The bigger the lie: US Military expenditures

Listening to NPR this morning, I got to hear a discussion of the US Debt and how it related to the military- which causes a lot of the debt.

They had a local expert, who spewed the ne0-con line:

We do face a rising China, a resurgent Russia and a nuclear North Korea. But there’s no clear and present danger the way there was, say, in the World War II or Korea or Vietnam War buildups. On the other hand, we have the smallest number of deployable U.S. Navy ships since World War II, an Air Force tanker fleet and B-52 bombers that are more than half a century old and the last major-weapons buy for the Army in the 1970s and 1980s.

Peter Mansoor, a retired U.S. Army colonel and now a professor of military history at The Ohio State University.

Source: The Tax Bill And The Military : NPR

As to the smallest number of US Navy ships since WWII- what does that mean? In WWII we had ships by the ship-ton, to land troops on beaches, to ferry troops around the world, and naval surface warfare was still a legitimate thing.

It sounds horrible- yet, since the Falklands war, any ship that’s got a profile above water is pretty easy prey to some very inexpensive missiles. Never mind, satellites make it really easy to keep track of every ship on the seas. Throw in the fact that a single destroyer now has the firepower of an entire battle fleet- and what this “expert” is saying is like comparing the Golden State Warriors to the rest of the world- which consists of 5th grade girls teams.

Our Navy has all the ships we could possibly need- and then some.

As to bombers for the Air Force- ever since the ICBM, there really hasn’t been a need for manned long range bombers other than to give the underachieving AF academy grads something to pilot (the superstars all fly fighters).

The reality is the US spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined, and it’s unsustainable. That is, unless we keep creating wars to fight with poor people.

It’s time to tell these neo-cons to go to hell. Cut the defense budget. Stop the wars. Stop fighting last centuries wars.

The Russian’s didn’t need a single bomber or aircraft carrier to help subvert our political process and elect the man most likely to blow us all to bits did they?

The future, it’s not in plastics, or weapons, it’s in information technology. In war, going back to the days of the Romans, those who had the best information, usually won.

When are we going to have leaders that understand that our growing debt, puts us at more risk than anything else these days?

Pay attention people.

And one worthless meeting beget another

Dayton Board of Education held a 2 hour meeting last night and not a single child was served.

It was falsely billed as a “Strategic Planning Meeting” yet, there was no strategy, nor planning. However, there were bad sandwiches, fruit, cheese, crackers and punch, and a consultant who should refund her fees.

thumbnail of dps-board-orientation-dec-2017

Ambush handout passed out halfway through the meeting by Kathy Hollingsworth click to download PDF

The agenda wasn’t an agenda. And why we’re busy introducing the outgoing board members to members of the administration at all is a mystery. But, that’s what consultant Kathy Hollingsworth wasted our time with- then ambushed everyone with a document outlining what we should have been prepared to talk about- half way through:

1. When do we meet? For what purpose?
2. How is information disseminated? Officially? Informally?
3. How can I feel heard?
4. How can I request and receive information?
5. Who is my “go to” contact?
6. Is there a mentor I can meet with to learn and reflect?
7. How do Board Members interact with the Administration? With individual schools? Teachers?
8. Who speaks for the Board? To the press? Etc.?
9. How is feedback given & received?
10. What is the purpose and role of the President of the Board? Vice President?
11. What is the role of the Superintendent, Treasurer, other administrators with the Board?
12. What is the role of the Board as compared to the role of administration?
a. Example models: Sinclair Model, Mary Connors presentation, Center for Public Education Study 2011
13. How do you deal with being surprised when a parent, teacher or community leader says, “Did you know about X” and you’ve never heard about the incident?
a. Are there other scenarios that will make you feel uncomfortable?

Since it wasn’t on the agenda, it shouldn’t have even made it in the meeting.

And, frankly, this is the superintendents job, to define the vision and the operational modes of the board/superintendent/public.

This is why we pay the superintendent $200K a year and board members $5k a year.

Then there was a discussion about adding yet another meeting (on top of the two final meetings already set for the remainder of the year and Lacey/Rountree/Lee’s terms). This one to discuss who will be board president, vp and who gets assigned to various committees. Clue to superintendent who creates the agenda (for the board to review and act upon)- why weren’t these positions all listed on this agenda, with roles and responsibilities- and a briefing given? That’s how we do these things- not ambush new board members, ask them to meet AGAIN, before seated, to prepare for their terms?

It’s this kind of stupidity that gets us where we’ve been. It shows no signs of change, even though board member elect Karen Wick-Gagnet clearly stated that unless times are slotted on discussion, and items clearly identified on the agenda, she wasn’t going to have any part in it. Word to the staff- time to get your act together, or prepare to be embarrassed. Some people have real lives- and don’t want to be an actor in your three ring drama circus that’s been pretending to be a school board meeting.

After two hours of your favorite movie, book and Dr. Roberson and Rev. Harris finding out they share a birthday (Sept. 3, 1961) the board went into executive session with the board attorney Jyllian Bradshaw and hired gun Beverley Meyer to discuss a personnel matter (Rhonda Corr). They came out at 8:30 and adjourned. No new news.

thumbnail of 5Dec2017DPSBoardAgenda

Board agenda- click to download PDF

The only thing Hollingsworth had on the agenda in advance were these two instructions:

Introduction to the iiChange Dialog Process

Rules of engagement for the evening

Who are we? What do we want?

  1. Tell us something about you, do you have family? What do you like to do for fun? What’s your favorite book or movie? Why? Use the question ball for additional questions.
  2. Why did you choose to be (become) a school board member? A member of the Administration?

Integrating the past and current with the future

  1. What is good that is happening in the District that we want to keep?
  2. How can we honor those who have gone before us and build on what exists?

All this could have been done in a survey- and presented in advance. As to “honor those who have gone before us”- For Dr. Adil Baguirov- time in prison. For the leaving board members- unpaid time in depositions to ascertain how Corr was hired, how she was given a contract raise and extension and how her evaluations were glowing, despite all the faults that were identified and used to put her on paid leave.

For the remaining three board members- resignations for failure to follow up on the Baguirov residency, and for the modifications of the draft Corr evaluation to their final glowing report.

Then we can get around to building a new dynamic of what and how a board and superintendent act and respond to the needs of the community. Less meeting, more action, less talk, more do, and a real plan with no more than three objectives. Go!

And, get your money back from the “consultant.” She failed.

Medical pot + guns = no. OVI + guns = OK

Guns and alcohol vs guns and potThere are plenty of instances with drunk people shooting someone. Yet, most people who smoke pot say it mellows them out.

Of course, we can’t talk about illegal pot use- we’re talking about a prescribed medication for a medical condition.

People who register with the state of Ohio to legally use medical marijuana will be prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law, according to guidance released by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

In an open letter to federally licensed firearms dealers, the ATF advised in 2011 that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law so any use of the drug is unlawful, and gun dealers are prohibited from providing guns or ammo to anyone they have cause to believe uses pot.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such is sanctioned by state law,” the memo says.

Source: Medical marijuana users in Ohio can’t own or possess guns

Schedule 1 drugs aren’t really drugs- as in medicine- they are “Banned substances”- “Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”

To get to the drugs- you need to go to “Schedule 2” which is defined as “Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence” and include such winners as:

“hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze®, Duragesic®). Other Schedule II narcotics include: morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone.

Examples of Schedule IIN stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), and methylphenidate (Ritalin®).

Other Schedule II substances include: amobarbital, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.

Oh, no- we don’t have any problem with any of those Schedule 2 drugs. They wouldn’t possibly be dangerous to mix with guns.

But in a world where a game show host is president, “conservatives/Republicans” just voted to raise the national debt by 1.5 Trillion dollars, and the president and the party are endorsing a child molester- logic no longer takes precedent.

And while any blood alcohol content while carrying is cause to revoke your CCW- having an misdemenor OVI isn’t.

It’s time for logic to apply to our laws.

The Dayton Day-old News

Annotated Dayton Daily news showing bad news was the norm then and now

Front page of the Dayton Daily News on September 22, 1933 during the John Dillinger arrest- and still a bad newspaper

I stopped getting home delivery of the Dayton Daily News years ago because the paper couldn’t be on my doorstep at 6am everyday. I’m a morning person, and the ritual of getting up, reading the paper and moving on is important.

The iPad edition sucks. It gives a visual representation of a printed paper, and you can tap on an article and get it in a readable, scroll-able format. You can increase type size, and you can share (although limited). There is zero interaction with the paper or other readers through this edition. The app crashes, takes forever to load, has quirks like posting a grey box over the info on what stations and times an NFL game is, and if you switch apps- you are again waiting for the slow load.

It’s digital newspaper only the way a non-digital person would think of delivering it- still. In 2017.

But, now since the Cox sisters shut down the Franklin Print Technology center- the print edition has a deadline of 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm- depending on who you ask. It doesn’t matter. A “morning daily” that has a deadline much before 11pm is not a morning daily. Today’s paper didn’t have the Trotwood HS state championship score- or recap- just an article about the upcoming game. For the record- Trotwood beat Dresden Tri-Valley 27-19.

And they wonder why no one subscribes?

Of course, because they don’t understand digital in the least, they’ve done stupid things galore.

The most annoying is having all their “reporters” have Facebook presence and try to create clickbait stories, do polls, and “engage” with Facebook audiences. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve seen them “find” on Facebook- and make it into the paper days later. Trolling facebook for news has to be the most pathetic thing ever done by a true journalist.

Unfortunately, in order for Democracy to work the way our founding fathers envisioned it a vibrant, thriving fourth estate is mandatory. Without the checking of their actions, we’re doomed to the kind of insanity that’s been going on in DPS, Dayton City Hall, the state house and the jail.

As the Dayton Day-old news continues to focus on shootings, car accidents, and running stories off the wire, there is less reason for an educated population to read it. They can all get the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or New York Times delivered on the same device for about the same money and get real reporting with real news- albeit, not local.

It’s said that the advent of CraigsList- free classifieds, that sucked revenue out of the newspaper was the first major blow, but it’s a lot more complicated than just a loss of easy ad revenue. Newspapers didn’t understand how to communicate in a web 2.0 world to save their ink wells. The saying “Never argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel” was so ingrained in their old school heads that they thought the only “discussion” was limited to “Letters to the editor” and an occasional guest column on the “Op-Ed Page”- that’s short for Opposite Editorial Page- which is funny, because the Dayton Day-old news did away with the Editorial page (local) long ago. No longer are “impartial” observers of the community trusted to define the local issues of the day in their world- we’ll try to “curate” the best and brightest of national writers, with an occasional local group spew guided conversation of people we deem as friends of our family (or whatever.) In the meantime- the rest of the world has thrived on legitimate discussion and conversation. Ever seen Reddit? 4Chan? Or Facebook? It’s full of conversations, by amateurs, on current events and interest. Where’s the 2 way channel on the Dayton Daily? It’s on Facebook- a property they don’t own, that they don’t get real revenue from, and where they aren’t in control. What kind of business model is that? A doomed on.

Cox has recently sold off good papers in other markets where they don’t have joint media properties- like a newspaper plus TV plus radio. This kind of operation used to be illegal- but Cox was grandfathered in in Dayton and Atlanta. Yet, here, the “integrated newsroom” is just as badly run as a single newsroom because their answer to the digital Armageddon has been to create more bad sites instead of on focusing on one good one- and then building a community.

No one other than them sees local news any differently on a digital screen from WHIO TV, WHIO Radio, Dayton Daily- etc. You don’t need 10 bad sites- you need one good one.

You don’t deliver news via “channels” you deliver it to people on screens of all kinds. And frankly, instead of printing your paper in Indy- you’d have saved money by giving the few remaining print subscribers a tablet with cellular connectivity and delivered the paper with a constant news stream that can be customized to their preferences- but, nooooo, you don’t get it.

You didn’t build a community, you destroyed it. You didn’t build a database of customers to deliver targeted ads, you let someone else do it, you didn’t invest in the best possible content producers with a deep understanding of local issues- you hired kids out of school and asked for click bait. You didn’t integrate production in a way that works – you kept following the same old “if it bleeds it leads” news style which isn’t really that interesting unless it’s at least 5 people bleeding (mass shootings have raised the bar on sensitivity).

I’ve offered before to help the Cox sisters put their inheritance back on the track to greatness in the era that they haven’t yet figured out, and I’m still willing to help them out- even though they still have enough money to actually benefit from the new tax plan (guaranteeing that if they just sold all this off- they’d still be rich beyond need and not be bothered with the rigors of pretend journalism). But, it’ll never happen.

You see, fake news is actually real news now, and day old fake news works just as well- just click here to see what Barbara Cox was doing when she got caught on film just before she died….

 

The ripple effect of Corr failure

The upcoming firing of Superintendent Rhonda A Corr from Dayton Public Schools for cause will undoubtedly bring a whole host of other issues, lawsuits, and claims against the district.

The crisis management skills of Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli will be tested daily. When Corr claimed she had no idea of why she was placed on leave, the district should have responded that day with “Rhonda Corr and her attorney’s were informed of the basis of her dismissal for cause, but have not been given the final document. For her to say that she has no idea is just one more indication of her unsuitability to lead our district and her denial of facts and the bending of truth. Our community deserves better.”

That didn’t happen. But, what can you expect from an interim Superintendent on her second day on the job?

What really needs to be examined is how did we get here?

And that starts with the school board who didn’t renew Superintendent Lori Ward’s contract, dismissed treasurer Craig Jones and passed over internal candidate David Lawrence who was later paid to go away.

This is what happens when you let a fox run the hen house.

The fox, was the carpetbagger board member Dr. Adil Baguirov, who ran un-opposed and uninvestigated supposedly at the prompting of existing board member Joe Lacey.

Baguirov’s background has him tied to international lobbyists who were under constant investigation for influence peddling and bending the rules. Much the same thing that he did while on the board. The other 6 board members allowed him to bully them constantly and most of the time, he had his way. This board was complicit in every mistake Rhonda Corr made, mostly because her main supporter, Baguirov was using her as a smokescreen for his own questionable behavior on deals like the sale of Patterson Co-op property to CareSource where he had a conflict of interest and the purchasing of the buses with a 10 year warranty (when the buses are projected to have a 7 year life span). Much of this has been covered previously, but the key questions remaining was why the board, the superintendent and others failed to act when his residency issue was brought up first on April 5, 2017 and then again on election day Nov. 7 2017.

It is clear that he was the key force behind the re-write of Ms. Corr’s annual performance review- where the board was goaded into changing the original responses to glowing because of the optics of a less than stellar review would fit with the awarding of her 3 year contract.

That Board President Reverend Doctor Robert Walker  (the title BS has to stop) agreed to sign both the re-written performance review and the complaint against Corr, says he is as criminally complicit in Corr’s failings as she is, and he should resign immediately.

Other questions that remain is how Corr convinced the board to buy out David Lawrence, in light of the investigation of racial bias brought forward by Dr. Markay Winston. While the investigation didn’t find anything substantially wrong with Corr’s behavior to Winston based on race- it did showcase complete and total insanity in operational functionality by the district leadership under Corr with the oversight of this board. If anything, the charges against Corr, which go entirely against what the boards final performance review said, should be grounds for their termination for cause.

There are still questions about the ousting of Charity Early Principal Peggy Burks, the hiring of Dr. Donetrus Hill at Meadowdale (another risky hire), the rushed contract for athletic director Mark Baker and a host of other questionable actions that were all done with board consent.

The only real option to move past this crisis is to have the remaining board members who are leaving, resign immediately, and the remaining three- submit their resignations to the newly elected board for them to choose whether to allow them to continue to serve.

An independent review panel should be put in place to evaluate every decision made by Corr and signed off on by the board over the course of her tenure, to evaluate processes and procedures that should have been in place or that weren’t followed so as to rebuild trust and integrity into a system that has lost all credibility after this debacle.

This could become a case study for rebuilding a district with best practices in HR, policy and procedure- or it could turn into a nasty web of lawsuits that never end.

The lynch pin in all of this is Baguirov. If Corr pursues a legal defense instead of going away quietly, there will be epic legal bills and a treasure trove of testimony via deposition that will peel back the cloak of confusion that has run amok in DPS for the last few decades.

Word is Rhonda Corr is planning a press conference this morning with her attorneys. Another bad move.

But what would one expect?