Thursday, January 31, 2008

The McRomney Show

CNN did such a diservice to the American public with it's obvious biased "debate" aired last night. For whatever you may think about any of the four remaining Republican candidate's chances of becoming the Republican nominee, ALL participants should have been heard equally during that debate. Huckabee and Paul were all but ignored while the majority of the time was spent on listening to Romney and McCain bicker like foolish children. It is unfortunate that the cable media purposefully focuses all the attention on only those that THEY want you to hear from. Ron Paul was cut off repeatedly in the very few instances that he had an opportunity to speak - and both he and Mike Huckabee were skipped over for questions and not even allowed to participate in a meaningful manner.

The intentional act of ignoring Mr. Huckabee and Dr. Paul (who could have been playing a game of chess at the end of the table there while Romney and McCain argued over "who said what, when and where") was thankfully loudly protested by Mr. Huckabee. He is still waiting for his promised "shower of questions".

CNN should be ashamed of themselves. The American public deserves to hear from ALL candidates on all questions, especially before Super Tuesday. Steering the "debate" in this manner was really obvious and is one of many the reasons why many people are so fed up with the current political machine. It adds just that much more fuel to the "r3VOLution".

Ron Paul was given some six minutes of airtime AFTER the debate was over - so perhaps you might like to have a listen to what he would have said had they given him the chance to honestly debate his positions.(Sorry, you have to listen to a commercial before the interview on this CNN video)

I know that sometimes things in life "aren't fair" - but this is America, and the fact that the American people are being fed the illusion that there is fairness and choice is very disturbing. Pile that on top of cries of voter machine fraud, and media manipulation and control of what the everyday Joe sees and hears, is even that much more alarming.

Do you really know the candidate that you will be casting a ballot for? Or do you only know what you have seen on cable news media? Thank goodness we still have the Internet where you can search for all kinds of information on your own terms.

Standardized Testing For Preschoolers - I'd Call That Child Abuse

Headstart children subjected to Standardized Testing.
President George W. Bush seemed to agree when, in July 2003, he took a field trip to a Head Start program in Landover, Maryland, to publicize an initiative aimed at reshaping the popular federal preschool program for poor kids. "We want Head Start to set higher ambitions," Bush told the assembled children. He stressed the need for "accountability," while noting, "I fully understand a four-year-old child is not going to take a standardized test. That would be absurd."

But not too absurd for the administration to roll out precisely such a test a few months later. Known as the National Reporting System (NRS), it was to be given twice a year to 450,000 four- and five-year-olds in 1,700 Head Start programs around the country. Much as with Bush's broader education reform, the No Child Left Behind Act, the goal was to compare programs and intervene in those that did poorly, possibly by cutting off their federal funding. And as with NCLB, the initiative set off alarm bells in many quarters.
That's just ludicrous!
But it's YOUR tax dollars hard at work to make these kids into nervous wrecks by the time they get to 2nd grade. Why can't they just let these kids have fun with Play-doh or Legos? What is the fascination that pointy headed "education experts" have with subjecting 3 year olds to idiot questions and tests?
"You can't test four-year-old kids-it's unreliable," says Dr. Edward Zigler, a.k.a. "the father of Head Start," a psychology professor and codirector of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University. "Some of the kids' response was to pee their pants." Four years and $100 million later, the NRS is on the chopping block, the data it produced are unusable, according to government investigators, and the official in charge of implementing Bush's accountability agenda has left amid charges that she defrauded her own Head Start program in Texas.
The program thankfully was proven to be a complete and utter waste of taxpayer dollars, has been shown to be questionable in it's handling of funding, and it has even caused harm to some of these kids.
To run Head Start itself, the White House picked Windy Hill, a Texas woman who had been tangentially involved with Laura Bush's literacy-promotion efforts in Texas....

As it turned out, Hill knew a thing or two about mismanagement: Federal investigators eventually discovered that the Head Start program Hill ran in Texas had doled out thousands of dollars in contracts to her family members and dubious reimbursements to Hill herself. She'd even written herself a $7,000 bonus from the Texas program's coffers after she took the helm of Head Start in Washington. (Hill, now working at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, did not return a call for comment; HHS officials also did not respond to calls and emails.)

The test Hill and Horn rushed into the field in 2003 was hardly a masterpiece of scientific assessment. Shay Gurry, an education coordinator for St. Jerome's Head Start in Baltimore, remembers a kid who was asked over and over to pick out a picture of a knight; finally she erupted, "There's no moon, so there's no night!" Another, asked how many books would be left if you had three and gave one to a friend, explained, "I don't have any friends." Forced to sit still for 20 to 45 minutes at a stretch, kids would start giving random answers just so they could go out and play. Teachers were also not allowed to give feedback, no matter how often a child asked if she'd gotten an answer right.
Yeah - that's not only an outrage to taxpayers, but forcing these little kids to sit still like that is really child abuse. HeadStart is being used as a laboratory, and those poor kids (literally and figuratively) are being used as lab rats.

However, it is interesting to note that the testing data that they collected with these "tests" was essentially useless, according to a 2005 study by the federal Government Accountability Office. This article went on to say that they found the test used on these kids to be flawed and unreliable. Last fall, Congress voted to kill the testing program; until the very last minute the administration was proceeding with (and spending money on) another round of testing, planned for this spring.

Isn't it pretty incredible what our government is spending money on. What's worse is even the littlest ones in our midst are at the mercy of these idiot government programs. The Feds really need to get their fingers out of education, because they not only do it expensively, they do it quite poorly as well.

(H/T Sue K.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dropping Like Flies

John Edwards is ending his bid for the presidency.

So will the boys gang up on the girl?

Like it matters anyway.

It's interesting to see though - the Democrats in such a quandary as to who to support - the woman or the black man. Their collective guilt and angst over race and gender is somewhat entertaining to observe.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Queen Sings To Rudy After Florida

Buh-Bye Rudy - Thanks for playing along.
Worst campaign strategy EVER.

Interesting post here.

Florida Medicaid To Review Antipsychotics & ADHD

In a piece by Ed Silverman on Pharmalot, he writes:
The move comes amid growing scrutiny. The taxpayer bill for these meds jumped from $9 million seven years ago to nearly $30 million in 2006. Florida Medicaid records reportedly show the number of children - some just months old - who were prescribed the drugs went from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. And even as drugmakers were being told to issue warnings about risks, a Florida Legislature-directed program partly funded by drugmakers was recommending the meds as treatment for ADHD, although FDA approval is lacking.

As a result, the Florida attorney general is considering whether to file a lawsuit. Now, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration is responding to concerns that the meds are being used inappropriately for treating ADHD, in particular, and will review coverage. The AHCA’s own guidelines, by the way, state that “antipsychotics should not be used primarily to target ADHD symptoms, should not be used to promote weight gain, and should not be used as sedatives for children…and the use of antipsychotics in children under the age of six is generally not recommended.”

Yet, a recent report by the University of South Florida found the most common diagnosis for antipsychotic treatment for youngsters in Florida’s Medicaid program between July and December 2005 was for ADHD -and 54 percent involved children 5 years of age and younger, while 49 percent involved kids between ages 6 and 12 (please see table 5). And so nearly 40 percent of all antipsychotic scrips for youngsters were written for ADHD during that same period.

“We recognize that it may be necessary to review our long-standing guidelines in order to keep pace with evolving pharmacy science. AHCA secretary (Andrew) Agwunobi has requested the creation of a workgroup, under the Medical Care Advisory Committee, that will bring together experts in the field to determine if changes to our current policies are appropriate,” an AHCA spokesman writes Pharmalot. “The group’s findings will be presented to the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic (P&T) Committee at their next meeting for their review and recommendations.”
Let's hope they kick over some rocks to find out what's really going on, because if kids are being medicated for the sole sake of the pharmaceutical company's gain, or because the children are unknowingly being used as "test cases", or because Medicaid is being used as a cash cow for doctors or drug sellers, then that is tantamount to child abuse and an exploitation of poor families through government agencies. Now just imagine what happens when government controls the delivery of medicine through socialized programs (like Medicaid).

Every single state should adopt strict scrutiny over the medical treatment of the poor in these programs - and that includes CT's HUSKY program.

Monday, January 28, 2008

State Of The Union Address Tonight

"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government;... whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights." --Thomas Jefferson, 1789

This is from the The American Presidency Project:
State of the Union Messages to the Congress are mandated by Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution which states,"He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;"

Among the many precedents established by George Washington was clarification of the phrase "from time to time." Since 1790 State of the Union messages have been delivered regularly at approximately 1 year intervals.
The American Presidency Project website offers all of the State of the Union addresses given.. and it's interesting reading for sure.

Like him or not: Tune in tonight - 9:00 PM - by TV or radio and hear what President Bush has to say. It'll be his last one. The next president to give this speech will be up to you and me.

Is Medicaid Being Used As Front For The Drug Industry?

The Daytona Beach News-Journal printed this editorial entitled Drugs for children? on January 16, 2008, which suggested medical fraud might be afoot in Florida.
Prescriptions of anti-psychotics troubling

Parents at their wits' end, wearing long sleeves to hide bruises and bite marks inflicted by their own offspring. Psychiatrists struggling to cope with children as young as 2 who show intractable behavior problems. Drug companies ready to suggest powerful drugs that can produce marked changes in a child's behavior -- getting heavily involved in state-level determinations of which drugs should be prescribed for which conditions. And a state struggling to keep up with rapid changes that have pushed Medicaid costs for powerful anti-psychotic drugs from $9 million seven years ago to almost $30 million in 2006.

Something doesn't add up. Do all these children need the drugs they're being prescribed? Without a careful review of individual medical records, it's difficult to say -- but the trend is disturbing. Other states are already pushing hard for answers, and Florida should join in.

The drugs in question are known as atypical anti-psychotics and include Risperdal, Abilify, Geodon and Seroquel. Originally intended to treat major mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar mania, they have become increasingly widely prescribed for children with autism and attention-deficit disorder with tics.

Yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved few of these drugs for use with children -- especially in conjunction with many of the conditions for which the powerful drugs are prescribed. There's little research on the effects of the drugs, and a growing number of reports suggest that the medication could be responsible for deaths or serious side effects, including tardive dyskenisa (involuntary jerking of the limbs and grimacing).

State Medicaid programs across the country have found themselves paying for increasing quantities of these drugs. In Florida, the number of child Medicaid recipients taking atypical anti-psychotics has doubled since 1999, despite a lack of evidence suggesting that they're any more effective than other cheaper drugs.

Twenty-six states are exploring legal action against drug companies for unfair trade practices or consumer-protection violations (Florida is one of them; the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit served drug manufacturer Eli Lilly with a request in 2005 for information regarding its marketing of the drug Zyprexa.) Other states are being more aggressive; several have actually filed suit seeking to reclaim some of the millions spent on these drugs.

But Florida owes a more important duty to the thousands of children across the state who are taking powerful medications. Immediately discontinuing Medicaid reimbursement for the medications would be a mistake -- too many children are currently stabilized on drugs and might actually be benefiting. But the state should move to develop better standards for when the drugs should be prescribed. And this time around, the state should look first to public-health officials and the FDA.
If drug companies are making deals with Medicaid providers to push powerful mind altering drugs on the poor, that would be quite a disturbing revelation wouldn't it? If doctors are getting any kind of kickbacks from these drug companies for their prescriptions, that would be equally disturbing. The question is why has the dissemination of these powerful drugs practically exploded over the past 5 to 7 years? And do all these kids really need to be on such powerful mind altering medications? I am no doctor, but the statistics are quite alarming. Moreover, are these poor children on Medicaid being used as "test cases" and "guinea pigs' for the drug companies? We are talking about Medicaid practitioners doling out drugs to children that have not been approved for children by the FDA!

I just have to share this letter from Researcher Ken Kramer, written to the Governor of Florida:
Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida Jan 23, 2008
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001


Dear Governor Crist,

Sorry to have to contact you on this but we’ve got a serious problem in our State with drugging kids. I know you can make something happen immediately on this. On Feb. 13, 2006 the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration announced in a press release:

“In 2005, close to 18,000 children in Florida Medicaid were prescribed antipsychotic medications and more than 475,000 prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs were written in the past 5 years. Many of these antipsychotic medications have not been FDA-approved for use in children.”

Over 50% of the antipsychotics in Florida for Medicaid young children are being prescribed for ADHD yet antipsychotics are not FDA approved for ADHD nor are there supporting citations for this use in any of the drug compendiums specified by Florida Medicaid reimbursement rules.

Over a year ago I filed a complaint with Florida government officials regarding Medicaid funded psychiatric drugging of children. This was after I obtained Medicaid records showing that millions in tax dollars were being spent by the State on expensive atypical antipsychotic drugs prescribed to young children. So far, I have been notified of zero developments.

Even an attempt for many months to obtain a simple answer from AHCA to a question (see attached) on Medicaid reimbursement of these unapproved antipsychotic drugs has been fruitless. Fruitless even when AHCA Inspector General personnel were hot on the case pursuing an answer.

The last person I was referred to was Craig H. Smith, General Counsel, Agency for Health Care Administration who has had this question pending for the last 2 months and who continues to ask me to be patient, in spite of the fact that AHCA should be able to answer this question immediately without hesitation.

Can you please help me get this question answered? That would be a good start!

Ken Kramer
Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida

Looks like the state agencies are not being too forthcoming with information on these drug investigations. I wonder what it is they have to hide.

More here and also here in the St. Petersburg Times.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Hampshire And The Loss Of Chain Of Custody

It is pretty amazing how the ballots from the primaries in New Hampshire could so easily be tampered with. They decided NOT to put the ballots in the vault and the "Seal" does NOT seal the box. Smoke and mirrors in New Hampshire recount.

Read more at Blackbox Voting

Anyone who cares about the voting process ought to consider becoming a poll worker.

Ron Paul Wins Saturday Middletown Straw Poll - Even Over Hillary Clinton!

Middletown’s Holy Trinity Church was the venue for the 2nd night of straw polling held in Middletown, CT. In a crowd of about 75 present, people voted on ballots fore first, second and third choices of all the candidates. After all the votes were counted, Ron Paul came in first in all three ballots.

Results of the Jan. 26 Middletown Straw Poll:
First Ballot:
Romney - 2%
McCain - 2%
Obama - 20%
Clinton - 30%
Paul - 42%

Second Ballot:
Obama - 22%
Clinton - 32%
Paul - 42%

Third Ballot
Clinton - 42%
Paul - 46%

Detailed coverage of this event is over at Right of Middle.
Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz, even graced us with her presence.

Oh and by the way, here's more great news from the Ron Paul campaign:
Alabama Republican Assembly Endorses Ron Paul

After taking second place in Nevada - The Paul campaign took 2nd in Louisiana - although that was after some shenanigans after Dr. Paul took first place there. The caucus vote is being hotly disputed because of many irregularities.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Parody Music for Saturday

This is a musical parody of the Terry Kirkman song "Cherish," and it is all about the turmoil in the financial markets and the prospects of a recession.

I thought this one was quite creative and quite apropos.

Here is the original done by The Association.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The CT Republican Straw Poll

Here were the results (also posted at the Everyday Republican Here and Here):

Romney 136
McCain 104
Paul 96
Guiliani 34
Huckabee 9
Thompson 2
Hunter 1

Well, it was a fun night. There were a ton of Ron Paul supporters there, so I am a little surprised at the results... but be that as it may, Romney came up on top and Rudy and the Huckster did very poorly by comparison... As for McCain, well, moderate New England Republicans tend to like him. I have to say after seeing him in New Hampshire I was not impressed by him at all.

Despite Hunter and Thompson dropping out, they still had supporters.
Now that's loyalty.

When we submitted our straw poll ballots we got to stick our fingers on a blue ink stamp pad to show we voted.... just like the Iraqis did. (eye roll)

But seriously, the Middletown GOP did a great job hosting this event.

The Ron Paul Balloon Team was there too.. (pictures can be seen at Everyday Republican)

Thank you Chairman Healey for a terrific Republican event - can we have more like that??

So If They Ran Against Each Other What Would Be The Difference Anyway?

Can you feel the love?

And they call this choice?

McCain - What Was The Question Ron?

Looks like McCain was absolutely clueless on this one.

And for your own edification - Here's information about the Presidents Working Group on Financial Markets

I especially appreciated the quote from the New York Times:
... John McCain’s admission that economics isn’t his thing. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he says. “I’ve got Greenspan’s book.”

His self-deprecating humor is attractive, as always. But shouldn’t we worry about a candidate who’s so out of touch that he regards Mr. Bubble, the man who refused to regulate subprime lending and assured us that there was at most some “froth” in the housing market, as a source of sage advice?

Plus here is the bit on the Huffington Post (yeah, yeah.. I know who reads that stuff..)

Fighting Goliath

At the Legislative forum held in Southbury last night, many parents spoke about the unleveled playing field that they face when confronting their school on matters of parental rights and abuse of their children in school. Most of these parents are just fighting for the right to withdraw their children from public school without a hassle from a school system that has grossly neglected their children's needs.

When schools take parents to court, it is a very costly endeavor for the parents. Schools know this, but since they have the public purse at their disposal, they can continue with costly litigation while driving innocent families to bankruptcy. Families are being sued by schools in order to coerce and bully them into compliance with what the school wants in matters for which parents are supposed to have freedom of choice! You should be able to withdraw your child from a public school, especially if they are not serving the needs of your child, without the school threatening legal action!

The deep pockets of school systems, and the waste of taxpayer money on litigation against these parents acting as advocates for their children, is astounding. Taxpayers everywhere should take a look and see exactly how much money their school system spends on litigation. They should look to see why certain families are being persecuted above and beyond reason!

Every taxpaying citizen should propose, to their school board, that a cap on spending on litigation be made. Legal services that schools contract and pay for should not exceed what any average family could reasonably pay in legal fees. It just isn't right that a school pursues litigation because they have an unending well of money (your tax money) to draw from. In the meantime, lawsuits meant to coerce families and demonstrate the power of the school administration, do much to totally destroy families economically and leave them devastated. That is just plain cruel. Not only are these parents fighting to do what is right for their children's welfare, but their family's bank accounts are being raided to boot!

If school systems had to deal with a finite number of dollars in each specific case, perhaps we'd see more settlements and workable deals between schools and parents in these issues. Perhaps we wouldn't see the number of wasteful lawsuits to begin with. But most of these school systems incur costly litigation, because they CAN.

I urge every taxpayer to investigate what their local school district spends in litigation every year - and what those legal cases were for. Ask yourself if your money is being well spent, or just being used to fund some of the extreme bullying of parents that we in Connecticut have witnessed this past year.

Please know that with regard to bullying in school.. it doesn't only occur child to child.. it is school administrators against parents as well , and happens more often than you think.

Put a cap on school litigation spending - stop the bullying!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Surveillance Nation

Rick Green featured an excellent commentary in the Courant entitled, "Yes, They're Watching Every Move". Here are some excerpts:
Call me neurotic, but have you seen those devices that look like spy cameras, installed above all the traffic lights at intersections in West Hartford Center?

Perhaps you've been down Park Street in Hartford recently and looked up at the surveillance cameras at every intersection, funded with a $400,000 grant from state taxpayers...

The latest issue of Popular Mechanics confirmed my fears.

"There are an estimated 30 million surveillance cameras now deployed in the United States shooting 4 billion hours of footage a week," James Vlahos writes in a feature story. "Americans are being watched, all of us, almost everywhere."

"We're being captured on camera nearly 200 times a day, and those images are being digitized and archived forever," director Adam Rifkin told Newsweek. "Nobody's stopping to ask questions about its propriety."

A 2006 report by the New York Civil Liberties Union noted the installation of thousands of police cameras in New York since 9/11, creating "a massive video surveillance infrastructure ... with virtually no oversight."
Taxpayer funded surveillance! It's incredible.

Right now the cameras are up and "not being used" in some of our streets to get us all accustomed to this. They will be used; and not just for "monitoring traffic". You probably don't even give it a second thought anymore. Not on the street, and not in the Walmart parking lot, and certainly not in the mall. I could understand cameras being around if you are in a bank or a high security area... but in the center of my town?? And where are the notices posted to tell you that you are being photographed? My hope is that people will not ignore this invasion of our civil liberties, and that they won't get easily desensitized to constantly being watched. Cameras in schools are already getting our kids used to the idea of constant surveillance.

The scanning, tracking and surveillance of people is not a very inviting prospect - especially for a free society. On top of this, the cameras have not done anything to really deter crime, and only occasionally help to find criminals (although most criminals are masked and end up unidentifiable). Yet cameras are being justified based on people's fears of crime and terrorism. Cameras will not prevent subway bombings and other acts of terrorism, nor do they deter muggings.

The one big issue of TV surveillance is about what happens to the data that is being collected. Who can see it, who can use it, where is it stored and for how long? What happens if it is misused or stolen? With this invasion of privacy comes some deep identity theft and security issues. Films and photos can also be altered.

The Report on the Surveillance Society
predicts that by 2016 shoppers could be scanned as they enter stores, schools could bring in cards allowing parents to monitor what their children eat, and jobs may be refused to applicants who are seen as a health risk. There are up to 4.2m CCTV cameras in Britain - about one for every 14 people! Britain has become the most watched country in the world, yet it hasn't deterred crime.

But I particularly liked this quote from the report:
Social relationships depend on trust and permitting ourselves to undermine it in this
way [with surveillance]seems like slow social suicide.
... and this next statement is an interesting observation, as well, with regard to how the need for surveillance is linked to a society that is increasingly socialist in nature. With socialism, there is a great need to manage the population:
Cradle-to-grave health-and-welfare, once the proud promise of socialdemocratic governments, has been whittled down to risk management and – here’s where the surveillance society comes in – such risk management demands full knowledge of the situation. So personal data are sought in order to know where to direct resources.16 And because surveillance networks permit so much joining-up, insurance companies can work with police, or supermarkets can combine forces with other data-gatherers so much more easily. The results, as we shall see, are that all-too-often police hot-spots are predominantly in nonwhite areas, and supermarkets are located in upscale neighbourhoods easily reached by those with cars.
The whole area of population surveillance is quite a hot topic. Here are a few interesting posts.

This happens to be a really good article - The Economist: Civil liberties: surveillance and privacy Learning to live with Big Brother

Surveillance Cameras: A Bad Idea, Coming Soon to a Street Corner Near You?

An article from WIRED

By the way - did you know that RealID exists in Communist China??
In China, even as economic freedom burgeons, millions of city-dwellers are being issued with obligatory high-tech “residency” cards. These hold details of their ethnicity, religion, educational background, police record and even reproductive history—a refinement of the identity papers used by communist regimes.
It's bad enough you'll be monitored all day, but what will you have in YOUR wallet? Better yet, who will ask to see it?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So Whatever Happened With New Hampshire Recounts?

The "Live Free or Die" State may have to change it's motto to "Live Free or Diebold".

Voting disparities have been found and even if the miscounts don't change anything significantly - the chain of custody is more to be something to be concerned about. What good are paper ballots that are supposed to be the "audit trail" if they are in a position to be tampered with? One report says this:
New Hampshire is unable to document its chain of custody properly, lacks written procedures, its secretary of state has said he doesn't know where its memory cards are, and LHS has been encroaching on state elections with near-total control.
There's much more to be read here as it is documented by Bev Harris.
If you are really interested you can see the official recounts as posted by the New Hampshire Secretary of the State.

On another note... it looks like Maryland is scrapping it's multimillion dollar touchscreen system.
Less than eight years later - after taxpayers in Maryland and other states spent hundreds of millions on easy-to-use, all-electronic, touch-screen voting machines - the debate has come full circle.

Fear of hackers and lost votes that can never be recovered is forcing out the new technology and giving new life to old-fashioned scanning machines that read tried-and-true paper ballots.

By 2010, four years before its $65 million touch-screen machines will be paid off, Maryland expects to be back on the paper trail, following states such as Florida and California, which have also decided that all-electronic systems make it too easy to compromise elections.

This week, Gov. Martin O'Malley proposed an initial outlay of $6.8 million toward the purchase of optical-scan machines, which will eventually cost $20 million. Lawmakers approved a return to the machines last year, but only if the governor could come up with the money.

Oh well... it's only taxpayer money ... right?

(H/T Chad T.)

Manure As A Campaign Issue

After watching some of the the CNN Democrat debate with Hillary and Obama going after each other like a couple of 5 year olds over what one or the other voted on or didn't vote on in Congress, I think I have seen enough non productive bickering for a while. (Note: Whenever my kids acted like that there were consequences)

I am also utterly disgusted by all the talk of gender,race and religion (like Mitt Romney's Mormonism and Huckabee's Evangelical leanings), as being issues in this presidential election. You'd think this country and it's presidential candidates would be mature enough to discuss real issues instead of the nonsense talk that those non-issues have created. Perhaps it is by design that the media harps on those aspects of this election rather than what the candidates should really be focusing about. After all, should we really care about Hillary's pantsuits, or what instrument the Huckster plays, or what Obama's wife said about his morning breath, or some other darn nonsense coming from Bill Clinton's mouth? (Though I gotta admit Bill's sleeping during MLK's son's speech was embarrassing, disrespectful and yet so amusing)

We will therefore be taking a humor break - although this video comes with a language alert from me: For those of you who may not like to hear the more common word for cow manure -- you can skip this next video from The Onion - although it is pretty funny and only illustrates how the public is sidetracked by non-issues in this presidential race.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buh-Bye Fred And Thanks For Playing Along

Fred Thompson calls it quits.
"Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people."
I liked Fred. The "Reagan-esque" politician gave it a good try - and it's good that he gave people a choice in the Republican field. Perhaps he may be looking for a Vice Presidential slot, but I sure hope that his supporters, who are looking for a true Conservative, will migrate into the Ron Paul camp.

By the way, glad to see Fox News did a "real" fair and balanced piece today - "Paul Blames Federal Reserve for Weak Economy". Perhaps they are getting the message.

Black Tuesday

Monday, while we were taking a holiday, world markets took a nose dive and today we are getting pummeled, all as a result the prospect of a US recession and further fall-out from the credit market turmoil. Bank of America Corp. fourth-quarter earnings fell by 95 percent and Wachovia Corp. reported its earnings tumbled 98 percent, with both banks citing the lending crisis. Apparently foreign investors are quite pessimistic over the U.S. government's stimulus plan to prevent a recession. As a result, investors abroad are moving money out of stocks and seeking safety in bonds and other investments.

President Bush is pushing a plan, one which requires Congressional approval, which calls for about $145 billion in tax relief to encourage consumer spending. (So, what are you going to do with your rebate?) Foreign investors are expressing the sentiment that this stimulus package is a disappointment because it is too little, too late, and they feel that it won't help the U.S. economy recover from the course it is following. Additionally, traders seem not to be impressed with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's moves to cut the interest rates to help the sagging economy. Today's emergency cut is just a band-aid to a much bigger problem. (Hint: Making money more easy to borrow won't get us out of this mess)

Lots of people are suggesting that gold and silver, and even other currencies are good places to park your cash these days. There's no doubt we are headed for a recession, and in some places it's already hit. Then there are others who say now is the time to buy stocks when prices drop to incredible bargain prices.

That's what we get folks when we borrow more than we can afford both personally and federally. The government's monetary policy has been incredibly reckless, and the answer is not to print more money or to borrow from Asia and Europe. The answer is to stop spending so much, and to cut back the size of government. How these presidential candidates can even be thinking about proposing Universal health care and increased spending on social programs, or increasing foreign aid and the continued policing of the world is just outrageous.

Each of us better be thinking seriously about how to personally weather this storm. Get your bills under control, spend less, and figure out how to bring in a bit of extra income. Take a close look at your investments and make some adjustments. It looks like we're in for a rocky financial 2008, even as the presidential candidates squabble over who sounds more or less like Ronald Reagan, or who voted for what legislation.

As for Black Tuesday...Well, I guess we should see a huge increase in the sale of Tums and Advil. Perhaps those are the companies to buy stock in today.

When Warnings On Monetary Policy Go Unheeded

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friday I Saw My First 2008 Political Ad On TV - It Was For Obama

Connecticut is one of 22 states holding Democratic primaries on Feb. 5. Connecticut is not a swing state - nor is it important enough for candidates to even come for a visit...but that doesn't mean we won't see our share of nauseating TV propaganda. Friday I saw the first of probably many campaign ads which will run until Feb. 5th, and it was for Obama. I wasn't impressed. (By the way, the picture above was not from that ad).

The Courant even made a point of talking about this healthcare ad that is targeted to Hartford and New Haven markets. Interestingly enough former state Democrat party chairman George Jepsen had this to say: "Obama's Connecticut ad released today is unfortunately misleading by suggesting that his plan would provide universal health coverage. A number of independent experts have determined that his health care plan would leave at least 15 million Americans without health insurance." Well, I'd have to say universal health coverage would lead this country into a worse fiscal crisis and give us the substandard care, with long wait times, that Britain and Canada currently enjoy.

As for Obama's platform of "Change We Can Believe In" ...
In my opinion, that's not likely. The only change I want to see is away from statism and large nanny state government. The only change I want to see is lower taxes and lower government spending. The only change I want to see is enforcement of our immigration laws and the strengthening of protection of our borders. The only change I want to see is the strengthening of our dollar and our economy. We need to put a stop to government partnerships with the pharmaceutical industrial complex that allows mandating of screenings and treatments and disease mongering, and we need to put a stop to the march towards the loss of this country's sovereignty via the North American Union as well as other treaties and conventions coming out of the United Nations.

So far, the only one I hear talking about those types of issues and advocating for real change is Congressman from Texas, Dr. Ron Paul.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

This morning I wondered: Who would Martin Luther King Jr. support in this 2008 presidential election? He certainly would be happy to see a person of color running for president as well as seeing a black female Secretary of State, and a black supreme court justice in this great nation of ours. It is a testament to his dedication to equality and freedom that people of all genders, colors, religions and ethnicities participate in our government and in our society today.

But would Dr. King vote for someone who advocates for programs which make people dependent on government, or would he support someone who supports policies that encourage independence and self responsibility? Would he vote for someone who wants to further restrict civil liberties with national ID cards, Patriot Acts, and Unconstitutional search and seizures, and destruction of the notion of Habeus Corpus, or would he support someone who respects our precious Constitutional liberties that are supposed to be upheld? Dr. King was an American patriot who lived and died promoting Peace, Freedom and Civil Liberties. Dr. King practiced Libertarian principles of civil disobedience with non-violence. He worked to make sure that all people are treated fairly.

In his "I Have A Dream" speech, Dr. King said this:
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There’s considerable consonance between Dr. Ron Paul’s views and Dr. King’s, in their stands against militarism and for civil liberties. Read more here.
"Liberty is the true antidote to racism, and freedom–limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights—can uplift us all.” - Ron Paul

Please take the time today to reflect on the words of Dr. King - rejoice in the advances he helped foster - and remember that it was the rights and freedoms that our Constitution guarantees that allowed his dream to, in many respects, become reality. That is why it is crucial for us to hold on to the ideals and intentions of our Founding documents. We must not allow ourselves to be marched into tyranny out of fear of our enemies. Dr. King knew that full well.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

CT Homeschooler Legislative Forum - Jan 24th - Southbury

Photo of Forum in Killingly

Homeschooler Legislative Forum!
Come Meet Your Elected Officials!

Thursday, January 24 at 7pm

Southbury Town Hall

501 Main Street South
Southbury, CT 06488


State Representative Arthur O'Neill has arranged with area homeschoolers and NHELD, this forth meeting in a series of similar events throughout Connecticut, in an effort to educate legislators about the homeschool community. He hopes that understanding the homeschool community will encourage legislators to support homeschooling and parental rights in the State legislature in the upcoming session which will begin on February 6. In this next legislative session, Rep. O’Neill will be proposing legislation guaranteeing ALL Connecticut parents' right to withdraw their children from the public schools.

Representative O'Neill, Attorney Deborah Stevenson, and Judy Aron will moderate the meeting. Area homeschoolers will be able to participate in discussing what homeschooling is, different ways of home educating, experiences in withdrawing from the public schools, and homeschooling success stories. Families are encouraged to bring samples of school projects, display boards they have created, or scrapbooks or other pictures or items that they are proud of, to display to attendees and legislators. Even if you don't care to speak, please come to show your support for the homeschooling community and to greet the legislators! Children and homeschool graduates are welcome to speak.

Non-homeschooling friends and family, are also invited to attend. Adults and well behaved children are welcome.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ron Paul - 2nd Place In Nevada!!!

Despite being ignored by cable TV news, Ron Paul comes in 2nd in Nevada...
The media refuses to give him air time (yet they talk about candidates who have raised less money and have done worse in the polls)- they cut out his comments from rebroadcasts of debates, reports were that they cut his ear piece during the debates so he cannot hear the questions, all because they are trying desperately to suppress his message to the American people. The media is manipulating this election (as usual) but Dr. Paul's message of liberty and freedom is getting out.

LA Times Report

Caucus results

Now is the time to show your support - Martin Luther King Money Bomb

Parody Music For Saturday - Writer's Strike

In honor of the ongoing writer's's a clever ditty from Bob River, The Original Song is of course by: The Beatles "Paperback Writer"

Friday, January 18, 2008

How Much Will Real ID Really Cost Your State? Your Liberty?

Real ID is back in the news as it is reported that Real ID will require states to ask license applicants for proof of citizenship and residency, instead of the typical date of birth and Social Security number. States will also have to work together to make certain the applicants don't obtain multiple licenses, and they'll need to add security features into the license design to help stop counterfeiting. Most individuals will be required to present Real ID-verified identification for boarding commercial airline flights, using federal facilities and entering nuclear power plants before the end of 2014.

This standardized "Papers Please" mentality is not going to stop illegals and it isn't going to stop terrorism. It is a false security measure that will in the end lead to the further erosion of civil liberties at a huge cost to the taxpayer.
"It is unfortunate that instead of addressing the fundamental problems this law poses for the states, the [Bush] administration appears content merely to prolong a contentious and unproductive battle to force the states to comply," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement this morning."Rather than improved security, this course will result in resentment, litigation and enormous costs that states will be forced to absorb."
Congressman Ron Paul, R-TX, (and every American should read the whole speech) said this:
I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act. This bill purports to make us safer from terrorists who may sneak into the United States, and from other illegal immigrants. While I agree that these issues are of vital importance, this bill will do very little to make us more secure. It will not address our real vulnerabilities. It will, however, make us much less free. In reality, this bill is a Trojan horse. It pretends to offer desperately needed border control in order to stampede Americans into sacrificing what is uniquely American: our constitutionally protected liberty….

Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary. However, any state that opts out will automatically make non-persons out of its citizens. The citizens of that state will be unable to have any dealings with the federal government because their ID will not be accepted. They will not be able to fly or to take a train. In essence, in the eyes of the federal government they will cease to exist. It is absurd to call this voluntary….
So how did your congressman and senators vote on this program? and what's it going to cost YOUR state to implement? (Hint: "Real ID will cost the states $11 billion over five years," said a speaker in the Senate Judicial Committee.)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislative bodies in 21 states have passed legislation opposing Real ID, and six states prohibit compliance with the plan by statute.

Fifteen states' lawmaking entities passed resolutions urging Congress to amend or repeal Real ID or otherwise indicated the state's intention of noncompliance with the program.
Chertoff claims that the people want this - somehow I don't think so, and I will be willing to bet that our government won't be doing anything anytime soon to really address the issues of what will make us safer.. like border security and adhering to the laws which we already have in place.
The Real ID Act started off as H.R. 418, which passed the House[1] and went stagnant. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R) of Wisconsin, the author of the original Real ID Act, then attached it as a rider on a military spending bill (H.R. 1268). The House of Representatives passed that spending bill with the Real ID rider 368-58,[2] and the Senate passed the joint House-Senate conference report on that bill 100-0.[3] There was no debate whatsoever on this piece of legislation. President Bush signed it into law on May 11, 2005.[4]

Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington have joined Maine in passing legislation opposing Real ID.[17][18][19][20][21]

Similar bills are pending in Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.[22]

Other states have moved aggressively to upgrade their IDs since 9/11, and still others have staked decidedly pro-Real ID positions, such as California,[23] North Carolina,[24] . In announcing the new regulations, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff cited California, Alabama and North Dakota[25] as examples of states that had made progress in complying with Real ID.

New York's new policy of issuing driver's licenses to undocumented residents upon presentation of a valid foreign passport goes against the requirements for documentation of legal status and a valid Social Security Number. (wikipedia)
Papers can be forged and obtained illegally - we will be no safer.

Thank goodness our State legislatures are fighting this idiocy. If Congress had it's way there would be a Real ID in every pocket and a chip in every arm. That's where we are headed.

So how is this any different then the Nazi style arm tattoos? None. Only the technology is different. The concept is the same.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Borrowing From Peter To Pay Paul - CT Style

What a joke. It just doesn't get much better than this. I am beginning to think that CT needs some serious debt counseling. Governor Rell issued this press release:
Governor Rell Authorizes $2 Billion in Bonds to Reduce Unfunded Liability in Teachers’ Retirement System - Landmark Sale Bolsters Pension Fund, Requires State to Continue Meeting Contribution Requirements Over Life of Bonds

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that the sale of $2 billion in Pension Obligation Bonds to help close a $6.9 billion, long-term liability in the teachers’ pension fund is expected to gain approval when the state Bond Commission meets January 25.

In July, Governor Rell strongly supported and signed into law Public Act 07-186, An Act Concerning Adequate Funding of the Teachers’ Retirement System, which authorized the issuance of bonds to reduce the liability. The legislation also requires the state to fund the Teachers’ Retirement Fund at 100 percent of the actuarially recommended contribution each year over the life of the bonds.
Currently, the unfunded liability of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund stands at $6.9 billion, largely because the state has failed to make the full annual deposit into the system – except in each year of Governor Rell’s administration, when it full amount was paid.

The fund currently contains $10.2 billion, which represents 59.5 percent of its future obligations. Under Public Act 07-186, the state will borrow $2 billion at favorable interest rates to invest in the pension fund to make up for past failures to fully fund the recommended annual contributions. The investment of $2 billion at the fund’s actuarial investment rate of 8.5 percent is expected to significantly reduce the long-term unfunded liability.

The budget signed in 2006 by Governor Rell authorized $245.6 million to fully finance the Teachers’ Retirement Fund for FY 2006 and FY 2007. The new state budget also makes full payments in FY 2008 and FY 2009.

“The fund has had a chronic shortfall for the two decades before my tenure. I am pleased we are taking appropriate action to begin to address the unfunded liability,” Governor Rell said.
This was in a Yankee Institute report from Feb. 5, 2005:
The governor's bonding proposals are excessive. Adding more than $2 billion to the state's bonded indebtedness at a time when Connecticut already suffers from the highest per capita debt in the nation is not fiscally sound. The governor should declare a moratorium on all state bonding projects not directly needed for public health and safety.
Things haven't changed much.
Furthermore, D. Dowd Muska stated this in the (Waterbury) Republican-American on January 31, 2007:
There's one final component of Connecticut's long-term fiscal nightmare worth examining. The state's bonded indebtedness is now at $14.2 billion. Even adjusted for the state's higher-than-average income, Connecticut has the fourth-highest debt obligation among the states. And how are Nutmeg State politicians planning to pay the GASB 45 bill? You guessed it -- by floating even more government bonds.
OK, so let me get this straight... This year we are borrowing money (also known as bonding) to the tune of $2 Billion dollars in order to reduce the teacher pension fund's liability? (Most likely because of the new GASB 45 rulings which will take into account our unfunded liabilities when State bond rating time comes around.) Bonding the $2 billion dollars will reduce our teacher pension liability to $4.9 billion, but it's still debt and liability. I guess we just moved one IOU into a different accounting column. Better to owe investors and pay them interest, than to owe those folks dedicated to educating our youth (as if they are all going to retire at once). The bond commission gets to vote on this proposal on Friday. Sometime after that, your children and mine will get the bill; that is if they don't high-tail it out of this state to one that has sane fiscal policies.

So I wonder, maybe I should take out a home equity loan, or a VISA cash advance, and put the money into my IRA?

As my buddy Mike S. said ... "At least they are not trying to make a "killing" playing the slots at Foxwoods".

For what it's worth - Last Year's Comptroller's Annual Report

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The First 1000 Days Of CT's Children Belongs To The State

On the heels of CT Governor, Jodi Rell's announcement a few days ago of accelerated certification for Pre-K teachers (as if people need certification to teach 3 and 4 year olds), the Governor and the National Governor’s Association held a summit, on January 15th, to introduce the State’s first birth to three system framework called,"First Words, First Steps".

You didn't really think that Birth to 3 would be excluded from government intrusion, did you? It's the piece of cradle to grave statism they have been pursuing for a while now.The Governor established this early Childhood Research and Policy Council through Executive Order 13, in February 2006.

Under the guise of shaping Connnecticut's investment to improve school readiness for all children, government will now be more involved in family life. Home visits, screening, tracking and intervention is the road we are traveling. at the taxpayer expense, no less. This includes prenatal care as well. If you are pregnant, or have children, there will be no escaping the government from being in your family's business. Their goal will be to create more government dependence, and according to a speech delivered by Elaine Zimmerman, Executive Director, Commission On Children; heck, they'll even pay your utility bills and feed your kids!

Their 2006 preliminary report "Ready by 5, Fine by Nine" (and here is the final version) says this:
About 42,000 children are born in Connecticut each year. It is the goal of the Connecticut Early Childhood Education Cabinet that all of them make timely developmental progress each year from birth to 5, that they stand at the kindergarten door fully ready for the grand adventure of schooling, and that they achieve demonstrable early academic success in vital basic skills during their elementary school years. They cannot do this alone. Families, communities, schools, the state and the early childhood work force all have important roles to play in children’s development and early learning.
So the major assumption is that parents are incapable of having, nurturing, and raising children on their own. The state must intervene in a variety of ways of course in the guise of "help", and of course their help is "for the children". This is despite the fact that in this report they admit that only a small number of families are in need:
"Cabinet members learned that many young children in Connecticut are healthy and are developing largely on target with what is expected for their age. However, as many as three in 10 young Connecticut children face important challenges to their development, challenges that could affect their readiness for kindergarten and their ongoing academic achievement. While a small number of these children may live in virtually all Connecticut communities, a much smaller number of towns are home to most of the state’s at-risk young children."
So even though only a small number of children are facing challenges, we will be undertaking a huge multi-agency program to micro-manage all CT families, not just those who are seeking assistance. This includes plans for universal preschool, mental health assessments of all children in schools and daycares, home visits, and all sorts of other intrusive programs that will ultimately dictate to parents how to care for their own children.

We already have seen with many families that if help or advice from the State is refused, that families are reported to DCF, and all sorts of miserable things can happen. If the "experts" in state agencies make "recommendations" as to the course of treatment, or the way in which children should be raised, and educated, and parents reject those recommendations, then you can bet that coercive measures will be taken by these agencies to get parents to comply, whether those recommendations are justified, workable, or desirable by the families, or not. We are beginning to lose the ability as parents to decide what is best for our own children! (if we haven't lost them already)

The First 1000 Days report is here and it is downright Orwellian. It is a multi-agency assault on the family in CT led by our Governor.

One of the points in this report is this:
"There is not yet a cohesive system for young children that supports good child outcomes and meets customer need. Family support, physical and mental health, early care and education and literacy should be aligned and integrated with data driven planning."
CT taxpayers can look for money to be spent on computer systems that are designed to gather information on and track every single child and family. And that's just a small piece of this comprehensive plan. CT is fast becoming a nanny state, and an expensive one at that.

Taxpayer dollars should not be spent to intrude upon the family and ultimately coerce families into raising their children the way the State deems best. This absolutely is NOT the role of government, and CT parents ought to see what this aggressive agenda is really all about; inserting government in the role of parent.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Carnival Of Homeschooling - Martin Luther King Edition

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929–April 4, 1968), was one of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement. A Baptist minister by training, King became a civil rights activist early in his career, leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helping to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, raising public consciousness of the civil rights movement and establishing King as one of the greatest orators in American history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. (from wikipedia)

Recall too, that Dr. King said this:
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

In honor of Dr. King - this Homeschool carnival will celebrate Freedom because through Freedom we can explore, learn, and share ideas.

Freedom of Speech and Expression.

HappyCampers said, "the best way to share lots of pictures from an event is to make a Muvee of it! Here's our latest from the trip to the zoo Monday. No school buses, no crowds, warm weather, it was AWESOME!" as they present Trip To The Zooooooooo! posted at Reese's View Of The World.

Kevin Fleming literally dishes his opinions with a Dish Network Family Package Review at Satellite TV Guru.

Bookworms and tea lovers
gives us a look at how her literature program works, what she will do in the coming months and what skills she hopes to gain from it. Here's her post: English literature program for the coming months

Christine shares her summary of how to proceed with homeschooling, most helpful for newbie's but it serves as a good reminder for experienced homeschooling parents, too. Read her Summary of How to Proceed With Homeschooling Your Children over at The Thinking Mother.

Kevin shows us some Socialization Ideas for the Homeschooled Child presented at M4K Homeschooling & Education.

Kathy reviews N.D. Wilson's latest book for middle readers, "100 Cupboards" with 100 Cupboards: Homeschool Review posted at Reviews.

Freedom of the Press

Tim Martin, who is a pastor, creates monthly newsletter articles for a Christian home schooling group in his area. He shares with us A Striking Contrast posted at That We May Know Him.

The Daily Planet has talked many, many, many times on their favorite book series of all time: The Lamb Among Stars Series by Chris Walley. Here is a summary review of this series and its author entitled The Lamb Among Stars Series

Barbara Frank reports about how Homeschooling is associated with two recent news stories, but only one gets the spotlight- Homeschooling Makes Headlines...Sometimes

Susan from Corn and Oil tells us that the pushout problem in the schools is becoming a “home school” issue. Mooresville, Indiana is the latest media highlight of the problem and we can read more here: Pushouts again, as noted in our neighboring state of Indiana

Rational Jenn gives us her thoughts about one of many posts about The New York Times's article regarding the so-called "lack of supervision of homeschoolers" and it being a prime factor in the deaths of four girls in DC in her thoughtful post Homeschoolers Do Not Need Watchdogs

The Freedom To Ask Questions And Examine Some Answers

April presents Homeschooling and Child Abuse: Should We Increase Requirements? posted at Definitely a good read!

Freedom to Pursue an Education

On Living By Learning demonstrates that one of the advantages of homeschooling is unlimited time for reading with Reading Time, Homeschool Magic.

Alasandra shares her response to a public school parents rant about homeschooling with the blogpost The Truth About Homeschoolers

"You homeschool?" The questions and comments my daughter hears from schoolchildren inspired this comic strip, and Cristina shares it with us with a Home Spun comic strip #184 posted at Home Spun Juggling.

A Dusty Frame presents her informational post entitled Copywork, Charlotte Mason, & Literature Based Education

No fighting, no biting! claims that how hard actual homeschooling is starts with how we choose our resources. Beginning homeschoolers can be paralyzed trying to find the "best" for every subject, but they just need to start somewhere. Read more at the blogpost entitled Homeschooling doesn't have to be hard

Alvaro Fernandez enlightens us with an overview of how adolescent brains work...and how we can improve learning and teaching: Learning & The Brain: Interview with Robert Sylwester posted at SharpBrains.

Mama Squirrel writes this blogpost entitled "Scrambles," and redeeming a planner up in Dewey's Treehouse.

Timothy Power states, "Teaching Strategy is harder than one would think". He explains why in this post: Teaching Strategy to Five-Year-Olds presented at Sometimes I'm Actually Coherent.

Elena LaVictoire How she is keeping track of her high schooled students hours to turn into credit hours. (and if anyone has a better or easier way of doing this, she is eager to see it!) Check her post called High School Hours Record Keeping over at My Domestic Church.

The Not Quite Crunchy Parent talks about using classic old movies with The Story of The World to teach ancient history in this post entitled History on DVD- Looking back for Old favorites

Henry over at Why Homeschool talks about how one of the strengths of homeschooling is that we can focus on the positive areas that our children are doing well in and he writes Another problem with public schools.

Freedom to be Flexible and to Make Choices

Missy over at The Life Without School Blog reminds us about choices and when we discuss choices, "Can we be civil?" - Share a cyber cookie here with this post entitled:Coffee or Tea?

Barbara at Fuel at offers "Gumby Homeschool" and she shares how she discovers the need to be flexible and ready to set aside her control-freak momma persona for a time.

Rose says "I love having a big family, but sometimes things get a little crazy around here." and she shares with us how Sundays Can Be Rough over at Learning at Home.

With dozens of organizational tools out there and hundreds of forms available to download, here's what works for the family at SmallWorld; read their post called Organization, My Way

Jacque of Seeking Rest in the Ancient Paths asks Are You Home-Schooling? Does it matter where you homeschool or is it really about location?

The Freedom To Have Fun With Your Children And Sometimes Make Mistakes

Stephanie invites us to partake The Birthday Tea Party - Food and that can be sampled at Stop the Ride!.

Summer gives us A Glimpse Into Our House where Mom Is Teaching.

HappyCampers presents a delightful way to learn mathematics; Here's a fun group Math activity using the shoes on your feet! Happy Campers said, "We did this with our 4 & 5 year olds, but you could modify this activity for older children as well!" - Join in on the fun at the Wednesday CoOp posted at Reese's View Of The World.

Sprittibee shares a funny fast food story that is sure to inspire you: Her motto? "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to homeschool"... if she can do it, anyone can. Read all about it at Hello My Name is Heather and I Steal Frenchfries

Snowman Craft and Gravity is a fun project posted at Melissa’s Idea Garden. If you want to build a snowman, but aren’t seeing snow in your neck of the woods, this craft can provide a fun alternative (and a lesson in gravity).

Sol Lederman shows us great easy to learn games that kids and adults will really enjoy. All require only paper and pencil, so here's 8 really fun paper and pencil Math games posted at Wild About Math!.

The Freedom To Raise Your Children And Celebrate Their Triumphs In Learning

Elisheva Levin says, "Raising and educating a child with neurological disabilities is often an experience of one-step-forward-two-steps-back. But once in a while a leap forward lets us experience the mountain top for a brief time. Last week, N. made one of those leaps in social reasoning." She shares with us her experience with her post The Shoe Yekke: A Story of Progress in Social Reasoning posted at Ragamuffin Studies.

Renae shows us how peace was achieved in her home through an exercise of organization interspersed with a reminder of family goals with this piece entitled Homeschool Binder Delivers Peace posted at Life Nurturing Education.

Ed Bruner shares one reason why they homeschool: Reason #3 Character Building (why we are home schooling)

Tea Party Girl politely submitted this one: Teach Your Children Well–The Top Five Mealtime Etiquette Lessons for Children

The Freedom To Explore

Love, Learn, Serve shares with us the highlight of their trip to Mexico so far... a day on a boat surrounded by sea life! Explore for yourself at Whale watching in San Ignacio

Sebastian of Percival Blakeney Academy finds a new bird and a couple learning opportunities and it is all featured in Birds In My Backyard

if you want to explore some bugs you can find some Creepy Crawlies Printables at the About Homeschooling Blog

The Freedom To Get The Best Bargains In Life

NerdMom presents Free Phonics Books (downloads) and that can be found at Making Money, Keeping Money.

Christine stumbled upon a site the hosts free documentaries. She says it's a homeschooler's DREAM! and she's sharing it with us at Try not to love me too much posted at Welcome to my brain.

The Freedom To be Thankful

Activities Coordinator reminds us of how fortunate we are to live in America with this post Sending a Great Big Danke Schon to My German Ancestors and you can read more at Life On The Planet.

Jennifer in OR contemplates doubt and worry with I Really Like Homeschooling, I Just Want Someone Else to Do It For Me posted at Diary of 1. She comes to a realization in the end.

Martin Luther King knew the value of a good education , and it is apparent that so do the contributors to our Homeschool Carnival this week. Thanks for all the submissions and I hope you enjoy your freedoms this week and always!

I said to my children, 'I'm going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don't ever want you to forget that there are millions of God's children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don't want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be. -- Martin Luther King, Jr. , 7th January, 1968