Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mizz Grady

You know Grady, right? The grizzled gentleman known for taking a rest in the shade of some of Dunwoody's finest trees. In the Village and along the approach to the Linear Park. No-one is suggesting he is living rough--no aspersions being cast. But feeling all proud of our gender diversity, Dunwoody is home to Mizz Grady.

Look. If the City of Dunwoody isn't going to take care of the Linear Park, somebody's got to do it. Right?

Monday, May 28, 2018

What Are The Odds?

Not so good for Sharon Springs as sanity reared its ugly head delaying successful adoption of another layer of government. Until next time. And next time there will not be an ill-advised deal to set the hurdle at 57.5% of the vote--a rather odd number allegedly a compromise between a mere 50% + 1 and a two thirds majority. Such a feeble grasp of arithmetic does not speak well to successful operation of a proposed city.

Further south the city of Stockbridge is poised to offer up some prime real estate to a new city of Eagles Landing should the eaglets vote in favor. Much like greater DeKalb during the Dunwoody scramble folks in Stockbridge but outside the Eagle's Nest wanted but were denied a voice at the polls. But that's how cities are made.

Why does any of this matter?

Because we desperately need yet another city. We need Perimeter City. Eagles Landing sets the precedent of creating a city by pilfering property from another city, a necessary prerequisite to founding Perimeter City. Sharon Springs, in defeat, indicates setting a high bar is an unnecessary risk.  But recent setbacks in the march to cities-for-all signals a need to improve the odds and expedite the process ensuring minimal time for organized opposition. Perimeter City, without a doubt, will be an economic and political powerhouse but it is far from a slam dunk. Success hinges on a back-to-basics hard-hitting campaign blitz and maybe a little bit of the good old sleight-of-hand that gave us Dunwoody.

Let the games begin.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

NOT Watching

By now the Dunwoody City Council has probably approved Billy's Single Source demand for surveillance cameras so they can watch you. Single Source purchases should be raising more than a few eyebrows but there are other much more serious concerns.

Will the camera feeds be publicly accessible? Why not? Do the people being filmed have a right to privacy? If so, why are they being filmed? If not, and these videos are done on the public dime then they are public property and should be publicly available. So...make it happen.

Be no less surprised that Council approves this targeted expenditure than they offer some flimsy explanation why you cannot gain ready access to public information they collect. We know they're watching, they probably do not think that we are, but what are they hiding?

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Not YOUR House

No, no, this isn't about the fact that the bank holds the title. While you certainly feel the pain of "renting from the bank" with every mortgage payment the title doesn't identify the real owner. Government is the real owner. Taxes are a mortgage you cannot pay off; a rent you must pay and if you don't they'll come take the home and kick you out. Thinking about resisting? You'll stay in government housing, but this time it will be prison and you will be marched there at the point of a gun by an increasingly military police.

And that is just the money. Those running our over-arching permission society will tell you what you can and cannot do with their property, literally the roof over your head. From our local overlords' Permits on roofing:

What does this do to protect the public and from what devastating tragedy? What public good does this serve? What is it about a metal drip edge that protects you from your neighbor should they neglect to purchase these or worse yet simply rely on the existing wood molding serving the same purpose? Is this part of the City's war on wood?

But let's put this in context. This is a city that refuses to enforce quality of life ordinances they themselves have passed. It is a city that refuses to enforce safety laws regarding speeding in school zones and semi-tractor-trailer trucks in residential areas. Laws they crafted. Laws they passed. Just like the drip edge requirement.

And this is also the city that refused to even inspect let alone apply their Certificate of Occupancy regulations for semi-permanent trailers at local schools. Schools within the city limits and subject to city codes and ordinances. This is the city that cares more about a drip edge around your roof than it does about your children who live under it. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Silly Season Upon Us

Tuesday marks the voter's chance to pick from a bouquet of single-issue pure-bred candidates. But. There is one issue that everyone lines up behind: government education. Politically it is like oxygen, without it a candidate quickly gasps their last breath. Non-negotiable. Non-partisan. Red and blue, both end up purple.

There is one problem and it is a big one. Education isn't what these folks and their constituents say that it is and most folks, especially those who actually have one of these educations know the truth. Most folks figure this out pretty early. You learn for the test, whether from the College Board or the teacher between you and the Smart Board. With few exceptions, most notably math, you can purge all such knowledge without consequence. THAT is what makes math hard--you actually need it for more than the quiz.

Got a college diploma? Been working for a while? And... Do you use much if any of what you studied in college in your average work day? Didn't think so. But don't feel bad, only the very few actually use what they learned in college and they have a special name: college professor. After all, what do you really expect to do with a degree in Medieval European History? That's right, teach Medieval European History--to a bunch of bored students who need this course to get a diploma to get a job. There are a lot of folks out there with history [and english and psychology and ...] degrees that are, based on content studied, worthless.

Or are they?

In "The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money" economics professor Bryan Caplan makes a compelling case citing a wealth of research--you can fact-check and second guess to your heart's content. You'll have a VERY difficult time countering his argument, partly because it is a conclusion based largely on the research of others, including those who'd not likely agree with his conclusion, and presented in the context of common sense. How can you nod knowing at "All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten" and then tout the inestimable value of the college education offering no learnings that you now use?

More unsettling is Caplan's explanation, not necessarily original to him, that the value of education, particularly to the labor market is, in a word, signaling. You get a better job with a diploma not because you'll use anything you've learned, beyond basic literacy and numeracy, but because acquiring that diploma tells hiring companies something they can use to quickly, effectively and easily improve their hiring decision. The diploma signals some measure of intelligence, of conscientiousness and most importantly that you are compliant. You sat thru innumerable mind-numbing courses with arbitrary content and requirements and yet you did what the voice of authority at the head of the class told you to do. Because they were at the head of the class. Because they were in charge and you were not. What pointy-haired boss doesn't want that?

To be clear, Caplan is adamant, constantly repeating that education is not only signaling, but that it is mostly signaling with the rest being what politicians and others wax poetic about: human capital--ephemeral, unmeasurable, unquantifiable and yes, inestimable. Except when it isn't. Like in economics. Caplan reaches and supports all the logical conclusions. Signaling is important because it is effective. Credential inflation, well under way and proudly promoted by politicians, undercuts that effectiveness and therefore the signaling value of education. We don't need more worthless diplomas, we need vo-tech. We need separation of school and state, just like church and state.

We need to quash credential inflation. Soon janitors will need a college diploma. Politicians will see to it they get them. Once everyone has a diploma, at any level, the diploma signals nothing. So you move to the next one and the next until you run out. Yet politicians seem hellbent on fueling credential inflation given the slightest opportunity to do so. If they said they were going to invest your tax dollars in Venezuelan bolĂ­vars voters would run them out on a rail but when they say they're going to print diplomas at the Caracas Mint voters drool.

We don't need politicians bragging of bravery as a Ranger or a SEAL, or their gender, or poverty, or bad haircut. We need statesmen whose real courage lies in making difficult, necessary and unpopular decisions. We need leadership.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

Code Enforcement Is Haaarrrddd!

But dating can be "made" easy.

And isn't knowing there is yet-another-summer-camp for your snowflake much, much, much more important than a silly old law?

If this city cannot take care of the Dunwoody Village Overlay and enforce the city's own code do you really think they should participate on SWAT teams? Or become part of a constitution-avoiding property-seizure operation masquerading as "drug enforcement"? Really?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

AJC ePaper eFail

eFail as in "Epic Fail." Their "ePaper" is the so-called "online version" of the paper and it is undeniably crap. The main problem is that it looks more like Illya Kuryakin used his mini-spy-cam to photograph pages to put online that it does an actual 21st century online presentation of content. But pictures remain worth thousands of words.

Typical Front Page - Just Like The Print Edition
Let's look into that article the editors think warrant front page coverage. Still looks like the photocopy that it really is.

A16? Really? Not Even A Hyperlink?!!?
Yes. Continued on A16. Annoying in newsprint, especially when chopped in mid-sentence. Surely this wouldn't happen in the article view. But let's take note of where the article is hacked. Just in case.

What You Get When You Click On The Article
Scrolling down to the bottom of the article, this is what'll you'll see.

Hacked In EXACTLY The Same Location
That's right! You get to know which article you're looking at--sorta, because as it turns out the remainder of THIS article is actually listed as a separate article. From a reader's point of view it may as well be. But good luck finding it because there is not a hyper-link to the continuation. From the so-called article view you can go to the next/previous "article" or you can exit to the as-printed view and navigate to the faux-printed page containing the rest of the article and then...well, you get the idea. It sucks.

Maybe there is a work-around. What if you try printing the article. Surely that would print the entire article and not just a hacked up piece. Maybe print-preview is a way to read an article.

Printing Is Also The Hacked-To-Pieces Article
No such luck. Perhaps the iOS version sucks much less. Not really. Similar presentation, but even with the latest version of the app (29 May 18) it repeatedly crashes.

Now let's keep in mind that these articles are not written in two-part disharmony. The good folks running the AJC actually do this. Why? Because the luddites running the show only understand newsprint and that's the way it has always been done. What you see when you look at the AJC ePaper is them giving the finger to the entire Information Age.

And there are a couple of things that make this particularly annoying. Not only are you assaulted by the ads in the faux-print, you actually pay real dollars, every month for the displeasure. Then there is the hypocrisy. This is the "news" outlet that blasted the Kasim Reed machine for intentionally putting roadblocks between public information and the AJC--self-appointed representatives of "the public."  If you are actually trying to read this ePaper, how is the AJC really any different?