Archive for January, 2012

Homeschooling: Not Just For the Religious Right

While it’s never been solely a Christian-oriented movement, homeschooling is also rising with folks of a more liberal persuasion. Some of the reasons are different, but a surprising number are similar as well.

Before getting to the specific homeschooling instance, in New Jersey, I wanted to point out this wonderful irony.

According to federal Department of Education statistics nearly 2 million children in the U.S. are home-schooled. The number in New Jersey is estimated to be about 40,000.

While supporters cite the studies suggesting home-schooled students do better on standardized tests, critics counter that these students are not held to the same standards as their peers in traditional schools.

Um, guys, that’s the very reason many people homeschool, so they won’t be held to the same standards as public schools. We prefer higher ones. Hence the better test scores.

On, then, to the main thrust of the story. Read the whole thing.

There was a time when Heather Kirchner thought mothers who home-schooled their children were the types “who wore long skirts and praised Jesus, and all that.”

But that was before the Sayreville resident decided to home-school her own daughter, Anya.

Kirchner actually wears jeans, and like the two dozen other families that are part of the year-old Homeschool Village Co-op in Central Jersey, she doesn’t consider herself to be particularly religious.

The co-op is one of dozens in the state formed by home-schooling parents looking to network and provide their children with opportunities to conduct science experiments, play sports and games, and socialize.

What’s different about Homeschool Village is that its mission is secular.

According to a 2007 survey conducted by the federal Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 83.3 percent of home-schooling parents named “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction” as an important reason to home-school, and it was the most important for 35.8 percent of the parents.

“We are the opposite of that,” said Vanessa Bowden, a former South Brunswick public school teacher who already is home-schooling her 2 year-old daughter and 4-year-old twins.

In Bowden’s view, there are “two sects of home-schooling people” — the religious kind “and then the hippies,” like her.

Things Heard: e206v2

Good morning.

  1. Under what pretense is enforcement of belief in the same room as good science? Remember, you’re allowed to question proton stability or the dimensions of the universe, but y’know that’s not on the same footing however as the anthropological influences on climate.
  2. Them horrible costs of contraception. People have been known to open a second mortgage to afford their condom habit.
  3. tale of two Sherlocks.
  4. Pay and the federal worker, here and here. The second, alas, includes the laughable notion that if government pay was less then we’d see a lower quality in government workers. As if pay was related to quality of work and quality relating firings were common in government.
  5. Toys that go boom in the night.
  6. More here.
  7. Mr Obama as VC entrepeneur … those on the left will of now jump to his defense listing his many successes in this field. Yes? or not?

Things Heard: e206v1

Good morning. Well, I mean to get an essay out last night, but the family watched the 1967 movie “Bedazzled” instead. Links?

  1. Having fun at the Summer palace (I think that’s where they are) in winter.
  2. And while we’re considering the East … how about a life remembered.
  3. If not child labor at least they needs some actual responsibilities.
  4. There was at least one person who rose to the occasion in that tragedy.
  5. Climate change of a different sort.
  6. Tax the wealthy, a discussion here and here.
  7. History re-enacted and/or rebuilt.
  8. So … do you think the President traces his family values to the military? More here. Kinda reminds me of the Habermas/Ratzinger debate.
  9. Neurons not in your head.
  10. When?

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 49 – Firearms edition)

It’s not like we haven’t warned you that New York City is rabidly anti-gun (especially its Mayor Bloomberg)


And you can’t even own a Flintlock in NYC


What if you’re a citizen from another state with a concealed carry weapon permit?
And, while visiting the 911 Memorial you see a “No Handguns” sign (which surely must mean the place is safe, right?) so you want to do the right thing and check in your legally owned handgun?

From the New York Post,

Really, you can’t bring guns into the 9/11 Memorial?

A tourist from Tennessee waltzed into one of the most secure sites in the city — and politely asked a cop if she could check her weapon.

Instead, she was dragged out in cuffs.

Now, Meredith Graves, 39, is facing at least three years in prison for thinking New York’s gun laws are anything like those in the Bible Belt.

Get it? A law-abiding citizen, albeit very wrong in her understanding of the anti-2nd amendment laws in New York City, was attemtping to follow the law and now faces prison time.

Also in the story,

Mayor Bloomberg, with the help of the five district attorneys, has crusaded against the flow of illegal guns, especially from the South.


But surely a former Marine can check in his legally owned handgun while visiting the Empire State Building?
From the WSJ,

Some veterans linked to the online community started sending letters to city officials Monday urging them to drop the prosecution of Ryan Jerome.

He’s accused of trying to check his gun, registered in his home state of Indiana, while visiting New York City in September. They say he was acting responsibly and got bad information about city rules.


Well how about the guy recently arrested in New York City, for possessing a firearm, who claimed to be a Navy SEAL?
The authorities, not believing him, threw him into a psych ward. Turns out… he was telling the truth!

From the New York Post,

His story about being a Navy SEAL wasn’t so fishy after all.

The Virginia man arrested for gun possession in Manhattan Thursday and thrown in a psych ward when he claimed to be a member of the elite military unit but couldn’t provide proof was telling the truth, The Post has learned.



It looks like Tennessee lawmakers are not too thrilled with the treatment of Meredith Graves
From the New York Daily News,

A Tennessee lawmaker angry that a home state tourist was busted with a loaded gun at Ground Zero introduced is threatening to go after New Yorkers who speed in his state.


CNN report on Jerome and Graves

Things Heard: e205v5

Good morning.

  1. A global warming statement posted, will this mean that liberals will no longer to be fans of Mr Rutan and his wonderful toys?
  2. And, my commenters strenuously object when I point out that in my youth, global cooling was the fear. See, some proof? I remain confused on why increases in the quantity and quality of arable land isn’t a good thing.
  3. Well, Mr Obama will be able to lock up the “please sir, may I have another … (whack)” crowd.
  4. Computational complexity and popular games.
  5. Well, that’s half right. Mormons are not a Protestant sect. Mormons are properly termed a “Christ cult”. Nicene Christian sects are also Christ Cults. Fair or not, Nicene Christians, especially within the context of discussions with Nicene Christians group all Nicene affirming Christ cults as Christian. Got it? It’s really not that hard. Oh, and Protestant sects is the label for those Christ cults that broke from the Roman Catholic church during the reformation.
  6. Hope, change and Libya.
  7. Well, there’s the cutest thing you’ll see all day.
  8. Mr Obama, misleading from the front.
  9. The Serbs and Ms Jolie’s movie. The Serbian members of our church are very nice people, and I wish we’d sing their music more because it’s beautiful. The point is, my contact with Serbs and Serbians has been quite positive.
  10. The third term loophole.

A Question for Democats

Apparently in Florida Democrat PACS and large contributors are posting their own pro-Gingrich anti-Romney ads. Two questions. First, do you think that is because the feel Mr Gingrich is a weaker opponent against Mr Obama or is it because they actually prefer him as a possible President. If you thought it was the former, and not the latter, why do you think that supporting a person who you think is less fit for office is your patriotic duty? If you think that it is likely that the answer was the former how do you then explain the lack of objections to this tactics on left leaning blogs?

Technically Speaking

We have a lot of oil here in America. Obama said we have only 2% of the world’s oil reserves. But John Hinderaker reminds us that

…very few Americans are aware of the technical definition of oil “reserves” that is enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Under American law (other countries record as “reserves” whatever is in the ground), oil isn’t counted as part of our “reserves” unless it can legally be developed under current regulations, and it would be economic to develop at current prices. So when Obama says we only have two percent of the world’s oil “reserves,” he is documenting the extent to which the Democratic Party, by blocking energy development, is destroying jobs and making us all poorer.

Read the whole thing.

Things Heard: e205v4

Good morning.


    • So, what is Mr Rove noted for, especially by the Democrats? It seems the biggest difference
      between what they complain about regarding Mr Rove and the activities of Mr Obama is for which side on which they strive.




    • One more on the speech. So look at the first two quoted pieces here
      . How can a person say those things in one speech and not be termed a deceitful liar? How can Democrats defend this man regarding this sort of dishonest? I really don’t understand it.

    • So, how did Mr Romney manage to pay 13% in taxes while making 20 millions? By donating 16% of his income
      to charity. Odd that both Mr Romney and Mr Buffet share the same opinion on the efficacy of government spending vs their own charitable contributions. Can we not pretend those of us who don’t make millions also
      share that same opinion about government efficiency vs our own charity?


    • So many crocodile tears
      . It strikes me as very false when lots of people suddenly “like” you, praise you, and talk about how wonderful you are when you’ve been affected by tragedy … and the never even noticed you prior to the event. Seems very fake to me.


    • 100% to 1000% yield
      ? Who thinks that’s a good idea? Seriously.




    • Monster
      ? I’d have thought coward the better term.

    Will They Fall For It?

    James Taranto quotes from last night’s State of the Union address and ponders.

    In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many [federally funded] construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.

    "The money we’re no longer spending at war" is a fiction. It is money that has never been collected or borrowed and won’t have to be because there is (touch wood) no war to fight. It’s like a wife demanding that her husband buy her an expensive gift with the money she saved by not buying herself something even more expensive. Does Obama really think Americans foolish enough to fall for this?

    The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding "Yes" for those who voted for the man.

    Things Heard: e205v2n3

    Well, yesterday I walked in and wham! calls and stuff started piling on just as I walked in. Links?

    1. Unintended consequences of our broken patent law, that is more and more we depend on trade secrets.
    2. Making the rich “pay their fair share” … hmm. Another unintended consequence on the way. With Mr Romney as an example, apparently why his taxes are lower than what you might naively expect is because he invests in tax protected bonds and such. So … if the response is to get rid of that loophole, that will make such bonds more expense. What are those bonds? Hmm, education and public works make a large part of that market. So, the consequence of killing that loophole will make school improvement and government projects harder to fund. Is that what you really want?
    3. How to do bad science, a primer for the statistically naive.
    4. This is not unrelated, i.e., more scarcity scares examined. Oh, from that same site … that must have made an interesting (and somewhat loud) noise when it went bang.
    5. Some of us are better at learning how to do that than others.
    6. Austerity, oddly enough can work.
    7. A top 10 list.
    8. Secular penance and repentance? How does that work?
    9. The White House principal, do not interfere in family matters, i.e., which to them means allow abortion. Yet … then why have they decided to terminate farm children working on the family farm? Hmmm? Seems to me that violates their stated principal.
    10. The master is surprise, pleasantly.
    11. A tool for the next oil spill?
    12. Belongs to the 99% … in his  own (1%) mind perhaps.
    13. Seems to me that’s $100 million better spent on R&D.
    14. Value? What’s that mean. Price? Utility? Purpose? The statement “cannot tell the value of X from Y” means what?
    15. Someone apparently would prefer to whack strawmen. Mr Mankiw is a “conservative” economist. Read his blog, his book, his course material and then you can argue about what actual real-life “conservative” economists argue. Here is a link to Mr Mankiw’s blog.
    16. “Pain killing injections” a headline noted about Mr Urlacher is more than a few places. The Tribune article I read the other day had the same headline. Reading further however, we find “Teradol” doesn’t haze (reduce) pain at all, but is an anti-inflamatory agent. I guess “multiple anti-inflamatory injections” doesn’t have the same cachet … even if that is the accurate interpretation.
    17. Seems to me the first step isn’t randomly attacking the problem by fixing the “five most common problems” but get a ODB scanner on on it and read the code. Any (most?) parts stores will do that for free. Then you have a hint as to what to fix.
    18. Hosanna-Tabor and consequences for foreign policy. Hey, does anyone know of any left leaning defenses (blogs?) of the President’s position on that?

    Rusty Nails (SCO v. 48)

    What’s better than a breakfast burrito?
    Nothing! But a burrito wrap around your camera lens might come close.


    Why do virtually all roadside memorials include a cross?


    The book is out. All you introverts should give it a look see (and all you extroverts should really give it a look see).


    Google’s sense of humor
    search for “askew”


    Grabbing your own photos from space
    This happens a lot now… and it’s pretty cool.

    Biometrics Making Big Strides in India

    This is not the Mark of the Beast. But you certainly don’t get there without something like this.

    India has launched an ambitious program to fit each of its 1.2 billion residents with an Unique identification number (UID). Each number will be tied into three pieces of biometric data: fingerprints (all ten digits), iris scans (both eyes), and a picture of the face. Starting this month, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will begin processing people in various locations around the country. UIDAI aims to slowly roll out the program through February of 2011 and to ID 600 million people in the next four years!

    It’s being instituted to combat social welfare fraud, but it won’t stop there.

    Yet the UID is going to be used for much more than social welfare programs. The UIDAI is in discussions with many institutions (banks, local/state governments, etc) to allow them to use the UID as a means of identity verification. These institutions will pay the UIDAI some fee to cover costs and generate revenue. There seems to be little doubt that once it is established, the UID will become a preferred method (if not the preferred method) of identification in India.

    It’s optional now, but how long do you think that will last? Never mind the Biblical overtones, many layers of privacy are being stripped away. And the further question is, why does the government need to know every little thing that I do?

    Sounds like a power grab to me.

    Fabulous Food Foto (# 002)

    A Tri-Tip Sandwich, with a “side” of fries, at Firestone Grill, in San Luis Obispo, CA. Don’t know what Tri-Tip is? Go here. For those of us who have any exposure at all to California’s Central Coast, we’ve long known about the ecstasy of Santa Maria Tri-Tip. Seasoned with only garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then cooked slowly (~ 1 1/2 hours typically) over oak embers, it is sliced cross-grain, and sometimes mixed with a sweet-tangy barbecue sauce, and served on a slightly toasted french roll. As you can see, at Firestone’s, the serving size assumes you’re a linebacker. Similarly, the “side” of fries is monstrous, and sprinkled with a paprika-laced seasoning.


    – image © 2011 A R Lopez

    Only in California (v. 5)

    Potentially good news for the defense of marriage Proposition 8


    Daytime Curfew for youth > 18 years-old;  Gov’t Protection or Big Brother interference?
    In San Luis Obispo County an ordinance is being proposed for a daytime curfew for those under the age of 18. From HSLDA,

    If passed, this curfew will affect the flexibility and freedom of homeschool students to be in public places during school hours. Homeschool children, even those from outside San Luis Obispo who are just visiting, could be stopped to verify who they are and that they have a valid excuse to be in a public place. HSLDA recently settled a lawsuit against Los Angeles for false arrest of two homeschool students under a similar law.

    From the San Luis Obispo Tribune,

    Students do have a number of valid reasons to be out and about during the day. They may be homeschooled; enrolled in independent study or work experience programs; on the way to or from a doctor’s appointment; or they may attend an alternative school that has half-day sessions.

    The ordinance includes exemptions for such cases, but here’s the rub: How is a law officer supposed to know whether or not students have a valid reason for being out of school unless they stop and talk to them?

    The fact is, California already has truancy regulations on the books. Parents can face fines and even jail time if their children repeatedly skip school. The students themselves can lose their driver’s licenses.


    Republican Latinos in California? Yes!


    Ex-wife of Los Angeles Lakers’ player gets to keep 3 mansions
    which are worth $18.8 MM (approximately). Not a bad deal.


    Compare CCW Permit issuance: Urban vs. Rural
    Red – Yellow = no issue; Dark Green = will issue for personal protection

    Things Heard: e205v1

    Good morning.

    1. Mr Paterno as confused grandpa … and why be confused about Mr McQuery? Do you think that generations of teaching moral relativism to replace “do the right thing” has no consequences?
    2. Lag times in production consequences and data to prep you for Mr Obama’s campaign upcoming lies regarding oil production in his tenure.
    3. Apple and OWS.
    4. Grist for the education debates.
    5. Some post Sanctity of Life Sunday thoughts offered. More here.
    6. More Democrats misbehaving.
    7. Links for the philosophically minded.
    8. Hashing out Antisemitism.
    9. “Fast and Furious” one of 10 (?!) similar operations.
    10. The Slavery Question and the early church.
    11. When  is a default not a default?
    12. Going green and the oops factor.
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