Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » November

    Filed on November 30, 2008 at 10:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Exodus Mandate loses the debate before it even starts.


    Filed on at 10:31 am under by dcobranchi

    I have an Alltel prepaid cellphone. The phone is 3 years old and has pretty much seen better days, so I decided to buy a new phone. This weekend they’re running a promotion in which they’ll waive the activation fee. Perfect timing. So I tried to order a phone to replace my dying one. No can do. They’ll sell me a phone for $175 and let me keep my number. Or I can get a new number and get the same phone for $25. Now, this is a pre-paid account. There is no contract. So why is it more profitable for them to set up a brand new account with a new cellphone number than to let me keep my old account and old number?


    Filed on at 5:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    Please shut up. Thank you.

    Sincerely yours,

    Daryl P. Cobranchi


    Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

    Stupid parenting tricks here. It’s a group blog. You’ll probably recognize some of the contributors.


    Filed on November 28, 2008 at 11:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Lydia has a bit of a tradition with my mom in which they go out among the “crazies” at some godawful hour on Black Friday. After reading this tale, I believe that tradition has died along with the Walmart worker..


    Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

    Happy Buy Nothing Day. Stop shopping. It’s good for the soul.


    Filed on November 26, 2008 at 7:13 am under by dcobranchi

    On the front page of CNN:

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (CNN) — An elementary school teacher was arrested for punching an 8-year-old student in the face this month, Fort Lauderdale police said Tuesday.
    David Adam Grant is accused of striking an 8-year-old student at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, school.

    David Adam Grant, 36, an art teacher at Sunland Elementary School, turned himself in to police Tuesday in connection with the November 5 incident, authorities said in a written statement.

    Police responded to a report of battery at the school, and “preliminary investigations revealed that an 8-year-old student … had been battered.”

    Authorities allege that Grant “hit the 8-year-old student around his left eye with a loosely closed fist, causing a bruise over his right eye,” according to the police statement.


    Filed on at 6:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Back on Sunday.


    Filed on November 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    Via the Carnival of Homeschooling comes news that sprittibee’s [Christian] Homeschool Blog Awards were trashed by cheaters stuffing the ballot box.

    I swear it wasn’t me.

    PROP H8

    Filed on at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT correctly calls for the CA Supreme Court to toss it out.

    The court has correctly determined that the equal protection clause prohibits governmental discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which extends the right of marriage to same-sex couples. But the issue goes well beyond gay rights. Allowing Proposition 8 to stand would greatly limit the court’s ability to uphold the basic rights of all Californians and preclude the Legislature from performing its constitutional duty to weigh such monumental changes before they go to voters.

    Treating Proposition 8 as a mere amendment would set a precedent that could allow the rights of any minority group to be diminished by a small majority. The measure passed 52 percent to 48 percent.


    Filed on at 4:09 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m still waging war on the local GOP. Their latest is a beaut.


    Filed on November 24, 2008 at 7:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    Helen Hegener is on a roll lately. Her latest post is really good, even if she does tweak Chris and me a bit. There’s an interesting quote from Esquire Magazine that ties homeschooling to the Regent University School of Law grads who were installed at the politicized Justice Department.


    Filed on November 23, 2008 at 10:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Claims another victim.


    Filed on November 22, 2008 at 6:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    Helen Hegener noticed that the easily outraged are outraged (again!) over the dumb comments on The View and are threatening a boycott (again!).

    Is it possible to secede from the “homeschool movement”? Do I have to go back to using the “home educator” label? Or maybe I should just say our kids receive a “non-traditional education.” Think maybe that’s enough of a distinction so that I don’t get lumped in with the easily outraged?

    Insert sample text to begin:

    Filed on at 6:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is one of the funnier websites I’ve found. It’s supposed to be for a company that installs ground-source heat pumps, but I think it’s not quite ready for prime time.


    Filed on at 6:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    Greenville, SC’s Bob Jones University (yes, the same folks who publish homeschooling curricula) is in the news. They’ve finally realized that they’re terrible racists. Woohoo!


    Filed on at 1:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    PZ has a good find on the nonsense that pops up this time every year. Apparently, the economic meltdown is all atheists’ fault. Who knew?


    Filed on at 3:59 am under by dcobranchi

    The Obamas are going to send their girls to The Sidwell Friends School. Let the bloviating from the right commence.


    Filed on November 21, 2008 at 7:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    JJ hits the big time here.


    Filed on November 20, 2008 at 10:08 am under by dcobranchi

    In the “Mormons and Catholics” thread, JJ posted a link to a video of Mike Huckabee and a beautiful, sad, and frustrating response.

    If this doesn’t convince you that gay rights = civil rights nothing ever will. Yes, Rob, I’m looking at you.


    Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Our “allies” and “defenders” on the far, far right are all aghast at a stupid comment some comedienne made on The View. Yeah, she really did say a lot of HEKs were “demented,” but she led into that by saying the Obamas’ girls ought to be educated in the White House and not sent to school.

    Overall, on the outrage scale I give it a 2.


    Filed on November 19, 2008 at 9:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Conservative writer Kathleen Parker commits self-punditocide. That she’s right won’t mean a blessed thing.


    Filed on at 6:54 am under by dcobranchi

    The mavens at CNNMoney have decided that we have to bailout GM. Their logic, shall we say, is somewhat less than convincing. The nickel summary:

    If GM goes under, that would cause prices to spike. OK, I can buy this. Simple supply and demand. Then if demand continues to fall, that could cause shortages of vehicles and prices to spike even higher. WTF! If supply goes down prices go up. And if demand goes down prices go up?


    Filed on at 6:21 am under by dcobranchi

    A busybody in the state legislature has been busy studying kids’ bodies. He wants to study HEKs’ bodies, too.

    Concerned by estimates that half of Oklahomans are overweight, a state legislator said Tuesday he will file legislation requiring students to be checked annually to identify possible weight problems.

    All students 16 years and younger would be required to have a screening to check their body mass indexes, said state Rep. Richard Morrissette.

    Students would be weighed and measured, and the BMI data would be used to determine whether they have excess fat or are underweight.

    The cost for scales and other equipment is estimated to be less than $3 million, said Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City.

    Students in public schools would be checked during the school year. Arrangements would be made for homeschooled students also to be screened, Morrissette said.


    However, if parents don’t work with school and health officials, the matter could be turned over to the state Department of Human Services for possible investigation, he said.

    Y’all know what to do. Hit the phones.


    Filed on at 6:12 am under by dcobranchi

    I swear this was the first article that popped up in my screen for homeschooling stuff. It’s worth a read to see just how many logical fallacies the guy can commit in 500 words. One word of warning– Don’t do like I did and click on the thumb to rate the article. There is no thumbs down option.


    Filed on November 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Updated below.

    Courage Campaign

    “The Courage Campaign (which does MoveOn-style organizing in California) is working with other groups to overturn Prop 8 in the 2010 election. That’ll take a huge grassroots mobilization, starting now–and to succeed, they’ll need an army of us fighting together to win marriage equality for all.” — Wes Boyd and Joan Blades, MoveOn.org Political Action

    Dear Daryl,

    The numbers are mind-blowing.

    350 cities. 50 states. 8 countries. More than 100,000 people around the world.

    That’s what “Join the Impact” — an organic bottom-up, internet-driven campaign to protest Prop 8 — organized in just one week, mobilizing people around the world last Saturday in their communities to support marriage equality.

    275,547 people.

    That’s how many people have joined you in signing the pledge to “Repeal Prop 8,” launched by the Courage Campaign and joined by our friends at CREDO Mobile and MoveOn.

    The larger this movement grows, the sooner marriage equality will be restored to California.

    Please help us build this movement by forwarding this email to your social networks — your family, friends and neighbors. Then click on the following page to see how many new people have taken the pledge. We’ll be updating the total number of signers frequently over the next 48 hours:


    We are witnessing the birth of a new Marriage Equality Movement — the civil rights movement of the 21st Century. Organized from the bottom-up by thousands of ordinary people just like you in the aftermath of the passage of Prop 8, this people-powered phenomenon is exponentially growing by the minute, online and offline.

    But it will take a long-term, sustainable grassroots movement — neighbors talking to neighbors across California — to make marriage equality history. As Becky Bond, CREDO Mobile Political Director, said when CREDO announced its support of the “Repeal Prop 8” campaign:

    “We are joining our allies at the Courage Campaign by pledging to stand up for the rights of every Californian. We will put pressure on legal entities to join this fight. We will shine a spotlight on the public figures who stand against us as well as those who stand with us…”

    275,547 people are standing strong together — gay and straight — against Prop 8. Now, we need your help to expand this movement into every community in California. Please forward this message to at least five of your friends and ask them to join you in pledging to repeal Prop 8. Then click here to see frequent updates on how many new signers have taken the pledge:


    This Marriage Equality Movement is capturing the attention of people across America, from the thousands of people who have never participated in a march before to the numerous organizations now vowing to leverage their resources to repeal Prop 8.

    If we can build the kind of people-powered campaign that lifted President-elect Barack Obama into the White House, together, we can restore marriage equality to California.

    Thank you for doing everything you can to change California and our country.

    Rick Jacobs


    The Courage Campaign Issues Committee is part of the Courage Campaign’s online organizing network that empowers over 300,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California.

    To support our campaign to repeal Prop 8, please contribute to the Courage Campaign Issues Committee today:

    UPDATE: The President of People for the American Way takes the long view here.


    Filed on at 10:05 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve written about the morons at RaptureReady before. They really are a sad joke. So how come Newsweek is taking them seriously?


    Filed on at 4:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Her latest is worth a read.


    Filed on November 17, 2008 at 5:23 am under by dcobranchi

    The protests continue to spread and more and more members are resigning. The position those two churches took on Prop H8 was unconscionable.

    I’m glad I donated to the “No” side. I wish I could have done more, and I look forward to the day the the CA Supreme Court rules the amendment null and void.


    Filed on November 16, 2008 at 4:27 am under by dcobranchi

    From the NYT:

    One way to do that would be to establish a price floor of $3.50 per gallon on gasoline. If the price drops below that, as it recently has, the federal government would impose a variable tax to bring the price up to $3.50. If the price goes above $3.50, then the tax disappears. The money raised by the variable tax would be used, at least in the short term, to provide loan guarantees to the auto companies. (To ease the burden of higher gasoline prices on low-income taxpayers, some of the revenue would be provided to them as tax credits or vouchers.)

    This proposal would make the oil companies VERY happy. They would always charge a minimum of $3.50 for their gasoline, even if oil dropped to $10/barrel. Talk about windfall profits! And the government would never see a dime of the direct taxes. And I’m sure ExxonMobil has oodles of really smart tax attorneys and accountants on staff so that they would get out of paying income tax on the windfall, too.


    Filed on November 15, 2008 at 5:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    Deep thought of the day:

    The people who call into the coast-to-coast radio talk shows at three a.m., with their tales of psychic abilities and alien abductions, are batshit insane.


    Filed on November 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    I grew up Catholic just outside of Greenville, SC. A few years ago my old parish, Prince of Peace Catholic Church, took a hard right turn and became one of the first churches in the country to try to turn the clock back to pre-Vatican II. Now, its sister parish a couple miles away has gone one step further:

    A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil.”

    The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

    “Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president,” Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.

    I am so glad I am a lapsed Catholic.


    Filed on at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

    The Earth Science Photo of the Day is a pretty panorama of the Alps. What caught my attention, though, is the software used to stitch the photos together. Even zoomed in I couldn’t spot the seams.

    Unfortunately, it’s not cheap. But for serious photographers it might be worth the investment.


    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    The latest fear mongering from HSLDA (as passed along by their NCHE drones). Curiously, they buried the lede. I’ve bolded it for them:

    Dear HSLDA Members and Friends of Homeschooling:

    Since the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president, HSLDA has received more than a few calls from both members and nonmembers. Some are quite concerned about the future of homeschooling under an Obama presidency.

    First of all, let us always remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He also instructs us to be wise, plan, and be prepared in everything we do.

    Despite HSLDA’s efforts prior to the election to get an official statement from the Obama campaign regarding their position on homeschooling, we received no response.

    So where does that leave us?

    We do know that the Democratic Party has an official position of supporting public education. The National Education Association (NEA), which is the national teachers union, is a major supporter of the Democratic Party. We know that the NEA’s position is that every child should be either taught by a certified teacher or supervised by one. Additionally, their position is that the curriculum used by all homeschoolers should be approved by the state, and children should only be able to continue to be homeschooled based upon systematic evaluation by the state.

    It is important to remember that under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority over private and home education. This is not to say that they will not attempt to exercise authority in these areas. And whenever private educators accept grants and benefits, there are conditions to receiving those benefits, including being subject to regulation.

    Just because the federal government has no constitutional authority over home education, however, doesn’t mean that federal bureaucrats or legislators might not attempt to impose some form of regulation over private and home education. We saw this back in 1994, when the reauthorization of the Secondary and Elementary Act (H.R. 6) contained an amendment which would have conditioned
    funding to the states for public education to require that all teachers be certified in every subject area they teach. The homeschool community rose up; over a million phone calls were made to the U.S. Congress, and the amendment was defeated. During that process, Representative Dick Armey from Texas introduced an amendment which stated that the federal government and Congress have no
    authority over private and home education. This protective language was passed by the House of Representatives.

    With your help and the help of homeschoolers all across America, we will vigorously resist any effort on the part of the federal government to regulate home education. Obviously, this will take resources—which come from our membership—and we would encourage our current members to continue standing with us, and encourage others to join us.

    An immediate concern to watch is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although we do not know what Barack Obama’s specific position on the treaty is, we know that future Vice President Joe Biden has publicly indicated that this UN Convention should be ratified by the United States.

    It does appear that we will soon have the challenge of keeping the UN Convention from being ratified by the U.S. Senate, ratification requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.

    Should the UN Convention be ratified, it would impose the United Nation’s view of children’s rights on America. Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties become the Supreme Law of the land, taking precedent over state laws and state supreme court decisions.

    The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is not in the best interest of parents or children, as it would undermine the parental authority that our laws currently recognize. For further information on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child visit ParentalRights.org.

    To summarize, homeschoolers should not live in fear, but we do need to be wise, and we will need to be vigilant to protect parental rights and homeschooling freedoms in the future. We stand prepared, with your help, to do that as we’ve done for 25 years.

    Michael Smith

    HSLDA President


    Filed on November 13, 2008 at 7:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    Via Woot.com, a really silly time waster.


    Filed on at 4:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    When Hell freezes over there will be an atheist president.

    THE “T” WORD

    Filed on at 4:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Yes, it’s torture.

    My friends at the Fayetteville Observer penned an excellent editorial today on the use of Tasers in the schools.

    But law enforcement professionals across the land should be held to uniform standards based on two principles. Using electric shock to coerce or punish is torture. And use of these weapons should be restricted to situations in which the officer’s only alternative would be to draw his gun.

    Worth a click.


    Filed on November 12, 2008 at 5:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    This has to be the headline of the decade:

    Palin says she’d be honored to help Obama

    Delusional just doesn’t even come close. Reminds me of some homeschool bloggers I know.


    Filed on November 11, 2008 at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m of two minds on whether it really matters if Mormons baptize dead Jews (or dead anythings, for that matter). I don’t believe in life after death. So why should it matter if the Mormons want to waste their time jumping into a swimming pool? OTOH, my reputation is all that will live on after I’m dead. I surely wouldn’t want some person 100 years from now to think that I was LDS. On the third hand, I doubt I’ll have any reputation left to worry about 100 years from now. And on the fourth hand, I’d hope that we would have evolved enough as a people that all this silly after-life stuff would, like the Geneva Conventions, be seen as “quaint.”

    Perhaps I should have named this post “Call me ‘Saraswati’.”

    Hey, Rob– Is there any way I can refuse to be baptized when I’m dead?


    Filed on November 10, 2008 at 9:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    My local paper

    When people who care enough about high school dropouts to study the problem cite wildly differing figures as the local dropout rate, it’s clear that their most urgent need is for reliable information.


    Dropping out at the legal age is not, after all, an unlawful act for which anyone can compelled to account.

    Not every student will cooperate. Not every parent will be accessible. Parents who decide to home-school may feel little compulsion to help the school system work on its problem.



    Filed on at 6:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    C&E News has an interesting piece about basement chemistry labs. It seems the government doesn’t like home-based chemistry.


    Filed on November 9, 2008 at 2:59 am under by dcobranchi

    If McPalin had won Tina Fey would have had at least four years of steady work.

    “Now we kick in that fiscal conservativeness that needs to be engaged, and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil,” Ms. Palin said.

    Oh! And the guy who wrote the Bushisms book. I’m sure he was pulling for them, too.


    Filed on November 8, 2008 at 6:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s been a strange couple of weeks for Fayetteville, NC. We seem to hit the blogosphere every couple of days. And none of the stories have made us look good. Check out this timeline:

    1) Oct. 19th– Obama is harassed by a patron at a local restaurant. So much for Southern hospitality.

    2) Oct. 19th– Tires on 30 cars of folks attending the Obama rally are slashed. This was reported as being political. Turns out to have been a couple of kids being stupid.

    3) Nov. 7th– A Fayetteville teacher is highlighted in a documentary in which she brings her political preferences into the classroom.

    4) Nov. 8th– Fayetteville gun nuts are going nuts, snapping up whole arsenals. Are they preparing for the coming race wars?

    And there’s still the possibility of Tasers in the schools making a splash.

    We need to dump our PR firm. They suck.


    Filed on at 7:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Stop shopping. Now.

    *A bunch of extra words: This one is well-worth watching. Rev. Billy’s message is spot on, especially as we head into the holiday shopping season. Rent (not buy) the video. Or, even better, borrow it from your public library.


    Filed on November 7, 2008 at 4:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Rasmussen put this one in the field less than 24 hours after Obama was declared the winner:

    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Forty percent (40%) of U.S. voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is handling his new role as president-elect. Thirty-two percent (32%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a net rating of eight on the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Approval Index.

    I’m sure the only way Obama could have swayed the 32%-ers was if he had refused McCain’s concession and conceded himself, instead.


    Filed on November 6, 2008 at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Thought some of y’all might be interested in this thread. It’s school related.


    Filed on November 5, 2008 at 5:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    A friend passed this one along. It’s circulating on some homeschool lists. I’m not quite sure why they thought some wingnut diatribe from 2000 was relevant.

    About the time the original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic, some 2,000 years earlier:

    “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

    The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
    1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
    2. from spiritual faith to great courage:
    3. from courage to liberty:
    4. from liberty to abundance
    5. from abundance to complacency;
    6. from complacency to apathy:
    7. from apathy to dependence;
    8. from dependence back into bondage.”

    Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 presidential election:
    Number of States won by:
    Democrats: 19
    Republicans: 29
    Square miles of land won by:
    Democrats: 580,000
    Republicans: 2,427,000
    Population of counties won by:
    Democrats: 127 million
    Republicans: 143 million
    Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
    Democrats: 13.2
    Republicans: 2.1
    Professor Olson adds: “In aggregate, the map of the territory Republicans won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare…” Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phases of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

    If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called “illegals”, and they vote, if we continue in our current slide toward bondage,we can say goodbye to the USA as we know it in fewer than five years.

    Overreaction? Fear-mongering? Or a sincere, stern warning from the heart? Look at the nations around the world. Look in your history books. Are we really that “good” that we can choose wickedness in its various forms and emerge unscathed? I believe it’s time to wake up. May the coming years under an Obama administration drive us as Christians to our knees as never before. Perhaps God will be yet be merciful and heal our land.


    Filed on November 4, 2008 at 11:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Congrats, President-elect Obama.

    I’M A KING MAKER :-)

    Filed on at 10:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Every single candidate I donated to won tonight. Very sweet.


    Filed on at 12:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    Redundant, I know.

    I took the day off to work for the local Democrats’ GOTV effort. I’m a runner, which means I make a circuit among several precincts to gather data. While driving around I heard Neal Boortz on the radio. He was reading some polling data that said 35% of Obama supporters planned to take today off and only 6% of McCain supporters did. Boortz interpreted this to mean that McCain supporters were industrious and Obama supporters were lazy.

    Somewhere Occam is rolling over in his grave.

    Next »