Monday, December 30, 2019

Holes In CVI Study

Perhaps it was at DeKalb's direction to simply focus on tax revenue and services impact but the CVI study of new city impact on the council misses significant impacts on the folk who actually live here. Fact is these new cities are not about local control, zoning, parks+paving+police. They are about establishing development authorities. Quasi-government organizations with plum jobs for the well-connected. Organizations that by their very nature issue bonds from which they skim significant sums and remove enormously profitable developments from the tax rolls for years on end. All without voter approval and minimal meaningful oversight. By anyone.

These in-the-shadow operations impact more than just the county. Yes, they shift the bond-skimming from county to city but when they decimate the tax base they do so at the expense of the school system. They are robbing your children to enrich themselves, their friends and family and wealthy developers. And no one, not DeKalb County and not CVI are willing to shine a light on these out of control enterprises.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Please Santa, Don't Get Drunk Next Christmas

I don't want to see a reindeer die.

Now before you get your knickers knotted because TOD posted a bashed bambi, you might want to ask yourself a few questions. How did this happen? Hit by a car? Maybe a truck in the no-truck zone? Was the driver distracted by a handheld screen? Drunk? Speeding? Could be any of these, because none of these laws are enforced. Because that isn't what our cops are for. They are here to serve and protect folks in perimeter center and enforcing quality of life laws that annoy Perimeter Center businesses and commuters just ain't gonna happen. Not with a city government with an openly advertised "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

But it gets worse. Residents near the scene have reported shots fired. Three. They are further reporting that cops came out, shot [at] the deer with a rifle as some form of mercy killing. And then just left it. Even for this city that seems harsh and the only thing remotely believable is that it took three shots for them to hit the [immobilized] deer. Marksmanship. Not.

One thing we know for certain: when this city gets involved bambi-s die.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Developing Problems

In their coverage of an on-going pissing contest between the City of South Fulton and Fulton County, or more specifically their respective Development Authorities, the AJC disclosed the real problem. In handing out these tax give-aways these Authorities issue bonds to fund the scam and they skim off the top. In South Fulton this pilfering is estimated to be in the range of $7 million. This is not chump change.

And who are these people and where do they come from? You know, these money launderers and power brokers? Well, they're buddies of the local politicians who appoint them. Fine, fine...they may be family members as well, but usually these folk are given no-show jobs with the developers.

This is what happens when you spawn these cities. It may well be the power/money motive behind creating them in the first place. And make no mistake, when the interests of a Development Authority or their politician friends are not aligned with those of the community, the community will lose. Every time.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Too Bee Mayor

We are on the verge of installing a queen bee down at the city hive. She was the thought leader on the compulsory installation of yellow jacket nests at local drive through windows. It was never clear if the motive were to effectively banish drive through windows, favor new development over established or just plain meanness.

But we're already treated to even more silliness. In shilling for the proposed development in the front lawn and lake of the former Wang building our Mayorette Too Bee posited that there would be no traffic impact because "travelers don't drive, they use [...] Uber." And what do Uber drivers drive? Well in a world clouded by the influence of developers that must be magic carpets. It is also worth noting her assertion that this would generate few NEW trips to the area. Why? Because in her world these developments, including restaurants and a 70,000 sq. ft. fitness facility would serve these MARTA addicted "travelers" and those already slogging there way through our neighborhoods. Should the developers indicate it is their wish, perhaps she'll ban mere residents from entering, blocking the way with their armored personnel carrier and the time-share SWAT command[o] center.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Attacking Loeffler

Isakson is still in the midst of his Accolade Tour and she isn't even sworn in and yet the AJC is on the attack. You'd think she were Richard Jewell. Their complaint is that being a successful businesswoman she might now be in a position to further her interests as a sitting US Senator.

Nothing new there.

Senators have a long history of using their positions for personal gain. And we're not just talking about Biden leveraging his position to get his kid a job or Schumer's daughter have a sweet job at Facebook. We're talking about real money from real influence. They do it so well that they outperform corporate insiders.

It got so egregious that they were forced into legislation in 2012 that on the surface prohibits trading on their privilege but like all legislation they have ensured it is more for show than for go. As recently as this September reputable rags have reported that Senators are still monetizing their positions. And where has the AJC been all this time? Why now? Why this woman? Sounds like an agenda. Yet when speaking out the other side of their face they want us to believe they are legitimate sources of the Real News. Have they learned nothing since 1996?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses...

...And we'll pack them up and fling to the far corners of our country where folks neither want nor can support them. Or so say the lords of the high castle: New York City. Now they have temporarily stopped their "encourage them to come, then pay them to leave" program, but that delay tactic is a common political convenience. Like a Heisman running back they will simply wait for their blockers to open a gap and take it in for the score. It is worth noting that NYC tried a similar tactic with their attempt to undermine the U.S. Constitution but SCOTUS will have none of it.

The same tactic is used right here. Think of all the time that a developer has willingly withdrawn a demand for public subsidy of their profit margins only to come back, when public outrage has cooled, to demand, and get, as good or better a deal. Watch as unpopular, custom-crafted F&F regulations are pulled off the agenda only to re-appear when in-the-pocket pols think "the time is right."

NYC just does it on a grander scale. After all, if you can do it there you can do it anywhere.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Weapons Of Math Destruction

Among all disciplines mathematics has some unique qualities: logic; completeness; and correctness. You either proved Fermat's or you didn't. You can prove things do add up or that they never will. Of course by math, this means real math, not the pseudo- or fake-maths like statistics and certainly not the vulgar concept that any endeavor involving numbers is "math." So back in the day when you found yourself in the company of real mathematicians you were amongst some of the most rational, logical human beings alive.

Those days appear to be gone, at least in academia. We've known for decades that colleges and universities have abandoned the classroom mission of teaching and learning so it should be no surprise that such activities hardly find their way to the average prof's to-do list. But maths is cumulative and plays an important support role. You are definitely going to need those calculus skills when you take on PDE's and you're going to be a mental cripple in Heat Transport without some reasonable math chops. You would think it would be hard, nearly impossible, to expunge teaching/learning from maths. But academicians can do hard things. And so they have.

Unshackled from classroom responsibilities Math professors have joined their colleagues in an obsession over social justice especially as it is manifested as "diversity" in their mind's eye if not in reality. A recent tempest in their teapot was brewed up when Abigail Thompson published an op-ed piece in "Notices," an American Mathematical Society publication where she raised concerns about the use of Diversity Statements as a gating factor in hiring faculty. Doing this by delegation to pre-screeners in HR by providing a rubric makes this a litmus test from which no Teaching Statement or Research Statement can salvage the application. If you cannot satisfy the Thought Police your application will never even be read by anyone on the hiring committee.

Where Thompson lit up the SJWs was in comparing this pre-requisite, overarching testimony to diversity to loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era. Backlash was as immediate as it was off target as there seem to be fetid bags of bile wrapped in human flesh, and ordained with PhDs, awaiting the slightest pin prick to unleashed their screed, even if that screed is otherwise irrelevant. They called for the AMS to retract her op-ed piece. They called for her dismissal. They called for boycotts of her University by job applicants and grad students until they removed her.

What they did not do is address the logical errors in her analogy. These pre-screening practices intended to guarantee that only those aligned with the political leanings of academia are allowed even a chance at entry are not McCarthyism. McCarthy sought to remove folks from positions they already held. He sought to de-platform, to "cancel" before there was even an internet. These diversity litmus tests are much more like Trump's immigration policies than McCarthyism. That is what Abigail Thompson's detractors should have, but did not point out. Instead, what they actually did by trying to cancel Abigail Thompson was demonstrate that academia is saturated with actual McCarthyism. Because she did not pledge her loyalty to their satisfaction, she did not join their jihad, they insisted she be black-balled. And like Joe McCarthy they believe they wield that power.

And the most outspoken Joey in this inter-web Kangaroo Kourt goes by the name of Chad Topaz with a day job at Williams College and he was swift in leveraging his twitter feed for a call to arms--a petition in protest of Abigail Thompson. He wasn't alone and upwards of 600 loyal SJWs chimed in with attribution (naming their employer). But wait! There's more!

Having not learned a damn thing from the Oberlin Over-reaction the jihadists had gone a bridge too far and there was backlash to the backlash which seems to include at least one individual from Williams. Apparently there are still some reasonable minds remaining in academia, even at Williams, and the original petitioners presenting themselves as speaking on behalf of their institution ended up with "some 'splainin' to do." Herr Doktor's twits were abruptly deleted from his twit-feed but have been preserved and analyzed by a group championing, and critiquing, all things Williams. And then there is the money. One commentator observed that Herr Doktor runs a "non-profit" where he solicits donations for which he provides "free and anonymous" consultation on preparing an effective diversity statement. He has set up a business monetizing the expansion of litmus-test diversity statements using a quid pro quo that would make Donald Trump blush.

Herr Doktor also provides mere taxpayers with an opportunity. From his web page (you'll have to go directly to as he redirects links) you'll notice he has been sucking off the taxpayer via the NSF and expects to continue through 2021. He includes a disclaimer that opinions on that site are his and not a representation of the NSF and yet he was among those who refused to accept Abigail Thompson's similar statement that her op-ed piece was her personal opinion only. Maybe we can learn from Herr Doktor--perhaps he can be cancelled. From the NSF. Perhaps if we all write to the NSF and our US Representatives and Senators demanding de-funding this foolishness we can effect a meaningful change. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Will It Really Make A Difference?

You know, the VRU ordinance that recently sailed through council like dysentery through a refugee camp. Don't know what that is? Well, dysentery is ... oh, VRU? OK. It stands for Vulnerable Road Users and it is a local regulation being pushed through local rule-writers across the country, much like the home alarm regulations squizzed out by FARA. Remember them?

The reason that VRU is all show and no go is because this city has amassed quite the reputation for NOT policing in our communities. In particular the city treats quality of life issues as if toxic somehow posing an existential threat. They are significantly less afraid of global warming than they are of community policing. So this regulation will, like most others, go unenforced rendering it mere words on paper.

These trendy feel-good regulations are just that: feel-good opportunities for city hall self congratulation. And they are far from "local control."

Monday, December 2, 2019

Citizens To Admire

Unfortunately they're not close by, but the good folk of Amelia, Ohio have shown the way. After becoming disgusted with an opaque city government that was increasingly deaf to vox populi the people rose up and asserted true local control. They dissolved the city. Something to aspire to.

If the Grey Lady is to be trusted "the fight in Amelia also shows what can happen when polarized voters decide that their government is so broken that it simply shouldn't exist." We shouldn't be far behind given quasi-government agencies handing out tax breaks to developers and shift costs to residents, police force that shirks responsibility to residents preferring to serve the business community and council that prefers feel-good ordinances and support for Friends and Family over serving the community.

Amelia's former mayor was less than enthused: "If you don't like what your government is doing, just vote them out." Ignoring the fact that this is exactly what the good folk of Amelia just did it is worth observing that politicians are generally influenced by and beholden to almost any interested party but the residents. Those wanting to get elected are little better and soon become just as bad. Politicos are concerned with voters only during a brief campaigning period. After that...

When the NYT bottom-lined it that is exactly what the found, citizens asking "what am I getting?" And the answer was "screwed."

Now that we know it can be done it is time to get to doin' it.