Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » June

    Filed on June 30, 2006 at 8:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    From 10 to 11 tonight (local time?) CompUSA has an eMachine box with 512 MB RAM, 160 GB hard drive, and DVD +/- RW. XP Home, keyboard, and mouse included but no monitor. $249.


    Filed on at 12:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    So Scott has come from debating whether Keller should face a firing squad to positing that perhaps maybe someday in the future if the bankers in Belgium decide that they can no longer provide data to the Adiminstration the Times would owe America an apology.

    Do y’all think I should call an end to this debate and put Scott out of his misery?


    Filed on at 7:51 am under by dcobranchi

    My homeschool news scrape found an interesting, if OT, read. A 14-year-old writes of her daily struggles going to school and dealing with life in the city. Pretty sobering.

    Assessing the Damage

    Filed on at 7:06 am under by Scott Somerville

    Did the New York Times act irresponsibly when it published a report of a classified, legal, effective program?

    Daryl argues that it didn’t do any real damage, since Al Qaeda was too smart to engage in financial transactions that could be tracked. I would assume the Times relied on this reasoning to make the call to publish. The Bush Administration urged the Times not to publish, citing the damage that publication would do to national security. The Times calculated that the public’s right to know outweighed the potential threat to national security.

    If our only enemies were well-trained Al Qaeda operatives who are to clever to move money in a way that could be tracked, and if the SWIFT program continues to operate just as it did before the publication, then I would agree that the public’s right to know outweighs the harm to national security. But both these “ifs” are demonstrably not the case.

    FIrst, there are terrorist wannabes in Miami who aren’t at all clever–but they dream of mass murder. Daryl says there’s no harm done: such amateurs are too stupid to read the New York Times. I’m having trouble taking that argument seriously, but if Daryl really thinks our enemies are hopelessly inept morons, it would explain a lot that is a mystery to me at present.

    Second, there is good reason to believe the SWIFT program is now dead. As Scott Shane reported in the New York Times yesterday,

    “I would be surprised if terrorists didn’t know that we were doing everything we can to track their financial transactions, since the administration has been very vocal about that fact,” said William F. Wechsler, a former Treasury and National Security Council official who specialized in tracking terrorism financing.

    But Mr. Wechsler said the disclosure might nonetheless hamper intelligence collection by making financial institutions resistant to requests for access to records.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if these recent articles have made it more difficult to get cooperation from our friends in Europe, since it may make their cooperation with the U.S. less politically palatable,” Mr. Wechsler said.

    The Times says “the Swift consortium has defended its cooperation with the counterterrorism program and has not indicated any intention to stop cooperating with the broad administrative subpoenas issued to obtain its data.” Others, however, note that the SWIFT consortium is based in Belgium, and that Belgian officials are already calling for investigations into the program.

    From my preliminary reading, the SWIFT program seems to have been a delicate house of diplomatic cards. The Times has shouted “privacy!” in a crowded theater, and I don’t expect the SWIFT program will survive the exposure.

    Daryl: if the SWIFT program is terminated because of diplomatic fallout, would you agree that the Times report has done any real damage?

    Tags: New York Times, SWIFT, Belgium

    Cobranchi v. Homeschoolblogger

    Filed on June 29, 2006 at 4:53 pm under by Scott Somerville

    We’ll be digging into the evidence as to whether the New York Times has provided material aid and comfort to America’s enemies soon, but I think we can resolve one issue here and now. If Daryl came to believe that the Times has actually helped the terrorists, I think he would be all for a demand for a public apology, backed up by a boycott of advertisers.

    Why do I think so? Because of this:
    Boycott Homeschoolblogger!

    The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has just as much right to the freedom of the press as the New York Times does. When Daryl discovered that TOS had published articles and printed ads endorsing Michael and Debbie Pearl, he demanded a change in their policy. When they refused to do so, he urged other homeschoolers to boycott TOS and break off contact with Homeschoolblogger blogs.

    The question at hand, therefore, is not whether the Times should be tried for treason (I’m not for that) or whether an abusive press should be boycotted (Daryl isn’t against that). The question is whether the article in the Times has materially benefited Al Qaeda and similar groups. I think it has, Daryl thinks it hasn’t. We’ll see if we can dig up enough facts and logic to decide that issue.

    Tags: New York Times, debate, boycott, SWIFT

    Somerville v. The New York Times

    Filed on at 1:42 pm under by Scott Somerville

    Daryl has graciously allowed me to make my case against the New York Times on his site. Daryl has the courage of his convictions—I admire his courage even though I deplore his convictions. With that, let the debate begin!

    The Times argues that they haven’t done any real harm to national security, and that the information they published was available elsewhere anyway. If that turns out to be true, then I would agree they have not provided material aid and comfort to America’s enemies. In that case, this whole case would be perfectly parallel to the “outing” of Valerie Plame.

    I don’t believe this is a parallel case, however. On the contrary, I think the Times has provided material aid and comfort to America’s sworn enemies.

    The Times argues that this information was already available, so it makes no difference. I would agree that it should have little to no impact on the handful of highly-trained experts who are left at the top of the Al Qaeda network, but it makes a huge difference to the ragtag mob of terrorist wannabes like the seven that were recently apprehended in Miami or the seventeen in Toronto. In this war, a lucky amateur can kill you just as dead as trained professionals like Al-Zarqawi.

    Our adversaries in today’s asymmetric warfare are not the uniformed soldiers of a nation-state, but a radically decentralized set of suicidal murderers. The good news is that they lack any reliable means of acquiring arms, training, funds, or information. At one stroke, the Times has provided the information that teaches our enemies how to not transfer the funds they need to get the weapons they use to kill us.

    I would not say that the Times has “adhered to” America’s enemies, so they aren’t guilty of “treason” (as that term is defined by statute), but they have demonstrably provided material aid and comfort to America’s sworn enemies. I think the Times owes America a public apology.


    Filed on at 4:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out the racetrack in Wilmington, DE.


    Filed on at 3:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Izzy found a really bad (“barf” worthy) anti home education piece. The premise is that we should all put our kids in the g-schools eventually.

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    Filed on at 3:23 am under by dcobranchi

    A study is underway to learn more about homeschooling parents¡¦ practice of parenting styles as well as their parental strengths and concerns.

    You are invited to participate in an online survey if you
    * are currently home schooling a child between the ages of 10 to 14, and
    * have been home schooling this child for at least 1 year.

    Please go to http://spaces.msn.com/HomeSchoolParenting and find out more about this study.

    Best regards,
    Wen-Hsing Cheng, M.S., CFLE

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    Filed on June 28, 2006 at 9:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure there’s any difference between Joe Turtel’s Googleschool and what we do every day.

    [W]ith Google and Yahoo, Jenny learns at her own pace. If she doesn’t understand something she reads about, she can ask her Mom or search Google and Yahoo to find the answer. She can spend as much time as she wants with a problem that intrigues her. Because she can learn at her own pace, she feels safe and comfortable learning with Google and Yahoo.

    In her public-school class, however, Jenny has to learn all the material the teacher gives her in the specific time the teacher allows. Then (in later grades) the teachers will test her. If Jenny didn’t like to study the subjects the teacher told her to learn and did bad on her tests, she can feel hurt and humiliated. She then associates learning with pain and humiliation. This in turn can extinguish Jenny’s joy in learning.

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    Filed on at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Panda’s Thumb reports that it looks like the lawsuit against the University of California system for discriminating against biology literature and English textbooks from BJU Press and other Christian publishers is going to trial.

    Many of these texts, of course, are popular with home educators.

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    Filed on at 4:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Carnival of Education is up at Melissa Wiley’s. HINT: Turn your speakers off before you click over.


    Filed on at 4:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve evidently been kicked out of CRESTNC. I guess the shepherd has to protect her flock from the FODers.

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    Filed on at 3:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    with James Dobson:

    I ask my fellow Americans to note the senators who did and did not defend marriage in its hour of need, and then to “vote their consciences” in 2006 and 2008. If large numbers of them do so, there could be some new faces in the Congress soon.

    Yes, let’s hope that voters remember that Frist and the rest of the GOP decided that gay marriage and flag-burning were the most important problems facing our country. If we’re really lucky, they’ll be lots of new Democratic faces in Congress in January.

    That would be “sweet, indeed.”


    Filed on at 8:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Scott Somerville needs a loooong vacation. Or, maybe, he’s just been reading the RightWingTalkingPoints too much.

    A free press is the most important right guaranteed by the Constitution; all others hang by that thin thread. Bush et al. love to work in secret. But our government is not designed to work that way. The press is SUPPOSED to work to expose whatever nefarious/immoral/illegal/questionable schemes the Administration cooks up.

    Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.– Thomas Jefferson

    Yeah, Scott, I’m annoying. But I’m right, too.

    UPDATE: A lawyer who knows his stuff.


    Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Nothing like a bit of fascistic ramblings to start the day. Another LotD from the fine readers of the Wilmington (DE) News-Journal:

    Members of Congress should stop press from questioning government

    I find it hard to believe that our elected officials in Washington can condone reports by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal about efforts to curb terrorism by tracking the flow of money to such organizations.

    When do these individual say enough is enough? Would this story have been published in 1941 while fighting World War II? Sen. Joseph Biden was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee once. When does he start to use some of his legal education to investigate this abuse of the First Amendment?

    Is Sen. Thomas Carper going to stand up and stop reporting that undermines our national security and is a slap in the face to our troops abroad?

    When will Rep. Mike Castle display his party’s long history of support to our common defense?

    Talk is cheap, gentlemen. It is time that you all do your duty.

    Dan Brown Jr., Claymont


    Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Not “Taking Children Seriously,” but “Tech Central Station”

    Sean Gabb has a very interesting essay on the state of education in the UK. It’s not a pretty picture. Home education makes a cameo appearance way down at the end:

    Left to themselves, it is hard to see how parents could do worse than those presently in charge of state education. How they might do better is for them to decide. Some would pay for a conventional independent education. Some would send their children to schools run by their ministers of religion, or by charitable bodies. Some would educate their children at home.

    Many do this last already, by the way; and Paula Rothermel of Durham University caused a stir in 2002, when she looked at a sample of children educated at home and found they performed consistently better in standard tests than schoolchildren. Indeed, she found that the children of people like bus drivers and shop assistants were receiving a better education than those committed to the care of state-certified teachers. Home education may not always be that good. State education generally is that bad.

    I’m sure Carlotta would find nothing new there, but it makes for interesting reading for us on the other side of the Atlantic.

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    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    Our namesake band has a new name.

    The band Allette (pronounced “ah-let”) has been creating music together for three-and-a-half years. The La Crosse-based band has traveled around the state, doing shows and spreading a message. They’ll do just that at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Christian Family Funfest in Chippewa Falls… “After about a year of cutting our musical teeth we decided to start writing our own music and playing concerts,” Travis said. “We recorded our first album a year later under the name ‘The Homeschoolers’ n a name that was given to us by our peers in response to the fact that four of the five band members were home-schooled grades K-12.”

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    Filed on June 27, 2006 at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    Flag-burning (and the Constitution) appear to be safe (until the next time the GOP decides it’s time to demagogue the issue).


    Filed on at 5:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    Natalie has posted the CoH.

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    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    I had seen this 16-year-old’s anti-war videos a while back, but I just learned that she’s an HEK. I’m not surprised.

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    Filed on June 26, 2006 at 11:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    or the State will come get you.

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    Filed on at 11:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    A moderate Baptist speaks.

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    Filed on at 10:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t care that he’s gay. I care that he’s a 28-year-old man having sex with a 17-year-old student.

    A former chorus teacher in Dover, accused earlier this month of making advances to one of his high school students, has been arrested on new charges of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.

    Dion L. Savage, 28, of the 500 block of Schooner Road, was charged with 13 counts of fourth-degree rape, after investigators were told that Savage was involved with the student for 10 months, Dover police said.


    Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

    What’s with the scare quotes?

    N.C. Wyeth was born in 1882 and became the inspiration for the family for the last three generations.

    He had five highly-talented children. All except one of them became painters like him. Andrew, one of his children, is now in his early 80s. He never attended formal school. He has been “home schooled” and allowed to exercise his extraordinary painting skills at his father’s feet.

    Andrew Wyeth has to be the oldest HEK in history. BTW, the author is an English prof.

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    Filed on at 6:04 am under by dcobranchi

    I can’t access the editorial, but the title is eminently mockable:

    Schools, not prisons

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    Filed on at 5:47 am under by dcobranchi

    I guarantee that this writer learned everything she knows in the g-schools. The last ‘graf is a beaut:

    Charters are not answer to district’s poor performance

    We did not have any problems with the public education system until we moved to Delaware.

    After three months of dealing with the Christina School District, my husband and I have decided the best alternative to the idiosyncrasies that happen in the district is to place our two children in private school.

    From not allowing our children to go to the nearest school, to half-day kindergarten (which was a joke), to shipping them off to Wilmington for middle school, it is obvious why the district is having problems.

    It would be ridiculous to waste valuable lessons and resources, not to mention many years of hard work developing public schools, because the school board and new administration cannot let go of their salaries to fix budget issues.

    Instead of laying off teachers and reducing school-provided student services, the district should reduce the salaries of top officials, cut academic roles that do not have direct student contact, and spending that does not effect students.

    The public education system is maintained for the students and the betterment of society.

    We are not here to provide jobs for the administration, but to provide the free and appropriate public education that is guaranteed to all children by federal law.

    Sunnye Garza, Newark



    Filed on June 25, 2006 at 9:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one is really good:

    HOME-SCHOOLING Home-schoolers often top peers:

    I am writing in response to the letter criticizing home-schooling. As someone who has taught in our state’s junior college system for 14 years, I would like to challenge the author’s assumptions.

    As a teacher of history and geography, I am continually dismayed at students’ lack of basic knowledge in these areas. I can only assume most of our public schools have let these students down.

    I have also taught many students who were home-schooled before coming to college. Without fail, I am amazed at these students’ excellent grasp of knowledge in these subject areas.

    The letter writer said “to assume these (home-schooled) students are receiving the same quality of education is laughable.” I agree. In most cases, the home-schoolers far exceed their peers.

    Contrary to other assumptions, the home-schooled students are well-liked by their peers, are usually involved in campus activities and are the ones who can actually think for themselves.

    I know there are many fine teachers in the public school system. I have taught many fine students who have graduated from public schools. But if I were to have children myself, I would definitely choose home-schooling for them.

    Leigh Ann Courington


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    Filed on at 8:04 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m still on moderated status on the Yahoo group (CRESTNC in case anyone is interested). Moderated in this case means messages permanently disappear into the aether. AFAIK, it’s all because of some things I wrote about over-compliance. On the off chance that someone who can still post at CRESTNC will see this (and maybe pass along a link), I’m going to put down my thoughts on why the recommendations to over-comply are bad– bad politically and bad morally.

    A bit of the backstory:

    NC has only fair homeschooling laws. Shocked, right? Yeah, I’ve seen y’all claim that they’re some of the best in the country. ‘Tain’t true. I’ve been writing about home education for 4 years and have read the laws for most of the states (and summaries of all of them.) We have mandatory annual testing. We have to maintain attendance and vaccination records. And DNPE can demand to see them whenever it wants. We are far from free.

    I moved down here from Delaware a year ago. I helped write the current home education law there. Do you know what DE home educators have to do? In September they tell the state that they’re going to homeschool (by filling out a single piece of paper). And then in July they tell the state (via another piece of paper) that they did. No attendance. No testing. No vaccinations. And Delaware isn’t even the most free state in the area. New Jersey wins that coveted title. NJ homeschoolers have zero requirements. They don’t even have to tell the state that they’re homeschooling. Ahhh– sweet freedom.

    I can hear the complaints already (as I’ve heard them many times from NC home educators)– We HAVE to have all these regulations to keep them on the straight and narrow. Bull! Regulations only affect the law-abiding. Anyone who is going to use homeschooling as a dodge for some nefarious purpose isn’t going to give a crap about DNPE’s requests.

    So, we’re not particularly free. And yet some of you (including the leader of CRESTNC) want to over-comply. Why?

    When we give the state educrats more than is required, they come to expect it. Here’s what DNPE recommends we do vs. what the law requires.

    While not mandated by law, home schools are ENCOURAGED to:

    I. Offer instruction of at least similar quality, scope and duration as local conventional schools.
    A. Five clock hours of instruction with the student each school day should consist of:
    1. Formal academic instruction in the home;
    2. Directed educational activities appropriate to the age of the student.
    B. Conduct instruction each school year for 180 days.
    C. Remember that minds are usually more receptive to formal academic instruction
    in the morning hours after an adequate amount of sleep.

    The only requirement in the law is that the “school” operate during at least nine calendar months.

    II. Maintain a current daily log, journal or lesson plan book throughout the entire school year.
    A. It should contain:
    1. Time devoted to the formal study of each subject each day;
    2. Page numbers, chapters or units of the textbooks (or very brief descriptions
    of concepts) covered during various time periods each day.
    B. It should be retained at your school until the student has enrolled in a conventional
    school or has graduated.

    Not covered in the law at all.

    III. Be certain that nationally standardized testing:
    A. Is ordered by each February 1. Click here for a list of testing companies;
    B. Is administered each year during the same week of your choice between March 1 and April 15;
    C. Is not administered or scored by relatives, guardians, or anyone living in the same
    household as the student.
    1. An educational institution/organization is preferred.
    2. Machine-scoring is most ideal. (Always allow at least eight weeks to receive test results if the test is machine scored.)
    D. Includes the subject areas of social studies and science, whenever applicable.

    Yes, under the law we have to test annually, but nothing in the law says we can’t administer (or even score) it ourselves. Nor does the law state that we have to do it any particular time. All of that is an invention of the educrats at DNPE.

    So what (or who) does it hurt if you comply with DNPE “recommendations”? It hurts our freedom. All of us. Especially those who would stick to the letter of the law and would work for a better (i.e., more free) homeschooling law. Every time you voluntarily send in a card telling the State that you were a good homeschooler who taught for 180 days of 5 hours each, you make it harder for us to get rid of the bad parts of the law that exist. Would you like to see an end to mandatory annual testing? But look at all the homeschoolers who voluntarily send in their wonderful test scores. See? We don’t need to get rid of the requirement. Instead, we should just tighten it up a bit to make it compulsory that ALL homeschoolers send in their scores. And then the volunteers in the DNPE office can see all our kids’ scores. [Aside to non-NC readers– Yes, home educators really do volunteer to work in the office that regulates us. Go figure.]

    Every single time you over-comply it strengthens DNPE’s hand with the legislature.

    When I was working with the Delaware statewide group (DHEA) we actively discouraged anyone from doing anything that wasn’t required by law. Test if you want to but don’t provide it to the State. Homeschool year round? Great. Only tell the State about 180 days. [BTW– 180 days was the requirement until we worked for a better home education law and got rid of it along with mandatory subjects]. Don’t tell the State about anything you do that is not required information. Why? Because we didn’t want the educrats thinking they could expect us to roll over if they tried to tighten the screws. If 90% of homeschoolers were telling them that they homeschooled for 240 days, why not make that the legal standard? After all, it’s only a few malcontents who aren’t holding up their end.

    Our support groups (NCHE, CRESTNC, etc.) ought to be discouraging people from over-complying. It’s just dumb politics, and it erodes our freedom. And freedom is what allows homeschooling to work.

    UPDATE: Here.

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    Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

    More snark in the Wilmington News Journal:

    Send alien Superman back to the planet he came from

    I see the Hollywood lefties are expecting us to shell out our hard-earned cash to go to a movie honoring an illegal immigrant. Instead of being lauded, this Superman should be arrested and deported to wherever he came from immediately.

    Not only is he scoffing at our laws, he is doing work that Spiderman, Batman or some other red-blooded American superhero could be doing.

    Richard Simpson, New Castle


    Filed on at 12:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Diane Thomlinson found another fine example to include in the WWHS files:

    A South Robeson High School teacher has been charged with three counts of prescription drug fraud and one count of trafficking opium in Cumberland County.

    It is the second time Kristy Leah West, 36, of the 500 block of East 16th Street, Lumberton, has been charged with drug crimes this year.

    Yes, that’s my hometown paper.


    Filed on June 24, 2006 at 3:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    over at The Lilting House.


    Filed on at 2:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    Blah, blah, blah blah, blah,

    Students who have opted to homeschool or attend private schools have had a negative impact on the district’s finances.

    Blah, blah, blah blah, blah.

    Yeah, we’ve heard this one once or twice.


    Filed on at 2:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve deleted the Blogroll from the page because it just seems to make the whole page-load drag.


    Filed on at 2:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    So says this personality survey.


    Filed on at 1:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    I just don’t get blaming the victim.

    A FIRST?

    Filed on at 1:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Google News appears to be dead. (500 error)


    Filed on at 11:13 am under by dcobranchi

    in Baghdad. Hopefully, the government won’t be trying to enforce any UN declarations.


    Filed on at 8:32 am under by dcobranchi

    This was waiting for me when I got home at 3 this a.m. The handwriting is a bit difficult to decipher, but I believe the first sentence reads “You and that young woman are will [sic] spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.” As I’m not having an affair with any woman, regardless of age, I was stumped as to what this was referring. Lydia pointed out that it has a local return address. Eureka! Must be the LttE. Mr. James Lancaster (a Warrior of Jesus Christ) went on for three Wite-out splattered pages. I’ll spare your eyes the rest, but suffice it to say that it didn’t get any better.

    Cranks of the world, unite!

    UPDATE: More stuff that was in the envelope. It’s mostly anti-Catholic rants. I guess he figured with a last name like Cobranchi, I must be a follower of the anti-Christ.

    Here, here, here, here, and here.

    UPDATE: The absolute best bit (all errors in the original):

    Readers of this tract are invited to be converted to the true Christ of the Bible. Then unite with a Christ-centered, Bible-teaching missionary-minded Evangelical, evangelistic, separated, Fundamental, Protestant, New Testament Christian church in your community.

    Lydia thought the sign out front of that church must be billboard-sized.


    Filed on June 22, 2006 at 9:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    Back Saturday.


    Filed on at 4:43 am under by dcobranchi

    Newspeak is alive and well in Fayetteville.

    Rules are necessary to keep order

    Myron Pitts’ June 8 column about Bobbie Spanbauer’s defiance of the graduation dress code was shallow — putting his approval on Spanbauer’s rebellion. Perhaps he felt sorry for her because her stand brought rejection and he was trying to make her feel better about herself.

    Standing up for what you know is right is honorable, but insisting on having your selfish way is not.

    Rules are necessary to keep order in our schools and society.

    When Spanbauer goes to work, she will have to abide by the dress code for that job. An employer has the right to set the dress code.

    Should Pitts show up at work in his underwear because he is free to do as he pleases, I doubt he would remain at work very long.

    Sometime in life, we must have courage to do what is right, even though we stand alone. That is admirable!

    I thank Principal Jackie Warner for her stand. Should students be allowed to dress as they please at graduation ceremony, it would be out of kilter. Uniformity brings order and beauty, making each student as special as the others.

    Freedom does not give us the right to have our own way.

    My advice to Spanbauer: Learn from this experience; choose a worthwhile cause and stand.

    Betty Davis
    Hope Mills

    So far, the LttE are running about 10:1 against. Y’all know who the “1” is.


    Filed on June 21, 2006 at 6:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Compare the government officials with whom you are arguing with Nazis and with Hitler. Yes, conservative home ed bloggers– these are your champions.

    Since Adolf Hitler prohibited homeschooling in 1938, Germany is the worst place for homeschoolers in Europe. Many parents have already been fined, and even sent to jail. Last March a court in Hamburg sentenced a German father of six to a prison sentence of one week for homeschooling his children, while the children were forcibly sent to school by the police, who pick them up each morning. The father, a conservative Christian, had previously been sentenced to a fine of 1,500 euro, but this did not persuade him to stop homeschooling. The court did not imprison the mother, but said it would not hesitate to do so if the parents continue violating the law. The bill prohibiting homeschooling is one of the very few Nazi laws that are still on the books in Germany. Today other countries, such as Belgium, seem intent on copying Germany’s Nazi system, whilst invoking the UN Convention.

    UPDATE: I realized that I was confused (and confusing) in my second sentence. What I meant was “these are the folks whose cause you are championing.”


    Filed on at 11:50 am under by dcobranchi

    My reputation as a crank continues to grow:

    Some arbitrary rules can, and should, be broken

    I am really astonished (and saddened) that no letters to the editor have backed the position of the young lady who refused to wear a dress at her high school graduation. Why should she have been required to wear an outfit that she doesn’t like and would not choose on her own? The public schools are not the military. Several letters have pointed out that “Rules are rules.” Yes, but sometimes arbitrary rules can, and should, be broken.

    This young lady was not dressed inappropriately. She would not have detracted from the decorum of the occasion even a tiny bit. All she wanted to do was wear a pair of pants. Was that small difference really worthy of her being excluded from the graduation ceremony?

    Paraphrasing Emerson: “Whoso would be a woman, must be a nonconformist.” I applaud her stand and wish her continued success in living her life as an individual.

    Daryl Cobranchi

    UPDATE: My public school teacher neighbor just called to let me know she had seen the letter. She liked it. Hey, Mikey!


    Filed on at 7:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Hell’s Leading Daily has a column up (a new feature, perhaps?) just listing recent indiscretions by our friends, the g-school teachers.


    Filed on at 6:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Doc’s latest edition of the Country Fair is up (cool goat pics!) here.

    And next weeks CoH will be hosted by Natalie. Submissions are due by Monday @ 6 p.m. EDT.


    Filed on June 20, 2006 at 6:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    Spunky is quoted in the WaPo blog.


    Filed on at 5:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    The CoH is up at homeschoolbuzz.


    Filed on at 5:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Must be true because I don’t grok all of this post-modern, post-Kennedy philosophizing:

    No single issue so poignantly depicts the hypocrisy, selfishness, and viciously punitive side of “liberalism” as the reaction of a “Liberal” to the proposition that a parent may determine the content and method of his child’s education. Because of that reactionary attitude we can postulate that homeschooling is an essentially postmodern phenomenon, expressing as it does a fundamental lack of faith in the institutions of society to effect positive change in its individual members.

    That explains why so many “conservative Christians” I have known are quite horrified, even dumbstruck, at the notion of homeschooling. They still have faith that the institutions of society will improve the lot of humanity, even though they may want to reform them in the spirit of 1950s modernism.


    Filed on at 5:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    The snark almost rises to the level of brutality. CAUTION: “Saucy” language at the very end.


    Filed on at 11:10 am under by dcobranchi

    I was beginning to think that I was the only home education blogger who wasn’t rushing to condemn the Belgian officials and embrace the editor of Brussels Journal. Not anymore, thanks to Valerie Moon.

    Local politics can be a minefield for those who aren’t well-versed in the players and their goals, and the local ‘playbook.’ Even people ‘in the know’ can find themselves blindsided by aspects of situations of which they were unaware, so how much more foolhardy is it for those who are ignorant of anything to do with the situation to venture opinions?

    And this is where I see the English-speaking homeschool community’s position on the summoning of Mr. Belien to the police station. We are outsiders and we don’t know who, what, or why. If other Belgian homeschoolers who aren’t politically active are not in jeopardy, then this particular incident probably isn’t ’about’ homeschooling. There are probably other when and where aspects of which we are profoundly ignorant.

    …Butt out

    Given that most Americans couldn’t find Belgium on a map with both hands and a flashlight, and couldn’t even connect the words Flemish and Flanders, much less Flanders, and Wallonia (and what is the tapped-out industry in Wallonia, and the nationality of the guest-workers still living in Belgium; can you tell me as much as that* without doing a Google search?), we should probably keep our online mouths shut, while keeping our online eyes open.

    I think the folk wisdom on this is “we don’t have a dog in that fight.”

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