Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » July

    Filed on July 31, 2008 at 8:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    George Bush’s energy plan:

    President Bush says he’s using his last six months in office to push new energy plans that include electricity from coal.

    Reliable sources of electricity must be part of a strong economy, and “there is no more reliable source of electricity than coal,” Bush said in a speech Thursday to the West Virginia Coal Association gathered at The Greenbrier Resort.

    He said promoting a variety of energy sources will be part of the “sprint to the finish” he plans for his presidency.

    The only good bit about this is that he is nearly finished. Let’s hope we survive.

    BTW, in the piece I linked to yesterday about the stupid Republicans filibustering tax incentives for large scale renewable electricity projects, I failed to notice that Applied Materials was one of the companies that is pushing for the incentives. Full disclosure: I own a couple hundred shares of AMAT that I bought precisely because of their solar energy work. AMAT makes the equipment that handles the really large pieces of glass that go into solar cells.


    Filed on at 9:25 am under by dcobranchi

    True story:

    Last night Lydia took my car, festooned as it is with anti-Bush and Obama for President bumper stickers, into town. Katelyn was hanging out with some other teens near the parked cars, when an adult acquaintance saw the Obama sticker and loudly asked “Obama?! Who could support Obama?!” Katelyn told him that it was my car and that both Lydia and I were supporting him. His response? “Don’t they know he was behind 9/11?”*

    Yes, the Democratic Party has apparently nominated the leader of Al Qaeda.

    *Katelyn told her mother she wanted to hit the guy upside the head.


    Filed on at 6:54 am under by dcobranchi

    The first two headlines in my GoogleNews search of homeschooling stories are these:

    Taylor Swift Denies Dating a Jonas Brother

    Miley Cyrus: ‘I want to study in London’

    I expect we’ll see a jump in tween HEKs real soon.


    Filed on at 2:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Proof that not all Fayettevillians are wackos.

    Sexual orientation is not a preference

    I must object to your use of the word “preference” in your editorial about the anti-bullying bill. I agree that the N.C. Senate deserves the demerit for not passing this bill, but homosexuality is not a “preference” (“Club crackdown, bullied bill,” July 19).

    No one chooses their sexual orientation. Why would anyone choose to be subjected to the hatred and discrimination faced by gays? Gay children are harassed and threatened throughout their lives just for being who they are. Some are beaten and some are even killed.

    And where does such hate originate? From individuals and organizations who vilify and demonize the gay community, making them fair game. It seems to me that religious groups should be using their influence to get this bill passed instead of opposing it.

    Hate and discrimination have no place in our schools. All children should feel accepted and loved. Hate is not something we are born with. It is taught by those who hate.

    I have been a Christian most of my life and one of my daughters is a lesbian. She is a wonderful person, as is her partner. And God loves them just as they are. Of that I have no doubt.

    Syble Meeks


    Filed on July 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Bakersfield Californian really asked “Should atheists be banned from public office?” Yeah, that whole “no religious test” clause was a really dumb idea.


    Filed on at 5:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    Yes, I know it’s a oxymoron redundancy:

    With billions of dollars of solar and wind power projects and thousands of green-collar jobs hanging in the balance, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday again failed to extend a key investment tax credit for renewable energy.

    Republicans blocked the legislation from coming to the floor, marking the eighth attempt to extend the 30 percent tax credit beyond it’s Jan. 1, 2009, expiration date. The extension is backed by all the state governors save Georgia, and a coalition of Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street banks, renewable energy startups, and tech giants like Google (GOOG), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Applied Materials (AMAT).

    Utilities like PG&E (PCG) and Edison International (EIX) as well as financiers such as Morgan Stanley (MS) and GE Energy Financial Services (GE), are pushing for an eight-year extension of the investment tax credit to give Big Solar projects enough time to get off the ground and start to achieve economies of scale.

    Senate Republicans opposed the legislation, contending it would raise taxes.

    Without the 30 percent tax credit, the viability of several large solar power plant projects remains in doubt. Spanish solar company Abengoa Solar has said it probably will pull out of plans to build a 280-megawatt power plant in Arizona if Congress doesn’t renew the tax credit.

    These are the kinds of technologies that need subsidies in order to get to the break-even point. Without the subsidies the technology isn’t yet competitive and the plants won’t be built. If it were just a choice between two equally good power generation capabilities I’d be opposed to subsidies. But we’re talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions here. Subsidies are absolutely appropriate.


    Filed on July 29, 2008 at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi



    Filed on July 28, 2008 at 10:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    but I’d take the pledge. There’s more here. [Huge hat tip to Skip]


    Filed on at 10:02 pm under by dcobranchi

    but not beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’ve deleted the “torture” post and removed J.K.’s name from the other one.


    Filed on at 7:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Hard to beat a video card w/ 512 MB of memory for $17 (after rebate). GeForce 8500 is no slouch.


    Filed on at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    Yes, using pain to force compliance is torture.


    Filed on at 5:50 am under by dcobranchi

    PZ’s got a whole page of some wannabes.

    OY VEY!

    Filed on July 27, 2008 at 4:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    The writer of this piece must be a real schmuck. Homeschooling’s not illegal in CA.


    Filed on at 3:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Really, really doomed!


    Filed on at 2:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve got almost all of our windows covered with heat rejecting film and am looking for the next energy saving project. The payback time for the film is about 1 to 1.5 summers, and I’m looking to beat that. I’m inclined to try misting the roof.

    According to this site, the evaporation of one gallon of water is about the same as one ton of A/C capacity. A large home A/C unit might be four tons. So evaporating even a single gallon of water could remove a large portion of the heat load to the home.

    There are all sorts of expensive commercial systems for spraying water on the roof. I’m not going that route. What I’m considering is using a simple electronic timer that attaches to the spigot. The outlet would be connected to a regular garden hose that I’d run up the downspout. Finally, the hose would connect to one of those flat misting hoses that you can pick up at Walmart for a few bucks. I figure the whole set-up should cost less than $50.

    And here’s where I’d install it. The spigot is about 2 feet to the right of the downspout.

    Seems easy-peasey to me. So what am I forgetting?

    UPDATE: I just sprayed some water on the roof with the garden hose and let it run off into the downspout. The excess water was definitely warm.


    Filed on at 7:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Today’s pic is stunning.


    Filed on July 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Via John Cole, one of the most ignorant blogposts ever:

    If Obama could go to Germany and give a speech in English and be not only understood but well-received, why does he say we all need to learn another language?

    It’s a good thing, I guess, that the NRO doesn’t allow comments. Stupidity on this level should just stand all by itself.


    Filed on at 11:37 am under by dcobranchi

    By default.

    On the July 23 edition of CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck, guest Ben Stein, while discussing Sen. Barack Obama’s plan to deliver his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at Denver’s Invesco Field, stated that he did not “like the idea of Senator Obama giving his acceptance speech in front of 75,000 wildly cheering people” because “[t]hat is not the way we do things in political parties in the United States of America.” Stein continued: “Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that’s something the Fuehrer would have done. And I think whoever is advising Senator Obama to do this is bringing up all kinds of very unfortunate images from the past.”


    Filed on at 11:19 am under by dcobranchi

    An inside joke for COD:

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that the bounce is continuing for Barack Obama. The presumptive Democratic nominee attracts 46% of the vote while John McCain earns 40%. When “leaners” are included, it’s Obama 49% and McCain 43%.

    Barack Obama has expanded his lead over John McCain in the Tuesday through Thursday Gallup Poll Daily tracking rolling average, and now has a 47% to 41% advantage over his Republican challenger.

    I bet McCain is kicking himself over his moronic call for Obama to travel overseas.


    Filed on at 10:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Question: Do you agree that college for all is a worthy goal? Why or why not? Is it even a reasonable goal for all students to be “college ready”?


    What!? You gave me an “F”? Oh, I have to explain why I think not. Hmmm. Man, these pre-college English classes are really tough.

    No, I don’t believe it is a worthy goal for all students to go to college. To set such a goal implies that enrollment in a college is some rite of passage through which all must pass in order to be successful in their adult lives. That this is patently absurd is obvious. But the Higher Education/Industrial Complex has convinced many students (and their tuition-paying parents) that enrollment in a college (Enrollment != Education) is a ticket to the good life. Katherine Hansen, Ph.D. (Organizational Behavior) explicitly states “five ways that a college education will make you a better person:”

    1. It will likely make you more prosperous.
    2. It will give you a better quality of life.
    3. It will give you the power to change the world.
    4. It will be something you can pass on to your children.
    5. It makes you a major contributor to the greatest nation on earth.

    In her explanation items 1, 2, and 4 are all about money. And items 3 and 5 are at least tangentially about money. So, in Ms. Hansen’s mind, having more “stuff” makes you a better person. That is the American Way. Perhaps Bill Gates isn’t really the Devil after all, since he has more money than God (even without the sheepskin). But even on these ridiculous terms, is attending college classes the best and only way to accumulate more “stuff”? Is the view worth the climb? For many, the answer is no.

    Four or five years of college can represent an enormously expensive investment. According to the College Board, the average cost to attend a public college in 2007 was $13,589. With only a modest 6% college inflation rate, a student could easily spend more than $75,000 to get their ticket punched. And that does not take into account the opportunity cost of essentially earning no money during those five years. Going to college just to gain a lot of knowledge (as the “Game of Life” jingle put it) could easily be a $250,000 gamble. Is it a good gamble? Statistically speaking, yeah, it is. A recent study estimates that over a working lifetime a bachelor’s degree is worth $1.2M. That’s an internal rate of return of roughly 12%. Not bad, at all. But that’s only speaking statistically, and we all know Twain’s warning about statistics. My local newspaper routinely falls into this trap.

    If all of the young people who became high school freshmen in 2003 had graduated this year, North Carolina would be $11 billion better off.

    You can play around with the numbers, if you like: Could we reap $10 billion for almost all? How about $5.5 billion for half?

    What you can’t play around with is the logic. The report is fairly titled “The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools.” As long as kids who drop out earn, on average, $10,000 less per year than their peers who graduate, you don’t need precise calculations to recognize a losing proposition, to understand that both individual and public interests are being disserved.

    There are two major problems with this analysis. 1) It’s easy to compare mean incomes and say that everyone should go to college and then graduate and then we’d all be making a lot more money. But that doesn’t make sense with even a few seconds of thought. If everyone graduated from college, jobs that now require only a high school diploma would suddenly require a bachelor’s degree. And the greeters at Walmart would still be earning $6.55 an hour. 2) Nowhere in any of these income studies does anyone ever report the distribution in incomes. No doubt they are non-normal with very fat tails to the upside. How much do the distributions overlap? That’s a bit of a mystery. Perhaps someone with better research skills than I can dig it out of the Census data.

    Does it make sense to push every student to go to college? No, we simply don’t know if any one high schooler will be better off going to college. Some high school students have had their fill of sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures. Maybe they have better uses for $250,000. Maybe they want to go into the family business. Or into the military. Or to travel for a year or two. Are these kids failures simply because they refuse to toe the company line of college for all and all for college? No more than HEKs are failures for not going to the local g-school.

    F, F, F, F, F, T, F, F, T, F

    Filed on at 4:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Easy-peasey quiz:

    Remember, now: a big T or a big F. Nothing else.

    You believe that:

    1. Earth’s atmosphere is not warming.

    2. Earth’s atmosphere is warming, but human-generated pollution doesn’t contribute to it.

    3. Naturally produced carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are chemically different from, or behave differently from, human-produced carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

    4. Anything that nature produces, humans can safely produce more of, whether it’s anthrax or nuclear radiation or a greenhouse gas (e.g., water vapor, the stuff you see billowing from the cooling towers of nuclear power plants).

    5. Humans should do nothing about global warming, other than adapt to it.

    6. Humans should do something.

    7. We should act, but only if everyone else does, too.

    8. Global warming aside, humans should do nothing more to promote efficiency or limit toxic and noxious emissions or improve visibility.

    9. Other nations and other creatures are due consideration apart from their usefulness to my nation and my species.

    10. Meeting the national emergency of $4-a-gallon gas justifies anything we might do.

    The “right” answers are in the title. If you missed one or more, you’re reading the wrong blog.


    Filed on at 4:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Because only brown-skinned folks commit crimes:

    Crime is not foreign to large cities

    According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word ghetto means a section of a city in which members of a national or racial group live, or are restricted to. Becky Sharrow (“Back-to-back murders have community on edge,” July 15) should get her facts straight before bad-mouthing our city in a letter to the editor.

    I am a native of Fayetteville, and realize that, as in all big cities, crime has increased because of the diverse groups of people who live here. But in many of our crimes, particularly regarding the suspect in the murder of Megan Touma which Sharrow wrote of, the alleged act wasn’t carried out by Fayetteville natives, but by military transplants.

    Fayetteville certainly has much more good than bad. If Sharrow’s small town in Michigan had our population, she would hear of crimes there, too. Perhaps she should find the road leading out of Fayetteville, and take all the crime-ridden transplants with her. There are many of us who like calling Fayetteville home, including many active, and retired, military.

    Michael Anthony Kivett

    And I’m pretty sure the alleged act really happened. She really is dead.


    Filed on July 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s not often that the publisher & editor of a deadtree newspaper writes a pro-homeschooling editorial. It’s even more rare when that publisher is, himself, a home educator. This editorial is well worth a read.

    NO! NO! NO!

    Filed on July 23, 2008 at 7:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    I still lean libertarian enough to call this out as a horrible idea.

    “A relatively new group, Service Nation, is planning to kick off a campaign with a Summit for “National Service” on September 11,” reports Jim Lindgren of the legal site Volokh Conspiracy.


    The campaign appears to be pretty Obama-friendly, jibing with his recent call for a national service bureaucracy that’s “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the military. Of course, McCain has certainly expressed an appreciation for the “a cause greater than yourself” mindset too, including a fondness for­–quite literally–­the sight of uniformed cadres of young people preparing for a day of service with calisthenics in the public square.

    I don’t care if the campaign is giving Obama a big slobbery kiss. Requiring “national service” is just wrong. And probably unconstitutional.


    Filed on at 7:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    I always thought that the death penalty could only be administered after a defendant was found guilty of the most heinous of crimes. Apparently the police in Louisiana can electrocute folks for not complying with their orders quickly enough.

    Read this (and this) and weep.

    And before anyone asks, no, I wouldn’t like to see the cop fry in LA’s electric chair. Life in a federal pen will suffice. And there is no parole in the federal system.


    Filed on at 4:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a sentence that you don’t see from the NYT every day:

    [I]n a forest in southern England, great tits have been shrinking.

    You’ll have to click over to get the context. 🙂


    Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi


    I just saw this in print for the first time. It’s funny because I’m trying to help start a co-op specializing in local foods. I didn’t know there was a word to describe us.

    ME, TOO

    Filed on July 22, 2008 at 9:03 am under by dcobranchi

    What Chris said.

    OH! MY! GOLD!

    Filed on July 21, 2008 at 6:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is absolutely hilarious, even if it does make libertarians/Paulites look like utter morans. My personal fav:

    Says Bob in Clemons, North Carolina: “We need to abolish the Federal Reserve and go back to the gold standard. Not just any gold though, I heard about this stuff, pure-strain gold that has been around since God created the universe. That’s what we should base our currency around since it is so close to God.”

    A quick Google of “pure strain gold” yields this explanation fro the Urban Dictionary.:

    All matter is energyand the big bang was pure energy; during the big bang an amount of that infinite pure energy was turned into every element in the ratio of it’s atomic weight – for every pound of hydrogen created twice as much helium was created and so on. Most of all this reacted and became other elements; but because gold is unreactive you can trace this down to gold that exists now and will always exist. Most of the gold in the universe is from other generations and was created in an exploding star; there’s gold that exists that came fromt he first generation of stars and you can trace the degree of all these back to the big bang. This isn’t contraversial; once you accept the big bang happened this is one thing that follows from it the same way as the expansion of the universe follows from it.

    Nope. Not “contraversial” at all.


    Filed on July 20, 2008 at 4:34 am under by dcobranchi

    In the hope that James E. Martin is an ego-googler, I post here the text of an email I sent to the Fayetteville Observer’s editors in response to this column.

    You’re very mean-spirited, you know.

    When we have a serious issue to resolve at work we also form task teams. If the issue is critical, those teams meet EVERY DAY. And progress (or lack thereof) is reported back to the group EVERY DAY. So I’m not particularly impressed with 4 mtgs in a half year. That doesn’t sound like management takes the problem seriously

    The commissioners appropriated $2.25 million this fiscal year to address critical water contamination issues and begin preparing engineering design requirements to extend water in the county.

    A response by politicians who know their jobs are on the line. Perhaps if the bureaucrats felt the same we’d have seen more progress.

    The county signed a contract with an engineer to design a water line to the Southpoint neighborhood.

    And the contract calls for design completion when? 2009? 2010? 2525?

    The county met with the town of Hope Mills and PWC staff to begin a project to bring a water line to the Brooklyn Circle neighborhood.

    Wow! PWC, HM, and the county met. Once. And they’re all going to BEGIN a project that might be complete sometime in the future. Maybe. If they all agree to. Which there’s no evidence of.

    Preliminary engineering design work is under way to bring sewer to the Overhills Park community, for which federal grant funding has been authorized, though not yet appropriated.

    Translated this means that there’s no plan and no money.

    In a parallel effort, the Eastover Sanitary District is undertaking a project to extend its water lines east to the Sampson County line.

    Non-sequitur. Eastover isn’t the problem.

    County staff has begun creating a countywide integrated digital database for water lines and water contamination problems.

    They’re STILL playing with their digital toys..

    County staff has held productive discussions with water providers in the region, including PWC, Eastover Sanitary District, Harnett County, Robeson County and Bladen County, about potential cooperative efforts to extend water lines.

    Yay! And what was the product of those meetings? Who knows?! The meetings are closed.

    Communication between state and local agencies is being addressed and has improved.

    That’s good, I guess, as long as that improved communication actually results in some ACTION. I’m less impressed if all it means is that we now have twice as many navel-gazers.

    Commissioners adopted a policy requiring testing of wells in new subdivisions that are within 1,000 feet of contaminated ground water sites.

    Another political response that has nothing to do with the task force.

    In short, there is a lot going on. A fair-minded view of all this activity shows that the commissioners and county staff are giving water issues their top priority and utmost efforts.

    You’re mean-spirited and I’m unfair-minded. And the bureaucrats are led by a whiny, self-serving, incompetent boob.

    If the issue were not so important, this column might actually be funny.



    Filed on July 19, 2008 at 4:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of assholes.

    I find it impossible to believe that the traditional media will be able to ignore this story.


    Filed on at 3:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m really enjoying my new espresso machine, but I had a problem. Most of the holes in the filter basket had become plugged due to my having ground the coffee too finely. Googling around did not come up with any solution, and ordering a new basket from Italy didn’t seem very practical. So I stuck the filter basket in my oven and turned it to self-clean. Two hours later the basket came out with every hole wide open.

    So if anyone else ever Googles around looking for how to clean the holes in a plugged portafilter basket perhaps this post will help.


    Filed on at 4:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Good column on setting big goals for renewables in today’s NYT.


    Filed on July 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    Long. Boring. Stupid.


    Filed on at 7:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Hey, he used the term first. And I happen to agree with him:

    While Barringer was in Washington, he spoke with many congressmen and senators who feel that what has happened in VA chapels has degraded worship of our Lord and Savior. It’s interesting to note that there are politicians in our Capitol who are Christians, and who daily practice their faith by attending prayer services held right on Capitol Hill.


    This should give all Christian believers the sense that our government still holds sacred the truths upon which our country was founded, and that it still acknowledges that there is one God Almighty; and that we, as a nation under God, still give to him all the honor, the glory and praise that are justly due.

    We are hopeful that this visit will produce a change in the outdated, misinterpreted VA regulations, and that our religious freedoms will be preserved, and that religious symbols will be restored to all VA chapels.

    There is growing evidence here in the United States that Christians who use the name of Jesus and insist that he is “the one and only way to God” are increasingly viewed by many in the liberal media as narrow-minded religious bigots.

    No, it’s not all Christians who are viewed as bigots. It’s only the ones who insist that the rest of us bow down to YOUR Lord and Savior.


    Filed on at 6:57 am under by dcobranchi

    Conservative moran Thomas Sowell shows his ass in his latest column on autism. (Yes, I really did just link to freerepublic.com)

    What Camarata has also encountered is something that I encountered in my smaller group— parents who have been told to allow their child to be diagnosed as autistic, in order to become eligible for government money that is available, and can be used for speech therapy or whatever other treatment the child might need.

    How much this may have contributed to the soaring statistics on the number of children diagnosed as autistic is something that nobody knows — and apparently not many people are talking about it.

    Another factor in the great increase in the number of children diagnosed as autistic is a growing practice of referring to children as being on “the autistic spectrum.”

    In other words, a child may not actually be autistic but has a number of characteristics common among autistic children. The problem with this approach is that lots of children who are not autistic have characteristics that are common among autistic children.


    Real autism may not get as much money as it needs if much of that money is dissipated on children who are not in fact autistic. But money is money to those who are running research projects— and a gullible media helps them get that money.

    “Autism sprectrum disorders” aren’t real? Tell that to Dr. Asperger and the parents of all the AS kids.

    BOO! HISS!

    Filed on at 4:00 am under by dcobranchi

    And once again the bigots win.

    RALEIGH — A controversial bullying bill that would have provided protection for public school students based on their sexual orientation was skipped over Thursday and will not be considered during the 2008 session, which likely ends today.

    The bill had drawn vocal opposition from Christian groups who opposed it as a law promoting homosexuality.


    Filed on July 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    Or at least $8.34

    This has to be one of the greatest (geekiest) political fundraiser ever.


    Filed on at 5:57 am under by dcobranchi

    And they crib from us, too. 🙂


    Filed on July 16, 2008 at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    Such a lovely Op/Ed in my paper today. Bullying is bad, but it just might be okay to beat up some gays and cross-dressers:

    Such is very much the case with House Bill 1366 — School Violence Prevention Act, legislation sponsored by Rep. Rick Glazier, a Cumberland County Democrat. The measure would require that public schools in North Carolina adopt policies to address the problems of bullying. But it is the enumerations of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” included in the bill’s definition of bullying that are problematic.

    Certainly, no reasonable individual would want to be complicit with bullying for any reason. At least this is what the Senate thought and stripped away all of the enumerations from the House version of the bill and sent it back to that chamber for concurrence. Nevertheless, the House voted not to concur by a 60-56 margin and Rep. Glazier vowed to get the objectionable language of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” placed back in the legislation.

    The fact of the matter is no enumerations could cover all the bullying scenarios and none are needed to provide the essential protections for North Carolina’s children.

    The fact of the matter is that the enumerations were stripped out of the bill SOLELY because they listed the two “objectionable” categories. If the House hadn’t included those two terms, the bill sails through the Senate unopposed.

    So why insist on enumerations in the legislation? It is because there really is a hidden agenda by pro-homosexual influences.

    You would think that after all these years of being outed by ignorant fundamentalist wackos, the “hidden agenda” would no longer be hidden.

    The evil of this legislation is that it elevates “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the same levels with the enumerations of “race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, physical appearance, mental, physical or sensory disability,” which clearly are immutable or unchangeable characteristics. Yet homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, cross-dressing and other alternate sexual behaviors are not immutable or unchangeable.

    Moreover, it would equate what is sexually perverse with the sacred — religion — which, generally speaking, defines such behaviors as immoral. What better way to negate the two strongest voices of criticism against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behavior in society than to elevate an individual’s sexual preference to the same level as immutable characteristics and religion and by statute say it deserves the same recognition and protection?

    Religion is sacred?! Sacredieu! And I’m pretty sure a few of those “immutable characteristics” can certainly change over the course of months or years.

    Rep. Glazier, however, continues to argue the list is only necessary to protect “the most vulnerable populations.” He says the inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” is needed so that school administrators can “teach and train” students about their prejudices and biases.

    Nice straw man, there.

    Ahhh, but there is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, is it not? If this legislation should pass, it would essentially require North Carolina public schools to teach that these behaviors are normal and perfectly acceptable. Students would be taught that alternate sexual behaviors are like race, color, ancestry — something a person can’t change — and like religion — something to be revered. And the premise for this teaching and training of students would be the law itself.

    And, wonder of wonders, the straw man is knocked down.

    How clever! This bill is not so much about protecting “all of God’s children,” as Rep. Glazier has framed it, but it’s actually a backdoor approach to the indoctrination of North Carolina’s children with homosexual ideology. Moreover, it would create a domino effect that not only impacts education, but also employment, housing, anti-discrimination laws and potentially North Carolina’s marriage statutes since the state doesn’t define marriage in its Constitution.

    And straight onto the slippery slope. Could this guy use any more bad argumentation in a single column?

    The Rev. Mark H. Creech is executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina.



    Filed on July 14, 2008 at 7:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    The organizations that create and administer the ACT and SAT have an interesting response to kids who are caught cheating on the test– they essentially do nothing. The scores are invalidated but the schools aren’t notified that cheating was involved. Sometimes the kids even get to re-take the test gratis. It’s been kind of a “hide in plain sight.”

    Students taking the two tests sign confidentiality agreements and promise not to misbehave, but most are unaware of the testing agencies’ policies — and most professional tutors are not eager to let them know.

    “I’ve known about this for 25 years but did not believe it served anybody’s interest to be told there were no consequences for cheating on tests,” said Paul Kanarek, president of the Princeton Review of Southern California. “It’s not the right ethical message to send.”

    Well, thanks to Nikki Brown at the LAT, I know about it. And now so do you.


    Filed on at 4:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Snark in the local paper. Cool.

    Poll respondents are not experts on ideas

    A recent Pew study shows that a majority of Americans believe in God. Whoopee. That makes it valid.

    Here are some other headlines from the past:

    Majority agree that Pharaoh becomes Sun God at death.

    Majority agree that the world is ruled by at least 10 different gods, with Zeus in charge.

    Majority agree that persons with uncontrollable movements are witches who must be burned at the stake.

    Majority agree that night air is cause of most diseases.

    Majority sure that Saddam Hussein is hiding WMDs.

    It’s such a shame that it’s only a majority when it comes to these ideas. But, no, we always have that 8 percent to 10 percent who insist on being logical and demanding proof of any such notions, proof that would at least meet high school science standards. Bunch of troublemakers.

    And since the majority is never wrong, why don’t we have the majority decide on a cure for cancer, a way to produce cheap and endless gasoline and the way to stop all conflicts? Three cheers for the majority.

    Jim Stacey


    Filed on July 13, 2008 at 5:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    Anything the State can do that makes it more onerous for HEKs to re-enroll in the g-schools is a good thing:

    Almost every child in Illinois will get a complete vision exam this year thanks to Amy Hughes’ eyes.

    Her mom, Janet Hughes, kick-started legislation that replaces in-school or doctor’s office screenings with full-fledged optometrist examinations.

    Starting this school year, all kindergartners and children entering Illinois schools from out of state or home school must provide proof of an optometric exam by Oct. 15.


    Filed on at 4:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    So that we can finally be rid of the moran in the WH:

    The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”

    He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

    Well, what can we expect from a guy who mocked a woman condemned to death and joked about there not being WMD in Iraq by crawling around the Oval Office “looking” for them?

    God, I hate him.


    Filed on July 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure there are some crunchy homeschoolers around here. We’re trying to eat better. More whole foods. Homemade breads. And we’re to the point that we’re considering grinding our own flour, as there’s a buyers co-op here that can get us various grains. The help I need is in finding a flour mill. It seems you can spend anywhere from $25 to $400. I know enough to avoid the low price spreads, but how far up the scale do I need to go in order to get a machine that can grind grain fine enough to bake bread?


    Filed on at 1:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    That ultra-liberal 9th Circuit Court has done it again, overturning two lower court decisions that had found that schools know best:

    Schools may not strip-search students for drugs based on an unverified tip, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

    Overturning two other rulings, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said an assistant principal at an Arizona middle school violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old by ordering her to be strip-searched. He thought the honor student had prescription-strength ibuprofen; she did not.


    After a search of her pockets and backpack yielded nothing incriminatory, Kerry Wilson, the assistant principal, ordered his administrative assistant and a school nurse, both women, to force her to disrobe.

    “The officials had Savana peel off each layer of clothing in turn,” wrote Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw for the majority.

    The girl stood in her bra and underwear while the two officials searched her clothes. Then she was ordered to partially remove her bra, exposing her breasts, and finally told to shake out the crotch of her underwear.

    “Hiding her head so that the adults could not see that she was about to cry, Savana complied and pulled out her underwear, revealing her pelvic area,” Wardlaw wrote. “No ibuprofen was found.”

    The search was unjustified, the court said, because officials made no attempt to corroborate the claim by a student who was “cornered” and “seeking to shift blame from herself.”

    Forcing Savana to disrobe also was a “disproportionately extreme measure,” the majority said.

    “Common sense informs us that directing a 13-year-old girl to remove her clothes, partially revealing her breasts and pelvic area, for allegedly possessing ibuprofen, an infraction that poses an imminent danger to no one, and which could have been handled by keeping her in the principal’s office until a parent arrived or simply sending her home, was excessively intrusive,” Wardlaw wrote, joined by Judges Harry Pregerson, Raymond C. Fisher, Richard A. Paez, Milan D. Smith Jr. and N. Randy Smith.


    The ruling said that Assistant Principal Wilson was liable for monetary damages but that his aide and the school nurse were not because they were acting under his orders.

    Ten million in compensatory and punitive damages sounds about right to me.


    Filed on July 11, 2008 at 8:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    Jonathan and I saw this guy at the Wilmington Blue Rocks game Wednesday. It’s even grosser in person.


    Filed on at 1:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    Their latest contest excludes students who aren’t in PreK-6. What about HEKs whose parents don’t have a graded “school”? Huh?!!

    I’m sending nasty emails to them right now!!!!!!!!!!


    Filed on July 9, 2008 at 7:12 am under by dcobranchi

    This is the first that I heard that HEKs are going to have to get extra vaccinations. The article makes no sense as written, but the principle is still worrisome:

    Some students may need to visit a doctor before Aug. 1 because school immunization requirements have changed.

    According to the Rockingham County schools, children and college students are now required by state law to receive an additional mumps vaccine and a booster dose of a combination tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.


    A few categories of students must comply. Public school students entering sixth grade need extra immunizations if five years has past since the last dose of tetanus and diphtheria vaccine.

    All students 12 or older at non-public schools, such as private or home schools, must have the additional shots. College and university students must also comply by Aug. 1 if 10 years has passed since their last tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine, and provide proof to their institution’s health department. All students enrolling in a school or college for the first time are required to take a second mumps vaccine.

    As far as I can tell, this law has no teeth for homeschools. The penalty for non-compliance is expulsion from school. I seriously doubt that will work for HEKs.


    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Did the letter writer just reveal that her grandson is a cross-dresser? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Just kidding. But this LttE really is bizarre. This same school fired their principal for undisclosed reasons a month or so before all this took place.

    Graduation marred by prom incident

    Village Christian Academy’s prom was May 3. On May 2, high school Principal Roger Vogel informed the juniors and seniors that if the young ladies’ gowns did not meet the dress code, they would not be allowed to enter the prom. On May 6, some parents received a letter signed by acting superintendent C.J. Bordeaux, Vogel and Leta Spain stating that, because of gowns not meeting the code, some students would receive in-school suspension. Our grandson would have five hours of ISS. If he failed to abide, he would face further punishment.

    No one was turned away on prom night. No one was available to talk with parents at VCA. On May 8 at approximately 10:15 p.m., Bordeaux called our son and told him there would be no ISS. Graduation was May 23, the same day that another letter was mailed. Now mind you, VCA knew these letters would not be received until the day after graduation. This letter was a reversal of Bordeaux’s phone call.

    Is Bordeaux not capable of making decisions? This letter stated that VCA would not release any of the involved seniors’ transcripts until their ISS was completed. This letter was signed by Vogel. On May 27, another letter came stating there would be no ISS and was signed by Bruce Martin. Our son went directly to VCA and picked up our grandson’s transcript.

    What a kettle of fish. This is what the young people will remember about their graduation.

    Joyce Gordon

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