Utterly Meaningless » 2007 » May

NO FAIR!

Filed on May 31, 2007 at 11:44 pm under by dcobranchi

Way to go, kids.

WASHINGTON — Evan O’Dorney always eats fish before his spelling bees. The brain food apparently has served him well: He’s the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion.

The 13-year-old from Danville, Calif., aced “serrefine” Thursday night to become the last youngster standing at the 80th annual bee. He triumphed after a tense duel with Nate Gartke of Spruce Grove, Alberta, who was trying to become the first Canadian to win.

He’s listed as representing Venture School. That’s a public independent study/homeschool. (CA’s laws are so confusing!)

So, assuming you count the eventual winner among them, 4 of the final 15 were HEKs.

I CALL BULLSHIT!

Filed on at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

Sam Brownback, creationist:

IN our sound-bite political culture, it is unrealistic to expect that every complicated issue will be addressed with the nuance or subtlety it deserves. So I suppose I should not have been surprised earlier this month when, during the first Republican presidential debate, the candidates on stage were asked to raise their hands if they did not “believe” in evolution. As one of those who raised his hand, I think it would be helpful to discuss the issue in a bit more detail and with the seriousness it demands.

The premise behind the question seems to be that if one does not unhesitatingly assert belief in evolution, then one must necessarily believe that God created the world and everything in it in six 24-hour days. But limiting this question to a stark choice between evolution and creationism does a disservice to the complexity of the interaction between science, faith and reason.

OK, so far so good.

The question of evolution goes to the heart of this issue. If belief in evolution means simply assenting to microevolution, small changes over time within a species, I am happy to say, as I have in the past, that I believe it to be true. If, on the other hand, it means assenting to an exclusively materialistic, deterministic vision of the world that holds no place for a guiding intelligence, then I reject it.

This is classic creationist claptrap. There is no difference between microevolution and macroevolution other than the time spans required. He’s set up a false dichotomy. Microevolution is possible with God’s guidance, but macroevolution and all that entails for the origin of species, is not.

Fortunately, Brownback has as much chance of winning the presidency as I do, but still…

UPDATE: Digby has more.

UPDATE II: I’m in really good company. P. Z. Myers:

If I had a nickel for every creationist who says “I believe in microevolution, but…”, I’d be rich enough to run for president. This is a false dichotomy between micro- and macroevolution, as used by creationists (it has technical meanings beyond what people like Brownback argue, though); it’s really simply an admission that a large part of modern science has been driven home enough to them that they can’t argue against it anymore (progress!), so they’ve invented this other category of things they don’t understand, called it “macroevolution”, and used that as an excuse to avoid accepting any more conclusions.

WIKI ME THIS…

Filed on May 30, 2007 at 9:15 pm under by dcobranchi

I guess it’s a good thing when I lose track of celebrities who home educate. Just means there are too many to keep track of.

[Wikipedia founder Jimmy] Wales, whose wife Christine teaches their 5-year-old daughter Kira at home, says he is disappointed by the “factory nature” of American education: “There’s something significantly broken about the whole concept of school.” A longtime opponent of mandatory public school attendance, Wales says that part of the allure of Florida, where his Wikimedia Foundation is based, is its relatively laissez-faire attitude toward homeschoolers. This makes it easier for Wales and his wife to let Kira (a tiny genius in her father’s eyes) follow her own interests and travel with her parents when Wales gives one of his many speeches abroad.

The whole piece is well worth a read.

SPELLING BEE STATS

Filed on at 8:25 pm under by dcobranchi

13-year-olds make up 36.7 percent of the field. The field is slightly tilted toward girls, who make up 147 spellers, compared to 139 boys. Eighth graders predominate, with nearly half of all spellers… just 14 spellers, who attend parochial schools, with just five charter school students and one virtual school student making up smaller groups. Public school students are the large majority with 192 spellers, or 67.1 percent, followed by 28 private school students, or 13.3 percent, and home schoolers, 36 in all, at 12.6 percent.

IDIOT LETTER OF THE DAY

Filed on at 7:56 pm under by dcobranchi

I wish the Dems would call for us to be Out of Iraq in Feb. ’08:

History tells us there’s no substitute for victory

I’m tired of spineless politicians, mostly Democrats, who lack the fortitude, courage and character to see difficult tasks through in Iraq, claiming they support the troops while wanting them to give up before victory.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, recently actually claimed we’ve lost the war in Iraq — what lunacy!

Others chant, “End the war,” but you either lose or win. Abruptly leaving Iraq will not stop Islamic fanatics from targeting America.

Haven’t this nation’s people learned from history that there’s no substitute for victory? The Left shamelessly prolong this war by giving psychological comfort to our enemy. I’m tired of media that focus only on car bombs and casualty reports rather than leave the safety of their hotels to report on the courage and successes of our brave military personnel on the battlefield.

I’m tired that so many Americans think you can rebuild an evil dictatorship into a decent democracy overnight.

I’m tired that some are more concerned about the treatment of enemy captives than about the treatment of our citizens, soldiers and allies.

Wake up, America! We’re at war! Believe in the righteousness of our cause. If the Democrats want to retreat from battle in Iraq, then their party mantra should be, “President sworn in January ’08, out of Iraq by February ’08.”

Now that Congress has funded continued operations in Iraq, all persons should know that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted “no” to the funding. They are not fit to be commander in chief.

Daniel Barton
Persian Gulf War veteran
Fayetteville

Yeah– the folks who are calling for us to get out of Iraq are prolonging the war and, I guess, the folks who want to stay in Iraq forever are all for shortening it?

Of course, he is calling for Cheney’s and Bush’s impeachment and for Speaker Pelosi to ascend to the White House, so perhaps he’s not a total moron.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT…

Filed on at 4:31 pm under by dcobranchi

Beverly?

The CoH heads North this week.

CHRISTIAN GOD GOOD, OTHER RELIGIONS BAD

Filed on May 29, 2007 at 8:04 pm under by dcobranchi

Natalie has the scoop.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE UK

Filed on May 28, 2007 at 8:17 pm under by dcobranchi

The hed pretty much says it all.

No New Restrictions for British Homeschoolers in Draft Guidelines

LIFE IN ARIZONA THE SANDHILLS

Filed on at 3:44 pm under by dcobranchi


Yes, I really do live in a desert. And, no, I didn’t plant the stupid cactus.

CLUELESS

Filed on at 9:45 am under by dcobranchi

Either they’re stupid or they think we are.

Dear Business Council,

Don’t try to line your own pockets at the expense of voters.

KEN SCAM HAM UPDATE

Filed on at 8:34 am under by dcobranchi

Via more places than I can remember, the first (and hopefully last) Carnival of Creationism. I particularly recommend this post by home educator Becky.

IAATM

Filed on May 27, 2007 at 5:10 pm under by dcobranchi

Traffic enforcement division.

Fayetteville’s red-light camera program is screeching to a halt July 31.

City traffic engineer Rusty Thompson said Friday that Fayetteville has decided to drop its contract with the operator of the cameras because of a legal dispute over the disposition of the collected fines.

When the current contract runs out July 31, nine red-light cameras at six intersections around the city will be taken down, he said.

A tenth camera — at Bragg Boulevard and Sycamore Dairy Road — was knocked down in a fatal crash May 17. It won’t be replaced.

The remaining cameras are at Yadkin Road and Santa Fe Drive; Yadkin and Skibo roads; Ramsey Street and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway; and Ramsey Street, Law Road and Par Drive.

Charlotte and Greensboro already suspended their red-light camera programs after a ruling by the N.C. Court of Appeals last year. The court said the city of High Point had to give 90 percent of the fines collected from its red-light program to local school systems.

But the city said that wouldn’t begin to cover the costs of operating the cameras.

[...]

Thompson said the number of crashes has dropped significantly at the intersections with the cameras. “It’s made the intersections safer,” he said.

Not that I’m sorry to see the cameras go.

ROAD TRIP

Filed on at 2:55 pm under by dcobranchi

Oooooh, this is gonna be good.

The Creation Museum (finally) opens tomorrow. I can hardly wait.

WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD

Filed on at 10:12 am under by dcobranchi

I believe the psychologists call this projection:

The time for polite debate is over. Militant, atheist writers are making an all-out assault on religious faith and reaching the top of the best-seller list, a sign of widespread resentment over the influence of religion in the world among nonbelievers.

Christopher Hitchens’ book, “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” has sold briskly ever since it was published last month, and his debates with clergy are drawing crowds at every stop.

Sam Harris was a little-known graduate student until he wrote the phenomenally successful “The End of Faith” and its follow-up, “Letter to a Christian Nation.” Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and Daniel Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” struck similar themes _ and sold.

[...]

The Rev. Douglas Wilson, senior fellow in theology at New Saint Andrews College, a Christian school in Moscow, Idaho, sees the books as a sign of secular panic. Nonbelievers are finally realizing that, contrary to what they were taught in college, faith is not dead, he says.

Signs of believers’ political and cultural might abound.

Religious challenges to teaching evolution are still having an impact, 80 years after the infamous Scopes “Monkey” trial. The dramatic growth in homeschooling and private Christian schools is raising questions about the future of public education. Religious leaders have succeeded in putting some limits on stem-cell research.

Kitzmiller killed ID for the next 5 years. Homeschooling’s growth has slowed to a crawl. Private schools have been stuck at around 10 percent for decades. And several states are thumbing their noses at the federal government and funding stem cell research programs.

But the “secularists” are the ones who are running scared. Riiiiight.

CHANGE A LIGHTBULB…

Filed on May 26, 2007 at 10:56 am under by dcobranchi

Save the planet.

DUH!

Filed on May 25, 2007 at 6:43 am under by dcobranchi

According to the Census Bureau, the US spends $8,701 per g-school student. NY tops the list at $14,149 per.

The article emphasizes the relatively weak correlation between dollars spent and results. And then the reporter concludes with this:

[Education pundit] Loveless said two areas where education spending might make a difference were in teacher salaries and small class sizes for first graders.

If you spend more on education, teacher salaries might go up. And if you hire more teachers (and spend more on each one) class sizes will go down. Whodathunkit!

AN UTTERLY USELESS “SKILL”

Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

From the UK, the dumb lede of the day:

Generations of biology pupils have learned the marvels of nature by dissecting specimens ranging from rabbits to worms.

But the skill is dying out in schools because of health and safety red tape, concerns over animal welfare and pupil squeamishness.

Who cares? Despite what the “overwhelming majority” of biology teachers claim (No conflict of interest there), it serves little or no purpose to have the kids cut open a from or a fetal pig. As the article points out, the teacher can do the dissection before the whole class. And there are some pretty good simulations available for the computer, too.

There’s really no reason for kids to have to handle razor-sharp scalpels and breathe in carcinogenic formaldehyde.

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE

Filed on May 24, 2007 at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

An HEK won this year’s National Geographic Bee.

After her win, at the center of a swirl of reporters, contestants and parents, Snaring credited her home schooling for giving her the flexibility to prepare for the bee.

“[I] integrated all my subjects with geography,” she said, explaining that she studied 60 hours a week to prepare, using maps and language as her guides.

“I knew I could do it,” she said excitedly. “And I wanted a girl to win this.”

CAN I HAVE AN AUTOGRAPH?

Filed on May 22, 2007 at 10:25 pm under by dcobranchi

Our very own Laura Derrick is interviewed by Newsweek. And, to think, I knew her when. :-)

A LIBERAL “ARGUMENT” AGAINST HOME EDUCATION

Filed on at 5:26 am under by dcobranchi

It’s all about whose Truth gets taught:

But as to the home schooler subjected to beliefs that run counter to scientific inquiry and the principles in which knowledge is pursued and attained- I say send them to school and let the parents devote some of their off-hours to teaching what they feel their kids should know. One such scenario: kid comes home and tells her parent that “today our teacher said the universe is 14.5 billion years old, but we learned in Sunday School God created the world 6,500 years ago..”

Then, and only then, is the most appropriate time for the parent to get involved.

UPDATEL By and large, the commenters take him down.

UNCENSORED

Filed on at 4:46 am under by dcobranchi

Melissa Wiley shoots and scores:

A carnival host will spend hours just reading the submitted posts. It would be impossible for a host—a volunteer, not to mention a busy homeschooling parent—to comb through the archives of every participating blog, searching for “objectionable” content.

Besides, my idea of “objectionable” may not line up with yours. On my blog, I get to spout about things to which I object (dumbing-down, Shrek, and unlabeled mockolate, for example) and things of which I heartily approve (such as, say, my husband, who occasionally uses “objectionable” language, and who is going to mock me for calling him a “thing”—but who keeps me well supplied with real, not mock, chocolate).

So, gentle readers, be warned. I can’t guarantee you’ll all approve of everything contained in the blogs participating in this carnival.

In fact, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t approve of every thought expressed below—because homeschoolers are a diverse and opinionated bunch.

I HAVE AN ILLEGAL SON

Filed on May 21, 2007 at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

Evidently, Jonathan was born illegally. Does that mean the state can take back his birth certificate? Will NC extradite him back to DE?

Jonathan was the only one not born is a hospital. Afterwards, Lydia said she wished she had known about nurse midwives for the other three.

SMEAR THE QUEER

Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

In NC schools, it is apparently OK to bully kids perceived to be gay:

The bill would require that schools have policies against both bullying and harassment, reporting requirements, and provisions for enforcing the policies. No one had a problem with that. Few, it appears, had problems with a list of people often targeted for physical or verbal abuse: those distinguished by race, gender, disability. But two words at the end of that list — sexual orientation — brought the matter to a standstill.

The bill could have been stripped of the entire list, and that was one of the tweaks suggested to rescue it. But what was all-important to the Education Committee members who aggressively opposed it was that people who are, or are perceived to be, homosexuals not be specifically protected from bullying, harassment and ridicule.

[...]

The bill’s terms, warned lawyer Tami Fitzgerald of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, “appear nowhere in existing state law as a protected class.” No kidding! Therefore what? Therefore no one who has heretofore been unprotected against assault and other crimes must ever be identified as one of those who are no longer on the Open Season list?

Don’t you just love how all these “pro-family” groups are just full of bigots? Where do they think gay kids come from? Delivered directly to the school doors by storks? I’m pretty sure they all have families, too. Families that probably would like to see them come home from school each day healthy and happy.

We are ruled by idiots.

QOTD

Filed on May 20, 2007 at 5:45 pm under by dcobranchi

Saba is proud of the fact that she was home schooled through 10th grade. “It was one of the best gifts a mother could have ever given her child,” she said. “The attention I was given and the ways in which I have had some freedom to pursue and refine my interests when I was young have made all the difference in the adult I am today. If I can thank my parents in some way for what they gave me through this home schooling education, it would be to tell them that I plan to home school my own kids.”

LOTD

Filed on at 3:55 pm under by dcobranchi

A g-school grad no doubt wrote this amazingly disjointed LttE:

School fills a need

Editor: I was extremely disappointed with your May 16 editorial, “Pay flat rates for cyberschools.” It was terribly one-sided and appeared to reflect the National Education Association viewpoint.

First, by your own admission, schools save $2,500. Each student costs the taxpayer approximately $10,000 but the cyberschool only gets approximately $7,500. It may be if only one student from that school district goes to cyberschool, there is not a $2,500 savings because the cost is basically the same for a class of 23 as a class of 25. However, if 25 students attend a cyberschool, then obviously there is a significant reduction in cost. So there are savings to the school district.

There is accountability with cyberschools. Every cyberschool student is required to take the PSSAs. If the parents, and possibly the child, are not happy, they will not return to cyberschool.

As for cyberschools failing to meet the minimum scores on their PSSAs in compliance with the “No Child Left Behind Act,” it needs to be researched why this is so. More than half of cyberschool students were brick-and-mortar school failures. They were already “left behind.” So why blame the cyberschool for that? If the child has been diagnosed as learning-challenged, dyslexic, etc., then adjustments need to be made to the results.

Third, the fact that many cyberschool students used to be homeschoolers who cost the state nothing is irrelevant. The fact is that society owes each child the best education possible. The more choices we have in the type of education available, the more we can fully institute the purpose behind the “No Child Left Behind Act.”

The NEA has a history of attempting to fight funding and even the ability for cyberschools, homeschoolers, charter schools and even private schools from operating. This is not pro-education, but rather a form of an educational monopoly with essentially unlimited funding to fight its opponents, all paid for at taxpayer expense.

I urge taxpayers who care about the educational quality for each student at a reasonable expense to support cyberschools. Cyberschools save money, are accountable and are a viable option for many students who need a different form of education.

ROAD WARRIOR

Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

Posting will be sporadic as I’m hitting the road again.

BEER REVIEW SATURDAY

Filed on May 19, 2007 at 4:13 pm under by dcobranchi

I’m home alone as the family has gone camping without me. (I’d have gone except I have a business trip starting tomorrow a.m.) So, with not a lot to occupy me, I thought I’d hop (“Hop”– get it?) on the beer wagon, and render my verdict on a mix-pack that I got last night.

First up, the last (and hopefully least) beer chosen: Sea Dog Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale.

I’m not a real fan of fruit-flavored beers and picked this one mostly to fill out the pack. It’s a filtered wheat ale, so it pours clear with a decent head that falls off quickly. The blueberry is barely discernible (a good thing, in my view). But that’s about the only good thing I can say. It’s just bland and could easily have come from A-B. It is a wholly unremarkable ale. Definitely not worth $8.50/six pack.

Next up, a local brew (Yes, we have a few breweries even in the Bible Belt) –The Duck-Rabbit Porter.

These folks bill themselves as “Dark Beer Specialists.” I can believe it. The porter is jet black and really good. Fairly hopped and an almost peaty aftertaste. This one tastes better served just a little cool. I’d definitely consider picking up a six pack of this beer next winter.

OK, this next one is similar but different. Peg Leg Imperial Stout is the first of this type I’ve ever tried. Wikipedia mentions that the style is brewed for a high alcohol content. The Clipper City Brewing Co. follows tradition– Peg Leg clocks in at a hefty 8.0% alcohol by volume. And you can definitely taste the alcohol. The beer is quite mellow (almost sweet) with an bit of a winey consistency. Mellow is good, but I could see myself getting in trouble with this beer. It’d be way too easy to drink too many of these too quickly. Peg Leg Imperial Stout is probably best enjoyed at home with a good meal.

Batting clean-up… Highland Brewing Company’s Kashmir IPA. Another North Carolina beer. Medium hopped for an IPA. Overall, this beer just rates an ok. It’s not bad, but it really doesn’t do anything to stand out from the crowd, either. I’d choose a 90 Minute Dogfish Head IPA over this any day.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Filed on at 2:09 pm under by dcobranchi

This actually sounds like a nice exercise:

The I CAN Center of Excellence, a regional college access network erving Crawford, Delaware, Hardin, Marion, Morrow, Union, and Wyandot counties, has invited home-schooled children and their families to Homeschooling Day beginning at 9 a.m. May 25 on the campus of Ohio State University-Marion.

I CAN staff hopes the special day for home-schooled children will be an opportunity to introduce families to college access services available to them in their area, as well as listening to the ideas of home school families on what aspects are important to incorporate in providing college access assistance and guidance to home schooled children.

Those in attendance will visit the campus’ Prairie Nature Center with the opportunity to learn about prairie lands, Ohio history, the natural wonders of the prairie, and how to incorporate the prairie and its lessons into home schooling science, geography and history studies.
Lunch will be provided free to those in attendance. For information, contact Becky McKinney at mckinney.197@osu.edu or 740-382-9777.

That’s Delaware County, OH (not PA), of course.

STUPID F’ING GIDEONS

Filed on at 9:11 am under by dcobranchi

They know better than to hand out Bibles during school hours on school grounds. Now they’ve managed to get the ACLU to sue the school district because of it.

HOME ED AND THE NRA

Filed on May 18, 2007 at 4:46 pm under by dcobranchi

Two peas in a pod, according to the former president of the NRA.

Two things that those on the far left who support big government cannot abide by are private gun ownership and homeschooling – and largely for the same reason.

I know it may sound surprising, and perhaps some people might roll their eyes and say former NRA presidents must feel an uncontrollable urge to think everything should somehow equate to supporting gun rights.

But it’s a fair statement to say those on the liberal end of the spectrum oppose both gun ownership and homeschooling for the same reason:

There are core values in common between gun ownership and homeschooling. These commonalities are things you and I applaud, but those who think big government is the solution to every problem cannot accept it.

They both tend to lessen your dependence on government.

Yes! Liberals hate homeschooling because we’re free! And so are the gun nuts.

Wrong. Liberals aren’t opposed to guns because they (supposedly) reduce government dependence. They don’t like them because the lead that comes out the business end of them kills people. Lots and lots of people.

And they don’t oppose homeschooling in order to foster an (alleged) dependence on the government. They oppose us because they don’t think we can provide the training that the schools can– be it academic or social.

Evidently she never got past Prof. Kinglsey, as her head’s still full of mush. Tip credit: Izzy.

ANOTHER ONE FOR TIM NOT HAAS

Filed on May 17, 2007 at 4:54 pm under by dcobranchi

The Bush economy continues to not boom.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — A key gauge of future economic growth fell in April, suggesting a slowdown in the months ahead, a private research group said Thursday.

The Index of Leading Indicators slipped 0.5 percent in April to 137.3, more than economists’ forecasts. The decline came after a rise in March, the Conference Board said.

The leading index is 0.7 percent below its April 2006 level, the Conference Board said.

ZERO INTELLIGENCE

Filed on at 4:53 pm under by dcobranchi

Haven’t done one of these in a while. These idiots educrats, though, seem deserving of mockery.

7th grader Derek Jackson says he is back in his normal classes today following his placement in in-school-suspension for having a haircut that was too short; something the school says was both a violation of the school dress-code and a distraction…

WWHS #879

Filed on at 5:35 am under by dcobranchi

This is the school Anthony would be attending.

In the last month or so that school has had a teacher arrested for sleeping with a student, a student arrested for taking peeping tom photos up a 13-year-old girl’s skirt, and now a teaching assistant arrested for having sex with a student.

I think it might be time for a thorough housecleaning. Starting with the principal.

EtOH UPDATE

Filed on May 16, 2007 at 7:32 pm under by dcobranchi

The Fayetteville Observer is crediting LttE and blog posts as part of the reason the E85 plant won’t get built.

I can’t imagine who they mean. :-)

QOTD

Filed on at 6:30 pm under by dcobranchi

It doesn’t get much better than this:

What Neapolitan [i.e., Naples, FL] Harold Green saw when he judged the homeschooled youths who competed in the regional speech and debate tournament sponsored by the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) earlier this month at Edison College was, in a word, refreshing.

“I was reminded of the value of homeschooling,” Green said. “This competition was not some isolated incident. These bright, well-educated young people have come from across four states. I find it especially interesting to note how well they relate to adults. As I see it, this is a real concern with most youngsters today – but not with these kids.

“Across the board, they have a ‘look-you-in-the-eye with a firm handshake and a smile’ personality,” Green continued. “Then, should there be any doubt about the day, it disappears when they begin to perform. They have worked so hard and are so focused. Young, directed energy with healthy self- confidence, plus usable knowledge at the tips of their tongues.”

DUMB AND DUMBER

Filed on at 6:07 pm under by dcobranchi

Dumb teachers update. It was a “ghost story gone horribly wrong.

A teacher and assistant principal who frightened sixth-grade students on a class trip by telling them a gunman was on the loose were staging a prank, a spokeswoman for the schools said.

The school district’s statement reversed earlier statements by the assistant principal that it was planned as a learning experience.

Teacher Quentin Mastin came up with the prank, said Murfreesboro City School District spokeswoman Cheryl Harris. It was his turn to tell a scary story to 69 sixth-graders from Scales Elementary School who were on a weeklong trip at Fall Creek Falls State Park.

He decided to pretend there was someone shooting a gun. The children were called into the common area and told there were two men driving around shooting randomly. Then a teacher told the students to “do a code red” — a school emergency drill — and they got under the tables and turned off the lights.

Another teacher drove a car up to the building and flashed the headlights while a third put a sweat shirt over her head and rattled the doors. That’s when some of the children started crying.

ONE MAN, ONE VOTE

Filed on at 5:24 am under by dcobranchi

A remarkably elegant solution to an age-old problem.*

Four times since the framers met in Philadelphia in 1787, the presidency has gone to the candidate on the losing end of the popular vote. The republic still stands.

That’s hardly a compelling argument for leaving things as they are. The Electoral College less than perfectly reflects the will of the people, and the threat of the “faithless elector” who tips an election the way his partisan bias dictates is real, if remote. Both threats would vanish if the election automatically went to the candidate for whom most registered voters pulled the lever.

This is the point at which the conversation normally would turn to amending the federal Constitution to abolish the Electoral College. But the state Senate has just passed a bill that would achieve a comparable effect by simple statute.

The bill provides that, if enough states join in to command a majority in the Electoral College, all of North Carolina’s electoral votes will be awarded to the winner of the popular vote — not the statewide winner, but the one who wins nationwide. More than 40 states are already looking at substantially the same bill.

*Calling something an “elegant solution” is the highest form of compliment among scientists.

DING! DONG! THE PLANT IS DEAD!

Filed on at 5:16 am under by dcobranchi

Local item: The worst economic development project in the history of man is dead. This one had it all: a possibly fly-by-night chemical company that has never built or operated a chemical plant, a huge conflict of interest on the sale of the land, and an absolutely horrible location in town on a major thoroughfare.

The E85 project has been on life support since an almost million dollar bribe incentive package went down in flames a month ago. Yesterday, the doctors all agreed– brain death. (One might say the same thing about those who pushed this.) May it rest in peace.

WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Filed on May 15, 2007 at 5:48 pm under by dcobranchi

It’s a Christian country, and if you don’t like it, get out.

Three new HEKs, thanks to the fundies.

ROCKETMEN UPDATE

Filed on at 3:21 pm under by dcobranchi

Contact info now available.

CAN THEY GET ANY DUMBER?

Filed on May 14, 2007 at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

No commentary required:

Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip…

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip…

During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.

After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.

BIRDING HELP NEEDED

Filed on May 13, 2007 at 2:26 pm under by dcobranchi

Can anyone ID this guy/gal?


Based on the bill, I’m guessing woodpecker, but I can’t seem to find anything similar in our field guides. For reference, we’re in Eastern NC.

NO MORE CoH

Filed on at 5:47 am under by dcobranchi

Check out the post that Gena Suarez Tia at homeschoolblogger.com banned from her CoH. And Henry let her get away with it.

Sorry, Henry, but please take me off the distribution list until such time as HSB is no longer hosting.

UPDATE: Shit! Fuck! Damn! Gena Suarez!

Just wanted to make sure I had enough curse words in this one post to cause HSB’s servers to meltdown in case Gena Suarez ego-googles.

UPDATE II: Irony abounds– The theme of this week’s CoH (which I’m not linking to, of course) is “Southern Hospitality.” Hospitality indeed.

UPDATE III: This isn’t the first time that Gena Suarez and/or her minions banned a completely expletive-free post.

UPDATE IV: Doc beat me to the punch.

SLOGAN OF THE DAY

Filed on May 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm under by dcobranchi

Future fascist HSLDA lawyer (and current Generation Joshua groupie):

Jed Estrada, a poised 18-year-old from Gillett whose slogan was “Secure the Party that will Secure You,” was developing some steam going in to last night’s Federalist primary.

Orwell is spinning in his grave.

A SUCCESS STORY

Filed on at 4:52 pm under by dcobranchi

Spot the logical flaw:

DECATUR – Between helping her husband with his floor installation business and homeschooling their 15-year-old son, Nichole Przewoznik lost track of how many days her two younger daughters had missed classes at Stevenson School.

That changed when she received a letter last winter stating that Karissa, 12, and Brittany, 11, each had five unexcused absences, and it invited her and her husband to attend a parent orientation meeting to learn about the legal ramifications of truancy.

“I thought I was in trouble,” Przewoznik said. “I didn’t realize how many days they had missed when I didn’t call the school to say why.”

After having a talk with the girls about the importance of being in school, she said they have missed fewer days, and when one of them is ill, she either telephones the school or sends a note of explanation.

As a result, they have had no more unexcused absences, and neither has their 8-year-old sister, Jaylynn.

The case is an example of how the Right Track Truancy Reduction Initiative is building on a successful record.

LETTERS OF THE DAY

Filed on at 2:17 am under by dcobranchi

Life in Fayetteville, where we don’t hide our racists and lunatics. We put them in the paper:

Report the demographics on foreclosure rates

The recent articles on foreclosures were interesting reads, but a bit redundant. The articles all focused on the negative — 20 percent foreclosure rates, versus 80 percent successful home ownership.

I haven’t experienced anything like the people in these articles, but maybe it’s because I have a history of paying my bills. I had a large down payment and I waited until rates were where I wanted them (5 percent or 15 years).

The articles made it seem as though lenders who charge higher rates were the bad guys. This is a free-market economy. If those home buyers could have done better, wouldn’t they?

The articles barely touched on several key areas. First, we live in an area where the military can get a home for little or no money down. They are often shipped out and houses are left to be sold in absentia or abandoned. Second, there were no demographics as to who was being foreclosed on, white, black or Indian?

As an investor in rental homes, I have seen countless foreclosures. These houses are more often than not trashed by the former owners. You can’t blame predatory lenders or real estate agents for that kind of behavior. People who get foreclosed on are likely to do so no matter the interest rate.

Tim Smith
Fayetteville

Right to own firearms affirmed by founders

I noted with dismay Raymond E. Wright’s contention that only homeowners should be allowed to own firearms (“Allow gun purchases for home protection only,” May 5).

Should he know anything of the history of our Constitution, he would know that this God-given right was affirmed by the Founding Fathers for the specific purpose of allowing the citizenry to terminate evil politicians with extreme prejudice. That many politicians would wish to deny the citizens this right says something about those politicians. What it says is not good.

Every right that we have under the U.S. Constitution rests on the Second Amendment.

Frank Novotny
Fayetteville

LOCAL LAWSUIT ALERT

Filed on at 2:07 am under by dcobranchi

Pretty dumb educrats at work:

Twenty-four of the 31 students in Fayetteville State University’s nursing program learned Friday that they will not graduate today…

The students’ protest and the withholding of degrees stem from a university decision that was revealed at the beginning of the last semester of the four-year program. The decision was that their graduation and the passing of an honor’s level research course depended upon passing a standardized test. The test was not part of their four-year curriculum.

The school added the high-stakes test in January of their senior year, didn’t give them any real help, and then withheld their diplomas.

I hope that the educrats are personally liable for the inevitable class-action lawsuit. This one will be a no-brainer.

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If you’re involved in a lawsuit and you’re in need of a lawyer, whether it’s a business lawyer or a banking lawyer, you can locate a lawyer in your area that can help because everyone should have a lawyer when dealing with a lawsuit.

CDD– WTF?

Filed on at 1:36 am under by dcobranchi

I’m really not sure what to make of this. Christian Domestic Discipline– Spousal abuse? Innocent sex games? A snippet:

My husband informed me this morning we were going to have a maintenance session this evening for the first time in months.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I’ve been having a hard time keeping things in order. My husband thinks a maintenance session might help me get back on track. I have neglected my health as of late and have been a bit ill, followed by an exacerbation of fibromyalgia. I am behind on housework a bit (just a bit–I’ve been careful to keep that going). I’m behind on homeschooling. My husband calls these the three H’s– Health, House, Homeschooling. Letting these slide will get me in trouble faster than anything.

It doesn’t sound like she enjoys the “sessions”, so I lean towards the battered wife diagnosis. Via Jesus’ General.

UPDATE: Definitely abusive:

Warm up is very important

When you discipline your wife, for either misbehavior or maintenance it is best to start slow and warm up her bottom, spanking her with less intensity and not going full force right out of the gate.

After a sufficient warm up you will be able to spank her with great intensity and a longer period of time, hence enforcing a proper punishment and the tears that are sure to flow.

Remember to take you time with the discipline, by spanking her longer you will find that the submission from her is greater than one done quick just to get it over with, By spanking her for a greater period of time also shows that you as her HOH [head of household] take your responsibilities serious…

Warming her bottom up slowly will also less likely leave bruises even when you continue with harder swats during the discipline or punishment. While some bruising may take place , wide spread and deep bruising is unnecessary and completely avoidable, with the proper use of a warm up.

A HELLUVA SCAM

Filed on May 11, 2007 at 7:51 pm under by dcobranchi

When even the teachers’ union admits it’s bad, you know it’s really bad.

TAKE MY WIFE, PLEASE

Filed on at 6:25 pm under by dcobranchi

Mitt Romney must hate his wife. How else to interpret this quote?

“I have a great-great grandfather. They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert and so he took additional wives as he was told to do,” Romney said. “And I must admit I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.”

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