Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » October

    Filed on October 22, 2004 at 2:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    A single sentence that speaks volumes:

    [T]he district is also looking at the prospect of opening a private preschool and offering oversight to homeschooling families to bring in some extra dollars.


    Filed on at 11:04 am under by dcobranchi

    Found this one in the referrer logs. Geat title:

    Life as the Crazy Breastfeeding Lady


    Filed on at 10:09 am under by dcobranchi

    This is how they want our kids socialized?

    Loudoun Valley and Loudoun County’s other seven high schools are just the latest to grapple with the bumping and grinding club moves that have seeped into school dances across the Washington region and the nation over the past couple of years.

    …Loudoun Valley’s “face each other” order had seemed reasonable, Black said, a simple attempt to stop popular back-to-front dancing in which a girl gyrates her hips against the pelvis of a guy standing behind her.

    “It’s very suggestive, and it would certainly not be appropriate in a school setting,” he said.

    I think the school has every right to ban “freak” dancing; the kids’ First Amendment claim just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    BTW, HSLDA rates a very minor mention.


    Filed on at 7:53 am under by dcobranchi


    Happy 13th, Big Guy!


    Filed on at 7:42 am under by dcobranchi

    The Education Gadfly has a really good piece on the rise and fall of the PTA. Sadly, that once great organization has morphed into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NEA and is losing members (and chapters) left and right. It’s not all bad news, however, as Chester FInn writes up the new Parent-Teacher Organizations that seem to be a throwback to the good-old days.

    I CALL BULL****!

    Filed on at 6:48 am under by dcobranchi

    A local school is forcing Muslim kids who are observing Ramadan (and fasting during the day) to go to the cafeteria anyway. The parents want the kids to be allowed to use an empty classroom.

    Superintendent Joseph Wise said this is a dilemma for the district.

    “It is a delicate balance to uphold respect and support for children and families from all backgrounds of faiths and spiritual convictions while also attending to the safety and productive environments in each school so that all students can learn in a safe and orderly environment each day,” he said.

    “For public schools, there is the legal mandate that all matters of church and state remain effectively separate,” he said.

    The schools can’t promote a religion. They’re also not allowed to keep a kid from praying. Most edu-crats are (barely) smart enough to understand the difference and make allowances for kids during Ramadan.

    Delaware schools- stuck in the Middle Ages.

    UPDATE: The News-Journal is running a poll on this issue. So far, 70% have voted “No” on this question:

    Should schools make special accommodations for students’ religious practices?

    If you’re so inclined, here’s a link to the page. The poll is at the lower left.

    NEW AD —–>

    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    OK, Tim- you can make fun of me again. I enjoy looking at the ads. It’s kind of a psych game- trying to figure out why someone with some advertising money picked H&OES. This one is still a mystery, but they’ve cleared up another one in the meantime. It was apparently destiny that I pull for John Kerry. From the description on John Kerry’s card:

    [T]he Paladin still faces an epic struggle…

    Paladin– a very cool word.


    Filed on October 21, 2004 at 8:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Several folks forwarded this alert about a petition to stop any kind of mandatory mental health screening in the g-schools.

    Action Alert on Mental Health Screening

    You can influence the funding of mental health screening and treatment programs! While Congress and the presidential candidates are campaigning, discussions decisions are being made about how to finish the massive appropriations bills required for the federal budget in a lame duck session after the election.

    Included in that budget are up to $44 million to fund the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission such as universal mental health screening for children as young as preschool age. The Commission recommends treatment with powerful and potentially dangerous medications like Ritalin and Prozac. If you want to do something about this huge potential loss of freedom, and prevent the drugging of you and your children with admittedly ineffective and dangerous medications, click here:

    Everything you need is there for you. If you understand the issue from alerts sent out by EdWatch, simply read the letter and provide the requested information. Your letter will automatically be forwarded on to your US Senators and Representative. If you need more information, just click on the “Learn More About This Issue” button below the introduction on that website.

    If you care about this issue, please forward this email alert on to your family, friends, and your circle of influence>. Please post it on your websites. Congress needs to hear from the public on this crucial issue. They will certainly be more amenable to your concerns prior to the election.

    EdAction is grateful to Michael Ostrolenk of Citizens for Health for his assistance with this action alert, as well to The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Gun Owners of America, Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, The Liberty Committee, Freedom 21, The Alliance for Human Research Protection, The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, and many other groups and individuals for their work in opposing these mental health initiatives.

    Disclaimer: EdAction thanks Citizens for Health for their support in the fight against universal mental health screening and for the use of this action alert to contact Congress on this important issue. The views and programs endorsed by Citizens for Health on their website are not necessarily those of EdAction.

    I signed the petition.


    Filed on at 8:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    What kind of parents think it might be ok for the g-schools to paddle their kids?

    Jack Thomas, a La Vergne father of two and vice provost for academic affairs at Middle Tennessee State University, said that he and his family recently moved to Tennessee and that he didn’t know his kids could be paddled without his knowledge.

    ”We’re coming from Maryland where that is illegal,” he said. ”But now that it’s been brought that to my attention, I have mixed feelings about it. I grew up in Alabama where paddling was allowed, and I remember some students being paddled then, but you also have to consider schools now,” he continued. ”That’s why I have these mixed feelings. Some kind of disciplinary action does need to be put in place, but I’m just not sure it’s paddling.”

    Does he paddle the college students? Then why is it (possibly) ok to paddle high school students?

    At least the school district is reconsidering their policy. (Hat tip: Deb)


    Filed on at 6:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Do J-schools not teach the difference between connotation and denotation?

    Overall, enrollment dropped by more than 2,000 in 2001 and 2,800 in 2002.

    (Private and home schools were not culprits, Reinhardt noted. In 2002, 3 percent fewer city kids went to private schools than did in 1997 and only 413 students were home-schooled.)


    Filed on at 6:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    we’re going to travel faster than the speed of light.

    Just so you don’t think I only pick on Republicans for saying stupid things, I heard Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell brag about how medical malpractice lawsuits in Philadelphia are down 101%.


    Filed on at 10:57 am under by dcobranchi

    Kentucky legislators completely caved in to the teachers’ union and their threat of an illegal strike.

    Oct. 27 was the date set for a statewide strike by the Kentucky Education Association. It canceled those plans after the General Assembly on Tuesday restored health benefits that had been cut by Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

    …Scrambling to avoid a mutiny, the legislature agreed to spend an extra $172 million next year to keep health costs the same or slightly less than this year for 170,000 state employees.

    Teachers also will receive a 1 percent raise in January, in addition to the 2 percent mandated in July.

    I guess union thuggery works. The teachers ended up with lower insurance costs and a raise to boot. Hey, Kentuckians- remember this when you go to the polls on Nov. 2nd.


    Filed on at 10:02 am under by dcobranchi

    “Water essentially flows downhill.”- Chris Castagno, Republican nominee for New Castle Co. (DE) Executive.


    Filed on at 3:00 am under by dcobranchi

    There will be a total lunar eclipse on October 27th. If the weather co-operates, the eastern half of the country should have a good view.


    Filed on at 2:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Mozilla has released a new version of Firefox. Version 1.0 is still officially a pre-release. The biggest change that I’ve noticed from version 0.9.x is that they’ve added an RSS aggregator into the browser. I haven’t yet figured out how it works (not too many people are posting new things this late at night). The buttons still don’t work in MT.


    Filed on October 20, 2004 at 9:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    The highly esteemed, refereed Ladies Home Journal has a stupid quiz that is supposed to help you decide if you should homeschool or send your kids to prison enroll them in the local g-school. Despite answering that I have a fundamental problem with the g-schools and that I thought they offered an inadequate education, I was still pushed towards the g-schools.

    A public school might be the most appropriate school for your child and your family. Public schools offer many benefits, including a broad curriculum, exposure to other cultures and lifestyles, and a feeling of community. When parents stay active in their child’s education (helping with homework, attending meetings with teachers), a child can get her personal needs met through a public education system.

    Apparently home educators don’t believe in the separation of church and state. (Link via Sarah who has more here.)

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on at 3:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s Chris O’Donnell’s daughter’s new venture.


    Filed on at 11:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Yesterday, Tim posted a comment about the Journal of College Admissions special on homeschooling. Via Judy Aron, here are Judy’s letter and the entire journal issue.

    “Copied and distributed with the permission of the Journal of College Admission, copyright 2004.”

    Judy has also granted permission to re-post her letter.


    Filed on at 10:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Skip Oliva found a wonderful example of that higher order thinking the teachers are so fond of pushing. The Montgomery Co. (MD) teacher’s union is opposed to building new Wal-marts in the area. Why?

    Children will do poorly in school because large retail outlets will pay low wages causing the children to be under nourished such that they will be unable to concentrate. The money saved by lower prices at these large retail centers, will be less than the tax dollars spent on social programs to supplement these lower wages.

    Unfortunately, this is a paraphrase reported at a public meeting. The MCEA doesn’t have anything on their website. I’ll try to confirm. In the meantime, a grain of salt is prescribed.


    Filed on at 9:01 am under by dcobranchi

    I still think a draft will be political suicide but this bit from the WSJ (not available online) makes one wonder.

    Another piece inside the WSJ says the Army fell 30 percent short of new GIs in the first month of the new recruiting cycle. The Army Reserve was 40 percent below its goal. The military was short last year, and as a result pushed recruits who had planned to hold for a bit to join up sooner—contributing to the new shortfall.


    Filed on at 2:07 am under by dcobranchi

    What the heck are three-year-olds doing riding a bus!?

    Wilmington police are investigating the circumstances surrounding two children being left by themselves on a school bus this morning for more than two hours.

    Deborah Thomas, executive director of Wilmington Head Start, said the youngsters were left on the bus at about 9:30 a.m. at the Head Start, 2401 Northeast Blvd. Head Start has several locations.

    Thomas said she got a call from the agency’s transportation manager shortly before noon that the bus driver had discovered the children, twin 3-year-old girls, uninjured on the bus.

    The children were supposed to have been dropped off at a Head Start program at 30 West 31st St., Thomas said.

    “The bus driver and bus monitor were supposed to check the bus, but didn’t,” Thomas said.

    Fortunately, the girls are fine. That doesn’t change the fact that these girls should not be riding a bus alone anywhere. When the State acts as parent, the real parents walk away from their responsibilities.


    Filed on at 1:55 am under by dcobranchi

    I finally figured out how TX did so well in their g-schools. They beat the kids into submission.

    A Groveton couple has requested that the Texas Education Agency investigate a Sept. 29 incident in which their 9-year-old son received a paddling for continuously refusing to turn in his homework.

    The two “pops” by the high school principal were hard enough to leave red welts on the boy’s behind that lasted four days, said his mother, Shelley Hall of Groveton.

    “What scares me is that this is not the first time that something like this has happened,” Hall said in a telephone interview. “About a year ago, an 11-year-old got three pops that were hard enough that he had welts. He also had blood in his underwear.

    …[S]aid Mickey Gilbert, the Groveton Elementary principal. “Corporal punishment is one of our tools of discipline. We followed school policy.”

    Gilbert said as part of Groveton ISD policy, the parents are supposed to be notified if their child receives a paddling. He said witnesses are required to be present any time corporal punishment is used. Whether or not paddlings are appropriate depends on the situation, Gilbert said.

    “We’re not trying to be bad folks,” he said. “We’re trying to do the best we can to take care of our kids.”

    I’m sure parents convicted of child abuse have uttered that exact same sentiment. Why do Texans put up with this?


    Filed on at 1:44 am under by dcobranchi

    (Former) VA homeschooler Aurora Scott is one of the nation’s top high-school age distance runners. She’s also pretty sharp:

    Scott didn’t ask for any of the fanfare that goes with high school sports. In fact, she asked out of it.

    Already a distance-running phenom who owns a couple of national age-group records, Scott is matter-of-fact when she talks about her former home-school life. She says Western Branch is “more like a factory, with everybody wearing the same stuff.”

    Succinctly, she says, “I like home-school better.”

    …Home-schooled for the past three years and perfectly content to remain that way, Scott rejected their argument that she should attend a public high school.

    Her logic was this:

    No. 1, she was accustomed to making her own schedule, which would be better preparation for college than the regimented schedules in a mainstream high school.

    No. 2, adult life would not require her to change classes through several hallways with some 2,500 kids.

    And No. 3, she hated the idea of being forced to sit in one building for seven hours, giving up the flexibility home- schooling offered.

    “I was like, ‘Whoa,’’’ her mother says.

    Ozella considered these arguments and conceded that she loved the family time that home-schooling provided. She enjoyed the freedom of turning family vacations into field trips, often pulling out of the driveway as the neighbors’ children were hopping onto the school bus.

    Unfortunately, her parents talked her into enrolling in the g-school. I thnk she’ll survive; she’s one tough kid.


    Filed on October 19, 2004 at 10:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Fall 2004 issue of the Journal of College Admission, a quarterly published by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), is all about us:

    Homeschool students lack easy access to college guidance counseling, compared to their traditional school peers, and, to some extent, many of these students and their parents look at traditional education–even that found on the college campuses of most of our membership–with some skepticism. College admission officers often mirror this skepticism, even until recently, as the success of homeschoolers, upon their campus arrival, is proving that they are capable students.

    No link to the individual articles — which include a first-person account by an admissions officer, a piece by Brian Ray on homeschoolers in college, and the results of a study of admissions officers’ perceptions of homeschoolers — but if your local library provides access to EBSCOhost, you can look ’em up.

    UPDATE: I forgot to mention that homeschooling activist and frequent H&OES commenter Judy Aron has a letter to the editor in the issue. That text I can’t get on EBSCO — what’s it about, Judy?


    Filed on at 4:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    in horseshues and hand-grenades.

    Chris O’D’s daughter is selling very nice decorated horeshoes via website. The venture is, of course, part of her homeschooling.


    Filed on at 5:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Chris reports that a Fredericksburg school was evacuated due to a suspicious sandwich. Meanwhile, Jim Peacock at Zero Intelligence discovered that down in King William Co., an 8-year-old was suspended for having a butter knife in his brown bag. His mom sent a knife along with a package of PB&J.

    We want safer schools! Ban the bane!


    Filed on at 4:04 am under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA has endorsed Bush. Why? Because he supports homeschooling. Supposedly. And he’s against abortion. And gays. (Those are homeschooling issues, right?)

    Shay posted the E-lert here.


    Filed on at 3:56 am under by dcobranchi

    This sentence (or any number of variations on the theme) always manages to piss me off:

    His wife, who has an education degree, home-schools the couple’s children.

    It’s that parenthetical phrase. How do we get the media to recognize that an ed degreee is irrelevant?

    BTW, the article is worth a read. The guy’s a real hero.


    Filed on October 18, 2004 at 5:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is not what we need to see paired with the word “homeschooling.” And, no, I’m not going to quote the article; one Google hit for these two is more than enough.


    Filed on at 2:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    A PR flack sent me an email asking if I’ll support a sales tax increase in Washington state. All the extra money will (allegedly) go to the schools.

    The I-884 Education Trust Fund will:

    *Deliver 16,000 new high-quality preschool spaces for children who need them most;
    *Reduce class sizes and improve student achievement by fully funding Initiative 728;
    *Raise the base pay for teachers and school employees, and community and technical college employees, to what they would be receiving if the Legislature hadn’t suspended I-732 last year;
    *Provide additional classes in high school and support parent involvement;
    *Expand Promise scholarships for the top 30% of graduating high school seniors and financial aid to keep college affordable for working and middle class students;
    *Fund 32,000 additional enrollment slots in college in community and technical colleges and four-year universities, including 7,000 new enrollments in high demand fields;
    *Invest in university-based research that generates new businesses and jobs.
    *I-884 Education Trust Fund will be funded by increasing the retail sales tax by 1%.

    Elsewhere on the same page, it claims that 10,000 new pre-school slots will be created. Gee, you think they’d be able to get their lies facts straight.

    I will not endorse the proposal. If Washingtonians are stupid enough to vote a tax increase in order to give the teachers a pay raise, more power to them.


    Filed on at 12:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    I guess Charlotte is a pretty laid-back town.

    These days, Scott Grier is among the busiest people in Charlotte.

    “I start in the morning, and go … until late in the afternoon,” Grier said, pushing a hand cart loaded with heavy boxes one morning last week. “It’s been busy. Everybody’s getting books.”

    Grier delivers textbooks for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

    What an ungodly schedule! How does he survive? I guess the teachers have trained the Charlotte Observer well.


    Filed on at 9:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out this (rejected)recruitment poster for future teachers. The two best things about teaching: July and August. (Hat tip: Sasha)


    Filed on at 7:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Canadian teachers are re-learning how to play hopscotch and four-square so they can kill off recess once and for all. Of course, it’s for the kids in order to fight obesity. I have a suggestion. Let the kids play. They’ll figure it out for themselves.


    Filed on at 7:25 am under by dcobranchi

    It looks as if the three-tiered diploma system is doomed.


    Filed on at 7:23 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure but I think this Prof. wants to bring back slavery (or at least indentured servitude).

    The turnover of failure/quitter teachers costs the public schools $2.6 billion each year. (Alliance for Education,2004) As mind boggling as this figure is the authors of this report believe that the $2.6 billion is a substantial underestimate since it does not take into account the full costs to the districts of their teacher turnover. In addition, this figure does not include the costs to these failure/quitters themselves (and to their families) of going to college to become teachers, or the costs to the public of supporting over 700 institutions of higher education which train these “fully qualified” individuals.

    …If traditional teacher education were working rather than grinding out failure/quitters and those who never take jobs there would be no need to hire 2.2 million teachers between 2000 and 2010. The solution is to hold those who claim to be preparing and licensing “fully qualified” teachers accountable for their graduates. An accountable system of preparing teachers would hold schools of education responsible for whether their graduates took jobs where they are needed, how long they stayed and how well their students achieved.

    He actually wants to hold Ed schools accountable for their graduates’ performance. Sounds easier said than done.


    Filed on October 17, 2004 at 7:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Another cool photo from AstroPix of the Day.


    Filed on at 3:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    … says the WaPo:

    Now, two weeks before the election, the Bush-Cheney campaign would be happy to eke out the barest, skin-of-the-teeth majority, and aims to cobble it together by turning out every last evangelical Christian, gun owner, rancher and home schooler — reliable Republicans all.

    Oh, really?


    Filed on at 9:08 am under by dcobranchi

    in my prediction. The Red Sox decided not to play in October.


    Filed on at 7:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Who’s confused now? An excerpt from a LttE of the News-Journal:

    Bush needn’t seek apology for Iraq war

    …It is not necessary for President Bush to apologize or America to be ashamed because we have undertaken a war for a just cause and to establish justice. And, if this cause against an enemy who has declared that he will destroy us and who has killed over 3,000 of our citizens is not just, then what is?

    Of course, Saddam didn’t attack us. But, you know what? The writer of the letter never mentioned Iraq. The “headline” is written by the N-J staff. So, what’s going on here? Did someone at the paper get sloppy?


    Filed on October 16, 2004 at 9:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Dean Esmay has a really good post about Jon Stewart’s visit to CNN’s Crossfire. Whether you lean left or right, definitely worth a read.


    Filed on at 8:20 am under by dcobranchi

    This guy is utterly clueless. It’s very short. Read it and laugh (or weep).

    BTW, here’s the “most revealing article” that he was so enamored of.


    Filed on at 8:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Would HSLDA back these folks?

    Eight boys sit on their carpeted classroom floor before a low, long study desk and sway, chanting verses from the Islamic holy book.

    The youngest is 8. The oldest, 15. From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days a week, they diligently work at memorizing every word of the Quran. Making the task more difficult for the English-speaking boys is that every word, every syllable is in classical Arabic.

    Each is striving to become a hafiz, a person who has memorized the Quran. The recitation of the holy book is a common devotional practice during the sacred month of Ramadan, which began with the sighting of a new moon on Friday in North America. During the next 30 days at nightly prayer services, the 30 chapters of the Quran will be recited by a trained hafiz in each mosque.

    “In regular schools, if you score 75 or 80, you pass,” said Jaleel Syed, principal of Dar-ul-Uloom, a southwest Houston school operated by the Islamic Society of Greater Houston. “But here, it must be 100 percent. There is no 99 percent.”

    …The families of full-time students home-school their children to allow them to concentrate entirely on the Quran. School leaders say it’s not academic time lost. They believe learning to focus and memorize helps the students with their academic subjects.

    “When (the Quran) is memorized,” the mufti said, “our belief is that our mind and heart are sharpened.”


    Filed on at 8:02 am under by dcobranchi

    This has got to be the whiniest editorial I’ve ever seen. Sadly, it’s in my hometown paper.

    Capital schools will decline if they’re starved for money


    The residents of the Capital School District are shortsighted. On Tuesday voters rejected the district’s proposal for a much needed tax increase. The vote wasn’t even close.

    The school district for the state capital should be a showcase, not a shambles. But until the district is provided with adequate funds, there is only one way to go – backwards.

    The last time Capital District voters approved an increase to operate schools was 1988. It’s hard to imagine surviving for 16 years without any new money to run anything. It’s clear that many families in the district have found other places to educate their children. The outflow of students has been significant. Last year the district lost more than $1million in state and local funds because students transferred to charter schools and other districts through the choice program.

    It’s hard to blame parents concerned about the quality of education for taking whatever action is available to them. But the drop in enrollment creates a hole that only makes it more difficult for the Capital District to fulfill its obligations. .

    District officials have tried hard to provide the kind of education young people need to manage in our complex world. But there is only so much that can be done when it is starved for money. Last year the district cut about $900,000 from its budget. It can’t do that for long.

    It might be time to talk about cutting sports and other non-essential activities. Perhaps that would get the attention of people in Dover who don’t appreciate their public schools.

    When a public school district is forced into poverty, the repercussions are widespread. Students are cheated out of the education they deserve. Then property values and neighborhoods begin to decline. To have the school district serving the capital sink would be disgraceful. But unless residents awaken to their responsibilities, that seems what will happen.

    *Sniff* *Sniff*


    Filed on at 7:46 am under by dcobranchi

    A NYC girl claims her school forbid her from applying to Harvard. The school claims they only discouraged her. It’s an interesting case. What obligation do the guidance counselors have? I know absolutely nothing about this topic. Is there a lot of (extra) work involved in the application process? I would have guessed that the school’s responsibilities ended at sending in offical transcripts. That’s surely not too difficult. Anyone here worked through this? What am I missing?


    Filed on at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    The Bush Administration paid $700,000 to study and rate how newspapers were covering NCLB. Unsurprisingly, the highest score was received by an Op/Ed penned by EdSec Paige. Also, unsurprisingly, the Democrats are crying “Foul!” It does sound like they misused public funds. Again.


    Filed on October 15, 2004 at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    We’re one of the families that are invisible to pollsters (Darn!). Well, on second thought, probably not. We actually ported over our landline phone number to a cell phone, so we’re one of the few folks whose cell phone is listed in the White Pages.

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on at 11:41 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s interesting. A blogger submitted an ad. I especially like the picture at the top right on their site; those are Samoyed pups. Our Sammy was ~12 weeks old when this photo was taken. The ones in the banner are probably around 8 weeks.


    Filed on at 6:40 am under by dcobranchi

    I was all set to brag about this 12-year-old “homeschooler” who is building a future career as a magician. That is, until the very last ‘graf:

    A magician he may be, but Zach hasn’t made his brother, Sam, nor his school work vanish-yet. On the docket is a show for a teacher’s conference through his family’s home-school affiliation. “He is hooked up with Wisconsin Connections Academy and is enrolled in the Appleton School District. Teachers are available online and by phone to help when we need it.” said his mom, Lori. He also takes piano lessons, is in a swimming class, is active in the Awana Club, has been in the scouting program for six years, and plans to be on a basketball team when the season begins.


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s another picture (with a twist) for Tim.

    Amy Osborn updates her blog as her three sons, Jimmy, left, Jeremy and Jason, do their schoolwork.

    A blogging home educator. Scary, indeed!


    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    More on chipping people. The FDA has approved an implantable device which would allow access to health records. It is exactly the same premise (and appears to be the same chip) that people use for their pets. The device contains a 16-digit number that would be scanned by a wand. That number would then allow access to computerized medical records housed on some central server. Needless to say, the privacy issues are worrying.

    Scott R. Silverman, chairman and chief executive of Applied Digital, said the F.D.A.’s approval should help the company overcome “the creepy factor” of implanted tags and the suspicion it has stirred.

    “We believe there are far fewer people resisting this today,” Mr. Silverman said. But it is far from clear whether implanted identification tags can overcome opposition from those who fear new levels of personal surveillance and from some fundamentalist religious groups who contend that the tags may be the “mark of the beast” referred to in the Book of Revelation.

    These are legitimate concerns. Like cellphones, RFIDs are radio transmitters. The government can already track your position by triangulating on your cell phone. RFIDs could eventually be tracked identically. Except, you can’t turn them off.

    Count me among the 20 percent of folks who would not consider being chipped under any circumstance.

    UPDATE: Michael Aron sent along a link with a wee bit more info.

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