Monday, January 29, 2018

Why Media Cannot Be Trusted

In a recent column George Will discusses the RAND report: "Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life" on the premise that modern Americans are suffering from information overload. While it is beyond most political pundits one would expect RAND researchers to understand and discuss the difference between data and information. Information theory is not taught in journalism school but perhaps it should be. However that should come only after they restore traditional journalistic competence.

One of the most recent inflammatory instances of journalistic incompetence is the "hole" vs "house" non-debate. Open question to any remaining competent journalists: which word was actually used? Was it shit-hole or shit-house or was it both? Many reports and much journalistic opinionation occurred before this issue was raised and it has yet to be conclusively resolved having devolved into politically driven arguments about which is worse or whether it matters at all. Media journalists cannot even get the fact of a single word straight so what trust can the public have that they get anything right?

A big part of the problem is simple lack of competence in their chosen field--communication, preferably of facts. Much prevailing incompetence is often dismissed as trivial mistakes or even blamed on technology--word completion or spell checking--but this forgives "professionals" whose profession is words and facts without any justification. We are constantly assaulted with evidence of this incompetence.

Is this a legitimate quote or did the "journalist" screw it up?
“I was so depressed by what I saw, I vowed never to return. And I haven’t. That’s how badly the property had digressed.”
"Digressed?" Really? There are lots of words one might associated with dilapidated property, but "digressed" does not make the top ten.

Then there are "the computer did it to me":
Home Depot has about 10,000 employees in 62 stores spread around metro Atlanta. The company has about 10,000 others in a call center, technology hug, human resources unit and a huge headquarters staff.
And who doesn't what a warm, heartfelt "hug" from technology?

Then there is silliness. You know, like the crap they feed you on what TV calls "news" which is mostly self-promotion, giggling on-air "talent" and cat videos. Well, to be fair "World News Tonight" ran a segment about a dog leashed to his owner and separated by a closed subway train door--not to worry, it all ended well. But really? Is THAT the best ABC can come up with for WORLD News? Really? Do they have any clue what is going on in Venezuela?

Closer to home we get crap like "A burst of gunfire at a southwest Atlanta home wounded a 10-year-old girl as she watched TV." This was the first line of a "news" article and while it flirted with the holy quad (who, what, when and where) there was no serious threat of contact with significant facts. Think about it. "Watched TV?" Did that have a causal effect? Coincidence? Just what was she watching? Why the F does it matter that the TV was on?

Is this what passes for journalism or ad-revenue-ginning entertainment?

Then there are the just outright falsehoods. And let's be clear, it isn't ALWAYS political, as with this description of an automobile.
Honda Fit Base price: $43,000 Sporty looks and a most versatile interior keep this car on top of the class.
Turns out, if you're willing to pay full MSRP you can buy TWO top of the line Honda Fits for $43,000. Before you know it we won't be able to trust what the media tell us when it comes to sports stats. Then all hell WILL break loose.

But there ARE political maelstroms, agendas and manipulations. These get the most enthusiastic attention and criticism, often well earned. This nugget hits them all:
“They were dressed as Westerners,” he added. “They don’t dress the way children dress in the West Bank, for a very specific purpose: to get soldiers to react violently to them, to take pictures of this violence and to spread it around the world in order to delegitimize, discredit the state of Israel.”
Biased? Inflammatory? Sure. And it isn't just national news.  Our very own owner of the Blue Bag Rag remarked to a colleague on a local Fox opinion program (where three men conspire to keep the smart lady from talking) that she "doesn't look jewish." The following week he doubled down remarking that he found the negative reactions amusing and explicitly NOT apologizing. Folks have been fired for less.

When the public is fed a daily diet of incorrect statements, watered down entertainment promoted as news and articles speaking more from opinion than independently verifiable fact it is hardly surprising that the few thinking people remaining realize there is no longer journalistic integrity in the media.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Call A Cop

Don't send Dunwoody Code Enforcement to do a cop's job.

We need to put DPD on this:
POLICE! Put! Down! The Sign!!!
For a brief period we'd have quite a bit of the force on "administrative leave" but it would only take a few cases of enforcement for surviving sign scofflaws to get the idea that Dunwoody is serious about our sign ordinance. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Welcome To Dunwoody

No need to clean the sign as no one at City Hall is paying attention anyway.

Unless you consider pedestrians in crosswalks, cyclists in bike lanes or kids walking to school "detection devices" because those who "protect and serve" are protecting their spots at Fogo de Chão whilst awaiting their server. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Not Projecting

From the get-go TOD has not been supportive of the notion of cityhood and since the ramrod referendum the City has not disappointed. Unless you're one of those who drank deeply from the Kool-Aid.

An increasing number of socio-political drunks are suffering hangovers and as with the alcoholic variety, pointing out the malady is not well received. It seems human nature to take offense, to lash out defensively, when a painful affliction is duly noted, especially when the pain is self-inflicted.

Nonetheless Dunwoody has matured from giddy city-party-central to stunned "THIS is NOT what I voted for" to despair-steeped jeering and parody. Seriously, it isn't just TOD and more importantly the disillusion and disaffection is growing. Rapidly. In strength.

It has resulted in a post-IRC invocation of Godwin's Law using the oft-re-titled clip below. Again, not TOD.  More like "TiD."

A reaction to a code complaint reveals some bigger problems
The real problem is not the sudden disappearance of rose-coloured glasses in daVille but that Dunwoody has neither leadership nor staff that is half as devoted, half as competent as that depicted in this clip.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Bleatings Will Continue...

...until performance improves.

A snarky Faux Fece-Book page was deleted as suddenly as it appeared. Does anyone doubt this was NOT at the direction of City Minions who were further directed by...?

Wouldn't it be nice if the folks running this City were as prompt and diligent in enforcing local ordinances? You know, the ones they wrote. The ones they passed into law. The ones comprising the very foundation of our mythical "local control."

Or maybe it is the citizenry who need to get with the program. Maybe we all need to join their echo chambers on Fece-Book or join their other twits by gorging ourselves at their Tweeter Troughs. Maybe we need to understand that this City is new age. Virtual. That their reality, the ONLY true reality, isn't where roads are paved (often incorrectly), where murders are committed (and left unsolved) or where "broken window crimes" occur every day (and remain unaddressed). We need to tune in to their programming. We need to understand how great each person at City Hall really is. We need to agree that every action they virtually take really is virtually wonderful.  Because that is the only reality they offer and they will abide none who challenge their realm. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Walking It Back

The City of Dunwoody, which grossly overpaid for a City Hall and paying gawd only knows what to renovate the building is backing off on a commitment to be in the place starting the first of this year. From their fece-book page:
After much consideration, City council has decided to move back into the old city hall. We appreciate everyone's understanding of these changes. Sorry for the confusion. We will have a full statement out shortly.
Whiskey Tango Facebook! What can this be? A joke? Did someone hijack the City fece-book account? Did Grogan go Rogue and hit up the account with BS as a distraction? Was it too far from Fogo de Chão to suit Billy's Boy's tastes? Were they unable to get their ducks in a row such that The Right "which shall not be infringed" would be? And to maximum extent of their capabilities? Are they afraid the magnets in the MRI machines of Elite Radiology might disturb member of Council's trusty Piagets?

Some have pondered the discovery of asbestos. Or perhaps radon. Normally this would be late in the game as competently managed projects would check that in the early days. While the contractor surely checked there is a precedent with the City's handling of major paving projects yielding dictated inferiority. Maybe someone at City hall told the contractor to spread around some asbestos  or install radon sources. Perhaps someone has a cousin who runs an abatement firm?

But the important question remains unanswered: does this impact the re-branding effort?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Common Sense?

The use of "common sense" as a rhetorical club to squash intelligent debate is not restricted to "common sense gun laws" but has bled over into the silly side of arguments before SCOTUS in our tri-state water wars. The best lawyer our tax dollars could buy, Craig Primis, is quoted as saying:
"There's nothing common-sense about the operations of this basin"
Silly as it sounds, he is probably correct. It is about greed. Perhaps conceit. Certainly arrogance. Obvious Fed over-reach. But sense, common or uncommon? Not on your life.

Nonetheless it will be interesting to see whether SCOTUS takes the side of mollusks or favors the allegedly advanced life form that insists on pouring drinking water on the ground. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

They're Baaaaack!

Backers of the zombified City of Cliffside are back, refusing to accept failure while at the same time suggesting they will do a better job this time are on the march to citihood. It is interesting to note they have excluded those areas that voted them down in the last vote essentially saying "love us or we'll leave you." This could be dismissed as mere political expediency but there may be something more significant in play.

The group being tossed back into county waters as chum are the same group that DeKalb fear may bolt for the safer confines of the City of Atlanta. Given recent precedent this move likely will expand the footprint of Atlanta's school system at the expense of DeKalb's. Given the disparity in millage rates this is a win for the bolting taxpayer. Add in APS' demonstrated superiority in addressing the needs of their socio-economically diverse population and it is a win for their children's education prospects.

The new city, and there will be no rest until there is a new city, will have its own problems but the intentional exclusion of this particular group chips away at the sovereign borders of DCSD and sets the stage for DeKalb cities to argue for their own schools within their own tax base. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Restoring What?

Entitlement? Anarchy?

Maureen Downey reports on the practice restorative justice becoming all the rage in public schools as politicians pin their career hopes on eliminating suspensions for a protected constituency (parents of misbehaving children). She focuses on the impact this practice has had on previous punitive actions and the explosion in behaviors that, in the past, would have resulted in what pols now consider extreme punishment of the offenders.

Since this is about public schools, at no point is education addressed. Not the impact for these now out-of-control offenders nor for the students who whose education opportunity is being stolen by these feral beasts.