Guilt by Police Powers

ABC Primetime 3/30 showed "False confessions not hard to get" -- it's sad to see how they had to spend an hour long program on how bad police can be, to bring about false confessions by innocent people.

Lawyering up is the safest thing to do -- even your protestation of innocence can be used against you by using voice lie detector. And always have an alibi.


Remote spying and bombing in USA

I thought that drone bombing would take place only outside of the US, but that may change after all: "Drone aircraft may prowl U.S. skies." So the U.S. is trying to gain permission to prosecute, judge and execute -- OK the missles may not be allowed at first but what's to stop them for bolting on the missiles? -- remotely with a push of a button even here in the U.S.


Garage Sale

We had our very first garage sale this weekend and it was very educational.

Our next door neighbor sold too (actually it was a neighborhood wide one so we all got free advertising), so we interacted with them all morning long. We also tried to sell hot chocolate (1 cup) and cookies (3). It was cold in the early morning but got warmer by the time we gave up shop.

My younger son, the outgoing one, loved the interactions with his friends (and very little with the customers) so he wanted to do it again this weekend. My older son, the introvert, wasn't as enthused about it. We, the parents, are not ready to do it again so we'll wait until just before we move.

We also learned what people want to buy and how little they are willing to pay. If a person has a interest, any price is well worth giving into since it will either go back into storage, donated or thrown away. Unlike auction, however, you have the bidders/buyers coming throughout the morning and they will unlikely come back again (unless they paid for the item, no words of promise can be relied on: one person promised to be right back but never did while another came back about an hour later).

And the advice about keeping people out of your garage is good: anything they can see, they might make a bid on, as one buyer did!


Debt on Silver Screen

"Maxed Out" seems like signs of the times: we are too much in debt. I disagree on faulting the credit card companies and banks: they only make the money (debt) available. The greed and selfishness (the "I want it now and am entitled so!") are not something forced on by the companies but from within. Victimhood and entitlement are too ingrained in American culture today. So sad.

Update 4/5: There is a funny SNL skit on debt management that's been referred to at many places so I thought I'd point it out: "Don't buy stuff you cannot afford."


College Scam

Vox Day's today's article "Sheepskin Scam" is a good analysis on if and what premium there is for having a college degree.

I personally do not think there is any and all stats are easy to manipulate and eduation stats are baised towards those who have degrees since they are collected and "analyzed" by said same degreed folks. Hard to be objective when you have to justify your own degrees (and those still unpaid student loans).

Anyway, more reasons why college degrees aren't meaningful (my college article is still being written...).


Old Fashion Internet Etiquette

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

[Proverbs 9:7-8]

Thoughts to keep in mind, even in the internet/texting age.


Educational Challenge: next new thing

When I read an IBMer saying "The 'next big thing' no longer exists" my thoughts are: are you crazy? No one knows when the next innovation will take place. That's why you want to continuously challenge the next generation to go further and think outside the norm.

Precisely the kind of things school system does not promote and in fact actively discourage. I mean, think about it: grading is all about meeting the teachers expectations. Standard tests are to make every one conform to the norm. Even [inter]national "championships" (be it science fairs or music competitions), everyone follows the same rules. How can innovation come when everyone has to follow the same dreary rules? [Regarding moral issues, you can find my blogging on it at dannysmensstudies]

Which is the beauty of home education and especially us unschoolers: we break the mold and raise our children to challenge the norm and overcome obstacles -- "no" is not a rejection but a challenge! [OK, I guess it can be taken in a wrong way but I'm not talking about the classic "no means yes" in dating situation here. I mean "no" as in "it can't be done" or "you can't do it -- because you don't have the degrees or credentials."] Unfortunately for me, by going through the school system I have turned into a good conformists and a good employee -- all of which are slowly changing as I understand how brainwashed I was in the school system. This unschooling thing is just as much my own mental retraining as we are trying to educate our children!


Lessons of Life

On a mailing list a question was asked "when someone says that kids MUST deal with the negativity of school, teasing, bullying, etc. so they will be prepared for real life?" I was going to email a reply but I decided to blog about it.

My response questions would be:

1) would you let a toddler play in the busy streets because that would prepare them for the real life of dangerous roads? Would a peer group of toddlers do any better?

2) would you just hand a car key to a teenager and say go learn how to drive in the real world? How about a car full of teens with zero training and experience?

3) would a new hire (with zero experience) be handed a set of blank checks without any training? How about putting all the new hires in one room and tell them to figure out the business? How successful would such a business be?

Likewise, a bunch of peers just trying to figure out "socialization" on their own, each with equal amount of experience, will flounder and relearn the lessons of the past the hard way (on their own rather than from other people's experiences).

All lessons of life are learned either the hard way (trial and error) or the easier way (from learning about other peoples errors and successes). Successful societies (and families) are those which learn the lessons of the basics quickly and then move on to the next level rather than relearning them from scratch.

Update: thanks to keywords, the townhall article confirms what I just wrote above in the article: "homeschooling sweet homeschooling."


Police officers are not to be trusted, reason #217

In my search to learn about firearms, safety and facts, I ran across this case of yet another innocent defendants with trumped up charges and false confessions:

Haunting questions: The Stephanie Crowe Murder Case (Jan '98, San Diego)

(as pointed to by FirearmsTactical.com). Reading the last page alone is troubling: the prosecutors (and the police) have fingered 3 teens including a brother of the victim as murderers. The teens claimed innocence and were forced to make false confessions. The judge set aside two teens "confessions," and only one was left. However, the bombshell that stopped the case was a DNA proof that the victim's blood was found on the homeless person found nearby the victim's house.

What's sad is that the prosecutor did not give up on the "potential" guilt of the teens for some time. The homeless man Tuite got his day in court and got guilty verdict 2004.

What's also sad is that once you are charged, people around treats you as guilty. The Crowe family were turned off by their church, of all the people, because their son was charged. Very sad.


Law and Jury Failure: when Jury Nullification went missing

"Outrage After Teen Gets 10 Years for Oral Sex With Girl" was shown on primetime (ABC news). Here's what all wrong with this case:
But there was one other charge the jury had to decide on. The second girl in the videotape was 15, and the age of consent in Georgia is 16. And under state law, prosecutors charged Wilson with aggravated child molestation. To those close to the young man, it was an outrage.

"Nobody could believe that this is the law," Mann said.

Even jurors frowned on the charge. "A bad law, absolutely," Manigault said.

And in Georgia, that they'd had oral sex made matters worse. Until 1998, oral sex between husband and wife was illegal, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. In Wilson's case, even though he is only two years older than the girl, she was 15 and — willing or not — could not consent legally that night.

Whatever their feelings about the law, jurors felt they had no choice but to find Wilson guilty of aggravated child molestation. Moments later, back in the jury room, jurors were told for the first time that the conviction came with a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years in prison.
This was the perfect time for the jury to take action and do their duty of "Jury nullification." This is one of the few rights and control that the private citizen in America can exercise over the powers to be: nullifying bad laws. [The most powerful of course is the 2nd amendment, but I digress.]

Sigh: schools (especially public schools) are hot bed of poor and misleading education: guns are bad, laws are to be followed. No thinking allowed! Yet another reason to keep your children out of public school.

Update 3/10: I've posted at the abc message board my two bits....


Blame the students (really the parents)

The article "For once, blame the student," gets close to the matter of the problem of today's schooling: it's the family, stupid! Monkey see, monkey do. If the parents aren't serious about education then the children won't either. Unless the parents lead (but not necessary cram it down the throat: they can see through your charade), children won't care and won't have the incentive to excel. Parental expection has its place but not so much pressure that they won't have a life.

My parents tried to force me to learn piano but that didn't last. Same with Japanese: I lost it for about 10 years before I relearned it in Japan when was working there from 89-92. Somehow I did learn to enjoy classes [and be a good follower] and did well especially in mathematics. Which is why I ended up being a software engineering employee (not an entrepreneur)....


People vs Government

I've commented at "Sense and Compassion" blog on "Homeschooling is Treason." If you read other entries, you'll note that the blogger is pro-government and anti-freedom. The claim is "the mommy government knows best and the more they control, the better off we the people are." I got tired of trying to respond to the blogger so I've made an entry instead.

Sure there are those who cannot control themselves or lack good training (I'd blame it all on the fathers: monkey see, monkey do and bad children are results of bad fathering), but they are the exceptions and more government control means less freedom for all.

A great example is the truancy law: minors are not allowed to be out and about during public school hours because few bad apples have skipped a few classes (or all day). Rather than encouraging the fathers to reign in their children, the government made laws to restrict all children such that non-public school students lost their freedoms. Home educated children by definition aren't under the public school rules but because of truancy laws, they are readily punished for breaking laws which weren't needed in the first place.

Or gun control: because of few criminal elements, people (women and feminized men probably) voted in laws (or politicians to wrote those laws) to control guns. Unfortunately, it only strengths the bad guys. When I say "bad guys," I don't mean just the "criminals." In my eyes, those who deny basic rights (life and liberty) are the bad guys, even if they are tax supported employees like the police or the military. I believe that the second amendment's sole purpose is to be guarantee that we the people can fight tyranny be it "foreign or domestic." Personal defense and hunting are nice benefits but minor compared to the ability to defend liberty.

Going back to home education, it's about control and it is in everyone's best interest to regain the control of their children's education. Government paid teachers have no incentive to see your children get educated (yes, there are few who do really care but almost all are in it for the money -- cut their salaries in half (or get rid of their retirement package) and see how many are still teaching). Only you, the parent, can ensure your children's education. The more involved you are, the better off they are. If you're going to get involved, at some point, hopefully you'll come to realize that you're better off taking complete control and home educate yourself. You can search my blog for more ideas on why home educating makes sense as well as our past experiences...