Utterly Meaningless » 2007 » April

IDIOTS!

Filed on April 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm under by dcobranchi

Politico.com recently made hay out of John Edwards spending $400 on a haircut. When they recruited questions for their upcoming GOP “debate,” I submitted the following: “How much did you pay for your last haircut? Evidently this is important information that voters need to know.” The snark appears to have gone right over politico.com’s collective heads:

Dear Sir or Madam,

One or more of the questions you submitted to Politico.com’s Presidential Debate Web Round has been selected as a possible finalist and may be asked of a GOP presidential candidate during the May 3 debate, televised on MSNBC.

We would like to include a name, city and state with each question, although you are free to keep this information private if you wish. If you would like to share your name and location, please email them to this address before Thursday, May 3.

We appreciate your participation and look forward to the debate!

Sarah Smith
Web Producer

WORST HOME ED ARTICLE EVER

Filed on at 5:12 pm under by dcobranchi

I don’t believe I’ve seen anything dumber in my 5 years of doing this gig:

Depending on the state in which you live, a home school inspection may be necessary prior to you beginning the home school process. Some states also require a home school inspection on a periodic basis to ensure that the proper guidelines are being met and that curriculum is in keeping with educational benchmarks set forth by the state and individual school district.

Educators are often observed periodically in traditional schools and a home school inspection is similar to this practice. But a home school inspection also takes into account the home environment as a setting conducive to effective learning. Inspectors will look for a quiet “classroom” setting specifically reserved for home schooling; it should be an environment that fosters concentration, creativity, and learning.

A home school inspection will also take into account the materials that you are using for your home school program including textbooks, DVDs or videos, computer software, and online resources. All material should generally support and further the curriculum established by the school district.

Ultimately, a home school inspection is for the good of the child. If you keep that in mind, it is less of an inconvenience and more of a necessary component of home schooling. Remember that home schooling is a responsibility and should be treated as such. A symbiotic relationship between you and the school district will only benefit your child and foster a greater educational experience.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t give it zero stars.

OR ARE WE “MADE” THAT WAY?

Filed on at 5:02 pm under by dcobranchi

Hed of the day:

Home education is a lifestyle choice

Nothing too exciting in the article.

I WANT YOU TO BUILD AN ARK. RIIIIGHT.

Filed on April 29, 2007 at 1:32 pm under by dcobranchi

What’s an ark?

It’s this fictional boat that some [WARNING: REDUNDANCY AHEAD!] crazy creationist is trying to (re)create.

LOTD

Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

A local item:

Business Council ignores residents’ ‘no’ to E85

The Cumberland County Business Council receives $400,000 in county tax money and $200,000 in city tax money. Flashing across its Web site are the words “Improving Quality of Life,” followed by “Creating Wealth.”

Hundreds of taxpayers wrote letters and signed petitions in opposition to E85. A majority of the commissioners were voting no for the $875,000 incentive package. I am hearing a resounding “No!” for E85 from county residents and our leaders.

Why, then, did the Business Council fax an April 12 letter to businesses soliciting support for E85? Why is it pleading with businesses to send e-mail back that says, “I support E85,” so it can place a supportive ad in the newspaper?

The ad hasn’t hit the paper, so we can only assume that the council didn’t get the e-mails it so desperately needed. Where is the support for E85, and what is driving the Business Council to passionately push E85 into a site where it is not wanted? [emphasis added]

The answer is certainly not “Improving Quality of Life.” Maybe “Creating Wealth” is the motivation for the Business Council.

The council is ignoring the voice of the taxpayers and the commissioners who fund the council. Taxpayers saved $875,000 when the incentives for E85 were withdrawn. Another way to save taxpayers money would be for the commissioners to cut funds to the Business Council. Cutting $400,000 out of the budget would open both ears and minds at the council.

Sam Bright
President, King’s Grant Homeowners
Fayetteville

The answer is obvious.

FREECYCLE

Filed on April 28, 2007 at 8:10 pm under by dcobranchi

From the Fayetteville list:

My brother and sister-n-law are both in Iraq and I have their children. It would really be great if someone has a webcam they could depart with so the kids can see their parents and the parents can see the kids. Thanks, Lisa

AWESOME!

Filed on at 3:21 pm under by dcobranchi

I just got a call from Lydia at the State Envirothon competition. Both the “High School” and the “Middle School” teams placed in the top 10. And Anthony had the top score in his specialty, missing only 1 question.

The kids worked really hard and learned a ton. That’s really all that matters, of course. The success in the contest is just gravy.

DIVIDED GOVERNMENT WORKS

Filed on at 8:52 am under by dcobranchi

This NYT Op/Ed claims the Dems in Congress are doing a better job of holding the Admininstration accountable than the rubber stamps in the previous edition.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ll be voting for a Republican for President. That party has proved itself absolutely, utterly incapable of managing the government. Think I’m wrong? Name one issue that has gotten better in the last six years.

WHAT 1ST AMENDMENT?

Filed on at 8:00 am under by dcobranchi

A student (of Asian descent) was arrested because the school judged his creative writing too “violent.”

Police Thursday released portions of an essay used to charge a Cary-Grove High School student with disorderly conduct, leaving several experts puzzled at an arrest based on such schoolwork.

Asked to write about whatever he wanted in a creative writing class, would-be Marine and honors student Lee, 18, described a violent dream in which he shot people and then “had sex with the dead bodies.”

But then he immediately dismissed the idea as a mere joke, writing, “not really, but it would be funny if I did.”

I’m sure this has nothing to do with VT.

MISLEADING HED OF THE DAY

Filed on at 7:50 am under by dcobranchi

Check this out:

Warning on wi-fi health risk to children

Wow! Looks serious. Looks (and headlines) can be deceiving.

Professor Lawrie Challis, who heads the committee on mobile phone safety research, called yesterday for pupils to be monitored amid mounting public concern over emissions from wi-fi networks.

He is concerned that few studies have been carried out into the level of exposure in classrooms and believes that if health problems do emerge they are likely to be more serious in children.

LOTD

Filed on at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

Life in Fayetteville:

Consider the dangers of taking certain drugs

The horrible incident at Virginia Tech hit home with me. It’s near relatives in the area. Why hasn’t anyone zeroed in on how dangerous these drugs for depression are?

My best friend’s son was taking a depression drug and he committed suicide. The effects of these drugs on a person are more dangerous than being depressed.

People should come to realize that Jesus Christ is the best antidepression drug!

Betty Lowrance
Clinton

DESPITE BEING HOMESCHOOLED?

Filed on April 27, 2007 at 9:04 pm under by dcobranchi

Ugly quote:

Dustin-Leigh KonzelmanDustin-Leigh Seltzer has become a pro in exuding beauty, grace and elegance, evident in her acquisition of numerous beauty pageant titles. Exquisitely pretty, she attracts people with her blue eyes and gorgeous blonde hair, not to mention her amiable presence. But this beauty icon isn’t all about her looks as she is endowed with much intelligence. Furthermore, she has a fierce competitive nature that serves as an inspiration to all her fans. At present, she is included on The Amazing Race All-Stars.

Despite being home schooled, Dustin-Leigh Seltzer graduated Magna Cum Laude from California Baptist University in Riverside with a degree in speech communication.

SG1 GETS SHRILL

Filed on at 8:48 pm under by dcobranchi

Tonight’s episode is an allegory of the Iraq war.

*SIGH*

Filed on at 6:16 pm under by dcobranchi

Controversial?

WOODBURN, Indiana (AP) — A high school teacher who faced losing her job after a student newspaper published an editorial advocating tolerance of gays can continue teaching at another school.

Amy Sorrell, 30, reached an agreement that allows her to be transferred to another high school to teach English, said her attorney, Patrick Proctor.

“The school administration has said in no uncertain terms that she’s not going to be given a journalism position,” Proctor said.

Sorrell, who had been an English and journalism instructor at Woodlan Junior-Senior High School, was placed on paid leave March 19, two months after an editorial advocating tolerance of homosexuals ran in Woodlan’s student newspaper, The Tomahawk. Sorrell had been the newspaper’s adviser.

School officials in the conservative northern Indiana community about 10 miles east of Fort Wayne said Sorrell did not comply with an agreement to alert the principal about controversial articles.

The agreement she signed includes a written reprimand that says she neglected her duties as a teacher and was insubordinate in refusing to obey school officials’ orders.

STOCK MARKET CRASH

Filed on at 4:57 pm under by dcobranchi

Two days after hitting 13,000 for the first time, business channel CNBC is currently hyping “Dow 14,000- Just a matter of time?” We haven’t seen that kind of irrational exuberance since Spring 2000.

PINK

Filed on at 1:57 pm under by dcobranchi

An interesting listing in the pink sheets:

Electronic Kourseware International (EKII) previously at $0.065 up 61% at $0.105 with 1,041,100 shares traded. (EKII) was highlighted today by HotOTC.com

Electronic Kourseware International announced today the company has updated, improved and re-launched its homeschool product line. The homeschool products are under the brand name “Science Labs-in-a-Box and have received an endorsed by Practical Homeschooling Magazine. The prepackaged lab programs are sent straight to one’s home and are designed for elementary students up to high school students.
Electronic Kourseware International, the parent company of Scieneclabs.com offers hundreds of the best science kits and lab products brands at extremely competitive prices.

I’d be more impressed if they knew how to spell “course.”

ANOTHER ONE FOR TIM NOT HAAS

Filed on at 8:43 am under by dcobranchi

Feel the booming Bush economy!

GDP rose by 1.3% last quarter, sharply missing estimates. Worst economic growth in four years.

And in related news, Kraft Foods stock continues to soar.

H2 + 1/2 O2 —–> H2O

Filed on April 26, 2007 at 10:04 pm under by dcobranchi

The American Chemical Society has a really good piece on home education in the latest edition of C&E News.

More parents are also deciding to homeschool their children beyond middle school, and as they do so, they are discovering that the availability of already prepared chemistry curricula is quite limited. The situation is especially challenging for secular homeschoolers, who say there are virtually no secular high school chemistry curricula out there for the homeschooling community.

The market is slowly responding to these trends, and several high school chemistry curricula that cater to a diverse audience of homeschoolers now are in development. In addition to helping families teach the fundamental concepts of chemistry, these curricula address an important practical question: How do you carry out lab experiments that are challenging and informative yet safe to be carried out in the home?

The piece then goes on to talk about the Christian chemistry curricula including BJU’s (which I haven’t seen) and Jay Wile’s (which I really don’t like). And then they move back to the secular:

Several educators indeed are working on chemistry curricula that could be used by homeschoolers regardless of their beliefs. During the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago last month, symposium organizer and homeschooling mom Frankie K. Wood-Black, who is director of compliance decree coordination at ConocoPhillips, in Houston, described a homeschool chemistry text that she is developing with her brother-in-law. The text takes an inquiry-based approach, where each section begins with a lab experiment followed by an explanation of the scientific concepts. “It’s a whole different approach to teaching the subject,” she says. She envisions the final product as looking more like a lab manual than a traditional chemistry textbook.

Wood-Black’s labs will be based on green chemistry, an approach that reduces or eliminates the use and generation of hazardous substances. With its nontoxic chemicals, green chemistry is becoming an increasingly popular approach to doing chemistry experiments safely in the home.

Sally Henrie, a chemistry professor at Union University, a Southern Baptist school in Jackson, Tenn., is another educator working to integrate green chemistry into homeschool chemistry curricula. Several years ago, she and two of her undergraduate students developed a green chemistry lab manual for high school students. Some faculty members at Union who homeschool their kids learned about Henrie’s manual and asked her to adapt it for homeschoolers. She agreed and is now looking for a business partner to help her bring the product to market.

Her lab manual includes experiments such as determining the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in a solution using carrot juice and the ideal gas law. The manual also includes a lab on calculating the calories in a variety of junk foods. She envisions that her lab kits would come in a box and include all the necessary chemicals and equipment, which could be supplemented with materials found around the house.

I’m available for beta testing.

H/T: D

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Most people never even think to homeschool their children which is surprising knowing how beneficial homeschooling is. You can find great homeschooling resources online that make homeschooling your children much easier.

MIAMI H.E.A.T.

Filed on at 6:44 pm under by dcobranchi

A homeschool track team is in contention for the FL state I-A title.

”So many people have stereotypes that we are shut in and nerdy and unsocial and quiet,” said Melanie Sims, who won the 100, 200, 100 hurdles and triple jump.

“That is just not true. We come out to this track every day and practice hard like everybody else. It’s just that we do our school assignments at home.”

“WE ARE ONE SIGNATURE AWAY FROM ENDING THE IRAQ WAR”– BARACK OBAMA

Filed on at 5:10 pm under by dcobranchi

Of course, sadly, the pen is in the hands of a delusional idiot.

DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

Filed on at 5:55 am under by dcobranchi

I just knew I should have stuffed the ballot box in the recent Homeschool Blog Awards! Look at some of the fine prizes I just barely missed out on.

Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog

Math Mammoth offers the downloadable “Math Mammoth Blue Series”.

Math U See offers a handy tote bag and a demo DVD.

Cardamom Publishers offers an E-Book Entitled “The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling”.

Simply Charlotte Mason offers a free E-Book of your choice.

Vision Forum offers the book “How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary” and the CD “6,000 Years of Earth History in One Hour”.

Tender Heart Press offers a copy of their “Visualize World Geography” book.

National Home Education Legal Defense offers one free bumper sticker of your choice.

A Child’s Geography offers the free E-Book “A Child’s Geography: Explore the Holy Land”.

Does HSLDA offer an “Evolved Homeschooler” bumper sticker?

[Aside to Sprittibee-- Just kidding. I'd have been honored to have won, even if I would have turned down the prizes.]

BAD SCIENCE, AMATEUR DIVISION

Filed on April 25, 2007 at 2:16 pm under by dcobranchi

Creationism--  What a joke!

Don Gookins has a really good bad example.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, I was wrong. The original letter was a joke (albeit real).

BULLS**T JOB

Filed on at 1:37 pm under by dcobranchi

Blogging makes the cut.

Blogger
Download contents of your mind, even when there aren’t any.

$$: Relatively small, but prospects for high-paying bullshit job in the future are virtually assured.

The upside: This is one of the bullshit jobs you can do immediately, with no training and no prior experience. You can also become very famous, since the established media, increasingly devoid of excitement and ideas of its own, has taken to siphoning off daily blogging activity as a much better and more interesting alternative to actual news.

The downside: You need a full, daily dose of imagination, guile, bile, and people pouring nonsense into your head that you can repeat.

The dark side: Your skin glows an ethereal white, your eyes become rheumy and bloodshot. Hair erupts in horrendous places. You don’t care. You are now nothing but a conduit through which pass all the rare gases of the universe. You are, in short, a blog.

And what to make of us folks who do this gig for free.

HEADS UP: CA

Filed on at 5:57 am under by dcobranchi

Pending Assembly Bill 1236 would lower (not raise) the compulsory attendance age:

In California, all 5-year-olds could be starting school by 2011 if a bill by Assemblyman Gene Mullin for mandatory kindergarten passes, but home school advocates argue it decreases beneficial parent contact time with children.

Mullin, D-South San Francisco, proposes raising the minimum age to enter kindergarten from 5 years old by Dec. 2 to 5 years old by Sept. 1 and requiring those children to attend school. Current law doesn’t require students to attend school until age 6, making kindergarten optional. At this point, about 8 percent of students in California don’t attend kindergarten, said Mullin. He hopes his bill — which will be discussed in the education committee today — will give more students a strong educational foundation. The bill is Assembly Bill 1236.

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Finding a lawyer in California can be frustrating. Let the internet do the footwork for finding a lawyer. If you’re in need of a corporate lawyer or a commercial lawyer you will be able to find the right lawyer for you online.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BEES GONE?

Filed on April 24, 2007 at 4:56 pm under by dcobranchi

To the CoH, evidently.

BONUS LOTD

Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

And this guy thinks we all should just STFU:

Commander-in-chief has courageous public policy

President Bush has the courage to do what is right despite fickle public opinion. It is Bush’s sound policy to bring about liberty, democracy and the rule of law in the Middle East. The Middle East urgently needs such reform to stop being the world’s hot-house for violent extremism.

The dedicated purpose of this nation, fostering freedom over tyranny, is never easy and requires terrible sacrifice. The struggle is made more difficult by those who prefer short-term ease and political advantage over long-term public good.

The enemies of freedom and enlightenment in the Middle East are no doubt encouraged when they hear Americans ridiculing their commander in chief and advocating surrender in Iraq. Kindly knock it off.

Rodney A. Johnson, Stanton

LOTD

Filed on at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

Well argued (by a home educator). But I like the idea of being able to opt out of the Iraq war. In WW II the government sold bonds to pay for that war. If Bush tried that today, he might be able to scrounge enough to up-armor two or even three Hummvees.

Taxes pay to maintain and improve public services

This is in response to the reader who wishes to be exempt from school taxes. Although I agree that school districts need to be held more accountable for budgeting and financial decisions, I couldn’t disagree more with the overall premise.

If taxpayers could pick and choose what they wish to pay for, society as a whole would suffer. Everyone could make an argument for choosing not to pay some portion of their taxes. After all, should those who don’t drive fund improvements and maintenance of roads? Should people who don’t swim pay for public pools?

Should those who never smoked fund smoking cessation programs for those who do?

Or should those who don’t agree with the war in Iraq be forced to fund it?

The point is that taxes — whether they be local, state or federal — pay to maintain services and a quality of life we all may enjoy. We are privileged to live in a prosperous country where we can expect to have minimum standards of safety and welfare met. That privilege isn’t without cost.

Having an educated population is a benefit to everyone in this country on many levels. Those who are well-educated can expect to earn a better salary and be better citizens, who in turn will pay taxes so we can fund the American Dream.

I have three children who are educated at home. In Delaware, parents educating their own children get no materials, services or support from their school district or the state. And they still pay school taxes.

Melissa Bower, Newark

SICKENING BUT (PROBABLY) TRUE

Filed on April 23, 2007 at 7:13 pm under by dcobranchi

On the Top 10 GOP “kingmakers”:

• Michael Farris – founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. According to RNS, one observer said he had “a network of home-schoolers that will do anything for him.”

BLOB, BLOG, WHAT’S THE DIFF?

Filed on April 22, 2007 at 4:24 pm under by dcobranchi

Only one letter.

Blogging is a bit like the old sci-fi monster as it swallows up your free time and, eventually, your life. :-)

OH GOD!

Filed on at 1:52 pm under by dcobranchi

If you’re a religious person, now might be a good time for some prayer:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Gunmen in northern Iraq stopped a bus filled with Christians and members of a tiny Kurdish religious sect, separating out the groups and taking 23 of the passengers away to be shot.

There’s a circle in hell reserved for the neocons who unleashed this.

HED OF THE DAY

Filed on at 8:44 am under by dcobranchi

It doesn’t get any better than this:

Opening Day: Youth baseball, softball begins season play

Jonathan’s playing PeeWee ball this year. That’s where the coaches pitch. It works quite well. I hadn’t seen that variation before we got here. Little League at this age (7-8) has the kids pitching resulting in lots of walkathons. We got a six-inning game off yesterday in 1:15. And the kids nearly pulled off a legitimate 6-4-3 DP.

THOSE PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS

Filed on April 21, 2007 at 8:41 pm under by dcobranchi

A really local one for Diane Tomlinson:

A Gray’s Creek High School teacher who resigned last week was charged Tuesday with a sex offense involving a student.

Matthew Cameron King, 27, of the 500 block of King Road in St. Pauls, is charged with taking indecent liberties, said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Tanna said the student is 18 but gave no other details. The charge is a felony, according to court documents.

Gray’s Creek H.S. is our local school. Anthony’s taking Driver’s Ed there.

LOST ME AT “FIRSTLY OF ALL”

Filed on at 1:11 pm under by dcobranchi

Jill passed along an anti-home ed Op/Ed by, of course, an educrat. Some choice quotes:

seems pretty straightforward until one notices some interesting items. Firstly of all, the age of compulsory attendance starts at six. This means that kindergarten is not mandatory. However, the vast majority of people understand how important early education is and eagerly send their children to kindergarten…

I do have more of a problem with a parent who chooses to home school. My problem has more to do with my own personal observations as a school principal than what may be contained in the research. In very rare situations I have had one or two parents decide to home school their child. In each of these situations I noticed one important factor.These parents found it very difficult to separate from their children. They literally cried when they dropped their child off at school in the morning. I spent countless hours counseling these parents on how important it was to have their child exposed to other adults and other children; The parents just couldn’t separate. Even after they took their children out of school, the neighborhood witnessed that these parents and children were never apart. Not very healthy, and the lack of any oversight really concerns me in the home school alternative.

There are alternatives to public education. For the majority of us, though, our public schools still earn the best value for the dollar, earn our trust, and meet both the academic and value standards of the majority of our citizens.

Considering that the denominator in the value equation for the g-schools is “zero”, that’s really not saying much.

THOSE PROFESSIONAL FOOT FETISHISTS(???)

Filed on April 20, 2007 at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi

Ewwww!

LORAIN, Ohio (AP) — A former principal who kissed the feet of three male students to settle a bet on a volleyball game entered a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor sex charge.

Robert Holloway resigned from St. Anthony of Padua School in this town west of Cleveland after the 14-year-old students and their parents reported the foot-kissing to police in February 2006.

Holloway told authorities he paid each student $15 and kissed their bare feet 50 times each in the school’s library and gym to pay off the bet on a student-teacher volleyball game…

Carpentiere said 400 photos depicting adult foot fetish behavior were found on two school computers seized from Holloway’s office. The photos depicted the scenarios that he had engaged in with the boys, Carpentiere said.

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If you have a foot fetish and you love buying dress shoes, shopping for wedding shoes or just everyday shoes, it can be fun when you find the perfect Steve Madden shoes online.

LAWSUIT HAPPY…

Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

Canadians.

TORONTO, Ontario (AP) — Doris Moore was shocked when her new couch was delivered to her Toronto home with a label that used a racial slur to describe the dark brown shade of the upholstery…

Kingsoft Corp., a Chinese software company, acknowledged its translation program was at fault and said it was a regrettable error.

“I know this is a very bad word,” Huang Luoyi, a product manager for the Beijing-based company’s translation software, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

He explained that when the Chinese characters for “dark brown” are typed into an older version of its Chinese-English translation software, the offensive description comes up…

Moore is consulting with a lawyer and wants compensation. Last week, she filed a report with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Must be a expat American.

LOTD

Filed on at 5:51 am under by dcobranchi

Life in Fayette-nam:

Allow courageous men to form militias

The current chaotic situation in Iraq cannot be solved by conventional military or political means. Iranian-backed militia members are present in the Iraqi parliament, army and police; therefore, enemy forces are alerted to the timing of our patrols, urban searches and planned checkpoints. The mission of our military is then compromised and ineffective.

The solution involves forming our own militia forces of former Special Forces, Delta Force, Navy Seals, CIA and Marine Recon masked as civilian contractors. These militia members will receive intelligence from current military units and carry out missions designed to destroy the presence of Iranian influence in Iraq.

The task of these men can be carried out without impunity simply because they are not officially sanctioned by our government and not bound by the Geneva Convention or political and religious sensitivities. The independence of America from British rule was gained by courageous men in the form of militias; therefore, the example set by these men can be carried on.

It is apparent that without a drastic change in tactics our soldiers who are courageous heroes will continue to be easy prey, bound by outdated engagement policy inconsistent with present conditions on the ground.

Rodney Dezarn
Fayetteville

If Dezarn goes on a shooting spree, I would hope it would be “without impunity.” Moron!

THE BOOMING BUSH ECONOMY

Filed on April 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm under by dcobranchi

Evidently, those liberals at Money magazine are affected by Bush Derangement Syndrome, too.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The Dow Jones industrial average hit a record Wednesday, closing above 12,800 for the first time. That’s a nice headline, but what does it actually mean for the market going forward?

Not much, judging from Thursday’s reaction in the markets, and according to some Wall Street pros.

After all, earnings are still expected to grow just 4 percent or so in the first quarter, the slowest pace in more than 3-1/2 years. The Federal Reserve is on hold, maybe for the rest of the year. And economic growth is sluggish, though most money managers and economists think a recession can be avoided. Lastly, inflationary pressures seem to be ebbing but it’s far from clear they won’t pick up again.

How’s that Kool-Ade taste, Tim?

LOOK MA, I HAVE FEET

Filed on at 12:27 pm under by dcobranchi

Chris has an important update today.

OTOH

Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

This one on “Black homeschooling” is generally pretty good. The one bit that caught my attention linked homeschooling to racism:

Homeschooling is often thought of as a white phenomenon. It first emerged as a white, left-wing, hippie way of life, said Ronald Butchart, an education historian at the University of Georgia. When desegregation came, it became an excuse for white parents to pull their children out of school to keep them away from black children, he added.

I don’t believe this is accurate. The schools were desegregated in the ’50s and ’60s with the busing wars ending in the ’70s. Homeschooling really accelerated in the ’80s, pushed by the evangelicals “escaping” the secular schools. I don’t believe race had much if anything to do with it. And, in my experience, the only current segregation in the homeschooling community is that exhibited by the exclusive groups.

NICE AD

Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

This piece on a cyber charter should have been labeled “PR.” Here’s the relevant quote:

Books and other learning materials are free to [Connections Academy] students, as they are in any other public school. This give academy students an advantage over other home-school situations, where materials can run hundreds of dollars.

“It is a public school,” he said. “They get everything shipped to them.”

An honest reporter (as opposed to the East Oregonian‘s stenographer) would have mentioned that, OTOH, CA students have to follow the state-mandated curriculum.

A DAY LATE EARLY AND A DOLLAR SHORT

Filed on April 18, 2007 at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

The CoH has a “Tax Day” theme this week. But due to the vagaries of the calendar and the big Nor’easter the other day, taxes in my current undisclosed location aren’t due ’til tomorrow. And state taxes here aren’t due until April 30th.

I figured Henry would rather I not wait ’til the end of the month to post the link. :-)

LOTD

Filed on at 5:55 am under by dcobranchi

A real Kool-Ade drinker:

Extra money for schools would benefit Brandywine

How far can $23 really go: a date to a movie, a manicure and pedicure, a T-shirt or new CD? More important, a monthly tax increase of this amount can improve the quality of education that local students receive. Though the Brandywine School District already has a reputation for excellence, there is always room for improvement.

Voters have the opportunity to serve the school district’s employees and students by saying yes to funding for operational purposes and the strategic five-year plan, as well as improving maintenance and safety.

Extensive information about the referendum can be found at www.bsd.k12.de.us. Learn how you can help the community. Participate in the April 24 election.

Jenna DiEleuterio, Wilmington

Come on folks! Get cracking to serve your teachers.

I AM LOKUTUS

Filed on at 2:13 am under by dcobranchi

Resistance is futile:

Borg, who has been home-schooling her 9-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter for a year, said the effort has been worth the outcome. According to Borg, “Because of home-schooling my children have bonded more…”

Assimilation will do that to you.

NOW I GET IT

Filed on April 17, 2007 at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

The Christian Science Monitor has the first MSM piece I’ve seen on the German homeschoolers. A couple of key quotes:

Why are American groups going to such lengths to shape the laws in other countries?

“We realized that if we didn’t try to mold precedents abroad, they could come back to hurt us, and that the American legal system as we know might change,” says Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the ADF.

He notes that, for example, US judges have drawn on foreign precedents and international standards in several key cases, such as the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which legalized sodomy in the Lone Star State.

I should have picked up on this before. Farris routinely rails about “activist judges” using foreign courts’ reasoning for precedents. So the German homeschoolers are just pawns in the dominionists’ game.

Mr. Thornton, IHRG’s president, has been meeting regularly with Melissa’s parents and other German home-schooling families since the organization was founded in 2004. Often, he says, he encourages them to invite confrontation so that he can draw media attention to their cases.

“I try to teach them the American attitude and understanding that this is a fight you can fight – that standing up for their beliefs in the court system is a God-given right,” he explains.

And if they lose they can go to jail, face serious fines, and lose custody of their kids.

Perhaps all these dominionists need to re-read this bit of Ecclesiastes:

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I think it may be time for all the American groups to keep silent.

THAT’S SO 2006

Filed on at 5:41 am under by dcobranchi

The folks who scammed the world with alleged HEK lonelygirl15 think they can parlay their “success” by turning LG15 into a franchise.

LOS ANGELES and LONDON, April 16 /PRNewswire/ — The creators of internet phenomenon Lonelygirl15 and leading global social network Bebo.com have teamed up for the launch of “Lonelygirl15 presents… KateModern,” the first spin-off from the world’s most popular interactive drama.

As you can probably guess, I have my doubts.

LOTD

Filed on at 5:25 am under by dcobranchi

What color Kool-Aid goes with it?

Bush deserves praise and support for his leadership

Thank President Bush for the strongest economy we have ever had. The Dow is the highest it has been in history.

Thanks for protecting us. We have not had another 9/11. Thanks for keeping nuclear bombs from terrorists. They are trying to get them and have not succeeded.

I am not persuaded by liberal media propaganda. I am a free thinker and the facts speak for themselves. We should all sleep well knowing we have strong leadership at the helm.

John Locklear, Middletown

Liberal propaganda, otherwise known as “reality.”

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN

Filed on April 16, 2007 at 7:17 pm under by dcobranchi

Here’s a local piece (from Dover, DE). This paper was the very first one that I was monitoring for homeschooling articles, pre-dating the blog. NewsZap also published my one and only ever Op/Ed (a response to a dumb Op/Ed by a g-school teacher). I’m reproducing the article in full, because NewsZap was notoriously susceptible to link rot:

Living room learning: No missing the bus; Homeschooling making the grade

From left, Rolf Harding hands his son Max, 12, a homeschooling DVD to put in the computer while his wife Carol-Ann and daughter Amanda, 10, get ready to watch. The Harding children of Dover are two of more than 2,000 homeschooled students in Delaware. Delaware State News/Daniel Korup

By Jenny Maher, Delaware State News

DOWNSTATE – On a typical weekday afternoon, while most kids are sitting inside classrooms, Max and Amanda Harding, 12 and 10, of Dover, can often be found sitting on their living room sofa staring at the television set or a laptop screen.

But rest assured, they’re not watching mindless cartoons or playing video games.

They’re learning.

Max and Amanda are two of more than 2,000 homeschooled students in Delaware.

They learn through educational DVDs and computer programs, as well as through more traditional avenues, like textbooks and workbooks.

“People think if you’re homeschooled that you’re relaxing all day, and that’s not the way it is,” said Carol-Ann Harding, Max and Amanda’s mother. “My kids work really hard, and I’m really proud of them.”

Mrs. Harding and her husband Rolf share teaching responsibilities at their homeschool, and they juggle those responsibilities with running their own home-based business.

They both gave up more profitable careers to homeschool their kids, and said they have no regrets about the decision.

Even before they started a family, the Hardings knew that they wanted to establish a homeschool someday.

They attended traditional schools when they were growing up and decided to offer their kids something different.

“We’re taking responsibility for our children and their education instead of throwing it in somebody else’s hands or the state’s hands, Mr. Harding said.

By homeschooling Max and Amanda, the Hardings said they’ve been able to offer them more individualized attention than could be provided in a typical classroom setting, and they have the luxury of repeating lessons that their kids struggle with.

“In school, if you fail a test, the teacher can’t go back over the whole curriculum for you,” Mr. Harding said. “But we can go back and go through the whole thing and find out what the problem is and take care of it.”

Del. homeschooling

According to the Delaware Department of Education, there are 999 registered homeschools in the state with an enrollment of 2,484 students.

That’s a dramatic increase from a decade ago, when there were just 98 registered homeschools with an enrollment of 1,226 students.

“Home schooling has continued to rise not only in Delaware but across the U.S.,” DOE spokesman Ron Gough said.

He said all Delaware homeschools are required to register with DOE, but the department does not present them with curriculum guidelines or educational supplies.

There are two main types of homeschools in the state.

In a single-family homeschool like the Rolfs’, the parents teach their children at home and are independent from other homeschools.

And in a multi-family homeschool, parents also teach their children, usually at home, but they are part of an umbrella group that includes other homeschools.

Family Learning Academies Inc., based in Kent County, is a multi-family homeschool with approximately 100 families and 200 children.

Board member Stacy Lane, of Marydel, said the families teach their children independently, but they all join together for larger events held by the FLA, like spelling bees, science fairs and promotion and graduation ceremonies.

“It’s still parents teaching their kids in their homes, but we have just networked together,” she said.

Not confined to a desk

Mrs. Lane said she decided to homeschool her kids when her oldest son, Kyle, learned to read at the early age of four.

“I couldn’t see sending him to kindergarten when he was already reading,” she said.

Kyle, now in the sixth grade, had nothing but positive things to say when asked about his homeschooling experience.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “I get to go places, and I’m not in a classroom all day long.”

Mrs. Lane said she likes to take her kids on nature walks and educational field trips to get them interested in the subjects they’re learning.

“We’ve really just fallen in love with homeschooling,” she said. “The world is our classroom. The kids aren’t confined to a desk.”

The Hardings echoed the sentiment.

Like the Lanes, they enjoy going on field trips and using real life experiences as a tool for teaching their kids.

“School doesn’t stop just because you walk outside of the house,” Mr. Harding said. “Just going to the store can be a monetary lesson.”

He’s noticed that his kids retain information well, because they’re interested in what they’re learning.

Mrs. Harding said that’s a lot different from her experience in a traditional school setting.

“For me, personally, when I was in school, I held onto things for six months or a year, but then I forgot everything I learned,” she said. “But for (Max and Amanda) school is a lot more fun and a lot more real.”

Socialization question

Although homeschooling has its pluses, there is a common worry that children who are homeschooled are not properly socialized.

Home-schooling-today.com – a Web site that explores the pros and cons of homeschooling – lists socialization as one of the biggest concerns facing potential home educators.

But Mrs. Lane thinks the socialization concern is much ado about nothing.

“That’s something we hear about all the time, and we laugh,” she said.

There are homeschooling support groups throughout the state that host get-togethers for homeschooled kids, and many homeschooled students are enrolled in community sports programs and other extracurricular activities, giving them opportunities to interact with other youths.

Max and Amanda, for example, participate in an English country dancing group for homeschooled students, and they regularly attend events, like skating parties, hosted by the homeschooling organization SHERD – Support for Home Educators and Resources in Dover.

They also go to community events with their parents, so that they are well socialized around adults, not just other kids.

“They learn to deal with a wide range of people,” Mr. Harding said, adding that he thinks they’re better socialized than they would be if they went to a traditional school.

Running a homeschool

Most home educators will admit that running a homeschool is a daunting task, but there are many groups in Delaware, like SHERD, that assist them in meeting their children’s educational and social needs.

By networking with other home educators, parents can learn what curriculums work best and where they can get teaching materials.

Mrs. Lane said she gets a lot of her teaching supplies at homeschool conferences, and the FLA also has a library in Dover that members can utilize.

Most homeschooled students participate in traditional studies, like math, English, science and history, as well as other studies of their parents’ choice.

Mr. Gough said homeschooled students are not required to pass state assessments.

And it’s up to their parents if they are tested at home or given grades.

Home educators also come up with their own school schedule, which Mr. Gough said could be more or less than the 180 days required of public school students.

Parents are required to submit an attendance report to DOE at the end of the school year.

DOE does not issue diplomas to homeschooled students, but most receive a diploma from their homeschool and some take part in commencement ceremonies.

Mr. Harding said he doesn’t expect his children to have any trouble getting into college with their homeschool diplomas, and said many colleges aggressively pursue homeschool students.

The Home School Legal Defense Association has been working to improve admission procedures for homeschool students at colleges across the country, and in 1998 it drafted federal legislation to place homeschool students on the same footing as traditional students regarding admissions and financial aid.

The legislation was included in the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998.

As homeschooling continues to grow in popularity across the state and the nation, the college and career opportunities presented to homeschooled students is expected to follow suit.

Mrs. Lane said she thinks homeschooling is becoming more commonplace because people have noticed how successful it’s been for other families.

Visit www.home-educate.com/DE/organizations.shtml to learn more about homeschooling and to connect with support groups throughout the state.

Post your opinions in the Public Issues Forum at newszap.com

Staff writer Jenny Maher can be reached at 741-8233 or jmaher@newszap.com

ZZZZZZZZ

Filed on at 7:03 pm under by dcobranchi

The “Who cares?” hed of the day:

Considering Homeschooling Endorses Exploring Homeschooling

This will probably tell you everything you need to know:

Considering Homeschooling is passing its commission for homeschool evangelism on to Exploring Homeschoolingâ„¢, a new national homeschool recruitment group.

“Homeschool” and “evangelism”– two words that should never be paired.

WEATHER UPDATE

Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

5″ of rain and now it’s snowing heavily. And people live up here on purpose? :-)

BEWITCHED FANS?

Filed on April 15, 2007 at 6:11 pm under by dcobranchi

This “soaps” summary is just plain strange:

PASSIONS: It was a fun time as Tabitha gave Endora lessons on how to be a witch. Julian pushed for a fancy preschool when Tabitha said she intended to home school Endora.

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