Jul 222009
 

Blogging has been light these past couple of weeks due to my travelling places (Edinburgh, mainly, which was lovely), and will continue to be light as I return to the US for ten days to attend a friend’s nuptial festivities.

Everyone who has commented here about my immigration problems has been enormously sympathetic, and I’m very grateful. Having this blog, and the input of its commenters, has really been an unexpected blessing, without which I don’t think I would have coped as well. So this post is also sort of a giant THANK YOU! for the support, including the unknown but brave gentleman who has offered to make an honest woman of me so I can stay here.

You will be perhaps pleased to know that I have not yet quit fighting; I have some plans in hand to continue the struggle. The British government has not seen the last of me. Nor has this blog, which I will update as and when I can from the US, although given the bride-and-groomly demands on my time and the parlous connection options available in the impenetrable swampy wastes of North Carolina, I do not expect it to happen often.

So au revoir until August, probably, when I will resume the reasoned yet flighty political discourse to which you have all become accustomed.

Mar 142009
 

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this, nor do I know whether it’s any sort of legitimate news article. But let’s assume for the moment that it is:

A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be “challenged.” The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years. The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue. The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.

Mangum said he made the determination on his guiding principle, “What’s in the best interest of the minor children,” and conceded it was putting his judgment in place of the mother’s.

On her website, family friend Robyn Williams said Mangum stated his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated but that ordering the children into public schools would “challenge the ideas you’ve taught them.”

According to Williams’ website, the judge also ordered a mental health evaluation for the mother – but not the father – as part of the divorce proceedings, in what Williams described as an attack on the “mother’s conservative Christian beliefs.”

Here’s how I read this tale: mother takes children out of state education because state school is crap. Mother and father get divorced. Father wants children put back into state education. Judge handling divorce proceedings orders children to be put back into state education because ideas learned from mother (amongst them possibly conservative Christianity) need to be ‘challenged’.

This bothers me on multiple levels. On the one hand, I see the dangers inherent in filling children with dogma they’re discouraged from questioning. On the other hand, I see the dangers inherent in filling children with dogma they’re discouraged from questioning. The only difference between homeschooling and state schooling appears to be which dogma the poor creatures are forced to consume.

Not to mention that I thought North Carolina, a place very dear to my heart, was above this sort of stuff. Its judges, among whom I number one of my own family members, are not generally given to illiberal, heavy-handed pronouncements about how parents can and cannot educate their offspring. And this decision is a bit rich coming from this particular judge, whose daughter I used to teach – in a religious private school.

As the Devil would say, fucking hellski…

Feb 032009
 

From Nation of Shopkeepers:

Would all those moaning gits who have been chanting mantras along the lines of ‘I {live in / have just come back from } {Moscow / Canada} and they manage to cope with weather like this’ like to show me a cost / benefit analysis of providing an extreme weather capable infrastructure that will only be used once every 18 years against the proven cost of a day off work to the taxpayer, given they would be funding such an infrastructure?

Yup.

I once saw the capital of North Carolina buggered by one inch of snow. The municipal authorities released the schools early without first salting the roads; parents left work to collect their children. The resulting traffic jams were so bad that children whose parents got stuck had to sleep overnight in their schools, while news reports showed impromptu keg parties being held in the highways and the byways of the city.

Although I got home in a reasonable amount of time (45 minutes to travel three miles: not bad, considering), I only managed to do so by driving uphill on a grassy median and skidding over a bridge past a police car that was supposed to be blocking the lanes.

By the next morning, a freak wave of 20-degree temperatures had melted it all.