Thursday, October 29, 2009

What do you think of this?

I ran across this article today. It took me a while to figure out why it bothered me so much, even though I agreed with many of the proposals.

Bob Compton Launches `Children4Change` Site to Help Americans Support Positive Education Reform

Online, Grassroots Organization Will Give Parents and Other Interested Parties Both Knowledge and a Voice to Advocate for Improvement in Their Children`s Education

INDIANAPOLIS--(Business Wire)--
Global entrepreneur, investor and education expert Bob Compton announces today the release of a new, online, grassroots organization called This organization is designed to inform and mobilize American parents and other concerned citizens in support of President Obama`s education agenda.

Am I the only one that thinks it is a little creepy that they linked parental involvement in education with support of President Obama's education agenda? First of all, I sincerely doubt that most parents have the slightest idea what President Obama's agenda is past a campaign slogan. When a parent gets involved with education, they are doing it to support their children, not a politician or a "agenda."

It goes on:

The creator of several documentary films on education, including the widely-viewed Two Million Minutes, Compton has observed that parents and others in favor of education improvement want to know how they, personally, can advocate for change. Compton sought a way to organize American parents as a force to support their children, as students, and decided to utilize 21st-century communication tactics to give these parents a voice. allows parents and other interested parties to opt-in for notifications - via email, phone or both - regarding education reform events, legislative actions and opportunities to communicate with government leaders regarding education decisions - all tailored to their geographic location. For instance, if the state legislature in Indiana is voting on an education-related bill next week, will alert all members located in Indiana of the opportunity to contact their government leaders regarding the vote. The organization also allows members to sign petitions which are sent directly and immediately to these political leaders, effectively simplifying this process for concerned parents who might not otherwise have the time or resources to provide this type of feedback.

"I wanted a means to assist concerned American citizens in supporting education reform to benefit today`s students," said Compton. " provides the necessary tools to give people a voice to speak on behalf of positive changes in education for their children." will be debut in Indianapolis, Ind. with the ultimate goal of expanding it across the nation. The site already features an open letter to President Obama, voicing support for his education agenda. Interested parties can sign the letter, which will be then sent to the President. For more information on the organization please visit

So, what's with this "we are getting involved to support Obama" theme?

After some more reading, I realized why the Children for Change website begins with a letter to President Obama. Bob Compton must presuppose that the federal government has the responsibility for the education of children. Mobilizing parents to sign petitions and write government leaders also presupposes that the parents are not responsible for the education of their children, but that ultimately the government is the authority.

The more that the government legislatures educational policy, the less power parents will have on a local level to control the quality and type of education their children will receive. What a brilliant ruse. Con parents into thinking they are helping improve their children's education by signing a petition or sending a form letter to a politician.

Parents can feel good about doing nothing substantive about their children's education while politicians make all the decisions. This is the kind of policy that the anointed* love. (*The "anointed" is a term coined by Thomas Sowel in his book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.)

(I'm not saying that it is a bad idea to write your congressman, but that it will not bring result quickly enough to benefit your child in a poorly run school system. Your kid will be long gone before some government program will take effect.)

While I'm not a fan of the American government schools, I am a fan of the American education system which gives me the freedom to homeschool my children. This freedom could too easily disappear if parents get on the "President Obama can fix education" bandwagon.

Putting an "education agenda" and any politician's name in the same sentence is not a good plan. An approach to education that relies heavily on the government is a disaster waiting to happen.

Technorati Tags : Obama\'s education agenda , Bob Compton , , homeschool

Our four year anniversary

Four years ago today Janine and I joined millions as bloggers. It has been fun, and a great learning experience. We have made a lot of friends.

Blogger says we have just over 3200 posts.

Sitemeter says we've had over 450,000 visits.

It has been a good run.

I think we are good for at least another year.

Technorati tags: blog, blogging

Monday, October 26, 2009

Illegal immigration, race and government programs

Baby Bop has a significant speech delay. When he was younger than 3 years old, he received an hour of speech therapy a week at our home through the Early Start program. Now that he is three years old, the local school district provides speech therapy. (As a side note: to qualify for services, the child must be below the 7th percentile in some area.) In our case, Baby Bop's expressive language skills fall at the 3rd percentile.

Today, I met a speech therapist at the school near my house and signed the paperwork for his IEP (Individual Education Program). During this process, I've purposely left blank certain sections of the paperwork. I've given no information about the other children in our household and I've not indicated Baby Bop's race.

The speech therapist asked if I would be willing to fill out the "race" portion. The school will receive more money if I indicated that Baby Bop is Hispanic/Latino. No matter which race I put, Baby Bop will received the same services. However, those services are somehow more valuable to the state if the child is Hispanic/Latino. The school gets even more money if Spanish is his primary language.

I just hate the way my tax dollars are spent.

Technorati tags: illegal immigration, IEP, speech therapy, home education, parenting, children, education

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wiggly three-year-old weighted down with a vest

Judy of Consent Of The Governed found Another Reason to Homeschool - so your children aren't forced to wear a weight vest. Read the post, it is sad and scary.

Update from Janine:

After reading the comments, I went back and read the original story. I'm a great fan of occupational therapy. We do and have done all sorts of things at our house under the guise of occupational therapy which could easily be misunderstood. However, there are a few problems with the use of the weighted vest in this instance.

1) The child had NOT been diagnosed with any sensory issue that would have benefited from a weighted vest.

2) The weighted vest was not being used under the direction of an occupational therapist or anyone trained in its use for therapeutic purposes.

3) The parents were not even consulted on the issue prior to the use of the vest.

4) The parents were informed after the fact, in a public venue, in a manner that left the mother feeling humiliated. She obviously didn't see it has a therapeutic intervention, but as a punishment.

I would have no problem with the use of the vest if both the parents and an occupational therapist agreed that the child had a sensory issue and that a weighted vest could help.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Nominate your favorite blogs

The Homeschool Blog Awards is hosting their 2009 awards, drop by and nominate.

Alasandra is also hosting a Best Homeschool Blog 2009 contest, pop over to her blog and nominate.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Don't forget to send in your entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The Carnival of Homeschooling at be hosted at Consent Of The Governed.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cell phones are getting better then the Star Trek communicators

As a child I loved to watch the original Star Trek episodes. The creative stories challenged my immagination, often with thoughtful points. In the 1970s our telephones were fixed on the wall, had dials, and costed a lot of money to call out of state.

Today's cell phones are as good as the Star Trek communicators.

By 2010 they will be better! Cell Phones to Go 3-D:

A new thin-film technology developed by 3M could enable mobile devices such as cell phones to show 3-D images without the need for special glasses.
Dubbed Vikuiti 3-D, the technology works by guiding slightly different images to the viewer's left and right eyes. Provided that the device is held relatively still, the viewer experiences an "auto-stereoscopic" effect--a sense of depth to the image, says Erik Jostes, business director of 3M's Optical Systems Division in St. Paul, MN.
This optical trick has been around for some time and is essentially the same as the one behind Philips's WOWvx 3-D television displays. However, getting it to work in mobile devices presents new challenges.


What an amazing world!

Technorati tags: ,

The Carnival of Space edition 125 is up!

The 125th edition of Carnival of Space is up!

It is exciting that the carnival I started is still going strong. Fraser Cain of Universe Today has done a great job in keeping it going.

Technorati tags: ,

How bad is the economy?

This floated pass an email, unattributed:

The economy is so bad … (How bad IS it?!) …

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at McDonalds and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonalds is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

The economy is worse than divorce. I lost half my money and still have the wife.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear

Anyone know who this originated with? The last line sounds a bit like Jay Leno.

Technorati tags: economy

Another way of thinking about government spending

The United States Federal budget is mind bogglingly big. The 2010 $3.5 trillion budget is beyond the ability of many of us to even comprehend.

Byron Schlomach in an article on Following Arizona's money writes:

Nine hundred and twenty dollars per second. That's how fast Arizona's state government spends our tax money.

Wow! Many of us don't make $920 a week.

I just ran the numbers for the Federal budget. The US Federal goverment is spending per $1,109,842 per second, every second, second after second. Wow! Double wow!

Technorati tags: ,

Going with a theme of humor today

I think this is kind of funny, in a sad sort of way - For Ala. man, XXXXXXX marks spot for ticket-magnet:

"Racer X's" vanity plate just does not compute in city computers — and it's helped him rack up about $19,000 in tickets in Birmingham, Ala.
Scottie Roberson bought a vanity plate with seven X's to pay homage to his racer nickname. But that causes a bit of a snafu when parking patrols put the plate into the system. Officials usually put seven X's in place of the number for cars without license plates.
Roberson said the mix-up has led him to get as many as 10 tickets in a day.
Birmingham Traffic Engineer Gregory Dawkins said the city may change the system to keep Roberson from receiving more tickets. He says "maybe we just need to leave that part blank altogether."


I hope it doesn't take too long for Scottie Roberson to get this resolved.

(Hat tip: Risks Digest)

Technorati tags: Scottie Roberson, traffic tickets

I think this is funny

The last five seconds are the best:

(Hat tip: Spunky's comments)

Technorati tags: Jay Leno, President Obama

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our music prodigy

We get comments from time to time asking for updates on our family and Baby Bop. For safety reason, we've tried to keep our kids' names and faces out of the public view.

Maybe that is a moot point. My youngest daughter recently googled her name and found her picture all over the Internet from news reports on last year's homeschool court ruling in California. I guess being the lead story on AOL, on the front page of your local newspaper, and being interviewed for the evening news will do that.

So, I'm going to share a few home movies. I won't use any names and the kids' faces are mostly in profile, and it is just too cute not to share.

This is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling. Children are natural mimics. Younger children will imitate their older siblings. Homeschooling provides more time for Baby Bop to be around his sisters.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Bop update

It was only a matter of time. Today while changing the sheets on Baby Bop's bed, I discovered something hidden under his mattress, two Dr. Seuss books. Too bad that one of them was an over-due library book.

I guess that growing up in a family of bookworms is rubbing off.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Maine: The Postcards Don't Lie

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at No Fighting, No Biting!

Kat starts with:

One of the great benefits of educating our own children is the ability to be free of the standard school calendar. Our family takes advantage of this by spending 16 weeks each summer in Maine. I want to share the beauties of our adopted state with some snapshots and fun facts.

Maine is a land of forests and shore. The tides rise and fall about 8 feet so there is a stark contrast between low and high tide so even little children can tell the difference and can figure out scientifically if the tide is coming in or going out. (Hint, look at boats on their moorings to tell which way they are being pulled)

She has some beautiful pictures mixed in with all the fun posts.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Janine has some great news about Baby Bop

I don't want to steal Janine's thunder, so I won't post the event, but Janine just called me here at work with some exciting news about Baby Bop.

Now you'll have to wait until she finds the time to post about it.

Technorati tags: Baby Bop

Monday, October 19, 2009

Education is getting in the way of my having fun

I go through phases where I'll play strategy games like Master of Orion II or Civilization for awhile. (Janine might call them binges.)

Recently I reloaded Civilization IV. I was looking forward to play a game this evening. I arrived at home from work about six. Janine and our oldest were off at an orchestra practice.

I walk in the door and my thirteen year old daughter is explaining Civilization to the nine-year-old. Baby Bop is sitting quieting watching, fascinated by the maps and people on the screen.

Civilization does a good job of teaching many principles. Players learn to balance conflicting demands and goals. They learn some historical context. It is not a replacement for a serious study of history, but it can help reinforce some lessons from history. And it is a lot of fun.

Bummer. I guess I'll have to wait a bit until they either tire or, more likely, when they go to bed. I don't want to interrupt the education the younger children are getting.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Homeschooling saves a soul

This afternoon I was out with Janine. Janine and our oldest daughter play in a local orchestra. We have a large van and thus we often get drafted to move the timpani’s (drums) when there is a need.

Janine and I were together for over an hour. We are just a couple weeks away from the two year anniversary of when our son came in from the foster care program. The conversation turned to Baby Bop. He was just fourteen months old when we got the phone call asking if we’d take another child. We said yes. Janine was busy that day, so I took our youngest daughter over to the children’s shelter.

Over the next couple weeks it became evident that he was way behind on several fronts. He wasn’t crawling. He had no verbal skills, other than crying or grunting. And he understood little of what we said. In many ways developmentally he was more like six to eight months old.

Several doctors and social workers said a lot of stimulation would help.

With homeschooling we have been able to provide him loads of stimulation. Our three daughters are almost always home. We often rotate babysitting responsibilities for Baby bop through them. They play with him, take him for walks and read to him. There were a few times, initially, when I worried that we might be over stimulating him.

He has really blossomed. He runs and climbs everywhere. He plays and plays with a wide variety of toys. He’ll even sit and look at books, by himself. He seems to pretty much understand all that we say. And he is talking more and more each day.

He has been tested often. Recently we’ve been told that in some categories he is now advance for his age! It has been such a blessing to see him make these great strides.

A large part of the reason for the growth is that we homeschool. This gives us an environment which allows Baby bop to have a massive dose of stimulation each day, in a one-on-one setting. In many ways I think homeschooling may have saved his soul.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

You have ten hours to send in your entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The Carnival of Homeschooling at be hosted at No Fighting, No Biting!

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's your number?

I finally got around to filing my Private School Affidavit (PSA).

If you homeschool in California using the Private School option, it is recommended that you file between October 1st to the 15th. I waited until nearly the end this year because I wanted to see about how high the numbers would go.

Drum roll please.........

My number is 80,743.

In 2008, my number was 62,562, but I filed on the October 8th which is nearly a week earlier.

So what's your number?

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No longer a "holiday"

Yesterday was Columbus Day. Once held in respect, Columbus has joined the ever growing list of white, heterosexual, Christian, males of European descent whose contributions to our American society are no longer appreciated. It is not that I'm that attached to Columbus Day, but it troubles me to see the level of disdain directed at a once respected icon.

He opened the door to the New World. Let's give him credit where credit is due.

Here's a few examples of what schools teach about the intrepid explorer.

"I talk about the situation where he didn't even realize where he was," Kolowith said.
"And we talked about how he was very, very mean, very bossy.....

"The whole terminology has changed," said James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development.

"You don't hear people using the world 'discovery' anymore like they used to. 'Columbus discovers America.' Because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?"

In Texas, students start learning in the fifth grade about the "Columbian Exchange" -- which consisted not only of gold, crops and goods shipped back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, but diseases carried by settlers that decimated native populations.

In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year -- charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

"In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy," teacher Laurie Crawford said."

Call me cynical, but if Christopher Columbus had been black, gay or Muslim, I bet school children would still be taught that he was a wonderful guy.

So what is to be gained by teaching American children to hate their roots?

1) It is a way to reinforce victimhood thinking. Politicians love that sort of thing because victims need government programs to take care of them.

2) It is a way to turn groups against each other. When the focus is put on historical wrongs which can never be righted (because those responsible and those who suffered are dead and gone), there is nothing which can be done which will satisfy anyone. Again, politicians love that sort of thing because the perpetually offended will clamor for yet another government program to make things right.

3) It is a way to weaken our military defense. Those who are taught disdain for their history, don't often choose to honorably serve their country and it is bad for the morale of those who do serve.

4) It is a way to promote socialist agendas. When children grew up thinking that our country is founded on corruption and oppression, they can be easily lead to reject the principles that made our country great.

As a homeschooler, I'm glad my children are not caught up in the politically-correct garbage that passes for education in our government schools, but I am sick to think of the rising generation who are taught such ingratitude and where that ingratitude will lead us all.

Technorati tags: Christopher Columbus, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Welcome to the NerdFamily House

The NerdMom is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at the Nerd Family.

She welcomes you to the NerdFamily House!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Are you a homeschooler or homeschooled?

What kind are you?

Exactly what do camo and culotts look like anyway? Maybe it's a regional thing.

I enjoy seeing homeschoolers homeschooled children in action.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

You have fifty eight hours to send in your entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The Carnival of Homeschooling at be hosted at Nerd Family.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Friday, October 09, 2009

Uncertainty about the government is contributing to the recession

Don Surber reports that Early retirements mean it is worse than 9.8% unemployment. Many out-of-work people close to retirement are just giving up. The post is good. Some of the comments are better:

Sean says:
Businesses aren’t hiring because no one knows what in the hell our economic system is going to look like 5 years, or even 5 months, from now.
Will “Cap and Trade” get implemented as the Democrats hope?
How much of an upheaval will “Healthcare Reform” end up being?
Is the administration and Congress done overhauling regulation of the Financial Industry?
No prudent investor is going to bet their money (i.e., invest in growth) when it is conceivable that the government is going to radically alter how 50% of this nation’s economy functions.
Investors want to know what the playing field is going to look like before expanding their businesses, or starting new ones.
Right now, there is no certainty. No one knows if the business you start up is going to be adversely impacted by government dictum in a few months or years.
To say nothing of all the questions surrounding taxation to deal with these massive deficits we have going on right now.
Too much risk, and the prospects for reward are also uncertain. No better way to prevent growth.


RJGatorEsq. says:
Sean is absolutely correct. I am an employer. I know a lot of other small business owners. I, and they, are just about unanimous: “I need some help, but I am not going to hire until I see what Obama is planning to do to us.”

I am afraid this is a good time to be frugal and watch your pennies.

(Hat tip: Dr. Helen)

Technorati tags: Jobs, Government, recession

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Another facet of being successful

The Einstein Principle: Accomplish More By Doing Less reminds us that being success often means we have to focus:

Between the years 1912 to 1915, Albert Einstein was a focused man. His previous work on the special theory of relativity and the quantization of light, among other topics, was starting to gain notice. Einstein left the Swiss patent office, and, after hopping from professorships in Germany and Prauge, ended up, in 1912, at Switzerland’s ETH Institute.

Once there, he met mathematician Marcel Grossman and became convinced that if he applied the new non-euclidean math studied by Grossman to his own work on relativity, he could generalize the theory to account for gravity. This advance would be huge. Nothing short of overturning the single most famous law in the history of science.
Einstein set to work.

Between 1912 to 1915, he became increasingly obsessed in his push to formalize general relativity. As revealed by several sources, including his recently released letters, he worked so hard that his marriage became strained and his hair turned white from the stress.

But he got it done. In 1915 he published his full theory. It stands as one of the greatest scientific accomplishments — if not the single greatest — of the 20th century.

The Einstein Principle

Einstein’s push for general relativity highlights an important reality about accomplishment. We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention. Achievements worth achieving require hard work. There is no shortcut here. Be it starting up a new college club or starting a new business, eventually, effort, sustained over a long amount of time, is required.

Read the last paragraph a second time. Sometimes "We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention."

This reminds me of Paul Graham's essay on Good and Bad Procrastination.

Sometimes we just need to stop trying to do so many things, so we can focus on what is truly important.

What can you drop from your busy schedule?

What should you drop?

Technorati tags: success

A homeschooler getting the run around

Jay Mathews reports on a sad story about a Gifted Student Is Being Held Back By Graduation Rules:

Anyone who wants to appreciate how strong a grip high school has on the American imagination -- and how clueless some school districts are about this -- should consider the story of Drew Gamblin, a 16-year-old student at Howard High School in Ellicott City.

Drew, a child so gifted he taught himself to write at age 3, craves a high school education and all that comes with it -- debate team, music, drama and senior prom.

After a series of inexplicable decisions by Howard County school officials, such as requiring him to stay in a Howard High algebra class he had already mastered, his parents decided to home-school him and put him in college classes. But Drew insisted on his high school dream.

So he is back at Howard, although it's not clear what grade he is in, and the school district is making it hard to enjoy what the school has to offer. He is being forced to take a world history course he already took at Howard Community College and a junior-year English course he took at home, as well as classes in other subjects he has studied.

Drew said he hopes that school district superintendent Sydney L. Cousin will use a state regulation that would allow him to create an alternative way for Drew to graduate without so much course repetition, but it doesn't look good.

Drew could go to college right now. He passed the Maryland state High School Assessment test in sophomore English at the advanced level (Howard refuses to give him credit for the course) and did the same in American government. Two years ago, he scored in the 92nd percentile on the PSAT and placed in the top 4 percent of all African American students who took the exam.

I wonder what the school officials are thinking?

Here we have a young man who clearly has an education. He just wants to have the public school experience. (Which personally I think he is getting. If it were me, I would just move.)

I wonder why are the bureaucrates dragging their feet? They should welcome him back in. They could even play it up a little, hey look a homeschooler wants to come to government schools.

But no, they are shooting themselves in the foot. They come across as petty people, imposing rules which make no sense, and losing some of the little good will they have left.

I wonder who will flinch first? Will the Drew Gamblin just dump it all and move on? Or will the public outcry be loud enough that the administration will do the right thing and let him take reasonable courses, and graduate.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Another reason I'm glad I married Janine

A recent study find that Men who marry well-educated women live longer:

Men who want to live longer might want to marry better-educated women.

Those who do tend to live longer, a Swedish study has found. Just why isn't clear.

Researchers started with 1990 Swedish census data on more than 1.5 million men and women from 30 to 59 years old who were living with a partner and followed up by looking at deaths from 1991 to 2003.

Generally, they found that more education and higher earning power equated to lower mortality for both women and men. The woman's educational level was an even more influential factor for men, with men married to a college graduate more likely to still be alive at the end of that time than those who married women with less education.

(Hat tip: Best Of The Web Today)

Technorati tags: long, life

This is cute

My mother sent me a link to this:

I hope Janine and I are this spry when we are in our nineties.

Technorati tags: aging, well

Jobs Government Creates, and Destroys

In Jobs Government Creates, and Destroys, Anthony Gregory does a good job of explaining why attempts by the government to create jobs often has a net effect of hurting the economy. Here's the start of the post:

From the International Herald Tribune: "The United States lost almost 600,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent, its highest level in more than 16 years, the Labor Department said Friday."

As the government-created recession commences, we can expect more unemployment. The Obama administration argues that its stimulus package will address the problem: "This plan will save or create over three million jobs -- almost all of them in the private sector,"
the president declared. As for the critique that this stimulus bill is nothing but a big spending spree, Obama said, "What do you think a stimulus is? That's the whole point. No, seriously. That's the point!"

Funny, but will it work? The idea is the Keynesian principle called the "multiplier effect." As the government spends more, consumers have more money, they spend more and jobs are created.

The major flaw with the theory was summed up by humorist Dave Barry, who once wrote, "See, when the Government spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the money is left in the hands of Taxpayers, God only knows what they do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs."

And there's the rub. The idea that government spending creates jobs ignores the jobs that are lost in the process. If Americans have more money that represents actual wealth, then jobs will be created and society will become richer. But if the government simply prints the money, effectively reducing the value of the money they already have -- or if it takes the money directly through taxation -- that money has simply been sent to Washington and back again.

I love the line by Dave Barry.

Remember, every time the government spends money to "create" jobs, it is taking money from us so that we can't spend money that would have been available to create jobs. By sending money through Washington DC some of the money will be used to create bureaucratic jobs, which doesn't help the economy. The net effect is government attempt's to stimulate the economy are more about politics, for their attempts are less effective than those done by private individuals.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: Jobs, Government, Creates, Destroys, Anthony Gregory

Why do people fail?

From my Franklin Planner:

"The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail."

Napolean Hill (1883 - 1970)
Author of Think and Grow Rich

As a young man Napolean Hill met Andrew Carnegie, an event which changed Napolean Hill's life. His interview with Andrew Carnegie gave Napolean a goal to learn what makes people successful, and share the secrets. Here Mr. Hill talks about his meeting with Mr. Carnegie:

Technorati tags: success, failure, Napoleon Hillde, Andrew Carnegie

Interesting - Tiny Cameras Capture Albatross's Feeding Secrets

I found Tiny Cameras Capture Albatross's Feeding Secrets interesting:

Tiny cameras mounted to the backs of black-browed albatrosses show that the animals, which hunt out at sea, may forage by following killer whales. The findings are just one example of a growing body of research using miniaturized cameras to reveal how animals behave in their natural environment. In this study, more than 28,000 pictures were taken from cameras on three albatrosses. The animals were tagged at a breeding colony on Bird Island, South Georgia earlier this year.

I wonder where else new technology will help us understand our world better?

Technorati tags: Albatross, Tiny cameras

Other homeschooling carnivals

Here are the active homeschooling carnivals I'm aware of:

The recent Charlotte Mason Carnival was hosted by Shannon at Mountaineer Country. Go here to submit an entry.

The latest Hands-on Homeschool Carnival was hosted by Kris at Science of Relations. Go here to submit an entry.

The current Homeschooled Kids Carnival was hosted by Julie at Homeschooling-Ideas. Go here to submit an entry.

The recent Homeschool Showcase was hosted by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Go here to submit an entry.

The latest edition of the Spanish Carnival of Family Education is up at My Children My God. Here is an English translation of the carnival.

And as always, if you know of another active homeschooling carnival, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Team Masten qualifies for $150,000 Level 1 Prize Purse

A friend of ours, Jonathan Goff, works at Masten Space, so this was especially exciting for me:

This is great news. Now two private companies have demonstrated that they can successfully fly rockets. (Armadillo did it three weeks ago.)

(Update I - 8 Oct 09)
Commercial Rocket Claims Lunar Lander Prize quotes someone at Masten Space saying that completing these milestones puts it "squarely on track for high-altitude commercial flights starting in 2010."

I am sure the first flights into space will be more expensive than I'm willing to pay, but the price will drop!

Technorati tags: , ,

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

NEA departing general counsel says NEA is effective because they have power

Robert Chanin, the recent general counsel for the National Education Association, explains:

Despite what some of us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.
NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

He goes on to list how the NEA uses the power. They use it to help teachers. They use it to protect teachers. They use it to make sure teachers have jobs. (They also use their political power to push various agendas having little to do with education.)

The NEA, dispite all the PR, doesn't do much to help the children.

Too many parents believe what the NEA says. Parents need to wake up and realize that the teachers union is doing almost nothing to improve public education.

(Hat tip: Big Government)

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Why do school officials even care how a student arrives?

It is such a funny world. New York school officials, with nothing better to do, decided that students can not bike to school. New York Mom Fights Middle School That Banned Her Bike Rides With Son explains:

A New York mother is fighting back against her school district after administrators and officials told her she and her son didn't have the right to bike to school together — and that his safety, even beyond school walls, was out of her hands.
Janette Kaddo Marino said their 3-mile rides to and from school in Saratoga Springs have been met with stiff opposition from officials and even a state trooper who claimed it was unsafe — and illegal — for her 12-year-old son Adam to travel on his own pair of wheels.


It is mind boggling to me that the school even has a policy in place designed to control what happens to "their" students off the campus.

The mother is fighting this. I think she will win.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs)

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Teaching our children how to react to hardships

From A.Word.A.Day:

In one and the same fire, clay grows hard and wax melts.
-Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

Technorati tags: character, struggles, Francis Bacon

A great column by Thomas Sowell on education

I greatly admire Thomas Sowell. Janine and I have read many of his books, and learned from every one that we read.

In A Letter from a Child he makes a great point that many people involved with government schools too often see their job as the manipulation of children's minds, rather than educating them. He starts with:

Recent videos of American children in school singing songs of praise for Barack Obama were a little much, especially for those of us old enough to remember pictures of children singing the praises of dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
But you don't need a dictator to make you feel queasy about the manipulation of children. The mindset that sees children in school as an opportunity for teachers to impose their own notions, instead of developing the child's ability to think for himself or herself, is a dangerous distortion of education.
Parents send their children to school to acquire the knowledge that has come down to us as a legacy of our culture-- whether it is mathematics, science, or whatever-- so that those children can grow up and go out into the world equipped to face life's challenges.
Too many "educators" see teaching not as a responsibility to the students but as an opportunity for themselves-- whether to indoctrinate a captive audience with the teacher's ideology, manipulate them in social experiments or just do fun things that make teaching easier, whether or not it really educates the child.


I am so glad we can homeschool our children. We can protect them from the brainwashing that passes as education in public schools.

Technorati tags: Thomas Sowell, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Now roughly 250 of LAUSDs 800 traditional public schools are eligible to become charters

Most public schools are run with many, many rules, regulations and laws. Administrators and teachers often are forced to do things that make little sense. Over the last few decades charter schools have developed in an attempt to focus on teaching the students, and only use the rules that really make sense.

The Los Angelos Unidfied School District has decided to allow more charter schools:

It should be no surprise that the teachers union is strongly against charter schools.

It will be interesting to see if there is a noticible improvement in the next couple years.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Criminalizing everyone

My father once pointed out that 1913 was a bad year for our country. Prior to 1913 Congress was motivated to close before the hot, muggy summers. They would be in session for a couple months, pass a few laws, and then return home to escape the heat.

But in 1913 air conditioners were installed and Congress could pass laws all year round.

Congress has passed so many laws that most of us break the law monthly, maybe even weekly or daily, without ever knowing it. Criminalizing everyone explains this problem:

"You don't need to know. You can't know." That's what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.
The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris' longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.
The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with - get this- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.


The article later explains:

Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn't have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal - but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty's new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.

What this country needs is fewer laws, not more laws.

(Hat tip: Hacker News)

Technorati tags: government, reform

The War on Specialists

One of my brothers posted on Facebook a link to The War on Specialists:

In President Obama's Washington, medical specialists are slightly more popular than the H1N1 virus. Compared to bread-and-butter primary care doctors, specialists cost more to train and make more use of expensive procedures and technology—and therefore cost the government more money. Even so, the quiet war Democrats are waging on specialists is astonishing.
From Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus's health-care bill to changes the Administration is pushing in Medicare, Democrats are systematically attacking specific medical fields like cardiology and oncology. With almost no scrutiny, they're trying to engineer a "cheaper" system so that government can afford to buy health care for all—even if the price is fewer and less innovative ways of extending and improving lives.


The article makes a number of good points about the problems with Washington DC making medical decisions for political reasons.

Technorati tags: healthcare, reform