The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah began at sunset on December 24, 2016.
According to Wikipedia:
Each night throughout the 8 day holiday, a candle or oil-based light is lit. As a universally practiced “beautification” (hiddur mitzvah) of the mitzvah, the number of lights lit is increased by one each night. An extra light called a shamash, meaning “attendant” or “sexton,” is also lit each night, and is given a distinct location, usually higher, lower, or to the side of the others.
Back in 2012, two students of the Technion school decided that if you are going to light a menorah, do it in a spectacular way that combines the holiday, the meaning of the holiday, and a love for your chosen field of study.
Thus was born the “Rube Goldberg device” of Menorah lighting.
Technion students Eyal Cohen and Tomer Wassermann from the Mechanical Engineering faculty and Matan Orian and Dvir Dukhan of Industrial Engineering and Management take on the challenge to build a Rube Goldberg machine that lights the Chanukah menorah. Hanukkah is the holiday of miracles and here is another one.
Editor’s Note: This is one of those posts we are somewhat leery of because in our minds, people may get the wrong idea as to what we are saying. While we are going to talk about money and costs, we don’t think (at least we aren’t sure) that should be the focus of what is wrong and where this subject jumped the rails.
A few weeks ago we posted an article on how Mayor Tumulty and others didn’t seem to care about the rules of meetings. One of our constant themes has been the lack of the City Commission, the Staff, and contracted workers seem to have little regard for the rules, regulations and laws they should be following.
As we said, during the discussion on the budget the following two exchanges took place:
COMMISSIONER SKIP WILLIAMS: Charles, are you prepared to discuss this (document) that you handed out to all of the commissioners?
ACTING CITY MANAGER CHARLES HOLLAND: I would say not as a part ….this is about the budget. I would have to say that the Mayor, of course, would be the, uh, but I would recommend that we not discuss that because I want to have some one on ones with the Commissioners next week so I would recommend that we not discuss that tonight because it does not have anything to do with this budget.
MAYOR TIM TUMULTY: Okay, thank you very much.
TUMULTY: Interesting Skip, so you don’t know what the budget is going to be for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 so we can’t close on this budget?
WILLIAMS: This budget has a number in it….
TUMULTY: Sure it does.
WILLIAMS: … that is based on $15,300 projected….
TUMULTY: Fifteen, fifteen.
WILLIAMS: Fifteen million five hundred thousand…
WILLIAMS: That is right there in the line item and its kind of like that same number throughout the [INAUDIBLE]….
WILLIAMS: We know, based on this information that that is not a good number. We are going to pass a budget that doesn’t have a good number in it.
TUMULTY: I don’t know if we know if that’s a good or bad number, but I do know that debt service, we won’t start paying on that debt service this fiscal year. In the upcoming fiscal year.
WILLIAMS: I’ll refrain any further comments until we get to Item F-2.
What caught our eye was this mysterious paper that was distributed to the Commission members by Acting City Manager Charles Holland.
We wanted to know what that document was, so we asked for it under the Florida Sunshine Laws.
The document (embedded below and available for download here) is a letter from the Architect Design Group on concerning the cost of the planned City Hall, Police Station and Parking Garage.
The lead paragraph summarizes the contents of the document: (more…)
The health care of veterans should not be a partisan issue. The men and women who serve in the military should not be political pawns or bargaining chips.
It is fairly well known and established that the Veterans Administration (VA) is a disaster that has been going on for decades. Scandals at the VA became fodder for the press a few years ago when it became public that VA hospitals were lying about statistics and quality of care. Unfortunately, the people that were at the center of that mess were not fired or held accountable in any manner. That alone should show the average person that the system itself is broken and in the cases where people lied about the health care of the vets, morally bankrupt.
Now a new wrinkle in this saga has popped up:
WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs over the summer quietly stopped sharing data on the quality of care at its facilities with a national database for consumers, despite a 2014 law requiring the agency to report more comprehensive statistics to the site so veterans can make informed decisions about where to seek care.
For years, the VA provided data on a number of criteria to the Hospital Compare web site run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services. The site includes death and readmission rates and other measures of quality for public and private hospitals around the country, as well as national averages.
After the VA scandal, Congress passed the law mandating the VA to submit even more data. But the VA confirmed to USA TODAY last week that it stopped reporting its information July 1.
Joe Francis, director of clinical analytics and reporting at the Veterans Health Administration, said lawyers at HHS advised the VA to pull the plug until the two agencies could work out a new deal governing the sharing of information.
In short, it appears that the VA was in cahoots with the Health and Human Services (HHS) to avoid complying with the law of the land.
This is the type of stuff that angers us to no end. (more…)
After the last dust up between School Board President Andy Ziegler and candidate for the School Board Dean Paterakis resulted in Paterakis being arrested, Bennet felt the need to defend Zeigler and his clear violation of Paterakis’ First Amendment rights. (We wrote about the incident here.) Bennett wrote an op-ed piece in the Florida Today newspaper:
School board candidate’s arrest not free speech issue
A recent FLORIDA TODAY editorial implied that the arrest of a school board candidate at the May 24 school board meeting violated the candidate’s right to free speech. I disagree.
Dean Paterakis signed up to speak about board business, as is the right of all citizens. While it is true he was speaking freely shortly before his arrest, it is important to realize that he was not arrested for his speech. He was arrested for preventing the board meeting from continuing after his speech was stopped.
He stood defiantly in front of the crowd and announced he was not leaving the podium. When asked to have a seat, he refused. It was clear to anyone in attendance that the candidate was creating the type of civil disobedience for which he clearly wished to be arrested. When district security asked him to leave peacefully, followed by uniformed law enforcement, he flopped down to the ground, inviting himself to be carried off.
When one disrupts a government meeting enough to keep it from continuing, arrest is an expected consequence. Quite often, even effectively, that tactic is used to draw attention to a cause. Martyrdom can be powerful, but let’s be clear that it was not his speech that led to his arrest; it was his determination to stop the meeting from continuing.
Those familiar with this candidate know his spirited history of drawing attention to himself. From the time of his negative teaching evaluation nearly a decade ago, and his subsequent non-renewal notice from the district, Mr. Paterakis has brought controversy to board meetings with inciting rhetoric and pranks. Whether it’s playing old 9-1-1 calls on his cell phone, throwing blanket allegations of corruption or demanding investigations into his mediocre evaluation, Mr. Paterakis continues to pester the district as he runs for school board in a different district every two years, from whichever district in which he claims to live. (more…)