Friday, June 26, 2015


Nearly six years ago, I found myself in some financial trouble because of the housing crash. I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and agreed to surrender the house to the mortgage holder. I figured that I would be out of there within six months. I'm still in the house, but my entire financial future is in jeopardy, because judges are ruling on what they think the law should be, rather than what it says.

It turned out that the bank who was claiming to be the mortgage holder was not, in fact, the holder of the mortgage. I asked for sanctions, and the bank settled out of court for just under 5 figures.

The bank opened a foreclosure case, which was then dismissed a year and a half later because their attorney never pursued the case, after he was caught manufacturing evidence and was subsequently disbarred. The bank was caught in their fraud by the Feds and had to pay me another $4K in a settlement. The mortgage was then sold to another bank.

That bank didn't do anything with the mortgage for over three years.  In May of 2015, more than 5 years after the conclusion of my bankruptcy, a judge in Tampa came down with a ruling that says people who file bankruptcy cannot defend themselves against foreclosures, and if they do, the court will retroactively void their bankruptcy.

As soon as they heard this, the original bank bought the mortgage back, and again filed suit for foreclosure. As soon as I was served, I hired an attorney. Now the bank is threatening to get this judge to retroactively void my bankruptcy by claiming that I am stalling the process. even though it is their own fault that the house has not been foreclosed upon: they are the ones who committed fraud, their attorneys are the ones who were disbarred, and they are the ones who sat on their hands for over 5 years without pursuing the case.

The judiciary is out of control.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Smoke and mirrors

Colleges all over the nation have historically had problems with students of African or Hispanic descent being academically weaker than other demographics. Those with an agenda are quick to point out what they believe is inherent racism in the system, often claiming that white privilege or culture is responsible for the disparity. However, this cannot be the case, because if the schools were  in fact biased towards whites, then whites would be the most successful, and Americans of African heritage would at least be more familiar with the culture than would a native of India or China.

That is not the case. In fact, Students from China, South Korea, and India do better in American colleges than do Americans, especially when taking courses that matter most: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Purdue is having so many issues, that Indiana is planning on opening a Charter school that will be designed to prepare minority students for college in STEM courses. Dozens of minority teens are shooting each other in Chicago every weekend, our kids are being forced out of education and sentenced to a life of making french fries for immigrants, and all the while, our politicians are arguing about flags. statues of Jefferson Davis, the names of military bases, and the names of American football teams.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Systemic failure of education

My first year as a teacher is now over, and I learned a lot about the things that are happening in our schools. It was an eye opening experience, to say the least. For years, I had thought that the problem was incompetent teachers, and I was wrong. That isn't to say that all of the teachers are brilliant and hard working. No, there are good teachers and bad, hard working teachers and lazy ones, just like any other profession. The problems in our education system are widespread and systemic. I am not sure if the system is fixable. Let me explain where I saw the problems:

The parents:
Each and every parent has an outcome that they want for their kids. That desired outcome has NOTHING to do with educating their child. What they want is for their child to receive good grades, so that child can "get into a good college." The parents don't care if the child actually learns anything. The goal is good grades. If their child doesn't receive high marks, then they blame the teacher for picking on the child, claiming favoritism. Even when you show them that the exams are all multiple choice, and the correct answer was not selected by the child, the parent continues blaming the teacher. I even had one parent accuse me of substituting an incorrectly marked test for their child's test, so I could make her look bad.

The State legislature and State Department of Education:
The state continuously changes the standards that each course must meet, and the tests that the students must take at the end of the course in order for the child to demonstrate that he or she has met that standard. These benchmarks mirror common core. I don't necessarily have a problem with common core itself. As I have blogged in the past, the benchmarks make sense, it's just that there are so many things that the students must learn in only 189 days of class.

That brings me to my next point: There are 189 days of school. In those 189 days, the students spend 36 of them taking standardized tests that are required by the state. That does't count my tests, nor does it count other things like pep rallies and other school events. That leaves only about 140 days for actual learning to take place, and there were 83 benchmarks for the students in Biology last year. Benchmarks like:

  • Analyze strategies for prevention, detection, and treatment of communicable and chronic diseases.
  • 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.
  • Analyze the movement of matter and energy through the different biogeochemical cycles, including water and carbon.
  • Identify the reactants, products, and basic functions of aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration.
and so on. This coming school year, that has been expanded to 85 benchmarks. 

The school administration:
The schools take the upper half of the students who are doing well, and put them in an 'honors' course. This means that the kids who are below average in learning are segregated into 'regular' classes. At the end of the year, the students for honors and regular classes take the same state exam, so the honors classes have much higher test scores than the regular classes, and they get a bonus point towards their GPA ( an A gets you 5 points on a 4 point scale, instead of 4 points.)
This has the effect of making the regular kids look even more under performing than the honors kids.

The Federal government:
The Feds have a law which says that kids with a learning disability get 'accommodations' to helping them take exams. They are allowed to have extra study guides, extended time on tests, and other perks, but that the student's school transcripts and diplomas will not reflect the extra help. Granted, many of the students who receive them are truly in need of the extra help. The problem is that there are parents who are gaming the system, and in my opinion, these parents are not only hurting their own children, but are placing the children who are truly in need of these services at a disadvantage. 

The students:
Students have always tried to game the system, and get away with doing little. The students don't do their assignments. The problem is even worse. Things have gotten to the point where they will physically attack staff and teachers. Kids are doing and selling drugs on campus. Because of the threats of lawsuits, the achool administrators are afraid to do anything about it.

The teachers
There are teachers who, in response to the above, have simply given up. They give all of the kids at least a C. They don't enforce rules, and do all in their power to ensure that students and parents like them. Of course, there is standardized testing to worry about, but they do their best to feed students the answers to the tests at the end of the year, so they do well enough that the teacher keeps their job. Since there are no raises for teachers based on performance, there is no real incentive to excel. In fact, the only incentive is not to get hassled and to keep your job, and that only ensures that some work just hard enough not to get fired.

This year, I had the under performing half of the students. The state testing at the end of the year is graded on a scale of 1-5. A three indicates that the student was on grade level in the subject. A one indicates that they are significantly below grade level, and a five indicates that they are significantly above. The honors kids averaged a 3.82. My under performing students averaged a 2.73. Not bad, considering that many of those kids have not done well on state testing in previous years. I only had three kids score a 1: two of them failed the final exams in two other classes, and the third of them doesn't really speak English all that well. 54% of my kids scored a 3 or higher on the exam, and that makes me happy. 
I have been hired for next year to teach Biology to tenth graders, and Chemistry to the Eleventh graders. I will again be teaching the under performing kids, and  did so well that I am losing five of them to the honors track.I wish them well.

As for the system, it is broken, but I will refuse to hand out passing grades just to keep everyone happy. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lessons of Zimmerman

A friend of mine owns a pool cleaning business. He has several employees, who drive his service trucks out to clean the pools of his customers. Last night at 8:30 PM, he saw a man breaking into his trucks. He was a black man wearing a dark hoodie and black gloves. Yesterday in Orlando, it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no reason to wear a hoodie and gloves, except to conceal your identity.

My friend called 911. The police did not arrive for over two hours. My friend told me that it wasn't worth it to confront the thief, because shooting him would cost him so much in legal fees, that it wasn't worth the risk of having your life ruined like George Zimmerman.

THAT is the reason why people say George should have stayed in his truck: the thugs need a safe work environment.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Clueless or lying?

President Obama says, in response to the church shooting in South Carolina: 'This Type of Mass Violence Does Not Happen in Other Advanced Countries'

The people of France would disagree, as evidenced by the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

 The people of Norway also disagree.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Figures don't lie, but anti gunners do.

The congress critters from Connecticut are proposing that everyone in the nation who owns a pistol will have to have a pistol purchase permit.  Applicants would have to submit to background checks and fingerprinting, prove they're at least 21 and a lawful U.S. resident, and be eligible to purchase a handgun under federal law.
The Connecticut lawmakers are claiming that a state law passed in 1995 that is similar to this is associated with a 40% in gun homicides in the first ten years it was in place. Let's fact check that claim, shall we?
All numbers that follow according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, as accessed here.

The law took effect on October 1, 1995. So we will begin with the murder rate in 1995:
In 1995, 4.6 murders per 100,000
In 2005, 3 murders per 100,000. This rate is 34.8% lower than 1995. So they are correct, there was a significant reduction in the murder rate over that ten year period.

Lets see if this was due to the law, or if this was a nationwide trend. We will compare these numbers to the nationwide statistics as a control.
In 1995, the murder rate for the US was 8.2 per 100,000. In 2005, the rate was 5.9 per 100,000, or 28.2% lower than 1995.

This would seem to indicate that Connecticut had a slightly larger reduction reduction in the murder rate than the rest of the nation experienced. Then it occurred to me: Why stop in 2005? Why not go all the way to 2013?

The US had a rate of 4.5 per 100,000 in 2013. This rate is 45.2% lower than 1995, and 23.8 percent lower than 2005.

Connecticut had rate of 2.4 murders per 100,000 in 2013. That is 48 percent lower than 1995, and 20 percent lower than 2005.

In other words, this gun control law had little, if any impact on murder rates. In fact, the trend of reduction becomes even less significant when we compare Connecticut to s state with similar population, but lax gun control laws.

Kentucky had a murder rate of 7.2 in 1995.
In 2005, the rate was 4.6, or 36.2% lower.
In 2013, the rate was 3.8, which is 47.3% lower than 1995, and 27.4% lower than 2005.

In other words, Kentucky saw a larger decrease in their murder rate than did Connecticut, and without passing any gun control laws. The US murder rate also sharply declined during the same period.
However, when you graph the above data points, you see that the slopes are identical. The differences between them are statistically insignificant.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Unbalanced Felon

A man allegedly shot up the Dallas Police Headquarters this morning. According to police, his name is James Lance Boulware. It turns out that he has a felony criminal record from 2013 for Felony Domestic Battery, and he was making comments about "shooting up schools and churches." He also reportedly complained about religion, Jews, Christians, and Korea. At the end of the argument, he reportedly fled with firearms, body armor, and ammunition.

I am not sureif he was convicted, pled out, or whatever, but even if this was pled to Misdemeanor DV, he was a prohibited person. What always gets me about these shooters is that it always turns out that they had previous serious brushes with the law, and the law always lets them go free.

Plan on this being used to push for the nationwide pistol license bill, which would require that everyone apply for a license and be fingerprinted to purchase a handgun, even through a private seller. Isn't it funny that every time a new gun law is proposed, an incident occurs that is tailor made to push its agenda?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Global warming again

This story is another example of global warming climate change affecting our world! Now the water in Maine is too cold for me to eat lobster.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A fool and his money...

So a woman claiming to be a fortune teller gets her mark to give her $700,000 over the course of two years, and after the 32 year old finally realized he was being taken for a ride, goes to the police. The police charge the woman with a crime.

He wanted the medium to tell him how to get a woman to fall in love with him who was not interested in him. One year and $200,000 later, the idiot found out that the target of his affection had died, so he gave the medium another half a million, so that he could locate the woman in her reincarnated state.

If you go to any person who claims that they can talk to the spirits of the dead and pay that person money, you are an idiot. You compound that if you continue to pay them to locate the reincarnated version of the woman you are pining for. Even if you believe in that reincarnation nonsense, the woman would be reincarnated as an infant.

What bothers me the most about this story is that the police are going to waste taxpayer resources to prosecute the medium. There are fortune tellers and mediums all over this country, and they are only going to prosecute the one who manages to rip off the guy who has more dollars than he does sense?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn just gained a bit of respect from me.

"In all of our schools it is illegal to have guns on campus, so again and again these guys go and shoot up these f***ing schools because they know there are no guns there," he said. "They are monsters killing six-year-olds. You think the politicians that run my country and your country don't have guns in the schools their kids go to?" he asked. "They do. And we should be allowed the same rights."