Sunday, October 30, 2016

Security Fail

So I have a credit card with an electronics retailer whose name I won't mention, but it rhymes with Breast High. Because I have been updating my physical and electronic security, I was on the company's website trying to change my password to a more secure one. I last changed my passwords in 2014, so I was overdue for a change. While there, I noticed that the address they had on file was an old one that I no longer have access to. I resolved to change the address on file next.

When I tried to change the password, I got a message saying that the process had been unsuccessful. I was locked out, and now cannot get back in. Neither the old password or the new one work. I called the company, and they are telling me that they need me to read the numbers from the physical credit card in order to reset the password. I tell them that I do not have the card, nor have I had it in nearly two years.

They respond by telling me that I must read them the numbers in order to reset the password. They offer to send me a new card. I tell them that the address they have on file is an old one. She then offers to send the card to whatever address I give her.

Blink. Blink.

This "security measure" is more security theater. All anyone has to do is give their address, get a card, and then get the password. Security fail.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Crime spree

I put my surveillance cameras in place during the first week of August. It takes about 5 weeks for the DVR to run out of space and begin writing over the old recordings. My cameras can see quite a long way. I can view at least 10 houses and their yards from my house. In the past three months, I have seen the following:

-  My lawn pest guy was just putting the "pesticide" sign in the yard and leaving. I got a refund of $375 and I now do it myself.
- I caught the lawn mowers cutting my screen and damaging several sprinkler heads, as well as the low voltage lighting. They came out and fixed it.
- I caught one of my neighbors' pool guys using my garden hose to add makeup water to the neighbor's pool. They agreed to pay for the excess water. It turns out that I was billed for nearly 2,000 gallons of water over my normal usage.
- When my neighbor's house was burglarized, I happened to get the miscreants on my camera. They now have their own camera system.
- I also caught some local youths setting off large fireworks, damaging some property. I gave the recordings to the affected neighbors.

These cameras have caught so much in such a short time, that I am amazed and wondering if this is normal, or if this is some sort of minor crime spree.

I was asked to join the neighborhood watch. I politely declined. The last thing I want is to be labelled as some sort of wannabe cop racist vigilante ala George Zimmerman. It's a shame when you can't get involved without being a suspect yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2016

More indoctrination

When arriving at work this morning, I found this in my mailbox:

I want to you take a close look at what the schools want teachers to do:

- Organize discussion groups in class or after school to talk about and promote homosexuality.
- Bring up homosexuality in conversations with friends and in class discussions.
- Put up posters and wear items promoting homosexuality.

Here is my feeling on this:
- I teach chemistry. Promoting homosexuality is not a part of my course content. I won't do it. I am not going to tell underaged teen boys that it is acceptable to suck dick, or underage teen girls that they should be out there licking pussy. I am just not going to do it.

- From a biological standpoint, if homosexuality were to become the norm, our species would cease to exist, as it interferes with reproduction. This by definition makes homosexuality a behavioral disorder. That isn't to say that people who are homosexual should be mistreated or bullied in any way, nor forced into treatment, but I don't feel that it needs to be celebrated or promoted any more than does flatulence, halitosis, or coronary heart disease.

- As far as transgenders: just because you believe yourself to be a woman does not make it so, any more than I would be a chicken if I claimed to be one. If you believe yourself to be of a sex other than the one which you biologically are, you have a mental disorder. Treatment should be offered for this, but not forced upon transgenders, unless that transgender belief endangers you or others.

However, professing the above beliefs and opinions would get me terminated if it were to become known amongst my coworkers. Free speech, my ass.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Teaching evaluations

On March 7th of this year, I was hired by a local high school to teach physics and chemistry. The teacher before me had been fired for absenteeism two months earlier. They had been in the classroom with substitute teachers for over three months of class time when I was hired. It is difficult to find qualified teachers in STEM fields, and even harder to find qualified teachers for chemistry and physics. Maybe this is why:

The results of our teacher evaluations just came back for last year. The evaluation is based upon three factors:
1 Your plan for teaching and improving yourself and your students (Called a Professional Development Plan or Deliberate Practice Plan)
2 Your classroom skills, as evidenced by a classroom visit and observations made by a school administrator
(These first two factors are called your Instructional Practices Score)

3 Student performance on end of year standardized tests. 

The scores are on a 4 point scale, with 3.50 and higher being superior, 2.5-3.49 being average, and anything less putting your job in jeopardy.
The standardized tests that my evaluation was based on, was administered during the week of March 28 - April 1. Spring break was the previous week. In other words, I was employed by the school for exactly 11 days before they were tested.

Even better, the students whose test scores were the basis for my evaluation were 10th graders. Physics and chemistry are 11th and 12th grade courses. There is no standardized test for either chemistry or physics, so the school uses the 10th grade reading test to rate all teachers whose class does not have a standardized exam.

So that third factor, which comprises 40% of my evaluation, is testing students that I don't teach, in a subject that has nothing to do with the subjects I teach, and tested them on skills that they learned or didn't learn before I even worked there.

When my classroom teaching was observed, it was during a physics class. In the the first instance, they were testing the math formula for determining pendulum period. They used different weights and different lengths of string to build pendulums to see which had the greater effect on pendulum period. Then they had to use the pendulum formula to construct a pendulum with a 2 second period. 

During the second class, the students were measuring frequency and wavelength of ultrasonic waves, and using that to calculate the speed of sound in various mediums. 

What did I get as a score for my IPS? A 3.2.
The test that the students took just two weeks after I was hired? I got a 2.49 for that. For performance that didn't even happen when I was there.

How is that an accurate or fair assessment of a teacher's skill? Do you know why I was evaluated like this? Florida law says that I get a large bonus if I am a new (to the district) teacher and my SAT scores were above the 80th percentile. By giving me an evaluation from last year, they get out of paying me that bonus.

The teacher across the hall from me is a law school graduate. Last year was her first as a teacher. She is always in an hour early, and leaves an hour late. She got her evaluation today and burst into tears. 

The education system is systematically dysfunctional. Teachers who don't care are simply there to put in time, get a paycheck, and have summers off. Talented teachers who care are often run out of the classroom and return to other careers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


"If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period... In an Obama administration, we'll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year...So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans." President Barack Obama

Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm frightened, yet intrigued

Watch the below video, I know it is long, but the implications are truly scary:

This is how revolutions happen: agitators cause trouble, and then the communists move in and take over. We see this again and again:
Agitators who are being directed and paid by the DNC are causing civil unrest at Trump rallies, as evidenced by the video above.
Agitators who are being paid by the DNC, Soros, and others are travelling to cities where there are police shootings and causing civil unrest. We've seen it in Charlotte, in Ferguson, and Baton Rouge.

This is both frightening and intriguing. On the one hand, I am truly afraid that we have at last reached the end of the United States as the Constitutional Republic it has been, which comes to no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. On the other hand, it is interesting in that we are a witness to history.

Suppression of the press is well under way. Look for people do not cooperate to begin disappearing. That is the next phase.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Awash in red ink

When Obama took office, the US Federal Government owed $6.3 trillion dollars to its creditors, and owed $4.3 trillion to its own trust funds, namely Social Security and Medicare, for a total of $10.3 trillion in governmental debt.

There are those who claim that Bill Clinton balanced the budget, but as I have blogged before, that is a misleading claim. Bill Clinton ran a deficit every year that he was in office, but what he did was rob the trust funds in order to pay for general expenditures. In other words, he "borrowed" all of the Social Security and Medicare Trust funds, leaving them with nothing but government IOUs. In all, the debt (to creditors and trust funds combined), the government borrowed $1.4 trillion.

The government under President Bush, with no money left to steal from the Trust funds, just continued to borrow money, to the point of borrowing an additional $4.8 trillion.

The government under Obama has made all of our previous Presidents look like amateurs. The government has "borrowed" $1.2 trillion from the Trust funds, and a whopping $7.2 trillion from creditors. Our total national debt stands at $19.7 trillion. By the time his term expires, Obama will have borrowed more money than all of the past presidents COMBINED.

That amount is even larger when you consider that the FED has monetized a significant amount of the debt. Monetization of the debt is when a central bank buys and then removes Treasury notes from circulation. The Fed has bought $2.1 Trillion in Treasury notes since Obama took office. What this means is that our real debt is closer to $22.1 trillion.

When the Federal Reserve purchases these Treasuries, it doesn't have to print money to do so. It issues credit and puts the Treasuries on its balance sheet. Everyone treats the credit just like money, even though the Fed doesn't actually print any cash. In other words, they are printing the money by issuing it on a computer screen. The U.S. government borrows when it auctions Treasuries. The Fed turns this debt into money by removing those Treasuries from circulation, essentially burning the loan documents and ensuring that they need not be repaid.

The Fed is using semantics in claiming that this is not a monetization of the debt, because they claim that monetization would require the central bank to never redeem the notes, and since they intend (someday, when the economy improves enough to allow it) to redeem the notes, then it isn't technically monetization.

The effect of the Fed buying all of these treasury notes is that it suppresses interest rates, and increases the money supply, which makes money worth less and less as the amount in circulation increases. The only way to keep rates low is to continue to buy treasury notes, and refuse to sell. This means that the number of notes that have to be held will continue to grow. Add to this the amount that the government is borrowing, and you can see that we are awash in red ink, and trying to hide it by printing more and more money.

What this means to us is this: the Fed will have to buy more and more of these notes, and the government will continue to borrow more and more, until inflation and the amount of the debt becomes unsustainable. When we reach that point is unknown, because no other country has ever borrowed so much. What is known is this: every government that has tried this scheme has fallen, and the nation wound up in a disastrous war. Our days are numbered, there is just no telling what that number is.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


My son posted a comment to the book of faces essentially claiming that men say things to each other in private that are offensive, and he doesn't understand why everyone is in a twist about Trump.

One of his coworkers (a female) immediately responds that she has never heard people talk like that, she would never, and that she has never heard a coworker speak like that. My son pointed out that when people speak, they change their conversation around strangers and people who are easily offended. He also pointed out that men speak differently when women are around. (This used to be called 'speaking in polite company')

She responded with a comment of "If you can't say something around everyone, you shouldn't say it at all." Then pointed out that she would expect language like that would get you fired, and rightly should.

At that point, I jumped in.
Here was my comment:

I cannot believe that you have NEVER had a conversation in private that was not inappropriate. I know for a fact that women frequently say things when men aren't around that are inappropriate as well. Recording a private conversation without the other party's knowledge, and then releasing it later to damage his career makes you a jerk.
Likewise, a conversation that a firefighter has (even if in front of a chief) off duty and out of uniform, not to mention eleven years before he even APPLIES for the job is not going to be held against him.

Here was her response:
I deleted my comments and will be unfollowing this post. Like I said I will not argue about this. I really hope for better out of everyone. I do not discuss politics on Facebook because it's pointless. I love being a firefighter and I love the people I work with. I make it just fine. Hopefully, most of them continue to be respectful and are held to the same high standard that I've always seen. I will be reporting your comments to your supervisors, maybe they should be on the lookout for your 'private conversations.'
Here was my final response:

 I never attacked you, all I did was disagree with you. By hoping for better, I assume that you mean that you hope everyone will agree with you. 
Hypocrites, all of them.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Light sentence for a scumbag

A friend of mine experienced a tragedy last year when their 8 year old daughter was killed in a hit and run accident while walking home from school. Aubrey Clark was struck and killed by Lastevie Howard as she was walking home from school with a friend.

After running over the two children, he fled the scene and was caught a mile and a half away by bystanders who had witnessed the crash. Aubrey died in the hospital several days later, her friend was only slightly injured and fully recovered, unless you count the trauma of watching his best friend die. Police later released traffic surveillance video, which showed Howard's black SUV leaving the scene of the accident after the crash.

Lastevie V. Howard was originally charged with reckless driving with great bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury, but the state later added vehicular homicide with failure to render aid, and leaving the scene of a crash involving a fatality. The dirtbag initially plead not guilty, but then entered a plea bargain where he plead guilty to two of the charges. He was sentenced to 7 years on the two charges, for which the minimum was 4 years EACH.

The problem that I have with this, is that this man was already a convicted violent felon. He was convicted of:
He was convicted of burglary in 1994 for a burglary that he committed in May of 1993. He was only 19 years old.
He plead guilty to aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer in January of 1995, for an incident from an arrest in July of 1994.
He was convicted of forgery and resisting arrest in January of 1995 for an arrest that happened in September of 1994. He plead guilty in a plea deal and was sentenced to 1 year in the county jail.
He was convicted in 1994 of carrying a concealed firearm, misdemeanor. He was released after only serving two weeks because the jail was overcrowded. Even though he was a convicted felon at the time, there were no charges for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Burglary and theft (both felonies) in August of 1997 for a burglary he committed in December of 1996. He plead "no contest" to the charge, and received probation.
While awaiting trial on the Burglary and theft charges, he was convicted of Petit Theft in May of 1997, for a shoplifting arrest in January of that year, for which he received 1 year and nine months in prison.
While awaiting trial for the shoplifting and burglary charges, he committed an armed robbery in April of 1997. A jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 12 years.
He was released in April of 2009. In the three years that followed, he received no fewer than 6 traffic tickets. In January of 2015, he killed an 8 year old little girl.

He had at least seven felony convictions, many for violence. He was found in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. Instead of running free, he should have been in prison for the rest of his life.

Our legal system has failed us, and most of all, it failed Aubrey.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


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Friday, October 7, 2016


Matt Drudge has been coming under fire for accusing NOAA of over exaggerating Hurricane Matthew's data. The hurricane's eyewall passed right over a data buoy, and the highest sustained wind reported was 56 knots, with a gust to 68. That is FAR below the reported strength. In fact, not one weather station has reported winds of the reported strength. In fact, the station in the Bahamas is not only offline, but so is all of its historical data.

Here at my location, the highest wind we have had is 25 mph. We have gotten an inch and a half of rain in the past 24 hours, and most of that was a single band that passed over us yesterday afternoon.

The preparations for this storm cost the people of this state tens of millions of dollars, far more than the storm damage cost. There were already people who refused to evacuate, and next time there will be even more who refuse to do so.

Good job, NHC.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It begins

This is the first time that I have had to use any of my contingency plans since I have been with my fiance. She, not being from Florida and not being a prepper, is not used to preparing for hurricanes. I, on the other hand, am from Louisiana and grew up on stories of past hurricanes like Camille, spent more than 2 decades as a firemedic, with five of those years being as a member of the USAR that was deployed to hurricanes and other disasters all over the south. 

My preparations caused her to tell me that I was "panicking" and that we wouldn't have a problem because she has never had a weather related problem in the 7 years she has lived here. I had to show her pictures from Katrina, which had 120 mile per hour winds, and then show her that this storm would have 140 mile per hour winds in order to get her to go along. Still, I assume that she is simply humoring me and that I will hear about it later, if we don't have too much bad weather.

As a prelude to this storm, we filled both vehicles with fuel, made sure all of our propane tanks were full, and ensured all batteries were charged. I filled all of our reserve water cans and removed all of the loose stuff from the yard. I tested my HAM radio system and checked in with the local radio network, to ensure that we can call for help if and when the phone system goes down (as it did with Hurricane Charley in 2004 in Central Florida, and with Katrina in Mississippi in 2005).

I have all the food that we need, and much of it doesn't need to be cooked. The generator was started and run for a bit as a test, and that is as much as I think we need to do.

Yesterday, this is what the bread aisle looked like in the local supermarket:

There were lines at the gas station, and police were there to keep an eye on things, as there were a few fights at some locations. Society unravels quickly. 

The first rain band came through here about a half an hour ago, and in less than 15 minutes we got half an inch of rain. I will update from time to time.