Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » July
  • IOW

    Filed on July 31, 2006 at 4:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    Write a LttE.

    BTW, I love reading Valerie’s stuff. My blog posts tend to be short and (I hope) pithy. Espresso opinions. Valerie’s blog is a double vanilla latte. One you sip slowly and enjoy.


    Filed on at 1:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is too funny. I was just about to make this one the LOTD, but the author beat me to it.


    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    This mom needs a push over to the Dark Side.


    Filed on at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi

    From the ever informative Agape Press:

    Out-of-wedlock sexual activity is responsible for the prevalence of …unwed childbirth…



    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    From the Sioux City Journal:

    25 years ago:

    HOME-SCHOOLED IN WEST POINT: The law is catching up with Virgil Long, Christian. He’s been breaking the law for his religion for nearly two years. His court appearance in West Point, Neb., was postponed. Whether he’ll have another one depends in part on the Nebraska Legislature. Long feels “we had a mandate from God. The kids weren’t getting the kind of education in school God would want.” So, Long pulled his children out of the public school and is educating them at home under the Accelerated Christian Education program. Seven of the eight children are school aged. West Point Public School considers the Long children truant since September 1979. As a sign on the front door of the Long home says, “Jesus First.” And, in this case, the public school system is quite a bit further down the list.


    Filed on at 5:55 am under by dcobranchi


    Rep. Beyer believes that cyber charters should be held to the same standards as ”regular” charter schools and the state’s 501 public school districts. All three, after all, are public schools. The cyber charters are different, of course, in that they are a form of homeschooling. But they differ from traditional homeschool arrangements in that curriculum, equipment and instruction comes to the family at no cost beyond the ordinary real estate or per capita taxes that the home district might levy. Taxpayers pay the costs. And, funds are sent to the cyber school operators from the treasuries of the local school districts. Those amounts can be significant. Large districts like Allentown’s and the Bethlehem Area School District send millions per year. For that kind of investment, there must be accountability.

    Yes, and that’s why we do not want cyber charters referred to as homeschools. They’re not. They are public schools and are accountable to the taxpayers.

    It’s an editorial, folks. You know what to do.

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on at 5:40 am under by dcobranchi

    for Edspresso (still the greatest name ever for an edu-blog).


    Filed on at 5:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Andrea pointed to this MSNBC piece on the outrage over this magazine cover.

    I’d seen an ad for the magazine with the same shot. I think it’s a great picture (The kid’s eyes!) and the people who are upset just need to grow up.


    Filed on July 30, 2006 at 6:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    Earlier today, I predicted that Amy would “soon move in with Atheist Aaron, get pregnant, have an abortion, and then declare that she’s a lesbian.” Well, it appears that she’s skipped a few chapters.

    WOOOOWWWW. I would first like to announce that Ive got a girlfriend! Her name is Kerry and she is smexy. Shes also British! I love her sooooo much. I wouldnt give her up for anythning right now.


    Filed on at 2:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    Jeanne pointed me towards another anti-unschooling post. She plans on submitting it to the CoH to, I guess, generate traffic.

    Do I see bugs in the public school system? You bet your ass I do! I have written about it many times on this blog, please feel free to search. And I will most likely be writing more about it in the future. However, I don’t see those bugs as fatal flaws that mean I need to pull my children out of the system immediately. I see them as opportunities for improvement.

    Bring it on. I just might submit this to the Carnival, and then the fun in the comments will start. I’m hoping for a few emails, too. Hey, why should Mamacita have all the fun?

    I didn’t comment and I’m not providing a link. Google the text above if you feel a need to read the rest of her rant.


    Filed on at 1:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    This comment was posted today on the old MovableType version of this site. I’ve reproduced it here in all its glory. All errors in spelling and fact are in the original.

    I’ve quickly scanned some letters of the day and am a little appaled at what I’ve read in a website that labels itself a “libertarian – leaning” edu-blog (the typo is not on my behalf). Is this indeed a blog that let’s people tilt in whichever direction they want? If so, then you should enjoy this diatribe:

    We know that public education needs fixing. My wife and I both teach in a public school where our children will happily attend. Although it is small and sometimes feels like a private school, there are a few times we find ourselves addressing “modern” social issues. We are indeed fortunate in that aspect. Sometimes we brag about how our most complicated issues are finding ways to motivate the high school students to work more, or how to solve the bullying problem (we have students that might even -shudder – shove one another once in a while!!).

    Now this might seem a bit “Polly-Annish”, but there you have it. We work in a public school that is sheltered from mainstream drug traffic (although that DOES seem to be creeping in). Even so, we run into many constraints placed upon us by the state and national standards, that, if they remain unfunded, will make it impossible to succeed!

    However, this does not mean that teachers like myself and my wife are not giving our all to make our small corner of the world a better place to -dare I say – LEARN (notice the intenional corrected spelling)! We need help from taxpayers and community to support our efforts. That should include HEKs, because they have a stake at what happens to public schools (more on this another day… I need to spend time with said wife and children)

    Of course, the relevant part of the blog tagline is “libertarian-leaning,” not “libertarian-learning.” In a subsequent comment he caught that he had misspelled “appalled,” but evidently missed “it’s” “let’s” [sic] and “intenional” [sic]. And I believe it should have been “intentionally.” Folks who live in glass houses best look out for bricks by return mail.


    Filed on at 1:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is one of the dumber quotes in support of early incarceration indoctrination schooling:

    To Tina Hawkins of Auburn-Gresham, a child of 5 should be off to kindergarten.

    “A parent has got to let go, let the child leave the nest. The wing age is definitely 5 years old,” said Hawkins, 42, a mother of five, whose son Gabriel began kindergarten this month at year-round Cuffe Academy.

    And if the state wanted to make the coumpulsory attendance age 2, I have no doubt that Ms. Hawkins’ kids would be ready to fly at 23 months.


    Filed on at 12:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    So why are online editions of papers editing (and destroying) AP pieces for “space.” Compare this unintelligible version with a fuller one.

    From The Kindred Times:

    By MIKE SILVERMAN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 24 minutes ago

    BAYREUTH, Germany – Any performance of “Siegfried,” the third opera in Richard Wagner‘s “Ring” cycle, rests squarely on the shoulders of its young title character, who is on stage throughout most of a long evening.

    That said, Gould was not always in top form, at least judging by the rave reviews for his performance at the festival the past two summers in another daunting Wagner role, Tannhaeuser.

    And then the Sarasota Herald Tribune:

    Any performance of “Siegfried,” the third opera in Richard Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, rests squarely on the shoulders of its young title character, who is on stage throughout most of a long evening.

    In the new production that premiered Saturday at the annual Wagner Festival, tenor Stephen Gould has both the broad shoulders of a football player and a voice that appears equal to the challenges of the role. His is a powerful sound, capable of rising to the dramatic climaxes, but always bright and lyrical. He is also a naturally engaging performer, unusually athletic and youthful as befits the teenage hero.

    That said, Gould was not always in top form, at least judging by the rave reviews for his performance at the festival the past two summers in another daunting Wagner role, Tannhaeuser.

    That second ‘graf was kind of important, no? So why the cut? Surely these papers aren’t carrying a review of a concert in Germany in their dead-tree editions.

    And, finally, I was interested to learn that Siegfried was an HEK. No word on Roy, though.


    Filed on at 12:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t know Illinois home education law well enough to say if this fits the legal defintion, but it sure doesn’t sound like any homeschool I’ve ever heard of:

    A small community home school for middle school-aged black boys will begin classes next month, with the aim of providing an education that sets high expectations and accommodates individual learning styles.

    Leigh Estabrook of Champaign and William and Lori Patterson of Urbana founded the Campus Academy, which will begin classes Aug. 23 for six to eight students.

    …The curriculum for the Campus Academy will include core classes in math, science, computer technology, foreign language, social studies, language arts, Latin and critical thinking.

    The school now has four volunteer teachers: Carl Estabrook, a retired history and sociology professor; and three UI graduate and professional students. The school is searching for a head teacher, which will be a paid position.

    A paid “administrator” and several volunteers who don’t have kids in the program? Sure sounds like a private school to me.


    Filed on at 11:51 am under by dcobranchi

    What is it about the VWRC which makes them think scaring the sheeple is “helping”? Several right-wing online “papers” picked this one up. It’s pretty typical for the genre:

    But those who have willingly allowed homework to invade their home and family can now prepare for an even greater invasion. Now, parents and their children will be tracked to an even greater degree. KidTrax, a database that lists all kinds of information on publicly-schooled children in Kentucky, is being touted as a wondrous innovation. According to its site, KidTrax makes it easy to” track virtually any information . . . from basic demographics, such as birth date, sex and ethnicity, to more targeted types of data like participation in government assistance programs, jersey sizes, and non-insured status.” Yes, jersey sizes. Nice. The government schools in Kentucky are buying this marketing ploy; in fact, they can’t wait to start tracking:

    “If schools and afterschools share a mission of helping students succeed, why not share school data about who these kids are and what they need?”

    Sounds like a huge invasion of privacy, right? I’ve learned after blogging for four years to always follow the links. And when links are not provided the red warning lights ought to start a-flashin’. From the KidTrax website:

    Membership Management and Tracking
    KidTrax makes it easy to track virtually any information you require for your members from basic demographics, such as birth date, sex and ethnicity, to more targeted types of data like participation in government assistance programs, jersey sizes, and non-insured status. By providing an easy method for gathering data, KidTrax enhances your ability to identify program and funding opportunities.

    It’s a d-base app for tracking information that they already have. So, for example, if you’re running a youth soccer program, it might be nice to be able to store the kids’ jersey sizes all in one place.


    Filed on at 6:22 am under by dcobranchi

    No, it’s not another LttE. And it’s really not about Fayetteville. But it really is.

    MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

    The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

    The church we attended for a while here had one Christian flag and nine American flags in the sanctuary. Yeah, I’d say the message was a little confussed.

    “There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

    “More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

    “Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”

    And I’d add science bashing.

    In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

    “America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

    Mike Farris– please take notes.


    Filed on July 29, 2006 at 5:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Well, the Democratic Reunion at our house came off without a hitch. We had somewhere around 30 folks show up, several pols among them. Included in the count were Larry Kissell, a couple of judicial candiates, and our new state Rep. William Brisson. Brisson was the highlight for me, as I was able to bend his ear on my pet privacy project.

    As usual, the food was excellent and Lydia prepared WAY too much. 🙂


    Filed on at 5:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Mike Farris:

    I litigated the case that history may judge to be a turning point in parents’ rights. Mozert v. Hawkins County Public Schools (1987) was touted by the media as the “Scopes II” trial. Not only was Mozert tried in Tennessee, but it involved evolution, religion, and a cloud of media onlookers. Attorney Timothy Dyk, now a federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton, was hired by People for the American Way to defend the school district. Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America employed me as their general counsel to represent the parents whose children had been expelled from the Hawkins County Public Schools.

    Why were these children expelled? They refused to read a series of reading books that violated their religious beliefs.

    The court

    In November 1983 the Hawkins County School Board voted unanimously to eliminate all alternative reading programs and require every student in the public schools to attend classes using the Holt series. Thereafter the plaintiff students refused to read the Holt series or attend reading classes where the series was being used. The children of several of the plaintiffs were suspended for brief periods for this refusal. Most of the plaintiff students were ultimately taught at home, or attended religious schools, or transferred to public schools outside Hawkins County. One student returned to school because his family was unable to afford alternate schooling. Even after the board’s order, two students were allowed some accommodation, in that the teacher either excused them from reading the Holt stories, or specifically noted on worksheets that the student was not required to believe the stories.

    Mike Farris– Liar or merely confused?

    UPDATE: I wonder if Mike has bothered to re-read the Appeals Court opinion. This part seems pretty cut & dried:

    As if to emphasize the narrowness of its holding because of the unique 300 year history of the Old Amish Order, the Court wrote:

    It is one thing to say that compulsory education for a year or two beyond the eight grade may be necessary when its goal is the preparation of the child for life in modern society as the majority live, but it is quite another if the goal of education be viewed as the preparation of the child for life in the separated agrarian community that is the keystone of the Amish faith.

    Id. at 222 (citation omitted). This statement points up dramatically the difference between Yoder and the present case. The parents in Yoder were required to send their children to some school that prepared them for life in the outside world, or face official sanctions. The parents in the present case want their children to acquire all the skills required to live in modern society. They also want to have them excused from exposure to some ideas they find offensive. Tennessee offers two options to accommodate this latter desire. The plaintiff parents can either send their children to church schools or private schools, as many of them have done, or teach them at home. Tennessee law prohibits any state interference in the education process of church schools:

    The state board of education and local boards of education are prohibited from regulating the selection of faculty or textbooks or the establishment of a curriculum in church-related schools.

    TCA 49-50-801(b). Similarly the statute permitting home schooling by parents or other teachers prescribes nothing with respect to curriculum or the content of class work.

    So, the court believes that merely being exposed to an idea is not an undue burden on Free Exercise rights because the state provides for ways to prevent that exposure (i.e., homeschooling or private schooling). Sounds right to me.

    And this is Farris’ cite as evidence for the War on Parents?

    If this is the best that the Parents’ Rights Amendment’s brightest light can come up with, I’ll lay 100:1 odds that this never makes it out of the Senate.


    Filed on at 4:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Amy, America’s Best Christian and Favorite Homeschooler, has abandoned the Truth. She’s enrolled in a g-school and is happily studying Evilution. And her spelling and punctuation have improved, too. What a sad, sad day.


    Filed on at 4:44 am under by dcobranchi

    From Dell. Just in time for “Back-to-school” 🙂 $319 including a 15″ LCD and 512 MB RAM. And no stupid rebates!


    Filed on July 28, 2006 at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    here at HE&OS.

    I think Mike Farris misses the boat completely in his piece in favor of parents controlling what their kids are taught in the g-schools:

    First, we should be very glad that we have decided to homeschool our children. If any parents still believe that they have a constitutional right to direct their children’s education inside a public school, these cases demonstrate that such a view is a fantasy. It should not be this way. Parents of public school students should be able to decide to remove their children from sex surveys and assemblies, but according to the federal courts, they have no such right.

    He’s right. They don’t , and the courts ruled correctly. If parents are allowed to dictate what is or isn’t taught to their kids, where does it end? If a YECer objects to teaching the Big Bang theory, is the kid excused? And evolution, too? What about the state accountability tests? That material would be covered. So, since the kids are excused from learning the material, they’d have to be exempt from answering those questions on a test. And, of course, they couldn’t be penalized for not answering. That’d be a violation of somebody’s rights, for sure. It would never end.

    No, the courts ruled correctly. And there are two possible solutions. 1) Don’t enroll your kids in the g-schools or 2) Get yourself elected Governor or appointed EdSec and then you can dictate what you want taught.

    Of course, Mike’s already tried the second route. That didn’t work out so well. Best stick to homeschooling.


    Filed on at 9:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    Except getting this stupid amendment through the Senate. No way, no how this ever gets 67 votes.


    Filed on at 7:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    For the fourth year in a row I missed HSLDA’s “National Homeschool Leadership and Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.” I was actually invited one year (accidentally, I’m sure). Of course I declined. I don’t think I’d fit in very well in a GOP/Religious Right gabfest. Farris’ lapdog made the show, however:

    At the legislative briefing on Thursday, March 30, HSLDA’s National Center honored Senator Larry Craig (ID) and Representative Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4) with its 109th Congress Friend of Homeschooling Award for their sponsorship of the Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act (HONDA).

    With friends like her…


    Filed on at 5:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    In keeping with the new sub-title, a photo and a link.

    6 for '06

    And this is what the kleptocrats in DC have pushed me to do. The pic is the Democrats’ “theme” for the mid-term elections. Interestingly, the GOP leadership has just proposed raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, but only if they can get their inheritance tax cut, too.


    Filed on July 27, 2006 at 4:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Who’s kidding whom?

    Moriarty Municipal Schools is encouraging home school families to join a partnership committee that will explore ways the public schools can work with home schoolers.

    …The district approved budget cuts this year totaling more than $500,000, and declining enrollment was one of several reasons. But Moffitt emphasized that partnership possibilities aren’t being explored for the sole purpose of uncovering more funding.

    “That’s not our only purpose … if we got back every single home schooler, it still wouldn’t solve our financial issues,” Moffitt said. “So that is one reason, but that is not our purpose for these meetings. Our purpose is to really start building a partnership.”

    (Via Tammy)


    Filed on at 4:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s not what she thinks it is.

    Here is something I read in several places and it bothers me a LOT: Several blogging parents, all homeschoolers (and that’s a coincidence, I’m sure; I don’t mean to put down homeschoolers as a group. . . .) wrote that one reason they homeschooled their kids was that when they, themselves, were in school, they were forced to take courses they didn’t like, and that they knew (ahead of time) that they’d never use. THEIR kids would only be taught useful things that were enjoyable and approved of by the children themselves.

    What the heck? Who is the adult in these homes?

    …I’m sorry. These are bad teachers, and bad parents. To limit a child’s access to knowledge is a SIN. And to let a little kid dictate what will or will not be done in a household is to relinquish the reins as the adult authority figures. These houses are a joke.

    I should point out that she’s not anti-homeschooling. She just doesn’t quite understand how unschooling works. (Tip credit: Lori)


    Filed on at 3:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Check out Scribe’s comment re: Andrea Yates.


    Filed on July 26, 2006 at 10:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    Two ND school districts are figthing over who will get to “supervise” a home educating family. You can probably guess why.


    Filed on at 9:13 pm under by dcobranchi

    From CNN:

    The nation’s most undervalued real estate market is Fayetteville, N.C. At a median price of $175,800, the median house costs 21 percent below equilibrium.

    If one believes in reversion to the mean, I guess it would be good.

    UPDATE: The text doesn’t accurately represent the data in the table. (Repoduced below, sorted most undervalued to most overvalued).

    El Paso TX $127.50 $171.50 -26% Undervalued
    McAllen-Edinburg TX $123.10 $156.20 -21% Undervalued
    Fayetteville NC $149.80 $183.00 -18% Undervalued
    Memphis TN $162.60 $197.90 -18% Undervalued
    Augusta GA $158.70 $192.30 -17% Undervalued
    Little Rock AR $155.90 $186.90 -17% Undervalued
    Dallas-Fort Worth TX $160.70 $186.20 -14% FairValue
    Indianapolis IN $170.20 $197.60 -14% FairValue
    Pittsburgh PA $155.60 $182.00 -14% FairValue
    Charlotte-Gastonia NC $190.70 $219.90 -13% FairValue
    Houston TX $155.20 $177.90 -13% FairValue
    Cincinnati OH $180.50 $206.00 -12% FairValue
    Columbus OH $192.40 $217.80 -12% FairValue
    Baton Rouge LA $150.20 $168.20 -11% FairValue
    Columbia SC $167.30 $189.00 -11% FairValue
    Knoxville TN $161.30 $181.90 -11% FairValue
    Birmingham AL $177.80 $197.00 -10% FairValue
    Brownsville-Harlingen TX $129.80 $143.80 -10% FairValue
    Des Moines IA $167.10 $185.40 -10% FairValue
    Greensboro-High Point NC $162.70 $180.80 -10% FairValue
    Raleigh NC $201.00 $222.40 -10% FairValue
    Wichita KS $125.60 $140.10 -10% FairValue
    Greenville SC $166.70 $183.50 -9% FairValue
    Lexington KY $172.70 $188.80 -9% FairValue
    Tulsa OK $133.60 $147.60 -9% FairValue
    Louisville KY $164.50 $179.00 -8% FairValue
    Nashville TN $179.60 $196.20 -8% FairValue
    Omaha NE $160.50 $172.50 -7% FairValue
    San Antonio TX $149.00 $161.00 -7% FairValue
    Kansas City MO $171.90 $183.70 -6% FairValue
    Oklahoma City OK $140.70 $149.00 -6% FairValue
    Winston-Salem NC $166.80 $177.80 -6% FairValue
    Cleveland OH $173.40 $183.00 -5% FairValue
    Durham NC $209.30 $219.70 -5% FairValue
    Albuquerque NM $180.90 $188.60 -4% FairValue
    Boise City ID $168.10 $173.80 -3% FairValue
    Atlanta GA $203.00 $208.00 -2% FairValue
    Austin TX $172.90 $171.60 1% FairValue
    Grand Rapids MI $161.90 $160.90 1% FairValue
    New Orleans LA $190.40 $188.00 1% FairValue
    Ogden-Clearfield UT $162.60 $160.40 1% FairValue
    Ann Arbor MI $243.10 $239.40 2% FairValue
    Colorado Springs CO $208.90 $203.30 3% FairValue
    Myrtle Beach SC $190.70 $185.70 3% FairValue
    St. Louis MO $178.30 $172.50 3% FairValue
    Fayetteville-Springdale AR $176.10 $167.70 5% FairValue
    Milwaukee-Waukesha WI $217.10 $206.50 5% FairValue
    Hartford CT $237.20 $224.20 6% FairValue
    Richmond VA $219.70 $205.40 7% FairValue
    Detroit MI $156.60 $145.40 8% FairValue
    Lakeland FL $170.10 $158.20 8% FairValue
    Madison WI $224.60 $208.50 8% FairValue
    Seattle-Tacoma WA $308.70 $286.60 8% FairValue
    Denver CO $238.00 $216.10 10% FairValue
    Greeley CO $195.70 $178.40 10% FairValue
    Salt Lake City UT $194.50 $175.00 11% FairValue
    Charleston SC $251.60 $224.70 12% FairValue
    Minneapolis-St. Paul MN $254.40 $226.90 12% FairValue
    Philadelphia PA $247.20 $217.90 13% FairValue
    Chicago IL $266.30 $234.50 14% FairValue
    Ocala FL $176.90 $155.50 14% FairValue
    Portland-Vancouver OR $231.80 $201.60 15% FairValue
    Provo-Orem UT $173.20 $150.40 15% Overpriced
    Wilmington NC $248.70 $217.20 15% FairValue
    Virginia Beach-Norfolk VA $250.00 $215.60 16% Overpriced
    Baltimore MD $283.50 $242.90 17% Overpriced
    Jacksonville FL $228.70 $190.70 20% Overpriced
    Orlando FL $239.20 $196.30 22% Overpriced
    Pensacola FL $217.70 $175.40 24% Overpriced
    Phoenix-Mesa AZ $244.10 $195.70 25% Overpriced
    Tucson AZ $214.80 $171.30 25% Overpriced
    Honolulu HI $390.40 $310.10 26% Overpriced
    Deltona-Daytona Beach FL $216.80 $168.00 29% Overpriced
    Boston MA $380.40 $285.30 33% Overpriced
    Las Vegas NV $302.00 $227.50 33% Overpriced
    Tampa-St. Petersburg FL $219.70 $164.70 33% Overpriced
    Cape Coral-Fort Myers FL $278.40 $208.20 34% Overpriced
    Reno NV $338.10 $252.30 34% Overpriced
    Washington-Arlington DC $377.90 $275.20 37% Overpriced
    Bakersfield CA $233.50 $168.60 38% Overpriced
    Palm Bay-Melbourne FL $249.40 $179.10 39% Overpriced
    Panama City FL $294.40 $211.10 39% Overpriced
    Atlantic City NJ $262.90 $186.60 41% Overpriced
    Vero Beach FL $291.80 $205.50 42% Overpriced
    New York-North New Jersey NY $431.00 $300.50 43% Overpriced
    Sarasota-Bradenton FL $312.60 $218.20 43% Overpriced
    Port St. Lucie-Fort Pierce FL $262.50 $181.60 45% Overpriced
    Fresno CA $269.70 $178.40 51% Overpriced
    San Francisco-Oakland CA $737.70 $483.10 53% Overpriced
    Miami-West Palm Beach FL $298.70 $194.60 54% Overpriced
    Los Angeles-Anaheim CA $460.80 $294.10 57% Overpriced
    Vallejo-Fairfield CA $386.90 $244.60 58% Overpriced
    Sacramento CA $366.60 $230.90 59% Overpriced
    San Jose CA $599.20 $372.40 61% Overpriced
    Riverside-San Bernardino CA $325.10 $198.30 64% Overpriced
    Stockton CA $353.20 $215.10 64% Overpriced
    San Diego CA $491.60 $289.70 70% Overpriced
    Modesto CA $304.80 $178.40 71% Overpriced
    Naples FL $419.90 $244.00 72% Overpriced
    Santa Barbara-Santa Maria CA $573.10 $308.90 86% Overpriced


    Filed on at 6:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Posts againsts Andrea Yates’ acquittal:


    Here. (This one may be a parody)




    And here.

    My completely unscientific survey has it running about 2:1 in her favor.

    UPDATE: Sorry ’bout the lack of links. I thought the software would automagically convert URLs to active links.


    Filed on at 1:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Andrea Yates has been found not guilty! Justice is served.


    Filed on at 6:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Crafty Mama is looking for some help:

    I am currently working on compiling questions to put together for a candidate survey that will be mailed out to all state-wide candidates in my home state of Vermont. This will allow homeschooling parents to determine which candidates share their views on the role of the state in homeschooling.

    …Since there is such a wide range of views held by homeschooling parents, I would like to base the questions on as much input from the homeschooling community as I can, inside and outside Vermont.

    What kinds of questions would you want to ask a candidate to determine if he or she is “homeschool friendly”?

    Real questions should be posted at her place. I’ll accept the snarky ones here. 🙂


    Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Melissa Wiley is hosting this week.


    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Another friend, Scott?

    First Amendment, due process, rule of law abet terrorism

    I believe we will lose the war on terror. We can win on the battlefields, if we have the will, because we have the best military in the world. We will lose at home because of the insanity of the liberal left.

    Among these homegrown terrorists, who enjoy the fruits of liberty but forget their responsibilities, is the mainstream media, seemingly intent on undermining our security and opposed to making war on our enemies. For example, in clapping her hands over the Supreme Court decision banning military tribunals for captured terrorists, in her July 1 column, Rita Truschel said with respect to the sentencing of Zacarias Moussaoui that, “It proved possible to prosecute a war in court.”

    I won’t waste words on The New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc.

    The liberal education establishment has relegated the teaching of history to the dustbin, so that generations of Americans have little ability to draw comparisons between the current conflict and previous wars. That we have lost 2,500 troops in Iraq is indeed tragic, but Americans, aided and abetted by liberal media, fail to compare this with the 50,000-plus losses in both Korea and Vietnam, and more than 400,000 in World War II.

    Liberal judges are more interested in applying foreign law to the war on terror than they are in the constitutional war powers of the president. Contrary to liberal belief, our Constitution is not a suicide pact.

    And then there are the cut-and-run liberal Democrats in Washington, plus a few too many Republicans.

    If our loss to terrorism is proceeding too slowly, we can hasten this American tragedy by electing a liberal Democrat as president in 2008. He or she will eviscerate our intelligence services and castrate our military, while kissing up to the media, appointing more liberal judges and further destroying our educational system.

    James A. Venema, Hockessin

    Yes, I am a terrorist. And don’t tell anyone– my wife is from the Middle East and speaks Arabic. And I have worked with explosives (including military stuff). And all of those Google searches for ANFO— purely academic research.


    Filed on at 5:03 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s an interesting essay up over at Edspresso. It’s really hard to summarize, but everything in the title is mentioned at one point or another. Worth a read. (Tip credit: Tammy)


    Filed on July 25, 2006 at 5:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Christine had a long comment that I’m going to try to address. It’s pretty emblematic of the fingers-in-the-ears “thinking” that creationism and science are somehow interchangeable.

    Just a few more questions for all of you…

    If the scientific definition for fact says that the truth is never final, and that it can change tomorrow, can you logically accept this definition? How can you ever know that you’ve arrived at the truth?

    You can’t. There is no Truth in science. That’s the beauty of it. Our knowledge and understanding are always growing, always changing. Science doesn’t need Truth to work.

    If something is “generally accepted” by a certain community, does that make it true? That seems to have holes all through that “theory.”

    See above.

    Has anyone looked at what method of dating is used and how that dating is validated?

    Of course. Do you think some scientist just decided one day to invent C-14 dating and every other scientist in the world said “Cool”?

    Is everyone that is arguing for evolution believe that all things came out of nothing, spontaneously, and arrived eventually in an ordered fashion? That order came out of chaos? How can this be?

    Yes. Do you have kids? Were they always the size they are now? Or have they grown and gotten more complex over time? All it takes is energy and time.

    What about all of the things that supposedly evolved but the original versions remain the same? Natural selection only works on some of the things but leaves some of those same things alone?

    No, natural selection works on all life forms. If some happen to find an environmental niche that is only changing very slowly, they will evolve very slowly.

    Just take one aspect of life on earth, reproduction. Look at all of the different life forms and all of the different ways they reproduce. You honestly think that that all happened by chance?

    Sure. Why not?

    There are plenty of “scientific-y” people out there who believe in creation. Read their stories. Read the biographies of those who have come before us, brilliant scientists.

    What does the biography of a “scientific-y” person tell me? That they believed in a literal 6,000 year-old Earth? Well, if they lived long ago, that can be forgiven. Any scientist espousing such a belief today is just delusional (and not much of a scientist).

    The very laws that we all know exist and cannot be changed are not “Newton’s Laws” or “Einstein’s Laws”, but God’s laws. Does it even make sense in an ever-evolving world that these things must stay the same?

    You assume a lot there. We all know that God’s laws exist? Which God? Allah? Jehovah? Vishnu?

    The only Laws I recognize as universally True are the laws of physics. And they’re always subject to revision.

    For those who really have made a wholehearted effort to understand creation, that is absolutely wonderful. I’d be curious to know what sources you have used.

    Sorry, I can’t help here. Everything I’ve read on YEC has me guffawing by the second paragraph. Or pulling out what little hair I have left.

    Evolution or science is most certainly a religion. It requires faith and has it’s doctrines and dogmas. It also allows man to worship himself and nature over the Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth.

    re·li·gion (rÄ­-lÄ­j’É™n) pronunciation

    1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
    2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

    I’m pretty sure the dictionary definition only covers your side of this argument, as I don’t worship evolution or Darwin.

    I would encourage everyone to look at this issue from all sides but understand that if you don’t believe in the Bible and the Lord God you may never be able to see what the Scriptures say about science and creation. Science continually proves Scripture.

    You mean your version of Scripture. Give me one piece of evidence that is accepted by 51% of scientists. Something that is not intuitively obvious. The overwhelming majority of scientists do not consider the Bible useful for doing science.

    With Scripture, you can stand resting in the truth, not relative to current theories, or everchanging beliefs of man.

    Again, that’s your version of the Truth. Other folks may disagree with that interpretation.

    And, yes, be on the minority side of a thread titled, “Dumb and Dumber”.

    We finally agree on something. 🙂


    OK, now it’s my turn–

    Why do you care what other people think about YEC? You have Truth, don’t you? I mean, I don’t care if you teach your kids that the world is flat. I just don’t want your religion taught in the secular public schools. At least not as science. I wouldn’t have any problem teaching it as mythology. Of course, it’ll be taught right up there with Zeus vs. the Titans. I’m not sure you’d want that.

    So, why can’t creationists agree to keep their religion out of the schools? Is this some kind of Great Commission thing? Are you going to save the Catholics heathens pagans (as Scott referred to us)?

    Seriously, the anti-science rhetoric by the creationists would be funny were it not so pitiable.


    Filed on July 24, 2006 at 8:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    How come these teens were all able to figure out that the new cell-phone law in NC is unenforceable, yet the legislators weren’t?

    NC teens– They’re smarter than the average pol!


    Filed on at 8:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    First lesson– Don’t insult your target audience in the opening grafs of your press release:

    Kaysville, UT (PRWEB) July 24 2006 -– The phrase, ”back to school” for most children means going back to the classroom, but for an increasing number of kids it means going back to the family room. The stigma of home-schooling in the U.S. has been slowly receding as more parents find success educating their own children.

    Over the last decade, the number of children being home-schooled has been steadily rising. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Education estimated the number of home-taught kids at 850,000. By 2005, the number grew to approximately 2 million, out of 50 million K-12 aged children.

    There has always been a strong disdain for home education. Critics contend that home schooling produces academically intelligent yet socially dysfunctional adults. Other criticisms include parent’s lack of educational training and that home schooling impedes a student’s chance of being accepted to a reputable university.


    Filed on at 5:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    The NYT has an interesting piece on Southern Baptist colleges cutting their ties with the increasingly conservative denomination over the issue of academic freedom. Furman University, my alma mater, is mentioned as one of the rebels.

    The state conventions do not own the colleges, but in most cases they approve trustees and provide annual subsidies. Their power over the boards has often been at the center of contention, with the stakes often involving academic direction.

    This was the situation at Furman. The Board was appointed by the SC Baptists even though they were only providing about 5% of the operating budget. Furman is now entirely secular (as it basically was 20 years ago during my time there.)


    Filed on at 12:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    That damn ACLU is busy trumpeting liberal, anti-American, anti-Christian causes again! Maybe I should just burn my membership card in protest! (Title and tip via COD)


    Filed on at 5:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Conscientious Marketer (oxymoron, I know) Brian Vaszily really goes off on BusRadio, the New & Improved! propaganda delivery device for the kids still stuck in prison school.

    The ultimate point here — and the source of my ultimate disgust – is that our children won’t even have a choice to shut off BusRadio when they’re on the bus. Unlike even television which CAN be shut off, it will be FORCED into their bus, much the same way radio propaganda has been forced upon citizens in totalitarian countries in the past.

    Got to get them consuming young! (Tip credit: Speedwell)


    Filed on July 23, 2006 at 4:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure how this works, but it always does. If you register at Walmart.com for their photo service, every time you log into their system, they give you 10 free 1-hour photos (internet upload only). The only (minor) drawback to this system is that their upload software doesn’t work with Firefox. The IE Tab extension does work, though.

    Another neat feature of this is that you can dump the photos to virtually any Walmart in the country. It’s a great way to share pics with relatives at a distance.


    Filed on at 12:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    This piece on the Twelve Tribes includes one of the dumber quotes I’ve seen lately:

    Twelve Tribes children are closely shielded from influences of the outside world. They are home-schooled because members believe education is part of parenting.

    Doesn’t pretty much everyone believe that?


    Filed on at 12:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    This article indicates that there is some some controversy surrounding whether YouTube “star” lonelygirl15 might not be 16 or home educated. I figure if any community can find out for sure, it’d be the folks who hang out here. How ’bout it? Does anyone recognize this girl?


    Filed on at 12:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, it’s a column but this quote deserved some pub:

    But I do not think that school life bears more than a fleeting resemblance to real life.

    Where in real life is one’s day broken up by bells? In prison, perhaps, and the more poorly-run factories. Where in real life does one spend one’s day with 30 other persons of exactly one’s own age and one much older authority figure? Nowhere.

    Where else does one run the risk of getting beaten up in the locker room? Prison, I suppose. Where else does one spend an hour now and again in a mass of people whipping oneself and the rest of the crowd into a frenzied show of “spirit?” Perhaps in totalitarian regimes.

    The whole column is worth a read.


    Filed on at 12:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    to Carlotta for making this list at Blogcritics.org.


    Filed on July 22, 2006 at 5:25 am under by dcobranchi

    for a day or two. I’m doing Dad duty, transporting #1 Daughter to ballet “camp.” It’s only 900 miles round trip.

    At least it’s less expensive than Delaney’s habit. 🙂


    Filed on July 21, 2006 at 11:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Get rid of the g-schools.

    Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, and Christian — each faith has its holy days. Schools across the country are asking how to respect them all.

    …It can get complicated. When Muslims in the Tampa Bay region of Florida asked for a day off to celebrate the end of Ramadan, another local religious group perked up.

    “There was discussion in the Hindu community if we should also push for a holiday,” said Nikhil Joshi, a board member of the national Hindu American Foundation.

    Parents for whom religious holidays are important could choose schools that recognized those days. Or they could homeschool.

    As long as the government is picking which religious holidays are important enough to close the schools, we’re going to be faced with minorities having to choose school or God. In a diverse society, that’s a recipe for strife.


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    And the ACLU, too!

    RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) — A state judge has ruled that North Carolina’s 201-year-old law barring unmarried couples from living together is unconstitutional.

    The American Civil Liberties Union sued last year to overturn the rarely enforced law on behalf of a former sheriff’s dispatcher who says she had to quit her job because she wouldn’t marry her live-in boyfriend.

    Deborah Hobbs, 41, says her boss, Sheriff Carson Smith of Pender County, near Wilmington, told her to get married, move out or find another job after he found out she and her boyfriend had been living together for three years. The couple did not want to get married, so Hobbs quit in 2004.

    That’s why we need Christian Reconstruction in this country. When Farris and his friends are in charge this won’t be merely a namby-pamby Class 2 misdemeanor. It’ll be a capital offense. Hell, yeah! Oops. Sorry, Mike. Please don’t kill me.


    Filed on July 20, 2006 at 3:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    The following comment appeared on the “DUMB AND DUMBER” thread below. I believe it’s entirely appropriate for that thread.

    It’s amazing how many people are bashing Kent Hovind about his creation world view as if he were a quack but never seem to mention the THOUSANDS of FULLY CREDENTIALED scientists who are young earth creationists. Seems to me the real quacks are those who are so hung up on a bad theory, they refuse to accept evidence that obviously refutes it.

    I really don’t have the room on my hosted account to go into all of the evidence against YEC. (250 MB just ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.) And I’d love to see a list of all of these thousands of fully credentialed scientists who can wilfully ignore scientific evidence in order to trust a flawed biblical literalism. How many of them are chemists or geologists or biologists or astrophysicists? You know, folks who might have just a bit of expertise to bring to the discussion.

    Besides which, I’m not particulary impressed with credentials.

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