Utterly Meaningless » 2007 » March
  • ONLY 2:43 LATE

    Filed on March 14, 2007 at 1:43 am under by dcobranchi

    for the CoH.

    UNBALANCED, THANKFULLY

    Filed on March 13, 2007 at 4:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    My local paper has a pretty good piece up on the HPV vaccine. (The headline writer, though, should be fired.)

    PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATIONS?

    Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Call me cynical but I have a hard time taking anything that WorldNutDaily says on the Germany homeschooler story with anything less than a mountain of salt:

    A German appeals court has not only affirmed a lower court’s decision that ripped a 15-year-old homeschooler from her family and subjected her to a forced stay in a psychiatric hospital because she is homeschooled, but also ordered her parents to be given psychiatric evaluations, an international rights organization says.

    Joel Thornton, president of the International Human Rights Group told WND that fears the state will use those court-approved tests to destroy the family of Melissa Busekros are very valid.

    This is the internet, no? We’re allowed to provide links to primary documents? Any media outfit who wants to play in the blogosphere needs to learn the rules. Making blanket statements without providing access to the source material is no way to build credibility.

    WHERE’S WND?

    Filed on March 12, 2007 at 1:50 am under by dcobranchi

    This one seems tailor-made for them:

    In San Diego parents are being fought by the school and the city officials because they do not want their children to take part in the gay pride parade. The parade promises to produce a spectacle of sexual debauchery for all the kids to see as it has consistently now for several years.

    Found it.

    Eleven local citizens appeared at a San Diego School District meeting this week to confront officials about the San Diego Cooperative Charter School’s active participation in the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade.

    Evidently

    Evidently this is a cause célèbre for the wingnuts. Only one problem– the parents of the kids at the school DON’T OBJECT!

    If there hadn’t been any witnesses, most people would not have believed what the superintendent of schools for the San Diego Unified School District told a packed audience during a February 27, 2007 school board meeting. In response to complaints that an elementary school in San Diego, California was exposing small children to pornographic imagery when marching the kids in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade last year, school superintendent Carl H. Cohn stated, “We investigated these concerns and did not find any parents who have a problem with their kids in the gay pride parade.”

    […]

    What makes the cold and apathetic silence of the school board all the more disturbing is the fact that a number of the board members claim to be Christians. Take for example, school board Vice President Sheila Jackson. Jackson has not made one public statement to demonstrate concern over the marching of San Diego Cooperative Charter School in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade. Ms. Jackson’s hypocrisy is made all the more stunning based upon the fact that she mentions in her biography her involvement in the Bethel AME Church Missionary Society. Something very dark is going on beneath the surface with Jackson. After further investigation of Jackson, the James Hartline Report has learned that Ms. Jackson was endorsed in her campaign for the school board by the radical homosexual group, the San Diego Democratic Club. The San Diego Democratic Club are huge participants in the annual San Diego Gay Pride Parade.

    They really are just phoning in the faux outrage these days.

    UPDATE: I couldn’t let this graf pass un-noted:

    For many weeks prior to the February 27, 2007 school board hearing, community activist James Hartline begged and pleaded for Christians to come and stand up for the kids who are being exposed to the pornography of the San Diego Gay Pride events. Hundreds of San Diego pastors received emails from Hartline. Not one pastor showed up. It is as if 1939 Germany is happening all over again. During the rise of Hitler’s Nazism, the pastors of German Churches remained neutral as Jews were persecuted and ultimately sent to the death chambers of the concentration camps. That same apathetic spirit is resting upon the pastors of San Diego County.

    1-2 PUNCH

    Filed on at 1:31 am under by dcobranchi

    A couple of HEKs were the last (wo)men standing in this NM spelling bee.

    BZZZZZZ

    Filed on March 11, 2007 at 8:02 am under by dcobranchi

    An Alabama HEK is heading to DC as the state spelling bee champ. Go, Team!

    QOTD

    Filed on at 7:56 am under by dcobranchi

    “Socialization is important, but it doesn’t have to happen in school…”

    The article is entirely positive. The reporter will likely be fired for writing such an “unbalanced” piece. 🙂

    BEST. NICKNAME. EVAH!

    Filed on March 10, 2007 at 8:15 am under by dcobranchi

    The reigning and still undefeated heavyweight champeen– WorldNutDaily:

    In a commentary on the Constitutionally Correct site, the writers said New Jersey judges “who legislate from the bench are giving Massachusetts judges (and German jack boots) a run for their money. … The court’s opinion is a judicial temper tantrum. The judge wails that New Jersey law doesn’t fit his idea of what the law should be. Not only does New Jersey law not require government monitoring and testing of homeschoolers, the state gives public schools no legal authorization to do so…”

    Approvingly citing a blog that refers to German authorities as “jackboots”? Classic WND.

    UPDATE: I should have guessed– Constitutionally Correct is the ultra-right-wing Alliance Defense Fund’s blog.

    US AND WII

    Filed on at 7:25 am under by dcobranchi

    “Even home-schoolers”?

    Gaming industry analyst Richard Doherty, research director for Envisioneering Group, said that it is a smart move by Nintendo. “Absolutely. Within a year, the Wii may be the most successful and valuable social-networking community on the Web,” Doherty said.

    “Nintendo is creating a framework for an open environment that will allow other developers to add value,” he explained. “Interesting third-party solutions could link fans of TV shows, gamers sharing tips, even home-schoolers.”

    WTF?!

    GARDASIL UPDATE

    Filed on at 5:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Time has a first-person puff-piece up.

    We got our doctor’s bill yesterday. $117 per injection.

    LETTER OF THE DAY

    Filed on at 5:09 am under by dcobranchi

    What sense does it make to toss a 10-carat diamond?

    I am so saddened to hear that some vindictive person has unseated a wonderful person like Red Clay’s Yvonne Johnson.

    Yvonne is one lady who is extremely dedicated, energetic, sincere and responsible as a school board member. As a leader, she has been an absolute asset to our school district. Our school community will suffer a great loss without her superior sense of direction and tireless dedication.

    This is a position without pay, and one that requires countless hours of personal time. This lady is a 10-carat diamond and because of one person’s nasty and vindictive nature, our district will suffer a great loss. Yvonne, instead of getting the thank you she deserves, is having her name defamed.

    I am infuriated as a constituent at this busybody who seems to be so interested in the letter of the law.

    Yvonne has made restitution. Leave her alone. I have and will continue to hold Yvonne Johnson in a place of high esteem and am grateful for those like herself who are willing to put all aside to serve others and their community.

    Michelle Concha, Wilmington

    Yeah– this 10-carat cubic zirconia diamond was only convicted of felony check forgery. Just the kind of person I’d want in charge of making financial decisions in the schools.

    For the record– I’m in favor of restoring felons’ voting rights once they’ve paid their debts to society.

    THOSE PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS

    Filed on March 9, 2007 at 4:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one wins the “Idiot of the Day” award:

    For four years, staff at Hanmer and Charles Wright elementary schools suspected that “The Green Dragon” and hundreds of other books that had gone missing from the schools had been misplaced by students.

    […]

    Acting on a hunch, a Wethersfield police detective checked the popular auction site eBay for the books, and earlier this month noticed “The Green Dragon” for sale.

    […]

    Kress, 31, of Colchester, who works as a special education teacher at Hanmer and Charles Wright elementary schools, was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree larceny in the theft of more than 600 books, valued at more than $2,000, from the schools.

    She was arrested and immediately placed on paid leave. If found guilty, she ought to be required to pay back every dime “earned” between now and her sentencing. [Tip credit: Carole]

    LIFE IN THE BIBLE BELT

    Filed on at 7:02 am under by dcobranchi

    Where even a rant about animal control can veer off into the abortion “problem.”:

    Here again, it seems we punish success and reward failure by taxing those who do the right thing by their pets in order to subsidize those who do not.

    It seems the responsible taxpayer needs more help, so maybe the county should consider expanding the tax to include gerbils, hamsters, rabbits and guppies. I’m especially in favor of the rabbits and guppies — you know how fast those things can reproduce! It would be a financial windfall for the county!

    My last howl is that there is more outrage about the euthanization of animals, sad as this is, than there is over the killing of the 800,000-plus human babies aborted in this country last year.

    I’m not sure how the two issues are related.

    And, BTW, I’m a responsible pet-owner who won’t be neutering our pet. And we’ll pay an extra fee because of it. But why let facts get in the way of a good rant?

    QOTD

    Filed on March 8, 2007 at 3:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Socialism, moral relativism, evolution, pro-choice, multiculturalism, environmentalism, gay rights, self-esteem teaching and sex education are all politically correct/fundamentally wrong concepts promoted in the public schools that have taken their toll on the conservative and biblical values that have formed the backbone of American society.

    Except for the socialism bit (which nobody supports anymore), I think these are all pretty desirable.

    IT’S TUESDAY…

    Filed on March 7, 2007 at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    What do you mean it’s not Tuesday? So, I missed the CoH again (Sorry, no linky love to HSB). Why mess with tradition?

    A REALLY USEFUL ENGINE WEBSITE

    Filed on at 4:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    From the folks who sell your credit information, a way to opt out of credit card offers.

    IT AIN’T THAT COMPLEX

    Filed on at 4:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    TCRecord has posted its equivalent of an Op/Ed on “The Complexities of Black Home Schooling.” It’s really, really bad. A very liberal, very white educrat first decides that we’re all a bunch of fundamentalist ultraconservative know-nothings. He then lectures black parents (he’s evidently the parent of a black child) that they should wait for the inevitable “social movement” that is going to rescue their kids.

    We should not criticize black parents who home school their children. But a more powerful response in the long term requires that we redouble our efforts to create more responsive, democratic, and critical educational institutions for those children who are all too easily seen as the “Other” in this society and its schools. There are multiple examples of such critically democratic schools whose processes of administration, curricula, teaching, and evaluation are closely connected to oppressed communities and their needs, cultures, hopes, and dreams (Apple & Beane, 2007). Can these be extended and become more widespread in the face of the reductive tendencies embodied in such policies as No Child Left Behind with its “push out” effects (Valenzuela, 2005)? This question is no easier to answer than the issues surrounding black home schooling. But we will only know the answer if we continue the struggles to do so. If we do not continue and expand our engagement in such organized and long term struggles for a system of public schooling that is worthy of its name, more and more black parents will seek alternatives, be they vouchers or home schooling. The way to demonstrate our respect for such parents is to make it more likely that they will not have to leave public schools.

    Riiiiight.

    UPDATE” JJ tears him up here.

    HEM

    Filed on March 6, 2007 at 5:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    The latest edition of Home Education Magazine is up.

    NEW AD —–>

    Filed on at 10:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Can I short GWB?

    DUH!

    Filed on at 4:58 am under by dcobranchi

    And the award for most obvious news flash goes, once again, to the Fayetteville Observer:

    Changes will have to happen locally as well as on a state level. Increasing the legal dropout age from 16 to 17 or even 18 should be the first order of business at the state level. Research shows that dropout rates are highest as students reach 16, the last year of required attendance.

    Wow! Kids who are going to drop out do so as soon as they legally can. Whodathunkit? And what’s to keep these same kids from dropping out at 17 or 18? Does the editorial writer really believe that forcing unmotivated inmates “students” to hang around school for another year or two is going to somehow transform them into scholars? Where’s the data?

    In 2002 twelve states plus (that bastion of exemplary public schools) DC had compulsory attendance through age 18. Do these states have a significantly lower drop-out rate? This NCES report (Table 5) would seem to indicate otherwise. Example: MD, with a CA age of 16 has a significantly lower reported dropout rate than neighboring DC. And MD’s rate is comparable to VA’s (another 18 year old CA limit state).

    Somebody with some time on his hands (and a grant from the State) ought to spend some time (and state tax dollars) to crunch the available data. I’ll lay long odds that the CA age is not a statistically significant principal component in predicting dropout rates.

    SOMEONE PLEASE SET HER STRAIGHT

    Filed on March 4, 2007 at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Wonderful. Not only are we all conservative Christians, we’re now all moronic conservative Christians.

    Moving right along, perhaps you’ve heard of Conservapedia – the home-school movement’s answer to Wikipedia. If not, check it out for amusement purposes only; relying on it to draft one’s term paper is not advisable.

    CONSERVAPEDIA BILLS itself as the “much-needed alternative to Wikipedia,” which it calls “increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American.” Wikipedia has some flaws – inaccuracy, sometimes being one of them – but anti-Christian? Anti-American?

    Conservapedia’s entry on kangaroos includes this passage, “Like all modern animals, modern kangaroos originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah’s Ark prior to the Great Flood.”

    That answer might pass muster in Sunday school, but probably won’t do in a college science class.

    In attempting to counter Wikipedia’s supposed bias, Conservapedia interjects a bias of its own – along with misspellings and grammatical errors. Take this entry about the Fox News channel.

    “FOX NEWS was started in 1996 in response to the other cable news channels which all had obvious liberal biases. Because of this, Rupert Murdoch decided to start a real new channel which would tell the truth. The success of Fox news over every other news channel is because it is fair and balanced.”

    The entry continues: “[Fox] has many people on it who work to spread truth such as Sean Hannity who is a great American. … In 2005 the White House selected Tony Snow from Fox News to be the new White House press secretary which was a great honor for Fox because it showed how well it was presenting the real truth instead of the fake liberal version.”

    One hopes the young home-schoolers who rely on Conservapedia don’t rely on it alone.

    The colmnist can be reached here.

    ALL’S WELL THAT END’S WELL

    Filed on at 3:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Some days the Fayetteville Observer aspires to be a real newspaper. Other days, you gotta wonder if they even bother to read the articles before publishing them. How else to explain this graf?

    Around 5 o’clock that afternoon, she was feeding her father’s chickens in the backyard. “We went to go throw the corn cobs on the dirt mound in Daddy’s yard,” she said Saturday by phone, as she cooked cabbage and baked chicken for dinner.

    The story is about a little boy who fell into an abandoned well. I’m pretty sure what he was having for supper didn’t play a major role.

    NO MORE KATRINAS

    Filed on March 3, 2007 at 5:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    But he’s still an idiot:

    “This storm is a tough storm. Went eight miles and affected a lot of lives,” Bush said at the Enterprise Municipal Airport.

    ONE FOR HELEN

    Filed on at 2:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think Sezor will be pulling any sleds down here in NC, but our friendly neighborhood magazine editor lives in AK with her two huskies.

    QUESTIONS IN MODERN BATHROOM DESIGN

    Filed on at 2:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is the bathtub in my room in Hamm, Germany. Can someone explain the thinking behind having a glass shower “curtain” that only extends 1/3 of the way down the tub? The only way to keep water from splashing all over the room was to point the shower head straight down, making it difficult to wash my hair without bashing my own head.

    EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN IS IN TUNE

    Filed on at 1:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    There will be a total lunar eclipse tonight visible across much of Europe, the ME, and Africa. The US will only get to see the second half of the eclipse, but the whole thing (assuming clouds cooperate) will be webcast here starting at 4:15 p.m. EST.

    BOOK IT, DANO

    Filed on at 1:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    Some nannies child advocates would like to see the end of Pizza Hut’s BookIt program.

    Book It, which reaches about 22 million children a year, “epitomizes everything that’s wrong with corporate-sponsored programs in school,” said Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

    “In the name of education, it promotes junk food consumption to a captive audience … and undermines parents by positioning family visits to Pizza Hut as an integral component of raising literate children,” Linn said.

    This week, Linn’s organization called on parents to end their schools’ participation in the long-standing program.

    Kids like pizza, so it’s actually a decent incentive program. And, as kid-friendly food goes, it’s reasonably healthy fare. I doubt any kid is going to develop life-long eating problems because she earns a Personal Pan Pizza a couple times a year.

    THOSE WHO CAN, DO

    Filed on at 9:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Those who can’t, pontificate.

    File this one under “misery loves company.” Carlotta reports that UK home educators have to deal with the same moronic “experts” we have come to know and loathe over here.

    HEADS UP: NC

    Filed on at 8:58 am under by dcobranchi

    A bill (H.B. 430) is pending which would provide a $2400 tax credit for home education.

    GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

    SESSION 2007

    H 1

    HOUSE BILL 430

    Short Title: Tax Credit – Nonpublic School Students.

    (Public)

    Sponsors:

    Representatives Blackwood, Killian (Primary Sponsors); and Gulley.

    Referred to:

    Education, if favorable, Finance.

    March 1, 2007

    A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

    AN ACT TO increase per pupil FUNDING in public schools and reduce the burden on rapidly growing counties of classroom construction by ALLOWING AN INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR PART OF THE EXPENSE OF educating children voluntarily incurred by parents AND TO include nonpublic school students in the average daily membership of local school administrative units.

    Whereas, many areas of the State are growing so rapidly that it has become difficult to adequately fund the construction of public schools to deal with the growth in enrollment levels they are experiencing; and

    Whereas, the citizens of this State have shown, through their support of charter schools and various private and church schools, their willingness to support education alternatives that reduce the overcrowding in public schools; and

    Whereas, the best way to provide adequate per pupil funding for public schools is to provide parents, who are interested in schools which receive less public support, some financial assistance, but less than would be required if those children attended public school; Now, therefore,

    The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

    SECTION 1. Part 2 of Article 4 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

    “§ 105‑151.31. Education expenses credit.

    (a) Definitions. – The following definitions apply in this section:

    (1) Dependent child. – A child for whom the taxpayer is entitled to deduct a personal exemption under section 151(c)(1)(B) of the Code for the taxable year.

    (2) Home school. – Defined in G.S. 115C‑563.

    (3) Rapidly growing county. – A county in which the average daily membership of a local school administrative unit has increased by at least twenty percent (20%) over any 10‑year period beginning on or after January 1, 1995, based on data available from the Department of Public Instruction.

    (b) Credit. – A taxpayer whose dependent child would otherwise attend a public school other than a charter school in a rapidly growing county is allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this Part for each of the taxpayer’s dependent children who is a resident of this State and who is educated lawfully in grades K through 12 in a charter school or other than in a public school for at least five months during the taxable year.

    (c) Amount. – The credit amount is two hundred dollars ($200.00) per month for each child who is educated in a home school during the taxable year. For a child who is educated in a charter school, the credit amount is the amount voluntarily contributed by the taxpayer to the school for capital construction, not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the amount of the average per pupil allocation for average daily membership for the local school administrative unit in which the child attends school. For a child other than a child who is educated in a home school or a charter school, the credit amount is the amount of tuition the taxpayer paid to educate the child, not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the amount of the average per pupil allocation for average daily membership for the local school administrative unit in which the child would have otherwise attended school.

    (d) Credit Refundable. – If the credit allowed by this section exceeds the amount of tax imposed by this Part for the taxable year reduced by the sum of all credits allowable, the Secretary must refund the excess to the taxpayer. The refundable excess is governed by the provisions governing a refund of an overpayment by the taxpayer of the tax imposed in this Part. In computing the amount of tax against which multiple credits are allowed, nonrefundable credits are subtracted before refundable credits.

    (e) Information. – In order to claim the credit allowed by this section, the taxpayer must provide the following information to the Secretary:

    (1) The name, address, and social security number of each child with respect to whom a credit is claimed.

    (2) The name and address of the school in which each child with respect to whom a credit is claimed was educated during the year.

    (3) The name of the local school administrative unit in which the child resides.”

    SECTION 2. Part 4 of Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

    “§ 115C‑567. Inclusion in average daily membership.

    For the purposes of calculating the average daily membership of a local school administrative unit for the allocation of State funds, a child who attends a school under this Article shall be included in the calculation on a twenty‑five percent (25%) basis for the local school administrative unit that the child would have otherwise attended.”

    SECTION 3. Section 1 of this act is effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2007. The remainder of this act becomes effective July 1, 2007.

    I think including the HEKs in the average daily attendance figures for the schools is an interesting twist, as it would tend to gut the knee-jerk opposition that might otherwise be expected from the g-school educrats and teacher unions. The “rapidly growing county” bit is bad law as it would create enormous disparities in tax treatment in neighboring counties.

    BEGGING THE QUESTIONS

    Filed on at 2:12 am under by dcobranchi

    I have come to the conclusion that the theory of evolution does not apply in the political world. The stupidest, least-fit folks not only survive, they get elected to the TN State Senate:

    A Tennessee State Senate member has filed a resolution asking the Tennessee Department of Education to address a few basic questions about life, the universe and all that:

    * “Is the universe and all that is within it, including human beings, created through purposeful, intelligent design by a Supreme Being, that is a Creator?”
    * “Since the universe, including human beings, is created by a supreme being (a creator), why is creationism not taught in Tennessee public schools?
    * “Since it cannot be determined whether the universe, including human beings, is created by a supreme being (a creator), why is creationism not taught as an alternative concept, explanation, or theory, along with the theory of evolution in Tennessee public schools?”

    State Sen. Raymond Finney (R-Maryville), a retired physician, is asking the Senate to endorse his questions to the Department of Education, and for the department to come back with a response by January 15, 2008.

    I’ve heard that holding two diametrically opposed ideas at one time can lead to insanity. I believe we have seen the proof here. (via Jesus’ General)

    UPDATE: P.Z. Myers has more.

    THOSE PROFESSIONAL EDUCRATS

    Filed on March 1, 2007 at 1:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    BETHLEHEM, Pa. — John Acerra was a longtime teacher and principal in the Bethlehem Area School District — and, police say, a drug dealer who tried to sell crystal methamphetamine from his school office.

    Acerra, 50, of Allentown, was arrested Tuesday in his office at Nitschmann Middle School in Bethlehem, minutes after he allegedly arranged to sell the notoriously addictive drug to a police informant. Police swooped in and found meth and drug paraphernalia on his desk, according to court papers.

    There was no indication that Acerra sold the drug to students, but an informant claimed Acerra sold meth from his school office after hours and on weekends, said Dennis Mihalopoulos, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    I guess I don’t really have anything to add.

    HOPPING ON THE BANDWAGON

    Filed on at 12:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    Since reviewing beers gone by seems to be the new hotness, I’ll mention that I’ve been working hard enjoying Erdinger Weißbier Dark all week. It’s every bit as smooth as the blurb claims.

    And I hear one calling my name right now.

    Carnival of Homeschooling, Print Edition

    Filed on at 8:25 am under by COD

    I could have posted this yesterday, but since Daryl is habitually a day late on the notice, I didn’t want to set a standard he couldn’t match when he got back 😉 As a bonus, Natalie posted the carnival, which might be proof that she wasn’t abducted by aliens and really is still among us.

    Or it could be proof that the aliens have a broadband internet connection. She’ll have to let us know.

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