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Filed on June 30, 2008 at 5:40 pm under by dcobranchi
DC’s proposed homeschooling regs would put it close to the bottom. The worst bit is that they define homeschooling as something only a “parent or legal guardian” can do. So no grandparents teaching their grandchildren. Maybe no co-op classes, too. [Huge hat tip to Skip Oliva]
If you’ve attended an event or festival in San Francisco lately – or even just hung out at a city park – you’ve probably seen them.
Admittedly, they’re hard to miss. Someone in the group is usually toting a large American flag, and another is often carrying a boom box blaring patriotic music. Sometimes one of them dresses up as Uncle Sam.
They’re the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco, but don’t let the serious name fool you. The group’s intentions are in the gutter: They want to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant come January, when the next president is sworn in.
During the inauguration, the group also wants supporters to participate in a “synchronized flush”- a way to send a gift to the renamed plant, which supporters say, would be a “fitting monument to this president’s work.”
On Wednesday, after the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional in cases of child rape, Obama surprised some observers by siding with the hardline minority of Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. At a press conference after the decision, Obama said, “I think that the rape of a small child, six or eight years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution.”
It is the custom of Friends Meetings (Quakers) to write official statements, called Minutes, concerning current moral issues, as an exercise among ourselves and as a public witness.
Because of our concern for prisoners, military service members and civilian workers involved in the United States government’s interrogation practices, the Fayetteville Friends Monthly Meeting has written the following “Minute on Torture”:
“Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them: those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. (Hebrews 13:3 NRSV)
“Recognizing that of God in every person, we condemn the use of torture for any purpose by any person, group or government. Torture by any means is immoral. It debases the humanity of the tortured, the torturer and those who have knowledge of it.
“For Fayetteville Quaker Meeting, torture is not a distant issue. We are located near a major hub of a growing international torture complex. Hundreds of torture flights have taken off nearby; training for the brutal techniques takes place in the region at secretive military and other facilities. Our public officials have ignored protests.
“The acceptance of torture is making our society an international pariah. We appeal to Friends and others everywhere to take up this concern and follow it through. Let us bear down into the work of bringing this immoral practice into the Light. Let us do all we can to bring about the day when torture is banished from our country and from our planet.”
One of the “associates” with the org sent me an email introducing the group. Here’s the PSA she sent along:
150% Surge in Children’s Television Viewing During Summer Is Focus of New Campaign
Smart Television Alliance launches “OutSmart the Summer Spike!” Campaign, calling on parents and caregivers to take control of children’s TV and make smart television viewing choices
Today, the Smart Television Alliance (STA) will announce the “OutSmart the Summer Spike!” campaign with a call to action for busy parents and caregivers to use technology to control what television children watch, to make smart viewing choices, and to promote a balanced media diet. Children’s television viewing during the summer increases 150% according to analysis of Nielsen audience measurement data compared to the rest of the year.
The Smart Television Alliance is a new coalition of leading nonprofit organizations representing diverse constituencies from parents and caregivers to educators and nurses. In addition to promoting children’s shows recommended by experts and educating parents to use technology to control what is seen in their homes, the STA is united in calling on television content producers to make more children’s programming that is educational, entertaining, age-appropriate and safe.
Collectively, the STA reaches millions of American households.
Key components of the campaign include:
-Creating a network of Featured Blogs who care about what kids are watching
-Providing parents and caregivers with resources and action steps to control what is watched on television and when
-Distributing an on line petition to television producers calling on them to producer more high quality, educational programming for young children
-Enlisting parents and others to spread the word to their friends and acquaintances
-Placing public service banner messages across the internet
-Publishing Daily Tips from bloggers, experts and those submitted on our website from parents and caregivers
-Publishing Teachable Moments within television shows submitted by educators across the country
-Partnering with the producers of expert-recommended shows to highlight educational programming
-Providing children’s television recommendations from trusted media experts like KIDSFIRST!, Common Sense Media, and the Parents’ Choice Foundation, among others.
It sounds like a worthy cause. I didn’t see any mega-corps listed among their sponsors, so it may even be legit.
Filed on June 24, 2008 at 8:03 pm under by dcobranchi
James Dobson is an idiot. Obama said this two years ago:
According to Minnery, Dobson was particularly offended by a portion of the speech in which Obama mentioned evangelical leader and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
In the speech, Obama said, “Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?”
Dobson responded that he’s never met Sharpton and doesn’t understand how Obama is equating him with Sharpton. Evidently possessing an IQ over 100 isn’t a requirement in order to be an evangelical leader.
So, Christianity is out (Been there. Done that.) I don’t think I could handle Judaism or Islam (No more Italian sausage?! Never!). In fact, I don’t think I could accept any religion that meets this definition:
1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
Zen asserts, as do other schools in Mahayana Buddhism, that all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, the universal nature of inherent wisdom (Sanskrit prajna) and virtue, and emphasizes that Buddha-nature is nothing other than the nature of the mind itself. The aim of Zen practice is to discover this Buddha-nature within each person, through meditation and mindfulness of daily experiences. Zen practitioners believe that this provides new perspectives and insights on existence, which ultimately lead to enlightenment.
In distinction to many other Buddhist sects, Zen de-emphasizes reliance on religious texts and verbal discourse on metaphysical questions. Zen holds that these things lead the practitioner to seek external answers, rather than searching within their own minds for the direct intuitive apperception of Buddha-nature. This search within goes under various terms such as “introspection,” “a backward step,” “turning-about,” or “turning the eye inward.”
So, there you have it. If I have to choose a new religion, I’ll take the one that seems to be least like one: No God. No scriptures. No getting dressed up early on Sunday mornings.
Yesterday on that moron conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s show a caller mentioned that she didn’t understand how any Christian could be pro-choice. Because “in the Bible God never killed children.”
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Oil companies and many lawmakers are pressing to open up more U.S. areas for drilling. But the industry is drilling on just a fraction of areas it already has access to.
Of the 90 million offshore acres the industry has leases to, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, it is estimated that upwards of 70 million are not producing oil, according to both Democrats and oil-industry sources.
Via P. Z. Myers, a good summary of the cross burning teacher story. And as a bonus, scroll down to this comment for what may be the best explanation I’ve seen on the background of the doctrine of Separation of Church and State.
Since Barack Obama has seen fit to endorse the worst excesses of the Bush Administration with his support of warrentless spying on Americans via the Protect AT&T Act, I cannot in good conscience continue to donate to his campaign through the DNC. I will direct my future contributions to electing Better Democrats. Sadly, this will have to be done outside the party infrastructure, as the DC powerbase appears to be hopelessly corrupted by lobbyist money.
Please confirm that my monthly donation to the DNC will end as soon as is practicable.
I have no illusion that my piddling little donation or my email ending the same will have any effect on what the campaign does. But throwing away the Constitution one piece at a time is not what I signed up for.
Filed on June 21, 2008 at 6:42 pm under by dcobranchi
PETALUMA, Calif. — In a gallery of faces only a pet owner could love, Gus — a one-eyed, three-legged Chinese Crested from St. Petersburg, Fla. — has won the annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.
NHELD is up in arms over a bill introduced by Republican Senator David Vitter that would allow a federal deduction for home education expenses of up to $500 per HEK and $2000 per taxpayer. (Would this mean $1000/$4000 for a married couple filing jointly?) NHELD asks:
What do you think about this bill, and what will you do about it?
Not much and nothing. It’s a Republican bill that rewards what is widely considered to be a Republican constituency. This one will never see the light of day.
A local school board in OH has (finally) voted to start firing a “science” teacher who
1) Refused to remove his Bible from the classroom even after being told to
2) Taught religion in his science classes, including creationism
3) Told his students that science is wrong about homosexuality and that it is a choice and a sin and
4) Branded (literally) a cross into the skin of one of his students.
He’s been teaching 21 years.
I’m sure the termination process will take several years during which he’ll be collecting full pay for doing nothing. Of course, getting him out of the classroom is a major step in the right direction, regardless.
Filed on June 20, 2008 at 10:50 pm under by dcobranchi
More German homeschoolers. What is with the obsession these “Christian” groups* have with Nazis?
The Brause family lives in rural eastern Germany near the Polish border. We reported last year that the Youth Welfare Office, the same office used by Hitler to take children from their families during the Third Reich, was granted custody of the children.
Gratuitous violation of Godwin’s Law– 15 yard penalty and loss of down.
*As long as these folks (CBN, WND, etc.) keep on putting scare quotes around “gay marriage,” I’m putting scare quotes around “Christian.”
BTW, as of last night I’m now serving a hitch on the FO’s Community Advisory Board. That means I get to spout off to the editors (like I haven’t been doing that already). I’ll also get a quarterly slot on the editorial page. Stringing 500 to 750 words in complete sentences with correct grammar is going to be a challenge. Blogging (as least the way I practice it) doesn’t really prepare you for that kind of writing.
Here are the relevant bits. My commentary interspersed:
• According to the Department of Non-Public Instruction’s web site, Lynn Paddock had a registered home school, Benjamin Street School.
First off, the Department of Non-Public Instruction doesn’t even exist. It’s the Division of Non-Public Education. Nit-picky, perhaps. But it really doesn’t bode well for their understanding of home education.
• The Department of Non-Public Instruction is unable to make site visits to monitor and support home schools’ compliance with state policy due to limited funding and oversight resources.
This is thankfully true.
• Home schooling may contribute to social isolation if children are not involved in outside activities and adoptive parents are not utilizing post adoptive services.
Sure. If you lock your kids up in cages, they may feel isolated. But how many homeschoolers do that?
• The Department of Non-Public Instruction should conduct a study regarding a Needs Assessment and pursue funding to support increased monitoring and oversight to home schools.
This is the heart of the matter, and the task force again show their ignorance of the law. DNPE (not DNPI) has no authority to monitor homeschooling beyond inspecting our testing records, which are only open for review for a period of “one year after the testing.”
• The State Fatality Review Team supports the continued efforts of the Division of Social Services in regard to the gathering of statistics related to specific school situations in child protective services.
This one is really beyond our ability to control. Besides, the MSM make sure that everyone knows when a homeschooling family is involved.
• The State Fatality Review Team recommends that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner begin to track school status at the time of death and make available this information on a yearly basis to the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force and the state-level North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team.
Again, these data are already widely dispersed. There’s really not a whole lot to say about the State gathering data.
Filed on June 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm under by dcobranchi
WRAL is teasing a “controversy” surrounding home education on its 11 pm local news show. It’s probably going to be something along these lines:
Raleigh, N.C. — A state task force that reviewed the death of a 4-year-old boy at the hands of his adoptive mother recommended more oversight for children taught at home.
The Department of Social Services report on Sean Paddock’s death was released last week, hours after the boy’s adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock, was convicted of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in his February 2006 death.
The report called for more state monitoring of home schools, including having medical examiners track the school status of children who die under suspicious circumstances.
The six surviving Paddock children testified during the three-week trial that Lynn Paddock homeschooled them after the family moved to Smithfield in 2001, but that the instruction gradually devolved into reading the Bible and copying scripture passages. Several of the children, who have moved to new families, are now a grade or two behind their peers.
More than 68,700 students were homeschooled in 2006-07 in 36,068 schools registered with the state Division of Non-Public Education.
The state requires homeschooled students to take annual tests, but the results don’t have to be turned in and aren’t tracked by the state. The five-person staff of the Division of Non-Public Instruction doesn’t have the resources to maintain those records, officials said.
The state has the right to inspect home schools, and records show that 362 inspections were conducted in the past year – about 1 percent of the home schools registered in the state.
Lynn Paddock did little more than register her home school with the state, according to testimony.
The same day the Paddock was convicted, 13-year-old Tyler McMillan died after being tied to a tree for 18 hours by his father. The family homeschooled the teen and his siblings, according to authorities.
Home-school parents said the two deaths are tragic but shouldn’t result in more regulation.
“I really don’t think that more government intervention in the world would’ve stopped (the deaths),” homeschooler Kristie Bloem said. “The vast majority of home schools have careful, loving parents who are dedicated to their children’s future.”
Wii Fit is worth every penny of its $90 price tag. The kids are getting some exercise and so are Mom and Dad. In addition to aerobics, there are yoga stretching exercises, a bunch of balance games, and some good strength-building activities.
The highlight of the “game” is the Balance Board. It seems very sensitive to shifts in your weight and balance. I look forward to seeing what game designers can do with this one in the future.
Why do I support Obama? Because McCain wants to stay in Iraq forever.
“McCain wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal — that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we’ll stay.”
In response to the article titled “Bush to Furman grads: Be responsible,” I’m appalled at the actions of the faculty. Having just graduated this year from Wake Forest University, it’s embarrassing and disrespectful to think about their faculty taking the focus from the students’ accomplishments.
I am a conservative and had a liberal speaker, E.J. Dionne, at my graduation, but neither I nor my family thought about protesting him. Why? It’s because in my four years at Wake Forest the faculty stressed tolerance, diversity and the importance of respecting views different from my own. This is a critical lesson that professors are supposed to stress, for it enables us to work through our differences together instead of through bitter partisanship.
Unfortunately, while the Furman faculty may teach this to their students, in reality this group is actually telling them that the liberal voice is the only one that should be accepted (members of the faculty stood in silent protest of the commencement speech). This is what we call socialism. If I were a graduate of Furman, I no longer would contribute to the alumni fund, nor would I urge my children to attend the university.
Evidently Wake Forest doesn’t teach how to tell the difference between appropriate and inappropriate analogies. Last time I checked, E. J. Dionne didn’t start an unnecessary war and wasn’t (allegedly) leading our government.
I will continue to donate to FU annually and plan to boost my annual giving next year just ’cause the FU profs took a stand. (Of course, I doubt my kids will go there. $40K/year is a bit steep.)
If the GOP doesn’t figure out how the new media works, they can look forward to a blowout of epic proportions in November. Case in point, today John McCain said he has always been opposed to privatizing Social Security. In response, the DNC just released this video.
As if any were needed, here’s proof that the Clintonistas who are planning on either sitting out the election or (even worse) voting for McCain are just being plain irresponsible:
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has ruled that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the U.S. Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts.
The justices, in a 5-4 ruling Thursday, handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.
“We hold these petitioners do have the habeas corpus privilege,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court majority in the 70-page opinion.
Does anyone believe that McCain would appoint SCOTUS justices who would have voted with the majority?
For decades, teachers have been inculcating an alternative tradition and belief system. The beliefs may be based on such amorphous and sophistical ideas as “social justice,” “tolerance,” and “multiculturalism,” the traditions may lead back to the communist ideology of the nineteenth century and then through the heyday of radicalism in the sixties, but the means for inculcation are entrenched.
OTOH, this bit is pure comedy gold:
An Obama presidency would signal the final salvo by the Left in the culture wars. Obama’s advance troops have already taken over our college campuses, have bound and gagged our conservative professors, have ravished our virgins, have pillaged our stores of wisdom, and have ensconced themselves in the thrones of power in deans’, presidents’ and department heads’ offices.
If she doesn’t make tenure (quite possible given these comments) she ought to consider open mic night here.
For all you feminists out there, a quote to get your heart pumping:
“I’m just so thankful that my husband let me stay home and home school,” Rebecca Allford said. “As I went along, I realized how important it was for parents who love their kids to have all this input and be in charge of their education and be able to put Christian values in there. I realized all that as I kept going.
The column is wayover-wrought, but the author still “gets it,” nonetheless:
Young families must make the decision: Will junior go to day care and day school, or will mom stay home and raise him? The rationalizations begin. “A family just can’t make it on one income.” (Our parents did.) “It just costs so much to raise a child nowadays.” (Yeah, if you buy brand-name clothing, pre-prepared food, join every club and activity, and spend half the cost of a house on the daughter’s wedding, it does.) And so, the decision is made. We give up the bulk of our waking hours with our children, as well as the formation of their minds, philosophies, and attitudes, to strangers. We compensate by getting a boat to take them to the river, a van to carry them to Little League, a 2,800-square-foot house, an ATV, a zero-turn Cub Cadet, and a fund to finance a brand-name college education. And most significantly, we claim “our right” to pursue a career for our own
Deep down, however, we know that our generation has eaten its seed corn. We lack the discipline and the vision to deny ourselves in the hope of something enduring and worthy for our posterity. We are tired from working extra jobs, and the looming depression threatens our 401k’s. Credit cards are nearly maxed, and it costs a $100 to fuel the Suburban. Now the kid is raising hell again, demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work … and there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?
“We also need to align with our local legislators to discover reasons why NLCS remains in the bottom fourth in school funding. We may need to partner with home schools and parochial schools to provide opportunities. Student count is an instrumental portion of school funding.”
It’s always entertaining to see how the educrats generally disdain home education until they need our kids to serve as tax dollar generators.
The Observer’s recent editorial on the lack of action from the panel appointed to study the county water situation was spot on. If anything, the editors went too easy on the bureaucrats.
We can all recall how responsive the county commissioners seemed to be during the Observer’s excellent series on water quality in February. It was truly amazing how the series started on Sunday, and by the end of the week there was a brand spanking new blue-ribbon panel that was going to study the problem and quickly make recommendations. Our tax dollars finally at work.
The panel then immediately went into hibernation until mid-May, when an Observer reporter began asking about the lack of progress. Amazingly, that very week the second meeting was held. We learned that they had some grandiose plans, including an interactive map of the contaminated sites in the county.
Color me unimpressed.
We do not need to be spending time and money on gewgaws. A map drawn on the back of a napkin should suffice. We ought to be spending our time figuring out how to get water to the folks down in Southpointe and in the other areas facing contaminated wells. We ought to be able to observe what this panel is doing. And we, the residents of Cumberland County, ought to have community representation on the panel so that, possibly, the bureaucrats would remember that real people are facing real poisoned wells.