Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » November

    Filed on November 12, 2006 at 7:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Yes, even racist (symbolic) speech should be allowed in the g-schools. I think I’m with the parents on this one.

    The parents of two 13-year-old boys say they will home-school them after the boys were not allowed to display Confederate flag symbols in school.

    Administrators at Harby Junior High in Alvin, southeast of Houston, ordered one boy to remove a Confederate flag from his loose-leaf binder and another to stop wearing a belt buckle that displayed crossed U.S. and Confederate flags.

    The boys and their parents filed complaints with school administrators.

    In a written answer to the parents’ complaints, Tim Turner, director of administrative services, said, “The display of the confederate flag by students has become culturally divisive and will not be permitted on campus.”

    The boys’ parents said they decided to home-school their children after other students threatened them.

    Is it protected speech? Then the schools have to protect the kids’ rights. And they (and the parents) have the right to be racist morons.


    Filed on at 7:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Time magazine’s cover story this week looks like it will be a good one, if this summary is any indication.

    But for the sake of argument and in the hope that sanity will prevail, let me make a mild case for optimism.

    First, there is the muscular realism of the Democrats who ran the election campaigns, Schumer and Emanuel. They chose their candidates on pragmatism, not principle. Yes, many of the winners tended to be moderates, but that’s because this was an election, especially on the House side, waged in moderate districts.

    The question now is whether “winning” means blocking the president or demonstrating the ability to govern. It probably means a little of both, but I suspect the Democrats will be better served by proving they have the maturity to do the latter.

    Why? Because the American public proved that it had the maturity to ignore, and in many cases rebel against, the sludge tide of negative ads that was splashed onto the public airwaves, primarily by Republicans.

    This election was not only about a disastrous war and the stench of corruption, it was also about a style of politics — the slashing negative politics practiced by a generation of media consultants in both parties. It was a message to politicians: Stop slinging the manure, and start getting serious about the nation’s problems.

    I’m also optimistic. Despite all of the name-calling, the fact of the matter is that today’s Democratic party is barely center-left. Where are the far-leftist policies that the attack-meisters (Rush, Hannity, et al.) screamed about for 6 months? A minimum wage hike? A re-examination of our Iraq policy? Federal funding for stem cell research? All of these are supported by a majority of Americans. Isn’t that centrist by definition?

    Yes, there are going to be investigations. There should be. Congress has abrogated its constitutional role for the last six years. There’s a lot of catching up to do. I hope (and believe) that the Democratic leadership will not allow the investigations to morph into political witch-hunts. But government has been operating in the shadows for far too long. It’s time for a little sunshine.


    Filed on at 6:54 am under by dcobranchi

    APOD is on a roll.


    Filed on November 11, 2006 at 7:45 am under by dcobranchi

    A classy Veteran’s Day letter from my employer:

    Don’t forget the sacrifices for the U.S. made by National Guard and Reserves

    Veteran’s Day is a day for remembering the sacrifices of the men and women who have served this country throughout its history. But it is also a day to reflect on the contributions of all who serve in today’s military, including the members of the National Guard and the Reserve.

    While the image of the “weekend warrior” persists, today’s Guard and Reserve are far removed from this outdated stereotype.

    The escalating war on errorism, border control and even natural disasters are some of the many issues that have led to a more active role for the nation’s 1.1 million National Guard and Reserve members in protecting Americans both at home and abroad. In fact, the Guard and Reserve now accounts for nearly half of our total Armed Forces, with approximately 100,000 of those individuals currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    This increase in responsibility produces a corresponding obligation for the nation’s employers to, at a minimum, support their Guard and Reserve employees according to the terms of The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act. The Act was passed, in part, to protect the right of veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and certain other members of the uniformed services to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent due to military service or training.

    Rather than simply abiding by the letter of the law, however, many of the nation’s employers are now adopting additional measures of support to reflect the sacrifices being made by their Guard and Reserve employees.

    Examples of these actions include providing full benefits to Guard and Reserve members for extended periods during mobilization and making up any difference between civilian and military pay.

    For those companies who may have difficulty with such commitments, there are other ways to show support for these men and women. E-mails, letters and care packages provide an invaluable link to home and let those serving know that they are not forgotten and that their efforts are appreciated. Equally important, employers should remember to keep in contact with the families of those serving, as they too face a difficult road in the absence of a spouse or loved one.

    Perhaps never in this nation’s history has the Guard and Reserve played such a critical role in protecting our country and its citizens as it does today.

    The law defines the minimum that companies must do to protect the livelihoods of those who are mobilized.

    As employers, we need to realize that it should not stop there. Each day we ask members of the Guard & Reserve to give their best to protect our country. The least we can do is help protect their way of life at home.

    James C. Borel, Senior Vice President, DuPont Human Resources


    Filed on at 7:34 am under by dcobranchi

    A gem of a photo of one of Messier’s objects.


    Filed on November 10, 2006 at 9:38 am under by dcobranchi

    It appears that a proposed MA constitutional amendment to ban SSM there is dead. This whole issue is really frustrating. It’s coming. To all 50 states eventually. And those backwards states which are passing constitutional amendments prohibiting SSM are eventually just going to have to go through the effort to repeal them.


    Filed on at 8:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Jon Swift dives into the fevered swamps of Right Blogistan. Better him than me.


    Filed on at 8:15 am under by dcobranchi

    I can’t email a response, so I’ll post it here– Don’t stop. All tips are greatly appreciated.


    Filed on at 7:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Marching off the cliff.

    Here’s a good rant. I’d be really interested to hear his 5-year-old’s explanation of the stem-cell debate.


    Filed on at 7:51 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s not often that school boards are quite this obvious when it comes to explaining their decisions.

    On Wednesday, the St. Vrain Valley School District Board of Education unanimously denied the application to open the school, which planned to offer a Core Knowledge curriculum to as many as 750 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

    …Before voting on the charter school, Bohaning referred to another items on Wednesday’s agenda: choosing the location of a new elementary school in the Tri-Towns. She felt like she had to choose between supporting the charter school and supporting the new elementary school, she said.

    “We cannot do both,” Bohaning said.

    …The difference, as the board members appeared to see it, is that the new elementary school will be built with funds from the bond voters approved in 2002; students attending the charter school would take state funding with them, which would affect the school district’s operating budget.

    Monies cannot be exchanged between the operating and capital funds.

    So, if they don’t approve the charter school, they get lots of “free” money to build a spanking new school. But if they approve the charter school, the students leave and they don’t need the new school. AND they lose the operating funds for the “lost” kids.

    Elementary, my dear Watson.


    Filed on at 7:02 am under by dcobranchi

    Completely OT. I got stuck in the stadium traffic for this game yesterday. Good for Rutgers.


    Filed on at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

    This is the third story down on the Fayetteville Observer‘s recent news block. I had been thinking of subscribing. Past tense.


    Filed on at 6:27 am under by dcobranchi

    New Scientist magazine has a “special” on homeschooling’s effect on science education in the US. It’s not a real pretty picture, but they cover all of the bases: HSLDA, Exodus Mandate, even the Discovery Institute’s Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture. The author worries that the Religious Right, as epitomized by HEKs, is going to lead to a scientifically illiterate US. I’d say she’s about 100 years too late. The US population, by and large, is already there. After all, a plurality of Americans reject the modern synthesis in favor of some form of creationism. And they were almost all educated in the g-schools.

    The piece does, finally, point out that we’re not all fundie wackos. Some of us may even be “wonderful parents”:

    However, not all home-school parents have a religious agenda. “There are probably some wonderful home-school parents, some of whom may be evolutionary biologists themselves. But I have a feeling after talking to a lot of home-schoolers that this is the minority,” says [Brian Alters of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who studies the changing face of science education in the US]. Indeed, evangelical Christians do dominate the home-school movement. “It’s disconcerting, to say the least,” he says.

    Like I said– not real pretty. Worth a read, though. [Tip credit: Tammy]


    Filed on November 9, 2006 at 9:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one is rich. Valerie’s comments are being hit by sock puppets supporting …drumroll, please…..Mimi! I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!


    Filed on at 6:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m in a hotel for the next week and cannot send emails. Read, yes. But spamhaus thinks that the IP address at the hotel is a spammer and I cannot send. So, if you send me something and I don’t reply, that’s why.


    Filed on at 7:35 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this week’s election results may have addled Mike Farris’ brains. How else to explain this column? He wants to have Supreme Court Justices essentially have to run for “re-election” every six years. And this is to help keep them independent of the people (and presumably the political process).

    What law school did he attend?

    UPDATE: It’s a recycled column from 2000. So he’s been espousing dumb ideas for at least six years.


    Filed on at 7:20 am under by dcobranchi

    And after the inevitable gold medals, these HEKs can go pro at the local Piggly-Wiggly.


    Filed on November 8, 2006 at 6:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    PEIX. Think about it for a minute. And, yes, I own a tiny stake– 700 shares.


    Filed on at 5:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tammy pointed out this LttE by a 7th grade HEK. A fine effort. He and his parents should be proud.


    Filed on at 4:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Because Scott evidently forgot the terms of the bet. 🙂

    Scott Somerville wrote:
    > I’m NOT a gambler… but I’m feeling oddly confident today. How about
    > making it interesting–if the GOP loses both houses, I put up the “Daryl
    > Cobranchi is Brilliant” button on scottsomerville.com. If the GOP keeps
    > both houses, you owe me a “Scott Somerville is Brilliant” button.

    We eventually decided to limit it to only the House. I’d have won either way, of course.


    Filed on at 7:50 am under by dcobranchi

    so it’s time for the Carnival of Homeschooling. Keep it down though, OK?


    Filed on at 7:47 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t like biometric measurements, as I don’t trust the government with that kind of information. I really don’t like the g-schools fingerprinting elementary kids. [Tip credit: Jeanne]


    Filed on at 5:33 am under by dcobranchi

    A pretty good (and snarky) lede:

    Children taught at home miss out on so many experiences that children who attend public school get to experience every day.

    Their parents are thrilled about it.


    Filed on at 5:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Marilyn Musgrave (R-HSLDA) appears to have won re-election.


    Filed on at 12:26 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s not too late to place your bet at tradesports. It’s paying 200:1 right now. You could get rich quick.


    Filed on November 7, 2006 at 11:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    The AP (via MSNBC) just projected a 231-204 House for the Dems!

    UPDATE: 234-201


    Filed on at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Sen. Man-on-dog goes down, according to MSNBC. And Menendez wins in NJ.

    UPDATE: Mike DeWine gone, too.

    UPDATE: Check the tradesports chart below.

    UPDATE: MSNBC called MD for Cardin (D). That’s Dems 4- Rep 0 in the interesting Senate races.

    UPDATE: 5-0 Chafee loses in RI.


    Filed on at 7:33 am under by dcobranchi

    The contract on the GOP retaining the House is rapidly approaching zero. It just hit an all-time low of 17.0 (~5:1). More telling, the next support level is at 10.5. Scott’s been talking big over at his blog, but I think that’s just to give him something to do while packing for the move to Denver. I think, though, that Colorado Springs might be more his kind of town. Denver’s pretty blue.

    Price for Republican Party 2006 Mid Term Election Control at TradeSports.com

    CORRECTION: The next support level is at 11.0, not 10.5 as I reported above. I misread the 11.0 as 17.0 (the current last sale). The next trade could very well be at 11.


    Filed on at 1:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Now go vote. (Except folks who support dirty tricks. Y’all can stay home.)

    The GOP really is scum.


    Filed on at 1:21 am under by dcobranchi

    The gaps keep shrinking as scientists learn more. A (formerly) missing link.


    Filed on November 6, 2006 at 6:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    It seems that the UK is overrun with Janas, too.*

    *This is an inside joke for long-time HE&OSers (pronounced “hosers”).


    Filed on at 6:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Time magazine has a short profile on some of the Free-Staters. The mag plays it straight. Worth a read.


    Filed on at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi


    A really love-sick horny teen, courtesy of The Onion.


    Filed on November 5, 2006 at 8:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Sadly, no.

    Homeland Stupidity speaks truth today.


    Filed on at 8:10 am under by dcobranchi

    So bad it’s good:

    I AGREE THAT HOME school is a crock. Did you know that while your child has many requirements to satisfy for graduation, a home schooler, once declared as such, is not held to the same standards? For example, if the home schooler happens to score well enough on the SAT, he moves into college, occupying a slot that your child was declared ineligible for. Ineligible, because they missed a portion of a graduation test by one point, one of many tests the home schooler was not required to take. Let’s just all profess to be home schoolers and avoid all of today’s strict educational requirements. I guess these kids could fill our country’s need for laborers and replace many illegal immigrants, but I’m not sure they are being taught very good work ethics.


    Filed on November 4, 2006 at 6:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s almost 5:1 When you gonna get in? At 20:1?

    UPDATE: The GOP has rallied and now is estimated to have a 21% chance of retaining the majority in the House.

    CHECK IT OUT ——>

    Filed on at 9:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Mimi’s new Southern Baptist Academy has an ad in the Google strip. Too funny.


    Filed on at 7:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Some of the biggest rats who helped get us into George and Dick’s Excellent Misadventure are now abandoning ship.

    I hope Cav’s friends have a nice warm spot picked out for Perle et al.


    Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

    I have long (heretically) exclaimed that the omniscient Google is God. I was wrong. It’s the IRS.


    Filed on at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s not every day that I rec a World Net Daily piece, but this column is pretty good. Only two nits to pick– I’m pretty sure that cyberschools targeting HEKs has already spread to several other states. And all non-Christian home educators will be interested to learn that they apparently prefer to see homeschoolers dependent on the state.

    Bet you didn’t know that, Helen.


    Filed on at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    So size doesn’t matter? Good to know.

    Don’t put much stock in the size of candidate’s signs

    The naive view of an October 29 letter writer about Attorney General Candidate Beau Biden’s campaign signs does little to direct attention where it should be focused: which candidate is likely to do a better job.

    As the Democrat for State Auditor, I delegated the design of my sign, but limited its size to no more than the common 18″ by 24″ yard sign, including those posted along some roads where traffic is moving at 55.

    Of the statewide candidates, I am among the very few with no large signs, and have fewer than 100 posted. Others have several times that number. During the wind storm this weekend, poorly placed signs were blown down to become litter.

    My opponent’s signs are many times larger than mine, but the name, the size, and the style of lettering, with or without an accompanying picture, does not carry as much meaning as the writer would have us believe.

    Delaware’s voters have become sophisticated enough to render this views obsolete, if not insulting.

    Michael Dalto, Democrat for State Auditor, Wilmington

    I’m guessing that Dalto has some issues.


    Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

    More for the hed than anything else. I guess this means the Love Boat has been canceled.

    O’Donnell stands for traditional marriage

    I was unaware that the only candidate bold enough to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman is write-in candidate Christine O’Donnell. She is the only one in favor of a marriage protection amendment to the Constitution that cannot be overturned by activist judges.

    Tom Carper, Jan Ting, Mike Castle and Dennis Spivack all say that it should be handled individually by state. But each state’s marriage law (as we have already seen) have and can continued to be overturned by activist judges. All these other candidates are not willing to support restricting marriage to one man and one woman through a Constitutional Amendment.

    Senator Carper and Representative Castle voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment, and it failed to pass Congress. If it is reintroduced next session, Christine O’Donnell is the only one of five congressional candidates who will vote for the Marriage Protection Act.

    Tom Carper, Jan Ting, Mike Castle and Dennis Spivack have all been endorsed by gay activists. Readers can view this information for themselves at www.logcabin.org (the Republican gay activist group) and at www.destonewall.org (the Democratic gay activist group).

    The integrity of our country starts with the foundation of family. Bring your pen and write-in Christine O’Donnell on November 7th to preserve the sacred union of marriage.

    Wanda Weber, Frankford


    Filed on November 3, 2006 at 2:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris O’Donnell has the breaking news that Dr. Dino will not be collecting his $200 for the next 288 years. With time off for good behavior he may be able to corrupt some more young minds around 2050.

    NO! NO! NO!

    Filed on at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    I take no position on the issue of school bonds in Raleigh. If the folks vote to raise their own taxes, more power to ’em. Instead, this sentence is what gets my goat:

    Jinny Craig, 44, who homeschools her two children, is still deciding how to cast her vote. She, too, is concerned about taxes and would like to see more money support home schooling.

    I hope the reporter got that paraphrase wrong. If not, Jinny Craig ought to stick to hawking over-priced diet plans.*

    *Yes, I know it’s Jenny Craig.


    Filed on at 6:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Michele finally got her software from 3Moms.com. Unfortunately, only two of the program disks were usable. She’s now trying to return the whole lot and get her S&H money back from 3Moms.


    Filed on at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs found a school principal who seems to live in a non-Euclidean universe.


    Filed on at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Ryan Boots at Edspresso thinks I was too hard on the g-schools’ efforts to recruit homeschoolers.


    Filed on at 1:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Down, down..

    Price for Republican Party 2006 Mid Term Election Control at TradeSports.com

    It’s paying almost 3:1. Any Kool-Ade drinkers ready to step up to the plate? Scott?

    UPDATE: The over-under is now at least 25 Democratic pickups in the House.

    UPDATE II: I just realized that the charts continue to update in (relatively) real time. So, the weekly chart I posted yesterday now includes today’s action. Cool.


    Filed on November 2, 2006 at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    G-schools should not be in the “business” of attempting to recruit homeschoolers. We know you exist. (Big) If we decide to enroll our kids, we’ll know where to find you:

    The school board should decide to first attempt to reach out to the children who live within the district boundaries and are home schooled and then those who live within and without the district who attend private school. We should ask home school and private school families their opinions and determine why these parents make the choice to avoid the public schools and then respond appropriately, when possible, to attract those children.

    We might also learn if and when the children would begin attending public school. This information could be useful for planning purposes. How might the district reach these families? We all know families that home school or send their kids to private school. Why not ask parents to deliver the message or survey directly to their friends in the community who choose alternative education methods and have them urge a response?


    Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

    This one got caught in my “homeschooling” news scrape. I hope the comments are not what pass for civil discourse in Wichita.

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