The superintendent at a Connecticut school that blocked access to conservative websites while allowing access to comparable liberal sites has finally issued a response to the charge.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

The superintendent at a Connecticut school that blocked access to conservative websites while allowing access to comparable liberal sites has finally issued a response to the charge.

Superintendent Jody Goeler posted a response this morning to the school’s website, blaming the Dell SonicWall service they use. Goeler wrote, “As interest in this topic has expanded, the district has pressed Dell SonicWall for more information about how websites are assigned to categories and why there are apparent inconsistencies, as discovered by the student, in classifications particularly along conservative and liberal lines.” Goeler added, “The district is trying to determine the reason for the inconsistency and if the bias is pervasive enough to justify switching to another content filtering provider.”

Goeler concluded her letter saying, “Once we receive a statement from Dell SonicWall clarifying its process for assigning websites to categories, I will post it on our website for your review at

Blaming the filtering company is interesting. It is possible they are the source of the bias. I remain skeptical and wonder if the school knew and went along with it without comment — until they got caught.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


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  • Cotour

    More BS and dishonesty in the interest of what one class of people “know” to be best for all. They do not understand that that is the essence of un American activities and the foundation of abuse of power.

    Lies from the IRS, Lies from the White House, lies from the Justice Department and lies at the low level of a school superintendent. It is something that is now ubiquitous throughout the system, and people thought that McCarthy was paranoid and saw communists where ever he looked. We don’t even have to be paranoid because its right here in front of everyone’s face and the people perpetrating it become indignant at the thought that they might be held responsible!

    This will not end well for someone.

  • Unless the school district’s management is grossly incompetent, they almost certainly had to know about the selective firewall.

    I base this observation on my experience vetting HVAC systems in commercial and institutional construction. Before a building could receive a Certificate of Occupancy (COO), every system in the building had to undergo testing to ensure specified performance in a variety of scenarios. I would think that IT system testing would run along similar lines: a selection of dozens or hundreds of sites are used to test the firewall’s capabilities. If the firewall meets specifications, it’s installed: if not, the contractor makes fixes.

    So which is it? Gross incompetence, or willful control of information?

  • DK Williams

    Well, at least he didn’t blame it on crashed hard drives. This fellow may have a future in D.C.

  • Cotour

    Its just short of the Chinese government and what they “let” their people see. A disgrace at the lowest levels to the highest levels.

  • ted

    Either Dell will fall on their sword so as not to lose the contract or the school district will say it’s a training issue similar to the police excuse after violating someone’s rights.

  • Pzatchok

    More than likely the guys is telling the truth.

    Management has no idea what contractors install. As long as someone with a certificate instals the stuff ans says that its filtering out those bad websites that is all they need or want to know.

    If anything goes wrong they have someone to blame.

    There are thousands of blocked sites on the block lists. most are there because of legitimate reasons. porn and violence.
    Most filtering programs construct their ban lists from user input. If enough people flag the sight as bad then it automatically gets placed on the list. You can’t expect every website on the planet to be inspected or reviewed by a handful of people.
    You can add in any kind of ban filter to the growing lists and add or subtract banned sites as you go along. Just add words like ‘conservative or progressive’ and as soon as the limit is reached boom no more access.
    Toss in an unscrupulous programer and they can add any site to the list that they want.

    He really might never have known.

  • Orion314

    Pzatchok, I absolutley agree with your points on this..conclusion: he probably didn’t know…

  • “Management has no idea what contractors install. ”

    Sorry, not buying.

    I don’t believe in large coincidence. The reported performance fits too closely with the Progressive narrative. The probability (not fact) is that there was (is) a systemic decision to bar Conservative sites. Smoke, fire, and all that.

    I am growing weary of the excuse “I didn’t know until the media reported it”. See Obama et al.

  • Pzatchok

    Have you ever installed one of those site blockers up?
    I did for my house, to keep my kid and all his friends from finding those bad sites. I had a small gaming lan party going in the basement with 8 PC’s. Every kid in the neighborhood would come over to play on the week ends.

    But I set up an internet filter system and I didn’t have to even know exactly what websites were specifically on the ban list. I just down loaded the ban lists from public internet sites. Updated automatically daily and set the filter level as high as possible.
    Sometimes the kids couldn’t even get to the Disney website.

    It still didn’t block everything bad. And eventually they figured out how to use a proxy site, and thats thankfully about when we didn’t need the LAN set up any more and game systems got good enough to fill in. Shut down the lan that summer.
    Eventually gave all the PC’s away and the local network.

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