Utterly Meaningless » 2007 » July

    Filed on July 31, 2007 at 7:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    Who cares if cursive is going the way of the dodo?

    “In order of importance, this is way down,” she said.

    But if cursive is down, it’s certainly not out.

    On the essay section of the SAT, required by most colleges for admission, students writing in cursive averaged slightly higher scores than those who printed.

    The College Board, which administers the SAT, said the difference wasn’t significant and couldn’t be attributed to handwriting, yet the result has intrigued researchers.

    Geez! It wasn’t even statistically significant. OTOH, I think this is important:

    In one study, college students who took good lecture notes got higher scores on essay tests.

    The best predictor of quality notetaking was writing speed, said researcher Stephen T. Peverly, professor of psychology and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York.

    So, teach touch-typing, and buy them a laptop for note-taking.

    An aside: Blazing fast typing may be one of the (few) benefits of MMORPG.


    Filed on at 4:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    There’s no way this CNN piece is accurate. Folks in India evidently haven’t figured out oil lamps. And their cars don’t have headlights, either.


    Filed on at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    The Fayetteville Observer publishes more xenophobic rants than any website this side of Stormfront (no link):

    Taxes need to be spent teaching kids English

    After reading the article about teaching children Spanish in kindergarten (“Kids dive into Spanish,” July 26), I really must protest that my tax money is being used to teach this and not English.

    This is the United States of America. We speak American English here. President Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “This country has no need for hyphenated Americans. One flag, one language, one country!”

    To the people who don’t want to do this, go back to where you came from. This country does not need you.

    To those making the decision to teach Spanish to our children, you are not helping this country fix any problems, you are helping to destroy it.

    Ron Robinson


    Filed on July 29, 2007 at 7:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Save your money.


    Filed on at 2:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    one of these. Sadly, we live in one of the worst areas of the country for wind power.


    Filed on at 9:00 am under by dcobranchi

    A couple of very interesting pieces 🙂 (here and here) in the Fayetteville Observer today. I certainly wasn’t the only “anti” voice, but I’m pretty sure I was the loudest. It’s good to see the F-O come around to


    Filed on July 28, 2007 at 7:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    I think I might have to dig out our flag from the garage. Just in sympathy, y’know.


    Filed on at 7:16 am under by dcobranchi

    This press release is pretty cute.

    Alabu is a leader among natural handmade goat milk soap producers. Founded in 2000 as the result of a home-school chemistry experiment, Alabu has expanded from that simple beginning to a company that now produces over 50 types of soap along with a line of solid lotion sticks, light penetrating moisturizers and other bath products.

    Maybe Doc can answer this– Are there any other “natural handmade goat milk soap producers”?


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    Hide the kids!

    I also want to capture home schoolers to help them learn art and recognize talents they may not know they have.

    Rob Reich, I’m sure, would agree. 🙂


    Filed on July 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    WFNC radio is reporting that the 40-year-old coach who married his 16-year-old track student was alleged to have had “inappropriate relationships” with other girls in a prior teaching position in a different school district.

    Sounds like a case of “passing the trash.”


    Filed on at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

    97.46% of all statistics are bogus:

    Today’s patriots should be allowed fireworks

    The ban on personal fireworks in this state is not only unfair, it borders on socialism. Fireworks are not weapons. It is unbelievable that a man can put his life on the line in military service, yet cannot come home and celebrate our national independence with a backyard display of patriotism.

    This is an arbitrary criminalization. Cigarette smoking has injured or killed 326,000 times as many people as fireworks. Consumption of alcohol has killed or maimed 69,756 more people in one year alone.

    When this country was born, most patriotic events were private gatherings. There were 289 times as many farming accidents as there were incendiary injuries. This is even more remarkable considering the lack of technological advances and safety measures now in effect.

    It is time the law caught up with reality.

    Ed Ruebeck, New Castle

    I love fireworks. We shoot them off every year. And this year we nearly burned down the neighborhood when a shell went awry and caught the pine straw in the woods next to my house on fire.


    Filed on at 6:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Idiots are everywhere:

    Democracy only works when the majority votes

    Voting needs reform, and the first should be that no election is valid unless more than 50 percent of all eligible voters actually vote. A democracy is a joke when only a fraction of registered voters vote, leaving the greater majority voiceless because no one represents them.

    Only a fool could call this nation a representative majority. I am 46 and have never voted, and probably never will. No one running represents me and my view of a nation under constitutional law. My view on the current regime exercising military control over this nation is they’re traitors, and I’ll be damned before I give my vote.

    Michael Dalene, Wilmington

    It’s better to curse the darkness, I guess.

    NEW AD —–>

    Filed on July 25, 2007 at 7:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Just for Skip. 🙂


    Filed on at 7:16 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here are the results of the HE&OS blogreaders survey. I couldn’t get it to work under FF, but switching the rendering engine to IE brings up some very pretty graphs. I found the family size results somewhat surprising.

    UPDATE: The alcohol consumption ones are interesting, too. Bunch of tee-totalers.

    HA! HA!

    Filed on at 6:47 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Funniest. Homeschool. Joke. Evah!

    “I went to my high school reunion a while back, which was weird because I was home schooled.”


    Filed on at 6:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    This may be the strangest story I’ve seen in a very long time:

    EASTON | Dante Mack will be able to attend kindergarten in the Easton Area School District — in 2008.

    Northampton County Judge Anthony Beltrami on Tuesday denied an injunction request by Dante’s parents that would force the school district to accept Dante into a kindergarten class for the coming school year.

    Beltrami ruled that the district did not abuse its discretion when it determined that Dante was too young to enter kindergarten. Dante turns 5 on Aug. 28, and the district’s cutoff day for kids entering kindergarten is Aug. 26 — one day before school starts.

    During testimony Tuesday, Dante’s mother Tina Mack said she had a planned Caesarian section several days before Dante was actually ready to be born because she wanted him to meet the district’s old cutoff date of Sept. 1.


    Filed on July 24, 2007 at 5:03 am under by dcobranchi

    This line, about a young anti-choice activist, threw me:

    Burton has no undergraduate degree but is enrolled in an online law school for home-schoolers, Oak Brook College of Law in Fresno, Calif.

    It’s a law school for HEKs? Not really. It’s a “law school” for fundies:

    Oak Brook College approaches law and government policy from a Biblical and historical perspective. Oak Brook College students are committed to the self-evident truths articulated by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and they reject the faith of evolution and the religion of secular humanism. Students learn the Biblical foundations of the Common Law and are challenged to make conventional application of these principles to resolve today’s legal and governmental issues.

    Oak Brook College trains its students by using innovative distance-learning techniques, seminars, workshops and on-line instruction. The faculty and students pursue Godly wisdom by memorizing and meditating upon God’s word, the Bible, and seek to use this wisdom in resolving conflicts, developing strategies, and implementing policy. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, Oak Brook College students rely upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to give them the power to develop within them Christ-like character qualities such as meekness, humility, truthfulness, boldness, diligence, initiative and responsibility.

    I wonder how many, if any, of its graduates have ever passed the bar exam.


    Filed on at 4:17 am under by dcobranchi

    Well, some of us are. I checked out his positions on the issues. He’s FOR a national ID card (“A secure, fraud-resistant ID must be the foundation of a robust worksite enforcement system that requires every new employee to be screened for valid work authorization”), AGAINST single-parent families (“Family begins with marriage.”), and strongly ANTI-CHOICE (“I will continue to fight to protect life at every stage.”)

    I, too, will be rooting for him to get the GOP nomination.


    Filed on July 22, 2007 at 4:32 pm under by dcobranchi



    This last photo is admittedly hard to make out. I was attempting to show the clay structure that never quite made it to slate. According to a field book I saw on fossil collecting in NC, this deposit on the creek in my backyard is one of the best places to dig in the state. The “rocks” are very soft and split easily. The first one I grabbed today had a small fossil of what looked like a snail.

    UPDATE: I meant to point out that judging by the wildlife found in this creek, the waters are quite clean. The color is due to tannins that are extracted from the oaks in these parts.


    Filed on at 10:43 am under by dcobranchi

    I mailed the following to two of the editors at the paper:

    Can we bring them home now?

    I was traveling overseas this past week. While heading out to Germany, a family consisting of a mom and three young girls were saying goodbye to their soldier husband and father. The mom was brave until after her husband had gone down the jetway, when she and her daughters all burst into tears. I cried too.

    The Observer ought to take a stand and call for withdrawal. Every day three or four families are destroyed. Sometimes right here in town. And for what? So Bush doesn’t lose face? The mission was accomplished 4 years ago. The only thing the occupation is accomplishing now is getting a lot of men and women killed– men like that young father I saw at the airport.

    Does the F-O editorial board have no heart? Or are you all just scared of being accused of not supporting the troops.


    Daryl Cobranchi


    Filed on at 4:29 am under by dcobranchi

    This is really, really ugly. Darren, you and your bosses ought to be ashamed of yourselves:

    Several months ago, an alert Home School Legal Defense Association member notified us that a member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen had proposed creating a daytime curfew in St. Louis, and had gone as far as drafting an ordinance…

    As we tracked this issue, the alderman who made the proposal never made his draft public, to our knowledge. We have followed up numerous times, and it appears he has lost interest. We cannot be certain, however, that his interest will not revive at some at some unexpected moment in the future.

    Homeschoolers all across Missouri, and in St. Louis, should keep a close eye on city and county boards, and contact HSLDA immediately if they get wind of any effort to impose a daytime curfew.

    He floated a trial balloon “several months ago” which was evidently shot down. But HSLDA has to keep the sheeple alarmed, so they drag it out of its grave because his interest might revive at some unspecified time in the future.

    Perhaps HSLDA ought to implement the same stupid color-code system that the TSA uses. This alert would put us at least at “orange.”


    Filed on at 4:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Edwards for First Lady! The WSJ(!) has a very moving piece on Elizabeth Edwards. Home ed rates a one-sentence mention at the very end, but it’s really about how she’s facing her cancer diagnosis.

    Definitely worth a read.


    Filed on at 3:51 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT stares into the abyss and blinks:

    The White House’s extreme position could lead to a constitutional crisis. If the executive branch refused to follow the law, Congress could use its own inherent contempt powers, in which it would level the charges itself and hold a trial. The much more reasonable route for everyone would be to proceed through the courts.

    Sure. And if we just clap louder Tink won’t die. Unfortunately for the country, the administration has made it clear that the term “reasonable” is not in the WH dictionary. Cheney et al. have engineered this “constitutional crisis” in order to seize power that the Executive should not have. Congress MUST act to stop them.

    And, yes, I’d be writing the same if the party labels were reversed.


    Filed on July 21, 2007 at 8:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    Thank God Almighty, no more business trips for a while.


    Filed on July 20, 2007 at 4:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve heard “Relax” three times in four days here. I’m sure this says something about the town, but I’m equally sure I don’t want to know what it is.

    UPDATE: Now they’re playing “Shout!” by Tears for Fears.

    What NeoCons really think, and why is Chris blogging here anyway?

    Filed on July 19, 2007 at 10:28 am under by COD

    I’m 18 hours without a blog, I’m getting twitchy. I needed a fix, and I have login here.

    A liberal reporter from the UK went undercover on a National Review cruise with about 500 hard core conservatives. I mean, they must be hardcore if they think a cruise with 499 other old white people that vote straight ticket republican is a good time. What he heard on the cruise is sort of scary.

    I’m blogless because my happy little host that has served me so well for 6 years sold out to the big boys. Yesterday was the day they moved the site to the new server. Obviously, it didn’t go well. The database didn’t come over and I don’t have an estimate on when it will be fixed. Copying the dB should take 5 minutes, so I assume the problem is with whatever they are doing to automate the process. They assure me that the original server is fine and all my data is fine there. That didn’t stop me from dreaming about mySQL databases last night. That might be the ultimate sign of geekdom. Nightmares about failed open source software migrations.


    Filed on July 18, 2007 at 5:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    so I can finally post the link to the CoH which was posted yesterday and maybe the day before yesterday, too. I’m so confused. And the URL is surprisingly apropos.


    Filed on July 16, 2007 at 8:17 am under by dcobranchi

    if a bit confused. I´m typing this on the computer in the business center at the hotel where I´m staying. Who knew that German keyboards aren´t QWERTY? (It took me 15 seconds to find the question mark in that last sentence.) Need less to say, blogging will be sporadic at best.


    Filed on July 15, 2007 at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    But only this guy did something about it.


    Filed on at 7:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Hed of the Year:

    Iraqi prime minister says U.S. troops can go ‘anytime they want’

    So, at least 70% of Americans and an even higher percentage of Iraqis want us out. And the Iraqi government doesn’t care one way or another. Will we really have to wait until Laura and Barney abandon Bush’s position before we can get out?


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Does anyone have a guess on why the NYT has 3 Op/Eds on fish (2 on sushi!) appearing on the editorial page today? Is it National Eat Raw Fish Week or something?


    Filed on at 5:40 am under by dcobranchi

    Zero tolerance policies weren’t designed to replace correction with punishment. They were designed for one reason only– to cover the asses of educrats faced with a potentially difficult situation. Common sense has no place in the equation.


    Filed on July 14, 2007 at 7:09 am under by dcobranchi

    is meaningless if officials feel free to ignore the subpoenas. Hold them in contempt and lock ’em up.


    Filed on July 13, 2007 at 5:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    But only for edu-crats. Doc has the dope. 🙂


    Filed on at 3:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    Well, the predicted lawsuit threat finally came in today. Only 240 days late. And she’s threatening Scott Somerville and “anonymous,” too.


    Filed on at 7:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Watch out for black cats.


    Filed on July 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    I really don’t know what to say about this post.

    6,000 LIGHT YEARS AWAY :-)

    Filed on at 5:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    Cool APOD today.


    Filed on July 11, 2007 at 12:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    The parents of the 16-year-old girl who wed her 40-year-old track coach are suing.


    Filed on at 12:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Mainstream Baptist touts these 17 rules that Christian Leaders ought to follow regarding their involvement in politics. They’re all great ideas that will be absolutely ignored by the Christianist Party Leaders Dobson et al.


    Filed on at 5:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Yes, there are a few sane people in Fayetteville:

    Don’t use the Bible to justify laws

    In the Bible belt, it appears common for people to suggest that laws should be based on religious grounds. In a recent letter to the editor (Pedophiles can’t be rehabilitated, July 3), Twyla Fowler suggested that pedophiles be executed because of the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:6.

    Without addressing whether this is an accurate interpretation of Jesus’s words, it would be refreshing if such writers would indicate just how much they believe that religion should govern legislation. If they really believe that the Bible should dictate punishment for crimes in this country, let them be honest and admit that some form of “Christian sharia” is appropriate for our legal system.

    I will be honest as well. As my guiding principle for the development of laws, I have two gods: the greater good and the Constitution. The first god lets us determine, for example, that a prohibition against murder is better for the population than a prohibition against eating pork or breaking the Sabbath. It guides us in terms of which actions should be prohibited by law and not simply a matter of choice.

    The second god ensures that punishments for lawbreakers are appropriate, not cruel or unusual. It ensures that the punishment for murder is more severe than that for speeding. Reasonable people would have a difficult time arguing against either one of these gods. They are the only gods appropriate to determine the system of laws for a country comprised of people of different religions or no religion at all.

    Craig Cox

    I hope Mr. Cox isn’t harassed to badly.


    Filed on July 10, 2007 at 6:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Really ugly article. It pulls out all the hoary chestnuts including kids “slipping through the cracks.” It promises that tougher regulations are coming. South Carolinians, you know what to do.


    Filed on at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    WHS @ WHS

    TREE I.D.

    Filed on July 9, 2007 at 6:45 pm under by dcobranchi


    Does anyone recognize this “volunteer”? The leaves are compound with 6 leaflets per stem. And they fold up at night like a mimosa.


    Filed on at 4:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Heresy in the Fayetteville Observer today. A history Ph.D. comes out in favor of apprenticeships. I expect LttE from the local educrats will be pouring in in opposition.


    Filed on July 8, 2007 at 7:42 am under by dcobranchi

    The Paper (of Record) that helped get us into Iraq finally calls for us to leave:

    It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit… While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs — after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

    Bring them home.


    Filed on July 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Hed of the day:

    Piracy charge filed against 18th ex-deputy


    Filed on at 8:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Schools in the Triangle area of NC are going to a year-round schedule on Monday. The rationale has been that this schedule is more somehow more efficient in the use of the buildings. I don’t get it. Schools are in session 180 days per year. So, unless they’re running 7 days/week, there’s no way you can fit two full school sessions in a single building.

    So, how does this system help? Is it really worth all of the headaches?


    Filed on July 6, 2007 at 5:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    But so far they all think I’m too
    White and nerdy
    You are 44% white and nerdy.
    How White and Nerdy Are You?

    The fact that I know the lyrics to the song ought to add about 800 points to my score. [via Samuel]


    Filed on at 2:51 am under by dcobranchi

    An update to the track coach married student story. The school district mounts the Lamest. Defense. Ever.

    WILMINGTON, N.C. — There was no credible evidence of a romantic relationship between a 40-year-old high school science teacher and a 16-year-old student until the couple married, Brunswick County school officials say…

    The Brunswick County Board of Education released a detailed account of the school’s involvement Tuesday, saying school administrators closely monitored and limited the couple’s relationship but never found evidence of any romance.

    In November, South Brunswick High School Principal Vann Pennell directed Wuchae to cease all contact with Hager, noting that a lengthy list of phone calls and text messages with the student “did raise questions of poor judgment.”

    The school suspended Wuchae in May after finding that he had communicated with Hager at school. Both he and the teenager continued to deny a romantic relationship, the school board said…

    “Prior to the surprise marriage, there simply was no credible evidence of a romantic relationship between the teacher and student,” Katie McGee, the district’s superintendent, said in a statement.

    Hager’s parents had approached both the school and authorities in hopes of ending the relationship. The Hagers have said they reluctantly signed a consent form allowing their daughter to marry her coach.

    No credible evidence? They had a long list of phone calls and text messages. He contacted her at school. And both parents had begged the district to keep the pervert away from their daughter. But, because they didn’t catch them in bed together, it’s not their fault. Ahhh, the old Jake Blues Defense.*

    *[after a burst of gunfire from the Mystery Woman, Jake climbs to his feet, covered in mud from the tunnel floor]
    Jake: It’s good to see you, sweetheart.
    Mystery Woman: You contemptible pig! I remained celibate for you. I stood at the back of a cathedral, waiting, in celibacy, for you, with three hundred friends and relatives in attendance. My uncle hired the best Romanian caterers in the state. To obtain the seven limousines for the wedding party, my father used up his last favor with Mad Pete Trullo. So for me, for my mother, my grandmother, my father, my uncle, and for the common good, I must now kill you, and your brother.
    [Jake falls to his knees]
    Jake: Oh, please, don’t kill us. Please, please don’t kill us. You know I love you baby. I wouldn’t leave ya. It wasn’t my fault.
    Mystery Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.
    Jake: No I didn’t. Honest… I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD.

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