Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » August
  • *SIGH*

    Filed on August 31, 2006 at 7:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think I want to be known as a homeschooler anymore, as this kind of stuff pops up all too often:

    Despite the fact that there’s only one open seat without an incumbent in the House of Delegates district that includes Annapolis, no less than a dozen people are vying to take it.

    …I didn’t aspire to be in politics,” said Mr. George, a father of six home-schooled children who supports teaching creationism in public schools.

    NOTE: The article seems to have been edited. The creationism bit no longer appears.


    Filed on at 7:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Scott Somerville asks where all of the student protests against the war are. A big fat one down the middle of the plate. Nance hits it out of the park, of course.


    Filed on at 5:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    over our backyard hummingbird feeder is getting nasty.


    Filed on at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Click the image for a little perspective.


    Filed on at 3:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is good customer service:

    Your Policy Number: xxxxxxxxx


    A severe storm has been reported in your area. Progressive encourages you to take necessary precautions to protect yourself, your family and your personal property.

    If this storm causes damage, Progressive’s Catastrophe Response Team will be in the area as quickly as possible to help you with your car, boat, motorcycle, or RV claim.

    Read our safety tips here.

    If your vehicle is damaged by the storm:

    •For auto claims, report your claim online or call 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).

    •For boat, motorcycle, or RV claims, please call 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737).

    •After filing your claim, we’ll e-mail you to let you know when you can monitor its status online.

    Ernesto is supposed to pass just East of us sometime tonight. Winds are expected to be in the 40 knot range when it passes.


    Filed on at 1:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, it works. The secret is in the URL. Some Youtube URL’s include a parameter /watch?v= You need to replace that with /v/


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    What is the YEC explanation for today’s APOD? Two galaxies 50M light years distant (but only 150,000 L.Y. apart) and five more galaxies 400M L.Y. away.

    How can one even attempt to rationalize a 6,000 year old universe?


    Filed on August 30, 2006 at 5:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    I really thought I had somehow gotten a bad link for this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. It’s quite good, but not at all what I was expecting.

    Next week’s CoH will be at the Cate’s place. Submission info here.


    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    The folks who made Jesus Camp are attempting to create some Snakes-like internet buzz. OK, I’ll play along.

    This is also a test of a YouTube embed in WP.

    UPDATE: Well, I’ve obviously screwed it up. Here’s the link.

    UPDATE II: A YouTube plugin.

    UPDATE III: Chris’s “fix.”


    Filed on at 5:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs posts on the almost total lack of privacy facing American teens.

    “I think, over time, parents will feel if they don’t have this, they’re not being good parents,” says Jim Katz, Director of the Rutgers University Center for Mobile Communication Studies. He says that soon, tiny cameras — like the ones in most new cell phones — will enable parents to literally watch over their kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week– and even eavesdrop on their conversations.


    Filed on at 4:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Maybe we can all agree on this one? 🙂

    Archeologists say a prehistoric skeleton and campsite discovered on the muddy shore of Lake Travis could be between 700 and 2,000 years old.

    An archaeology crew excavated the nearly intact skeleton on Sunday so that it can be donated to the University of Texas for further study.

    …David Houston, of Austin, came across the skeleton on Aug. 9 when he pulled his personal watercraft onto the lake shore to admire a nearby house. He said he saw a jawbone, teeth and a forearm in the clay soil.

    …Houston, an archaeology buff who has “home-schooled” himself on the subject for almost 25 years, said he recognized the skull as dating back hundreds of years. The teeth are ground down, which indicates the person ate food that is stone-ground and has tiny rock fragments in it, he said.

    Tip credit: Rikki

    As to the other use of the word, fuck it. I give up. JJ, Nance, Annette, e-schoolers, g-(home)schoolers– y’all can have it. These “conversations” are fruitless. And y’all ought to know what Jesus did to the fruitless fig tree.


    Filed on August 29, 2006 at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    In Hell.

    Oh yeah, we were reminded by the illustrious Daryl Cobranchi, possibly one of the most famous living humans in Hell of our “conversion” regarding homeschooling. I’ve got to be honest about this. We just looked at the facts weighed the lunatic fringe against all the good people who love their children who wish them to have the best possible education and are willing to spend their lives being close to their kids. And when viewed through this lens homeschooling beats all other forms of education hands down.


    Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

    So says Spunky.

    And before Annette and JJ start flogging that poor horse again, here’s what I want. And it’s all I want– clarity. The word “homeschool” has legal definitions in much of the country. And it has an understood meaning throughout. Basically homeschooling equates to a choice to opt out of the system. We ask only that the newcomers, who are attempting to re-define the word, respect our choice to attempt to keep the original definition.

    IOW, find your own damn word!


    Filed on August 28, 2006 at 11:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    A dissertation on Star Trek. And to think that I wasted all those years in the lab.


    Filed on at 10:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Ryan Boots found a piece right out of my backyard. It’s pretty funny.


    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    This future educrat really seems to grok home education. Well worth a read.


    Filed on August 27, 2006 at 12:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    A couple of pieces on CNN about the shocking (to me) about face performed by the Bush administration. This was never about the science (big shock, I know) but was, instead, a sop to the GOP pro-life base (another shocker). Kudos to Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray for successfully playing hardball to get the OTC certification done.

    OK, Scott, you can start now in telling us how this is some great victory for Bush, Rove, and the GOP, as it’s going to rally the base. Of course, there have been so many recent such “victories,” that I fully expect a GOP turnout of 748% in November.

    UPDATE: Perhaps not. Will this be the event that finally pushes Bush’s approval ratings down into the 20s?


    Filed on at 10:34 am under by dcobranchi

    I hope that this story is wildly inaccurate. The alternative is too scary to contemplate.


    Filed on at 8:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Can TX schools really suspend students for not doing a reading assignment over the summer?

    A Texas school system is so serious about learning that it told more than 500 students to stay home from classes until they finish a summer reading assignment.

    The decision by the Lancaster Independent School District near Dallas may be tough, but it reflects nationwide pressure on US schools to turn out better students under education policies championed by President George W. Bush.

    At least in this case, the effort seems to be paying off. Last year, when the reading programme applied to seventh through 12th grade, 1,100 Lancaster students were suspended for not completing the assignment.

    This year, all grades had to do summer reading but only 519 students had fallen short, said Teri Wilson, director of community relations for the district.

    …In May, the Lancaster district sent a letter to parents informing them that all students would have to read during the summer and complete a project based on the reading.

    Students who did not complete the work were told they would be suspended from class until the work was completed.

    Students were sent home to complete the work, and the schools even provided books to make it easier for students. When students returned for the second day of classes, nearly 425 stragglers had completed the requirement.

    And if they refuse? Are they indefinitely suspended? Do they suspend kids when they don’t do other homework assignments? It seems to me we might have several violations of law here including lack of due process and whatever right a TX youth has to a publicly-funded education.

    Paging the ACLU.


    Filed on at 7:31 am under by dcobranchi

    WorldNetDaily has finally taken note of eBay’s policy against the sale of teacher’s editions. A couple of home educators and an unnamed, unlinked-to homeschool blogger (Poor form!) are mentioned. They also list a couple of sites where they are available.

    For the record, here’s a pretty complete listing where the power-sellers from eBay are now hanging their hats:

    As promised, here’s a list of auction sites at which Teacher’s Editions
    are regularly sold. The first three are particularly recommended:


    http://www.vegsource.com (Swap Board)


    Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    The worst graf ever written, contrasting Utah’s e-school with the real thing:

    Utah’s Electronic High School offers courses for ninth- through 12-graders – taught by real teachers in a virtual environment. EHS is accredited and is free to Utah students. Online learners can transfer EHS course grades to traditional public schools or earn an EHS diploma accepted by colleges.

    Just kind of oozes write off the monitor, doesn’t it?


    Filed on at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

    I somehow missed that the documentary (Coming soon to a theatre near you!) is about homeschooling.


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    The Lansing State Journal has an interesting Op/Ed written by an HEK. I think Ginny Davis can probably kiss any future career in politics goodbye:

    For the parents of children in public or private schools, that becomes more difficult as not only must they train their children in the way of integrity, but often must counteract the often negative influences of their children’s peers.

    This is not to say that all public schoolers are defective. In fact, I have a few friends in the public school system who have turned out well. But I fear that they are the exception rather than the rule.


    Filed on August 25, 2006 at 9:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Today’s pic is stunning.


    Filed on at 6:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Yoda version of homeschooling.

    This has to be one of the most poorly-written pieces I’ve seen. It’s not negative. It’s just bad:

  • There are no fixed hours of learning per subject. This means that a child has the advantage of assigning more number of hours to the subject that seems tough WITHOUT any additional pressure.
  • Other worrying issues pertaining to discipline and ethics also make the school system less welcome.
  • After all, nobody can understand or appreciate your child more than yourself.
  • Hurt my eyes do.


    Filed on August 24, 2006 at 5:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve gone to completely unmoderated status on comments. Instead, I’m relying on the plugin Spam Karma to do the dirty work. The rationale is that I’m going to be traveling a bit in a few days (to South Korea) and I didn’t want legitimate comments hung up waiting for moderation.

    If some spam slips through, I hope you’ll understand.

    Also, you no longer have to enter a name and email address.

    UPDATE: I think about 10 comments got lost among the 400+ spams it found. It looks like I might have to fine tune the settings. Fortunately, I just learned that I won’t be leaving until 9/3, so I’ll hopefully have all the bugs worked out by then.


    Filed on at 2:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    My sources on the front lines of the GWoT have provided evidence that the jihadists have figured out our weaknesses and will stop at nothing in their efforts to exploit them.


    Filed on at 7:38 am under by dcobranchi

    I really enjoy FindLaw’s regular legal analysis columns (yes, Scott, I read this kind of stuff). Today’s, on a couple of First Amendment cases is particularly appropriate for HE&OS as it deals specifically with g-schools and the Establishment Clause. My one problem with the piece, though, is the homeschooling bit:

    The Political Context: Using Equality Principles to Further Christian Ends

    Turning to the political context, the CEF case was brought by the Christian Legal Society on the merits, with the National Legal Foundation, another Christian organization, submitting an amicus (friend of the court) brief. These two organizations are part of a larger movement dedicated to re-introducing Christianity into the public schools — and, failing that, to siphoning public funds from the public schools to private religious schools and home-schoolers.

    I couldn’t find anything where the CLS has called for public funding for home education. Their website doesn’t seem to have a search function (BOO! HISS!), so it might be buried. What kind of legitimate organization would work to destroy home education by pushing for public funding?

    So, how ’bout it? Anybody know of any push for homeschooling to be publicly funded?


    Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not quite sure which side the letter writer is on:

    Fossil discovery fuels debate over evolution

    Recently I read that a newly discovered cache of fossils in Wyoming has been opened up for scientific research. Just imagine, dinosaur bones lying around on the ground!

    It brings up an interesting opportunity to test the question of Creationism vs. Evolution. Creationism predicts that we’ll find fossils from modern animals like birds and mammals there. If such fossils are found, then Darwin is wrong.

    We shall see if the people clinging desperately to a disproved theory will accept that they’re wrong. Either way, the debate will surely rage on.

    Clifton Goodwin

    It’s difficult to prove a negative, so if modern animals aren’t found the creationists will have no problem spinning that fact away. Best guess? Mr. Goodwin thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old.


    Filed on August 23, 2006 at 8:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    More he said/she said journalism:

    Home schooling is certainly not for everyone and there are many disadvantages to consider as well. Children who obtain a home schooled education cannot receive a high school diploma unless their program of study is affiliated with an accredited organization that reviews and rates the practices and curriculum. Students are, however, able to receive a GED.

    The role of the parent must receive just as much reflection as the needs of the child when considering this type of education. Parents must be whole heartedly devoted to the demands of the program. Home schooling requires a huge commitment and endless patience. The most successful children are those with parents that are motivated, able to see a task through completion, and enjoy spending enormous amounts of time with their child.

    Home schooling programs vary greatly regarding expense and the involvement of the parents ranging from purchasing a kit curriculum and submitting all work for grading and record keeping by a third party to complete control over all aspects.

    More like he whispered/she shouted.


    Filed on at 7:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    any excuse will do.

    Biologists have developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a method that, if confirmed in other laboratories, would seem to remove the principal objection to stem cell research.

    …Dr. Leon Kass, former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, said, “I do not think that this is the sought-for, morally unproblematic and practically useful approach we need.” He said the long-term risk of P.G.D. testing is unknown, and that the present stem-cell technique is inefficient, requiring blastomeres from many embryos to generate each new cell line. It would be better to derive human stem cell lines from the body’s mature cells, he said, a method that researchers are still working on.

    That’s known as moving the goalposts. And the Republican War on Science continues.


    Filed on at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Yeah, I know I’ve misused the word, but I liked the pairing. Anyway, the quote:

    She was home educated and served the Lord on two tours with the Frontline Continental singers, that included 49 states and traveling abroad to the Orient.


    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    I think Godwin’s Law may need an update. And even the present resident of the WH is in on the gag.


    Filed on August 22, 2006 at 6:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    Leavenworth, Kansas

    Popularly known as “home schoolers,” the Johnsons are one of several families in the Leavenworth area who educate their children themselves, instead of using the public school system or traditional private schools.

    There’s also a poll to freep. The wrong team is winning, big-time.


    Filed on at 7:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Astrophysicists have obtained direct evidence for the existence of dark matter.


    Filed on at 7:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Jon Swift has some fun at the expense of “The Woman with Too Many Names.”


    Filed on at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

    This Op/Ed on autism was picked up around the globe. Strong on emotionalism. Very weak on data. Homeschooling rates a very minor mention.


    Filed on at 6:04 am under by dcobranchi

    The FSM makes an appearance on the NASA servers. Chris found it before NASA did. All hail Chris! All hail Chris!


    Filed on August 21, 2006 at 7:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    We, the undersigned, hereby request that our names and addresses be removed from the list of North Carolina homeschools that DNPE makes available on the internet. We understand that by having our names and addresses not available through the website, there will be delays in confirming (if necessary) our homeschooling status.


    Filed on at 7:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Geez! Bribing teachers so that they’ll try to drag our kids back into the system:

    “We want kids in Mason County schools,” said Superintendent Tim Moore. “We’re trying to reduce dropout rate.”

    Moore said teachers who visit students who leave the school system and convince them to return will receive a certain amount of funds to be used for technology in their classroom. The idea behind the technology incentives would be to reward teachers who make an extra effort to target students who have dropped out or opted to be home-schooled.

    “Education is more than learning in books,” Moore said about the home-schooling options, adding the social aspects of school are important as well.

    Moore said the idea behind the technology incentives is not to lure students away from other schooling options, such as privates schools or other public schools in other counties.

    “This has to do with kids who’ve dropped out … or are home-schooled,” Moore said.

    The whole piece is just plain awful.


    Filed on at 7:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    USAToday picked up the defectors piece. Same hed.


    Filed on at 7:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Or, more precisely, Tim did.

    Whatever the reason behind homeschooling, the trend, Drage noted, is slowly on the decline in Stark County.

    “Our numbers are decreasing and … I have a feeling we are going to continue that,” Drage said. “We came to a spike about four or five years ago, and we have been decreasing every year.”

    Jackson schools, for example, had 91 students homeschooled during the 2004-2005 school year. That number dropped to 76 for 2005-2006.

    Drage believes there is one factor in particular that has contributed to the decline.

    “One of (the reasons), is the digital academies,” Drage said. “I started to see a decline just about the time the digital academies became common among districts. It’s not the only factor, but it is one of the influences.”

    I don’t have a problem with the virtual schools. Parents have the right (even if they don’t know it) to choose whatever educational route seems best to them. And I’m not really all that worried if our numbers aren’t increasing at the 7-10 percent per year that we saw in the ’80s and ’90s. We’re large enough now that the phenomenon will be self-replicating. Assuming, of course, that the folks who are truly legal homeschoolers continue to fight for their freedoms.

    A big assumption, I know.

    The article quoted above is actually quite good and worth a read.


    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Since Annette noticed that the tagline had changed, a perfect example of the confusion that misusing the word entails.


    Filed on at 6:55 am under by dcobranchi

    While somehow less than eloquently put, this LttE hits all of the high points.

    Home schooling better than public schools

    It might seem rather odd that a person that claims to be a Christian, and a creationist, would suggest to those that are trying to get the government schools to teach anything other than evolution, to stop wasting their time. My thinking changed after reading the book titled, “The Harsh Truth About Public Schools” by Bruce Shortt.

    Mr. Shortt makes the case for getting Christians, and others, to teach their children at home. The home-schooled child can learn both the creationist view and the evolutionist view. In those and many other areas they will be better educated than the child trapped in “government schools.” He calls them government schools as they are no longer run by the public, but rather by the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

    With all the non academic subjects kids are exposed to today, from understanding homosexuality, to self esteem classes, drug education, to gender equality, it is amazing they get any education.

    Home school students are generally a grade or two ahead of their fellow students in the government schools. Why would you want to send your child to a place that will give him a lesser education? With the materials available today such as DVD’s and computer email to instructors, home schooling is a lot easier than years ago.

    The parent that thinks he will have to give lectures to his kids for hours doesn’t understand home schooling. The advantage of home schooling is that it teaches the child to be responsible for his own education.

    With the coming teacher baby boomer retirement, we will be seeing more schools that are hurting for teachers. I think home education will be the answer. Christians should be spending more time thinking about going that route rather than trying to change the schools to accept the creationist viewpoint.

    Ric Trexell Berlin

    I especially like that last sentence. It really would be nice if the creationists stopped trying to push their particular flavor of Christianity into the g-schools.


    Filed on August 19, 2006 at 7:31 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ll be offline until Sunday night.


    Filed on at 7:19 am under by dcobranchi

    No, not the NYT. HEKs. Check out the Hed of the Day:

    Home-schooled students defecting to online learning programs


    Filed on at 7:02 am under by dcobranchi

    Gratutious photo of attractive young woman. Click the pic for the Business 2.0 story behind it. Completely idiotic. But worth $1M to the inventor.


    Filed on August 18, 2006 at 6:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Valerie Moon nails the fearmongers (aka HSLDA):

    It is true that that Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy cited The U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in the case of Roper v. Simmons in March of 2005, a case about the proposed execution of a juvenile offender. However, importing a homeschooling crisis from abroad in case an as-yet-uninvolved judge in a nonexistent legal case might cite an unratified Convention because Belgium ratified a U.N. Convention is a stretch worthy of Gumby.


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    OK, the school screwed up showing an R-rated movie and parents are pissed:

    Brian Lewis is likewise convinced that his daughter’s mind was invaded by the film’s explicit content; he even goes so far as to say that Animo Venice High School officials are responsible for the “emotional kidnapping and psychological rape” of his daughter’s “Christian innocence,” which is why he says he and his wife plan to sue the school for showing Donnie Darko to their daughter without giving them prior notice.

    Wow! Emotional kidnapping and psychological rape! Pretty harsh stuff. And, other than suing the school, how did these parents attempt to protect their daughter from further kidnappings and rapes?

    With all that has transpired, the couple say they are considering home schooling their daughter or possibly sending her to a private school.

    I guess maybe it wasn’t so traumatic after all.


    Filed on at 5:31 am under by dcobranchi

    A politician was caught editing his Wikipedia entry. His bad:

    One of the sleuths in the Gutknecht incident is a 15-year-old Wikipedia “editor” from Nashville who says he acted out of no malice for Gutknecht, but rather to protect the integrity of the controversial online encyclopedia, which invites the public to volunteer information for its entries.

    “There’s a policy against autobiographical edits,” said the volunteer editor, Daniel Bush, who says he is home-schooled by his parents in Tennessee. “At Wikipedia, we call these ‘edit wars.’ “

    That’d be a fun project to volunteer on.

    BTW, his entry now has this addendum:

    Wikipedia editing

    On August 16, 2006, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Gutknecht’s office twice — on July 24 and August 14, 2006 — removed a 128-word section in the Wikipedia article on him, replacing it with a more flattering 315-word entry taken from his official congressional biography. Most of the removed text was about the 12-year term-limit Gutknecht imposed on himself in 1995. A spokesperson for Gutknecht did not dispute that his office changed his Wikipedia entry, but questioned the fundamental reliability of the encyclopedia itself. [3][4].

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