Monday, October 31, 2022

Park That Budget

Eleven Alive reported that the cost of the Olde Austin Park will be just shy of $10.5 million and the Vermack, on hold until they do a little political pas de deux, is estimated to be a little over $4.3 million. But...the newly minted budget allocates a mere $3.1 million in 2023, less than one fourth of the (enormous) cost of these parks. Bear in mind the little political side step known as "requesting public feedback" is a delaying ruse: you will never see any of this feedback in the raw, only filtered through "we're the government--trust us." The only thing this will affect is the price which will go up. 

Maybe Eleven Alive's numbers are wrong, but they would have to be off by an order of magnitude to align with the budget. What is more likely is the city is using the same financial software as DeKalb County schools and have their finances about as well in hand.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

What IS A Budget Anyway?

Council passed a budget touted as "holding the line" on spending and services and yet this budget includes salary increases. just what line were they holding? It also has burgeoned to completely consume the revenue bump from the millage rate increase and even then requires draining $2M from reserves. Companies across America are managing financial hardship with pay freezes, layoffs and restructuring. But this is government run by bureaucrats who will do anything to up the headcount and increase pay. What line really concerns them?

King John rose to the challenge, at least verbally referring to what he saw as "an ugly baby" and suggesting "the toddler picture doesn’t look like it’s going to be much better." He also noted that it is a structural deficit that has him concerned. From this we can conclude that the structural deficiencies are intentional and the only option that we (or council) will ever be presented with to alleviate them will be larger tax increases. KJ also questioned the bureaucratic priorities. It is about time someone did. 

“I’m just concerned that we are funding things that the public doesn’t want and not funding things that they do want. I’m particularly concerned that we have sidewalk projects in this budget when we have heard from citizens that they want to slow down on them.”

There are likely many more opportunities to inject some sanity into the lunacy of city hall. But that's not going to happen. A high ranking bureaucrat told council that the budget can, and will, be modified throughout the year. “This is something that will be modified 20 or more times throughout the course of the year.” Again, is there really a line being held? Do they write this budget on toilet paper? They may as well. At least then it would be good for something.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Finding More


And...It Is In A School Zone

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Here's A Shocker

A local government, DeKalb County in this case, touts a commitment to transparency but when pressure was applied and the financial system was audited the report itself was so heavily redacted that you would have to change toner cartridges half way through printing it out. The excuses were offensive. Odious. Concerns of system vulnerability? Really? Isn't this a fairly recent acquisition from a highly respected company? Then they wanted to lessen the possibility of the operating system being sabotaged from without. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot! The relativism is a typical politician's ploy. Just how susceptible is this to outside attack? What are the attack vectors? How in the name of all sanity is information in a financial report PDF going to facilitate compromising firewalls, gaining access to an internal system and gaining admin control? And how much, exactly, precisely, measurably, do these redactions reduce specific vulnerabilities? And finally, when is someone going to fire the fool who came up with and/or approved these statements?

They are slinging bullshit and expecting the public to like it. So far it seems to be working.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Tough Going

The spinmeisters at city hall are aflutter. That said, most of what they say is just because they fell like they have to say something. They've proposed a budget with a baked-in deficit despite an over 10% increase in the millage rate suggesting that yet-another millage increase is in their plans. 

Well, that one is obvious as they decided that a mid-term election year with guaranteed high turnout is not the best time to present the voters with a referendum that perforce includes a millage rate bump. At least if you want to get your hands on that money. And they do. So they'll sneak that one in during vacay season in '23. 

Since there seems no oversight or other control at city hall to rein in the bureaucrats and their addiction to budget bloat we can expect millage rate increases on an ongoing basis. Not surprising since we've had nothing but tax increases since this city was founded.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Go Set A Watchman

No. This is not about that book. But since we're on the topic, if ever there was proof that Truman Capote wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, it is Watchman. This actually about some interesting cameras cropping up in our community.

This one is just (barely) outside a school zone and sports a wired connection to nearby telecom service cabinet. Police departments, who insist on NOT doing their own damn job have been pressuring the school system to install, or rather contract with a for-profit firm, to install and operate traffic enforcement systems. This includes the Dunwoody Chair Force.

This invokes an interesting thought exercise to answer a pressing question: since the city refuses to enforce laws where can we, the mere citizens turn? Well, decades ago public schools charted a course away from education towards a land of expansive wrap-around services. The greater community, including Chair Forces, have not only supported this expansion they are now demanding it. Why shouldn't we? We already know that schools have a police force. Now we know they can levy fines outside the school grounds. Or they can at least contract it out. So, here's the thought: what other laws can they enforce and what other fines can they levy? How about this: maybe these cameras can be used to track illegal truck traffic through the school/no-truck zones and issue some hefty fines to egregious offenders. Like Coke, who sends multiple trucks each day into violation. Makes you want to drink Pepsi or go all Birkenstock against all manner of fuzzy brown sugar water. 

So maybe we should just agree with city hall and give up on the city ever doing their job and direct our efforts to the school system. They'll at least try. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

The Truth Slowly Oozes Out

The pandemic has been over for some time (it officially ended when Costco dropped Old Fart Power Hour) and the truth is finally seeing the light of day. Part of the reason is that media outlets' death grip preventing speaking the truth has begun to backfire and part of the reason is that truth can only be repressed for a limited time. Even if it bypasses traditional information channels, truth will find a way. 

And so it is with mRNA vaccines. Much is exposed in a recent, two-part publication in the Journal of Insulin Resistance: "Curing the pandemic of misinformation on Covid-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine"
This is a terrifying read. A story of greed, collusion, power, oppression and the subversion of nearly all aspects of health care. People were needlessly harmed. People died who shouldn't have. Who otherwise wouldn't have.

If you read this (and you should, please don't wait for the movie) you will see how organizations we are supposed to trust betrayed that trust, how that betrayal was perpetrated and the harm done to trusting souls. The bad actors run the gamut from research institutes, to governments and their agencies, huge pharmaceutical companies and non-profits with vested interests in the financial outcomes of these companies. And then there is media, legacy and new age. In the handling of the pandemic all of these entities participated in efforts resulting in the net loss of human lives. And they may well have known this cost existed. It should be noted that unlike what has been standard practice with other vaccines Pfizer have not published the raw data behind the trials used to obtain FDA authorization and approval for independent third party evaluation. 

When you read this, you will find it hard to believe that "long COVID" is anything more than a (possibly well known) consequence of mRNA vaccines needlessly foisted on an unsuspecting public. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Autopsy Report For Higher Ed

A recent article in the Communications of the ACM regarding participation bias in CS education research boldly exposed why higher education is dead. It has to do with the grade distribution of a CS class at a major public university:

This Is The "Dumb Bell Curve"

This is not an atypical distribution for college classes in America and has been since the shift from the "attrition" model where poor performers go elsewhere to the "developmental" model where nearly every student accepted is ultimately awarded a degree. It should come as no surprise that almost no students are assessed as average with a cluster of non-performers at the bottom and everyone else pushed to the top. This situation is much worse than wholesale shifting upward of grades towards A's and B's (the average score shown above is a B- with a median of a B+) and away from C's - this is happening as non-academic factors are being heavily weighted in admissions. High grades are being awarded to students who not only could not have passed under the previous model but who would not have been assessed as college-ready in the first place. And this graph was presented with no apologies, with no shame. This is the way it is. 

Colleges and universities are no longer in the education business, they are just in business. They are increasingly open about NOT educating our children.  

Monday, October 3, 2022

In Time For Halloween


Flying Spider