Friday, October 14, 2005

The Art of Surreptitious Tabloid Consumption

I consider myself to be a thoroughly reasonable human being. I have no tattoos, no bumper stickers, no criminal tendencies, and very few piercings. I do not watch reality TV, soap operas, the 700 Club, or Jerry Springer. I am not a pacifist, socialist, environmentalist, fundamentalist, or vegetarian. I have never dated an axe murderer, gotten married in Las Vegas, or ridden a motorcycle. I try not to wear white shoes after Labor Day or mix my metaphors. In short, I am about as normal and rational a twenty-year-old girl as can be hoped for in the modern world.

However, I have one skeleton in my closet, one insane, irrational obsession, a deep-seated psychosis which lurks just beneath the surface of my seemingly sensible façade, and which, I fear, may be pathological: I am addicted to celebrity tabloids.

I have never even cracked open the New York Times. I could not tell you what the school voucher debate is all about if my life depended on it, or what it is that Social Security actually does, but I could tell you, with an embarrassing degree of accuracy, how many pounds Kirstie Alley has lost in the past year using the Jenny Craig program, how many boyfriends Ashlee Simpson and the Olsen twins have shared in common since 2002, and how many times Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee have been married . . . to each other. I waited with bated breath for Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher to tie the knot, followed Britney Spears’ pregnancy updates religiously, and cried myself sick over a pint of rocky road after Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke up. I know that Katie Holmes was only four years old when her fiancé Tom Cruise starred in Risky Business, that Madonna’s middle name is Louise, that Jennifer Garner’s in-utero baby is a girl, and that Prince William’s girlfriend’s name is Kate Middleton.

This unfortunate habit of mine, of course, necessitates some rather clever machinations in the supermarket aisles in order to avoid detection. The first step in the art of Surreptitious Tabloid Consumption is, of course, scoping out the surrounding territory for predators. Ensure before hitting the magazine rack that no one with whom you have interacted socially in the last two decades, or ever plan on interacting with ever again, especially in a romantic capacity, is currently within a fifty-meter radius. Once one is reasonably certain of being surrounded by disinterested strangers, one must next render the offending magazine as unobtrusive as possible by masking it behind some less objectionable periodical, such as Newsweek, Family Circle, or better yet, Modern Bride. If this is not tenable, one must at least maintain a convincing air of detachment when perusing the tabloid. This will serve to create the illusion that you are merely killing time in a not-particularly-enjoyable sort of way, and will serve to alleviate all suspicion that you really do have nothing better to do with your life than indulge in flagrant emotional voyeurism while vicariously living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. A few well-placed eye-rolls and frustrated glances around the supermarket as if impatiently waiting for slow companions to finish their grocery shopping will do well to further your cause.

Purchasing a tabloid is a stickier matter. One must never be spotted making a purchase solely of a stack of InTouch or People magazines, lest one be branded forever (quite understandably) as a pathetic social reject, and cast out into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. The clever Surreptitious Tabloid Consumer, then, must purchase only one tabloid at a time, and must master the art of making this look like an impulse buy. One may not, under penalty of personal castigation by the author, ever purchase a tabloid which one has previously been seen to be reading earlier on in the shopping trip. This would potentially indicate that you are entertaining some sort of genuine interest in what the tabloid has to say –- which would clearly be unconscionable. Thus, celebrity magazines may only be legitimately purchased at the end of a shopping trip in which you are purchasing at least ten other objects, ideally sensible, unremarkable items like baking powder and toothpaste. The tabloid must always be casually taken off the rack at the last minute with a self-deprecatory laugh. Moreover, the Surreptitious Tabloid Consumer must never buy a celebrity magazine if simultaneously purchasing any of the following objects: hair products, skin products, cosmetics, DVDs, or any celebrity-endorsed product. One does not want to look more like a shallow, superficial American consumer than is strictly necessary.

Really, however, the art of Surreptitious Tabloid Consumption, while considered pathetic by some, has served me well in my lifetime. In fact, everything I need to know about life I learned from the tabloids. For example:

1) Celebrities are people, too. Just because they get married every other weekend and spend the better part of their adult lives in rehab doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your respect as well as a $20-million-a-film salary.

2) Most celebrities are terribly shy and do not like attention. That is why their names are always splashed all over the headlines for antics like jumping on couches on the Oprah Winfrey Show, attacking Matt Lauer and modern psychiatry, and getting engaged with 12-carat rings on top of the Eiffel Tower to women twenty-five years their junior whom they have known for a grand total of four weeks. When said events occur during the same summer their new blockbuster summer release is coming out, it means they are trying especially hard not to get attention.

3) Eating is highly overrated. All men find platinum-blonde, emaciated bimbos attractive. Protruding ribcages are the form of sexy; brains are not.

4) Marriage means two people love each other so much they want to spend the rest of the year together.

5) The best reason to have a baby is to boost your ratings.

6) If you’re good-looking enough, you can get away with pretty much anything and people will still love you.

7) The entertainment industry is a worthy, fulfilling vocation to which many intelligent people are called, none of whom are in the least self-centered or arrogant.

8) Cosmetic plastic surgery is the greatest invention of the 20th century.

9) If your wardrobe doesn’t look like someone took a random assortment of feathers, sequins, and extravagant jewels and then superglued them to a piece of foully-colored toilet paper, following upon which Hurricane Rita swept through the vicinity, then you are clearly doing something wrong. If any skin is not showing upon having donned said outfit, you are also doing something wrong. The Fashion Police will soon be writing you up for this egregious faux pas.
10) No matter how big a loser you are, there will always be bigger losers out there willing to spend precious hours of their life reading tabloids about you in the supermarket line.

And that, my friends, is what they call a lesson well-learned. So if you’ll excuse me –- I need a few things at the supermarket.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Your Anti-Abortion Dollar

When you go to the store to buy diapers or cheap socks, do you ever stop to think where your money is going once you have handed it over?

All that money goes somewhere, but how often do we take the time to find out? We vote once every two years or so, and we put a lot of time and energy into the voting process. But we spend money every day and don’t think about what our money is going to support. If we are truly concerned about ending abortion here and all over the world, shouldn’t this be a big concern?

As it stands right now, though, Americans are not very proactive about this. We are commanded by our impulses and appetites and not by our ideals when it comes to spending our money. The companies that own the retail outlets where we spend our money know this. As a result they can act with complete disregard for our ideals because they know that we will keep showing up and spending our money no matter what evils they commit.

So what is one powerless, isolated American supposed to do? The answer is to realize that you are not powerless and you are not isolated. Just as you have the power to vote, you have the power to decide where you spend your money. And you are not isolated (especially if you have the means to read this blog).

To find out where your money is going, you need just to pick a name from the list of places you shop at throughout the year, then crack open the old Internet, and do some research. Ask yourself: Where are they spending their money? Who are their suppliers? What policies do they support? What specifically are they doing about the abortion issue?

Does this sound like a lot of work already? Are you squirming in your comfy chair just at the thought of doing this? Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. Here, I’ll do the first one for you. Lets look at Walmart.

We all spend a lot of money there, right? They have cheap toys, cheap clothes, and cheap lip-stick. But when I hand over my money for these things, where does it go and what does it support?


First of all, Walmart buys most of their stock from suppliers who run sweatshops all over the world. This is not a misuse of the word – these are honest-to-gosh real live sweatshops where the conditions have been documented to be like something straight out of the nineteenth century. Sure, you can go on Walmart’s web site and read about the fantastic job they are doing with their own in-house inspection of supplier facilities. But that is all a white wash.

What does this have to do with the abortion issue? Well, for one thing many of these sweatshops discriminate against women who are pregnant. They pay slave wages and do not exactly encourage family life with the hours they demand and work conditions they inflict upon their workers. Also, consider what is happening in China, whose government is probably the biggest abortionist on the planet. Walmart did $18 billion dollars in business last year with China. The billions of American dollars that are poured into China for the purchase of dirt cheap toys and clothing did nothing other than aid the abortionist government there. This is because very little of that American money actually goes into the pockets of the sweatshop workers, who have seen their wages slashed and their benefits wiped away. Walmart is using your money to help create a class of wage-slaves who are essentially powerless to challenge their government’s unjust laws, such as coerced abortions.

This is just a peek under the Walmart rock. I found all this by just a short stay on the internet. There is much more. For example, there are the various sins of Walmart’s major suppliers. Hampton Industries is an (originally) American clothing manufacturer that fills many shelves at Walmart. It has now shipped 95% of its jobs overseas (so much for the American middle class!). Hampton Industries is also the connection between American dollars spent at Walmart and the Burmese drug lord Lo‑Hsing‑han.
There you have it. In less than an hour I was able to look at one of the places where my dollar is going and answer the basic question we should have about any retailer that receives our money on a regular basis: what are they doing with my money and is any of it going to support abortion? If every concerned American could sit down and do something like this just once a month, and adjust their spending habits accordingly (I will no longer spend a dime at Walmart), the impact could be enormous.

The machinery of abortion survives on money as much as votes. We need to look to see where our money is going when we spend it. If we don’t, then who we vote for will not much matter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Open Wednesday

Wednesday is open submission day. If you want to see something of yours posted to the blog, submit it to paul at buede dot com. Include the name you want credited, and if Paul likes it, he will post it for you. Paul does not have to agree with it, he just has to think its good quality, so if you think you disagree with him, don't let it stop you from submitting. Submitted pieces may also be used in the future to fill in for regular bloggers on vacation. So, please, submit something... I want a vacation!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Democracy Is In Danger, a response to Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore spoke on October 5th, 2005 to a media conference in New York. (1) The speech, while full of the usual partisan attacks one would expect from a diehard Republocrat, is exceptional nonetheless. Gore's main point is that American "democracy" is in grave danger. He offers many explanations of that danger, from apathy of the citizenry, to the one way nature of television, to the corporatization of news, to the corruption of the political system by the rich and so-called "special interests". Gore concludes with a call to arms, to protect the freedom of the internet, and a plug for his television channel, Current.

Below are excerpts from the speech, please try to ignore his partisan bias, and instead see the message for what it would be without that bias, as we all know, nothing new and radical has happened since the Bush presidency, and all of these arguments and statements could easily be made about the Clinton administration, of which Gore was a part.

" But whether you agree with his assessment or not, Senator Byrd's question is like the others that I have just posed here: he was saying, in effect, this is strange, isn't it? Aren't we supposed to have full and vigorous debates about questions as important as the choice between war and peace?

Those of us who have served in the Senate and watched it change over time, could volunteer an answer to Senator Byrd's two questions: the Senate was silent on the eve of war because Senators don't feel that what they say on the floor of the Senate really matters that much any more. And the chamber was empty because the Senators were somewhere else: they were in fundraisers collecting money from special interests in order to buy 30-second TVcommercials for their next re-election campaign."

Where was debate??? The appropriate question is why has congress given up its war powers? Only congress has the power to "declare war". This has been going on for decades, and the result has been the same during almost every "conflict". A president, Democrat or Republican, sends our military overseas to kill and be killed, without a declaration of war. Because the congress has no vested interest in the success of the war, as they have not approved of it with a declaration of war, the opposition party waits, and hungers for American failure and/or tragedy. As soon as anything goes wrong, the opposition party politicizes the situation and begins hurling partisan attacks. Mistakes are part of human nature, and therefore everything humans do. But when America engages in "conflict", mistakes become fodder for one side of the political class to attack the other. Its great theater, but that is all it is. Neither side is willing to take responsibility, either by declaring war at the congressional level, or by stopping the non-war conflicts from happening in the first place. If Mr. Gore would admit this situation has existed regardless of which side of the political class was in office, it would be a big first step toward a real, sincere, discussion of issues, rather than the political bickering that his speech resembles.

"But some extremely important elements of American Democracy have been pushed to the sidelines . And the most prominent casualty has been the "marketplace of ideas" that was so beloved and so carefully protected by our Founders. It effectively no longer exists.

It is not that we no longer share ideas with one another about public matters; of course we do. But the "Public Forum" in which our Founders searched for general agreement and applied the Rule of Reason has been grossly distorted and "restructured" beyond all recognition."

"Consider the rules by which our present "public forum" now operates, and how different they are from the forum our Founders knew. Instead of the easy and free access individuals had to participate in the national conversation by means of the printed word, the world of television makes it virtually impossible for individuals to take part in what passes for a national conversation today.

Inexpensive metal printing presses were almost everywhere in America. They were easily accessible and operated by printers eager to typeset essays, pamphlets, books or flyers.

Television stations and networks, by contrast, are almost completely inaccessible to individual citizens and almost always uninterested in ideas contributed by individual citizens."

These are great points. Indeed, the power of television and the way it is used by the political class to exclude citizens from participation in the political system is scandalous. One great example of this exclusion is the presidential debate system. I would like to see Mr. Gore support inclusion of third party candidates in the presidential debates. The exclusion in the debates helps to create a system in which no other candidate can get enough news coverage to generate a real following. Its a self-fulfilling prophecy that the Republocrats have been too happy to create, for no other purpose than maintaining their partnership of power. A candidate cannot get into the debate, unless he polls at 15% (or some other magical number), which also seems to be the point at which the media begins to cover him. How can he get to 15% with no coverage and no exposure in the debates? What happens to his issues? What happens to all of those who are completely disillusioned with our political process when no candidate willing to discuss the issues they care about is able to get anywhere in our political system? Those voters are marginalized, and then the media and political class wonder why there is such an amazingly low voter turnout... Perhaps it is because the two parties in power offer no real differences, anyone that might upset the status quo is effectively excluded from the political system. If one must limit the number of participants, limit it to the number of candidates who managed to get on the ballot in enough states to win the electoral college. That demonstrates substantial grass roots and popular support, rather than limiting participants based on some magic polling number given to us by a media that we all agree is broken.

"Soon after television established its dominance over print, young people who realized they were being shut out of the dialogue of democracy came up with a new form of expression in an effort to join the national conversation: the "demonstration." This new form of expression, which began in the 1960s, was essentially a poor quality theatrical production designed to capture the attention of the television cameras long enough to hold up a sign with a few printed words to convey, however plaintively, a message to the American people. Even this outlet is now rarely an avenue for expression on national television."

Demonstrations were certainly not new in the 1960's. Perhaps another perspective would help Mr. Gore understand the hopelessness with which citizens are faced when dealing with political disagreement. With the federalization of so much of life (prior to FDR, and certainly prior to the "live for the collective" attitude renewed by JFK, many issues could be resolved at the state level, where they belong), bringing about change on an issue one cares about is viewed as impossible. Many don't even bother trying, as they are not rich enough, or connected enough to be heard. I have been told by people familiar with my blog "its nice that you think you can make a difference", as they suggest that even trying to bring about civilized, issue oriented discussion, with a hope of returning the country to constitutional rule is hopeless. Before bastardization of the commerce clause, and before the Federal Government decided it could do anything it pleased, regardless of constitutional limits, one only had to deal with state and local governments, which by their very nature are far more accountable than a massive sprawling, ever-growing federal bureaucracy.

"As a result of these fears, safeguards were enacted in the U.S. -- including the Public Interest Standard, the Equal Time Provision, and the Fairness Doctrine - though a half century later, in 1987, they were effectively repealed. And then immediately afterwards, Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves."

Here Mr. Gore displays his knack for digressing into partisan bickering. First, to believe that federal regulations on "equal time" and "fairness" were successful is a great leap of faith. It more realistically means that the behavior of the media conformed to the ideals of Mr. Gore. Calling Rush Limbaugh a "hate-monger" is certainly not a step toward civil, issue oriented discourse. I could just as easily call Mr. Gore a tree-hugging communist. But I won't, because I am interested in discussing those legitimate issues he brings up, and hoping he will read this, wish to have my points viewed as constructive.

"The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments. They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President."

To gain any credibility, with those of us that agree problems exist with our political system and the state of the media, Mr. Gore ought to go and site some abuses of power and misuse of the media by the previous administration, the administration of which he was a part. I could do it for him, as could pretty much anyone else not blinded by partisan hatred, but that would defeat the purpose. The first step to fixing the problem, for an insider, someone who has participated in getting our country into the mess we find ourselves, is to admit his own participation, and the participation of his friends and colleagues in the breakdown of our system.

"Among the other factors damaging our public discourse in the media, the imposition by management of entertainment values on the journalism profession has resulted in scandals, fabricated sources, fictional events and the tabloidization of mainstream news. As recently stated by Dan Rather - who was, of course, forced out of his anchor job after angering the White House - television news has been "dumbed down and tarted up.""

Sentence one is almost spot on. Mr. Gore forgot to add that the unrestrained political leanings of the "journalists" is another factor in the scandals, fabricated sources, etc. The failure of whatever executives are overseeing, or not overseeing modern "news" operations, to reign in blatant opinion masquerading as news is maddening. Unfortunately, Mr. Gore chose to misrepresent the situation surrounding Dan Rather, who ran a purely political hatchet job on the President. Rather's response was essentially, it didn't matter if he had proof of his accusations, because everybody knew his accusations to be true. Regardless of what side you are on, if you cannot admit that Rather crossed a line, you are part of the problem. No matter how much you hate the president, you cannot excuse sloppy, libelous, and fictionally-based attacks on him. Indeed, there is so much else to attack the president for, there are real, important issues affecting us today with which one could take issue with Bush's positions, actions, and inaction. To excuse what Dan Rather did, and then suggest that the current administration was wrong in being angry is to not grasp the real problem, and to declare oneself in favor of that sort of behavior, as long as it is done by his people and not the other side.

"That is why the House and Senate campaign committees now search for candidates who are multi-millionaires and can buy the ads with their own personal resources. As one consequence, the halls of Congress are now filling up with the wealthy.

Campaign finance reform, however well it is drafted, often misses the main point: so long as the only means of engaging in political dialogue is through purchasing expensive television advertising, money will continue by one means or another to dominate American politic s. And ideas will no longer mediate between wealth and power."

The halls of Congress have been filled with the wealthy and well connected for a very long time. Campaign finance reform is a red-herring. When a law is passed stating that no individual can give over $1000 to a campaign for example, it is the small, less organized third parties who suffer. The size and organization of the Republocrat parties is such that they can, and do funnel money around to ensure their candidates get all the money they need, as is quite clear by the skyrocketing amount of money spent on their campaigns. Third party candidates must now find 10 people each with $1000, rather than one person with $10,000 to help them raise money, which makes it much more difficult to be heard. The only way to put an end to "special interests" ruling the political system, whether they be corporations, or unions, is to remove the prize. Those groups will not spend all of that money for nothing. Unfortunately, the political class has shown it enjoys its status and is unable to restrain itself from the orgy of spending and trampling of the constitution it does day in and day out in Washington. The only way to stop this, is to take back from the federal government the rights it has usurped. We need true tax reform(2) to take away the money special interests jockey for, and we need to roll back the extra-constitutional powers the special interests beg the government to use in their favor. Only then, when there is no prize, no chance of corruption because there is no power to be corrupted, will our nation recover.

"The final point I want to make is this: We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it because some of the same forces of corporate consolidation and control that have distorted the television marketplace have an interest in controlling the Internet marketplace as well. Far too much is at stake to ever allow that to happen.

We must ensure by all means possible that this medium of democracy's future develops in the mold of the open and free marketplace of ideas that our Founders knew was essential to the health and survival of freedom."

On this we can also mostly agree. The internet and technology industry must remain open and free to progress, or those industries will meet the same fate as every other industry the federal government has chosen to extort through regulation. It is through federal regulation that "forces of corporate consolidation" hope to conquer the freedom of the internet and all technology. In a free and open market, where consumers are free to choose, the internet will succeed. It will grow and evolve as it already has. It is due to the lack of regulation and federal involvement that the barrier to entry in the technology marketplace is negligible. As federal regulation moves in, only the large companies will be able to satisfy those regulations, they and their lobbyists will see to it, as they have in so many other industries. We must also be wary of special interests promoting federal regulation, as they are knowingly or unknowingly contributing to the power the federal government has, which it will, as it always has, by its very nature, abuse.

That last point I want to make is that Al Gore made a huge step in this speech. He acknowledged that there are serious problems with our political system. He argues that the internet has the potential to serve as a medium through which normal citizens, like me, can be heard. He is absolutely right. He is also right that we must protect the freedom of the internet. He probably wants to go about it the wrong way, and has shown throughout his speech that he is certainly not over being a partisan hack. I do however, still appreciate the speech and believe it is worth reading and considering. I would be ecstatic to see Mr. Gore begin to take a less partisan, and more issue based approach to the problems he believes exist. I believe he is intelligent and has a lot to contribute to debates and arguments. But, until he renounces and walks away from the partisan way in which he has conducted himself, he will continue to stain his message and ensure that he is not going to be heard by the only people that care, those of us who clearly see that the system is broken, and that the Republocrats as they exist today are the problem, and have no interest in a solution that does not have them in a position of power.

(1) Al Gore's speech
(2) Tax reform

Monday, October 10, 2005

Should the government govern what we learn?

In every state in the union (and in Washington, D.C.), parents are “allowed” to homeschool their children, provided they follow the rules set forth by the state. Some states are more stringent in their requirements, and some don’t even require notification of the homeschooling. Some states make homeschoolers jump through a lot of hoops to “prove” their worthiness, and others just let the homeschoolers be. I think it’s worth questioning why or whether the government has a legitimate right to supervise the education of homeschoolers at all.

Let me first state that I am enrolled in state-approved “umbrella” school (umbrella schools act as the middleman between parents and the state). However, it seems to me that I shouldn’t have to demonstrate my worthiness to the state, in order to educate my children in the way I feel they should be educated. The government can’t tell us what church to go to (or not go to), or what philosophies to hold, and can‘t demand our acceptance of any government-sponsored ideas or ideals…so why do we consider it legitimate for government to dictate what our children learn in the schools? Particularly when you consider that public schools can often be hostile to conservatives (ok, and sometimes to liberals) and people of faith…and just watch out if you’re both! How can the government demand a captive audience to promote a specific agenda (oops…abolishment of the public school system is a different topic altogether!) ?

The argument against the supervision stands on its own, but is made even stronger given the current state of the public schools. Homeschoolers routinely outperform their public school peers, and the school system as a whole is not a model of educational standards or ideals by any stretch of the imagination.

Homeschooling is an opportunity for a parent to play an incomparable role in a child’s education (yes, you can play an active role in the education if the child is at school but it‘s a completely different kind of active role). It can be tailor-made for the child, having the freedom to go into depth on any subject of interest to the child. You can work with your student’s strengths and around his weaknesses, abandoning programs in favor of others if they don’t suit your needs. In schools, for the most part, the education is intended to be “one-size-fits-all.” Of course…that’s impossible, unless you have a group of children all on the exact same level, all with the same primary learning style, etc. Since that‘s all but never going to be the case, you’ve got Bobby who is a little bit above “grade-level” having to fill in worksheets and do busy work while the teacher can get Suzie (who is just a little bit below) caught up to the point of where the rest of the class is. It’s a hurry-up and wait situation. If you’re the wrong shaped peg for the hole, you lose. You lose time, if you’re ahead and ready to move on, but can’t because you’re being held back by one of the 20-odd (if you’re lucky, and the number’s not 30-something) other students in the class. If you’re behind, you cause everyone else to lose time. And then there’s the consideration of being teased for being behind or “stupid.” And all of that’s not even including how much of the academic day is given over to correction and discipline

The vast majority of parents who choose to home school do it because in *their* eyes…it‘s in the best interest of the child(ren). Whether their reasons are religious, academic, or otherwise…where does the government feel it has the authority to make the parents report in on progress…particularly when the onus is solely on those homeschooling parents? There’s just about no other school environment where a student is under the same academic scrutiny as one might be in some of the more restrictive homeschooling states. In a school, as long as you’re posting passing grades, you can continue to be passed along, grade to grade, until graduation. Sure, the teachers may mutter under their breath about the lack of parental involvement or participation, but if you’re getting passing grades, you pass. Not so for some homeschoolers where the government has the authority to compel a family to send/return a poorly-achieving student to the public school. Yet nothing more happens if that same child continues to perform at the *same* level once in the public school. So, what good was done by making the child be returned to school, except that the government was able to stretch its “authority” muscle and make the parents kowtow to the law?

The government does not have a compelling interest in supervising homeschooling. I think it’s worth reconsidering our acceptance of government involvement in homeschooling.

If you’re looking for more information on homeschooling: a good site to start with is the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association web site: www.hslda.org.