Congress, Increasing Business Costs by 18 Times…

Remember when we were told the CPSC wasn’t interested in the ‘little guy’ and this was not supposed to be about thrift shops and yard sales and quit worrying your pretty but teeny little heads, nobody is after you? The government already investigated thrift shops:

The commission studied thrift stores nationwide in 1999 and found that 69 percent were selling products that had been recalled, banned or failed to meet safety standards, according to the handbook.

Still, right now, you’re probably fine if all you do is hold a yard sale. But the government isn’t going to bother about thrift shops? It’s a myth:

The safety commission will not patrol garage sales, commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said. But store proprietors who knowingly or repeatedly violate the law may be fined.

My guess is it is only a matter of time until garage sales are simply banned at the local level. That time may be a decade or two, because you’ll need to be boiled slowly enough that you won’t notice the temperature increasing and your liberties evaporating in the steam. So you’ll be as complacent then as we have been in the past about lost freedoms.

See Over-lawyered for two more cases of CPSIA killing perfectly safe businesses– in one case, the cost of the required testing is eighteen times more than the gross income of the business last year. I don’t know how PIRG representatives dare face themselves in the morning after testifying before Congress that the cost of testing was an affordable fifty dollars or so.

And yet:

Last month the office of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), a co-sponsor of the measure, “said the bill is doing exactly what it is meant to do“.

Remember Waxman? “Are you asking me what’s in my bill? I dunno. I don’t have the details. I leave it up to the scientists.” That attitude is how we get trainworks like the CPSIA. Our representatives are too busy to do the work of governing, tedious stuff like READING and WRITING their own bills before they vote on them. It’s beneath them. They leave that up to the ‘experts,’ whom we didn’t elect and don’t know anything about and can’t fire.

For more about the CPSIA see here.

To stop train wrecks like this one, work to get the Read the Bills act passed.

RTBA requires that . . .

* Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.

* Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.

* Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.

* Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.

* Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.

* Congress cannot waive these requirements.

It would also be nice if we didn’t have representatives who made a mockery of their office by hiring speed readers to read the bill so that nobody actually has to understand what’s in it. Oh, shock. That was Waxman again.

He’s a poster child for why we need term limits.

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Homeschooling Carnival

Welcome! Don’t forget to enter for a free copy of our new e-book- see here for details.

Thanks for joining us for this carnival of homeschooling!

Nature Study: ChristineMM presents My Kids Love Experiential Learning posted at The Thinking Mother.
I loved this post. It goes along with some things I’ve been thinking about lately as I read Romancing Your Child’s Heart, and in the first few chapters he talks about how his time spent exploring the great outdoors and taking risks as enchanting and valuable experiences for a child growing up. It also goes along with some of the ideas in another book I’m working on- Last Child in the Woods (although our summer houseguest tells me she had to read this for a university course and found it tiresomely longwinded, as though the author had tried to turn an essay into a book and could only manage it by tedious repetition)

Arts and Crafts

Mama Squirrel presents Dewey’s Treehouse: Crayons’ Grade Two: Gingham Embroidery posted at Dewey’s Treehouse.

Field Trips: Katherine at No fighting, no biting! shares about a field trip her family took to the National Postal Museum when she said helped her family learn about stamps and how the mail gets to their mailbox.

In a retrospective post looking over this past year, the blogger at Two Kids Schoolhouse calls this past year the year of therapy, and looks forward to more field trips next year, some pretty special looking ones, too. She concludes that:

It’s good to remember that seasons come and go, and that every year will be different.

Want to know a surprisingly easy and inexpensive way of elping your children improve their SAT scores? Check out the very intriguing finding Dan presents in Things that Make your Kids Smarter…and Things that Don’t posted at My Dad Blog.

Math: Barry Garelick presents One Step Ahead of the Train Wreck posted at The Train Wreck is the Every Day Math program used at his daughter’s school. The way he stayed one step ahead is by using Singapore Math and tutoring her and a friend after school at home. This is a long and meaty post, but it’s a thought-provoking read with several applications beyond math and after-school tutoring. I’ve blogged about it elsewhere.

Norfolk Homeschooling Examiner
presents The FlashMaster computerizes math flash cards with great success! I finally discovered a great tool that helps my children drill their math facts without any tears or dragging of feet on their part. Best of all, little, to no input from mom is required so I can work on other activities while the children do their math fact drill

Alasandra presents Homeschool Injustice, Homeschool Discrimination or Just Angry Women Getting A Divorce? posted at Alasandra’s Homeschool Blog. She says “If homeschooling is on an equal footing with public schooling then homeschoolers aren’t being discriminated against and there is no injustice involved. As they should the courts will look at the cases on an individual basis and make the decision they feel is best for the children. The children may not be thrilled with the decision (especially if the parent who loses bleats on and on about how awful the decision is), the parent who loses won’t be happy but there is no injustice or discrimination involved.”

The GIVE Act will mandate forced community service for teens, and it could apply to homeschoolers as well. Susan Ryan tells us about it in Forced Community Service posted at Corn and Oil.

Britannica Blog presents Studying Success in Education: Jay Mathews? Work Hard, Be Nice posted at Britannica Blog, a post about special programs in public schools for the poor and underprivileged. Those of you who follow the work of The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews, often called the “dean of education reporters,” know that for the past few years he’s been obsessed with two subjects—high school college-preparatory programs (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate) and the Knowledge is Power Program charter schools, otherwise known as KIPP.

Things You Can Buy:
Shanna shares some photographs of local wildflowers as well as her review of a new homeschooling resource, Wonderful Wildflowers- Shining Dawn Books posted at Integritas Academy.

Gifted Children:
Living By Learning presents link-rich story of her journey to find suitable resources for her gifted child in How does “Gifted” figure into our homeschool? posted at On Living By Learning.

Encouragement in your Homeschooling:
How homeschooling is like landing in the Hudson:
~Kris~ presents “We’re Gonna Be in the Hudson” posted at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Lara DeHaven presents Regaining My Focus posted at Texas Homesteader.

That S word: Dana presents Homeschooling, socialization and my daughter posted at Principled Discovery.

Jenafer presents a delightful photo essay of her Homeschooling Co-op Day posted at Cage Free Monkeys.

Shannon presents Conquering Lapbooking posted at Mountaineer Country.

Katie Glennon presents Other Uses of Narration ? End of Semester Exams, High School Essays, and Timelines posted at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage.

Homeschool Graduating Class of 2009 Photo Gallery

Beverly’s Homeschooling Blog (
The first few pictures are up. Submit your graduating senior’s photo and profile to be included in the Homeschool Graduating Class of 2009 Photo Gallery. I appreciate your help in building a Class of 2009 Photo Gallery that we can be proud of.

Homeschoolers and College Barbara Frank Online warns: Homeschooling parents beware: colleges sometimes lie to parents, knowingly prepare students for careers in dying fields, and often believe drinking and drugs are students’ problems, not theirs.

Henry has a list of some other Homeschooling Carnivals and here’s that post.

Thank-you for reading, thank-you for participating, and thanks for your interest in Homeschooling!

Click here for instructions for submitting entries to next week’s homeschooling carnival.

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Hugh Laurie is Sophisticated

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This Memorial Day Weekend, Let’s Look at a Violation of the Geneva Convention

The German U-Boats very nearly succeeded in winning WW2 for Germany, and the reason they didn’t is a fascinating little story of an exciting sea battle, a fluke, and a fairly substantial violation of the Geneva Convention.

In the build-up before the War, the Germans worked on building up a fleet of submarines, subverting the Versailles treaty by building them and training their crews in Turkey, Spain, and Holland. German Admiral Karl Dönitz devised a highly successful attack strategy (and at the Nuremberg Trials was sentenced to 20 years). Within the first three months of launching their U-boat campaign, the Germans had successfully sunk 114 of Allied merchant ships, losing only 9 of their own.

The Brits were close to losing when the U.S. entered the war.

Allied success in breaking the German Enigma code was an important help early in the war, but changes to the naval Enigma code at the beginning of 1942 stopped the flow of intelligence, bringing an increase in the loss of Allied ships. Furthermore, the U.S. entered the war unprepared and did not initially effectively protect its ships. As a result, a small number of U-boats in the North American and Caribbean coastal waters sank nearly 500 Allied ships in the first half of 1942. (January-July 1942 was the second “Glückliche Zeit” for U-boat crews ). By July 1942, Dönitz had 300 U-boats, with 140 operational at once, hunting in wolf packs and sinking shipping at an annual rate of seven million tons, five times the rate of British replacement capacity. U-boats operated almost unopposed in the “Mid-Atlantic Gap” — the area that could not be reached by aircraft from Canada or Britain — supplied by special vessels known as “milch cow”‘ carrying additional torpedoes and food. German naval intelligence broke British codes and directed submarines to intercept convoys.

U-boat sailors had a life expectancy of about 3 months at sea, as the German command had every expectation that the captain of the submarine would scuttle it rather than permit it to be captured, and often the submarines were scuttled with the men still on board.

In June of 1944 the American Navy succeeded in capturing a U-Boat for the first time. In fact, U-505 was the first warship captured at sea by the US Navy since 1815, when USS Peacock seized HMS Nautilus during the War of 1812. (wikipedia)

On board that u-boat were two enigma machines, which changed the course of the war:

After the capture, the Enigma machines and the 900 pounds of codebooks and publications removed from the sub were rushed to U.S. Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C. to help the Allied code breaking effort. The ingenuity of Allied code breakers, combined with German blunders, made it possible for the Allies to read most messages to and from U-boats from November 1943 until the end of the war.

In order to protect this important secret, that a U-boat had been captured enabling us to break the codes and read most messages, the prisoners captured from the u-boat (around 55, as I recall, and only one German sailor died) in June of 1944 spent the remainder of the war in a prison camp in Louisiana. They were isolated from other prisoners, denied access to Red Cross visits, and all mail was confiscated, and their families presumed them dead. Indeed, by the late summer of 1944 the German Navy told the families they should presume their sailors dead. Their families were not told they were alive until 1945. They were not released until well past the end of the war. They were sent to England to do some work putting up housing for returning British veterans. the last returning home in 1947.

Back in 2007 The Volokh Conspiracy wrote about this in connection with the ethical and legal questions.
He linked to this post, where the discussion in the comments as to what is and is not a war crime is very interesting as well.

You can visit the only German submarine in American if you ever go to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a fascinating exhibit, and you can read more about it here.

General information about the submarines here

While in prison camp in Louisiana, the German sailors were guarded by the Navy baseball team, a fascinating story of its own, and the team taught the Germans to play baseball in an attempt to maintain their chances to play professionally after the war. There’s supposed to be a movie about it some time this year, Playing With the Enemy. You can read the book, too.

Incidentally, while searching for some of the above information, I earned three swagbucks, and I wasn’t doing anything anything I wasn’t going to do regardless of swagbucks:

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Junk DNA Not So Junky After All

In fact, it may just be indispensable:

Now researchers from Princeton University and Indiana University who have been studying the genome of a pond organism have found that junk DNA may not be so junky after all. They have discovered that DNA sequences from regions of what had been viewed as the “dispensable genome” are actually performing functions that are central for the organism. They have concluded that the genes spur an almost acrobatic rearrangement of the entire genome that is necessary for the organism to grow.

More here.

via Instapundit

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