Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » August

    Filed on August 31, 2008 at 12:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    The tough decisions reformer Palin had to face that impressed John McCain.


    Filed on at 7:17 am under by dcobranchi

    and send your parents to jail.

    Therein lies the most troubling flaw of the proposed ordinance. After Section 1 defines attendance requirements, Section 2 of the ordinance states that “One or more parents, legal guardians, or custodians of any child who is found to be in violation of Section 1 on any given school day shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment for up to six (6) months or by both the said fine and imprisonment.” (Italics added.)

    Whatever happened to in loco parentis? Once the kid is at the school, hasn’t the school principal assumed the role of parent? So if a kid cuts second period, does the principal go to jail? That would be an interesting solution.


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    I just don’t have the vocabulary for how sick I find this:

    Republican White House hopeful John McCain and running-mate Sarah Palin will Sunday ditch their pre-convention plans and visit people in Mississippi bracing for deadly Hurricane Gustav.

    The visit comes as the fearsome category four storm’s approach overshadowed the buildup to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota on Monday, and stirred memories of the botched response to Hurricane Katrina exactly three years ago.

    “Yes it’s confirmed we are going to Mississippi in the morning” on Sunday, campaign spokeswoman Kimmie Lipscomb told AFP, after McCain flew into midwestern Missouri for an overnight stop.

    And, yes, I realize this blog has trended way to the “P” side of its acronym lately. But that’s where we find ourselves. In the middle of the most important election in the last half-century. FSM help us if we’re stupid enough to elect Bush McCain.


    Filed on August 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    Words escape me.

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Officials with the McCain campaign and the Republican National convention are considering changing the event’s agenda as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast.


    A senior McCain source said Saturday that officials are considering turning the convention into a service event, a massive telethon to raise money for the Red Cross and other agencies to help with the hurricane.

    “He wants to do something service-oriented if and when the storm hits and it’s as bad as its expected to be now,” the McCain source said.

    They are also hoping to get McCain himself to a storm-affected area as soon as possible.


    Filed on at 5:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    Obama answered Sciencedebate 2008’s survey here. No answers yet from McCain.


    How about this for a “Good Answer” – answering services can represent your business and save money on operating and staffing costs.


    Filed on at 3:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Well, here’s one way to meet AYP.

    A state-funded investigation of Scotland High Schools alleges that at least 115 students were removed from the rolls of end-of-course classes and put into non-existent classes to improve test scores.


    Filed on at 12:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    After thinking about this for a day, I believe McCain’s choice of Palin is evidence that the moneyboys who own the GOP are conceding the election this year. There’s absolutely no question that Palin isn’t ready for prime time. But, by putting her on the ticket this year, they can set her up for a run in 2016 (assuming she’s not impeached in AK in ’09).


    Filed on August 29, 2008 at 5:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys more deserving group of assholes.

    This analysis nails it.

    On the economy. On personal liberty. On America’s place in the world. The GOP is dead wrong.


    Filed on August 28, 2008 at 7:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    Why is Costco even interested in home education?


    Filed on at 10:32 am under by dcobranchi


    From a local listserv:

    So, I continue to talk to people in government about how we can make homeschooling a solid educational choice for families. I want stronger partnerships between parents and the school districts in which they reside. I want regulations that are fair, to both the parents AND the students so that the students are keeping up with their public school counterparts. If the public schools are indeed as terrible as homeschoolers say they are, it should be no problem to meet the same standards.I want homeschooling to be a legitimate educational choice, not the joke many people think it is now.


    Filed on August 27, 2008 at 7:06 pm under by dcobranchi

    MoveOn.org is going after McSame on teevee. Up to now, they’ve held back at Obama’s request. I’m glad to see they’ve gone off the reservation.


    Filed on August 26, 2008 at 7:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Yeah, the Constitution Party candidate has absolutely zero percent chance of winning even a single electoral vote. But I have to give him props for his choice of venue.


    Filed on at 6:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Nan McVicker thinks babelfish got hold of this one:

    “If a kid who is place schooling acquires caught up in the history of the Roman Empire, you can allow that kid work on it for hr after hour,” said Nancy McVicker, manager of the New Jersey Home School Association. “Set aside another lesson planned and come up back to it later.”

    The rest of the piece is equally fractured. Pretty funny.


    Filed on August 24, 2008 at 8:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Thomas Sowell is an idiot. Yeah, I know– dog bites man.

    If ordinary people, with no medical training, could perform surgery in their kitchens with steak knives, and get results that were better than those of surgeons in hospital operating rooms, the whole medical profession would be discredited.

    Yet it is common for ordinary parents, with no training in education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master’s degrees and in schools spending upwards of $10,000 a year per student — which is to say, more than a million dollars to educate ten kids from K through 12.

    He then goes on to point out that the economists who were running the planned economies in China and India haven’t done as well in allocating goods and service as the “market.” It’s two-fer idiocy. First, he’s comparing apples and oranges. Home education and a g-school education have nothing in common except the word “education.” I have no doubt that I’d be a total flop at running a class of 25 or 30 6th-graders. The “system” is completely different. Just as a market economy is a completely different system than a planned one.

    Second, he’s attempting to carry water for the GOP’s latest anti-intellectual meme. Scientists are elitists when they talk about climate change. Economists are elitists when they talk about the economy. Obama’s an elitist when he talks about anything at all because he’s smart (and McCain’s not). Here’s a news flash. Being smart is good. Knowing what you’re talking about is good. Stephen Colbert nailed the attitude almost three years ago:

    I’m sorry, but this reading initiative. I’ve never been a fan of books. I don’t trust them. They’re all fact, no heart. I mean, they’re elitist telling us what is or isn’t true, what did or didn’t happen. What’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914. If I want to say it was built in 1941, that’s my right as an American. I’m with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.

    The original Know Nothings weren’t ignorant. They just pleaded ignorance about their knowledge of party activities. The modern day Know Nothings– Bush, Sowell, and the rest of the GOP– don’t know anything and revel in their ignorance:

    At a town hall event in Berea, Ohio, Obama recited his plans to encourage the development of alternative fuels and his proposal for energy tax rebates and said Republicans were “lying about what my energy plan is.”

    “The other thing is, they are making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by three to four percent,” Obama said. “It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant. They think it’s funny that they’re making fun of something that is actually true.”

    I’m so sick of being preached to and (mis)led by a bunch of people who believe that Orwell’s “Ignorance is Strength” was prescriptive.


    UPDATE: Cross-posted at dKos.


    Filed on August 23, 2008 at 9:01 pm under by dcobranchi


    Filed on at 8:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    This isn’t anything that hasn’t been known for at least a decade. Pre-school can help the poorest of the poor. For everyone else? Meh.


    Filed on at 6:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m having a hard time interpreting NC’s homeschooling laws regarding vaccinations. First, the relevant homeschool laws:

    § 115C?564. Qualifications and requirements.

    A home school shall make the election to operate under the qualifications of either Part 1 or Part 2 of this Article and shall meet the requirements of the Part elected, except that any requirement related to safety and sanitation inspections shall be waived if the school operates in a private residence and except that testing requirements in G.S. 115C?549 and G.S. 115C?557 shall be on an annual basis. (1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 891, s. 1.)

    This says that we’re treated just like other non-public schools except for safety and sanitation inspections. Vaccination records are explicitly mentioned in two other sections:

    § 115C?548. Attendance; health and safety regulations.

    Each private church school or school of religious charter shall make, and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each pupil enrolled and regularly attending classes.

    § 115C?565. Requirements exclusive.

    No [home]school which complies with this Part shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting immunization.

    NC homeschoolers acknowledge that we have to maintain these immunization and attendance records. But what exactly are immunization records? That’s in another chapter:

    § 130A?155. Submission of certificate to child care facility, preschool and school authorities; record maintenance; reporting.

    (a) No child shall attend a school (pre K?12), whether public, private or religious, a child care facility as defined in G.S. 110?86(3), unless a certificate of immunization indicating that the child has received the immunizations required by G.S. 130A?152 is presented to the school or facility. The parent, guardian, or responsible person must present a certificate of immunization on the child’s first day of attendance to the principal of the school or operator of the facility, as defined in G.S. 110?86(7). If a certificate of immunization is not presented on the first day, the principal or operator shall present a notice of deficiency to the parent, guardian or responsible person. The parent, guardian or responsible person shall have 30 calendar days from the first day of attendance to obtain the required immunization for the child. If the administration of vaccine in a series of doses given at medically approved intervals requires a period in excess of 30 calendar days, additional days upon certification by a physician may be allowed to obtain the required immunization. Upon termination of 30 calendar days or the extended period, the principal or operator shall not permit the child to attend the school or facility unless the required immunization has been obtained.

    (b) The school or child care facility shall maintain on file immunization records for all children attending the school or facility which contain the information required for a certificate of immunization as specified in G.S. 130A?154. These certificates shall be open to inspection by the Department and the local health department during normal business hours. When a child transfers to another school or facility, the school or facility which the child previously attended shall, upon request, send a copy of the child’s immunization record at no charge to the school or facility to which the child has transferred.

    (c) The school shall file an annual immunization report with the Department by November 1. The child care facility shall file an immunization report annually with the Department. The report shall be filed on forms prepared by the Department and shall state the number of children attending the school or facility, the number of children who had not obtained the required immunization within 30 days of their first attendance, the number of children who received a medical exemption and the number of children who received a religious exemption.

    Noticeably absent from section (a) is “homeschool.” And that makes sense as we don’t file any kind of “immunization report” with the Health Department. So sections (a) and (c) don’t apply to homeschools. But what about Section (b)? The Department of Health doesn’t even know we exist. It seems that section (b) is also irrelevant. After all, what’s the point of maintaining records if no one has the authority to request them? The Division of non-public education is only authorized to request our testing records:

    § 115C?557

    Each school shall make and maintain records of the results achieved by its students. For one year after the testing, all records shall be made available, subject to G.S. 115C?174.13, at the principal office of such school, at all reasonable times, for annual inspection by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina. (1979, c. 505; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1987, c. 738, s. 180(b); 2004?199, s. 30(a).)

    And one other thing– the religious exemption. Here’s where it gets completely ridiculous to try to apply these laws to homeschools:

    § 130A?157. Religious exemption.

    If the bona fide religious beliefs of an adult or the parent, guardian or person in loco parentis of a child are contrary to the immunization requirements contained in this Chapter, the adult or the child shall be exempt from the requirements. Upon submission of a written statement of the bona fide religious beliefs and opposition to the immunization requirements, the person may attend the college, university, school or facility without presenting a certificate of immunization. (1957, c. 1357, s. 1; 1959, c. 177; 1965, c. 652; 1971, c. 191; 1979, c. 56, s. 1; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; 1985, c. 692, s. 2; 2002?179, s. 17.)

    Upon written submission to whom? It’s got to be the school, since the school has to report each year how many students are there under a religious exemption. So we would have to submit a written statement to ourselves that we object to vaccinations for religious reasons? Again, this makes absolutely no sense. But NC homeschoolers talk about obtaining a religious exemption all the time. I’d argue that since § 130A?155 (a) doesn’t include homeschools, and since we are the schools to whom we would have to submit a statement, that this section simply can’t apply to homeschools.

    So I’ve come to the conclusion that despite the explicit requirements in § 115C?548 and § 115C?565 to maintain immunization records the vaccination requirements just can’t be applied to homeschoolers.



    Filed on at 11:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Senator Joe’s a good choice. Although he’s been in D.C. forever, he’s not of D.C. He never bought a home there, instead commuting on Amtrak each day. He’s a quick-wit and was the one who made “A noun, a verb, and 9/11” famous. That quote probably did more to sink Giuliani’s chances than anything. And now, of course, it’ll be easy to note that McCain’s entire campaign seems to consist of “a noun, a verb, and prisoner-of-war.”


    Filed on at 11:26 am under by dcobranchi

    This is a mash-up of several different recipes. Start to finish, it takes about 3 hours (or 7 days depending on your POV).

    You’ll need a good active sourdough starter. To make your own from scratch takes about a week, but it’s really easy and worth the effort.

    Quick sourdough bread
    1 c. sourdough starter
    4 c. all purpose flour
    1 1/2 c. warm water
    1 T. dry yeast
    1 t. sugar
    1 1/2 t. salt

    Combine all of the ingredients in a stand mixer reserving 1/4 c. of the water. Knead until the dough forms a ball, adding water a teaspoon at a time if necessary. When complete, the dough should be a little sticky. Turn out onto a floured (whole wheat or cornmeal) pastry sheet or something similar. Dust the dough with additional flour or cornmeal. Cover with a large pot and let rise until doubled in volume. Depending on your yeast, that may take an hour to two. While the dough is rising pre-heat a heavy Dutch oven with a lid in the main oven at 475 oF. When everything is good and hot, gently place the dough seam side down in the Dutch oven. BE CAREFUL. It’s very easy to get burned here. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and place the whole thing back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 5 minutes before cutting into this very crusty loaf.

    ANSWERS $5

    Filed on at 8:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Correct answers, $50.

    Joanne Jacobs has discovered a school where geeks will rule. And, I expect, turn a fair bit of coin.


    Filed on August 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    and drive the bigots crazy!


    Filed on August 21, 2008 at 6:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Before I had read up on or really thought about the vaccine issue, I was at least somewhat sympathetic to the anti-vaxxers. But no more. Their religious convictions or anti-scientific “worldviews” are endangering the lives of their children and infants too young to be vaccinated. Basta!


    Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s the reason I asked the survey question below:

    NASHVILLE, TN, Aug 11, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — Until last Friday, more than 8 in 10 Americans were at odds with a California appeals court that ruled in February that “parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” according to just-released data from LifeWay Research.

    In fact, 86 percent of those polled by LifeWay Research in an April telephone survey agreed with the statement: “Parents have a constitutional right to homeschool their children.”

    For HERP&ES victims, only 13% agreed.


    Filed on August 20, 2008 at 9:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    that HSLDA will be citing these stats.

    In the science stream, just 1.79 per cent of home-schooled pupils achieved the pass rate of 60 per cent, while in the arts stream, the figure was 2.95 per cent. At adult education centres, the pass rate in the science stream was 14.63 per cent, while in the arts stream, only 13.02 per cent of candidates passed.

    At government schools, success rates were much higher – at 83.9 per cent in science and 69.4 per cent in the arts. At private schools, the results were even better.

    It’s Abu Dhabi, so I have absolutely no idea what the term “homeschooling” means.


    Filed on at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is supposed to be funny. I think.

    IN A RUT

    Filed on at 8:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    Every Wife Swap episode has to include one homeschooling family. It’s the law!


    Filed on at 1:19 am under by dcobranchi

    From back in the days of innocence.


    Filed on August 18, 2008 at 3:55 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t want this guy defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Voters blinded by Obama’s promises

    A general truth of human nature is that people are horribly prone to voting themselves largesse and that which promises the most plunder to themselves. Such is the premise of the campaign of Barack Obama: by stating that “we can change things” and “I can accomplish all of these things as president” is hypnotizing twaddle that deludes people into a false sense that the president has more power than he really does.

    He vows to punish oil companies for “making too much money.” He pledges to “make the rich pay their fair share.” He pledges universal health care and to force countries to cease production of nuclear materials. All of these are quite appealing and alluring, causing people to bite his fishing line blindly.

    In actuality, all of these are naught but empty promises that Obama is making use of to secure support and allow himself to sweep into office. Really, the president is not gifted with all of the power the candidates would have you believe they have. In that sense, Obama is extremely intelligent, saying just the magical words that will win him the election.

    The purpose of the Electoral College is to protect the election of president from the blind tyranny of the masses. It worked in 2000. Here’s to hoping that it protects the office again in 2008.

    James E. Honaker
    Fort Bragg


    Filed on August 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Check out the photo:

    That is close to suicidal.


    Filed on at 12:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    and straight into a ditch. Straight Talk, my ass.


    Filed on at 11:11 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s a method to my madness.


    Filed on at 10:49 am under by dcobranchi

    I really don’t know what to say about this:

    It’s back to school time for kids and students of all ages — and breeds.

    Some of the students going to class this fall will be canine. All kinds of educational options exist: kindergarten for puppies, various levels of obedience and agility coursework, specialized training, private tutoring, boarding school and home schooling.


    Filed on at 5:00 am under by dcobranchi

    The xenophobes never give grow up:

    Don’t offer in-state tuition to illegal aliens

    First, it was UNC President Erskine Bowles’ study to allow illegal aliens access to the university system. Now, we have president R. Scott Ralls studying whether illegal aliens should be allowed to attend community colleges at in-state rates.

    The problem with higher education in North Carolina is the educational administrators who have difficulty understanding the illegal aliens. Rather than allowing illegal aliens to attend college, they should be deported. In-state tuition pays less than a third of the costs to the state to educate a student. The other two-thirds are paid by taxes. Ralls tried to downplay the future costs by telling us that only 100 people are affected. That’s 100 now, but what about the attendance when word gets out that North Carolina is encouraging illegal aliens with in-state tuition?

    Should one assume that the state’s higher educational systems are awash with money? Do they have the funds to support the influx of illegal aliens and their special needs? Should legal residents have to compete with illegal aliens for educational opportunities? How can one argue that a person in the state illegally can be in a state classroom legally?

    The grandiose scheme to inflate one’s self with large enrollments is not limited to the community colleges. Bowles and his gang in Raleigh are pursuing the same route. The next time educational representatives come with their hands out whining for more funds, ask about the illegal alien enrollment.

    Don Bekin

    I doubt there are hordes at the SC and VA borders, just waiting for NC to give the okay to in-state tuition rates. A modern day Sooner land-rush, as it were. And even if there were, would having a better-educated work force, even if the legal status of the workers is questionable, really be a bad thing?

    NEW AD —->

    Filed on August 16, 2008 at 7:51 am under by dcobranchi

    We’re #18!


    Filed on at 7:22 am under by dcobranchi

    They are now.

    Dumb educrat move of the week:

    HARROLD, Texas (AP) — A tiny Texas school district will allow teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting employees follow certain requirements.

    The small community of Harrold in north Texas is a 30-minute drive from the Wilbarger County Sheriff’s Office, leaving students and teachers without protection, said David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District. The lone campus of the 110-student district sits near a heavily traveled highway, which could make it a target, he argued.

    “When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog,” Thweatt said in a story published Friday on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Web site.


    Filed on at 6:09 am under by dcobranchi

    In my local paper this a.m.:

    Merit: For a committee of Fayetteville dog lovers and for the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department, which have nearly completed work on the city’s first dog park.

    The committee raised about $20,000 toward the project, which will fence in a large area where dog owners can let their pets run free for exercise and socialization.


    Filed on at 12:09 am under by dcobranchi

    The “winners” of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest are here.


    Filed on August 14, 2008 at 6:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m passing along these two links. Worth a read.


    Filed on at 8:21 am under by dcobranchi

    that should never appear in the same sentence:

    If Mr. Bush had done what he promised in 2000 – that is, no nation-building – he would go down in history as perhaps the greatest president since George Washington.


    Filed on at 4:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Valerie’s assembled a bunch on the most recent ruling out of CA.


    Filed on at 4:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Don found some pretty good evidence that we need new lyrics to the national anthem.


    Filed on August 13, 2008 at 9:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    The textbook “discrimination” decision went against Bob Jones et al.

    OH! MY! GOD!

    Filed on at 4:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Via this excellent post by JJ’s DD (Geez, JJ, she’s a terrific writer!), I learn that Judy Aron has finally, totally, completely lost it. Obama is Hitler reincarnate. Or maybe even worse!!!


    Filed on at 3:22 am under by dcobranchi

    I absolutely support The Hitting Stops Here’s efforts to end paddling in the local schools. But this bit makes no sense:

    Flowe and four other speakers — including two children — addressed the board about the issue during the public comment session of the meeting. The group called on the board to form a committee to look at alternative ways to discipline children and end paddling in schools.

    Flowe told the board the group is planning a boycott in order to be heard.

    “We have enough parents that are behind us,” she said. “We don’t want to have a boycott but we will.”

    What are they going to boycott? Sending their kids to school? Does anyone have a clue/guess what this is supposed to mean?


    Filed on August 12, 2008 at 9:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    This post about the CA decision is actually pretty good, even if it mostly conforms to the Rob Reich school of homeschool regulations.


    Filed on August 9, 2008 at 9:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    Tasers in the schools. What a great idea!

    UPDATE: This comment sounds familiar– “teach ’em young how to stay in line and not challenge any authority; that’s how you build a nation of sheep. the implementation of locker searches was one of the first steps in this process to acclimate the population to fealty to your overlords.”


    Filed on at 9:05 am under by dcobranchi

    The “environmentalist” side of the homeschooling blogosphere is all agog over the great victory in CA. Yes, the court voided the original decision, but it didn’t find in the CA constitution an inalienable right to homeschool. That’s what HSLDA had pushed for in this godawful test case. They lost and all of the spinning in the world will not erase that fact.


    Filed on at 1:43 am under by dcobranchi

    How is that air rifling is considered an Olympic sport and baseball and softball aren’t.


    Filed on August 8, 2008 at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Happy Three-peat Day. Happens only once every 8.33 years (on average).


    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    $25 restaurant gift certificates for $2 at restaurant.com.

    NOTE: Do NOT answer the survey questions for $10 back. That’s a scam that will charge your credit card $15/month. Instead, click on the “no thanks” button just below that in order to print out your certificate.

    Next »