Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » November

    Filed on November 30, 2006 at 5:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m betting that this is one invitation which will remain unanswered:

    The Michigan Merit Exam will take place in March. The South Lyon Community School District would like to invite eleventh grade students that are “home schooled” and who reside in the school district to take the exam at South Lyon High School, a national test site.

    Why would any home educating family want to take the state accountability tests?


    Filed on at 5:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    This Arkansas school screwed up badly.

    MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — A public school in Arkansas told students at lunch that they could leave the cafeteria by a side door and pick up free Gideon Bibles.

    Mountain Home schools’ Superintendent Charles Scriber said that’s allowed by district policies, but an official with the American Civil Liberties Union called the distribution unconstitutional.

    Scriber notes that there was no religious assembly at Pinkston Middle School, and school officials didn’t hand Bibles to students but placed them in a hall where students could choose to take one or not.

    But Rita Sklar, who heads the ACLU of Arkansas, said the school was still “promoting a particular religion.”

    In a previous life I was actually a member of the Gideons (Quit laughing!) for a while. We were absolutely not permitted to distribute Bibles in the school. In fact, we had to stay on the sidewalk off school property. And, no, I never handed them out. I was more a give money to a cause kind of member.


    Filed on November 29, 2006 at 9:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    But it helps.

    A collective “I told you so” will ripple through the world of Bush-bashers once news of Christopher Lohse’s study gets out.

    Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

    Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.


    Filed on at 8:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    First Amendment 1, Morons 0

    OH! MY! GOD!

    Filed on November 28, 2006 at 9:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Fucking NCHE is proposing that we cooperate with DNPE’s extra-legal “requests” for meetings (including, presumably, at the local police station).

    Hal, your org just plain sucks.


    Filed on at 5:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    and I actually managed to get the CoH post up. Amazing!


    Filed on at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

    The co-op we hang with is sponsoring a Winter Formal in Fayetteville on Dec. 16th. Details here.


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    They want to see the species go extinct in less than 20 years.

    Support a mandatory spay/neuter law

    Our sympathy goes out to Hilbert Jones, the man who was recently attacked by three pit bulls (“Man bitten 150 times by pit bulls,” Nov. 16).

    Often treated like living weapons or cheap alarm systems, pit bulls are one of the world’s most abused breeds of dogs. For this reason, and because dogs of any breed who haven’t been sterilized are three times more likely to bite, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals supports a mandatory spay/neuter law for pit bulls — and all dogs.

    There is no reason to bring more pit bulls into a world where so many of them will be sought out and abused because of their breed. Shelters are already forced to euthanize millions of healthy, friendly, adoptable dogs every year for lack of homes.

    Anyone who cares about pit bulls — all pit bulls, not just the lucky one sleeping in their living room — can agree that a spay/neuter law would prevent dog attacks and spare the dogs they love from tremendous suffering. To learn more, visit www.HelpingAnimals.com.

    Lindsay Pollard-Post
    Staff writer, PETA
    Norfolk, Va.

    I support a spay/neuter law for folks who spout completely illogical opinions in the LttE section of newspapers. Surely anyone who cares about logical thinking can agree.


    Filed on November 27, 2006 at 6:15 pm under by dcobranchi


    Filed on at 4:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Mike Farris is not only a theocrat extraordinaire. He’s also an expert on in-car cellular technology. What are the chances? And how did a CT paper end up interviewing Farris down in VA? [Tip credit: Mary]


    Filed on at 9:06 am under by dcobranchi

    If Dr. Phil is going to run completely meaningless unscientific polls, the least we can do is help to make sure that the results are worth exactly what he’s paying for the poll.


    Filed on November 26, 2006 at 10:15 am under by dcobranchi

    The DE Dept. of Education is trying to entice HEKs to sign up for a program leading to an official “State of Delaware high school diploma.” Wow! Official credentials with a State Seal and everything!


    Filed on at 9:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Orwell was right.

    This private, for-profit preschool has nearly 1,000 centers nationwide and offers care to children as young as six weeks and as old as 5 years.

    Translation: KinderCare Corp. runs a chain of 1,000 day cares across the country.

    Seventy-eight percent of 3- and 4-year-olds from families with incomes greater than $100,000 attend preschool, according to a 2004 study conducted by the National Institute for Early Education Research. For families with incomes less than $50,000, that figure stands at less than 50 percent.

    Translation: Families with two earners need to put their young children in daycare while families with one earner generally do not.

    While some families enroll their children in private preschools that develop children at an earlier age than public schools do, other families cannot afford the tuitions of these private programs.

    Translation: Children are automatons that need to be programmed for the furtherance of the State’s desires. To assure that these future “resources” are programmed correctly the State will take control of all programming from birth. “The child IS the mere creature of the state; those who give birth to him and meet his physical needs do not have the right to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”


    Filed on at 8:26 am under by dcobranchi


    Homeschooling is now too mainstream (and successful) for the MSM to pick on. Not so for unschooling. Does anyone think it is a coincidence that the New York Times decided to do a lengthy piece on unschooling the day after Dr. Phil’s hit piece aired?

    Me, neither.


    Filed on at 8:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Freedom is slavery:

    Aimless young people would benefit from draft

    Bringing back the draft would be the best thing for this country in a lot of ways. The main reason would be to reinforce our troops so that we wouldn’t have to use the National Guard.

    Another benefit would be it would get a lot of kids off the streets, where they get into trouble, and into a group where they would get the discipline they need. They would get veterans benefits for the rest of their lives, such as education and medical care.

    The best thing a young person can do is to go into the military, where they learn to cooperate with others and take orders. This leads to a more productive life when they get out.

    Paul Keffer, Newark

    I’ll support reinstating the draft only if ALL members of Congress and White House staff (and their adult children) who haven’t ever served are drafted first and are guaranteed frontline, battlefield assignments in whatever stupid war The Powers That Be have decided to gin up.


    Filed on November 25, 2006 at 6:20 am under by dcobranchi

    I thought this reason apt for a Black Friday story.

    Fourthly, if net society is too remote like for you you can get together with other homeschoolers on a week-by-week basis for ‘play dates’ or meetings with ‘the other’. To play.

    Beside that there are always opportunites for kids at the maul, not to mention the libary where there are many fun activites for children beside book reading. Use you’re imaginative faculty!


    Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

    I missed Dr. Phil’s hit piece on homeschooling. The show seems to have generated a few comments.


    Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s fake but worth a look (if you can find your red/blue glasses from Sharkboy and Lavagirl).

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on November 24, 2006 at 8:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one will likely be mostly of interest to Bay area residents.


    Filed on at 2:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    Passed along without comment:


    This is Laura, and I handle customer service at 3moms.com. I am so sorry to hear about your problems. We handle 600+ orders per month through here, and there is just a few of us here handling it all. So I am so sorry that some of you have slipped through the cracks.

    One HUGE problem we faced was that we were so overwhelmed, we hired a company called Fosdick to help with fulillment. They made big promises, took lots of our money, and nearly killed us, creating a customer service nightmare for us. We make frightingly little money as it is with this endeavour, and barely survived. We had to separate from them, and it is still haunting us till today. We still don’t have control over our emails, domains and don’t have our previous customer lists.

    That’s why we’ve shifted completely to Gmail to handling our emails. So we are back in control, and are using our own overwhelmed hands to do everything.

    So it is imperative, imperative, imperative, that you get the word out that customers use the correct email addresses. Please refer them to this page:


    and have them use sware.cs@gmail.com for customer service.

    BUT! For you guys, we set up a special lifeline. It’s:


    Anyone with order problems from your Blog that responds using this email, we will send them an extra 2 software titles. Just tell them to select their bonus 2, and we’ll throw them into their order.

    Again, I’m so, so sorry if anyone fell threw the cracks. We’ve been around for a long time, we process lots, and lots of orders, and it’s certainly not our intent for anyone to be frutrated.

    Thanks so much for helping get the word out so other homeschooling families won’t become frustrated too!



    Filed on November 23, 2006 at 5:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Blogging will resume tomorrow.


    Filed on November 22, 2006 at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Received via email re: 3Moms.com

    I am a new “customer”. They have me for about $90. It has been 4 weeks since my order and I have emailed them 6 or 7 times. No response from them at all. I paid it through pay pal and I cannot file a complaint with them until it has been 45 days since the purchase date. Will I get my money back?? I have never had a problem purchasing something online before. I Googled the company and this web page was referred. I am so glad I found this info.

    3Moms seems to have some major problems with order fulfillment. Surely, they’re not operating a scam?

    BTW, I just googled 3moms and 3moms.com and got some very interesting results. Check out the second entry.


    Filed on November 21, 2006 at 3:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Death to America? Geez! (H/T: Laura)


    Filed on at 4:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Will Smith says he and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith homeschool their children because the most valuable things he learned he didn’t get from school. “The date of the Boston Tea Party does not matter,” Smith told Reader’s Digest. “I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I absolutely know that I could learn how to fly the space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it, and they put it in a book. Give me the book, and I do not need somebody to stand up in front of the class.”


    Filed on at 4:21 am under by dcobranchi

    The Wilmington News-Journal has a really good article on the problems out kids face in school. The harassment doesn’t come only from other students.


    Filed on November 20, 2006 at 7:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    CNN has a good Op/Ed on an idiotic ordinance out of Nevada.


    Filed on at 3:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Gingrich’s hat is in the room ring. He thinks he can manipulate himself into a Draft Gingrinch movement. Sounds like a good idea, but only if we can draft him directly into Iraq.


    Filed on at 3:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    Spending $15,000 to (hopefully) enhance your progeny’s chances of getting into a top notch university is just a bit insane. I especially like the community service in Thailand. I’m sure she’ll get a lot out of that activity.


    Filed on at 3:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Rhodes scholarship, not the photo. Pervs.


    Filed on at 3:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    Can we have a cite, please?

    Now, 27 state constitutions protect traditional marriage. In addition to the seven listed above, the other states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.

    Your right to homeschool rests on the freedom to exercise your parental rights to direct the education and upbringing of your children. The U.S. Supreme Court has declared that our parental rights are founded on traditional marriage. By supporting the sanctity of marriage, you are indirectly helping to protect your freedom to homeschool.

    No need to guess where this one comes from.

    UPDATE: And major props to AZ voters for beating down the bigots.


    Filed on at 3:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    is this geeky book on the periodic table.

    Being a nerd is a truly terrible fate. 🙂


    Filed on November 19, 2006 at 7:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    that a North Carolina Baptist might accidentally sit next to a homosexual on Sunday morning.

    North Carolina Baptist churches that affirm homosexuality or even welcome practicing gay members are at risk of expulsion from their state convention.

    About 20 congregations in the state are already open to investigation simply because they are affiliated with an organization called the Alliance of Baptists.


    Filed on at 7:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Is homeschooling more popular with non-Christians than the general population?

    Ian Slatter, director of media relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, said while home schooling has been around since the Founding Fathers, it started growing in the 1960s with the counterculture generation.

    The movement became dominated by evangelical Christians in the 1970s and really took off in the 1980s, Slatter said. Today, two-thirds of families who home school identify themselves as Christian, he said.

    BFD– 3/4 of the country as a whole self-identifies as Christian. I’m guessing he claimed evangelical Christians (another meaningless term.)


    Filed on at 7:20 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t really have anything against homeschoolers organizing “proms,” but this quote is nauseating:

    Prom season is months away for most teenagers, but members of the Forest Acres Christian Educators group seemed oblivious to the timing of their first formal.

    For the students, it ended months of planning for a formal dance they wondered if they would ever experience.

    For their parents, it marked one more victory in the endeavor to provide an education for their children — on their terms.

    Is a formal dance really a crucial part of a high school education?


    Filed on November 18, 2006 at 8:53 am under by dcobranchi


    UPDATE: My response:

    So funny. Maybe next time you can make fun of blacks. Or even better– the Jews.



    Filed on at 8:42 am under by dcobranchi

    The chief edu-crat wants to “verify” that home educating parents really are:

    Mississippi’s school chief said he wants homeschooling organizations to help craft ways to ensure homeschooled students are truly being educated.

    State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds called some situations “child abuse.”

    “We want you to enjoy the freedom you have for homeschooling,” he said.

    “But you must realize we all have this moral and ethical responsibility to deal with those situations where clearly it’s nothing more than a child abuse situation when parents pull their children out of school, say they’re being homeschooled just because parents … don’t want to be involved in the education of their children,” he said.

    Jeanne, Natalie– time to rally the troops.


    Filed on at 8:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Occam’s Razor is evidently unknown to the unscientific morons who rule the YEC world.


    Filed on at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi


    The Leonid meteor shower should be at its peak viewing right now.


    Filed on November 17, 2006 at 5:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    1600 miles and 12 days later, the longest business trip of my career is finally done.


    Filed on November 16, 2006 at 8:01 am under by dcobranchi

    This is way cool. And, no, the results do not prove that there is no need for embryonic stem cell research.


    Filed on at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi

    A kindergartner is facing expulsion because he brought a pocket knife to school (apparently to open his lunch). *Sigh*

    As an added bonus, check the comments at the end of the article– homeschooling seems to be a hot topic of discussion.


    Filed on November 15, 2006 at 5:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Via Joanne Jacobs, the WaPo is looking to generate a list of your favorite edu-blogs. Joanne’s definitely makes my list. Edspresso, too.


    Filed on at 5:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Back on Halloween, three HEKs had published a LttE on the subject of same sex marriage. The letter evidently generated some controversy, including claims that it couldn’t have been written by the kids. Their mom responded today.

    And as an aside, major kudos to the TimesCommunity.com folks. They have a terrific archives and search system. You can search their archives by date and content going back seven years. And everything is free. So, today, I’m providing links to the two LttE, perhaps generating a little advertising revenue for the paper. You’d think the salons who run the NYT (and hide their editorial content) would have figured this out by now.


    Filed on November 14, 2006 at 2:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    A poor unsuspecting person appears to have been swallowed by this odd man-eating mushroom. All that was left was his cap.


    Filed on at 11:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Some folks in Chapel Hill, NC want to build a g-school that will enroll 3-year-olds. I think they’ve been smoking illegal substances. Ain’t no way the legislature is going to authorize/pay for a school for toddlers.

    Staffing and money remains a problem. FirstSchool planners have been working with a $2 million grant and have another $1.6 million set aside to plan construction. But there is no money to build, staff or train teachers for the school

    “These are district schools. Not ours,” said Sharon Ritchie, co-director of the FirstSchool project. “We’re not interested in coming in and peopling schools with our own staff. We’re just trying to provide guidance.”

    $3 million won’t even get them close. [Tip credit: Unique]


    Filed on at 11:16 am under by dcobranchi

    This one’s going to be pretty hard to beat– a 1GB SD card for $5.25 after rebate with free shipping. Use GoogleCheckout and select the Economy shipping for the best deal.

    Don’t forget to print out the rebate form.


    Filed on at 7:11 am under by dcobranchi

    Not the movie– the real camp.

    The owners of the Kids on Fire camp have shut it down for at least several years. Vandalism and negative publicity from the film both seem to have played a role in the decision.

    The camp “director” Becky Fischer is either a liar or clueless.

    The documentary spotlights Kids on Fire, a charismatic summer camp where evangelical children are recruited to “God’s army.” The children who attend the camp are shown shaking and sobbing over abortion and praying over a cardboard cutout of President Bush.


    The movie takes a political angle and attempts to show a revival in which evangelical Christians encourage youth to take leadership roles in advocating the causes of the movement, such as abortion.

    “When [the movie] took the political twist, no one was more shocked than I was, because what we were doing wasn’t political,” Fischer said. “To me, it was good Christianity.”

    Yeah– It’s hard to see how the filmmakers could have spun that into the political arena.

    I still plan to watch the movie when it comes out on DVD (since I never was able to cadge a screener).


    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m willing to bet that this text is wrong.

    Legion holds contest

    CARLSBAD — Students who are in high school and are planning on attending college can enter in the American Legion National School Oratorical Contest. Contestants must be in grades nine through 12 and be currently enrolled in a public, parochial, military or state accredited home school. Contests start at the local level and proceed to the national level in April of 2007. For more information contact Jim Damon at 887-5957.

    Hey, Scott, wanna go double or nothing? Beware, though, I’m on a roll. 🙂


    Filed on at 6:48 am under by dcobranchi

    AlterNet has an interesting piece on the Quiverfull movement in which families have as many kids as possible in preparation for some kind of spiritual (and actual) warfare. Homeschooling plays an important role in the movement. Interestingly, racism also appears to be a significant factor:

    Population is a preoccupation for many Quiverfull believers, who trade statistics on the falling white birthrate in European countries like Germany and France. Every ethnic conflict becomes evidence for their worldview: Muslim riots in France, Latino immigration in California, Sharia law in Canada. The motivations aren’t always racist, but the subtext of “race suicide” is often there.


    Carlson is fond of recalling early opponents of birth control such as Teddy Roosevelt and the New Deal-era “maternalists” who pushed through the traditionalist strictures written into the first Social Security Act, which defined beneficiary families as breadwinning fathers and homemaking mothers. Roosevelt, according to Carlson, associated birth control with “race suicide” and selfish white women who “import our babies from abroad” rather than honor their duty to bear children for the nation. Like Roosevelt and the maternalists, Carlson wants to construct a secular, social-policy case for natalism based on the importance of large families to sustaining a Social Security system crippled by childless “free riders.”

    BTW, Mary Pride’s books are part of the canon for the movement.

    And, finally, Spunky had this one several days ago but I forgot to read the article until it popped up in GoogleNews this morning. She’s received quite a few comments on it.


    Filed on November 12, 2006 at 6:41 pm under by dcobranchi

    His Noodliness appeared in Germany 6 months ago.

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