Utterly Meaningless » 2007 » June

    Filed on June 30, 2007 at 7:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    Child Protective Services in the state seems to have run amok, harassing home educating families for no good reason.


    Filed on at 12:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Cumberland County Cooperative Extension (yeah, we really are country here) is polling its members on perceived needs. They provided a survey that includes a single item under the category Increasing educational achievement and excellence.

    1) Lack of resources for home schools?

    So– how do I answer? Do I say that this is a very significant need? The Extension runs the 4-H program which is very popular with HEKs (including my 4).


    Filed on at 10:47 am under by dcobranchi

    (Soon to be former) presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wants you!

    Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says he’ll spend much of the month of July campaigning in Iowa in hopes of building support for the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll August 11th.

    “I think it’s a milestone for us, without a doubt. I don’t think I have to win the Straw Poll, but I think I have to do well,” Huckabee says.

    Huckabee isn’t declaring he’ll be finished as a candidate if he finishes poorly in the August contest, but Huckabee says a bottom-of-the-pack ranking would cause him to re-evaluate his race.

    Evangelical Christians, those who advocate a national sales tax to replace the income tax and home schoolers are among those being targeted by Huckabee’s campaign as what Huckabee describes as “true believers” who will help attract others to support him in the Straw Poll.

    Huckabee was one of the three monkeys who, during the first GOP debate, raised their paws in response to the question about who didn’t believe in evolution. He doesn’t need true believers. He needs true morons.


    Filed on at 10:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Stupid government tricks:

    SASKATOON — Saskatoon’s Alistair Butt laughs when asked if he’s a security threat to Canada’s airline industry.

    “A 10-year-old a terrorist? What?” said an incredulous Butt, who learned he was on a “no-fly” list when he tried to fly from Ottawa to Toronto earlier this month.

    Alistair, his brother and mom had joined dad on a business trip to Ottawa, flying with no difficulty on June 6. But when the foursome checked in at the Air Canada counter in Ottawa for a flight to Toronto on June 8, they were told there was a security issue with 10-year-old Alistair. He was on a list, labelled as a person of interest, says Alistair’s dad, Usne Butt.

    At least the Canadian officials recognized that a 10-year-old HEK was an unlikely terrorist and let him board. I have no doubt that were he flying in the US, he’d be on his way to Guantanamo by now.


    Filed on June 29, 2007 at 5:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    My LttE evidently got some attention. I’ve been invited to serve on some kind of ad hoc citizens committee to study how much, if any, of the city and county responsibilities could be consolidated. I think I may be the token “anti.” 🙂


    Filed on at 2:37 pm under by dcobranchi

    Home at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m home at last.

    Only one more trip left on the calendar. To Germany in 2 weeks.


    Filed on June 27, 2007 at 9:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Neon Saturn.


    Filed on June 26, 2007 at 8:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    Liability concerns and the federal government have essentially banned home labs. Wired has all of the sad details and some websites that can assist with workarounds.

    It really is sad, and for HEKs more than a little frustrating. How are you supposed to do any kind of chemistry experiments if it’s illegal to purchase the chemicals or the glassware? The crystal meth excuse is just that, an excuse. That synthesis is so simple, and the ingredients are still readily available: red phosphorous from matchbook covers, iodine and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) from the local drug store, and acetone from Home Depot. So the cookers can make all the crystal meth they want, and kids are deprived of the joy of making stink bombs. Just dumb! [H/T: Becky]


    Filed on June 25, 2007 at 10:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    this song came to mind. 🙂


    Filed on at 6:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Why do we think that people who hear voices need psychiatric help, but people who hear God tell them to help parents beat their children are A-OK?

    First, Susan Lawrence fought The Rod. Then she battled the Wee Wacker.

    Now the Massachusetts mom and anti-spanking activist has zeroed in on New Kensington, home of Joey Salvati and his Spanking Paddle.

    “It’s just appalling to me that people would sell things like that to make money and hurt children,” said Lawrence, director of Stop the Rod, an anti-spanking group. “I don’t think people should hit each other.”

    Salvati, 44, who owns a home remodeling business and sends free wooden paddles to parents across the country, said he’s just doing what God asked him to do four years ago.

    “I don’t care what people have to say about me,” he said. “I’ve got thick skin.”

    Salvati, father of two grown children, said his idea to make 2-foot-long paddles and give them away came to him during his normal prayer time in the shower in 2002… “God told me to make them,” he said. “God’s going to have to tell me to quit.”


    Filed on at 5:39 am under by dcobranchi

    CNN has a moving video of a transgendered teen. The kid freely acknowledges that he likely would have killed himself if he had been forced to live as a girl.


    Filed on June 24, 2007 at 7:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    I dropped our older daughter Katelyn, 13, off at the North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) this morning. Wow! What a place! NCSA is a pretty unusual program with both a 4-year college and boarding high school co-located on a beautiful campus in Winston-Salem. The college students pay regular tuition, but the high school is “free.” That is, during the regular school year.

    Katelyn is there for their 5-week Summer Session. Distinctly not free. But still worth every penny for some of the best dance training available in the US.

    I’m so proud of her for putting in the hard work to get accepted to this competitive program. Her goal is to use this summer as a stepping stone to getting accepted there for high school.

    Break a leg, kid.


    Filed on June 23, 2007 at 4:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Ugliest dog in the world

    Man, whoever originally bred the Chinese Crested was a sick bastard.


    Filed on at 3:14 pm under by dcobranchi


    Filed on at 12:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’d be pretty hard to beat a $200 computer (after rebates). And only $1.49 shipping.


    Filed on June 22, 2007 at 12:20 pm under by dcobranchi

    A creationist (Dave?) tried to comment today in an old thread after I made fun of Dave yesterday. Unfortunately, comments get closed automatically after some mysterious period and I haven’t a clue on how to re-open them. So, I’m the “Loser of the Day.”

    UPDATE: Found it. Comments are back open.

    UPDATE: Dave’s history. I IP-banned him based on his “skull crushing” comments. He’s on a static IP so I’m hopeful he’ll just go away quietly. If not, I’ll contact Indiana University– Purdue University at Indianapolis, where his IP is based.


    Filed on at 8:02 am under by dcobranchi

    Doing unto others:

    Convicted killers should be executed after one appeal

    No one who has been executed has been able to kill again. Killers should be executed within a year from the time of sentencing.

    Why does it have to take 10 years? They should not get more than one appeal. An appeal should have to be in the first six months and then the execution date set and carried out.

    I do not understand people who say the death penalty is cruel or unjust. I do not think death should come easy. How easy was it for their victims and their families?

    The Bible tells us to do unto others as we would have others unto us. I take this to mean death right after killers are found guilty. Why should we have to pay to feed and clothe them for years?

    Thelma Harvey, Marshallton

    Amazing how bloodthirsty are some supposedly religious folks.

    OH. MY. GOD.

    Filed on at 5:17 am under by dcobranchi

    I had no idea the horrors parents put teachers through. Those poor selfless saints.

    With stories about child molesters and predators, it is wise for parents to warn their children. But many times, it teaches the child not to trust anyone, not even teachers. This sends the wrong message to the child and influences a child to associate with other children who may lead them in the wrong direction. Years ago, children were taught to respect teachers and other adults as they would their parents. Today, they are taught not to respect or listen to anyone but their parents.

    This attitude and lack of respect can lead to the indifference of some teachers. Schools are saddled with so many regulations, rules and proclamations that many caring and conscientious teachers feel they are fighting a losing battle.

    Without the support of parents to fight the red tape that ties educators’ hands, our school systems will remain in trouble.

    It is understandable that parents want to protect their children from all danger. However, is it wise to instruct your children to beware of everyone or to not follow anyone’s instructions but yours?

    This leads to a lack of respect for all authority, not only teachers or law enforcement, but also any adult who may give your child instructions or orders. Then we wonder why young people don’t respect authority.

    Yes, children. Obey your teachers. Follow orders. Cross over children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the light. There is peace and serenity in the light.


    Filed on June 21, 2007 at 5:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    A really sick local story:

    WILMINGTON (AP) — A 40-year-old high school science teacher and cross country coach who once worked in Guilford County has resigned his position and married a 16-year-old student.

    Brenton Wuchae coached Windy Hager at South Brunswick High School, where she recently completed her sophomore year as one of the school’s top runners. He also lives less than two miles away from the Hagers’ home on Oak Island.

    Wuchae married Hager in Brunswick County on Monday, according to a marriage license.

    Hager’s parents, Dennis and Betty Hager, said they did all they could to keep the couple apart after noticing a deeper-than-usual friendship forming between them. The parents said they tried to intervene by talking to the coach, going to school officials, pleading with police and sheriff’s office detectives, even other teachers and students at South Brunswick.

    The police couldn’t prove that he had had sex with her prior to the marriage, so he wasn’t charged.

    And just a reminder– statistically speaking, kids have a 1 in 10 chance of being sexually abused by a school authority figure during their 13 year prison stretch.


    Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Via Sam, we learn that Greg Laden’s back with another anti-homeschooling something. I’m not sure what it is, but “serious cry for help” comes to mind.

    BTW, Laden’s expropriated the “Evolved Homeschooler” badge.

    UPDATE: Geez! He’s freakin’ obsessed.


    Filed on June 20, 2007 at 5:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    Never trust the CoH on a roadtrip.


    Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

    I never knew that Venus was visible during the day.


    Filed on June 19, 2007 at 6:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Totally bizarre- SC Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was arrested for dealing cocaine. The Ravenel family is one of the best-connected political families in the state.


    Filed on at 5:34 am under by dcobranchi

    From the founder of our answer to Wikepedia:

    [C]onsider the entry on Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (b. 1947). She “may suffer from a psychological condition that would raise questions about her fitness for office” — namely, “clinical narcissism,” Conservapedia asserts. Evidence of her instability includes her “ever-changing opinion of the Iraq war.” Though Schlafly demands that entries be rigorously footnoted, these sentences are not.

    Schlafly calls the armchair psychology “borderline in acceptability” for his site, but he defends the Clinton article on balance as “an objective, bias-free piece from a conservative perspective.”

    Objective and bias-free. Almost as true as “fair and balanced.”


    Filed on at 4:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Fayetteville tries to put a plant at the edge of a rapidly growing residential area and is shocked when people object. Tiny St. Pauls puts it way outside town in the middle of a landfill. Well done.

    I still don’t trust chemical companies that have never run a chemical plant, though. There’s a bit more to the process than making moonshine.


    Filed on June 18, 2007 at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Perhaps only a chemist could think that milling a “perfect” sphere out of a single crystal of Si in order to define a new kilogram standard is cool.


    Filed on at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

    The 7th edition of the Country Fair is open for business. Doc did a nice job putting it together.


    Filed on June 17, 2007 at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Yeah, my family knows how I feel about the Bush/Cheney maladministration.


    The stickers are from Cafe Press.


    Filed on June 16, 2007 at 7:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    First attempt with the mini-DV camcorder. The minimal editing was done in MovieMaker.


    Filed on June 15, 2007 at 10:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Misuse of the phrase “begs the questions.”

    When the bill was stymied by a procedural vote on June 7, the blogs claimed victory. A straw poll of conservative bloggers conducted by the Web site Right Wing News showed that 96 percent of bloggers surveyed were “pleased that the Senate immigration bill did not pass.”

    Now that the bill is back for a second round in the Senate, Bush could have a difficult time making new friends online beyond a relative handful of the bill’s supporters.

    “It will be very difficult for him to recover with conservative bloggers,” said Robert Bluey, director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation. “When Bush is on to his next issue, I’m not sure if bloggers are going to be there to back him up.”

    Which begs the question — is Bush a lame duck among bloggers?

    That being said, I’m happy to see Bush fall on his sword over this issue. It splits the Republican party and pushes Latinos to the left. A win/win as far as I’m concerned.


    Filed on at 9:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA’s interpretation is spot on here. There’s no requirement that we hang on to the stupid orange card at all. Ours went accidentally fell into the trash the day we got it.


    Filed on at 4:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    Forget Jesus (or the Mayor) in a sycamore. Natalie found the FSM in a ‘do.


    Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

    Let’s see how much integrity Tim White has. Will he publish this?

    The Observer has been leading the cheers for the proposed merger of city and county governments. Based on the coverage on the editorial page and on the website, one would think that this is a no-brainer and a win for all concerned. Not so fast. Here are a few facts you won’t find in the paper:

    1) Consolidated government is more expensive and collects more in taxes.
    2) Grassroots participation is lower in consolidated governments.
    3) Efficiency gains from consolidation are minimal.

    This is a de-facto annexation by Fayetteville of the rest of the county. On page 42 of the report, in a discussion of how roads will be handled, they refer to the city annexing unincorporated areas.

    The cheerleaders dislike Fayetteville city government and want to scrap it. Fine. Just don’t drag the rural parts of the county along for the ride.

    UPDATE: Apropos of nothing, the saynotometro.com domain has nothing to do with government. Levis’s Dockers has/had(?) an advertising campaign built around saying “No” to metrosexuality.


    Filed on at 5:43 am under by dcobranchi

    April tipped me off to the fact that the idiotic editorial was a response to a previous puff-piece/article. Here’s the key bit, I think:

    In fact, one of the most commonly-asked questions of Doyle is whether her children are getting enough interaction with others.

    She answers by saying that home-schooled kids get more than enough interaction so that it’s not even a concern.

    “Daily, they are surrounded by their own siblings of all different ages and they interact with the community through field trips, library excursions, grocery trips with mom, swimming lessons and group gymnastics lessons,” said Doyle, adding that they have more interaction with adults on a daily basis than the average school child.

    Now the idiotorial makes sense. Well, not sense exactly. It’s still idiotic. But I think o.h. in the comments hit upon the exact correct answer. These folks think that g-school = socialization. Therefore, our kids can never be socialized, by definition.


    Filed on June 14, 2007 at 8:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    But of course:

    “These kids are all history buffs,” she said. “They are all home-schooled so their knowledge of history is extensive.”


    Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

    My new nemsis Tim White penned another editorial in favor of annexing the rest of the county. And, no, it’s not laughable. The City Council may be opposed, but the intent of the people who are pushing this (Yes, Mr. White, that means you.) is obvious.

    Fortunately, our representative in Raleigh has no particular love for FAY. He’s a good ol’ boy farmer from the next county. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a sympathetic ear.


    Filed on June 13, 2007 at 8:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    A Republican pollster said Bush has crossed the Mendoza Line to the downside. For a former front man/team “owner” dems fightin’ words.


    Filed on at 4:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    On why home education is bad:

    But perhaps the greatest disadvantage is the difficulty in developing social skills.

    Social skills cannot be learned merely through everyday interactions, such as trips to the mall, church, sports and clubs or visiting with neighbours.

    Yes, before we had public schools everyone greeted his neighbor with an “Ugggh!” and hit him over the head with a club.

    The paper’s name is the Intelligencer. I wish the editor were more intelligencer.

    UPDATE: Bonus idiocy–

    What has always been forbidden or mysterious – be it alcohol, drugs or sex – can become too great of a temptation to resist for some of these home-schooled youth who may be intent on taking part in much they’d missed as quickly as possible.

    It is far better for our children to learn about the realities of life and how to cope with them while they are young.

    Shall we give our kindergartners alcohol and drugs and help them get laid?


    Filed on at 4:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    Doc is still recruiting posts for her “diversity” carnival. Details here.


    Filed on at 5:43 am under by dcobranchi

    I missed the meeting last night as it was Jonathan’s birthday. It seems like there’s a full-court press by the F-O to push this through.

    Time to get organized.


    Filed on June 12, 2007 at 4:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    Well, 2/3 of us anyway.


    PRINCETON, NJ — The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain.

    Independents and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe in the theory of evolution. But even among non-Republicans there appears to be a significant minority who doubt that evolution adequately explains where humans came from.

    The data from several recent Gallup studies suggest that Americans’ religious behavior is highly correlated with beliefs about evolution. Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend. That Republicans tend to be frequent churchgoers helps explain their doubts about evolution.

    The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.


    Filed on at 7:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Apple yesterday made the Safari browser available to Windows users. I downloaded it to see if it lives up to the Mac-faithful’s hype. Not even close. As far as I can determine, in terms of usefulness it’s perhaps a bit better than IE6.

    There are almost no plugins available. Hover over buttons doesn’t work. And clicking the scroll wheel does nothing. Most annoying of all, it takes 3 clicks in the URL window to highlight the entire URL. In FF and IE it’s a single click.

    Mozilla and MSFT have nothing to fear from this one.


    Filed on at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

    Remind me never to visit South Bend, IN. They put something in the water there to make you stupid:

    Teachers and administration are destroying the essence of education by limiting science in pre-selected categories. It is a given that any physical study in science incorporates as well the study of the God Who created that science. All of the laws that people attribute to “nature” were designed by God.

    Studying the emergence of life on the earth, while trying to strain out the divine reasoning behind it all, is like studying mathematics while trying to deny that there is a number system, or studying civics while saying that there is no such thing as government.

    The very meaning of science is to examine ALL of the evidence before making any conclusion. To eliminate the scientific proof of creation is to cripple the teacher and the student in understanding its operation, and therefore all future scientific investigation is automatically deemed flawed and useless. Any thinking student would be moved to proclaim, “What are you afraid that I will find out ?”

    It is no wonder that public school systems are fast losing students to Christian schools and home schooling, where true education can thrive without subjugation by humanistic dogma. This is no religion-free curriculum; it is just a vehicle where the religion of atheism can undermine the religion of the Bible without the fear of being overcome by truth.

    Pastor Davy L. Troxel,
    South Bend, Indiana

    This one is so bad, it really does deserve a full-bore fisking. I don’t have the time (or the heart) but let me just point out that science is by definition limited. It is limited to studying the physical universe and only proposing hypotheses that don’t involve magical thinking. By invoking “the God Who created that science,” you’re no longer doing science. A rose by any other name is unidirectional. Calling a pile of steaming dog crap a rose does not make it smell any better.


    Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Damn! So what are those sheep doing in my backyard?

    Some people fear home-schooling, and this could be the gateway for them, she added. “The scary idea of home school – that you have to spin your own yarn and knit your own sweaters – is not a requirement of home schooling.”


    Filed on June 11, 2007 at 4:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Amazing how the paper tries to pit the citizens vs. the pols and the bureaucracy, as if the people are all guaranteed winners. I don’t buy it for one second.


    Filed on June 10, 2007 at 4:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Did conservative pundit George Will flunk math in school? This has to be one of the all time mathematical boners:

    In the 102 quarters since Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts went into effect more than 25 years ago, there have been 96 quarters of growth. Since the Bush tax cuts and the current expansion began, the economy’s growth has averaged 3 percent per quarter and more than 8 million jobs have been created. The deficit as a percentage of GDP is below the post-World War II average.

    I’m pretty sure we would have heard if the economy was really growing at more than 12.55% per year.

    Is our pundits learning yet?


    Filed on at 3:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s not often that home education on gets mentioned at a WH press gaggle.

    MS. PERINO: Hi. It’s a short flight, and I thought I would just give you some color on the day and then answer any questions you might have.

    Let me give you a little bit about Mrs. Bush’s day, just a couple of things of color for you. One of the things she attended this morning — she went to an orphanage, a family center that’s run by Bethany Christian Services, out of the United States. It’s a group house for young children. It’s a faith-based organization, with a mix of private and public funding; they do get USAID funding. She was just — the impression was that she felt that they were doing really wonderful work.

    And one of the things she mentioned is that the folks who work in the home are Americans, moms and dads who come over and sometimes bring their children, if they have children, and then live here in Albania to help take care of those children, and they home-school their own.


    Filed on at 6:57 am under by dcobranchi

    The senior editor of my local paper keeps pushing this “metro” government proposal. I’m sure it’s a great deal for city residents. For us folks in the county, all it would mean is that our tax bills would jump significantly.

    I believe we fought a war in the 18th century over the issue of taxation without representation.

    My email to him:

    Columbus appears to have a single property tax rate for the entire “Metro” area. Are you seriously proposing that county residents should go for something like this? Undoubtedly, our tax bills would increase significantly with no concomitant increase in government services. Heck, down here in the extreme Southern portion of the county, a lot of our roads are still sand. We have no city water, no natural gas service, and no sewers. And none will be available for the foreseeable future.

    OTOH, I do have to pay $14.50/month for twice-weekly curbside trash pickup. Can you guarantee that Metro government won’t increase my tax bill more than $174/year while still providing the same level of service? Didn’t think so.

    So perhaps city residents might (over the long haul) see a bit of a tax break. County residents will merely be screwed.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    Daryl Cobranchi
    Gray’s Creek

    UPDATE: Interestingly, the saynotometro.com domain is owned by the Levi Strauss Co. I wonder what that’s about.


    Filed on June 9, 2007 at 3:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    Let’s see how the media play this one:

    WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Police in Winston-Salem are investigating a couple accused of starving their 13 year-old boy and locking him inside his room.

    The boy was taken out of Southeast Middle in January to be home-schooled but was re-enrolled in May.


    Filed on at 3:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    The obviously public-schooled critic opines:

    Parenting in this country has got to change.

    Kids do not need their folks to be their BFFs. Instead, they need a swift kick in the butt and a heaping spoonful of truthfulness.

    Otherwise, this growing epidemic, in which the country’s youth have been brainwashed to believe they have the talent to actually be the next Canadian Idol, is sure to continue for years and years and years …

    Tuesday night’s Idol premiere was jam-packed with these delusional offspring. There was the guy who smashed his guitar after being rejected and the one who threw a loonie in anger. That’ll show those judges.

    But the saddest of the bunch was Krista Poirier. The obviously home-schooled teen truly believed she was a hot dancer, showing the panel her hip-hop moves, which included a laughable moonwalk.

    And her voice was even worse, leading many to predict she could become this year’s Canadian William Hung. Thankfully for Poirier, and all the others who march to the same oblivious drum, our judges seem to have a tad more class than their American clones. Instead of embarrassing these kids, the panel tried desperately to come up with at least one nice thing to say before crushing their dreams on national TV.

    Next »