Utterly Meaningless » 2008 » December

    Filed on December 31, 2008 at 6:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    Irony, that is.

    Gay marriage, homeschooling, and the end of life as we know it. But the interesting bit is this:

    Allow me to call this what it really is: It’s a form of child abuse. Attempting to alter a child’s sexual identity is beyond despicable and reprehensible.

    Apparently, all kids are hetero and are only brainwashed into the gay lifestyle. But attempting to “cure” a gay kid is A-OK.


    Progressives have no shame, nor do they respect the nuclear family as they attempt to steal away the innocence of little children. By legitimizing same-sex marriage, we will allow the most ultimate wicked act to befall our families. It is an arrogant disregard for human dignity.

    Shun the shameless progressives! Shhhhhuuuunnn.


    Filed on at 6:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Holiday busy-ness has kept me away from the intertubes. But I’m feeling much better now. 🙂


    Filed on December 26, 2008 at 3:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Via Techbargains.com, a color laser printer for $100 AR (which expires tomorrow).


    Filed on December 25, 2008 at 12:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve got a lot of respect for these folks. They walk their talk. Homeschoolers, of course.


    Filed on December 24, 2008 at 4:41 am under by dcobranchi

    that one of the most famous photos ever was taken. It’s still beautiful.


    Filed on December 23, 2008 at 5:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    PZ goes wild!!!


    Filed on at 2:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    I continue to make no friends among the hoi polloi in Fayetteville.


    Filed on December 21, 2008 at 9:55 am under by dcobranchi

    This is not a spoof. Click the bottle 4x to page through to the “punchline.”

    Home of the Whopper? Ewww.


    Filed on at 9:45 am under by dcobranchi

    Cool APOD today.


    Filed on December 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    Prop H8 is going down. AG Jerry Brown, who would normally be in the position of defending the law in the courts, has called for it to be thrown out.

    Good riddance.


    Filed on at 2:53 pm under by dcobranchi

    Proof positive that the Bush economy can create jobs.


    Filed on December 18, 2008 at 10:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    If he pushes GM or Chrysler into bankruptcy he’ll go down in history as not only the worst president in US history but also the dumbest. George Santayana is rolling over in his grave.


    Filed on at 9:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    Thank God the US Army isn’t letting that damned 1st Amendment get in the way of converting all of the heathens in Afghanistan.


    Filed on at 4:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Is there a federal law that you have to have a two-digit IQ to work at Homeland Security? Or are all the morons in this tale just special that way?


    Filed on December 17, 2008 at 8:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    Unscientific, self-selected surveys are not worth the phosphors they’re printed on. Nevertheless, here’s the info in case anyone wants to help HSLDA out.

    Dear New Jersey Homeschooling Parent:

    We are involved in two very important studies about the effectiveness of homeschooling. Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey, (ENOCH) has decided it is time to update information about homeschooling in New Jersey by way of a new research study. We believe this will go a long way in educating the public and positively affecting policy and law, and helping to protect the rights we currently have. Therefore, we are working with Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) to do a study on homeschool families and their children’s academic performance in New Jersey. In addition, our study and information will be an integral part of a nationwide study that Dr. Ray is conducting with the support of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

    Please read the letter below from Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI and Mike Smith of HSLDA. Then, follow the step-by-steps instruction at the end of this letter, which will tell you how to participate in this undertaking (that is, both the New Jersey-specific study and the nationwide study at the same time). We will carefully honor your anonymity and confidentiality.

    I strongly encourage you to participate in this important project. We know that research like this has been essential in the past, both at the Federal level as well in many States across the county, in protecting and advancing parents’ rights to homeschool their children. And we know that this new research will be very useful in the future, both in helping homeschoolers in New Jersey, as well as, educating people about the practice and benefits of home education. Please read on, below.

    Rich Millward
    President, Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey, (ENOCH)

    Ray Stoever
    Trustee, Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey, (ENOCH)

    From: Dr. Brian Ray (NHERI) and Mike Smith (HSLDA)

    We are conducting a new large-scale study of homeschooling across the United States and would like your family to participate. This project is being administered cooperatively by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and ENOCH. It will be the largest and most in-depth study ever conducted on homeschool families and their academic ability.

    We are very thankful to ENOCH of New Jersey for graciously working with us on this project.

    The results will help homeschool organizations better serve homeschool families, inform lawmakers, policymakers, and the general public about the benefits of a home-based education, and encourage those who choose to homeschool.

    Your responses will be confidential. All the organizations mentioned above intimately understand the privacy concerns of homeschoolers. Participation is voluntary of course, but we need all families to participate, regardless of your children’s academic abilities.

    To add an incentive for a timely response, we are offering the following three prizes.

    First prize — iPOD
    Second prize — $100 Visa Gift Card or free two-year HSLDA membership
    Third Prize — $50 Visa Gift Card or free one-year HSLDA membership

    Winners will be chosen by random drawing from all participants on or around January 6th, 2009. For survey prize rules please visit www.hslda.org/hsstudy (Please note, that in addition to the testing services named in the rules, you are also eligible if you participate in this research through ENOCH. For instructions on how to enter, see the step-by-step instructions below.)

    To complete the survey (detailed, step-by-step instructions are below), please
    1. Go to www.nheri.org/study within the next 5 days. Alternatively, you can call the number below and ask for a paper copy of the survey

    2. For each of your children you tested during the past 12 months or so, complete one survey; be sure to use Student ID Numbers as described below for your children when completing the first item on the survey and writing the number on their test-score reports.

    If you have any questions or concerns about how to complete the survey, or about this study, please do not hesitate to contact: Ian Slatter, HSLDA, phone 540-338-8663.

    Thank you for taking time to consider and participate in this exciting new study.


    Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., NHERI J. Michael Smith, HSLDA

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Parents:

    1. Please participate if at least one of your children

    a. Was homeschooled within the past 12 months, and

    b. Was tested the child with a standardized achievement test (for example: California Achievement Test, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Stanford Achievement Test, Terra Nova) that reports national percentile scores (i.e., NPR, Percentile
    Rank), and

    c. You have not already completed a survey for this student through one of the following testing services (that is, BJU Press, Family Learning Organization, Piedmont Education Services, or Seton).

    2. VERY IMPORTANT (Please note that these Student ID instructions are special for New Jersey Residents): Create a Student ID Number for each of your tested children, as follows:

    a. Student ID Number (10 digits) – New Jersey: The Student ID Number will consist of 10 (ten) digits, constructed as follows, for New Jersey: 32 (2 digits for New Jersey) + father’s birth date of month (2 digits) + mother’s birth date of month (2 digits) + child’s birth date of month (2 digits) + -01 (include dash/hyphen, for oldest tested, -02 second tested, -03 for third tested) (2 digits) = 10 digits. It is easier than it sounds as the following example shows:

    b. For example, Billy Smith is a tested student in New Jersey, his father was born on the 23rd day of the month, his mom was born on the 16th day of the month, Billy was born on the 3rd day of the month, and Billy is the second oldest tested in his family; his number is 32231603-02.

    32 New Jersey Code
    23 Dad’s Birth Date (Day of Month)
    16 Mom’s Birth Date (Day of Month)
    03 Child’s Birth Date (Day of Month)
    -02 2nd Oldest Tested Child

    3. Go to the survey link/URL www.nheri.org/study by clicking or copy/paste it into your browser.

    4. Complete one online survey for each tested child. (or call Ian Slatter, HSLDA, 540-338-8663 for paper copy)

    5. a. Make copies of your child(ren)’s test-score reports; redact (white-out or black out) their names, and

    b. Important: Write the Student ID number of each tested child clearly on their test-score report

    6. a. Mail a copy of the test-score reports to us at the following address (or e-mail a PDF/scan of report): ENOCH of New Jersey, PO Box 308, Atlantic Highlands NJ 07716, rstoever@…

    b. If you wish to be entered in the drawing for the three prizes (described above), you will need to provide us with your contact information. If mailing your test-score reports, please include a 3×5 card with the Student ID, and either Name/Address, OR email address, OR Name/Phone-Number. You may submit one entry for each child tested. If emailing a PDF/scan of your reports, please include the Student ID/contact information in the text of your email. Your contact information will be kept separate from the test data, and will only be used in conjunction with the drawing. The information linking the Student ID with your name will be tightly held by ENOCH until the completion of the drawing and then it will be destroyed.

    (The instructions about the creation of the Student ID Number on the survey website are different for the Student ID number, but you will see that there are specific instructions for New Jersey residents – please make sure to use the 10-digit numbering system as described above. This ID system has been carefully designed by Dr. Ray to enable us to protect your privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity while allowing us to adequately sort and process the test- score data with your input into the website.)

    Again, we fully understand the concerns you may have about privacy and confidentiality. We will firmly protect your rights in this important study. We look forward to your participation real soon.

    If you have any specific questions about how to participate in this research, you may also email rstoever@….

    Thank you very much for your participation.
    Rich Millward
    President, Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey (ENOCH)

    Ray Stoever
    Trustee, Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers of New Jersey


    Filed on at 5:22 am under by dcobranchi

    From my local paper:

    Christians shouldn’t celebrate Obama’s victory

    I want to thank the Christian groups that helped Barack Obama get elected to the presidency.

    Within a few days after the election, I saw church signs praise his election. I saw articles in The Fayetteville Observer where churches celebrated his election.

    Obama is for abortion on demand and same-sex marriage, viewpoints which oppose the will of God. Just think about this for a moment — Christians celebrating the election of a man who opposes the will of God.

    Have we sunk this low?

    The word hypocrisy does not do justice.

    Christians are supposed to be the light and salt of the earth, to stand up against the injustices and oppressions that occur around us.

    For the first time in my adult life, I’m not proud of my fellow Christians.

    Joe Bierkortte
    Hope Mills

    It must be really great to know without the shadow of a doubt what God’s will is. I believe after 2000 years we may have an answer to the question posed in Romans 11:34.

    For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?

    The answer is, apparently, Joe Bierkortte.


    Filed on December 16, 2008 at 7:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    Author: Brian D. Schwartz
    ISBN-13: 978-1-56534-132-6

    This Education Law Association monograph purports to be a “resource guide for homeschool families and advocates, public school teachers and officials, college and university professors, students, and other interested members of the general public.” At best it partially succeeds. The brief book (67 pages) covers some of the history of legal decisions concerning homeschooling as well as some of the legal issues that affect homeschooling families today. It concludes with a tabular summary of the homeschool laws in all 50 states and DC.

    The author really has set himself an impossible task. Fifty states, numerous federal districts courts, and the Supreme Court all have laws and made rulings concerning homeschooling. Summarizing them with any kind of coherence would be a challenge. A challenge that Schwartz doesn’t quite pull off.

    There just doesn’t seem to be enough meat on the bones in any of the chapters. The history of homeschooling is covered in 5 pages. Several other chapters are almost as brief. But there’s really not that much that can be said it such a short book.

    Finally, a large chunk of the book is taken up with a summary of state laws. I scanned the two states’ laws with which I am most familiar: DE and NC. In both cases, Schwartz gets it wrong. DE’s listing is accurate for the law as it existed before 2004, when the law was substantially revised. NC’s law is incorrectly stated to “Regulate Progress of Homeschool Students” via “portfolio, diary, progress reports, and tests.” In reality, NC does require annual tests, but the state doesn’t get the results and so can’t use them to regulate anything. There is no provision in the law at all for any of the other methods.

    Overall, I really can’t recommend this monograph for homeschooling parents. At $43 including shipping, the few bits of useful information just don’t seem worth the money. And since the summary of state laws cannot be relied upon, it just doesn’t seem to have a place on a homeschooling family’s bookshelf.


    Filed on December 14, 2008 at 7:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    Call your legislators. We must protect the definition of marching bands.


    Filed on at 12:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooled != high school dropout.


    Filed on at 11:49 am under by dcobranchi

    One for Breck.

    AMSTERDAM — Anna Cortese said she likes to poke people, at least when she has a sword in her hand.

    The 11-year-old student at St. Mary’s Institute has been fencing at the Swords and Strategy Fencing Club in the Riverfront Center for about a month.


    Filed on December 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    It looks like the SYM Symba is only going to be available in 100 cc size. Anything over 50 cc would require a motorcycle license and insurance. That’s a deal breaker for me. So, I’m going to go with a classically-styled scooter, the Honda Metropolitan.


    Filed on December 9, 2008 at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi


    Give money to Americans first

    My brother-in-law had a wonderful idea. Instead of “giving” billions of American dollars to the car companies’ executives, Wall Street and to other beggars of assistance, send $1 million to each and every American. You want the economy to take a bounce up, and that should do it. It’s a cost savings to start: millions vs. billions. Not only that, if legislators and manufacturers want Americans to buy more, then give us the funds. We are better stewards of our money than have been the political officials in this country. We’ll buy cars, houses, clothes, food and other things we just dream about now. There will be no mortgage crisis, no credit crunch, no welfare or homeless families. Who knows, some of us may even go into business for ourselves. Wouldn’t Joe the Plumber be happy about that fact?

    It makes more sense to give us the money than to give it to people who have squandered corporate funds and want Americans to help them out, even as they’re living in luxury homes and flying jets to meetings in order to beg money.

    Lauren Brock

    That would be $3E14 ($300 trillion in the vernacular). I have a feeling that inflation might be a bit of a problem. But, who knows? Maybe Mr./Ms. Brock will soon be tapped to serve in the Treasury Dept.


    Filed on December 8, 2008 at 6:32 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t even know if this exists. I’ve Googled around and can’t find one. But I really need a cast iron loaf pan with a domed lid (like a Dutch oven). Has anyone seen anything like this?


    Filed on December 6, 2008 at 8:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    And this is just plain sick.


    Filed on at 7:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    An online friend/blogger at my local paper has an interesting post up on the existence (or nonexistence) of a human soul. I really can’t comprehend the belief that without a soul, there’s no reason to love, to hope, to live.

    Pretty sad belief system, IMO.


    Filed on at 5:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been in the market for a scooter to take back and forth to work. And I learned today that they’re (sort of) bringing back the greatest little motorcycle ever built, the Honda Cub. 200 mpg and no insurance required! How can you beat that?


    Filed on at 4:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Corn & Oil found a blurb about a new monograph on the Law of Homeschooling (cue ominous music). The Education Law Association wants $35.60 for the slim monograph.

    I’ve requested a review copy.


    Filed on December 5, 2008 at 2:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Thomas Sowell:

    The arrogance of commandeering young people’s time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

    Working in a homeless shelter is widely regarded as “community service”— as if aiding and abetting vagrancy is necessarily a service, rather than a disservice, to the community.

    Is a community better off with more people not working, hanging out on the streets, aggressively panhandling people on the sidewalks, urinating in the street, leaving narcotics needles in the parks where children play?

    That Sowell has a roof over his head tonight is proof that the universe is unjust.


    Filed on at 1:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    A question– Are y’all’s kids “cranky, buzzy and perhaps overweight individuals”? This reporter wants to know.


    Filed on December 4, 2008 at 5:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Federally-imposed national science standards. Homeschooling, for a change, isn’t mentioned. What’s also missing is a discussion of the rather unconstitutional nature of the proposal.


    Filed on December 3, 2008 at 8:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    So I got my new Alltel prepaid phone today. I had to call customer service and during the call I relayed my tale of woe concerning having to change my phone number. The CSR told me that he could assign my old number to the new phone at no charge. I was even able to carry the balance forward.

    This is exactly what I wanted all along. I’m really at a loss as to why it was so difficult.

    Perhaps I ought to start researching their competitors’ offerings.


    Filed on December 1, 2008 at 8:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    What do y’all think of this?

    The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is supporting a first-of-its-kind application for political asylum by a German home schooling family.

    Uwe and Hannelore Romeike left their home in Bissingen, Germany, to escape government persecution directed at them because they home-school. They arrived in the United States in August and are settling in Tennessee.

    Michael Farris, HSLDA founder and chairman, told WorldNetDaily: “Germany’s behavior in this area is the edge of the coming night. You don’t expect to apply for political asylum from a Western country … but the East German government’s philosophy seems to be the style adopted by today’s German government as it approaches children.”


    Filed on at 8:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Huck in ’12

    Approximately 75 people waited early last Friday morning to have meet and greet Huckabee. The first one in line was a Dade City resident named Robert, who said he said he liked Huckabee’s “conservative values” and said he isn’t ashamed to speak about them.


    Lutz resident John Collins was waiting in line with his wife and two kids, who wore “home schoolers for Huckabee” shirts.