IT & Pendulum Swings Between Liberty & Security

In the past few weeks, the nation has seen the equity of marriage, racism unbridled, and the ACA upheld.  This week, we are discussing drones over the Georgia Capitol airspace.  In my childhood here in the peach state, each of these headlines could not have been even remotely imagined.  As each side vilifies the other and the doors these headlines highlight creep farther and farther open, the battle wages again anew on each issue as the liberty versus security pendulum swings.  With these changes come the reaction of fear of the unknown and their once long-held power, waning.

The question now is simply to which side shall the pendulum swing for business in Georgia?

Georgia’s largest industry is agriculture.  We have rolling farm lands, pine trees to harvest, and the film industry makes up the next largest industry in the state.  However, Georgia is also home to 16,250 technology companies with a $113.1 billion economic impact on Georgia, making it the 5th-largest IT employment cluster in U.S. (200,000 high-tech professionals), and as I passed the Google fiber being installed in my neighborhood on my walk this week, I cannot help but wonder how the influx of disruptive innovation will break down the power holds of business and regulation in the state, in what ways it will propel our economy, and which groups will be adversely affected by it.

Disruptivetechnology

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

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You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down…Unless You Cut Her Personnel Funding by 33%

I have a bee in my bonnet, to the surprise of no one who knows me well. The U.S. Army Women’s Museum is a national treasure in Fort Lee, Virginia. It is the only museum in the world that showcases Army women’s history.

I am concerned that the museum has sustained 33% in personnel funding cuts, causing it to limit its hours of operation severely. The result closed the Archives to researchers and closed the Museum on Saturdays. This is a tragic situation in and of itself, and as a good conservative, I am all for staying within one’s budget–but it is downright infuriating when you compare the funding levels of other military museums, which did not sustain personnel funding cuts and even added positions.

In stark contrast, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum is funded sufficiently to open seven days a week and receives its personnel funding from the Quartermaster School–the same funding source as the Women’s Museum. The three other branch museums funded by CASCOM did not take cuts—the National Museum of the United States Army (which doesn’t even have a museum yet) added two positions.

While the Army is currently doing great things for Army women (Ranger School, etc.), it has no way to capture history as it is being made. The Center for Military History does not have a historian for women. They do have historians capturing history for other minorities.

This is a terribly unfair and disparate situation, and as a supporter of the U.S. military and seriously addicted strongly committed social networker, I have taken to Facebook and Twitter with the righteous indignation of a woman backing military women scorned. I notified Rep. Doug Collins and Sen. Johnny Isakson, who both represent greater metropolitan Jasper, Georgia, where I reside. I also messaged Rep. Sanford Bishop, with whom I am acquainted from my work in high school dropout recovery in southwest Georgia. Finally, I notified Rep. Mark Meadows, a personal friend from my Rotary Club days in the mountains of western NC, as I am a native raised in the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina.

If you share my concern please contact your Congressional and Senate representatives to ask them to correct this problem. You can find your Representative and Senator at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/US-Congress.shtml.

Charleston: The Struggle of Southern Identity

CharlestonThe unfolding story of the tragedy in Charleston has struck a chord in this nation.  Whether you are black, white, believe this to be a terrorist act, hate crime, are Western, Northern, Southern, God-fearing, atheist, young or old, there is a wrongness here that can never be righted in the killing of congregants in a peaceful house of worship.  No matter the intent, the ramifications and consequences of the actions taken in Charleston leave us with more questions than answers and more mouths gaping than resolute.

As of late, the national news has reflected the existing spiral of hate, pain, strife, and brutality that churns through discussions of race and gender.  We speak of Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal and their identity.  For me, the discussions of Ferguson, Caitlyn, Rachel, and McKinney has created a vacuum that has sucked all the positive air out of the room and personally leaves me with the question of “Who are we?”

Who are we? As a nation? As a region? As a people?  Who are we becoming and what are we doing to contribute to or detract from the aspirations we share? Continue reading “Charleston: The Struggle of Southern Identity”

QBE Funding: Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More

As I have been sitting through education meetings this past week regarding the decision last week to postpone recommendations to reforming the QBE formula, it has been a frustrating experience.  Yet, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully, this will not be a train.  The Governor’s Commission on Education Reform Funding Sub-committee meeting this past week began with a discussion of this postponement as a possible positive: the added time will allow the sub-committee more time to reach a unanimous decision on recommendations for reform and ultimately for improving our education in the Peach State.  Many are hoping that is true and that this dance is not another act in a kabuki theater of the General Assembly.  Most of us are just hoping we are not wasting more of our time.  One can certainly hope.

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The Driving Force Behind Our Quality of Life

1428555803-brief3-traffic3This week my family found ourselves a single car family. I do recognize that there are many families who exist every day as single car families and the struggles we faced this week are just another part of their normal lives. However, that aside, we still felt quite clever for figuring out how to get everyone everywhere they needed to be this week. See, we hatched a plan for our family to get up Wednesday morning, pack everyone into the car to drive my husband to work, then drive our one working car back home to do all of the things. (And yes, it did take us two days to figure this out, and you can giggle at us since this work flow is probably the most common solution for single car families). There is, however, a small difficulty with this brilliantly simple plan. See, we live in Gwinnett County…my husband is currently working at a client site in Vinings.

There are now three types of people reading this post:

  1. People who don’t live or work in the metro-Atlanta area, and are unfamiliar with the way Atlanta interstates are laid out. They read that sentence and are thinking, “So what?”
  2. People who don’t live or work in the metro-Atlanta area, but they know how Atlanta interstates are laid out (or they looked at a map). They read that sentence and are thinking, “That seems like a pretty direct shot.”
  3. People who live and work in the metro-Atlanta area. They read that sentence and are thinking, “Doh, y’all are screwed!”

The day came for us to implement our brilliant plan, so we left the house early (to “beat” rush hour), because we know that we’ll be riding with the traffic going in. Thankfully, our traffic sensing GPS directs us to the “fastest” route. Now, looking at the map, you’d think that route would be down I-85 and across I-285, but those of us in the metro know that’s just not the case. The GPS predictably sent us on the route with 6 bonus miles! This took us down I-85, all the way in to the top of the connector, and back up I-75 to I-285. More importantly, we had to repeat the “bonus mileage” journey to return home “against” traffic.

Atlanta-mapFor those keeping score, this is what our morning looked like:

  • We left the house at 6:30am
  • Total trip mileage should have been a little over 70 miles
  • Average interstate speed limit is in the 60 mph range
  • We just made it back to my eldest child’s first event…and it started at 9:30.

That’s nearly three hours for a roughly 70 mile journey with half of it being a “reverse commute.” Keep in mind that this was just our experience with morning rush hour (fortunately, my husband had a coworker bring him home that evening). Having to execute the roundtrip commute only served to shine a light on the quality of life issue that we face every day in the metro Atlanta area. The reality of an hour and a half commute for a thirty mile trip means that parents miss t-ball games and swim meets. It means that families don’t get to sit down to a meal at a kitchen table as a unit, or if they do, their children have to wait until 7pm or 8pm to eat. It also means that we’re losing three hours of productivity a day, productivity that could make our businesses more successful or our lives fuller.

The only people I’ve ever found who can identify with this madness are those who have lived in Los Angeles, but here in Atlanta we seem to accept this as a frustrating way of life. I hear lots of clamoring for more lanes on the interstates, new roads to divert thru traffic away from Atlanta, and other such suggestions. Those things have to happen, but realistically, they are not enough. We have that bill from this session that starts to address maintenance, now can we please talk about congestion relief?

P.S. – If you want to be a part of that conversation, come on out to the Wild Wing Café in Suwanee tonight at 7pm…the Gwinnett Young Republicans will be “Drinking and (Talking About) Driving”

Nuance in the John Wayne Era of Politics

John WayneSome months ago, I took great pride in being blocked on Facebook by a member of the Tea Party.  It was amusing to me as I had not only worked with this person before, but she also prides herself on being the voice of “grassroots” conservatism in Georgia (whatever that means), which tends to vocalize a lot of dissent.  For so many, they can dish it out yet cannot take it.  From my experience in politics in the peach state, people can call themselves anything nowadays and with a mic loud enough, others will believe them.  Uninformed assertions are more welcome than humble questions.  Yet for successful navigation of policy, business, and most human interactions a little nuance goes a long way.

“Nuance” is a word of French origin (but don’t hold that against it), coming from the infinitive of “nuer”, or “to shade”, referring to the slight shades of gray that are the embodiment of nuance- both literal and figuratively policy-wise.  So as we embark on the campaign cycle across Georgia, the black and white contrast between candidates will be hotly purported as a means of each candidate to differentiate him/herself from the other.  The otherwise gray-areas of difference between stances taken on transportation, RFRA, same-sex marriage, and the Opportunity School District will help sculpt the images of candidates in vibrant litmus-test tinged hues as office seekers assert they are the “true” conservative/progressive/believer/liberty lover/tax payer champion/ethics guru/patriot.

Take your pick.

This is somewhat amusing as we exist in an area of the country where the term “bless your heart” can mean so many different things.  There’s very few things more Southern than nuance.

Yankees don’t understand that the Southern way of talking is a language of nuance. What we can do in the South is we can take a word and change it just a little bit and make it mean something altogether different.~ Lewis Grizzard

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