Thursday, February 25, 2021

Only In Lilburn

Some Lilburn ex-officials have been indicted for various malfeasance related to development and associated business transactions.  Even worse, one of the indicted was allowed to resign. But even though structural similarities exist all daVillians can rest well in the certainty that really bad things only happen in Lilburn. 

Yes, early on we sailed into troubled ethical waters with counsel at the helm. But we're OK because really bad things only happen in Lilburn.

Yes, there was the pipe farm and the "Save Wieland" mandate at city hall, but we're OK because really bad things only happen in Lilburn.

And there are the recurring civil liberties violations, the lawsuits and the Fraternal Order of Dick Pics that is our police department. Just remember, really bad things only happen in Lilburn. 

It may be unsettling to watch the corporate welfare being lavished on wealthy developers or a mayor who shills for them by demanding high rise development in the Village, but let's thank our lucky stars that really bad things only happen in Lilburn.

When you see your city treating residents like almost unnecessary inconveniences showing total disregard for quality of life, just know Things Will Be OK because really bad things only happen in Lilburn. 

When you realize that Dunwoody is intentionally structured and organized to ensure all these things would happen, well, it could be worse, we could have some of the really bad things that only happen in Lilburn.

If the burden of guilt for having voted this city into existence keeps you awake at night you can ease your troubled mind by remembering Lilburn since the really bad things only happen in Lilburn.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Family Values

Some argue that many of society's ills can be traced directly to the erosion, to the point of collapse, of stable, two parent families. You know, like in the before times, before folks held most important that inalienable right to select and rotate pronouns. That may be why we admire swans-they mate for life. 

Turns out it isn't just swans, some cockroaches mate for life. Yes, yes, the giggling cynic is thinking it is because they live such very short lives. But it turns out there is another, more macabre reason: mutual sexual cannibalism

There may be much we can learn from the world around us.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

They Didn't Ask You

Teachers are an odd species. At least the megaphone mouths who simply will not drop the mic. They're out there proclaiming their limitations: not a licensed therapist; not a baby sitter; notta, notta, notta. But. They're licensed teachers, quick to proclaim their extensive education, preparation, training, oh, and workload. They're demanding respect, hopeful for admiration, for those efforts and accomplishments.

Fair enough.

But it cuts both ways, does it not? Why not then offer up to experts in other domains the same respect demanded for theirs? Why not show that same respect for the experts charged with managing an entire school system and not just a single classroom? Why not acknowledge their specialized education and skills and even the value of their experience? Perhaps even entertain the notion, no matter how briefly, that these experts must recognize and address issues far beyond and more important than what bounces around in teachers' echo chambers. Maybe then you'd understand that experts with these responsibilities should not, and will not, abandon their commitments for the greater good to sate your whims and insecurities, especially given these commitments are outside your area of expertise-you're no more an administrator than you are a licensed therapist. So, by your own logic, why should they ask you?

Maybe if you showed others the respect they have earned you might garner the respect you crave. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Deer Hunting In Dunwoody

Much to the mayorette's dismay the seven dwarfs cannot ban deer hunting, by bow, in daVille because, again to her chagrin and despite her best efforts, Dunwoody remains suburban, not the neo-faux-urbanity of her dreams. So, if you're a bow-hunter and have the property-owners' permission, please, cull at will. Just try not to injure that pitiable child whose congenital birth defects have left him looking strikingly like a deer. 

But. It turns out that more deer are falling to Buicks than bows with another traffic fatality right near Touch Down's driveway--TD of "Martha My Deer" fame. Maybe this is just the way it should be, or maybe it is the way that the anti-cull-crowd want it. In any event the Buick logo should be foreshadowing enough:

Looks like the average Buick driver has at least three arrows in their quiver.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

We Have Met The Enema

We've had the "Save Dunwoody" movement receiving the apathetic reaction of "from what?" and now we know: from "us" depending on how you actually define "us." Bringing this to the forefront is the temporal juxtaposition of the aggressive effort on the part of city hall to rape Dunwoody Village and the comments of the outgoing DHA president who is calling out the bureaucrats and politicians invested in this rape and pillage as having abandoned any commitment to Dunwoody residents in favor of greed: developer greed; business greed; and political greed.

One might dismiss this as a parting shot from an outgoing president and surely the Seven Dwarfs would like to think that is the case. The problem is the president is merely rotating out, remaining on the board. Furthermore, the DHA has taken the action of hiring a lawyer to call the city out on the rape of Dunwoody Village, reminiscent of days of yore when the DHA prevented the development of a mega-Publix across the street from the library. Due to their efforts a community of townhomes and unattached single family homes, a much better complement to Dunwoody, are there now. 

So maybe, just maybe, the DHA has shaken off the role as pipeline to the politicians selling us down the river and has regained their position as the rightful defenders of Dunwoody residents as the loyal opposition to forces of greed that are making DeKalb County look benign. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Is Netflix A Sin

Or is it just a guilty pleasure? No matter, some local governments in Georgia want to treat it, and tax it, like a sin. Now the Georgia Municipal Association, a shaker and mover behind all things "tax" would tell you it is just another franchise fee which they claim isn't a tax, it is just "rent." As if the god in their heaven endowed them with the unalienable right to rent out other folks property. 

But there are some real problems in this nightmare on main street. First, what the hell happened to all that local control? Was that just the stinking bucket of political manure some thought it was? And why is it that the governments that tax residents seven ways to Sunday have no problem handing out multi-million dollar tax abatements to developers who are already making enormous profits? And keep in mind those same advocates of taxing us for Netflix justify it by saying that Netflix is very profitable. First, clamping down on market success is not a sound intellectual argument, else we'd expect to see taxes on restaurants based on their success. Or how about this: a tax on developers based on how profitable they are. Never. Going. To. Happen.

So what should happen? Well, let's take a page from the antifa/BLM movements, Silence Equals Consent and any elected official who remains silent, who refuses to stand up and speak out against these punitive taxes should be removed from office and replaced with representatives who will make the bureaucratic changes necessary to fulfill the promise of "local control." 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Too Wrongs

There have been quite a few pandemic revelations not the least of which are all the self-professed "smartest folks in the room" asking the wrong questions and demanding the wrong answers. Unsurprisingly that is what they get, but perhaps these are just rhetorical questions because the real answer is, with teachers, "we're not going back to the classroom."

But let's suppose these folk really are smart and really want to make informed decisions. 

Then we must start with the most popular CoVid stats: positivity rates and new cases. What do these really mean? THAT is the question these smart folk should be asking and then they should pull on that thread. Very hard. Let's pick one, the positivity rate most often stated in number per 100K population. The alarmists get livid when the rate is over 100 per 100K or approximately 0.1 percent with recent reports north of 500 per 100K. Even moderate curiosity  begs certain questions most particularly how, over time does this splitting up of the population look? Well, over 12 cycles (cycles are usually 14 days) approximately 6% of the population has been diagnosed with CoVid. This leaves out those who have or have had previously diagnosed or undiagnosed CoVid. It is therefore reasonable to suggest that by 1 Mar 21 (taking into account rates late last year) at least 10% of the total population has or has had CoVid. That we know of. But that begs another question regarding how CoVid is diagnosed and whether someone is diagnosed upon a positive test result and if that same person is re-tested with the same result is that listed as one or two cases? 

Ah, the tests...lots of questions there. It seems public school educations have equipped us with an eighth grade reading level and the amazing ability to comprehend yes/no results and little else. But the real questions are around the cycle threshold for PCR testing. What threshold defines "not infected?" Does this vary based on test manufacturer, equipment or reagents? And what is being reported, test results or patient results? In other words, what happens when an individual is routinely tested every two weeks? Do you stop testing them when they test negative after having tested positive? How is that reported and how does it change the overall statistics? What about the folks who aren't tested, are there any statistical models on that? If not why not? We do that for the census don't we?

But there is another test. The one that tests for antibodies generated when one's immune system is exposed to the virus or the mRNA vaccines. Why are those tests not part of the conversation? Why are these not a pre-requisite to getting a vaccine? After all, if you've had CoVid, even mild and undiagnosed, a vaccination would waste a precious resource. 

Why aren't the folks running around screaming "blood on their hands" asking these and other penetrating questions? Why does anyone still think these folks are really all that smart?

Monday, February 1, 2021

When Failure Is Not An Option

In most cases, particularly a John Wayne movie, you gut it out, reach deep inside and get the job done. Do or die, there is no try. 

But another part of our life has taken a different view of "failure is not an option" and that would be public education. They long ago embraced "no failure" by dispensing with F's, and retention. Really, does anyone fail a course, or heaven forbid, a grade anymore? Not for some decades. In reaching this education nirvana they fully embraced the process of "when all else fails, lower our standards."

This was fine in before times of Woebegone where every parent believed their kid, their teachers and their schools were all above average. In those times grade inflation was blindly accepted while simultaneously never speaking its name. Until pandemic. Shutdowns. Re-openings. But not schools, at least not here in DeKalb. Why? Lots of reasons. Teachers, at least those most outspoken, seem to be of the mind that their paycheck, perhaps their job is guaranteed without regard to what they do or how well they do it. They are leveraging the "lower our standards" to insist that teaching from the basement is more than adequate, students are learning, even flourishing though some still admit that F2F is "better." The problem is that an effective ban on cameras in the classroom (who really wants a stakeholder parent to observe their child's class) has been replaced with a parent in the virtual classroom. The "adequacy" is being questioned. Furthermore, some parents work outside the home, many drive around seeing shops and restaurants open, private schools holding class and wonder why they are getting the shaft. 

But teachers are pushing back. In Chicago the union called a sick-out forcing re-negotiations on remote teachers. They are advancing the notion that schools, who issues the paychecks, are essential, but that teachers' presence at those schools is not. Unsurprisingly they expect, with each advance of political will to open schools, with each rollout of vaccine, with each scientific study to move the goalposts. They are even beginning to say, out loud, that there will be no F2F in the 2021-2022 school year, perhaps never. 

Some are fighting back. Broward County, where there is a real teachers' union, has issued back-to-work orders and won a battle in court to do just that. The media battle was less civilized. The district did a quick survey of social media, finding many "remote working" teachers posting beach-blanket-bingo parties, destination weddings, nights out on the town, all flouting CoVid protocols, while at the same time insisting the pandemic is just too out of control for a return-to-work. Here's the real kicker: these teachers accused the district of spying. That's right, you post something on public social media and someone sees it and holds it against you and all of a sudden that's spying. At least if you're a teacher living la vida loca. Turns out it was not spying, it was evidence that may well have won the day in court. 

Will the teachers prevail in their all-pay, no-work campaign? Probably not. The NYT op-eds are calling for kids and therefore teachers in the classroom. Immediately. Papa Joe, who you might expect to do whatever the teachers' unions (or any other union for that matter) tell him to do is actually calling for K-8 back on campus in the first 100 days of his administration. Closer to home parents and taxpayers have to be questioning the very existence of public schools. While you may take a dim opinion of teacher-remote classes even considering it little better than nothing, you really need to ask and answer: is it really that much less than DeKalb Schools in the before times?