May 19, 2013
We have problems wrapping our heads around situations like this. We’ll let CBS station WNEW out of Washington DC explain what happened:
SUFFOLK, Va. — Two Suffolk second graders have been suspended for making shooting noises while pointing pencils at each other.
Media outlets report the 7-year-old boys were suspended for two days for a violation of the Suffolk school system’s zero-tolerance policy on weapons. They were playing with one another in class Friday at Driver Elementary.
One of the boys told his father they were playing a game where one of them was a Marine and the other was a bad guy.
But Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said a pencil is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made.
If the kids are playing and they both know they are playing, how is the pointing of a pencil in a “threatening way” possible? (We would even argue that it is impossible to point a pencil in a threatening manner, but that is a post for another day.)
How can these people defend these brain dead policies?
Bradshaw continued to display her lack of critical thinking:
May 18, 2013
In a letter dated May 1, 2013, the City of Satellite Beach was informed by the Brevard County Office of the Clerk of the Courts that the county was initiating an audit of the expenditures made by the Satellite Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) since 2003.
The letter delivered by certified mail (seen below), states Brevard County has contributed $3,989,000 to the Satellite Beach CRA.
According to the Clerk of the Court’s Office, the result of this audit could be an agreement between the City and the County on the appropriateness of the expenditures or civil litigation to determine if the expenditures made by the CRA were appropriate. If the expenditures are found to be outside of the scope of Florida Statutes, the City would have to pay back the funds or future funds from Brevard County in the amount of the inappropriate expenditures would be withheld.
May 17, 2013
Crank up the volume and watch this in full screen mode.
This video captures the sunrise annular solar eclipse from 3 locations in the Pilbara, Western Australia, May 10, 2013.
Cameras were placed at the south west, north west limits and centreline. 3 Canon 5DmkII + 800 mm timelapse at each location and Canon 1DC + 2000 mm 4K video in the north.
A big thanks to Geoff Sims for setting up the south camera, collaborating on site location, transporting lenses and eclipse timing/position calculations.
Thanks also to Peter Nanasi for providing the lovely original score at short notice.
Courtesy Colin Legg.
May 17, 2013
For Christmas, we managed to snag a 40″ Sceptre LCD TV from WalMart.
While not the greatest TV in the world, we love it. Watching movies and sports is a whole new experience. Imagine our horror when we came home one day and the TV would not turn on. We had been watching the set before having to go to the store and when we returned, the TV would power on, but it would then not respond to commands from a remote or the on-TV controls. There was no picture or sound either.
We unplugged the set and after letting it sit for awhile, plugged it back in and it worked.
But the problem persisted. We began to suspect there was a heat issue within the set.
We had taken precautions though. When we picked up the set, we also bought and extended warranty from WalMart. Normally we avoid such warranties, but we thought the Sceptre brand wasn’t well known at the time, and we wanted to be cautious.
We called the warranty company on Saturday and they were overly polite. It was amazing. The young lady we spoke with was cheerful and friendly. She took our information, found the warranty and then said, “your set is still under warranty from the manufacturer. You need to call them.” She gave us the number and we called Scepter directly.
Ooops. They were closed for the weekend.
On Monday, we called Sceptre and ran into some difficulty and the recording told us to try to chat online. We were beginning to worry that this was not going to turn out well.
May 16, 2013
To the left is the face of one of New York’s latest people charged with a crime.
Gregory Dean, Jr., is 31 years old and from Hopewell Junction in New Lebanon N.Y. On March 12, 2013, Dean was stopped by the police for having the light over his license plate out. While being interviewed by the police, the officer noticed there was a handgun on the seat which was partially covered by a sweatshirt.
The officer took the gun, which was legally owned and possessed by Dean, and then examined the magazine which contained nine rounds of ammunition – two more than allowed by New York’s SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013), signed Governor Andrew M. Cuomo within an hour after it was passed by the New York legislature.
Dean was arrested and charged.
Police charged Dean with unlawful possession of certain ammunition feeding devices, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation,both misdemeanors, plus vehicle infractions, police said.
He was released without bail and ordered to appear May 23 in New Lebanon Justice Court.
Another criminal off the street.
Of course, the problem is that Dean did not do anything wrong Constitutionally. The seven round limit on the magazine size has lawyers chomping at the bit for a Constitutional challenge as it made far too many weapons illegal (thereby violating the “reasonable” standard when restricting rights) and also that the law is “ex post facto,” meaning it made legal acts prior to the law’s passage illegal.
May 15, 2013
The Satellite Beach City Council will meet tonight at 7:00 PM in the council chambers for a regular meeting.
There are several items of interest on the agenda, which can be found here.
The agenda support packet is here, as well as a revision for agenda item 13 found here.
We hope to see you there.
May 14, 2013
Carnegie Mellon University is embroiled in somewhat of a controversy after three students were arrested and charged after the university’s annual College of Fine Arts’ Anti-Gravity Downhill Derby on Carnival Weekend.
The president of Carnegie Mellon University says charges have been filed in connection with an incident in which a female student dressed up as the pope, and was naked from the waist down, with a her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross.
After a two-week review, Carnegie Mellon police have charged 19-year-old art student, Katherine O’Connor with indecent exposure.
22-year-old Robb Godshaw was also charged with public nudity, along with another student who says he’s friends with both.
The students are claiming “freedom of expression,” to which we wonder “what idea were the students expressing?”
To his credit, the President of the university Dr. Jared L. Cohon seems to understand what has happened and why they students were charged.
He says in a statement:
The students took part in a campus art event and, in the case of the student who portrayed herself as the Pope, made an artistic statement which proved to be controversial. While I recognize that many found the students’ activities deeply offensive, the university upholds their right to create works of art and express their ideas. But, public nudity is a violation of the law and subject to appropriate action.
From this statement, it seems that President Cohon recognizes there is no right to not be offended by someone else’s speech or expression. Just because someone is offended doesn’t mean the person with the idea has to shut up.
Yet in this case, the expression ran afoul of the law. Once again, from Cohon’s statement:
May 14, 2013
photo courtesy Eric Gay/AP
Like many people, we love sports. Some sports more than others, but it is fair to say that we enjoy the competition, the drive for excellence and the camaraderie competing can bring.
We also believe that sports can be a metaphor for life. The lessons we learn and observe in sporting ventures often apply to life away from athletic endeavors.
With that in mind, allow us to introduce you to pole vaulter Charlotte Brown, a 15 year old junior at Emory Rains High School in Texas.
Last week Brown competed in the Class 3A Texas State Track and Field Finals. Brown had qualified well with a vault of 11′ 6″, but her highest successful vault in the meet was only 10′ 6″ and after failing to clear 11″, she was eliminated.
The winning height was 12-9 by meet favorite Kally Long of Wimberley, last year’s silver medalist.
Oh, did we mention Brown is legally blind?
Brown was born with normal vision but developed problems while an infant. She has no depth perception, sees no color and cannot distinguish shapes. Her range of vision is similar to looking through a tiny straw. She reads Braille and will get a seeing eye dog next month.
Brown is able to vault by using intense concentration on her approach to the pit, counting her steps and listening to coach Derek Smith yell when he tells her to launch. She places an 80-foot strip of dark, artificial turf next to the running lane to create a light/dark contrast she can follow to keep her running in a straight line.
She is not the only one: