not exactly give hope of dramatic improvement as we learn on foils eight and nine that the United States has expanded to include Toronto, Montreal, Melbourne and Sao Paulo. Wow. Who knew? Well the Smart People down at Smart People City Hall knew, that's who. And they are the folks driving this bus.

It is foil four that offers the greatest [entertainment] value as it solicits "the one word that best describes Dunwoody." This is followed later in the prezo by a list, but it is missing a few that just leap to mind. Let's play word association. We say "Dunwoody," you say:
Exclusive
Restricted
White
Insular
Selfish
Wasteful
Arbitrary
Hypocritical
Inconsistent
Reactionary
Enervating
Taxing [all definitions apply]
And the granddaddy of them all:
Hubris

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Charter School Accountability

Fans of maintaining the status quo have been lining up against DeVos and the Trump administration's support of alternatives to this culture of failure. The AJC's Public Education Pundit decries DeVos' refusal "to affirm the need for greater accountability of the growing charter school sector." This shows a fundamental disconnected between those incapable of critical thinking and the impact of "the money follows the student." What they refuse to affirm is the fact that when a parent selects a school for their child that is the very essence of accountability. And when deflecting blame for their failures public educators have no moral issue with blaming the parents suggesting that they, the parents, are the real cause of failure in public education. Fine. Let's agree to agree: hold parents accountable and give them the means to fulfill their obligation. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Usage Billing

Remember the early days of Cellular Phone service? No, not the days of Moto Bag Phones, but that period in time when every text message you sent, every message you received cost you around seven cents. Remember that? There were even laws passed to ban unsolicited messages sent to your phone.

And you want to know something? Not a single cell phone provider had any problem counting the number of text messages or sending you a bill that matched up. Not. A. One. Then it got more complicated as competition forced plans with blocks of "free" messages before per message charges applied. This was counting AND separating charges by the number of that count. Sounds like something a fifth grader could do, doesn't it?

Well maybe DeKalb County should hire some fifth graders to work in and run their water billing department because they sure as hell cannot get it right. And this isn't some brain fart of competence due to a retirement bubble of baby boomers. This is systemic and longstanding. This is cultural. It is a culture of anti-meritocracy where factors totally unrelated to supporting the department mission push aside factors that might lead to a competent operation. Not efficient. Not optimized. Just competent.

And it has not been tolerated, it has been fostered and will continue to be fostered as rooting out incompetence must, perforce, roll back decades of preferential treatment, cronyism and set asides. It is political suicide and when the county is run by someone who openly admits his political infection can only be cured by formaldehyde we can rest assured this problem will grow. As hard as it is to believe he can and will make it worse. He will not replace the incompetents any more than Trump will put down the tweeter. He will grow government attempting to "augment" the barnacles of incompetence with enough who are capable enough to mask the heritage of failure covering up for those who installed it and excusing those who commit it.

In DeKalb County it is humanly possible to do better but not with the humans we have available.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Clayton Should Not Lose Federal Funds

Why not you ask? Because Clayton County, like all other counties in the United States should not be getting Federal Funds. But we should all be alarmed by this quote from the AJC:
'We're trying to get to the bottom of this. We need to find out where this (designation) originated from and correct it and move on from there. We can't afford to lose any money.'
- Jeff Turner
- Clayton Commission chairman
So much for local control by local government. This is a clear indication that these local political systems are reduced to petri dishes of corruption as they pass Federal Money thru like a starving child with dysentery. When they have positioned themselves, us, where we cannot afford to lose any money they have empowered politicians and bureaucrats in D.C., a vast majority neither elected by nor beholden to the local poll, to run our lives with the mere threat of withholding even the smallest amount of money. The way our local governments operate, Dunwoody included, they will grow their "revenue" to further a "grow at any cost" paradigm benefiting the pols, their friends and families and at the expense of those they insincerely claim to "serve."

The UK voted for Brexit because they realized that laundering their money thru Brussels constituted exporting all of their control to a growing number of foreign interests. They did not take back their country, they took back their control and in so doing a certain necessary measure of their freedom. It is time for the States, Counties and Cities of the U.S. to do the same.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Another Mystery Solved

Ever wonder why the world seems so messed up? Well it could be the shakers and movers, particularly those attending the Cirque de Davos:
One notable event is a simulation of a refugee's experience, where Davos attendees crawl on their hands and knees and pretend to flee from advancing armies. It is one of the most popular events every year. [AJC]
So after fifteen intense minutes of Refugee Twister these One Percent of the One Percent swill down some champagne, the real stuff, retiring to a repast starting with amuse-bouche starring foie gras and caviar to share, amongst themselves, their epiphanous insights into real hardships of refugee crises across the world. Then, sadly, they share them with us.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

If You Like Your Doctor

Regarding the Republican's stated effort to replace Obamacare BHO is quoted as saying:
What you don't want is a situation where they make a promise they can't keep.
The voice of experience.