Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Georgia Legislature Backed Down To Extortion

Once more the Georgia Legislature backs down to protests and steals from the people in this state to give it to those who self-indulgently claim to be "artists". And once more I say "if your art is any good people will pay for it. If people will not voluntarily pay for it - TAKE THE HINT."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Property Tax

I got a notice of a re-evaluation of my home's assessment for property taxes. I, along with 100,000 others. Normally it would be a time of gloom because of the rising taxes. This time, it is a time of gloom because of the falling ones. My evaluation, like everyone else I spoke with has fallen - massively, nearly 40%. And I am going to appeal yet another $15,000 reduction since one of the nicer houses behind mine has an even lower price posted on the for sale sign in front of the house and is not getting any takers.
There are two parts of the property tax and they are handled differently. The County uses "the book", the total of all property value in the county and divides it by what the need to spend and set this millage*. No real problem, they will change the number of mils and we will pay the same for police, and firemen, and jails.
Now the schools on the other hand have a limit on the millage rate they can charge - 21 mils. Anything more than that requires an act of the state legislature. The City of Atlanta had one a few years back to go up to 25 mils. It was not a pretty sight. Some of the rural counties tax themselves 9 - 12 mils. These are the ones with no growth, and coincidentally (?) the ones where everyone knows all the school board members and the Superintendent. Well, in my county, we have been living pretty high on the hog between support tons (literally) of illegal aliens, and massive anonymous executive salaries (I don't know them, and I work there), and incredible technology we are constantly between 18 and 21 mils. So... there is nowhere up left to go. So down we go. No more feng shui decorations and fancy furniture for the front offices. No more "My room is too hot! It is 73 degrees in here." Now if they would just reduce some of the bloat at the central office. Much of it exists just to satisfy the insatiably demand from the Imperial Federal Government for paper; but some of the bloat exists because" I have a budget and I can get someone else to do the drudge part of my work".
Things are going to get ugly.

*one mil is one tenth of a cent, or one dollar for every thousand per mil. i.e. 20 mils on a hundred thousand dollar valuation = $2000 per year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who Gets The Education? The Kids Or Me?

One of the joys of most jobs is the exposure to world you aren't familiar with. It was true when I worked setting up conventions and trade shows; but it is especially true working in the schools, watching the children learn. But I learned something yesterday. Oh, it was a familiar subject and method, I see it every year at this time. Out in the hall in front of the classrooms are little crudely pasted up graphs of the distributions of various items. Sometime it is favorite TV shows, favorite colors, or favorite flavors of ice cream. This one was about internet access. How did these kids' parents get their internet? More than half of them had Comcast at home; a few had AT&T broadband; a few didn't know where their internet came from, it was just there; one had dial-up; but no-one had an entry in the 'did not have' column. What got my attention was that this school traditionally has a "free-and-reduced" breakfast and lunch participation of more than 95%!
I wonder what a similar survey would say about flat screen TVs? I see the cars their parents drive when they drop them off at school.

Only in America can you be poor and still have broadband, flat screen TVs, and expensive cars. It's easy when you don't have to pay for food, shelter and medicine.

Knowledge is Power, Time is Money


Knowledge is Power
Time is Money
and as every engineer knows, Power is Work over Time.

So, substituting algebraic equations for these time worn bits of wisdom, we get:

* K = P (1)
* T = M (2)
* P = W/T (3)

Now, do a few simple substitutions:

Put W/T in for P in equation (1), which yields:

* K = W/T (4)

Put M in for T into equation (4), which yields:

* K = W/M (5)

Now we've got something. Expanding back into English, we get:

Knowledge equals Work over Money.

What this MEANS is that:

1. The More You Know, the More Work You Do, and
2. The More You Know, the Less Money You Make.

Solving for Money, we get:

* M = W/K (6)

Money equals Work Over Knowledge.

From equation (6) we see that Money approaches infinity as Knowledge approaches 0, regardless of the Work done.


The More you Make, the Less you Know.

Solving for Work, we get

* W = M K (7)

Work equals Money times Knowledge

From equation (7) we see that Work approaches 0 as Knowledge approaches 0.


The rich do little or no work and are essentially ignorant.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Let Me See If I Understand This ...

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- China’s finance ministry failed to draw enough demand at sales of 273-day and 91-day treasury bills today after the central bank tightened control on money supply to restrain inflation, according to traders at two banks.

Ok, the Chinese are buying our Treasury Bills (think bonds) so that our Politicians have money to buy votes with so that they can stay in Washington, party, makes rules for us to follow that they don't, get a lot richer than their salaries would suggest, and our children and grandchildren will pay back or suffer from the defaulting on; and the Chinese in turn are supporting this with debt (think bonds) that their children in turn will have to pay. But you have to wonder, who are the Chinese selling their T-Bills to?

Charles Ponzi ... Bernie Madoff ... You guys were just pikers, just a drop in the bucket to the U. S. Government.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Has Class Warfare Unintended Consequences?

Several weeks ago I published a quote from Doctor Karl Menninger on 'Normal'. There is a question that I have been tossing around in my head for years. "Why are today's kids trying so hard to emulate the lowest elements of society rather than reaching for as much as they can?" As I go through the schools and watch the kids pursue the latest fads which invariably make the kids look dumber than a post, I note that no one is reaching for class. No one is trying to show themselves as better than they are. No one is trying to be better than they are. WHY? Or Why not? Has class warfare become such a staple of modern life that they are afraid to admit to having any?
The status symbols of this day and age are those of the thug, those of the poor, those of the hopeless. I started to write "except for their cars". And then I retracted, because even their cars have the declassé status symbols of over-sized mismatched (to the car) wheels and gaudy trim.

There is an old parable about jump[ing] for the highest branch of a tree rather than the lowest for if you miss there are lower branches you can catch; for if you jump for the lowest there is nothing below to catch you. In a day when the lowest rungs of our society are filled by illegal immigrants and out-sourced jobs, to me, reaching for the highest seems more important than ever.

By the way, that is yours truly in the tie and London Fog walking to school in the 11th grade as seen in an old high school yearbook.

Representative Hank "Capsize Guam" Johnson

The whole world has jumped on Representative Johnson's silly remark that adding more soldiers to Guam might make it capsize. But the truth is that the Georgia 4th Congressional District has a history of ill-formed logic and ignorance.

No one on any news or talk radio shows has mentioned that Rep Hank Johnson replaced six-term Representative and 2008 Green Party (read Communist Party) presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. Cynthia you may remember was the one who slugged the Capitol security officer for asking for her credentials. She is also the one who went to help Castro harvest sugar cane while she was a US Representative.

She first Representated the 11th Congressional District which was gerrymandered from SE Atlanta all the way to Savannah¹ (check a map for how silly this district is) specifically to include minority voters to assure a Democratic seat and break up Republican areas. But this was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Johnson . She was then redrawn into the 4th Congressional District which is no less gerrymandered by population although it is more contiguous.

(Original 11th district shown in dark blue)

Maybe the Representatives aren't the stupid ones. Maybe they represent their voters accurately.

¹ 250 miles long and in places less than 100 ft wide.