Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » January
  • ET TU, MARY?

    Filed on January 8, 2008 at 7:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Mary Pride piles on my man Huck. How can you pick on a man who likes Velveeta*?

    *I am literally cooking up some Velveeta/Ro*Tel Cheese dip as I write this. Two types, in fact. Original for everybody else and habanero for me.

    UPDATE: Ro*tel Hot with Habaneros hardly lives up to its name. I had to doctor it up with a teaspoon or so of Da Bomb.


    Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

    From the “How to Teach Science” newsletter:

    Lithium’s atomic number is 3.

    It’s in the first column of the periodic table so that means its outer shell has one electron available for bonding.

    Lithium has 3 protons, 3 neutrons, 3 electrons.

    This is the 2nd newsletter I’ve read. Both had factual errors. So, I wrote the author:

    Errr– It has 4 neutrons. AW ~7.

    You really should have someone proof your factoids before sending out the newsletter.

    And her response proves to me that she knows little or no chemistry, certainly not enough to “teach” it:

    Lithium is number 3 on the table. By definition it has 3 of each. In the real world most of the elements rarely have the number of neutrons given them by definition and in pure state or perfect world. Again, this is an introductory newsletter and I teach it as such. I do not choose to go into these situations nor does an introductory chem. book or middle school book. This is my choice and one that suits my audience. If I got into that it would take a while to explain and go into details not necessary. In the coloring book I will have a chapter on neutrons and these variations but I will continue to present it as the text books do in pure form.

    There is no “by definition” concerning the number of neutrons, only protons and electrons. And the number of protons and neutrons isn’t always the same. For instance, beryllium, the next element in the periodic table, exists only as Be-9. That’s 4 protons and 5 neutrons.

    Avoid this one. There are better resources available for teaching chemistry and the periodic table to kids.

    [Full disclosure: The author of the book linked just above is a friend of mine. But I’ve read the book. It’s good. And it’s accurate.]


    Filed on January 7, 2008 at 10:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    Moonbats ‘R’ Us:

    The very idea that one could be conservative and yet also dissent from the Bush Doctrine seems inconceivable to some party regulars. “These days, according to some loudmouths,” wrote conservative homeschooling activist and Paul supporter Isabel Lyman, “I have more in common with the ‘antiwar moonbats’ that hold Sunday peace rallies in [Amherst, Massachusetts] than the Republicans that are presently in power.”


    Filed on at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    I love reading the right-wing blogs for the entertainment value. Here’s one of the better ones, giving reasons why conservatives should stay home in November (excellent advice, I might add):

    Let me illustrate with a hypothetical example. Let’s say our hypothetical Republican President, unlike the real President Bush who gave us Campaign Finance Reform and No Child Left Behind, gave us OSHA, the EPA, wage and price controls, surrender in war and Justice Blackmun. I would predict that such policies would lead to oil price shocks and recession domestically, to emboldened enemies abroad, and to resignation in disgrace politically. And worse, the electorate would blame Republicans for all this in the following elections.

    For the younger readers, all of those are attributed to that arch-liberal, Richard Nixon.


    Filed on at 8:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Still more evidence that it’s not Hg. Will that make a difference to the true believers? Probably not.


    Filed on January 6, 2008 at 8:08 am under by dcobranchi


    Another cool APOD by the gals at NASA.


    Filed on at 5:16 am under by dcobranchi

    I mean “psychic.”

    Me, yesterday:

    Making permanent the already implemented tax cuts would do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy.

    NYT, today:

    Unfortunately, there is no sign that President Bush — for whom tax cuts are always the answer no matter the question — realizes what is needed. After meeting with his economic advisers on Friday, just hours after the release of the jobs report, he insisted that the best economic move now is for Congress to work with him to “make sure taxes remain low.” A day earlier, one of his aides told reporters that among the president’s economic priorities this year would be a push to make his signature tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, a permanent part of the tax code.

    That is not new, and it is wrongheaded. The promise of tax relief in 2011 would not increase spending in 2008.

    Me, Thursday (in my role as goad to the editor of the Fayetteville Observer):

    I think today’s lead editorial was unnecessary hindsight. NC will never have the option of moving its primary to Feb. By 2012 the parties will have addressed (and rationalized) the nominating process. They’ll HAVE to. This year’s leapfrogging and front end loading would only get worse in the next cycle.

    My prediction is that Iowa and NH lose their special status and that we see a series of regional primaries spaced perhaps a month apart. Ideally, the region to go first would rotate each cycle.

    NYT, Friday:

    We believe the time has long passed for both parties to not only break the Iowa-New Hampshire habit but also end the damaging race to be third, with states pushing their primaries closer and closer to New Year’s Day.

    Instead, the country should adopt a more sensible and more representative system of regional primaries, in which states are divided into regional groups that vote on a designated day. The honor of going first would rotate year to year among the regions. That would give a far broader range of American voters a say in this vitally important choice.

    Check back here later today to learn what the NYT will opine on tomorrow. 🙂


    Filed on at 4:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Via email:

    I find it interesting that you have chosen to homeschool even while holding an obvious atheistic viewpoint from the standpoint of your opinionated blog. The largest percentage of home education programs are Christian oriented with a firm believe in creating a moral guideline in an increasingly immoral world. Regardless of what you chose to believe the fact remains homeschool or public education is of no consequence.

    The system of higher education is limited, Harvard, Yale, Princeton is reserved only for those of established gene pool, these universities bring the high echelon of society. There is a hidden monarchy within the United States where those of wealth and influence prevent the lower classes from entering into their royal court. The State University or Community College will not bring the prosperity that these royal families enjoy, only the scraps from their table is allowed.

    While homeschooling is a noble cause it will accomplish nothing much like the system of voting. While we believe our vote matters every branch of government can be bought, our representatives cater only to special interest groups or international corporations. Therefore, much like the political world, the world of education is limited and the success of our children is governed by their family names or geneology not their ambition.

    Rodney Dezarn

    HE&OS gets interesting email, too.


    Filed on January 5, 2008 at 7:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooling moms.

    “As I wrote in my book, the nearly 7 million evangelical voters who did not vote in 2004 are the prize to win, not the ‘undecided’ or ‘independent voters,’” David Jeffers contends.

    Not only is this a sizable voting block, but the lay preacher is quick to point out their ability to self-mobilize votes with their effective “alternative media.”

    “Evangelicals have a strong information network that includes homeschooling moms, e-mail traffic, and Christian bloggers,” Jeffers noted.

    And, interestingly, evangelicals seem to have cornered the market on email and blogs.


    Filed on at 6:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another stunning pic from the boys [and girls] at NASA.

    UPDATED– My bad.


    Filed on at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    I sincerely hope these are not trial balloons. Because if they are it will prove that the Bush Administration is just phoning it in and that the best we can hope for is that he doesn’t do any significant damage in the next 12 months:

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Word is that President Bush may propose new measures to boost the economy by the time he gives his State of the Union address later this month.

    …Zandi thinks it might also make sense to make President Bush’s income tax cuts for the middle class permanent, a move that leading Democratic presidential candidates have indicated they’d support. Where they part company with the president, however, is in making those tax cuts permanent for high-income households, too. So if the president did push for an extension of his tax cuts for the middle class, that could undercut his stated goal of making his tax cuts permanent for everyone, Zandi said.

    Zandi would also advocate making the lower rates on capital gains and dividends permanent for everyone. Despite his belief that the federal government should not try to control the short-term performance of the economy, Edwards agrees that such a move could help stabilize the markets by giving investors more certainty about their investment tax bill. It also would reduce any pressure investors might feel to sell their holdings before the investment rate cuts expire.

    Making permanent the already implemented tax cuts would do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy.


    Filed on at 4:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Via Laura Derrick, an article about a former HEK who’s supporting a Democrat! What?! Can’t be. Everyone in the media knows we’re all YEC fundies who vote straight ticket GOP.

    I love the throwaway bit about her being a junior at the age of 18.


    Filed on at 10:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Taser parties?

    GILBERT, Ariz. — Before she lets them shoot her little pink stun gun, Dana Shafman ushers her new friends to the living room sofa for a serious chat about the fears she believes they all share.

    “The worst nightmare for me is, while I’m sleeping, someone coming in my home,” Shafman says, drawing a few solemn nods from the gathered women. Shafman, 34, of Phoenix, says she knows how they feel. She says she used to stash knives under her pillow for protection.

    Welcome, she says, to the Taser party.

    On the coffee table, Shafman spreads out Taser’s C2 “personal protector” weapons that the company is marketing to the public. It doesn’t take long before the women are lined up in the hallway, whooping as they take turns blasting at a metallic target.

    This, I think, is a pretty dumb idea. The Taser is single shot. Miss (or be faced by two adversaries) and you’re screwed. Yes, the Taser is (mostly) non-lethal. But so (mostly) is a .22, and a simple SA/DA revolver can give you seven more shots.

    And the revolver is cheaper, too.


    Filed on at 8:05 am under by dcobranchi

    More on Bibles in the schools. This one’s pretty good, for a change.

    Spread the Gospel through actions

    As a parent of two elementary school-aged boys, I was greatly disturbed by the report and opinions that have been expressed regarding the Bible distribution at one of our local elementary schools. To hear that a child was ridiculed, mocked and shamed into taking a Bible is appalling.

    Everyone seems to be upset that the Gideons are not allowed to hand out the Bibles in the schools now, but no one seems to be upset that we have failed to raise a generation that will treat one another with the love and respect that the Bible teaches. This issue has nothing to do with an attack of the free expression and practice of our religion, as some have implied. This issue has to do with the failure of us as Christians to teach our children to love each other as Jesus did. The shame that we feel for our failures has led many to attack one child and one parent and vilify them in a way that Jesus never would have.

    If we teach our children to live and love as Jesus did, then the Gospel that is written in their hearts will be distributed freely everywhere without prohibition. Maybe we as Christians can set that example because we can say all the things we want to, but if we are not living them out in love, as Paul would say in 1 Corinthians 13:1, we have become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.

    Rev. Adam F. Seate, pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church,

    I think he misses the central point about the First Amendment, as the main problem was not that the kids harassed one of their classmates who happened not to be Christian. If there had been no harassment would the Bible distribution program been A-OK? The mother might not have complained to the ACLU, but if she had they still would have obliterated the school district in court– with or without harassment.


    Filed on January 4, 2008 at 9:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    My very talented elder daughter is in the process of applying to the North Carolina School of the Arts. If all goes well at the Feb. 2nd audition, she’ll be leaving home (essentially for good) in approximately 6 months. She just turned 14 last week.

    This is one of the pics that needed to accompany the application.


    Filed on at 8:51 am under by dcobranchi

    With this post I throw my support behind Huckabee in the GOP nominating process and urge any Evolved Homeschoolers to support him in the primaries. I would especially urge any of my left-leaning friends who happen to live in a state with an open primary system to cross over to the dark side the aisle to support the YEC fundamentalist Baptist preacher.


    Filed on January 3, 2008 at 9:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Another story about the Huckster and home ed:

    A former Baptist minister, Huckabee is the only candidate in the field who might be able to win Iowa without a traditional political operation that organizes meetings like Porter’s. He is by no means the only preacher talking about Huckabee at their churches and in their homes. Huckabee also is the darling of the tightly knit group of parents who home school their children.

    No, he’s the darling of the HSLDA sheeple.


    Filed on January 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    I really wish we had a statewide inclusive group in NC instead of a statewide ministry.


    Filed on at 4:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    The CoH is up.


    Filed on at 8:30 am under by dcobranchi

    A brave man writes:

    Religious minority fight for equal rights

    This letter is a reply to “Faith is a choice that we shouldn’t have to defend” by Jennifer Comer (Letters to the Observer, Dec. 7).

    I’m replying to this letter for several reasons. First, as an atheist, I don’t believe that anyone is trying to cut the faith out of your (or anyone’s) life. Every story you hear about the removal of the Ten Commandments, or no preaching in class, or someone trying to block the faith-based initiatives — these stories are not about someone stripping your faith out of your life. All of these stories are about a minority group of people trying to get equal rights promised to us under the U.S. Constitution.

    As an atheist and a veteran of our military, I can promise you that I fought very hard for your right to practice whichever religion you think fits in your life. Now that I am on the civilian side of life, I find that I have to fight for my own beliefs because there aren’t many people who would give atheists equal rights when it comes to religion.

    Most atheists don’t want our children learning about your religion, just as you wouldn’t want your children to be taught someone else’s religion.

    Harold McLamb

    Of course, this means war will be declared on him and his.


    Filed on at 8:18 am under by dcobranchi

    A blast from the far-right.

    UPDATE: The (now former) director of the HSLDA PAC writes that he didn’t even know about the endorsement until it was a fait accompli.


    Filed on January 1, 2008 at 5:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    Not all Homeschoolers Against Huckabee are created equal. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy just ain’t my friend.


    Filed on at 1:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    Calculated Risk is a really good blog on the housing meltdown. It’s also really depressing. And from the Department of Personal Anecdotes I note that as recently as 3 months ago I was preparing to take out a HELOC to put a metal roof on our home. That project is on indefinite hold, due entirely to the problems in the housing market.


    Filed on at 7:49 am under by dcobranchi

    I love global warming deniers. It’s always so easy to pick apart their “arguments.”

    Climate control is about socialism

    First, we had professional actors Bob Hope and Bing Crosby making a B-grade fun comedy “On the Road to Bali.” Now, we have professional climate hypocrites engaged in a dark, made-for-TV-grade comedy in Bali.

    Facts: Carbon dioxide levels fell in the U.S. last year; global temperatures have fallen since late 2002.

    Yet we continue this lemming rush to implement “progressive” (read socialistic) policies world wide. I admit a grudging admiration for the environmental left in their taking corporate shakedown to new levels. Bali is all about shaking down entire nations. This is much better than Iraq Oil for Food. This is totally legal.

    Of course, we have our own local shakedown going on via the Climate Action Plan Advisory Group, the duplicitous N.C. legislature and the uninformed taxpayers of the Tar Heel state. The media seem to have imposed a news blackout on the shenanigans going on in Raleigh with the Center for Climate Strategies, a left-leaning activist lobbying group.

    One huge problem with CAPAG/CCS back-room dealing is that no cost-benefit analysis is being conducted for the CO2-reducing options being recommended. According to the John Locke Foundation, Tom Peterson, the executive director of CCS, which has taken over managing the CAPAG process, admitted this at a meeting of the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change last month.

    Bill Wadford

    Any letter that starts off with an irrelevant “fact” and follows it up with a false one deserves to be ridiculed. For the record, mean global temperatures exceeded Wadford’s “late 2002” baseline in two of the next five years (2005 & 2007), with 2005 being the warmest year in the last 120. Interestingly, Wadford’s baseline was the warmest year up to that point. Strange coincidence, that.


    Filed on at 12:12 am under by dcobranchi

    GetReligion.org has a good post up on the wool that Farris and the Huckster have pulled over the MSM’s eyes to make it look like we’re all Automatons for Huckabee.

    « Last