Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » March
  • Gomez and Morticia Addams: The Original Homeschoolers

    Filed on March 12, 2008 at 10:26 am under by Tim Haas

    Courtesy of Hulu.com, the new streaming TV site jointly owned by NBC and Fox, I present to you Season 1, Episode 1, of The Addams Family, summarized thusly:

    Gomez and Morticia don’t understand why Pugsley and Wednesday need to go to school. They’re getting all the education they need right at home. Unfortunately, society disagrees.

    This is exactly what would happen at my place if Mr. O. Fficious ever visited.


    Filed on at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi

    The San Jose Mercury News calls for the CA legislature to allow homeschooling as long as “minimally intrusive regulations over home schools” are enacted. It helpfully provides some examples of what those might be:

    Other states have various ways of overseeing home schooling. Some set minimum education requirements for parents; others require attendance records and test taking. Some states require parents to affiliate formally with a home-school organization.

    As long as the R4 option is still in place, this might actually be acceptable to the CA homeschoolers. The vast majority, who already register as R4 schools, could go on doing what they’ve always done. And the folks who for whatever reason want to be “official” homeschools would have an option they don’t now.

    If the legislature, though, tries to eliminate the use of the R4 by homeschoolers, I predict it’ll mean war.


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    “Schools are the safest place for students to be.”



    Filed on March 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    #3 Islam
    #2 Terrorists

    And the number one threat facing America?

    The Gays!


    Filed on March 8, 2008 at 7:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Time magazine completely screws the pooch in regards to the CA homeschoolers:

    Parents of the approximately 200,000 home-schooled children in California are reeling from the possibility that they may have to shutter their classrooms — and go back to school themselves — if they want to continue teaching their own kids.


    For years, the state of California has allowed parents to home school as long as they file papers to create a private school and hire a tutor with credentials…

    That’s not even close to being accurate. The state does not require R4 schools to hire credentialed teachers.


    Filed on at 7:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Classy folks over in Moore County. A Habitat for Humanity group tried to buy 83 acres to build a development, and the NIMBYers objected. So the town re-zoned the land to prevent the development. H4H promptly sued in local and state court and won both. Now a group of folks have managed to purchase the land out from under H4H. But these kind folks were only thinking of others:

    “We thought the project was an island of doom,” Thompson said about why the group bought the land. “Any residents would have had to walk three quarters of a mile to get to any basic services in Pinebluff.”

    Thompson said residents of the development may have been injured trying to cross U.S. 1 to reach town offices, grocery stores or businesses.

    The very essence of a humanitarian. I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that H4H clients tend to be poor.

    BTW, $6,600/acre is a ridiculously high price around here. Undeveloped land can be had for as little as $1,500 an acre. It seems these folks were quite determined to keep Habitat out of their backyards.


    Filed on at 4:41 am under by dcobranchi

    People are smart! Check out this re-processed image of a famous Hubble pic.

    OH! MY! GOD!

    Filed on March 7, 2008 at 8:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    Having a religious wacko in the WH for the last 7 years hasn’t worked out very well. What might be worse is electing a politician who thinks it’s okay to play a religious wacko on TV:

    Asked about the influence of religion in his life, McCain said, “It is an important factor in my life, obviously, very important.”

    McCain also invoked his faith at a campaign event Friday morning at the headquarters of Chick-fil-A Inc. in Atlanta. The company’s founder, S. Truett Cathy, is a devout Baptist who closes his restaurants on Sunday so his employees can rest and honor God.

    “It’s harder and harder trying to do the Lord’s work in the city of Satan,” McCain said of Washington…


    And he said that illegal immigration is a Judeo-Christian issue as well as a national security issue.

    I believe we all ought to get down on our knees tonight and pray that God does not punish our nation for its apostasy by putting this moron in the White House.

    UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more steamed I get. How can the presumptive nominee of one of the two national parties claim that DC, our national capital, is the “city of Satan”? That implies that McCain thinks the federal government is satanic, too. Is he one of the “drown it in a bathtub” Republicans? Government doesn’t work because the supposed leaders don’t want it to. Is that what McCain wants, too. God! We’ve had 20 years of Republicans doing their best to destroy the federal government. Now McCain thinks it’s not only “the problem” (a la Reagan) but out and out evil!

    Yes, there are lots of evil people in DC. They all have “R” after their names.


    Filed on at 6:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    The sky is not falling, even if bunch of folks (HSLDA, WND, and Lew Rockwell) who seem to have a bit of an agenda would have you believe otherwise. I always like to go to the statewide inclusive groups for the straight dope. The HomeSchool Association of California isn’t pushing the panic button:

    Many of you are aware that an appellate court decision came out on February 28, 2008 that potentially affects homeschooling.

    The case arose out of a dependency proceeding in juvenile court. As luck would have it, the family was not the one we would have picked for a homeschool test case.

    Attorneys were appointed by the court for the youngest children, and they requested the court to order that the children be sent to public school because it would be in the children’s best interests. The parents claimed both a constitutional right to homeschool on religious grounds and that the private school independent study program (ISP) in which the children were enrolled provided a legal exemption from public school attendance. The trial court judge accepted the constitutional argument, even though it might not be a very strong one.

    The appeals court did not accept it. It reversed on the constitutional argument and remanded the case back to the trial court for a hearing on whether the private ISP in which the family’s children were enrolled met the requirements for an exemption from the compulsory
    attendance laws. The court, however, made it pretty clear that they did not think the ISP would or could qualify for the exemption, taking the bulk of their written opinion to explain their reasoning. Whether what they said is binding on the lower court or whether it is dicta (basically just their opinion) that was beyond the scope of the case, we don’t know, but we do know that the appellate court badly misinterpreted the California educational code.

    The interpretation essentially said that the only types of schooling that were legal in CA were full-time attendance in a brick & mortar institution or being taught full time somewhere (home, wherever) by a full-time credentialed tutor. This means that ALL educational alternatives could be construed as illegal, from homeschooling to distance learning to ISPs and possibly even public charter home study programs.

    As you can all imagine, the homeschooling community is alarmed. The major state advocacy groups (HSC, CHN, CHEA, FPM), together with HSLDA, have been working on strategies to address this matter. We have also been in contact with representatives of some of the major third party homeschooling programs to let them know that this could impact them and to ask them to coordinate any response with HSC.

    HSC is being represented by counsel in this issue, and we will consult with them about our options and about the best strategy for limiting the impact of this decision. It is not appropriate for us to state what that strategy is, but there are actions we can take that could significantly minimize any bad results. HSC understands that its mission is to support the right of all parents to teach their children at home, and we will continue to work toward that end. We will keep you informed here and through the e-list.

    At the present time, it is recommended that California homeschoolers not change anything they are doing, just remain informed, support the groups who are handling this, and don’t panic. When and if the time comes that public support needs to be rallied, we’ll let you know. We specifically request that no one contact any members of the legislature to suggest that a legislative solution be found. It is quite possible that we can reach a result that limits the impact of this case and makes legislation unnecessary.

    My personal belief is that a certain group of fundamentalist Christian lawyers sees in this a test case to find a constitutional right for a religious exemption to the compulsory attendance laws in California. The HSAofCA seems to believe the argument for this right is weak, at best. I hope that HSLDA’s, WND’s and Lew Rockwell’s Chicken Little acts do not come back to bite homeschoolers by bringing unwanted attention from the legislature.


    Filed on at 4:32 am under by dcobranchi

    After quoting at length a CA pastor who lies through his teeth about what SB777 did, Thomas writes:

    He’s right. It isn’t just the sexual re-programming. That’s symbolic of a larger problem. The government schools want to shape a child’s mind in ways that reflect a mostly liberal, humanistic worldview. This has implications for a child’s understanding of economics, foreign policy, American history and the size and purpose of government, in addition to what once were known as “traditional values.” It is about reflecting the worldview of the teachers unions, who are in the pocket of the Democratic Party. In other words, the Left uses public schools to produce the next generation of Democrats.

    The tragedy is that too many conservative Christian, Republican parents who want their children to have a different worldview — their own — willingly participate in the destruction of their children’s minds by turning them over to a way of thinking that is antithetical to their beliefs. Parents who worship at conservative churches on Sunday willingly send their children to schools five days a week where what they are taught undermines what they learned in church and at home. They would never think of taking their kids to a church that teaches doctrines opposed to their beliefs, but they don’t give a second thought to doing the same thing by sending them to government schools. It makes no sense.

    Gleason has found it difficult to start a fire among conservative Christians because apathy is like wet underbrush, but he is undeterred. He thinks that like those other fires with which California is familiar, the best time to get out is while you still can.

    I wish all of our “friends” in the wingnutosphere would just STFU. They’re making us sane home educators look bad.

    6001, THEN

    Filed on at 4:08 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t have to read the article. The damn liberal NYT is trying to make me think the Bible is wrong. Can’t be.

    Study Says Grand Canyon Older Than Thought


    Filed on March 6, 2008 at 10:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Your government is illegally spying on you and there’s absolutely no one who can (or will) stop it.

    Power corrupts, y’know.


    Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

    and a dumb “solution.” Dr. Bruce Prescott is off his game, because that’s among the lamest ideas I’ve read in a long time.


    Filed on at 5:17 am under by dcobranchi

    And this is why I’m proud to be associated with the party of the people. A commonsense solution to a problem that affects millions.

    My priority insurance reform proposal, the Multiple Peril Insurance Act, has been approved by the House of Representatives as part of H.R. 3121, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act.

    The Multiple Peril Insurance Act would create an option in the National Flood Insurance Program to offer both wind and flood coverage in a single policy. This would allow coastal residents to buy insurance and know that their hurricane damage would be covered without needing to hire lawyers, engineers and public adjusters to try to distinguish the wind damage from the flood damage. The bill would require the premiums for the new coverage to be risk-based and actuarially sound so that the program would pay for itself.

    To date, the Senate has not scheduled a vote on this legislation. The insurance industry is aggressively lobbying against the bill, so strong grassroots support from coastal communities is needed to counter their efforts to influence senators.

    Well, of course they’ll lobby against it (because it will cost them sales), and the Senate GOP will filibuster it (because they do whatever their corporate masters’ desire), and Bush will veto it (because he’s a stupid bastard).

    Eleven more Democrats. That’s all we ask. That’s all we need.


    Filed on March 5, 2008 at 11:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    I was at a meeting tonight for a new co-op market we’re trying to start here in Fayetteville. I was introduced to a young mother who, out of nowhere, asked if I had a blog. Yeah, even though her only child is less than 1-year-old, she’s planning on homeschooling and has been hanging out here for a year.

    Hip, secular, and progressive. Very cool. Welcome (a year late)!


    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    Fallout from the Banita Jacks case, late last year. The article reads like an HSLDA e-Lert, but it’s ugly nonetheless.

    The D.C. State Superintendent’s Office is proposing regulations for homeschoolers that are among the strictest in the country and, in the view of the homeschooling community, completely unconstitutional.

    For years, parents in the District have been largely free to educate their children as they wished.

    But that could drastically change with the new rules, which authorize public school officials to make home visits several times a year, mandate the subject areas families cover and require parents to submit evidence that their children have been immunized.

    I’m not sure I buy the “completely unconstitutional” claim. Which part is unconstitutional? Home visits? Required subject areas? Immunizations? I believe each of those is already required by at least one state. And I don’t believe DC has a “state” constitution to provide protection above & beyond that granted in the federal. (Someone please correct me if I wrong here.)

    HSLDA is already threatening a lawsuit, even though the regs aren’t finalized. It could just be posturing. It’s hard to see what the grounds would be. I don’t believe the (former) 4th Amendment applies here. It’s not like social workers coming to investigate an anonymous tip of abuse. Perhaps Darren, if he’s still around, can shed some light on the legal claims? [Tip credit: Skip]


    Filed on March 4, 2008 at 11:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    God’s own candidate, my man Mike Huckabee, has dropped out. What’s Farris going to do, now? I think I’ll start a new group: Homeschoolers for Mike Huckabee Making a Run on the Constitution Party Ticket.


    Filed on at 6:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another beautiful picture.


    Filed on at 2:13 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s the conclusion I draw from Toni’s HEM post. It’s a good summary of the sad state of home education in NC. Fortunately, it’s perfectly safe to ignore the DNPE and their many stupid suggestions.

    And, as Toni points out, our Christian statewide is utterly useless. Unfortunately, there is no secular statewide. Toni, I believe, tried to push HA-NC in that direction. But they’re content to be a kaffeeklatsch.

    If I were to attempt to form a new statewide (I’m not. Too much on my plate already) I’d make sure that it was vehement in its opposition to the DNPE over-reach. My new group would write lots of LttE of the big state papers, especially the Raleigh News & Observer detailing every single time Rod Helder and the DNPE overstepped the law. My new group would make him the object of ridicule, so that the DNPE (which really is Rod Helder) wouldn’t dare stick a single toe past the legal line. Then, when the DNPE was sufficiently cowed, my statewide group would work towards the goal of fixing our homeschooling laws. They’re relatively crappy, even if NCHE amd HA-NC would have us believe otherwise.


    Filed on March 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Losing presidential candidate edition.

    At a town hall meeting Friday in Texas, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared that “there’s strong evidence” that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S. — a position in stark contrast with the view of the medical establishment…

    The Centers for Disease Control says “There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site.”

    The American Academy of Pediatrics says”No scientific data link thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines with any pediatric neurologic disorder, including autism.”

    The Food and Drug Administration conducted a review in 1999 — the year thimerosal was ordered to be removed from most vaccines — and said that it “found no evidence of harm from the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative, other than local hypersensitivity reactions.”

    The Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee concluded “that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.”

    And a study of California Department of Developmental Services data published last month indicated that there was “an increase in autism in California despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines.”

    On the one hand you have the combined opinion of the scientists who actually know what they’re talking about. And on the other you have the candidate of the know-nothing anti-science party. Hmmm. Who should I believe?


    Filed on March 2, 2008 at 3:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Ricin is again in the news. Ever the chemist, I tried to find a recipe. It took all of about 5 minutes. Interestingly, the original patent for making it is available. It was patented by the US Army in 1962 (although it was filed in 1952!). And, yes, the objective was “toxicological warfare.” The patent even explains how to best weaponize the ricin powder.

    Assuming the patent isn’t some kind of weird disinformation attempt, the process is ridiculously simple. The only (very slight) challenge would be in finding a substitute for carbon tet, which is no longer commonly available.

    The gov’t likes to keep you in a state of constant terror (the very definition of terrorism, BTW). Remember the duct tape and plastic sheeting we were all supposed to stock up on? The fact that this info has been freely available for a half-century and we’re not being bombarded with ricin attacks indicates, to me, that there just aren’t that many folks out there who are trying to kill us all in our sleep.


    Filed on at 7:49 am under by dcobranchi

    More school silliness:

    MESA, Ariz. — A school policy banning student hugging prompted dozens of east Valley students to protest with a giant group hug across the street from campus… Prior to the demonstration, the district said the principal and students brokered an agreement to clarify the “no-hugging” rule. According to the guidelines, small hugs, less than two seconds, are permitted but longer ones and kissing are not.


    Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Torture, like greed, is good.

    Let our soldiers do their jobs

    Is waterboarding torture?

    Who cares?

    Part of the problem is some Americans and politicians think the threat from terrorists is over. They must think this or why else are they so concerned with fighting a civilized war?

    Listen, real simple, you don’t show up to a gun fight with a knife, you show up with a gun. The reality is that we are at war with maniacs who want to kill all of us, including our children. These people are lying in wait for us to drop our guard.

    Our brave soldiers are taking the fight to them, trying to keep it off our shores. Stop tying their hands. If these soldiers have to use waterboarding or any other method available to them to protect me and my family, I don’t care.

    I don’t like war, but if we have to fight, then we should fight with everything we have available. These maniacs will kill us. War is harsh and brutal; we have the resources to win this fight quickly, if the government and the public will let our soldiers do their jobs. If one soldier is harmed or killed because of misinformation, or if we could not extract the information because our methods were not harsh enough, that’s inexcusable. You go tell his wife why he’s not coming home.

    For all of those serving this country, thank you for your sacrifice and the hardships your families endure.

    Ken Barnard


    Filed on March 1, 2008 at 11:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Lew Rockwell has fallen prey to the dreaded WorldNaziDaily disease. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of reductio ad Hitlerum?


    Filed on at 8:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a very interesting post on the reason for leap years. Make sure to read the comments, too.

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