Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sun Editorial Line Opposes Merit Scholarships

I was able to go to UF and get my undergraduate degree thanks to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. Were it not for that scholarship, earned through my hard work, I might not have been able to afford to go to college. My family, despite being very poor, wasn't quite poor enough for me to qualify for any of the need-based scholarships that the Gainesville Sun seems to think are superior to the Bright Futures merit-based scholarship.

Need-based scholarships are in no way, shape, or form superior to merit-based scholarships. Anyone can get a merit-based scholarship; they just need to be willing to work hard.

I have news for the Gainesville Sun, the people you think are so deserving of these scholarships already have the opportunity for free education. It's called the public school system. Despite its problems, you can still get a lot out of it if you are willing to put a lot into it. I took advantage of the opportunities to excel in my studies. I earned my place at UF and the scholarship I got to be there. Why do you think that I shouldn't be allowed to get a scholarship to go to a university? And don't kid yourself; a lot of poor people aren't quite poor enough for these lauded need-based scholarships you like so much.

I know it's rude to speak bluntly about uncomfortable truths but the fact is, these students you (the Sun) think should get scholarships instead of me had no less than 10 years to get their sorry acts together before becoming irrevocably ineligible for the Bright Futures scholarship. And if they couldn't hack it in high school, what on Earth makes you think that they would be able to make anything of themselves in college?

It's crap like that that caused me to cancel my subscription to the Sun. You guys really need to take a cue from the Wall Street Journal -- they don't let a misplaced sense of artificial social guilt cloud their reason.

Merit scholarships hardly encourage economic diversity at UF.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Gainesville Loses Fear of Meanness

Gainesville, finally getting over their fear of being considered a "mean" city by people supporting the right of urban outdoorsmen to loiter in taxpayer-funded locations, has decided to ban bums from bothering motorists.

I am behind this plan 100%. It's good to be known as a mean city because if you're nice to them, more will come. I don't get why people don't understand this.

Bums are not helpless; many of them are very savvy when it comes to exploiting the kindness of strangers. For example, they can communicate with each other over long distances to coordinate their activities. Any of you who have been to the downtown library can see and smell the urban outdoorsmen who are there to use the internet. They have e-mail accounts and they e-mail other bums to let them know where all the best spots are.

A lot of these people are homeless by choice and treat begging as a job, not as a last resort. For example, there is a man and a woman team on Archer Road who have been seen holding complementary signs at different times: "Need help, wife is sick;" "Need help, husband is sick". Considering they do this in shifts, "sick" actually means "tired from standing out all day begging instead of looking for a job."

Gainesville called "fifth meanest" in 2004.

City moves closer to banning panhandling

Friday, March 30, 2007

Bottleneck at 34th and University Ave.

Or is it 34th and Newberry Road? I can never remember when the one road becomes the other. Among recent improvements(?) to our fair city was a decision to make two turn lanes onto University Avenue (or Newberry Road) from the northbound side of 34th street. This arrangement is great if you happen to be trying to get to Newberry Road. If, however, you are trying to get to 8th, 16th, or 39th like I usually am, this new arrangement has had the very annoying effect of moving the bottleneck to just south of University Avenue. And I shouldn't have to tell you, bottlenecks and major intersections should never, ever, ever be mixed. Unless of course you are the City of Gainesville which seems to think that traffic isn't something that should have to be considered when making decisions that affect roads and parking.

Anyway, this intersection was bad before. But only on the slightly annoying side of bad; not the get-me-exercised-enough-to-write-about-it-on-my-blog side of bad. I never had trouble turning onto University with the old system, and the bottleneck was only a problem during rush hour, because it happened after the intersection with University and well before the next major intersection. Now, even at 1pm, I hit a traffic back-up in that center lane as far back as that hill just before 2nd. And the traffic just sits there. A lot longer than it should. Yesterday, I found out why.

Instead of moving forward like they're supposed to, there are a bunch of mis-guided good Samaritans letting people into that lane from the lane that is now a turn only lane. And this entry is for those people. I get in the center lane like I am supposed to and wait in line like most of the other people. And it really burns me up when I see people zip to the front of the line (a lot of the time it's people who were in the center lane and tried to go around) and then expect to be let back in. The people in the front of the line (between 2nd and University) should, under no circumstances let these people in. They can turn onto University, circle around, and try again. When you stop to let someone in, you think you are doing a good thing, but you aren't. You are inconveniencing everyone in the line behind you. And the effect is compounded when more than one person lets someone in. Think about that the next time some line-skipper tries to muscle their way in at the front of the line. They should not be rewarded for their behavior. And if they genuinely didn't know and got trapped in the wrong lane, they can do what I had to do a couple of times before I got the new routine down -- turn left in University, turn left at the fire station, turn left at 2nd, turn left on 34th, and try again (or go up to 43rd).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"None of the Above" could be on Florida Ballot

Florida Senator Mike Bennett has proposed a law (S494) that would require Florida voters to select a "none of the above" option on future Florida ballots to indicate that none of the choices are acceptable to them. This would be a vast improvement over the "leave it blank" option that allows certain agenda-driven activists to speculate about voter suppression due to large numbers of so-called under-votes. I approve, and will be writing my state representative and senator to urge them to support this bill.

Bennett proposes 'no vote' option

Sunday, January 07, 2007

GPD Officer Blatantly Runs Red Light on Archer Road

January 07, 2007, around 2:45 AM, I happened to be on Archer Road. I witnessed a GPD car making a left turn at a RED LIGHT. No emergency lights or anything. Had I done that, the cop would likely have pulled me over. I have a friend who was ticketed for doing such a thing at a stop sign at night when no one was around... except the cop. The cop claimed that running the stop sign, even when no one around endangered other motorists. So why did this GDP officer think it was all right to do? I have news for you police officer:, it is not more or less dangerous to other motorists when you do it. So stop, unless you're willing to wrote yourself out a ticket -- but I imagine you think you're too good for that treatment. That's why you should be fired. Little tin-pot tyrants like you have no place protecting the public in a free society. Bad cop, no doughnut for you.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. Try to be good to each other for a couple of days at least. If a conflict arises, just let it go, your life will be better for it, and so will society.

I ask the police to remember that the motorists they pull over are not evil, nor are they enemy combatants. They are just people trying to get home to their families. Be polite. Smile. They might actually be polite back.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Police Watch: ACSO Deputies Don't Think Traffic Rules Apply to Them

Yes, oh officers of the vaunted Alachua County Sheriff's Office, I'm referring to you. Specifically, whoever was driving car # 241, License # 22191 on Thursday, December 21, 2006. The Deputy who thought that it's okay to run a stop sign, impede traffic, and drive on the shoulder when stuck in line at a red light.

This incident took place at around 1:05pm on SW 40th Blvd and SW 42nd Street.

I was waiting in line at the turn light on Archer Road waiting to turn onto 40th Blvd. I noticed that a ACSO car was turning into the Target parking lot at the next turn off (not at a light).

I finally got my turn arrow and turned. Imagine my surprise when I saw that same deputy turning out onto 40th Blvd from the Target Parking lot. He (or she) did one of those coasting pauses that involves not actually stopping for the stop sign and pulled right out in front of me. I had to tap my brakes to avoid overtaking the ACSO car. I know that this deputy would write someone a ticket for running a stop sign like that. These people have been prowling around Windmeadows Blvd behind Wal Mart and Publix for several weeks now and writing a lot of tickets for minor traffic infractions just like the one perpetrated by the deputy. Except that the ones that I witnessed came to much more of a stop than the deputy did and did not actually impede traffic like the deputy.

This deputy was not finished breaking traffic laws, though. There was a long line for the light on 42nd Street. The deputy apparently wanted to turn right on SW 24th Ave, and thought it would be okay to drive on the shoulder for a good distance to get around traffic. Where's a cop when you need one? Oh yeah... they are police. This was not an emergency situation. There were no lights or sirens. There was no excuse for breaking the law, and yet these miscreant law enforcement officers think nothing of doing it.

And to think that these are the people who want to write you a ticket for minor traffic infractions. There's a word for that. Hypocrites.

A helpful note to law enforcement officers: there is a reason why many of you think that We the People have such a low opinion of you. It's because we do; and that opinion is based largely on incidents like this. You cannot reasonably expect us to respect you for "just doing your job" when you willfully and flagrantly violate the same laws that you falsely claim to uphold. You either need to learn how to drive and how to follow the traffic laws, or stop writing tickets for anything short of injury or property damage. It is widely known that law enforcement officers are among the worst drivers on the road. We regularly witness you speeding, changing lanes without signaling, not stopping for stop signs or red lights, and impeding traffic. I for one am no longer silent. I will be watching and taking note of your information to make sure there is a record of your misdeeds. I know personally two people who have been hit by deputies who were driving recklessly in their patrol cars, so don't even try to justify your own bad driving habits. It's just as dangerous to other drivers when the police do it as you claim it is when we do it. Bad driving by law enforcement needs to stop now.

Bad cop; no doughnut. Now behave!