Intenet outage?

I don’t know if this is an Internet outage, or if it is a problem at my end, but seems as though a good portion of the net is down. I cannot reach many sites. To test it, I went to various major websites to see if they would work, with the assumption that the big guys would be up and running:

Google: Functioning normally
Facebook: Functioning normally
Amazon: Loads, but does so slowly, and with a funny text only version of the page
Blogger: Was down, now normal is loading abnormally, as a text only version of the page
Fox news is down is down is down

The problem is selective, and appears to be my home connection, because my Smartphone is accessing all sites normally.



Admission of quotas

So the police have finally admitted what all of us knew all along:

The Gainesville Sun reports Officer Brandon Roberts told council members
on Tuesday night they were required by Chief Mike Szabo to write 12
speeding tickets per 12-hour shift, or face punishment. He offered an
electronic presentation and printed emails as evidence.

Waldo was ranked as the nation’s third worst speed trap by a national publication in 2012. The Sun reports that documents show about half the city’s $1 million budget comes from an item listed as “police revenue.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon.Nationwide, cities put traffic ticket revenues in the BUDGET for the coming year. Here is an investigative report from Atlanta.It happens in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Michigan. Palo Alto, California joins the party.

Illinois lawmakers are proposing a law that would prohibit ticket quotas. Police chiefs oppose it, because the loss of revenue would hurt their budgets. Of course, the public reason given is that they are afraid that officers will get lazy and stop writing tickets altogether. That is ridiculous. Aren’t there other crimes that cops could be out there investigating? Or are the police chiefs trying to say that there is so little crime in Illinois that if there is no ticket quota, that police will have nothing to do?  If so, maybe we have too many cops on the job.

Does the Fire Department have a fire quota? Does garbage collection have to pick up a set amount of garbage?

Police officers are under a lot of pressure to issue traffic
citations, and some cases even have a quota to meet. With this,
forfeitures, and other schemes, we prove that we have entered a police
state, where business and government have become virtually
indistinguishable. In other words, fascism.


Pamela is a liar

Pamela, presumably a spokeswoman for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (since she invites me to look at “their” website and refers to “We do not receive funding”), left a comment to yesterday’s post. In that post, she claims that the NCPSSM is a grassroots organization that is funded by the dues of individual members and donations.

Here is the makeup of their income sources. If you take a look, so far for 2014, they have received $282,202 from Political Action Committees, and $1,800 from individuals. According to their website, the minimum donation for membership is $12. This means that, at most, there are 150 members in this group. That means that the 12 protesters that appeared at the even last week represented over 10% of the total membership of this “nationwide grassroots” organization.

More than 99% of this group’s funding comes from PACs, not individuals.
In my opinion, this group is nothing more than a front to distribute campaign funding to Democrats from rich benefactors. In other words, Astroturf.

She then goes on to say that using the word “entitlement” when referring to Social Security and Medicare is some sort of incorrect attempt at insulting the people who receive those benefits. She is wrong, again. Here, let me Google that for you:

An entitlement is a government program guaranteeing access to some benefit, such as to welfare benefits or tax incentives, by members of a specific group and based on established rights or by legislation.

As far as Ryan being for cutting Social Security and Medicare, he is right. Those programs will either be cut in a controlled manner, or they will be cut when we run out of money. Either way, it is a mathematical certainty. Social Security, interest on the debt we have already incurred, Medicare, and Medicaid total more than we take in through taxes, and that is without paying for all of the other things that the government does: Military, Law Enforcement, the Courts, the Post Office, Welfare, Food Stamps, roads, and all of the other items.

The way out of this mess is not more taxes. Increasing the taxes of
all Americans by a third (133% of last year)
would still require that all government discretionary spending be cut in
half. Spending has GOT to be cut across the board, even mandatory items
like Social Security, along with the pet project of the right, the

Eliminating the Social Security cap would do nothing. Currently, 84% of all earnings (not earners) fall under the cap. Eliminating the cap would only increase tax revenue by a little more than 1%. Not nearly enough to make a difference.


It isn’t your money

Paul Ryan recently visited The Villages. It is a largish town of mainly retirees just south of Ocala, Florida. His visit attracted some protesters:

There is a sign with a dick joke. The one that bothered me was the sign that reads “Hands off my Medicaid”

Uh, it isn’t YOUR Medicaid. That particular program is a giveaway of MY money. It isn’t now, nor was it ever, your money.

I would also point out that at least half of these protesters were bussed in by the UAW. Why? Because it is a RETIREMENT community with the only jobs being infrastructure and service jobs like medical, grocery, and restaurant jobs.The people here are all wearing Tshirts provided by the Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. There is a guy standing there, holding a UAW sign. He is wearing a nametag and a dress shirt. I wonder if he is the “community organizer.”

The website on the professionally made signs, “” redirects to “” which, according to the site is owned by the “National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare” According to, they claim to be a “grassroots” organization whose mission is to support the continued existence of Medicaid and Social Security. They facts say otherwise. They donate to Democrats at a ratio of $99 to Democrats for every dollar they donate to Republicans.

In fact, this committee donates heavily to the members of Senate and House committees that have little, if anything, to do with Social Security and Medicare. They seem to simply be a fund generator for the Democratic Party.


Policing is big money

This is what happens when you mix money and law enforcement: corruption. Traffic cameras are only one way, but there are many others. There are simply too many ways to make money, running a police department: forfeiture, fines, and numerous other inducements have made enforcing the law a VERY profitable business.


Dodge sucks.

My 23 month old $45,000 Dodge Challenger is still broken, even after three visits to the dealer for repair. They told me it would be done by Saturday, but no dice.

I am not happy.


Common Core

So there are people who claim that Common Core is anti-American. I posted on this once before, and it was pointed out that the complaints are all about math and American History. To clear up any confusion, here are the required Common Core benchmarks for 8th grade American history. Here are just a few of the 112 benchmarks that are required for the course:

SS.8.A.3.3:  Recognize the contributions of the Founding Fathers (John Adams, Sam
Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas
Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, George Washington) during
American Revolutionary efforts. Examples may also include, but are not limited to, Thomas Paine, John Jay, Peter Salem.

 SS.8.A.3.9:  Evaluate the structure, strengths, and weaknesses of the Articles of
Confederation and its aspects that led to the Constitutional Convention.

 SS.8.A.3.11: Analyze support and opposition (Federalists, Federalist Papers,
AntiFederalists, Bill of Rights) to ratification of the U.S.

 SS.8.A.3.12: Examine the influences of George Washington’s presidency in the formation of the new nation.

 SS.8.A.3.13: Explain major domestic and international economic, military, political, and socio-cultural events of John Adams’s presidency.

Explain major domestic and international economic, military, political,
and socio-cultural events of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.

The Common Core, at least as adopted here, doesn’t tell teachers HOW to teach, but merely what the children should be able to do at the end of the course.

I think that people are making a big deal out of nothing. Here is a link to the Florida version of common core. Get the facts for yourself, don’t fall for politically spun hyperbole and urban legends.


Still having car problems

My car broke down two weeks ago. It is caused by a faulty sensor in the door latch. The faulty sensor causes the car’s computer to think that someone is attempting to open the driver’s side door, so it rolls the window down by half an inch. Continuously. Until the battery dies. To keep the battery from being drained, I had to disconnect the battery every time I parked it.

I called Dodge, and they told me that even though this a problem that they know about, my car is out of warranty, and they would not cover the repair. A big “screw you” from the manufacturer, it makes me feel like they are scamming people by hiding defects in the car.

After contacting three different repair shops, I was told by all three that the only place that the car can be repaired is the dealer. Nice racket, huh?

So, I brought the car to the dealer’s service department, and told the mechanic what I thought the problem was, and even provided a copy of a technical service bulletin that was issued by Dodge, describing the issue. He didn’t believe me, and had to investigate it himself. I sat at the dealer for 3 hours, after which he told me that he fixed the problem, and didn’t even charge me.

Only he didn’t fix the problem. As soon as I came near the car, the window rolled down and back up. I went and got the tech, and showed him the problem. He said that he would have to keep the car all day in order to troubleshoot. I again explained what I thought the problem was. He told me that he would call Dodge.

A week later, he still has the car. Dodge has confirmed what I was telling the mechanic all along: the sensor in the door latch is bad. It is supposed to be fixed today, at a cost of $330. My car has been out of commission for two weeks now. Two weeks of getting rides to work from others.

This is the last Dodge, and probably the last American car I will ever buy. I am going to trade this thing is before I have more problems. It is obvious to me that Dodge is practicing planned obsolescence by designing cars that barely make it through the warranty period. I cannot have an unreliable $45,000 car. I think I am going to begin shopping for an SUV. One with a long warranty, and not an American model.

Sorry, American car makers: You make shitty cars. Until you make a quality product at an affordable price, I will NOT be buying American.

(The problem is that you are paying forklift drivers $100,000 a year. All of the money spent on your cars is going to labor, and not into making a quality product.)



I had a female friend of mine (who is a LEO) post the following picture on Facebook:

I replied with “Domestic Violence is always wrong.” Her answer? “Spoken like a typical man. You all want to cheat and get away with it.”

Being that I have been falsely accused by women of domestic violence twice in the past, I am sensitive to this. The first time was in 2004. The reason that I was accused was that the woman was angry that when we broke up, I stopped paying for the cell phone service that I had been providing. The judge agreed, and said that this was a form of “financial violence,” in that I was using the fact that I had money, and she did not, to control her. The problem with that bit of judicial activism is that Florida has a pretty specific definition of what constitutes domestic violence, and that ain’t it. The decision was overturned on appeal. It cost me a LOT of money to make that go away.

Then there was earlier this year. In this case, all I did was return property that she left at my house that was labelled “Property of XXX Hospital,” to the hospital, which was her employer. They fired her for stealing the property. In return, she accused me of domestic violence, by saying that I was stalking her and threatening her. The case was dismissed after three weeks and two hearings.

It disturbs me that a POLICE OFFICER will support a woman beating up her husband because he cheated on her, while the same legal system supports wasting people’s time and ruining the lives of men who have done nothing, because a woman is angry that she got caught stealing.

I’m guessing that any man who beats up his wife for cheating will not get the same cheerleaders.


Common Core

A big deal has been made about common core. Florida has adopted them as the standard. I must admit that I knew little about them before I began my teaching job a couple of weeks ago. Teaching biology, here is a listing of my common core benchmarks for the first unit, that is the things my students should be able to do when they pass my course:

 N.1.1: Define a problem based on a specific body of knowledge, for example: biology, chemistry, physics, and earth/space science, and do the following: 
1. Pose questions about the natural world, (Articulate the purpose of the investigation and identify the relevant scientific concepts). 
2. Conduct systematic observations, (Write procedures that are clear and replicable. Identify observables and examine relationships between test (independent) variable and outcome (dependent) variable. Employ appropriate methods for accurate and consistent observations; conduct and record measurements at appropriate levels of precision. Follow safety guidelines).
 3. Examine books and other sources of information to see what is already known, 
4. Review what is known in light of empirical evidence, (Examine whether available empirical evidence can be interpreted in terms of existing knowledge and models, and if not, modify or develop new models). 
5. Plan investigations, (Design and evaluate a scientific investigation). 
6. Use tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data (this includes the use of measurement in metric and other systems, and also the generation and interpretation of graphical representations of data, including data tables and graphs), (Collect data or evidence in an organized way. Properly use instruments, equipment, and materials (e.g., scales, probeware, meter sticks, microscopes, computers) including set-up, calibration, technique, maintenance, and storage). 
7. Pose answers, explanations, or descriptions of events, 
 8. Generate explanations that explicate or describe natural phenomena (inferences), 
9. Use appropriate evidence and reasoning to justify these explanations to others, 
10. Communicate results of scientific investigations, and 
11. Evaluate the merits of the explanations produced by others. 

N.1.3: Recognize that the strength or usefulness of a scientific claim is evaluated through scientific argumentation, which depends on critical and logical thinking, and the active consideration of alternative scientific explanations to explain the data presented. 

N.1.4: Identify sources of information and assess their reliability according to the strict standards of scientific investigation. 

N.1.6: Describe how scientific inferences are drawn from scientific observations and provide examples from the content being studied. Collect data/evidence and use tables/graphs to draw conclusions and make inferences based on patterns or trends in the data. 

N.2.1: Identify what is science, what clearly is not science, and what superficially resembles science (but fails to meet the criteria for science). Science is the systematic and organized inquiry that is derived from observations and experimentation that can be verified or tested by further investigation to explain natural phenomena (e.g. Science is testable, pseudo-science is not science seeks falsifications, pseudo-science seeks confirmations.) 

N.2.2: Identify which questions can be answered through science and which questions are outside the boundaries of scientific investigation, such as questions addressed by other ways of knowing, such as art, philosophy, and religion. Identify scientific questions that can be disproved by experimentation/testing. Recognize that pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to strict standards of science 

N.3.1: Explain that a scientific theory is the culmination of many scientific investigations drawing together all the current evidence concerning a substantial range of phenomena; thus, a scientific theory represents the most powerful explanation scientists have to offer. Explain that a scientific theory is a well-tested hypothesis supported by a preponderance of empirical evidence. 

N.3.4: Recognize that theories do not become laws, nor do laws become theories; theories are well supported explanations and laws are well supported descriptions. Recognize that theories do not become laws, theories explain laws. Recognize that not all scientific laws have accompanying explanatory theories. 

L.14.1: Describe the scientific theory of cells (cell theory) and relate the history of its discovery to the process of science. Describe how continuous investigations and/or new scientific information influenced the development of the cell theory. Recognize the contributions of scientists in the development of the cell theory. 

RST.1.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions. 

 RST.1.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text. 

RST.3.7 Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. 

WHST.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. 

WHST.3.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. 

I just don’t see what the big deal is. These are all things that kids finishing a high school science course should know.