Sunday, March 30, 2008

ABLAZE?!?!


The LCMS handed over $25,000.00 to these jokers while claiming the Christ Centered Cross Focused ministry of Issues Etc. had to be thrown into the rubbish bin. It doesn't get much more offensive than this!

Why in the (a)BLAZES are these BAPTISTS pretending to be Lutherans at all? Especially LCMS, which was supposed to be confessional Lutherans, I thought? We have been hijacked by a pack of non-Lutherans and it's time to act I'd say, but then I'm just a layman so what do I know?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mollie Ziegler interview

Mike Horton of the White Horse Inn has just done a special interview with the Mollie Ziegler Hemingway former member of the Board of Communication Services and author of the Wall Street Journal article that broke yesterday.

Google Reader

Google has a very cool page set up where you can track a number of blogs, I am using it at the moment to read the dozen or so Confessional Lutheran blogs I like to follow to keep up with what it going on in the LCMS.

I tried subscribing to my own blog just to see what happens and the result is that, nothing happens, they say I have no items to display. Ah well, maybe I've got some obscure setting wrong. I fiddle with it later. In the meantime if you like to read several blogs it's nice to have a single spot to go to and look at them all. Check out Google Reader.

I might "restart" this blog to make it work with readers, seems my "feed" is all messed up due to me not knowing what I'm doing and probably messing it up beyond all hope. ;-/

Friday, March 28, 2008

More on the Issues Etc. debacle at KFUO

Deception and lies don't belong in a Christian organization, but here we are...

Check out Save the LCMS! blog to keep updated, and this story in particular.

This graph is from the story, the blue section is Issues Etc. downloads, the almost invisible yellow section is all of the other downloads combined! Even worse is the fact that downloads via iTunes for the podcast are not listed here! That is how I listened to the program by the way so my downloads are not on this graph at all.


Also be sure to check out the Wall Street Journal article on the story, they got it right!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Case Vacated

Update RE Appellate Court Ruling - 3/27/08
HSC has received word that the 2nd appellate court will be re-hearing the case that would have made it illegal to homeschool without a teaching credential.
We understand a new hearing will be held in June. HSC's pro bono counsel, as well as pro bono counsel for several other inclusive California homeschooling groups, will be seeking approval to file amicus briefs in this matter. This is standard court procedure to ensure that the court only has to deal with briefs from counsel representing groups with a large enough interest in the case. Since the court's prior opinion was vacated when the court granted the rehearing, meaning it has no legal effect, you should keep homeschooling as you have been. It will be months before we will see another ruling in this case, but we will keep you updated.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Honesty in Advertising

Cool, for once I've found some honesty in advertising, I found this in the latest Smithsonian Magazine, it's what DC is all about after all. Worshiping at the false god's temple...

Seeker Sensitive Churches

This heresy is taking over the LCMS, yuck.

http://crosebrough.typepad.com/lcms_purpose_driven_take_/2008/03/is-the-lcms-bei.html

http://revcwirla.blogspot.com/2008/03/pastoral-letter-to-my-congregation.html

Joint Statement by California Homeschooling Groups

In the interest of protecting homeschooling freedom in California, HSC
has been working with other support organizations. Together we have
issued the following statement.

JOINT STATEMENT REGARDING HOMESCHOOLING IN CALIFORNIA

The following organizations, California Homeschool Network, Christian
Home Educators Association of California, Private and Home Educators of
California and HomeSchool Association of California, represent the major
California-based organizations working on a statewide basis to support
private homeschooling. They, together with the Home School Legal
Defense Association, which also works in California to support private
homeschooling and which has members in California, jointly issue the
following statement:

1. We are united in the goal of protecting the right of parents to
teach their children privately at home without additional governmental
interference.

2. We believe that children deserve to learn in the environment that
best meets their individual needs. We support the right of parents to
direct their children's education including, if they desire, teaching
their children privately at home apart from any public school program
and without a teaching credential.

3. We believe that the opinion rendered by the Second District Court
of Appeals in the case titled "In re Rachel L." on February 28, 2008 is
excessively broad in its scope and incorrectly states the law as applied
to home education in California.

4. We believe that the interpretation of California law, as
understood by our organizations and by the California Department of
Education prior to the issuance of this decision, is correct, that the
interests of both the State of California in ensuring that children are
educated adequately and of parents in directing their children's
education are well met by this prior interpretation of law, and that no
change in California law regarding the teaching of children privately at
home is needed.


For further information, please contact these organizations as follows:

HomeSchool Association of California
P.O. Box 77873
Corona, CA 92877
1-888-472-4440
http://www.hsc.org
Debbie Schwarzer, Esq., Legislative Chair
hsc-legislative@hsc.org

California Homeschool Network
P.O. Box 55485
Hayward, CA 94545
1-800-327-5339
http://californiahomeschool.net
Loren Mavromati, President
loren.mavromati@californiahomeschool.net

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134-9000
1-540-338-5600
http://www.hslda.org
J. Michael Smith, Esq.
media@hslda.org

Christian Home Educators Association of California
P.O. Box 2009
Norwalk, CA 90651-2009
1-562-864-2432
http://www.cheaofca.org
Mary Schofield, Esq., Vice President
maryschofield@cheaofca.org

Private and Home Educators of California
P.O. Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648-0730
1-916-786-3523
http://www.pheofca.org
Roy Hanson, Director
Jim Davis, Legislative Liaison
contact@pheofca.org



Long Weeks

My partner, Pat, is going in for surgery this week, as a result I'm working two six day weeks in a row, Monday - Saturday with Sunday's off. I anticipate sparse blog posting during this period.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Photo set


It got late fast yesterday so I didn't get my photos posted up, click here to see photos from Serenity's birthday parties, the first set with the grown ups was on Thursday with Lora's friends, the second set with the little kids is with Serenity's friends. I didn't have the camera on park day on Thursday when she had another semi-party with the park day kids. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Serenity is now 7

No posts the last couple of days because of Serenity's 3 day long birthday celebration :-) More photos to follow late Sunday, but here's a taste, Serenity and her good friend Kaley as they arrived for Serenity's birthday party today from Kaley's house where Serenity spent the night:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

KFUO and Issues Etc.

I sent a rather angry letter to the synod president, it was ignored there and it made its way to David Strand, the layman who is apparently in charge of the idiot brigade in charge of ruining the proclamation of the gospel via KFUO.

Here is my letter to him:

What is *this* drivel?

"For programmatic and business reasons, the decision was made
this week to discontinue the "Issues, Etc." program on KFUO-AM.
We look forward to bringing you new programming in this time slot
in the near future. Also, we thank "Issues" host Rev. Todd Wilken
and producer Mr. Jeff Schwarz for their years of service on behalf
of the station. Those interested may still download past "Issues,
Program Etc." programs from the "Issues" archive on this website.
Thank you sincerely for your continued support of KFUO's radio ministry."

SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

This means NOTHING! These words say NOTHING! Tell us the truth! Tell us the REAL reasons! I am disgusted by this vile and sinful action. Synond means walking together, clearly I do not walk with people who cannot stand to have the clear gospel proclaimed. Go to the ELCA with your vile wishy washy pap, I don't need it! The world doesn't need it! There is enough of pseudo-Christianity out there already in my local "non-denominational" church, REAL *Lutheran* Christianity is desperately needed and you have STOLEN it from us! Give it back!

And here is what I got back:

Dear Mr. Devich:

Thank you for your e-mail. We are sorry for your disappointment over
the change in KFUO-AM programming. However, we hope you will enjoy our
future programs.

Sincerely in Christ,

David L. Strand
Executive Director
Board for Communication Services
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
314-996-1200
Terrific, I got a form letter back, exactly the same as was sent to others who have protested, they don't care, they don't even read them! They are just sending out form letters and continuing the LIES!

I honestly think the LCMS is on its last legs, being murdered by those who are supposed to be its leaders, this is a very sad situation but perhaps a new truly confessional synod might emerge from the wreckage.

If you would like to be ignored and get a condescending form letter of your very own you can contact any of the following:

Rev. David L. Strand Executive
Director
Board for Communication
(314) 996-1200

(314) 822-0000

david.strand@lcms.org


Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

1333 S. Kirkwood Road

St. Louis, MO 63122-7295

(888) 843-5267

(314) 965-9000

FAX: (314) 996-1016

infocenter@lcms.org


KFUO Radio Station

(314) 725-0099

(314) 725-3030‎

(314) 721-2969

Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick

Synod President

(314) 996-1402

(314) 842-7110
president@lcms.org


LC-MS Board of Directors

(314) 996-1350

Finally, if you want to at least feel like you are doing something useful you can sign this online petion to the LCMS to reinstate Issues Etc.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is so me!

When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
his heart rages against the LORD.
Proverbs 19:3

Yep, whenever I mess up I tend to get angry with the Lord, foolish me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Issues Etc.

There used to be a show called Issues Etc. on KFUO AM, they had a podcast each weekend I listened to, it was a confessional and conservative voice that I really learned a lot from. Sadly, for unknown reasons, reasons that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has thus far refused to disclose, they have, without warning or notice canceled the show, pulled all of the archives and destroyed the Issues Etc. web site as well.

While I know that I am supposed to put the best construction on these things I find myself unable to find any possible construction that doesn't sound negative. In fact the BEST I can come up with, the very best construction for this action, is that the people running the LCMS are idiots. All of the other explanations involve duplicity and a deliberate attempt to drive away confessional Lutheran voices from the LCMS.

I anticipate this new LCMS advertising campaign in the near future:

"Come worship with us, we have toe tapping music and are just like every other church in town, we promise we won't offend you by talking about sin or any thing remotely controversial, so come on down!"

I already can't bring myself to attend about 90% of LCMS churches because they have thrown the traditional liturgy into the trash and make it all up as they go along, who needs that? I can get that, only done better, at any number of non-denominational "Christian Centers" If I want pseudo Christian praise songs in the 7-11 pattern (7 words 11 times) I can go to those other churches. I am a Lutheran for the Catholic Faith! For the traditional liturgy and the sacraments rightly given. Tossing out the liturgy will result in lukewarm pap masquerading as Christianity like the evangelicals mostly spew these days...

Oops, I'm getting cranky now. Well so be it. This is outrageous. I'll apologize if it turns out that Todd Wilken, the host of Issues Etc., turned out to be a secret Satanist or child molester or something, but other than that there is no excuse for this sort of Soviet style censorship! Openness is the ONLY Christian way to handle this sort of thing, where is the answer LCMS?

Ack, it's even worse! I went to the streaming audio from KFUO am that is still running, unlike the main web site that has vanished, and what did I find playing there? I found the NON-Lutheran, Focus on the Family playing! Great, confessional Lutherans are not to be tolerated but BAPTISTS ARE!?!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Early Easter

Someone posted this on a mailing list I am on, it explains just how rare and how early this Easter really is:

Yep, Easter is VERY early this year! Here's why:

As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon
after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).

This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used
to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but
that is pretty rare.This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see
the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever
seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or
will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here's the facts:

The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228
(220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're
95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285
(277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one
alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

Cool huh?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Great story on Homeschooling from Bakersfield

Marylee Shrider: Stop telling home-schoolers to chill out

| Friday, Mar 14 2008 5:46 PM

Last Updated: Friday, Mar 14 2008 5:43 PM

If I read one more op-ed telling California’s home school parents to calm down and chill out, I may throw up.

For the record, home school parents aren’t panicked. They’re furious. And they should be.

I generally don’t tackle the same topic two Saturdays in a row, but my inbox was on fire this week with moms and dads furious over a California Court of Appeal ruling that parents have no legal right to home school their kids.

As it turns out, California’s home schoolers have friends in high places.

Citing the “long and rich history of private home schooling in California,” Republican Assemblyman Joel Anderson on Tuesday introduced legislation “supporting the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children” and calling on the California Supreme Court to reverse the lower court's “misguided” ruling. Read more.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why we homeschool and why we DON'T need or want "regulation" or "oversight" or "testing" or even "help" for that matter...

I'm a grandfather who helps his daughter homeschool a wonderful little girl, I can vouch that, despite societal stereotypes of right-wing religious zealots, home schoolers are an exceptionally diverse group of people. Our reasons for homeschooling are equally diverse. The one thing that we all have in common is a deep love for our children and an environment that allows our children to flourish and grow into high-quality, literate, socially responsible and productive adults. One of the key reasons that home schooling is so successful is that we are largely unregulated. Our children have the ability to learn at their own pace, in a very flexible environment. Each family's needs are different. My granddaughter was failing in a traditional public school. Some home schooling families have children with "special" needs. We have all found that a one-size fits all approach fails our children. In this regard, a one-size fits all approach to standardizing and "testing" home schooling will fail our home schooling families. Home schooling needs to remain a legal and unregulated option.

(Shamelessly plagiarized from a letter to the editor suggestion by a homeschooling mom on the HSC mailing list.)

Happy Pi Day! 3.14159...

March 14, 1:59 pm, is really when to celebrateπ (Pi) day. It's also Albert Einstein's birthday!


How cool is that? We celebrated it today at our Tri-Valley Explorers homeschool park day, a day early but it was fun anyway :-) I forgot my camera, again, but Jenny kindly emailed this group shot of the kids to me. (She has more photos here.) Serenity is second from the left in the front on her knees. The colored paper chain circle represents 300 digits of π, each color was connected with a digit from 0-9 and each kid and most adults there did at least a 10 number sequence.

We also had "round" food which turned out to be mostly cakes, cookies and crackers :-) Early in the morning, on our way to Serenity's gymnastics class it was sort of dark and wet out, misty enough that I had my windshield wipers on most of the way there, but as you can see above it cleared off and was nice and warm by noon.

There is a bunch of very cool π stuff here.

Finally, there is one of my all time favorite movies,
Pi, Faith in Chaos:





Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Support ARC 115

Here is a place where, if you live in California, you can show support for homeschooling in a really helpful way. Go to http://www.supporthomeschools.org/ and sign your name. The numbers will be used to show how many people support homeschooling.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Moving again

Well, we've been given a 60 day notice to vacate by our landlord because she has a relative she is going to let use the place, ah well it was a nice place for the last 2 years.

So we are looking for new place to live, many are available, we'll be fine I'm sure.

Wish us luck as we look for a place for 3 adults, one child a dog a cat and three fish.

The one good thing is that no matter where in the area we land Serenity will not need to change schools since her school travels with us :-)

Sounds like good news to me!

This news has come in to HSC and CHN. Leslie Buchanan, president of the HSC Board said to feel free to post it:

"SACRAMENTO - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack
O'Connell announced today that the California Department of Education
has completed a legal review of the February 28 California Court of
Appeal ruling regarding home schooling. O'Connell issued the following
statement:

"I have reviewed this case, and I want to assure parents
that chose to home school that California Department of Education policy
will not change in any way as a result of this ruling. Parents still
have the right to home school in our state.

"Every child in our state has a legal right to get an education, and I
want every child to get an education that will prepare them for success
in college and the world of work in the challenging global economy.

"As the head of California's public school system, I hope that every
parent would want to send their children to public school. However,
traditional public schools may not be the best fit for every student.
Within the public school system there are a range of options available.
Students can take independent study classes, attend a charter school, or
participate in non-classroom-

based programs. But some parents choose to
send their children to private schools or to home school, and I respect
that right.

"I admire the dedication of parents who commit to oversee their
children's education through home schooling. But, no matter what
educational program a student participates in, it is critical that the
program prepares them for future success in the global economy. I urge
any parent who is considering or involved in home schooling their
children to take advantage of resources and support available through
their county or district offices of education."

Resolution introduced in the California Assembly urging the court to reverse the opinion

All of the State Homeschooling organizations are backing this resolution and urge all California residents to call or write to their Assembly member urging them to support it. I have written to my Assembly member, Mary Hayashi, already.

BILL NUMBER: ACR 115 INTRODUCED
BILL TEXT

INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Anderson

MARCH 10, 2008

Relative to home schooling.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

ACR 115, as introduced, Anderson. Home schooling.
This measure would acknowledge the long and rich history of
private home schooling in California and call upon the California
Supreme Court to reverse the opinion of the California Court of
Appeal for the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles in the case
of In re Rachel L. that home schooling without a teaching credential
is not legal.
Fiscal committee: no.

WHEREAS, Some 30 years of experience with the modern home
schooling movement in California demonstrates that home-school
graduates take up responsible positions as parents, as students in
and graduates of colleges and universities, in the workplace, and as
citizens in society at large; and
WHEREAS, Home schooling by California families with diverse
backgrounds has historically given children a quality education
through proven, independent approaches that nurture valuable family
bonds and support successful pupil development; and
WHEREAS, Private home schooling has a long and rich history in the
State of California, and is currently estimated as involving 200,000
pupils in the state and 2,000,000 pupils nationwide; and
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has ruled that parents
have a fundamental constitutional right to direct the education and
upbringing of their children (Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) 406 U.S. 205,
Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) 268 U.S. 510, and Meyer v.
Nebraska (1923) 262 U.S. 390); and
WHEREAS, On February 28, 2008, the California Court of Appeal for
the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles issued an opinion in the
case of In re Rachel L., 2008 Cal.App. Lexis 292 (Cal.App.2d Dist.
Feb. 28, 2008) holding that home schooling without a teaching
credential is not legal; and
WHEREAS, This misguided interpretation denies California parents
their primary responsibility and right to determine the best place
and manner of their own children's education; and
WHEREAS, The fair opportunity of California families to educate
their children should not be undermined; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate
thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby calls upon the
California Supreme Court to reverse the opinion of the California
Court of Appeal for the second Appellate District in the case of In
re Rachel L., that home schooling without a teaching credential is
not legal; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of
this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

And some media support comes in...

First, from the SF Gate/Chronicle web site we have an editorial, very well written in support of homeschooling:

Children's Right to Homeschooling Attacked

Imagine the outrage that would result if someone in the California Legislature introduced a bill mandating that our credentialed public schoolteachers must come from the bottom quartile of their college classes. And yet, studies have shown that on the average, that is the case.

On Feb. 28, a California appellate court ruled that California parents may not homeschool their children unless those parents are credentialed teachers. What planet are those judges coming from? Why would they think a California teaching credential is a sign of knowledge and teaching ability? Read more.


Then one from CNN yesterday, you have to scroll down a ways to get to the part about homeschooling,

GLENN BECK

Governor Spitzer Linked to Prostitution Ring; Bill Clinton Stock Deal Questioned; California Coming Down on Homeschooling Parents; Harvard Restricts Gym Hours to Accommodate Muslims Click here to read the transcript.

Remember, it could be worse...

Monday, March 10, 2008

On the HSLDA "petition"

My sister sent me a note about a HSLDA petition, here is my reply:
Kari wrote:
>
> Are you aware of this petition?
>
> My daughter and her husband are planning to home-school their children.
> They are not satisfied with the education system of today. There is a
> movement pending in California making home-schooling illegal. Debbie
> has the education to get her credentials but she won't because of the
> methods used today. A lot of people home-school for religious reasons.
> Although it could be abused, it is mostly a very good thing. Her
> children are very intelligent. Just go to _http://www.Hslda.org_
> and sign the petition. They ask for your name
> and address, but won't use it for any sharing. They just need to make
> sure you are real people, not just someone providing fictitious names.
> Thanks,
>


Yes I'm aware of it. However, the group I am affiliated with, The HomeSchool Association of California, doesn't think there is any point in it. We have engaged the services of a large and prominent law firm, who have agreed to take the case pro-bono, to try and get the decision "depublished". While there is probably no harm in a petition, the truth is courts, rightly, do not listen to public opinion when making a decision, instead they rule on the law only. It is the opinion of many homeschoolers I've spoken to over the last few days that HSLDA is using this petition as a method of increasing their membership. I share that opinion after looking into their announcements. They lost me when they used James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" (should really be called Focus on Fascism if you ask me) program to get this petition going, I don't have any use at all for Dobson, I disagree with him and his organization on just about any issue you can name.

Petitions might be useful in the future if it gets that far, after all the legislature listens, supposedly, to public opinion when making new laws. Our firm contention is that we DO NOT need any new laws, ours is fine. Instead this decision is quite simply WRONG on the law. Any attempt to legislate new homeschooling laws in California would be a disaster because of the inordinate influence over the legislature by the Government Indoctrination Camp Guards Union, also known, falsely, as the "Teachers Union". That union is adamantly opposed to homeschooling because their paychecks are threatened when students leave the public schools.

In the meantime, homeschooling is NOT illegal in California, you can check out HSC's response here:

http://www.hsc.org/appellatedecision

HSLDA tends to be a bit sensationalist in their treatment of these issues, plus they emphasize the religious aspect of this, when in reality this is basic parental right we are talking about. Many of the homeschoolers I'm meeting here in the Bay Area are completely secular. HSC supports homeschoolers no matter what religion or non-religion they are and no matter what method they choose, from unschooling up through classical methods. HSLDA is not that inclusive. If anyone wants to help I'd encourage them to read up on the response by HSC and if desired you can make a donation to either:

The HomeSchool Association of California

or

California Homeschool Network


Both of these are inclusive statewide California organizations while HSLDA is a national "Christian" organization. Nothing wrong with Christians, I is one :-) It's just that this is not actually a religious issue.

Parking garage in Dublin

I thought they weren't finished with this thing yet, but they were going to leave it like this!

Way to go Scott Haggerty! Don't let them disrespect Dublin.



Supe tells BART to paint 'hideous' new garage

The grand opening of BART's $42 million parking garage at the Dublin-Pleasanton Station has been put on hold after Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty went ballistic over the gray slab's "hideous" looks and demanded a $500,000 paint job to pretty it up.

Or else.

Haggerty, who also sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, has branded the seven-story garage "the tower of torture."

He is so furious at the colorless colossus that's gone up in his district that he has threatened to vote against BART's $30 million plan for new trains unless the hulk gets a makeover. Read more.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Interview with Debbie Schwarzer,HSC Legal Team Co-chair

Here is a page with an interview with Debbie Schwarzer, The HomeSchool Association of California Legal Team Co-chair, can be found on Homes Education Magazine's web site, along with a plethora of useful links to information on other sites.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Way to go Arnold!

Well, at least we have the Governator on our side!

Gov.: Overturn Calif. home-school ruling
Published: March 7, 2008 at 2:20 PM

SACRAMENTO, March 7 (UPI) -- California's governor wants to see a court ruling tightening the rules for home schooling overturned.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement Friday calling this week's ruling requiring home-school instructors to hold valid teaching credentials "outrageous" and called for it to either be overturned in the court system or changed through the legislative process.

"Every California child deserves a quality education and parents should have the right to decide what's best for their children," Schwarzenegger said. "Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education."

California's 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that home-schooling was not a guaranteed constitutional right and that the state had the right to regulate it by requiring credentialed teachers. The state currently requires all school-aged kids to be educated in school or at home by a qualified tutor.

University of San Diego Law Professor Shaun Martin told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the ruling means "parents no longer have the right to home-school their kid any way they want."

Another view

OK, so the Angry Gnome has been venting all sorts of venom the last couple of days, you may be shocked to know that there is actually a way of saying the same thing without sounding like a shrill loony like me :-) A post from Debbie Schwarzer The HomeSchool Association of California Legal Team Co-chair:

I have been astonished about the hype about this case. So many have been making sensational claims that parents will be criminally prosecuted, etc.

Please rest assured about a number of things. First, the law, other than this court's interpretation, hasn't changed. Parents involved in a truancy prosecution might face criminal charges, but only after a rather lengthy series of hearings and court orders, and only if the parents failed to comply with the orders. It would be a criminal contempt charge, which isn't nothing but doesn't land you in Pelican Bay.

We have never known conscientious parents ever to be prosecuted under truancy laws to the point of contempt charges. It's highly unlikely.

The media also appear to be saying that no one can teach their children without a credential. I am not certain that the holding is that broad, and I also doubt it would survive legal challenge.

The holding really applied to private ISPs (there are persistent mistatements, that began with fact statements in the case, that the family was enrolled in a charter. Obviously a school with the name "Christian" in it wouldn't be a public charter. It was a private ISP). It could be read by someone reading broadly as applying to any situation where the child is not continuously in the presence of a credentialed teacher.

The court started on a very slippery path of appearing to think that some situations were OK and others weren't, effectively trying to enact an entire code of regulations for governing this situation from the bench. He hasn't been given the constitutional authority, of course, to do this.

How do we get rid of this case?

There are a number of paths. One is seeking actual review by the Supreme Court. HSC and at least several of the other major groups' legal teams aren't in favor of that. Even if you could get the court to accept your petition (they only take 3-5% of cases), the chances that it will be decided the way you want aren't real good. It's a very dangerous road to take, because if the Supreme Court were to affirm the appellate court ruling on either of the main points (constitutional or statutory), there aren't many options left. The constitutional argument, of course, could be appealed to the US Supreme Court, but the statutory case about the proper interpretation of the California Education Code could not. California Supreme Court is the last stop on that road. If that happens, then you have two bad choices that I'll discuss below.

There is another much easier choice, and it's the one we want, as well as the one being trumpeted in the HSLDA petition. You ask the California Supreme Court to depublish the opinion, or, in other words, have them say that while this might have been the right result in this particular case involving this particular set of facts, the court finds that the reach of the opinion is overbroad and should not become law for the entire state. That is the choice we all (meaning HSC and, I believe, the other groups) want.

You get this by filing a letter with the Supreme Court in compliance with the applicable rules of court. While anyone can file one by stating their interest, we DO NOT think it is an appropriate use of grassroots activism. We DO NOT want every HSC member or HSLDA member or grandmother or irate citizen dashing off their letters to the Supreme Court. There are sober, measured, legal arguments to make about why depublication is appropriate, and those arguments are made after researching the applicable standards, etc. The Supreme Court will not be swayed positively by public outcry. In fact, it could backfire, and backfire badly.

If the Supreme Court affirms on the statutory points, then the two bad choices are to either seek legislation or to do nothing and hope that a further case is brought that can involve a better set of facts and better explanation of the issues (and reaching a better result). Both are very dangerous. Legislation isn't the answer because of the extraordinary strength of the teachers' union. It is unlikely we will see any legislation ultimately pass that gives us the freedom we have today. And the second choice is dangerous. I know lots of families that would make terrific test case defendants -- they're conscientious, they actually get their kids educated, they follow the laws. But we don't get to pick who the family is. As a friend of mine said, we couldn't have gotten a worse set of facts for this case if we had a contest.

We are trying to get one or more of the fanciest law firms in the state to help us on taking the fangs out of this case. We know what we're doing. Please let us do our jobs.

I would be personally, professionally, and, as a representative of HSC, globally grateful if everyone on this list would calm down and ask others to calm down. Specifically, I would ask people:

a. Not to write to the Supreme Court or any court.

b. Not to talk to their legislators or make any public statements about a need for legislation.

c. Tell their neighbors, friends, lists, groups both of the above and to educate them about the choices available and about how panic isn't necessary, marches on Sacramento aren't necessary, etc.

I wish this were the type of situation where we could put the fury, passion and energy of the members of this list to good use. Trust me, if we end up having to go the legislative route, we will have that situation at some points. But this isn't that type of situation, and too many folks stirring things up hurts instead of helps.

Thanks for listening.

Debbie Schwarzer
HSC Legal Team Co-chair

The purpose of government schools

I have long maintained that instead of calling the government schools, "schools" we ought to be calling them "Government Indoctrination Camps".

This recent decision makes that point more openly than ever, the judge and the lawyers who brought the case both make the point that government schools are NOT about education at all. Note these quotes from a story in the San Francisco Chronicle:

1. From the senile idiot Justice H. Walter Croskey himself:

"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

Of course this is exactly the reason I do NOT want my granddaughter to go to the government indoctrination camps, and will not allow her to, ever! This ruling actually makes it far less likely Serenity will ever set foot in one of those places again.

2. From the busy body state paid "child advocates" who brought the case:

Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children's Law Center of Los Angeles, which represented the Longs' two children in the case, said...her organization's chief concern was not the quality of the children's education, but their "being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety."

Which of course means, parents are not qualified to raise children, only the state! You know, the ones running the pathetic holding tanks they call schools? The ones who run the IRS and the Post Office? Those people are better parents for kids they barely know than their own families who live with the kids each and every day of their lives? Yeah right.

3. And of course the government indoctrination camp guards union chimed in, you know the ones who say it's so terribly unfair to force teachers to prove they are able to compose a simple sentence or add 2+2 and actually come up with 4 and not 5:

"We're happy," said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. "We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting."

This ruling will not stand.

Only the ignorant, or those sucking off of the government tit could say with a straight face that government indoctrination camps are a better place for children than their own homes.

Of course, it goes without saying, that I will cheerfully ignore and violate the law if this nonsense stands and if the man should decide to come after us we could flee to a free state to live and leave the totalitarian socialist peoples workers paradise of California behind, though I honestly do not think that is going to happen.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Wall

I just saw this on a mail list, an alternate version of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

-------------

We don't need no legislation.

We don't need no gov control.

No dark sarcasm in the courtroom.

Judges leave our kids alone.

Hey, Arnold, leave those kids alone!

All in all it's just another brick in the law.

All in all you're just another brick in the law.

Cool :-)

Media Hysteria, again...

"The Media" is at it again. You know "The Media", those are the giant, corporate owned, which means state owned here in Amerika of course, directors of public opinion like major newspapers, TV and radio outlets. They are all owned by a very small clutch of giant corporations so they all spew pretty much identical vomitus out at us each and every day of the week. There is no point in changing the channel on your TV when looking at the news the same items with identical spin will be on them all, same with major corporate newspapers.

My bias and disgust toward "The Media" having been made clear, here is a severely distorted LA Times story about a recent legal decision about home schooling in California, note in the first part where it mentions "waves of fear". That is simply not true. Waves of annoyance and anger yes, but not fear. I'm on a number of Home School email lists and fear is not the predominant theme right now. Home schoolers are generally not much afraid of the government and some senile LA judge who had to go back to the 1950's to find some support for his hatred of freedom in education. Another distortion is the emphasis on "religious" home schoolers. Many Bay Area home schoolers I've met are not religious at all, it's a very diverse group and to keep insisting or implying that we are all right wing fundamentalist flat earthers or something is just annoying as all get out, then again most things the corporate/government blatherers drool out annoys me:

Ruling seen as a threat to many home-schooling families
State appellate court says those who teach children in private must have a credential.
By Seema Mehta and Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
March 6, 2008
Parents who lack teaching credentials cannot educate their children at home, according to a state appellate court ruling that is sending waves of fear through California's home schooling families.

Advocates for the families vowed to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Enforcement until then appears unlikely, but if the ruling stands, home-schooling supporters say California will have the most regressive law in the nation.

"This decision is a direct hit against every home schooler in California," said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which represents the Sunland Christian School, which specializes in religious home schooling. "If the state Supreme Court does not reverse this . . . there will be nothing to prevent home-school witch hunts from being implemented in every corner of the state of California."

Click here to be pounded by more Govcorp lies by reading the entire LA Times piece.

We won't be quitting homeschooling no matter what Govcorp decides. That is not negotiable. Freedom is at stake.
We've known of this ruling for almost a week and I didn't say anything here before because I know in the end it will come to nothing. But now that official govcorp media outlets are talking about it I felt like venting. :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Arrest the Criminals?

Now here is a really cool idea:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Voters in two Vermont towns on Tuesday approved a measure that would instruct police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution," local media reported.

The nonbinding, symbolic measure, passed in Brattleboro and Marlboro in a state known for taking liberal positions on national issues, instructs town police to "extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them." Read More.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Hurdy Gurdy Man

So this morning on my way into work there was a long haired bearded dude wearing scruffy clothes, sitting at the bottom of the Embarcadero Station escalator cranking on some weird musical instrument and making a wonderful noise that had beat and background drone and a certain fun twang to it. I had no idea what it was but I liked it so I walked over and chatted with him about it. Turns out it was a Hurdy Gurdy! Which brought back memories of an old song from the 60's that I initially remembered as a Beatles song but when I looked it up it turns out it was Donovan. Here is a video of the Donovan song and here is a clip of a Hurdy Gurdy being played. Cool stuff for the Monday morning commute. I gave the Hurdy Gurdy man a buck and stayed to listen for a while.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rock City



Yesterday Serenity and I went up to Rock City on Mt. Diablo, we had a blast!

Go here to see some more photos of the rock climbing kid!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Acorn Project

Yesterday afternoon Serenity Lora and I went up to Laurel Creek Park in Pleasanton to participate in the Acorn Project with several other families from Tri-Valley Explorers and Pleasanton Naturalist Eric Nicholas. It was a sunny, somewhat cool, February day, the breeze was brisk up on the ridge. Serenity, Lora and I planted about 30 acorns on the hill. A wild guess would be that close to 200 acorns were planted by our group. We encountered a huge Jerusalem Cricket (aka: as we called them when I was growing up in Novato, "Potato Bug") while clearing a spot to dig a hole to plant an acorn in the foot tall green grass. I just about jumped out of my skin when I saw it! They are huge and really ugly...



We are looking forward to Arbor Day when there will be more Acorn Project work to do:

Arbor Day
All ages
Interested in planting a forest?
Join Program Naturalist, Eric Nicholas for the 1st
annual Pleasanton Arbor Day Event! You can be a factor of change
in the world we all share and cherish. Last winter, we planted some acorns with members
of the “Acorn Project” and now it’s time to see if anything is popping up. Help create a new habitat as we make future forests in our home town. We will be searching for new
trees, weeding around them and sowing the future. You will learn what makes a healthy ecosystem as you become part of the solution.
Sa 4/26 1:00-3:00pm
Bernal Creek Restoration Site

A victory for free speech

On February 20th I posted about the court ordered, but utterly ineffectual, closure of Wikileaks by a foolish federal judge. That judge has now reversed himself and I guess I'd have to say he's no longer a total idiot :-)

S.F. judge dissolves his Wikileaks injunction

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, March 1, 2008

(02-29) 17:35 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge in San Francisco who had ordered the shutdown of a whistle-blowers' Web site where private bank documents were posted changed his mind Friday, conceding his original ruling might not have been constitutional. Read more.