We the People and the Million Dollar Mayor

Just a few weeks ago Mayor Jack Reed appointed a woman living in Ripley to a Tupelo Committee that has the authority to spend Tupelo taxpayer money. Real regionalism at work. Now we know, JR doesn’t know anyone in Tupelo to be qualified to serve. Who was he rewarding?

Just this past week I went to the Tuesday afternoon work session of our Silly Council. Led by JR ( should have been on Dallas JR) he finally unveiled his latest plans. Last meeting he unveiled his $138,000 study to determine the need for railroad quiet zones. Yes we would spend $138,000 to determine if this would be feasible. Of course it is feasible. It just takes money. Then the all important question. How much would it cost to do the proposed 23 or 24 rail crossings. Well the best guess would be $4 or $5 million. Ten million if cross town included. What if the Fed or State DOT issued new regulation? New study required. Would the railroads participate in paying for this. Well maybe………….. but probably not. May you could convenience them that it would improve their safety. Now really? Who is ever at fault for running a flashing RR signal.   Do you think they would be that benevolent. Approximately $259,000 per crossing not including the main street crossing. Now why would we do this? The Mayor and Jon Milstead from the Community Development Foundation began to illuminate the Council about all the complaints they had received and how many business would locate in Tupelo but did not because of the train whistle. They even went on to blame the Downtown Garden Inn hotel’s poor financial shape on the train whistle. Of course the way to pay for this project would be to float another bond issue so our children and others in the future could pay for it. That way they would not be raising taxes. If that wasn’t enough, the other item discussed was funneling $3 million (out of our rainy day fund) to the CDF thru the Tupelo Neighborhood Corp to take care of our neighborhood redevelopment. This would be done with no plan from the CDF but the Tupelo Planning Dept would be involved and the CDF would have the money. Oh yes. CDF would receive $1.3 mil up front and make an annual report to the city. Let me paint the picture. CDF gets the money. The CDF buys the houses, their members, contractors, real estate and bankers then redevelop, sell and finance the new home for a profit all funded by our tax money. The primary members of the CDF, bankers, real estate brokers and contractors and a few others. To me this is like asking the fox to build the hen house. How stupid do they think we are. The long and short of the whole is, there are few people running the show and we are going to get it whether we like it or not. My objection is not the redevelopment but giving an organization that charges a membership fee and has many members living outside the city limits the ability to spend our (Tupelo) tax money . Now for another unknown item. Several years ago one of our leading citizens and friends got the electric company to round up utility bills to the next whole dollar with the funds going into an account to plant shrubs and flowers at the entrances to the city. In short for beautification projects. Does putting a new roof on the Farmers Market sound like a beautification project. Not to me. This is what happens when there is no accountability or for that matter integrity. Hello Mainstreet Association. And people wonder why Tupelo is in decline and loosing families. Let the sunshine. Plan on it getting worse in the last four weeks of JR’s administration. It is just killing him to have money left in our rainy day fund which started out four years ago at $22 million but is now around $14 million if you include expenses guaranteed to various committees. Yep, the Million Dollar Mayor.

What is wrong in Public Education?

Teacher Quits

 

Is Tupelo school system any different? Teachers are afraid to speak out because they get punished.

Self-actualization

The emotional trigger finger, what is it about? Do emotions handicap the individual from reaching their full potential? Can self-actualization be the step of happiness beyond desire? When we look at a community and its problems we see many poorly executed decisions based on feelings rather than fact. The hierarchy of needs, wants, and desires end with sentience. What about sapience? We se many foolish moves as people lost in emotions such as sorrow, love, fear, compassion, and many others that lead to huge mistakes of life in the long run. A lot of self medication is used to squelch the feelings or create new feelings. Most entertainment and activities are for emotional manipulation to experience the feelings. Many times by peer pressure of the desire to be a part of a social group.

In the face of sentience ancient masters looked beyond the feelings and looked at a reality of objective facts. Reality comes in a few flavors as the personal experience at the most prevalent but our physical existence is one of an objective nature. Consciousness is the place your awareness is at and you can gain control. You can focus on spirituality or your senses, perhaps your thoughts or emotions, how do you control them all?

Food drugs and physical environment are some tools but they all can be trumped by the mind. It takes effort and training to focus on the choice of the will rather than the immediate problem at hand.

Part of problem of poverty is the lack of skill to control one’s own mind, this is an area not just confined to a social class. Could we or should we open education to personal awareness and self-actualization?

Common Purpose? TUPELO PLAN

How can we have community of individuals when the government wants widgets and not individuals?

A working community is many different plans and goals that accept the rights of others to want something other than what they want. Large systems work because the parts each have different functions that have different goals. One size does not fit all.

Other cities have tried comprehensive community initiatives that got bogged down for a variety of reasons; vague goals, strained relationships between the visionary officers of sponsoring foundations and leaders of local organizations, lengthy deliberations of community groups over the agenda, and strategies that were not always lined up with other community efforts. As a result, reformers and philanthropic program officers began to question whether a systematic, all-embracing approach to community improvement was practical. Small neighborhood holistic approach such as partnerships with nonprofits agencies have been incorporating child care, job training, recreation, and health care into small connected areas.

Change of zoning to have many uses such as retail, office, light manufacturing, farming, school, and residential all in walking distance. The biggest problem in Tupelo is low pay and high cost of living. The only thing taught in schools is to get a job rather than start a business of your own. The way a community grows is to keep the profits at home. This can not be done when we invite foreign corporations to use our labor and send the profits over seas.

Many great people and leaders did not graduate college as they had inspiration and put themselves in the middle of what interested them. It seems that certain powerful groups in Tupelo want to control labor costs and profit from that control we as individuals lose. Profit should be second to being happy as money can not buy that happiness.

Healthy eating and living is a start to a healthy body and happiness. Fast food is not the answer to making a better family or community. The stress and apathy can be seen in Tupelo’s voting record as the ballot seems fixed and no approach to a better Tupelo will be done if the old guard does not profit from it.

One size does not fit all.

Lt Gov. Reeves is worried that a Democrat may be elected mayor of Tupelo

Tupelo doesn’t rate much attention from Jackson as a rule. But it seems that the young Shelton has the Dixie Mafia worried and they are sending the young Lt Guvnah to rally support for the Pitts. Imagine that. Don’t you wonder what the young Lt Guvnah thinks of being assigned such a menial task? But it will likely be a short visit and Mr Reeves will get back to Ridgeland and enjoy a bottle of Dom Perignon before bed. Mr Pitts might have a Dr Pepper later and maybe Mr Shelton will have a Bud Light, served discretely in a glass. And a few Tupelo voters might be greatly impressed by the non event. Let’s all hope the young Reeves doesn’t get held up by a train at Crosstown.  But you and I can count on getting stuck there often because Mr Pitts spent $12 million on a heated pool instead of a bridge at Crosstown.

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Jobs, who was a college dropout, told the Stanford graduates:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. … Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

“When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog … It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand …

“Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’ … And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.”

Steve Jobs was not in it for the money; he wanted to change the world. He had very good and very bad points but they were his and not of a person trained for a job. Steve had gifts of sizing up people and calling a spade a spade. He did not worry about criticizing but also could be very charming and inspirational when it was called for. He bullied people that did not stand up to him and only wanted “A” grade people around him as he did not have the patients to deal with second best.  Some would call that discrimination.

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

A good read by an excellent writer, a book that is a must the young.

If you were a High School student?

Would you rather live in a town that is breaking ground on quantum computers or one getting a new junk yard? If Tupelo wants a future it has to think future not past. The Mill shut down years ago because of a strike for better pay. Today the youth want the future as it will be their world. They will move to where it is happening. If Tupelo leadership does not bring the future here all the swimming pools and cosmetic real estate work will mean nothing. The future is not in hospitality work.

Quantum is next

A $15m computer that uses “quantum physics” effects to boost its speed is to be installed at a Nasa facility.
Unlike standard machines, the D-Wave Two processor appears to make use of an effect called quantum tunnelling.

This allows it to reach solutions to certain types of mathematical problems in fractions of a second.
Effectively, it can try all possible solutions at the same time and then select the best.
Instead, D-Wave Systems has been focused on building machines that exploit a technique called quantum annealing – a way of distilling the optimal mathematical solutions from all the possibilities. Annealing is made possible by physics effect known as quantum tunnelling, which can endow each qubit with an awareness of every other one.

“And when we look back 20 years from now, at the history of this field, we’ll wonder why anyone ever thought that was a good idea.”

Dr Rose’s approach entails a completely different way of posing your question, and it only works for certain questions.

But according to a paper presented this week (the result of benchmarking tests required by Nasa and Google), it is very fast indeed at finding the optimal solution to a problem that potentially has many different combinations of answers.

Not what standardized or  multipule choice tests teach.

Anger vs Apathy

The election looks typically, it’s sad to say, like this…

Old money, old power solidly favors Pitts. Most of that is just familiarity and long term relationships. The supporters aren’t bad people. While many citizens may not like Fred, his backers are decent folks, albeit somewhat misled by Pitt’s falsehoods. Just being the Council President doesn’t mean he is responsible for all the successes of the Council. Time for a record check!

The election question is; how big is his reach? I’ll answer that by saying he’s the local Romney want-a-be. He’s the candidate the rich and famous are running because no one else would. And now the state’s Republican Party Chairman adds slogans and rhetoric against Shelton, typical high caliber political strategy when there isn’t anything substantial to promote the Republican candidate.

The young folks that are voting will strongly favor Shelton. Jason is by far the best of the Shelton clan and has worked hard and successfully to improve his name and reputation (check his resume). If you meet him, he is instantly likeable and very attuned to Tupelo politics, problems and possible solutions. That’s more than what I can say about Pitts who has turned to reverse rhetoric to attack the one candidate in many elections who has the fortitude to post a platform and provide a foundation to move forward to achieve balanced solutions.

East Tupelo and south Gloster is going to heavily favor Shelton for his consensus building approach to government leadership. I think minority groups are very supportive of Shelton. The question is will anger from recent Mayoral leadership’s poor performance come into play? If the anger is as strong as some think, and the younger folks show up at the polls, Shelton wins!

A problem is that apathy is traditionally stronger than anger, and, if that’s the case, Pitts wins in a narrow, but low turn-out election.

Folks are leaving town at an unacceptable pace. It’s not only the rush to the rural areas adjacent to Tupelo, but it’s also the “brain drain” for opportunity, economics, culture and better more democratic conditions. The rest haven’t picked up yet, but if they have kids, they are watching and making plans.

It’s an interesting time for sure. It is a sure bet that, if Shelton wins, the old money of Tupelo may forever lose control. You can carry that to the bank. The demographics are changing fast while the City is going to the “pitts.”

Tupelo has culture and opportunity, but only for a select few. Looking at Tupelo’s saga unfold is like watching things die in slow motion or viewing reruns of Gone with the Wind and hoping that the ending will change. Things are changing all right. And only those who vote and get actively involved will be able to ensure a better ending.

If Tupelo can’t stop the bleeding of good kids and doesn’t work for equality, there will not be a Tupelo worth living in for many years to come. It seems we are at that point. The question is, “Is it worth fighting for?” I think the question and outcome of the election is “Which wins, anger or apathy?”

Advance in medical human cloning

Human cloning has been used to produce early embryos, marking a “significant step” for medicine, say US scientists.

The cloned embryos were used as a source of stem cells, which can make new heart muscle, bone, brain tissue or any other type of cell in the body.

Stem cells are one of the great hopes for medicine. Being able to create new tissue might be able to heal the damage caused by a heart attack or repair a severed spinal cord.

There are already trials taking place using stem cells taken from donated embryos

to restore people’s sight.

However, these donated cells do not match the patient so they would be rejected by the body. Cloning bypasses this problem.

Campaigners opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells argue that all embryos, whether created in the lab or not, have the potential to go on to become a fully-fledged human, and as such it is morally wrong to experiment on them.

Embryonic stem cell research has repeatedly raised ethical concerns and human eggs are a scarce resource. This has led researchers to an alternative route to stem cells.

Dr David King, from the campaign group Human Genetics Alert, warned that: “Scientists have finally delivered the baby that would-be human cloners have been waiting for: a method for reliably creating cloned human embryos.

Biology is going this way even if the U.S. rejects it on moral and ethical grounds. Mississippi has been years behind in research because it can not come to moral and ethical terms on research. What if the Wright brothers lived in MS and the government said if God wanted man to fly he would have given him wings?

There is always potential for miss use of science just as Guns are misused.

Inspired Student?

Inspired Student?

 

What is teaching to the test?

Dansette