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Barack Obama, President of the Divided States of America
September 4, 2009 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Next Tuesday, Sept. 8, speaking at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va. President Obama will address the youth of America during a live television broadcast urging them to stay in school. Some school districts, bowing to parent pressure, have decided not to show the speech during school.

Governor Tim Pawlenty [...] said on WCCO radio in Minneapolis that the speech, scheduled for Tuesday, was "uninvited" and raises concerns about "the content and motive."

One parent was quoted by Fox News as saying: "Children are very vulnerable and excited. I mean, this is the president. I think it's an underhanded tactic and indicative of the way things are being done."

Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said the speech is an effort to "spread President Obama's socialist ideology" and "justify his positions" on health care, the economy and taxes.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy (588 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ha, I just came to Metafilter to see if anyone had posted about this. No one had, so I thought I might have missed it. I searched for "Obama," just in case. Turns out I searched at the EXACT moment you posted. Kudos to you for posting exactly what I wanted to see exactly when I wanted to see it. There's something awesome about that.
posted by Never teh Bride at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is the first time in recorded history a black man has been criticized for telling kids to stay in school. Hell, it's probably the first time anyone of any race has been criticized for telling kids that.
posted by dortmunder at 4:21 PM on September 4, 2009 [84 favorites]


The people of Elmbrook, one of the school districts that will not be showing the speech during school, respond.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


If they had passports they could move abroad.
posted by fire&wings at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


If you can't trust your kids with the President of the United States over closed circuit TV, who can you trust?
posted by jjames at 4:24 PM on September 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


If the president spoke out against drug use, these assholes would join an opium den. I love that the GOP's response is that children should "be skeptical of authority." Really? That's your position? Since when?
posted by ColdChef at 4:25 PM on September 4, 2009 [149 favorites]




Also.
posted by ColdChef at 4:26 PM on September 4, 2009


Never teh Bride: My husband and I were talking about this today at lunch and it really bothered me. What does it say about our nation that some parents are refusing to allow their children to listen to a speech by the President? It stuns me. All I can think is that these same people are afraid that their ideas are so unattractive, so indefensible, that allowing their children to hear other points of view automatically means that their children will be lost to them forever.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:27 PM on September 4, 2009 [54 favorites]


Skeptical of liberal authority, maybe...
posted by agregoli at 4:28 PM on September 4, 2009


Our school system has regularly scheduled testing on that day. They are recording the remarks for later.

Leaving the controversy to one side for a moment, surely he must realize that schools kinda have schedules and things going on? Wouldn't this have been better if broadcast in the evenings for the whole family?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


God damn commies and them wanting kids to stay in school. It is just down right un-American.
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I had a moment of complete joy this afternoon. And confusingly, because it came from fox news. No, not schadenfreude, actual joy. I decided to take a moment and read the comments on one of these schools-not-showing-Obama's-speech articles, and a good majority were people calling the conservatives on what bullshit this new made up controversy was. I was also kind of flabbergasted.

Of course I only read a few pages, so the rest could have been 99% Obama/librulz hate; but I must say that I felt a sense of hope that maybe the election wasn't the only sign that sanity was returning to the country. I had been down for the last month and half after hearing the crazy astro-turfing against health care. But seeing people speaking out against this idiocracy made me believe, at least a little bit, that maybe reason can win out.

Maybe?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:30 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


dortmunder: This is the first time in recorded history a black man has been criticized for telling kids to stay in school.

Funny, that's pretty much exactly what Josh Marshall thought this morning.

I think it's kind of a cheap comment, myself. I mean, it's OK to make comments based on stereotypes about the President's race now, if you're liberal enough, or something?
posted by gurple at 4:30 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


There needs to be a backlash from the students. They should cut classes Sept 8, and go somewhere where they can see this broadcast.

I was initially uncomfortable with the use of school time, but then I thought about how many students (especially the at risk ones) would actually plan to stay home and watch this. Assuming their parents would even condone or allow them to watch it.

Go, kids, the future is yours! Seize it!
posted by Artful Codger at 4:31 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hell, it's probably the first time anyone of any race has been criticized for telling kids that.

George H.W. Bush did the same thing in 1991 and the Dems slammed him then.

(note that I do not support the views in the linked blog, but I also feel silly for having to disclose this fact in order to avoid snark for even linking to it.)
posted by ageispolis at 4:31 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Because staying in school is for SOCIALISTS, don'cha know.
posted by casarkos at 4:32 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"If they had passports they could move abroad."

Like Alec Baldwin did when Bush was elected?
posted by MikeMc at 4:33 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Secret Life of Gravy, that link is a meta-sigh-of-relief.

A mishmash of ideas and viewpoints from one comment to the next. Doesn't look like an echo-chamber to me.
posted by vectr at 4:34 PM on September 4, 2009


Funny, that's pretty much exactly what Josh Marshall thought this morning.

I think it's kind of a cheap comment, myself. I mean, it's OK to make comments based on stereotypes about the President's race now, if you're liberal enough, or something?


I just find it funny that conservatives have put so much effort into pretending that racism is dead, and how black people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and blah, blah, blah, and now that there's a black man's who's done exactly that, they're upset that he's done it.
posted by dortmunder at 4:36 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Leaving the controversy to one side for a moment, surely he must realize that schools kinda have schedules and things going on? Wouldn't this have been better if broadcast in the evenings for the whole family?

When the President of the United States asks you to put aside half an hour of your day to allow him to implore your students to stay in school, you can god damn well spare the time. You can put fractions or the Industrial Revolution aside for a day.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2009 [63 favorites]


Leaving the controversy to one side for a moment, surely he must realize that schools kinda have schedules and things going on? Wouldn't this have been better if broadcast in the evenings for the whole family?

You really believe that schools can't find the time in their schedules for one important broadcast? Really?

Gosh, even in very busy Australia, when the Prime Minister got up in Parliament and read out his apologies to the Indigenous people of the land, most schools (and many workplaces, pre-schools and public areas) tuned in, voluntarily, because it was the leader of the nation saying something important. If the President of the USA is going to specifically address the youth of the nation, and on something as important as staying in school, surely there can be a bit of time found in the precious schedules.

on preview - what hifiparasol said.
posted by Megami at 4:38 PM on September 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


Apparently, dropping out of school and being lazy are going to be the centerpieces of the new Republican platform.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:40 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


help save the youth of america.
posted by elmono at 4:41 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I was a boy, I was amazed to learn that you could actually send letters to the White House. Intrigued by the novelty, I wrote President Carter to say that I thought that the newspapers were wrong to write mean things about him. Jody Powell - or at least his signature - replied to thank me for my support.

If I had a boy that age now, I would use this as a teaching moment:

Remember that toy you saw on TV and asked me to get you? And after you got it, you saw that the people on TV hadn't really told you the truth about it? That's what Presidents are like.

posted by Joe Beese at 4:41 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before we draw out into our inane lines for a retarded shouting match: I think I heard that someone had obtained an early copy of the speech leading to the outcry. Is this actually the case, or did I imagine this?
posted by boo_radley at 4:41 PM on September 4, 2009


My local, academically strong but enragingly wrong-headed district is doing this. My kid isn't old enough to be in their schools yet, but I'm hopping mad all the same, because it's just so damn stupid. And seriously? This is racism. Nothing but. I don't care what insane tinfoil hat reasons people give, deep down they just hate that this black man is President and don't want to have to see him or have their kids see him. They want to stick their heads up their asses and take all the rest of us with them.

All the Republicans can do is unleash their insane zombie political actions over and over again. It's sickening how bankrupt they've become. I don't know what sane conservatives in this country should do for political representation, because I haven't seen any of them in forever. But at this point, I'd probably donate to the campaign of any Republican who repudiated Limbaugh, racism, and Fox News in favor of something substantial. Too bad there's zero chance of that.
posted by emjaybee at 4:42 PM on September 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


St. Alia is being disingenuous. Ignore.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:43 PM on September 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer today released the following statement - "As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology. ... While I support educating our children to respect both the office of the American President and the value of community service, I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda. ... Public schools can't teach children to speak out in support of the sanctity of human life or traditional marriage. President Obama and the Democrats wouldn't dream of allowing prayer in school. Christmas Parties are now Holiday Parties."

WTF FLORIDA (Republicans)? HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE UNITED STATES. ALL OF IT. EVEN FLORIDA.

Stop with the "taxpayer dollars" crap. Everything the President does is funded by taxpayer dollars. And if you respect the office of the president, why can't the man in that office speak to your children? Are you really going to bring up pro-life issues in this, too, or is "the sanctity of human life in jeopardy from "death panels"? And those have been "holiday parties" and "seasonal breaks" well before Obama took office.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:44 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Obama Youth!!!!111one
posted by ageispolis at 4:45 PM on September 4, 2009


I heard about the parents "objections" yesterday on the radio and thought to myself that it's just another way of them saying "Ain't no dirty nigger gonna talk to my kids." In my home state of Illinois, the city of Quincy has taken to making their racism publicly known. Fuck you, Quincy.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 4:45 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's the statement my local school district released:
Dear Parents,
President Barack Obama plans to address the school children of America on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. According to the United States Department of Education, he will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. Our schools will treat the President's address to students as any other national news event. If you prefer for your child not to participate, please notify your child's school in writing so that alternate arrangements can be made. Our schools will honor parent requests in this matter.

For more information on the upcoming Presidential address, you may visit www.ed.gov.

posted by ColdChef at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't this have been better if broadcast in the evenings for the whole family?

I believe the kids would be much more receptive to a speech during the school day--giving them a break from their regular activities-- then one given at night, which would just cut into their free time. President Obama can't visit every school and address all the schoolchildren of the United States in person, but speaking at one high school and broadcasting the speech live to the rest of the schools in the nation is almost as good. Hopefully his message will reach some of the children it needs to reach.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Wow, remember just a few years ago when conservatives were foaming at the mouth, demanding that we liberals 'respect the office, if not the man'? Remember?

Jesus fucking christ.
posted by Malor at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [66 favorites]


...surely he must realize that schools kinda have schedules and things going on? Wouldn't this have been better if broadcast in the evenings for the whole family?

I remember the big stink you raised every time Bush attended a school, so we know you aren't at all hypocritical.
posted by DU at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm an Obama supporter, but I have to be honest. If Bush had wanted to address the kids, I wouldn't say:

When the President of the United States asks you to put aside half an hour of your day to allow him to implore your students to stay in school, you can god damn well spare the time.

so I'm not going to say it now.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


I really do have to try too hard not to think about this whole mess because it gets me so pissed off.

Right now the Republicans are like some insane roommate that's a cross between Vince Vaughn in Made and Puck from season three of The Real World. He comes home, pulls down his pants and shits in the kitchen sink without wiping. Then when you ask him why he did it, he yells at your for shitting in the kitchen sink all the time and never wiping.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure what's more sickening, that these crazies are actually forcing schools to refuse to carry a speech by our president, or that the media continues to give these cave trolls a national megaphone to spread their hatred without one second of oversight or fact-checking.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


And you know the absolute worst part of the whole thing? They get to call him socialist and we don't even get a public option.

Fuck you, radical rightwing nutjob assholes.
posted by DU at 4:47 PM on September 4, 2009 [46 favorites]


The US needs a third party because it makes this hugely polarized hate into a sort of free-floating anxiety which is so much less noisy.
posted by GuyZero at 4:47 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is beyond stupid. It's well-past the hour when reasonable people build a spaceship to fly far far away from this no-intellect zone. What good does it do to keep your kids at home when the President comes to your school. For no better reason than the fact that you can write on your college entrance letter, "I saw the President when I was in Elementary School," forbidding your child from seeing Obama speak is the most asinine decision a parent can make. Only if one of their parents were the uni-bomber, would it make sense. Meanwhile, when these kids grow up, some will probably realize what a stupid, bone-headed move that was and will likely join some militant Maoist group or pledge their undying love to Beezlebub.
posted by sswiller at 4:48 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


GuyZero: "The US needs a third party because it makes this hugely polarized hate into a sort of free-floating anxiety which is so much less noisy."

Nail, meet head.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 4:49 PM on September 4, 2009


this actually the case, or did I imagine this?

Yes, the draft of the speech urged students to declaw their Roma acquaintances with the chainrings of fixed-gear bicycles, and hinting that Xtians would be gathered into Paddy wagons for transportation to Williamsburg, where they will be re-educated in the ways of re-contextualizing unfashionable clothing.
posted by everichon at 4:49 PM on September 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


Also, please note that I tell my kids not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Ha! In your face USA! Next I'm going to demand to the school board that they play "God Save The Queen" every morning. I mean, if you went by passport nationality they'd spend a solid 45 minutes playing national anthems every morning.
posted by GuyZero at 4:49 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


THIS IS THE FIRST STEP IN HIS PLAN TO TRICK THEM INTO GOING TO THE DEATH PANELS WHEN THEY BECOME GRANDPARENTS
posted by Flunkie at 4:50 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If Bush had wanted to address the kids...

My cousin met Reagan when she was in school, even got to ask him a question. She's a moderate democrat. If I had a kid, I wouldn't forbid them from seeing W. We don't live in a dictatorship after all.
posted by sswiller at 4:50 PM on September 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


If nothing else, it lets the teachers know which kids have shitbrained parents.
posted by ColdChef at 4:51 PM on September 4, 2009 [65 favorites]


From Secret Life of Gravy's link:

For once Elmbrook is doing the correct thing. The president should not schedual his speech during school time. He could have schedualed it during the early evening. School is for learning it is not a place for a one sided political forum! This president is losing his popularity and this is not the time or place to try and bolster it. Hats off to Elmbrook!
posted by jbickers at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2009


But at this point, I'd probably donate to the campaign of any Republican who repudiated Limbaugh, racism, and Fox News in favor of something substantial. Too bad there's zero chance of that.
Actually, lots of Republicans have recently repudiated Limbaugh. Then they come out the next day and say that what they really meant is that Limbaugh is the greatest hero in the history of creation.
posted by Flunkie at 4:54 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Seriously, though, everybody I know is burning up about this and reading into it that the right has finally gone nuts beyond the point of no return, into scary territory.

But understanding the media as I do, and being an optimist at heart, I still want to believe that this is just the lunatic fringe that it always has been, that it's being trumped up into a much bigger deal, and that the average republican isn't anywhere near this stupid.

So, can anyone with first-hand experience of the modern right-wing weigh in, please: Is this actually the way the majority of the right thinks in America today, or is this your fringe characters, being way too loud and getting too much press?
posted by jbickers at 4:56 PM on September 4, 2009


If they would just home school their kids, make sure their computers weren't connected to the Internet, and keep their kids into tarp-covered tent like structures in the back yard, they could be sure that their kids would never accidentally be exposed to an idea that might allow them to think for themselves.

Also, keep them away from rock and roll.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:56 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


George H.W. Bush did the same thing in 1991 and the Dems slammed him then.

House Democrats certainly did, mainly with concerns about the funding of it, based on the quotes in your link.

But you know what didn't happen in 1991? Democrats across the country DIDN'T compare Bush to Hitler or Mao for addressing the students; they DIDN'T organize protests and insist tht their schools not show the speech, and they DIDN'T say that they would keep their kids home rather than let the "fascist-in-chief" indoctrinate their precious children. There is no equivalence here.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:56 PM on September 4, 2009 [116 favorites]


Seconding Bookhouse.

The country is far too politically polarized for 1) Republicans to recognize that the speech is likely not an indoctrinating propaganda video and for 2) Democrats to realize that in the minds of Republicans it may very well come off that way regardless.

No matter your political allegiance, the issue comes down to whether or not you think the President's role is to do this sort of thing. If so, then I'm sure you wouldn't have had a problem if Bush II talked to your kids for a half hour at the beginning of the school year in, say, 2005. Or would you? I'm the sort the person who would rather skip all the ritualistic national anthems and pledges of allegiances. For a country that promotes free thinking and individual autonomy, these sort of nationalistic practices seem to have an opposite effect on people. Let us learn to love our country without the prescriptions.

But, kids, stay in school.
posted by ageispolis at 4:57 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm an Obama supporter, but I have to be honest. If Bush had wanted to address the kids, I wouldn't say:

When the President of the United States asks you to put aside half an hour of your day to allow him to implore your students to stay in school, you can god damn well spare the time.

so I'm not going to say it now.


I'm an Obama supporter, but my concern with Bush had to do with things like, you know, lying us into a needless war, torturing people and tapping phones without a warrant. If he decided to take 15 minutes to tell kids across the country to work hard in school, you wouldn't have heard anything against it from me. It would have been the fifteen best minutes of his tenure.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2009 [63 favorites]


I am so disgusted by this kind of thinly veiled racism and inane, irrational right-wing rhetoric/propaganda I just don't know what to say anymore.
I have trouble seeing any possible way to unify this country. Can't we just split into two countries and get it over with?
posted by Jeeb at 5:00 PM on September 4, 2009 [14 favorites]


Of course the conservative right-wing is encouraging kids to skip school to avoid the President's broadcast. Public schools are a well-known socialist institution.
posted by browse at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I read some of the comments on the Journal-Sentinel's website, and had a sudden moment of reverie...

I imagined a day not far in the future, when, with a start, people of conscience suddenly look up from what they are doing and meet one another's eyes. On this day, strangers recognize one another by the steely purpose in their demeanor. For one day, those with decency, compassion, tolerance and intelligence forget these ideals just long enough to turn their plowshares into swords and cull the wallowing and weak-minded throwbacks that we have allowed to survive in our midst too long.

Yes, I know, the rage and bloodlust that these comments inspire only debase me to the same level where their authors live. It is just SO frustrating to watch people be motivated by fear and hatred, to cut off their noses to spite their faces...
posted by jackrational at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Public schools are a well-known socialist institution.

I believe the term is "government schools."
posted by brundlefly at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2009


If Bush had wanted to address the kids...

Here's the Whitehouse Kids website started by the Bush administration, with suggested activities for parents and teachers.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2009


So, I saw a bumper sticker the other day: " SOCIALISM works just great until you RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY!"

And I thought, well, that's stupid; the same thing is true of capitalism.

I don't know really what's going on in the GOP tent, but I hope they're working on getting their shit straightened out. This revile-the-opposition might work for a tactic, but I don't think anyone's really thought about its implications as a strategy.
posted by boo_radley at 5:05 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has anyone linked this little bit of television yet? It is short, succinct, and includes the correct use of the word "stupid", not once but several times.
posted by jokeefe at 5:06 PM on September 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


This kind of thing gives me just a little bit more respect for any president who makes any social advances in their term. If the most benign, seemingly obvious thing to do (tell school kids that education is a good thing) gets them this kind of flak, it's a wonder any of them make any headway at all.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:07 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


No matter your political allegiance, the issue comes down to whether or not you think the President's role is to do this sort of thing.

I think it's a perfectly fitting thing for the president to do. It allows kids to connect in some small way with the leader of their country and, hey, maybe they'll have a little civic conscientiousness rub off on them at the same time?

If so, then I'm sure you wouldn't have had a problem if Bush II talked to your kids for a half hour at the beginning of the school year in, say, 2005.

You are correct, I wouldn't have minded at all. In fact, it would have probably given me a (slightly) better opinion of him, as someone who actually shows the slightest concern for his constituency. That's not a trait I ever really noticed in W.
posted by Brak at 5:07 PM on September 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


This president is losing his popularity and this is not the time or place to try and bolster it.

55% approve, 38% disapprove - down from the giddy 68% approval, 13% disapproval of the first days, but it's nothing like W's ending note of 22% approval. Fun fact: Lame Duck presidents usually see approval ratings rise, though you'd need a miracle to GWB's final days weren't so rosy, ending high on 30% approval, 62% disapproval.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:10 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is short, succinct, and includes the correct use of the word "stupid", not once but several times.

And will do no good for those parents who are on the "stupid" side of things. Liberal media just got that much more biased, and FOX News is even better for it. This was no Al Franken moment.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:13 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


So strange. I've been able to emphasize with some of people who don't like Obama by remembering my reactions to George Bush. But that's becoming impossible to do - even back then, I had a few moments where I conceded, "Huh, okay, I guess I can't really fault him on that one."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:14 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have an idea! Maybe people could instill qualities such as critical thinking and independent thought in their children so they wouldn't be so susceptible to Obama's socialist propaganda.
I remember having to listen to Reagan when I was in school and I wasn't suddenly transformed into a young republican, what are they afraid of?
posted by Jeeb at 5:15 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


[fleetmouse, megascrolly nutso copypasta kind makes a thread hard to read. Link to it if it's worth looking at for some reason?]
posted by cortex at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2009


This whole "You Obama supporters would have had just as much of a shit-fit if W had addressed the kids!" argument lacks some serious weight. Even if we suppose that you're right (and, you know, you're not -- it would have been a welcome change if Bush had deigned to speak to us plebes in this way), there's still the issue of (a) the message at hand ("stay in school") and (b) the relationship of that message to the messenger.

Obama stayed in school, worked his ass off, earned the trust of millions* and became president. Bush was born with a silver spoon up his ass, coasted drunkenly through higher ed on legacy and cash, and went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, and was elected president via legal loophole, the disingenuous actions of his followers, and a lucky supreme court case.

I'd be glad for the president to tell our kids to stay in school no matter who was up there on the screen. But some men's words carry more weight than others.

*Whether he retains that trust remains to be seen.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:19 PM on September 4, 2009 [26 favorites]


oh man, cortex is winding up the crazy squad. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING CORTEX?

wait, am I in the crazy squad now?
posted by GuyZero at 5:19 PM on September 4, 2009


No matter your political allegiance, the issue comes down to whether or not you think the President's role is to do this sort of thing.

I think it's a perfectly fitting thing for the president to do. It allows kids to connect in some small way with the leader of their country and, hey, maybe they'll have a little civic conscientiousness rub off on them at the same time?

Yeah, I think that as long as it is done tactfully, then the president connecting with the youth could be a very positive thing. The worries of the right are unfounded (and a little bit crazy), but wanting to keep politics out of the classroom is not.

You are correct, I wouldn't have minded at all. In fact, it would have probably given me a (slightly) better opinion of him, as someone who actually shows the slightest concern for his constituency. That's not a trait I ever really noticed in W.

Fair enough. :)
posted by ageispolis at 5:20 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Next time any of your uncles or whatnots complain about the president giving a speech or promoting an agenda, just tell them that it's funny because you know of a dirty anarchist, a squatter most of the year, who agrees with them. Offer to introduce them to me. Say that this anarchist you know of doesn't want kids to listen to the president's speech either. Say that it's really weird that their views are so similar to this guy's views, he distrusts the government too and thinks it should be eliminated, of course, he's an anarchist, and he almost fought Flip Benham and he lives with transvestites and muslims and doesn't cut his hair and you and he completely agree about the president.

See what your conservative relations have to say about that.
posted by fuq at 5:25 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


[fleetmouse, megascrolly nutso copypasta kind makes a thread hard to read. Link to it if it's worth looking at for some reason?]

I thought I'd been Timecubed for a minute.
posted by Brak at 5:26 PM on September 4, 2009


Here's something that struck me.
A very easy way to tell if this mythical "Sensible Republican" bloc we always hear so much about even exists.

Do they even have ONE website?
Is there a single online forum where sensible Republicans hang out?

Cuz Ive never heard of it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:26 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


So, I saw a bumper sticker the other day: " SOCIALISM works just great until you RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY!"

And I thought, well, that's stupid; the same thing is true of capitalism.


Not exactly. Capitalism works just great until YOU run out of YOUR money.

Which, let's be honest, is far more likely to happen than an entire tax base running out of money.
posted by mightygodking at 5:27 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Children are very vulnerable and excited. I mean, this is the president. I think it's an underhanded tactic and indicative of the way things are being done."

Ha! Pure comedy gold! The discourse between the far right and everybody else, the television media, and politics in general have all been getting so surreal and hilarious lately, it's hard for me to take them seriously. It's the most brilliant farce ever written.

I mean my God, the President isn't allowed to speak directly to kids because they might, what, like him too much? It's a bad thing to be inspired by a public figure, now? Ha ha ha! It's like Monty Python come to life!

When the whole country comes down around my ears, maybe it won't be so funny, but man, for right now it's either laugh or get angry, and I'm about done with angry.
posted by Commander Rachek at 5:28 PM on September 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


megascrolly nutso copypasta

This is the worst Jumble ever.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:29 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


[sorry cortex, I pasted it, saw the bizarre formatting and figured it represented the disjointed thinking fairly well... here's a short excerpt and link]
"The tingle up my leg" comments from newsmen, the comments to his being "The One." Obama is simply using brainwashing, hypnotic techniques and the linked paper offers the evidence from his speeches. Someone sent this to me months ago...Now he will work to get to the children in speaking to them personally?

"AN EXAMINATION OF OBAMA’S USE OF HIDDEN HYPNOSIS TECHNIQUES IN HIS SPEECHES

EXPOSING OBAMA’S DECEPTION MAY BE THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT DEMOCRACY "


Use_of_Hidden_Hypnosis_techniques_in_His_Speeches.pdf
Found on another board... it goes on like that at some length, with colorful formatting and language. A certain segment of the population thinks that Obama will use secret voodoo masonic lizard hypnosis to socialize the babbys, because these babby cant frigth back?
posted by fleetmouse at 5:33 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


When the President of the United States asks you to put aside half an hour of your day to allow him to implore your students to stay in school, you can god damn well spare the time. You can put fractions or the Industrial Revolution aside for a day.

Well, apparently this is systemwide testing-I'm assuming linked to the No Child Left Behind stuff (which for the record I think is mostly crap since everything in the whole school year is focused on the Almighty Standardized Test.)

As far as this speech, of course I think it is cool for a President to want to speak to the schoolkids but IIRC from what I have read most of the objections from the conservatives was more on the lesson plans that were supposed to go with the speech (and these lesson plans have now been changed as a result.) And with this particular President emotions definitely run high (in my own county during the election one particular teacher's comments got nationwide play and scorn to the point that the pupil's parents had to be interviewed to say they weren't upset with the teacher. It was that bad.)

I do have to object to the characterization that this is about race. It definitely is about politics. I think Hillary would have received an equally heated reception if she'd won and then done this.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:34 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Bush wanted to address a school during his presidency, I'd mock him openly for being a moron and still be secretly grateful that he was wasting his time doing so. Every moment he spent reading My Pet Goat was a minute where he wasn't actively making things worse.
posted by klangklangston at 5:35 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and Neil Boortz isn't getting his panties in a wad about the speech (but he's a Libertarian type conservative talkshow host and not a Republican, if that matters.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:36 PM on September 4, 2009


A very easy way to tell if this mythical "Sensible Republican" bloc we always hear so much about even exists.

Do they even have ONE website?
Is there a single online forum where sensible Republicans hang out?


Of course there is. Sensible Republicans hang out here.
posted by flarbuse at 5:40 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Honestly, I think it is a GREAT way to start the school year! It will be the first day of school in Virginia. While I know that other areas have already been having classes for a couple of weeks, the day after Labor Day is when the last of the schools start back in session.

If his message is for the kids and is about education, then of course he should do it during the school day. Doing it during the early evening would cause fewer students to see it because of homework, dinner, chores, after school activities, or just being busy playing. I don't care who the President is in this case. If he wants to encourage kids to stay in school, then let's have assemblies to make sure they all see him doing so.
posted by onhazier at 5:47 PM on September 4, 2009


I think Hillary would have received an equally heated reception if she'd won and then done this.

I pride myself on being a pretty evil motherfucker, but I'm nowhere near evil enough to imagine the Katrina-dwarfing shitstorm of sexism this crowd would be flinging if Hillary had won. I feel confident that at least one of the teabaggers would have made, at the very least, some kind of rape joke at a town hall. I feel equally confident that whatever congressperson the teabagger was addressing would have said the teabagger was a Great American.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:51 PM on September 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


I am offended by those of you who claim that anyone opposed to this speech is a racist. Just because the president is black I'm a racist if I don't support his every decision?!!??! I am a parent. My 5 year old daughter started kindergarten last week. What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!? Can she vote? Can she effect social change? It's a little beyond her. I also resent that this speech is (intentionally) being given at a time when parents are unavailable. It's not because he's black; I couldn't give a shit what color or race the man is. It's not about the false left/right dynamic either. I'm a libertarian. There are nutso whackjobs on both sides of the aisle. Government serves government, not the people. I am inherently distrustful of ALL politicians, especially anyone who is enough of a whore to have "earned" the presidency from the bankers that own him. I would be equally distrustful of a Rethuglican president who wanted to have some time to talk to my kids without my inconvenient presence.

To those of you who have, by virtue of your comments upthread, called me a racist, fuck you!
posted by krash2fast at 5:53 PM on September 4, 2009


Wow. Someone just won MetaFilter.
posted by GuyZero at 5:54 PM on September 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


Short version: I'm a libertarian.
posted by Mister_A at 5:55 PM on September 4, 2009 [33 favorites]


especially anyone who is enough of a whore to have "earned" the presidency from the bankers that own him

Illuminati president belongs to space jews!
posted by fleetmouse at 5:57 PM on September 4, 2009 [54 favorites]


I do have to object to the characterization that this is about race. It definitely is about politics. I think Hillary would have received an equally heated reception if she'd won and then done this.

Well then it would have been about sexism. Different hot button for Republicans, same response. They have a lot of hate to go around.

I characterize it as "racism" because none of their so-called arguments make any fucking sense, and all boil down to an extremely weird frothing hatred far out of proportion for anything the man has ever done; worse than it was for Clinton (though yeah, not for Hilary). And considering the various emails involving watermelon patches at the White House and n*gger jokes, the Muslim thing (because some black people are Muslims, therefore the two are equivalent in racist minds), the furor over his daughter's hairstyle--the shoe fits. It fits really really well.

Look, I grew up with racists; I know how they think. I know how crazy and weird they get and how afraid they are, deep down, of black people, how much they have invested in believing black people aren't really people at all and will "bring us all down." Most of those people I knew are still alive, and they say stuff to me at family gatherings you would not believe. Clinton made them crazy in a more straightforward way; the crazy around how they see Obama is orders of magnitude weirder. I'm pretty comfortable calling it racism.
posted by emjaybee at 5:58 PM on September 4, 2009 [24 favorites]


I guess all the parents who have a problem with this must have zero ability to influence their children in what they consider to be a positive way if they're so afraid of what will amount to a boring, tired stay-in-school speech.

Let's see... shield them from it at all costs or *gasp* discuss it with them afterward. No, we couldn't do that second thing. Won't someone think of the children?
posted by Never teh Bride at 6:00 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I pride myself on being a pretty evil motherfucker, but I'm nowhere near evil enough to imagine the Katrina-dwarfing shitstorm of sexism this crowd would be flinging if Hillary had won.

Easy. Just go to any Sarah Palin thread here.
posted by gyc at 6:01 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!?

Stay in school?
posted by carsonb at 6:01 PM on September 4, 2009 [55 favorites]


What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!?

stay in school and you can be anything you want to be. is this a lesson you don't want your 5 year old to hear from as many mouths as possible?
posted by nadawi at 6:03 PM on September 4, 2009 [49 favorites]


high 5 to carsonb!
posted by nadawi at 6:03 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ugh, the blanket dismissal of Obama opponents as racist does nothing but cheapen actual cases of racism.
posted by gyc at 6:04 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!?
Stay in school?
STOP TRYING TO INDOCTRINATE MY FIVE YEAR OLD, YOU COMMIE FASCIST
posted by Flunkie at 6:05 PM on September 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


My 5 year old daughter started kindergarten last week. What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!?

Is Obama's speech going to be shown at kindergarten? I'm asking, because I don't know.

As to the other issues, I'm puzzled as to why this speech is seen as so insidious. From the reports I've seen, it seems pretty harmless.
posted by VikingSword at 6:05 PM on September 4, 2009


I think Hillary would have received an equally heated reception if she'd won and then done this.

And I think you're wrong. That's what we get for thinking, huh?

At first, with the birthers and the deathers and the Obamagonnagetmygunzers, I was like, fine, let 'em yell and show their true colors. Let the insanity go on full display. Ruin the GOP for a whole generation. Excellent.

But now I realize that the virus isn't contained. People (at least, people down here in the Bible Belt) who were otherwise on the fence or even glad to see Bush go (yes, there are Southern conservative Christians who felt Bush sullied the office and who are appalled by torture and lies) are BUYING THIS SHIT. They're getting infected.

Where are the progressive antibodies? Where is the inoculation of rationality?

We've lost TWO GENERATIONS of people. People who don't reason. People who put no value on critical thinking, or if they do, were never equipped with the tools to practice it.

I was stuck in traffic this afternoon and I had to turn off NPR because the story about parents pulling their kids out of school lest they hear the words of President Obama was making me scarily stabby.

I despair. I fucking despair. And the progressive response so far is ha ha look at the lunatics. We won a battle. We got Obama elected. We're gonna get smug and lose the goddamn war because we're smug and unresponsive and we have no response to LIARS beyond a gentle tsk tsk tsk and that's gonna wreck the country. Fuck. Ima have another drink.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:05 PM on September 4, 2009 [80 favorites]


There are nutso whackjobs on both sides of the aisle.

Color me convinced.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:06 PM on September 4, 2009


Well, maybe you should home school your kid if you're so scared of what other people will teach her. And you're libertarian so I certainly hope you aren't letting her attend an evil socialist public school.
posted by Green With You at 6:07 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said the speech is an effort to "spread President Obama's socialist ideology" and "justify his positions" on health care, the economy and taxes.

...if he can justify his positions, what's the problem with them?
posted by Dysk at 6:09 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Not exactly. Capitalism works just great until YOU run out of YOUR money.

Which, let's be honest, is far more likely to happen than an entire tax base running out of money.


You will slow or stop spending when you don't have enough money. Governments don't unless forced.
posted by Malor at 6:10 PM on September 4, 2009


This is a speech that most students will only pay 1/4 attention too. The kids do not care. Everyone else cares a shitload, but those actually watching it? ZZZZZZZZZZ.
posted by josher71 at 6:11 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


To those of you who have, by virtue of your comments upthread, called me a racist, fuck you!

I called it thinly veiled racism because I believe that is a part of what's going on here. I would be happy to blame ignorance or a lack of critical faculties, if you like, since I believe they play a role as well.

why exactly shouldn't your 5 year old hear a speech by the president?
posted by Jeeb at 6:16 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


"My 5 year old daughter started kindergarten last week. What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!"



Unfortunately, Obama will be unable to give your child the message she most needs: Your father is a crazy person whose political views are matched in their intensity only by their stupidity. Also, stay in school.
posted by klangklangston at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2009 [70 favorites]


"I have trouble seeing any possible way to unify this country. Can't we just split into two countries and get it over with?"

Ya..., that didn't work so well the last time.
posted by Mitheral at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gosh, even in very busy Australia, when the Prime Minister got up in Parliament and read out his apologies to the Indigenous people of the land, most schools (and many workplaces, pre-schools and public areas) tuned in, because it was the leader of the nation saying something important.

Well, not just something important, but something novel, with some approximation of actual information content that was (I suppose, as it was when the same thing happened here in Canada) newsworthy and generally considered a big event. While the alleged message of "stay in school, kids!" may be important, it is not exactly going to be a new concept to them that this is something society generally thinks they ought to do. It's unclear to me how the President thinks his version is going to be any more effective than all the other propaganda telling them that school is important.

As Claude Shannon pointed out, the information content of a message is measured by how surprising it is. It's not too surprising to anyone that the President of the USA believes that kids should stay in school. What else is he going to address the nation to announce? That you should say "no" to drugs? That charity is important? Perhaps he could come out in favour of Christmas.

Which reminds me, we do have annually what seems to me a much more similar event here where I live, as in Australia: Message from the head of state as seen in Canada. Happens every year, and generates very little in the way of political controversy.
posted by sfenders at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2009


To be fair, I'm sure there are raving racists out there carrying on because they don't like it that a black (well, biracial) man is President. But I think it is a cheap shot to say that everyone who is objecting to this (or other things Obama is doing or saying) has to do with race. I mean, obviously when one is President there will be a subset of people who don't like his or her politics, right? If a black man hated Bush, it wasn't because Bush was white, now was it?

I think it is very important that we differentiate the two because not to do so is as said upthread, cheapening to the definition of real racism and also corrosive to the political process we have now, period.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


krash2fast, how about this. Why don't you watch the speech later (or read a transcript of it) and then have a discussion about it with your kid after the fact. Do you really think there's some kind of secret socialist (!!) message that only the kids will be able to see and hear, much like the plotline of Halloween III: Season of the Witch? Shed some light on this, because your original explanation is rambling and ultimately makes no sense.
posted by zardoz at 6:24 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ah, the wonders of partisan politics.
posted by ericb at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2009


Because staying in school is for SOCIALISTS, don'cha know.

And you know who pays for the majority of kids to attend school in this country ? Yep. That's right. It's the public option!
posted by ericb at 6:29 PM on September 4, 2009


To those of you who have, by virtue of your comments upthread, called me a racist, fuck you!

Methinks you doth protest too much.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:31 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


LazoHere in Charlotte the school board has decided that kids whose parents do not want thier kids being indoctrinated with Nazi socialist propaganda from the President can all go to a different room. I'm waiting for these parents to complain that that's not enough. I'm figuring they won't be satisfied until thier kids can sit in the same room with thier hands over thier ears shouting " LA LA LA LA LA I CAN"T HEAR YOU!" so thier kids can learn proper political debate
posted by ElvisJesus at 6:31 PM on September 4, 2009


The current political climate has me pretty worked up to the point where I asked if I could camp under a Canadian friend's porch. However, two things give me small glimmers of hope:

1. Back in September/October of last year, McCain/Palin speeches devolved to the point where they more resembled Klan rallies with shouts of "Kill him!" and "Terrorist!" and a man waving a stuffed monkey. These scenes dominated the media back then, and so revolted what I like to call "normal Americans" that Obama swept to a landslide victory in November.

2. The media loves a good lunatic. I'm a comic book guy, and whenever a news station covers a comic book convention, they always look for the fat guy in the Batman costume to interview. The comic collecting community isn't made up of fat guys in Batman costumes any more than America's citizenry is made up of screeching lunatics who would shout down a Spanish bishop for daring to speak his native language.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:34 PM on September 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


Ha. The idea of 'keeping politics out of the classroom' is like keeping politics out of the voting booth, or the senate, or the city hall.

Politics is everywhere humans are. You can no more keep it out of the classroom than you can keep it out of people.
posted by smoke at 6:36 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


LazoHere in Charlotte the school board has decided that kids whose parents do not want thier kids being indoctrinated with Nazi socialist propaganda from the President can all go to a different room.
After it's over, the kids who were "protected" will ask the other kids what the big deal was - what was it that made their parents not let them watch it?

And the answer will be "I 'unno".

So, the silver lining might just be that the kids of the crazy and/or dumb parents might just realize that their parents are crazy and/or dumb.
posted by Flunkie at 6:36 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, were the republicans all about keeping politics out of the classroom with all that bullshit intelligent design nonsense?
posted by smoke at 6:37 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am offended by those of you who claim that anyone opposed to this speech is a racist. Just because the president is black I'm a racists if I don't support his every decision?!!??!

True, not wanting the President to tell your kids to stay in school doesn't necessarily mean you're a racist. It definitely means you're a jackass, though. Also, I see what you did there. The people who made the racists! claim were specifically talking about unwarranted opposition to one thing: Obama telling the kids of the US to stay in school. You started by talking about that, then quickly switched to discussion of racism-labeling in the face of opposition to any and all of his decisions no matter what. Big difference. I wonder if you did that on purpose.

I am a parent. My 5 year old daughter started kindergarten last week. What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!? Can she vote? Can she effect social change? It's a little beyond her.

As others have said, he can tell her to stay in school. Also, when you tell people things, it doesn't only have to apply to that specific moment. You are aware of that, right? Your daughter is the future of this country. If she stays in school, she will learn a lot of things that aren't immediately useful. If we only taught things that were, the curriculum would consist of breathing lessons, food sessions, and nap class. Sheesh. People need to learn to look to the past and think of the future.

I also resent that this speech is (intentionally) being given at a time when parents are unavailable. It's not because he's black; I couldn't give a shit what color or race the man is. It's not about the false left/right dynamic either. I'm a libertarian. There are nutso whackjobs on both sides of the aisle. Government serves government, not the people. I am inherently distrustful of ALL politicians, especially anyone who is enough of a whore to have "earned" the presidency from the bankers that own him. I would be equally distrustful of a Rethuglican president who wanted to have some time to talk to my kids without my inconvenient presence.

I am so glad that your daughter is attending school.
posted by defenestration at 6:38 PM on September 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


If the president spoke out against drug use, these assholes would join an opium den. I love that the GOP's response is that children should "be skeptical of authority." Really? That's your position? Since when?
Since a democrat has been an authority figure. DUUHHHHH!!!!!

If you think it's more complicated than that then you aren't applying occum's razor.
posted by cotterpin at 6:43 PM on September 4, 2009


Here's the memo to building administrators from the local school superintendent...

""I know that at least a couple of teachers have tentatively planned to use President Obama’s planned speech to school kids in the classroom next week. I’d like to reserve judgment until we see what he says, although I can’t imagine it will be anything objectionable to an open mind. If a teacher does intend to use the speech, please ask that s/he lets you know well in advance. I will rely on you to assure that the planned lesson is academically appropriate and related to the course/class in which it is presented. Be sensitive to those with objections, and make sure that you and the teacher can honestly defend any decision to use the speech. The lesson needs to be that – an appropriate lesson – and not simply an opportunity to have the students listen to the President. It will be judicious, of course, to inform parents in advance that part of a planned school day will include a viewing and discussion of the President’s address. That step will be a requirement of its use."


Bending to the fucking right wing idiots in this community....

What the hell is wrong with "an opportunity to have the students listen to the President." ?????

I suggest that anyone who posted an objection to this kind of crap be standing in the office door of your local superintendent on Tuesday morning... posting to Metafilter isn't going to make a bit of difference...put your energy where your keyboard is...
posted by HuronBob at 6:44 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Boy would I like to smack some of those people in MegoSteve's link. The one who said, "Just give 'em the whole country," particularly. I am the son of an immigrant and I'm about ready to come to blows with some of the anti-immigrant fuckheads in this country.
posted by Mister_A at 6:45 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Occum was Occam's rude boy cousin, I'll hazard.
posted by Haruspex at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


krash2fast: My 5 year old daughter started kindergarten last week. What the holy fucking hell does the president have to say to a 5 year old?!?!!?

Others have already picked up on this, but "stay in school" is the obvious answer. Is it being shown in kindergartens, by the way? I think it'd be cool if it were, but the benefit to most kindergarten-aged kids would be minimal. That being said, it wouldn't hurt them, either.

Can she vote? Can she effect social change?

Yes (but not yet) and yes. Social change necessitates a change in society - five-year-olds are members of society same as the rest of us. In fact, they've got more years to go in this society than the rest of us, so they're in a position to, in the long term, effect even greater social change than we can.
posted by Dysk at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


My favorite part of this is the republican pundits subtle insinuations that Obama's a pedophile.

Krauthammer:

The question is that that kind of thing — about a relationship between the child and the president — is extremely odd. A child has a relationship with a parent or with a teacher, later a mentor or a coach, but not a president.

Also, I hated this kind of shit when I was in school, I'd have been against it if Bush II wanted to do it, I think to be consistent, I think I should be against Obama doing it. But I don't really care.

What I can tell you is that nothing would have made this cooler than knowing that my parents didn't want me to see it.
posted by empath at 6:49 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm an Obama supporter, but I have to be honest. If Bush had wanted to address the kids, I wouldn't say:

When the President of the United States asks you to put aside half an hour of your day to allow him to implore your students to stay in school, you can god damn well spare the time.

so I'm not going to say it now.



Why the hell not? I didn't agree with Bush on much ( possibly anything), but if he had addressed my students and told them that education is important, damn right I would have had them watch it.

I'm a teacher, and my district is going to give parents the choice to have their child pulled out... so basically, the kids who are pulled out are being taught that the president is so evil that you can't even listen to him say you should try hard in school. Nice.
posted by Huck500 at 6:50 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


But I think it is a cheap shot to say that everyone who is objecting to this (or other things Obama is doing or saying) has to do with race.

Well, Alia, it's because the same people who are loudly protesting against this have also been loud racists; it's because this seems so unobjectionable that it's hard to imagine why people would really care.

Arguments like yours above (paraphrased: "Kids are spending every second preparing for standardized tests so that even 45 minutes on the first day of school hearing the President give them an inspirational message is bad") are so irrational that it's hard to believe that this is your real reason - so we look for something else.

(If the school system is such that that is really true, you're completely fucked - why not save your energy to try to fix that instead?)

The fact that you, for example, have been systematically letter-perfect on Republican talking points since you signed on here also tends to tar you with the same brush.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


Down in the south, where I live, a lot of people don't appreciate folks forcing their kids to listen to some nigger flapping his gums. And they don't care if that nigger is the president.

Seriously, this is all about race. And it's despicable. Can you imagine the mentality of parents who send the message to their children, "Sweetie, when a dangerous black man becomes president, we cannot have you forced to listen to his nonsense. We care too much for your well being." These are the same parents who almost certainly exercise no meaningful control over what their children watch on TV.

Has it occurred to these people that listening to a president you don't agree with would be a great introduction to living in a nation based on democratic principles?
posted by jayder at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


You will slow or stop spending when you don't have enough money.

Yeah, the credit crunch, over-leveraged banks, over mortgaged families, average individual credit-card debt and current recession is more than ample evidence of exactly that.
posted by normy at 6:52 PM on September 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


Well I'm sure forbidding these kids from listening to this will work perfectly.

That's why rock and hip-hop music never caught on with young people.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:59 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]



Racism. Alive and well in the U.S. Nourished by the GOP and suburbia.
posted by notreally at 7:00 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't think that everyone against this is racist - that's specious reasoning. But I really don't get what the big deal is. It's going to be a boring little blah blah blah about the importance of education, other presidents have done it, and it won't amount to anything. I can't see why anyone would really care (racists aside). And I haven't heard any convincing arguments as to why it's so offensive.
posted by agregoli at 7:02 PM on September 4, 2009


And with this particular President emotions definitely run high (in my own county . . .

In your own county, Obama won the general election by a substantial margin, as I recall. Or are we not talking about Fayetteville and Cumberland County?
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:03 PM on September 4, 2009


The biggest frustration about things like this is that it effectively diminishes my ability to have a civil discussion, which I value. I prefer to start out with the presumption that I am talking with adult, intelligent, honest people who simply have a difference of opinion.

But this is nonsense. And so, when people defend it, I have to determine whether I am dealing with somebody who really believes Obama was going to use 15 minutes to indoctrinate somebody into a socialist agenda, in which case they are an idiot, or I have to determine that they don't believe this, but believe it is politically expedient to behave as they do, in which case they are unethical liars. And to say, well, listen, either you're an idiot or a liar is just uncivil, but the discussion I refuse to have is that this isn't total horseshit manufactured by a party that is so infuriated to be out of power that they will demonize the man who is in power, even to the point of concocting lunatic conspiracy theories when he tries to tell children that education is a good and important thing.

I won't have the debate pushed away from the truth. I won't do it. So what is it? Idiot? Or liar?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:04 PM on September 4, 2009 [61 favorites]


Ah yes, Obama won Cumberland county by nearly 18 percent, or about 20K votes.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:05 PM on September 4, 2009


Arguments like yours above (paraphrased: "Kids are spending every second preparing for standardized tests so that even 45 minutes on the first day of school hearing the President give them an inspirational message is bad") are so irrational that it's hard to believe that this is your real reason - so we look for something else.

(If the school system is such that that is really true, you're completely fucked - why not save your energy to try to fix that instead?)


It wasn't an argument; it's what greeted me from my morning newspaper along with my Frosted Mini-Wheats. All Hail the Immovable Standardized Test....seriously. Why do you think I homeschooled for four years? Because public school bureocracy is....well let's just say my opinion of it is pretty jaundiced. And the reentry of my children into that system didn't do much to change my opinion of it. Even Obama couldn't bring THAT change. *grin*
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:06 PM on September 4, 2009


I was scouring the blue earlier today looking for this very post. I was going to post it myself but I didn't want to look dumb in the case it was a double, so I refrained.

I'm glad somebody finally posted about it and I'm really excited to see what mefites think of this nonsense.
posted by cusack at 7:06 PM on September 4, 2009


Wow, maybe it's just because this is randomly the high school I attended, but my immediate thought was: how would this have fit in when I was in school? Well, this would be far from the biggest waste of time. I remember one time in middle school (same system) they hauled some nut in to tell us that Egyptians were all black, and Napoleon was so unnerved by seeing that the Sphinx was black that he shot its nose off with a cannon. So just. Fuck. Man, you have to remember that damned near every moment of high school was a calculated waste of time. Their were entire math classes that were invented to prevent students from being subjected to calculus. My AP government teacher had us go outside and play with kickballs. And like little sissy-nuggets, we're giving parents the ability to pull their children away from this indoctrination, because it might just permanently ruin them somehow.

Also, the "what if" squad should just give it up. All presidents are constantly having photo-ops and whatnot with cute little children. Bush did it. "The Pet Goat" is particularly famous, but I bet he had dozens of trips just like it, maybe more. If you're getting upset about this, it's time to stop huffing.

Man, I really dislike many of Obama's policy decisions, a lot. But this kind of shit really makes me check myself.
posted by Humanzee at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


In your own county, Obama won the general election by a substantial margin, as I recall. Or are we not talking about Fayetteville and Cumberland County?

It was also the same county where people attending the Obama rally got tires slashed, where an African American teacher was accused of berating a child who said her parents were voting for McCain, and where Dianne Fanning, upon Obama entering the barbecue restaurant she was having lunch at, started yelling at him, "Socialist! Socialist".

Let's just say my total hatred for all politics was conpletely solidified during that time period.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:10 PM on September 4, 2009


Y'know, when Obama's speech turns out to be an unhinged rant about Vince Foster being murdered, secret Zionist/shape-shifting reptile conspiracies, the Vatican-Mafia axis, and Waco Texas, these Republicans are going to feel like they shot themselves in the foot.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 7:11 PM on September 4, 2009 [19 favorites]


From the link posted by Secret Life of Gravy:

The right move by the school district. When will we learn the government IS NOT THE ANSWER. Why not raise our kids to think for themselves and make informed opinions without having been feed a load of CRAP from the government. And as long as I a tax paying citizen, Obama, Pelosi, Frank, ETC...are all slaves to me and the rest of the tax paying AMERICANS, WAKE UP PEOPLE AND HOLD THESE CLOWNS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. I PLEDGE TO VOTE EVERY INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE !!!!!!!

Can I just say how sick I am of being told to "wake up" every time I read comments on political stories? It's like a really, really partisan alarm clock.
posted by HostBryan at 7:12 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


any more than America's citizenry is made up of screeching lunatics who would shout down a Spanish bishop for daring to speak his native language.

Wow. I really wanted to give the other side the benefit of the doubt, but the whole anti-reform side went ape shit-- booing, screaming and chanting "English". I didn't think it a was ALL about race. I guess I was wrong.
posted by stavrogin at 7:13 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The parents are teaching their kids that if someone is saying something they disagree with, they should cover their ears.
posted by drezdn at 7:13 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


If I had the ability, I'd round up a giant van, attach a big screen tv and speaker and drive around the Elmbrook school district, so the kids can hear what they're missing.
posted by drezdn at 7:14 PM on September 4, 2009


From the latest article on CNN: "Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me," suburban Colorado mother Shanneen Barron told CNN Denver affiliate KMGH. "I'm an American. They are Americans, and I don't feel that's OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now."

It really upsets and scares you to have POTUS tell your children to stay in school? That's really fucking sad. I'm so glad the White House response has been that these types of sentiments are nonsense. Cause they are.
posted by agregoli at 7:15 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


sfenders: Thank you, brother, for reminding me that this sort of obscenity is not exclusive to our southern neighbours. I, like you, listened meekly like a patsy to this annual message from "The Queen." Whose queen, I say? She's married to a Greek! Has anyone seen her birth certificate?

More seriously: given the still-prominent or preeminent position of the US on the world stage, this sort of paralysis of reason is tragic, demoralizing, and dangerous. American brothers and sisters, you don't need me to tell you that the worst of your fellow citizens are fucking things up, not just for your country, but for the whole world. I can think of no other first-world country where the citizens would be outraged on behalf of the corporations who are energetically engaged in screwing them. Without even making a secret of the fact! Such sheer, deliberate, proud ignorance. Like a bunch of cows obnoxiously and proudly nosing the rest of us out of the way as they make their way to the slaughterhouse. U! S! A!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:17 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Right-wing opposition to this speech is not based primarily on racism, or classroom schedules, or principle. It's actually a very rational tactical decision, as a speech like this poses a significant threat to Republicans.

You have a young, charismatic, good-looking, "cool" President who attained his position by, in part, being good at school. He's going to have exclusive airtime with the vast majority of the nation's children. It doesn't matter what he says, whether it's "stay in school" or "tell your parents to support the public option." What matters is that he's going to give a great speech, he's going to be likable yet "presidential," and the audience is likely to come away with a good impression of him, or at least with a better impression than they previously had. And that rightly scares conservatives, because their strategy is based on distortion and demonization. Kids who get all their exposure to the president through Fox News and dinner-table rants by parents are going to see, at least a little bit, what this guy is really all about.

So, you see, Obama can't be allowed to speak to the nation's children, because they just might like him.
posted by brain_drain at 7:18 PM on September 4, 2009 [91 favorites]


Let me frame this a little differently, after thinking about it.

A lot of Americans are scared. Lots of folks losing their homes, being laid off their jobs. They pick up the news and read about the economy. They are scared. They are confused.

And their fear and their confusion, for some of them, are directed at their leaders. Whether fair or not.

Yes, some of these folks are racist. But I think the majority are just plain scared, don't have an idea where this country is headed in a lot of areas, and at this point are so sick of both sides of the aisle they are ready to explode.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:20 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Brain Drain also has a point. I'm cynical enough to believe it.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:21 PM on September 4, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies, so why do so many of the scared and confused people take out their fear and confusion on Democrat leaders exclusively?
posted by Dysk at 7:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


at this point are so sick of both sides of the aisle they are ready to explode.

I just don't think this is true. It's no where near equivalent. The left can be frustrated and unpleasant at time, but the right has slipped completely off the deep end.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:24 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


(That'll teach me not to preview. I too am cynical enough to buy brain_drain's explanation, at least until any rational alternative explanation can be offered.)
posted by Dysk at 7:24 PM on September 4, 2009


For some people, this is at least partly about race. For others, it was just about the language of "helping the President" in the lesson plan. That was indeed kind of creepy phrasing. But if Glenn Beck has convinced you that Obama and his cronies are literally planning a socialist coup, I bet it sounds terrifying. And I bet GB's Tweeted pleas to 'pray for more time' even sound sensible.
posted by Monsters at 7:28 PM on September 4, 2009


Can I just say how sick I am of being told to "wake up" every time I read comments on political stories? It's like a really, really partisan alarm clock.

I think that frequent use of the phrase "wake up" is a sign of paranoia. Every time I've seen it used has been in the context of an unhinged political rant about some conspiracy or another.

The paranoid is obsessed with the occult, and I mean that in its original definition of 'hidden'. They believe that there are hidden forces that control everything, and generally in a way that's negative for them. They believe that they have a unique ability to see those forces in action. They'll often talk about 'opening your eyes' or 'waking up', because they aren't arguing from a logical position, even though they may think they are. They believe that it's Self Evident. And the only thing that's preventing other people from agreeing with them is that they either can't see what's in front of them or refuse to see it.

The exact form the conspiracy takes isn't as important as the fact that There Is a Conspiracy. They'll easily hop from one dark actor to another -- maybe the Catholics now, the Communists next week. There is really only one conspiracy to them.

The paranoid lives in a world where symbols matter more than reality. If they're christians, they obsess on the Cross and 'demonic' symbols like the pentagram. If they're hard core republicans, they'll focus on the flag and the hammer and cycle. They imbue symbols with magical power, both good and bad. That's why they obsess so much on the pledge of allegiance and In God We Trust on the coins. They're totems of power.

It's an incredibly primitive worldview. And you can't reason with these people because they aren't reasonable people. A great deal of them might actually be mentally ill.

The problem now isn't that there are more paranoid people in America, I don't think there are -- the problem now is that the right wing is actively marketing itself to paranoid people and -- more importantly and more frighteningly -- organizing, arming and funding them.

I think we're actually in a dangerous, dangerous time. A right wing paranoid is going to kill somebody. Possibly lots of people. And I think, unfortunately, there will be hell to pay.
posted by empath at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2009 [21 favorites]


Being scared doesn't excuse people from making things up to be afraid of. It doesn't excuse people from distorting facts. It doesn't excuse people from ignoring all logic in favor of their boogeymen.

When Democrats expressed their fear of the actions of Bush and Co., from what I saw, it was based on what he was actually doing. I haven't seen many reasoned arguments from Republicans about why the actual things Obama is doing scares them. Instead we have death panels and things like, "Obama is going to push policy to our kids" when it's just a freaking stay-in-school speech.
posted by agregoli at 7:32 PM on September 4, 2009


empath: If they're hard core republicans, they'll focus on the flag and the hammer and cycle.

Damn these bicycling socialists, ruining the good ol' American car industry. Buy an SUV and pay for gas, hippie scum!
posted by Dysk at 7:33 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


To be frank, I am pretty disgusted.

Seriously, it's hard not to be misanthropic these days...

Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise, maybe I've just been in denial, but it's very clear now that a large chunk of our country is comprised of complete idiots. This isn't just hyperbole either. I am truly convinced that there are just so many people in the United States who have absolutely no capability of thinking for themselves that there is no possible way that the United States will ever be "Great" again. I love the concept of America and Democracy, but when your average citizen's political knowledge is comprised entirely of partisan talking points, democracy cannot function. I don't see how we can heal this any time soon, either.

Look, assholes, he's our fucking President. As much as I hated Bush, I would never have batted an eye if he wanted to talk to kids about staying in school. In fact I would have found it to be a very good thing.

Frankly, children should be having civics lessons and learning the functions of government rather than being exposed to politics at all in their youth. Unfortunately, parents don't care about education anymore, they care about political indoctrination. It's amazing to me how blatantly hypocritical someone is without even realizing it when they talk about a president's "stay in school" speech being "socialist indoctrination" and then talking about yanking their kids out. Do parents not realize that they too are indoctrinating their children into blind politics?
posted by autobahn at 7:33 PM on September 4, 2009


A right wing paranoid is going to kill somebody.

Possibly lots of people.

I agree we're in a dangerous time.
posted by hifiparasol at 7:34 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Btw, if you find yourself arguing politics with a right-wing conspiracy theorist, the correct tact is NOT to argue that there is no conspiracy. The correct strategy is to argue that the conspiracy is behind the OTHER SIDE!

Study your leftist conspiracy literature, people, it can come in handy. Fight crazy with crazy.
posted by empath at 7:36 PM on September 4, 2009


empath: Study your leftist conspiracy literature, people, it can come in handy. Fight crazy with crazy.

Ah yes, that same logic that has given us valuable lessons on how to fight hatred and fire. No, wait...
posted by Dysk at 7:37 PM on September 4, 2009


Truthfully, I think part of the problem is that the right wing has to be everybody's right wing. They constructed a very slight majority by targeting a number of demographics that simply do not agree with each other. Libertarians are not going to get along with the religious right who are not going to get along with economic conservatives who are not going to get along with free market absolutists, etc., etc., etc. But they have forged this unholy and inherently contradictory alliance, because many of the leaders of the Republican movement favor power above all else, and will do or say anything to get there, and so make the necessary promises to single-issue voters, and toss the appropriate dog whistles into their speeches, and shake hands with the right preacher or condemn the right union guy, and carefully demonize the opposition, so that their voters live in terror of what a democrat might do -- force abortions on children, or make Spanish the official language, or make Voodoo the official religion, or whatever scares people the most.

The Republican party has no interest in bipartisanship. The people who were in politics for noble causes in the party are gone or marginalized, replaced by a mixture of craven powermongers and bling true believers, and what they're retraining themselves how to do right now is how to be an effective opposition. How to so thoroughly undermine anything Obama does, and how to so thoroughly make him a despised figure, that he will lose the next election and a Republican can take power again. Right now, utter wingnuttery seems to be doing the trick. You'd think it wouldn't. You'd think people would say, oh, that's crazy. We can't let crazy people dictate politics.

And yet Obama's speech will NOT be heard by millions of American children, because crazy people are afraid he will teach their kids socialism. And, if this tactic works, the right will use it again and again and again, because all they care about is getting back in power, and they don't mind that it has utterly and perhaps permanently poisoned our ability to have reasoned discussions about actual issues, in which all partners share common facts, and that, without this, we cannot have a democracy.

That's our future if we capitulate to these sorts of tactics. A future in which anything, no matter how unambiguously right and just and good, such as telling kids to stay in school, can be undermined and destroyed by people shouting nonsense. It's politics by trolling, and I would hope the Democrats could come up with an effective response to this, because God help us if they don't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:38 PM on September 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


a large chunk of our country is comprised of complete idiots.

Have you ever met someone with an IQ of 100? Half the people in the country are lower than that.
posted by empath at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


A lot of Americans are scared. Lots of folks losing their homes, being laid off their jobs. They pick up the news and read about the economy. They are scared. They are confused.

And who exploits their dread and their confusion to generate irrational hatred? You are conveniently ignoring that part of the story.
posted by blucevalo at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


It was also the same county where people attending the Obama rally got tires slashed, where an African American teacher was accused of berating a child who said her parents were voting for McCain, and where Dianne Fanning, upon Obama entering the barbecue restaurant she was having lunch at, started yelling at him, "Socialist! Socialist".

Let's just say my total hatred for all politics was conpletely solidified during that time period.


It seems you are using a mighty broad brush to paint both sides as evil for the actions of one.
posted by graventy at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2009


Now I'm picturing some shadowy government nerd in the Obama administration who looks like Michael Bolton in Office Space: "We could hide our socialist message in the speech so that only the kids can hear it. It's like Halloween III."

Because staying in school is for SOCIALISTS, don'cha know.

Well, he does want them to stay in public school.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:41 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


What in the Hell has happened to this country?

Truly weird stuff.
posted by gcbv at 7:41 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


No time for a presidential address? That's funny, because many schools across the nation practice "released time," which allows children to be excused from school for religious instruction. No Child "Left Behind" indeed.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:41 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Study your leftist conspiracy literature, people, it can come in handy. Fight crazy with crazy.

Ah yes, that same logic that has given us valuable lessons on how to fight hatred and fire. No, wait...


I wasn't being entirely serious. But the goal is more to sow confusion than hate.
posted by empath at 7:41 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


To you on the sane side of the fence: please move to Canada. The aare plenty like you here and so very few of the batshit crazy. You can camp in my yard.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:42 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoopstypos. Big fingers, Asus Eee keyboard.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:43 PM on September 4, 2009


They, uh, might not be quite so sick with both sides if one side's leaders didn't actually spend the majority of their energies being belligerent obstructionists, calling for armed resistance, secession, bloodletting, demanding birth certificates, and generally actively stoking the fear rather than trying to calm it. I will be in the other room when the actual praise starts for the Democratic party, but I will stand front and center and say equating the two parties right now is way off base, From leadership to the active base the Republicans at this point and time are off their rockers, completely. They boarder on violent and stray into violent fantasies frequently, the rhetoric is asinine and demonstratively false. There are certainly exceptions but those exceptions have allowed a corruption of the party, much as the fundamentalists have corrupted religion.

And frankly I will take the Democratic hand wringing and bickering over the Republican, yes lets call it true, racism and verbal abuse. There is no equating the two, it's like calling the local pot dealer and the head of the Syndicate equivalent.
posted by edgeways at 7:43 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I live in NoVa.. there's not much crazy here. I'm totally okay with the south seceding, if they want to, though.
posted by empath at 7:44 PM on September 4, 2009


Politically, I'm generally very much in the middle and non-partisan, yet even I agree that the right, the conservatives, the republicans - have all gone off the deep end. They are just full of absolute crazy these days. How can I vote for any candidate in that party, even if I do agree with them? This is why the system is broken, I can't consciously vote for a Republican ever again because that would be tacitly approving of their disgusting politics.

I am not sure that people are definitely going to die like some predict, but I am convinced that the Republicans are trying their hardest, whether they know it or not, to turn hateful politics into violent politics.
posted by autobahn at 7:48 PM on September 4, 2009


I'm totally okay with the south seceding, if they want to, though.

Northern Virginia is the south, believe it (and like it) or not. Yeah, even Fairfax and Arlington Counties.
posted by blucevalo at 7:49 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love that the GOP's response is that children should "be skeptical of authority." Really? That's your position? Since when?

Ooh, ohh, I know the answer to this one!

November 5th 2008?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:49 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Bush had wanted to address the kids...
You know, when I was in Washington in the summer of '89, GHW Bush was addressing the Future Farmers of America in an auditorium next to where my group was. We all huddled in the hallway, waited for the president to leave after his speech, and caught a glimpse of him as he turned around to glance at us while he was walking down the hall out of the building. You know, it was pretty cool.

You know, my natural instinct is to dismiss this kind of civic pablum as a waste of time ("Stay in school! Don't use drugs! Be nice to your parents, they have a tough job!"). We really don't need to president to tell us to stay in school. Cynical hipster that I was and am, if I were in school, I'd mock this as kind of silly. But these are the same schools in which all the children line up, every morning, put their hands on their hearts and chant the Pledge of Allegiance. Every. Day. With the patriotic chanting. It's part of the civic religion, and a national address to students in the first start of theschool year of Obama's presidency is just part of that.
posted by deanc at 7:50 PM on September 4, 2009


Sometime near the end of Bill Clinton's first term in office, he came to visit my high school and give a speech about drugs. It was the press junket of sorts for introducing the Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey. I was a senior at the time, and it really wasn't *that* long ago (going on 14 years), but let me tell you what I remember about that day.

I remember that some actors from some popular urban detective television show on FOX came into the auditorium, and all the girls started screaming. TI remember Mark, our student body president and all-around nice-guy, gave the introduction. I remember being both envious of and happy for him for getting that auspicious duty. The image I have of that moment is the one from the last page of the yearbook.

Clinton, when he started his speech, thanked Mark by name. I remember absolutely nothing else about the speech. It was about drugs, I guess, and Gen. McCaffrey. I remember not really liking him, thinking the title of "Drug Czar" was a dumb one. I believed we had more important things to worry about. I'd never touched drugs, and didn't plan on doing so anytime soon, so what did I care? Did they take questions? No clue. Did they broadcast it to other schools? Probably not.

After the speech was over, we all piled out the back of the auditorium, which led to the hallway to the cafeteria. It was my lunch period. I was hungry. In the ensuing crowds trying to touch the President and the other famous people, my way to the cafeteria was blocked, and I was tired of all the hubbub and I just wanted to get to my friends and food. I yelled out, "Let's move it along, Drug Czar!" (like I had heard our Principal and Assistant Principals do to the students so many times). I think he might have heard me. *That* image is etched into my mind (as is the glaring looks from my friends, as I had *totally* embarrassed them).

Later that year, at our graduation, Janet Reno (Attorney General) was our keynote speaker. *That* speech I remember more of, likely because she was a woman like myself, who didn't fit the mainstream beauty standards and had taken a lot of bullying for it, but kept on like (because) it didn't matter. She told a story about her mother, who had built her own house, sitting on the front porch during Hurricane Andrew without an ounce of fear in her, because she knew the strength of that house, borne of her own hands. She and the house survived. That image is still one of the most powerful pieces of encouragement that I've ever received, and I think about it often.

So, I guess my point is, each kid is probably going to take something different away from this Obama speech. In ten, 15, 20 years, who knows what they'll remember. And by that point most of their parents will be on Medicare and we'll be arguing about Health Care again, I'm sure.
posted by sarahnade at 7:54 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Northern Virginia is the south, believe it (and like it) or not. Yeah, even Fairfax and Arlington Counties.
In the event of southern secession, those of us in the DC metro area are all ready to form a militia, hop across the Potomac, and liberate Arlington and Fairfax counties and Alexandria City from the bootheel of the confederacy. Sorry Prince William, Fauquier, and Loudon Counties, we never really liked you, anyway.
posted by deanc at 7:56 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


The 47% of Northeast Virginia that will be voting for Bob "Women Don't Belong in the Workplace" McDonnell salute your tilting at windmills.
posted by blucevalo at 7:58 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clinton tried to coopt the Republicans. They still vilified him.

Obama's trying to reason with and respect the Republicans. And they're still vilifying him.

Here's hoping (if Obama doesn't come around first, but I fear it's not in his temperament) the next Democratic president will get down in the mud and fight them.

Fuck bipartisanship, at this point they are the enemy. Every chance they've had, for the last two decades or more, they've used dirty bullshit tactics like this. Come on Democrats: it's time to wake up, realize it, and grow a spine.
posted by notswedish at 8:01 PM on September 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Senor Cardgage: "Do they even have ONE website?
Is there a single online forum where sensible Republicans hang out?

Cuz Ive never heard of it.
"

If you ignore the virulent xenophobia, LittleGreenFootballs is pretty sensible on issues like evolution, and founder Charles Johnson isn't afraid to call out the more idiotic right-wing talking points.

hifiparasol: "Obama stayed in school, worked his ass off, earned the trust of millions* and became president. Bush was born with a silver spoon up his ass, coasted drunkenly through higher ed on legacy and cash, and went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, and was elected president via legal loophole, the disingenuous actions of his followers, and a lucky supreme court case."
"To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done," said the president, dressed in a blue graduation gown with black stripes. "And to the C students, I say: You, too, can be president of the United States."
posted by Rhaomi at 8:01 PM on September 4, 2009


I live in NoVa.. there's not much crazy here. I'm totally okay with the south seceding, if they want to, though.
posted by empath


That's kind of the problem playing the us against them card. You slip up and suddenly you're one of them. And that kind of sucks for you, because now you have to go.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:01 PM on September 4, 2009


In the event of southern secession, those of us in the DC metro area are all ready to form a militia, hop across the Potomac, and liberate Arlington and Fairfax counties and Alexandria City from the bootheel of the confederacy.

I think anywhere within walking distance of metro should be safe.
posted by empath at 8:03 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love how fucking insane having a black president is driving racists in America.
posted by The Straightener at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


If you ignore the virulent xenophobia, LittleGreenFootballs is pretty sensible on issues like evolution, and founder Charles Johnson isn't afraid to call out the more idiotic right-wing talking points.

I just want to repeat this:

LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS is now a bastion of sanity on the right wing.

Think about that for a second.
posted by empath at 8:05 PM on September 4, 2009 [32 favorites]


LGF must have changed somewhat then, I recall after the 2006 election when the Rs lost congress there was some pretty vocal calls over there hoping for the East Coast to be literally nuked. I haven't paid it any attention since.
posted by edgeways at 8:08 PM on September 4, 2009


To you on the sane side of the fence: please move to Canada.

Cut that shit out! You do NOT want the most powerful country in the world left in the hands of right wing extremists with little or no opposition. That would be bad for everyone. Better to encourage the sane, the reasonable, those with critical thinking skills to stay steadfast and fight for control.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:11 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


My daughter just started third grade. She brought a note home today basically saying the school is going to record the broadcast and review the content to decide if there are any teachable moments that could be used later.
posted by Sailormom at 8:14 PM on September 4, 2009


When I first came to mefi, the userbase was collectively a lot more... not necessarily intelligent, but certainly more thoughtful than this. It was definitely less partisan.

I try to stay away from comments on most news sites/forums, etc., as there's no conversation worth having between the trolls and the angry partisans.

I thought about replying to some of you, but you're just not worth it.

It used to be that the good ol' blue was a refuge for intelligent and reasoned/reasonable debate. Sad to see that gone...
posted by krash2fast at 8:15 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


What does it say about us as a country, that so many people oppose our own leader encouraging our kids to stay in school? We have no problem allowing kids to be bombarded with commercials for mindless consumer crap for several hours a day.

So why the opposition to a brief advertisement for a single concept that might actually benefit them later on in life? If your kid wants to accomplish great things in their lifetime, a GED may not be enough to do it.

Idiocracy references are getting kind of old, but this fiasco reads like something straight from the script.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


well krash2fast, by all means lead by example. What precisely do you wish to counter?
posted by edgeways at 8:20 PM on September 4, 2009


krash2fast, without you actually backing up what you just said with examples and counterarguments, you're not actually contributing to the nonpartisan dialogue you claim to miss, but instead contributing to the noise.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:20 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


krash2fast. Come on, man. You're being a dick. Please stop.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


It used to be that the good ol' blue was a refuge for intelligent and reasoned/reasonable debate. Sad to see that gone...

Says the guy who dipped his toe into the conversation with a blanket "fuck you!"
posted by cl at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


krash2fast, obviously ending a comment with a big FUCK YOU was the best way to engender intelligent discussion. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
posted by empath at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


I thought about replying to some of you, but you're just not worth it.
Oh sure, that's a reasonable response-- I mean, why would you want to bother replying? We are obviously so thoughtless and far too stupid to attain your level of discourse.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's what I just sent to the Board of Education at my local district...after the superintendent wants to vet teacher lesson plans...


"It is really not significant that "parents called" to complain about the President's speech. To ask teachers to vet their lesson plans in advance because it involves a speech by the President is inappropriate, unless this is done for EVERY speech by any President, living or dead.

The reasons for the objections are transparent, we don't need to discuss this, if the district folds to this type of pressure from either side of the political spectrum, you're setting a precedent that is dangerous and destructive to the educational process in this community. Involving our students in core democratic values (democratic as in form of government, not political party) is essential.

Please be aware that this oppression is wrong and unacceptable.

If we censor this speech, will we censor the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Fireside Chats, and Kennedy's speech in Berlin as well.

How many parents were notified when Bush entered a classroom on 9/11 to read to them, how many were given the opportunity to pull their kids from the class?

Think about what we are doing here, the simplistic answer you give me is not going to fly. Who is the expert on what is right in terms of curriculum, teachers or parents.

I'm a Veteran, my son is a vet from Iraq, we both took an oath to defend the Constitution and the people of the United States with our lives if necessary to support rights under the 1st Amendment... this kind of behavior on the part of our Superintendent is unacceptable.

What do we say to the families whose children came home in flag draped coffins about the fact that the children in our country, in OUR community, are not allowed to listen to a speech given and specifically directed to them by the democratically elected President of our country? What does the Constitution mean in this community.

I expect a formal answer to this on behalf of the Pinckney Community Schools, on behalf of the Board of Education, and widely disseminated to all media channels. "

posted by HuronBob at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2009 [50 favorites]


At some point in time, hopefully soon after he's recovered from the Martha's Vineyard farooz, my president will put his pants on and use his bully pulpit to put these people in their place. And I hope he does so soon. That's what I'm paying him for. He's the dependable, calming contractor who's going to fix my house after my ex-wife got her way with the licensing board and converted my old Victorian into a gypsy palace. Tuesday after Labor Day is a great day to start, Barry. I'll be here all fucking day long waiting for you to show up.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


jsavimbi: "He's the dependable, calming contractor who's going to fix my house after my ex-wife got her way with the licensing board and converted my old Victorian into a gypsy palace."

Um, probably not the best metaphor, considering.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:30 PM on September 4, 2009


Shockingly enough, Little Green Footballs' thread about the controversy is pretty darned amusing, particularly Charles' response to a suggestion that the Republicans be given the opportunity to respond to Obama's speech:
I know! Maybe the Republican spokesperson could come on and tell the kids why it's a horrible idea to stay in school, because school is just going to teach them commie values!

Maybe they could teach the kids it's a horrible idea to set goals and excel academically, because the commies are just going to kick down their doors at 2am and haul them off to FEMA camps anyway!

Yeah. Now there's a school address the GOP can get behind.
Heh.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:31 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Leaving the controversy to one side for a moment, surely he must realize that schools kinda have schedules and things going on? Wouldn't this have been better if broadcast in the evenings for the whole family?

....That didn't stop President Reagan from addressing students during school hours when I was in school...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 PM on September 4, 2009


My old school district is opting out of the speech. And that makes me very sad.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:33 PM on September 4, 2009


Not a single public-school student in Boston will see the speech. Not because we've suddenly turned insane, but because school doesn't start here until Sept. 10.
posted by adamg at 8:37 PM on September 4, 2009


just reading the content of this fpp (not any of the linked content, nor any of the comments) has already raised my blood pressure, almost certainly, beyond its historical high-point. I'm really not sure I can handle the added "stimulation" of actually reading the linked material.

and I already have a fairly high blood-bourbon ratio this evening...anyone interested in exchanging *blip blip* for citizenship in nearly any other country in this solar system????
posted by supermedusa at 8:37 PM on September 4, 2009


sooooo embarrassed...that was supposed to be *bleep bleep*
posted by supermedusa at 8:38 PM on September 4, 2009


I remember all the crazyness in the 90s before the OKC bombing (which, I think, really mitigated most of it) but this stuff seems way worse. I wonder if the difference is just the internet, though. I mean these people all get together and hang out online and post stuff for the whole world to see.

But on the other hand, There's Glen Beck now. It seems like the whole of the republican party has gone around the bend, not just the base.
posted by delmoi at 8:39 PM on September 4, 2009


jbickers : Hats off to Elmbrook!

Sometimes I truly hate my neighbors.

And no, despite what you've heard, I'm absolutely not considering drunkenly staggering over to one of the schools in this district and flinging poo in my own form of futile protest.

I'm reserving that for the people in my neighborhood still rocking McCain/ Palin signs on their lawns.
posted by quin at 8:42 PM on September 4, 2009


enough is enough - i see no reason why the public airwaves, which belong to ALL of us, should be used by ONE political clique to wind up their listeners into a frothing frenzy with quasi-racist propaganda

it's time to bring the fairness doctrine back
posted by pyramid termite at 8:43 PM on September 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


I expect a formal answer to this on behalf of the Pinckney Community Schools, on behalf of the Board of Education, and widely disseminated to all media channels.

HuronBob: Seriously, beat them to it. You would be SERIOUSLY KICK-ASS if you sent that letter, exactly as it is, to your local newspapers and any other media outlets that are out there. You probably won't get an answer, but your question will get a lot of other people thinking, and damn, that's important to have start happening now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:47 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you ignore the virulent xenophobia, LittleGreenFootballs is pretty sensible on issues like evolution, and founder Charles Johnson isn't afraid to call out the more idiotic right-wing talking points.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:01 PM on September 4


First thing I saw at LGF:
Creationist Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is joining the bizarre bandwagon of deluded people who think Barack Obama is going to mesmerize their children into becoming commie robots with a 20-minute speech on the first day of school
So that's cool. And most of the comments are pretty reasonable, although most of us will disagree with some of the asides on policy issues. And there's a little running aside about tarragon.

And it has this:
Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy did a little digging, and found the following line from George H. W. Bush's 1991 speech to schools (bolding his): ''Let me know how you're doing. Write me a letter. I'm serious about this one. Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals.''
posted by joannemerriam at 8:48 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


megascrolly nutso copypasta

This is the worst Jumble ever.


COLLAPSES UNTO A PYGMY SCROTA
posted by swell at 8:49 PM on September 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm hoping he will be the Inspirer-in-Chief. Let it rip Mr. President, they won't be able to ignore you.
posted by Edward L at 8:50 PM on September 4, 2009


pyramid termite: I have wanted to see the fairness doctrine reinstated for YEARS now. Please, if you have any good ideas on how to convince those in power to actually do that, let me know. I'll devote plenty of time to the cause, because I agree -- the public airwaves have been stolen from the public and need to be given back.
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Why do you think I homeschooled for four years? "

Crazy anti-science beliefs combined with a fervent yet muddled theology, I assumed.
posted by klangklangston at 8:56 PM on September 4, 2009 [26 favorites]


Nearly all the school districts in the county I am a reporter in is not showing the speech. (It's a mostly Republican county south of Cleveland) I can't really blame them--several have levies on the ballot in November and they need every vote they can muster.
Although one superintendent seemed quite disgusted about the whole thing and the time wasted on it. His concern was that there would be logistical problems about kids opting out, etc.
The one district allowing each building to decide for itself will likely be the same result. If you're a principal, why risk angry phone calls and interruptions to the school day? I was told very little notice was given.
Obama's PR people really f*u*ed up this one and should be fired immediately for even cooking up the idea, they should know better.
posted by greatalleycat at 8:56 PM on September 4, 2009


Right-wing opposition to this speech is not based primarily on racism, or classroom schedules, or principle. It's actually a very rational tactical decision, as a speech like this poses a significant threat to Republicans.

In the leadership, yes. Those at the top have only their crazy zombie army and control of the media as weapons, having abandoned all pretense of belief in democracy or government, and I'll hand it to them; they've taken that amazingly far. Though I think that media control is more key. None of this craziness would have gotten so much traction without the media's complicity on behalf of their corporate ownership. And at those high levels, it's about power, not so much race specifically, though of course they prefer to keep power among those like themselves, who are generally wealthy white dudes.

But for the actual zombies, yeah: racism is a big one. Plus sexism, ignorance, hysteria, mob mentality, and heaping helpings of irrational fear and generalized resentment looking for a target.
posted by emjaybee at 8:58 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Um, probably not the best metaphor, considering.

I have no idea of what you mean by that. Have you never seen a gypsy palace?
posted by jsavimbi at 8:58 PM on September 4, 2009


''Let me know how you're doing. Write me a letter. I'm serious about this one. Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals.''

Interesting. The people who are pretending that they have a reasonable objection to Obama's speech are using an almost identical wording, already changed, in supplemental materials, as the basis for their argument that the ambiguity in the sentence is really the reason they object.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:58 PM on September 4, 2009


Wait, so I'm the only person here who was corralled into a elementary school cafeteria to see the Challenger explode?

Time to man up, 3rd grade,
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:58 PM on September 4, 2009 [15 favorites]


Wait, so I'm the only person here who was corralled into a elementary school cafeteria to see the Challenger explode?

I watched it in my 7th grade science class.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:10 PM on September 4, 2009


I was a senior in high school. So a lot of you don't remember the 70s, huh?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:12 PM on September 4, 2009


I got to watch the OJ verdict in high school. Is that close?
posted by ODiV at 9:12 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wait, so I'm the only person here who was corralled into a elementary school cafeteria to see the Challenger explode?

That happened during my senior year in high school, and because I didn't need to take a full day of classes in order to graduate that year, my school days began with 3rd period. I was at home, watching live on television when the Challenger exploded.

I quickly went to my school (earlier than normal) and went in to talk to our principal, who was charmingly named Dr. Noe. (He was Mr Noe until my Junior year when he completed his degree.) I told him that he should maybe check out the news because the space shuttle had just exploded. Sadly, my reputation for practical jokes and administration harassment preceded me in this instance, and he did not believe me. I had to drag him down the hall into the library's media room and tune into a news broadcast before he would give any credence to my words.

After that, he announced on the P.A. system what had happened, and most of the school day after that was taken up with kids crowded around the televisions which were quickly scattered around the school and tuned into broadcasts of the disaster. It was one of the more surreal days of my life.
posted by hippybear at 9:14 PM on September 4, 2009


I should add that my school district, the same one that is opting out of Obama's speech, welcomed President Reagan with open arms to make a campaign appearance at my high school in October 1984. (I was in junior high at the time, so I didn't get to see him.)
posted by SisterHavana at 9:15 PM on September 4, 2009


I was in fifth grade when the Challenger exploded, I think. I remember making jokes with some of the other boys, and one of the smarter girls in the class asked me what I'd think if that were our teacher up there.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2009


The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

Somedays I find all this hilariously absurd but most days, I find it depressing. Today, all this lunacy might have tipped me into the sloughs of despair but for one unexpected event.

I have a corporate client who is pretty right wing. So much so that that I've generally just eschewed politics as a discussion point altogether. But at a meeting today, someone made a joke to him about his being such a die-hard republican and he protested "who, whoa, whoa - I am conservative, but don't paint me in the corner with the crazies." Later, I was talking to another person about his startling disavowal and learned he has been sidling to the center for a few months now because he is disturbed by the mean-spiritedness and fanaticism he sees on the right.

I think how 10 years ago, most of the middle and senior business managers I work with were almost monolithically republican. As a liberal, I was a stranger in an alien land. But I've seen a decade-long erosion starting with a steady and consistent distancing from Bush-Cheney et al. As one CEO put it to me: "The one thing I will always hold most against that s.o.b. Bush is that he forced me to vote Democratic." A few were mildly encouraged when McCain came on the scene only to be completely unhinged by Palin. And today, I see one of the most die-hard corporate right wingers I knew putting distance between himself and the party he has identified with over a lifetime.

Yes, he may revert back tomorrow, and yes, this is anecdotal, and yes, I live in a geographic bastion of liberalism. But on the days when I am not laughing until I cry over all this, or just plain crying, I have a glimmer of hope that that some of these evil and cynical right wing bastards who are thriving on discord may have well and truly overplayed their hand.

A ray of hope? Until I remember how lily-livered and lacking in conviction the Democrats are. Maybe my business colleagues haven't moved at all, maybe they have simply stayed still and everything else has has just careened sharply to the right.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


Its heartbreaking, but I guess a democracy is only as good as lowest common denominator.
posted by freshundz at 9:18 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Its heartbreaking, but I guess a democracy is only as good as lowest common denominator.

Oh, god. I hope not.
posted by ColdChef at 9:28 PM on September 4, 2009


because he is disturbed by the mean-spiritedness and fanaticism he sees on the right

I beg to disagree. The right wing, er, Republican party has been overtaken by poor, ignorant, white trash. Who in their right mind, mean-spirited and fanatical aside, would want to be lopped in and associated with them? I sure the hell wouldn't. They cultivated these people, seduced them with promises of cultural equality in return for ideological discipline and now that they find themselves as equal partners, the front porch seems a little too festooned with their poor cousins. Well, tough shit. It doesn't matter that your shoes cost more than your Rolex. To me, you're one and the same. Ideologically and culturally.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:33 PM on September 4, 2009


I should add that my school district, the same one that is opting out of Obama's speech, welcomed President Reagan with open arms to make a campaign appearance at my high school in October 1984.

my school district had my class go out and see nixon when he was running for president in 68 as he got off the plane at the airport

i was within 10 feet of him and he had the phoniest shit-eating grin on his face ... even as a naive 11 year old i would not have bought a used car from that man

damn, you know, when i was growing up we used to have a picture of the president in the school hallway - you know, because we were americans and that guy was the PRESIDENT

what the hell has happened to patriotism in this country, anyway?

oh, that's right - we got a black guy for president now ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Front Line Anecdote: I am currently living in my right-wing parents' basement. The sounds of Fox and Limbaugh regularly (and scheduled-ly) drift downstairs and mingle with The Clash. However, tonight was the first real, jumping-up-and-down fight I had with my parents in the 3 months of this strange and tenuous situation. The cause? While unsuccessfully trying to chop celery loud enough to drown out the Foxes hyperventilating about OMG Socialist Indoctrination of our youth!, I pointed out that they (my parents) had always said (during Bush2's tenure) that I ought to respect the office of the president, and certainly his talking to kids about the importance of education was pretty harmless. Maybe, I ventured, the POTUS talking to kids was sort of a good way for them to learn about government and (here's where I think I pushed some kind of nuclear-option button) "patriotism"? Ahh-oOOoH-Gha!! High-decibel cursing from both parents interlaced with Fox sound-bite-sized-zingers drowned any semblance of real argument for the next 15 minutes. It appears where Mr. Obama went wrong was that he suggested students write an essay about *gasp* helping teh president!!1!1!11 In the end, I retreated to the basement with my salad and risotto; to eat it while watching a Kiarostami movie. Like a good PC marxist feminazi.
posted by tingting at 10:01 PM on September 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


> I don't think that everyone against this is racist - that's specious reasoning. But I really don't get what the big deal is.

It isn't, of course. It's just the mefi subset that loves working itself into purple frothing apoplexy over politics, and they're out for a Friday night party. The ones who, had a butterfly flapped its wings ever so slightly differently one day in their past, could just as easily be bursting a vessel over on anncoulter.com. But for the grace of God, heh.


> The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
>
> Somedays I find all this hilariously absurd but most days, I find it depressing.

mjj, re-read the thread.
posted by jfuller at 10:01 PM on September 4, 2009


The ones who, had a butterfly flapped its wings ever so slightly differently one day in their past, could just as easily be bursting a vessel over on anncoulter.com.

guy, a pterodactyl pounding its wings and farting on a shitwagon couldn't have brought me to pop a zit over on anncoulter.com, much less burst a vessel

i've been exposed to this nonsense and people who believed in it all my life and it just didn't ever work for me

it's that thinking thing i like to do sometimes - it just gets in the way ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:23 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


the mefi subset that loves working itself into purple frothing apoplexy

Thank goodness you arrived just in time to talk us down.
posted by normy at 10:32 PM on September 4, 2009


"Obama's PR people really f*u*ed up this one and should be fired immediately for even cooking up the idea, they should know better."

Dude, how is it Obama's fault that doing something totally neutral and normal riles the moon-biting crazies? T'hell with that, and t'hell with the foaming lunatics who force me to defend empty state theater!
posted by klangklangston at 10:51 PM on September 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


This would be exactly what our inner city kids need to hear: Stay in school kids, work hard, and maybe one day, like me, you could become President.
posted by monospace at 10:57 PM on September 4, 2009


A Core Threat to Democracy
posted by homunculus at 11:07 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I beg to disagree. The right wing, er, Republican party has been overtaken by poor, ignorant, white trash. Who in their right mind, mean-spirited and fanatical aside, would want to be lopped in and associated with them?"

And this is both classist and bullshit. The Republicans are a party of elite interests astroturfed by idiot exurban middle-income folks and bolstered by abortion voters. Sure, they've lost pretty much all credibility. Like Folgers burned off, all that really remains is the bitter residue of something that could at least keep you alert. But the only time that poor people vote for Republicans is when Republicans can convince them that they pretty much have to, because everyone else hates them. Try not to help them.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 PM on September 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Re: Challenger.

We got hustled into Ms. Hunsche's classroom (she'd be my third-grade teacher next year), and counted down the launch in the dark. The shuttle went up, broke apart—I wasn't clear then what was going on. The lights came on and we were sent to recess.

Re: OJ.

We watched that in high school, in the physics room. It was on a free period, me and like, five other kids in Eisenberg's room, supposedly doing, like, yardstick physics experiments. I remember it was a big deal, and we thought we were the only kids in the school who saw it, so we kinda wandered into the halls to be like, bragging, because this was before a time of total media immersion and we knew the verdict. But most of the other classrooms had had it going too, we found out.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 PM on September 4, 2009


" I will rely on you to assure that the planned lesson is academically appropriate and related to the course/class in which it is presented. Be sensitive to those with objections, and make sure that you and the teacher can honestly defend any decision to use the speech. The lesson needs to be that – an appropriate lesson – and not simply an opportunity to have the students listen to the President. It will be judicious, of course, to inform parents in advance that part of a planned school day will include a viewing and discussion of the President’s address. That step will be a requirement of its use.'"
I wonder if similar memos go out in the run up to the state of the union every year?


"Not a single public-school student in Boston will see the speech. Not because we've suddenly turned insane, but because school doesn't start here until Sept. 10."

PVRs, the web, youtube and cable probably mean a good chunk of them can see if they want or even if they don't. I'm guessing some cable channel will be streaming it live.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 PM on September 4, 2009


Why do you think I homeschooled for four years?

Many homeschool for 15 years. And you and your ilk are frightened of 15 minutes. That speaks volumes.
posted by sourwookie at 12:13 AM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


I teach kindergarten, albeit in Korea. We took our kids to the Blue House on a field trip a little ways back (ROK version of the White House). They didn't meet the president, but we did a week of lessons on government and leadership and so on. We also did lessons on how to write a letter to someone (to President Lee, natch).

So, to the choad up-thread who said "ZOMG WUT CAN OBAMA SAY TO A FIVE YEAR OLD!" I say, a hell of a lot, even if it's just simple stuff like "Who is a president?" or "What is the government?" Either that, or American kids are just really too fucking stupid and we should just give up and sell the whole thing to China.

Are your children really that dumb? That they can't learn a little something from watching the POTUS give a speech? A speech that is routine for American presidents?

A good teacher could take this and generate at least a week's worth of quality material for any kid in K through 12.

I don't know. My question about American kids being too dumb was rhetorical but, I don't know. Stuff like this (sheer racist vitriol from the right over something as simple and routine as a presidential speech on education) really makes me wonder if America is worth the trouble any longer.
posted by bardic at 12:16 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


BittterOldPunk: I had to turn off NPR because the story about parents pulling their kids out of school lest they hear the words of President Obama was making me scarily stabby.

Me too.

The comments here about why don't these parents let their kids listen and then discuss the speech with them, reminded me of this essay on how there's not much room for that kind of thing under authoritarian concepts of social order and discipline:
Since liberals believe that most people are perfectly capable of making good moral choices without constant oversight from some outside authority, the goal of discipline is to strengthen the child's internal decision-making skills in order to prepare him for adult self-governance. . . . Conservative discipline is all about reinforcing power hierarchies and achieving control through "respect" (that is: fear) . . .

What the Democrats saw as doling out logical and natural consequences (break the law, go to jail—what's so hard about this?) the conservatives experienced as being on the receiving end of an authoritarian-style punitive smackdown. . . . And the only appropriate response was to show the Democrats how very, very out of line they were—by disciplining them in the conservatives' preferred way, with a show of unrepentant and overweening force. Which, of course, led to the full frontal assault on Bill Clinton. They had to teach that boy who was boss, and get him back in line.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:52 AM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't think this has much to do with authoritarian mindset, in theory they (the authoritarians) would be respectful, even though they didn't vote for him. No.

These people have just gone round the bend. They are completely insane.
posted by delmoi at 1:23 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


emjaybeee: And seriously? This is racism. Nothing but. I don't care what insane tinfoil hat reasons people give, deep down they just hate that this black man is President and don't want to have to see him or have their kids see him.

Screw you, MJB. I am so sick of people claiming that anyone who doesn't approve of Obama must be motivated by racism.

I don't give a goddam what color his skin his - he could have polka dots for all I care - it's his ideology and policies that I don't like. Trillion-dollar bailouts, takeovers, reductions in defense, etc. And if it was a Republican, I'd be equally pissed off.

Personally, Obama seems like an OK guy - good husband, father, etc - and if he was an architect or DJ or plumber or insurance salesman, he'd likely be a good neighbor and friend. But as the President of the Unites States, he is just wrong on so many issues. But calling me (and others) out as "racist" for opposing him is just pure bullshit.

Back to the topic at hand: I'm not thrilled by Obama's "Principal Of America" endeavor, figuring that he's got more important things to worry about, and America's schools probably could find better ways to educate, motivate, or entertain the kids for the two or three hours that this will eat up.

Do I think it's a commie plot or a secret scheme to indoctrinate America's youth into drinking deep of the Dem Kool-Aid? No. But all of this controversy sort of indicates that the whole thing is becoming much more of a political distraction and media "proving ground" than anything educational or truly worthwhile.
posted by davidmsc at 1:24 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]




Fourth grade for the Challenger. School was stopped and we were sent home for the day.

O.J.? That was more interesting. A full page photo of the tv corner in my college, and the students reactions to it, was used to depict the great racial divide (Scroll down, yes, an article by the Sports Guy is the only place I could find it.) It was interesting to me that the "meh" reaction of the white students next to the vocal, jubilant reaction of pretty much my school's entire black student population was depicted as a great divide. As far as I could tell, it was a curiosity for whites, and not incredibly meaningful which way it went, hence the meh reaction.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:45 AM on September 5, 2009


The 'immigrants are taking my job' begins and ends with education.
posted by clearly at 1:58 AM on September 5, 2009


And you're libertarian so I certainly hope you aren't letting her attend an evil socialist public school.

Why wouldn't he? Lord knows, he's paid for it.

-----

Most of the uproar was sparked by the questions in the supplemental material. If there weren't questions like, "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" or suggestions that children could, "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.", it wouldn't be much of an issue. Some of us might still not like it, but the story wouldn't have any legs.

These assignments aren't the same tone as, "In his speech, President Obama said that students completing school is vital to the health of the nation. Name three reasons he gave in support of this statement.". That question has a little more distance to it, and is probably more in line with most of the hostile parents' expectations. Questions that imply compliance, which can be matched in a blog post or email to a video like this, aren't going to go over real well with the portion of the electorate who believe their liberties to be in peril.
posted by BigSky at 2:22 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Trillion-dollar bailouts, takeovers, reductions in defense, etc."

The bailouts started under Bush.

The "takeover" of the auto industry wasn't my cup of tea either, but this is the only industry he's touched. This does not make him a "Socialist."

Reductions of defense? Site please. I'm pretty sure the Pentagon's budget will increase at a nice pace for Obama's next seven years.

Until you do I'll continue to consider your kind a mix of racist windbags and more to the point, complete fucking hypocrites who had nothing to say about Bush increasing the size of the Fed and stamping on the Bill of Rights.

Racist or stupid, take your goddamn pick.
posted by bardic at 2:40 AM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


davidmsc >Trillion-dollar bailouts, takeovers, reductions in defense, etc.

While there clearly have been trillion-dollar bailouts and takeovers, though I'd hesitate to lay the responsibility for these solely on the President and his ideological or policy positions, I would like to point out that President Obama supports expanding both the Army and Marine Corps by several Divisions each. .
posted by ob1quixote at 2:43 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


If my kid's school district prevented her from seeing a video of the president, I'd yank her out of that school so fast she'd leave behind her Legos suspended in midair.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:44 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you read the full link (comment) postyed byh Ob1quioxote, you will see that some of it is but an extract from things Obama said in the past and some,most of it, is a revamping of our military to reflect contemporary conditions. Yes. He calls for more military. So what? You live in a nation that has bases in just about every nation in the world and if that is not a good thing, then protest the empire you live in that began well before Obama took office.

The real problem with the president speaking? Sum up as many vocal parents against Obama and put that on a map. Guess where (and thus why) most of this taking place.

Last time Bush in a school room, 9/11 intruded upon his reading to the kiddies.
posted by Postroad at 3:51 AM on September 5, 2009


When I was about eight or nine or so, my (generally very secular) school decided to trial a religious education period at the request of a few parents. Cue some woman coming in to tell us that as soon as we turned 18, we'd have to get a credit card that would be in the form of the number "666" tattooed on the back of our hand, and that we would then go to hell, and basically there was no escape so she was just going to spend the period telling us what hell would be like (not pleasant, apparently). (I don't think this was what the school had in mind, but I also don't think anyone really realised what she was telling us - the teacher had left for the period.) When I came home and my mother asked me how school was, and I told her about this, she was shocked and said she'd have to pull me out of the class, and send me to go read for the period with the other kids whose parents had opted out. But then she decided no - it was better for me to learn to judge for myself, instead of being shielded from the batshitinsane of the world.

Many years later, I appreciate that (although at the time, I was pissed that I came this close to getting a free reading period only to have it yanked away from me :-()

Also, the only time I ever got to watch any TV in school was the morning after 9/11 happened (I went to school in NZ, so it'd been happening as we'd been sleeping.) When we arrived at school in the morning, instead of the usual list of things we'd be doing that day on the whiteboard, it just said "America :-(" and we were herded into next door's classroom to watch, over and over and over again, planes crashing into towers and tiny dark dots jumping out of windows.

I had nightmares for weeks, but I'm still glad I saw that; it was fairly necessary background to understand many of the events of the next several years.

I hope as many kids as possible get to see this. I think teaching kids to judge things for themselves (which requires them to be exposed to things) is a Good Thing. And the idea of banning kids from seeing a Presidential message makes me sad in a similar way to how I feel about the banning of certain controversial books from school libraries.
posted by lwb at 4:24 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]



Many homeschool for 15 years. And you and your ilk are frightened of 15 minutes. That speaks volumes

Uh, you must not have been reading my posts, as I myself have no particular opinion on the President speaking in school. Except that it's probably a colossal waste of time no matter what President it would be as all that would be said are the usual platitudes with no real purpose or substance-and the kids would probably totally tune it out while at the same time being relieved they aren't in math class or something.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:33 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


(When I was in school we never got to watch ANYTHING. No politicians, no nothing. Just schoolwork.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:34 AM on September 5, 2009


Let's just say my total hatred for all politics was conpletely solidified during that time period.

Because you lost. How do you think I felt about politics during the presidency of the prior moron who got us into all this mess? And he really *was* a fascist.

My point is that, while feelings may run high in your county, Barack Obama was ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BY A SIGNIFICANT MAJORITY OF CITIZENS WHO VOTED, and this was true (significant meaning 20 percent) in your county too.

In other words, conservatives are a bunch of sore fucking losers.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:35 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh and . . .

When I was in school, and I believe we're close in age, we had to sing patriotic songs, attend patriotic assemblies, and there were pictures of the president and my state's congressional delegation in the main office of my junior high school.

The president, when he addresses citizens in his official capacity, is not a "politician." He is the president. I heard versions of this from the right endlessly during the Bush years.

Hypocrisy, as usual, is the emblematic attitude of the American right.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:37 AM on September 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


I will rent an ice cream van that distributes free ice creams to kids that voluntarily watch BET and PBS for five minutes. Suck on that haters.
posted by longbaugh at 4:42 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Most of the uproar was sparked by the questions in the supplemental material. If there weren't questions like, "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" or suggestions that children could, "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals.", it wouldn't be much of an issue. Some of us might still not like it, but the story wouldn't have any legs.

These assignments aren't the same tone as, "In his speech, President Obama said that students completing school is vital to the health of the nation. Name three reasons he gave in support of this statement.". That question has a little more distance to it, and is probably more in line with most of the hostile parents' expectations. Questions that imply compliance, which can be matched in a blog post or email to a video like this, aren't going to go over real well with the portion of the electorate who believe their liberties to be in peril.


I write this kind of educational material for schools. Questions like that are actually par for the course in every kind of "supplemental material" pamphlet they give teachers. Shit, I remember reading the teachers' copy of one of my textbooks when I was in grade school once and reading all of these incredibly awesome ideas they had for projects the teacher could have been giving us.

But do you know how many teachers actually do any of that stuff? It is a vanishingly small number. Actually -- teachers, correct me if I'm wrong, but I have a feeling very few of them have even read any of the "suggested activities" part of such handouts or the teachers' guides, because there are only so many hours in the day and so how the hell are we going to have the time to engage in a discussion about civics when you've got Martin and Pierre who are always flinging boogers at people from the back row that you have to keep an eye on, and the principal is breathing down your neck to get everyone's math scores up, and...

The "supplementary questions" were written by an idealistic aide, or a freelancer trying to think up some way to make this into a Teaching Moment. The only reason anyone is reading any of THIS guy's stuff is because Obama is under such a microscope; there probably was similar language in any such educational handout that went along with any other president's speech for kids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 AM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


In other words, conservatives are a bunch of sore fucking losers.

And racists, by and large.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:01 AM on September 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Screw you, MJB. I am so sick of people claiming that anyone who doesn't approve of Obama must be motivated by racism.

what other president has had his opposition refuse their kids to listen to a "stay in school" speech?

what other president has had people demanding to see his "real" birth certificate?

what other president has had people publically demanding to see his dick so they could tell if it's circumcised or not?

what other president's election has been greeted by crowds of people saying that they wanted "MY" country back?

you go on and be sick, because a lot of your friends in the opposition are racists and you're siding with them - they're dividing this country beyond the point of no return and you're defending them
posted by pyramid termite at 5:05 AM on September 5, 2009 [24 favorites]


But all of this controversy sort of indicates that the whole thing is becoming much more of a political distraction and media "proving ground" than anything educational or truly worthwhile.

Who's fault is that? The right's strategy since Obama has been elected has been to shout NO and fire up the moonbat contingent of their party (which, these days, seems to be most of them) to fly off the handle at every perceived slight, no matter how real or valid it is. They have nothing else left but to disrupt to distract.

And before you make the claim "well, they should have anticipated that," how could someone possibly have foreseen these nutjobs flying off the handle that the President wants to tell kids to work hard and stay in school? They are taking the innocuous and turning it into the incendiary.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:07 AM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh, I couldn't agree more. The entire hissy fit about Obama from the right is so clearly an expression of racism.

I just keep reminding myself, though, that he won by millions of votes, and in places like North Carolina. There is hope that we outnumber them, at last.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:09 AM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Obama has already made an impression on the youth of America. To those who deny their children a speech by the POTUS you are only making them outcasts (at least where I live in a fairly rural part of Maryland.)

I'm happy that a political figure has made TEENAGERS get involved. This is not usually the case!
posted by kiwi-epitome at 5:46 AM on September 5, 2009


"I would prefer that we would be able to watch anything like that alongside our kids, and make no bones about it, I have a very conservative sort of view," St. Clair said.

this thing's supposed to be 15-20 minutes, and they'd rather flip out and pull their kids from class than let them watch it. you stay classy, america.
posted by camdan at 6:05 AM on September 5, 2009


I support the decision to give this speech. I think it's a good use of class time and a good use of the bully pulpit. I also hope that it bolsters the President's popularity at a time when he needs to seem less controversial in order to pass a massive overhaul of the health insurance system in this country.

That said, I can also understand why people oppose it. I recognize that most Presidential speeches are perks of office that are designed to bolster the incumbent's popularity.

They're part of the the ceremonial aspect of the office: Presidents earn deference and awe by cementing cultural norms and repeating common sense truisms. They mouth platitudes and reassure us that our clichés are justified, and in return we acknowledge that their continuing monopoly on legitimate coercion is right and proper.

I support and like President Obama. But there's a difference between support and awe. The parents who are skeptical of this speech are worried about the way their children, not being mature adults, will be particularly susceptible to awe.

Awe is not an emotion mature adults ought to cultivate with regard to a political figure. When we feel tempted by it, because the President is a singularly impressive man, we ought to ask ourselves why we respect the Executive Branch so much more than the Legislative Branch. Why has democracy come to signify an elected, temporary king rather than a deliberative body? Why do we lionize (and demonize) one man rather than celebrate the disagreement and consensus-seeking of the representative law makers?

I'd like to think we're past the Camelot stage. News organizations have the power to shape public opinion in this country, and they continue to shape it in ways that emphasize discord and dissent. In part this is structural, in part this is cultural, but in large part, this is because Presidents have failed us so many times in the past that there is widespread agreement that we ought not allow ourselves to respect the office as such any longer. The actions of the office-holder sometimes deserve respect and support, but the office itself? Probably not.

This is one of the benefits of the UK's parliamentary system: they reserve their awe and deference for the toothless royalty, and thus they are free to debate public policy matters with their prime minister without becoming helpless devotees or frothing lunatics. The sooner we get there here in the US, the better.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


No. But all of this controversy sort of indicates that the whole thing is becoming much more of a political distraction and media "proving ground" than anything educational or truly worthwhile.

I think you've got that exactly inside-out. The manufactured controversy has created the political distraction for the sake of stopping anything worthwhile from transpiring.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:16 AM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think I have to agree that it's really racism, more than anything else. I mean, it's just fifteen minutes by the President to tell kids to stay in school, that even if they don't have white skin, if they stick to the books and work hard, they can succeed and, well, even be President someday.

I think they really fear that second message... they don't want their precious children exposed to the idea that blacks really can prosper, that they can be incredibly smart and funny and charismatic, and make it to the top elected office of the United States of America. This whole idea of blacks being President is horrifically unAmerican, and they'll not have their precious children exposed to these noxious, hateful ideas.

I mean, what the hell else could he possibly say? What else could there possibly be to fear? Infecting them with socialism? In 15 minutes? Please. That's a cover fear for an uglier truth underneath.
posted by Malor at 6:30 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


f there weren't questions like, "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" or suggestions that children could, "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.

I don't believe this for a second. This is an excuse, not an actual reason, and it's part of the Republican playbook right now, as demonstrated by the smear campaign against John Holdren. In Holdren's case, the campaign has gone back to a 1977 book he coauthored and looked at a chapter about population control, in which the authors look at various draconian suggestions for keeping the population down, and, ultimately, reject them all. But you won't find Holdren's rejection -- just several excerpted, context-free quotes that, if you squint and read them real fast, can be made to sound like they advocate enforced abortions and the like.

Digging through every bit of material to search for one or two ambiguously and unclearly worded sentences and then inventing a conspiracy, as has been done with Holdren and now with Obama's speech, is not raising an reasonable objection. It's inventing an unreasonable one.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:34 AM on September 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


But all of this controversy sort of indicates that the whole thing is becoming much more of a political distraction and media "proving ground" than anything educational or truly worthwhile.

Well, it's certainly been turned into that by your completely non-racist fellow travelers.

Given that these are the same people who are always waving the flag and banging on about respecting the office, it's difficult to imagine what motivation even stronger than racism could be causing them to be so unpatriotic.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:28 AM on September 5, 2009


May I suggest this as an alternative to having your kids watch the President urge them to stay in school and work hard? (Also available for home schoolers)
posted by ElvisJesus at 7:31 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


A conservative friend of mine lost it a few days after the election because, no joke, he heard about how Obama had a plan to ask that seniors in high school complete volunteer hours. Like, had to leave work and sit in his car and call his wife about it. That anyone would force his children to serve the community! As if they were criminals!

Far-Right conservative ideology follows a sort of "used car salesman meets missionary" system - people will do anything if you convince them well enough. They convince women to give up their reproductive rights, gays that their sexuality is both deviant and fixable, poor people that welfare is wrong, new immigrants that the borders should be 'closed and defended'. I think that it's not unlike the proselytizing of evangelical Christians - first they sell you on their own kindness, then they sell you on Jesus, then they remove you from outside influences so that anyone with opposing viewpoints goes 'against god'. Keeping Obama out of their kids' classroom ensures a continuity of message with no outside interference.

I am completely ok with people choosing to keep their kids home from school for this if they like. Because the interesting thing about knowledge is that it wants to be free. If you try to shield your children, it will only make them more curious. And when they hit their rebellious teen years, they will remember how in fourth grade you made them stay home from school because the president wanted to tell you to stay in it.
posted by SassHat at 7:33 AM on September 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


FOX News interviews a woman who will not be allowing her 5 year old daughter to listen to the speech. She is concerned about "the slippery slope" i.e. that by allowing The President to speak to the children we will be setting a precedent to allow all sorts of politicians to address the classrooms of America. She also says she would tell her 5 year old:
that these decisions to advance her education, while these are good and I am glad the President is supporting them, this is something that needs to be her decision and that we have made that decision together and it shouldn't be based on what the President has told her.


In other words, "I don't want the President to tell her to stay in school because I want to tell her to stay in school. If he says it then I can't say it because I don't want to agree with anything HE says."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:38 AM on September 5, 2009 [15 favorites]


You know, I now think he should play along with this.

He should go on TV and read "My Pet Goat" for most of the speech. In African American Vernacular English.

We've tried being logical with them. Now it's time to be absurd.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:43 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


One of my kids attends a Christian school in our small, deeply conservative town. The only reason I'm looking forward to Tuesday is to see if I'm right in my assumption that the parents who'll pull their kids out of class during the President's speech are the same parents who've managed to ban Harry Potter books from the school library. I've given up trying to reason with folks like that, in politics or religion, I'm afraid.
posted by cowpattybingo at 7:45 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just call him a N____ and get it over with.

He missed all the wonderful Mugabe and Zimbabwe references that pepper comment pages all over right wing blogs.
posted by empath at 7:47 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why do you think I homeschooled for four years? Because public school bureocracy is....

In the end how did your kids turn out as spellers?
posted by ericb at 7:53 AM on September 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


Maybe the president should have a special alternate speech for those in kindergarten. In that one, he can read from The Pet Goat.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2009


[related derail]

Amateurs!

Here in Alberta we've passed Bill 44 that gives parents the right to pull their children from classes on topics they find objectionable and puts the obligation on schools to give prior notice to parents on curriculum.

NONE OF MY KIDS ARE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT OSMOSIS, DAMMIT!
posted by mazola at 7:56 AM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've posted it before, but it bears repeating: "The dumbest one percent of the US population is still three million people."
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:59 AM on September 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


Why do you think I homeschooled for four years?

So the kids would be around to pick the cotton crop every summer?
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:11 AM on September 5, 2009


Veiled racism. Just like the anti-healthcare dipshits (beng enabled by the healthcare and insurance oligarchs via their corporate media cronies).
posted by Zambrano at 8:21 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


But do you know how many teachers actually do any of that stuff? It is a vanishingly small number. Actually -- teachers, correct me if I'm wrong, but I have a feeling very few of them have even read any of the "suggested activities" part of such handouts or the teachers' guides, because there are only so many hours in the day and so how the hell are we going to have the time to engage in a discussion about civics when you've got Martin and Pierre who are always flinging boogers at people from the back row that you have to keep an eye on, and the principal is breathing down your neck to get everyone's math scores up, and...

The "supplementary questions" were written by an idealistic aide, or a freelancer trying to think up some way to make this into a Teaching Moment. The only reason anyone is reading any of THIS guy's stuff is because Obama is under such a microscope; there probably was similar language in any such educational handout that went along with any other president's speech for kids.


It would be easier to buy this argument if you could point to such questions on the educational handout accompanying a previous presidential speech. In fact, has there ever been an educational supplement from the White House on the occasion of a President's speech to school children? I did a quick search and was unable to find even a record of the White House having provided educational material to the schools, let alone a copy of suggestions to schools and/or teachers. If either is out there, post a link.

It doesn't matter how many teachers actually do that stuff or not. Once they suggested that children should act (complete an assignment) with the presumption that the kinds 'bought in' to Obama's speech, they opened the door to every political opportunist among Obama's opponents. That presupposition of 'buying in' might be there with respect to a teacher's or administrator's views, but it's going to sit poorly when a politician's speech is switched in. This was a bone headed move by the administration that exposed them to a lot of easily avoided criticism.

-----

I don't believe this for a second.

...

Digging through every bit of material to search for one or two ambiguously and unclearly worded sentences and then inventing a conspiracy, as has been done with Holdren and now with Obama's speech, is not raising an reasonable objection. It's inventing an unreasonable one.


Believe what you like. I suspect that my own view of the matter and that of my friends and family is closer to the worldview of some of Obama's more vocal critics. And those quotes given above are widely perceived as having a creepy "Great Leader" feel to them. You can also see this focus for yourself in a number of the early blogs and articles. But perhaps you know better. I don't know what there is to talk about when you won't accept a point because you know what their real motive is.
posted by BigSky at 8:44 AM on September 5, 2009


Then I am forced to revert back to the question of "idiot" or "liar." You put me in an awful bind.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:57 AM on September 5, 2009


To be even clearer, the case you are actually making is that, in his 15 minutes of speaking to students, Obama is going to inculcate them with some questionable message, and the only evidence you have for it is some ambiguously worded text -- that has already been rewritten -- from some optional supplemental material, which is almost word for word what Bush said in an actual speech to students.

Motives, shmotives. That's just moronic, and I'd rather not believe that is the case you are making, because I would much rather not have to assume that you believe that argument, or that you expect me to respond to it as anything other than horseshit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:00 AM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


it's probably a colossal waste of time no matter what President it would be as all that would be said are the usual platitudes with no real purpose or substance-and the kids would probably totally tune it out while at the same time being relieved they aren't in math class or something

To a degree kids are always going to be thrilled to get out of bog-standard classroom activities for a few minutes, sure. Teacher late to class, power outage in school, even just your average random assembly: I remember be stoked for that sort of thing when I was in school.

15 minutes plus assembly transit is pretty mild stuff in the grand scheme of a school year. Kids manage to willfully waste more than that on an average day, and manage to tune out perfectly legit class time without anything to distract them. Framing this as a significant interruption from normal gradeschool activity is just silly. It's a non-starter of an objection.

But more interesting I think is what this interruption is—a direct engagement with civic government at the highest level. It's the damn President, on the TV. Kids can zone out on a lot of ostensibly meaningful and character-building things, yeah, but I think a direct address from the POTUS has a better-than-average chance of engaging them a little, and in a country where we ostensibly take great pride in our patriotism and love for the place we live, that's something you'd think people would be able to get behind.

Obviously he's not going to blow any politico minds with a speech targeted at kids and encouraging them to stay in school and work hard. But calling it "the usual platitudes with no real purpose or substance" misses the fact that (a) these are kids, not fire-hardened political junkies, so there's likely a degree of novelty to this for them regardless of what a bunch of adults on the internet think and (b) this is an unusual and exciting venue—again, the POTUS, not a local news anchor or an afterschool special or their mom and dad telling them to finish their homework.

In a reductive sense, everything NASA has ever done can be described as "the usual engineering with no real results or substance", if you're willing to play a miserably cynical hand. But tell me kids don't find their first shuttle launch inspiring. Tell me people don't remember the moon landings. Tell me everybody in this thread born before 1980 doesn't remember the Challenger disaster.

Opportunities for kids to engage with something bigger than their average school day are a good thing. Setting aside the stupidity and hysteria that has come out of all this, there's something just frankly dispiriting about some of the more banal objections folks have bothered to trot out. Have people forgotten what it's like to be a kid, to engage with something unique, to have a shared moment that you can come back to years later and say "hey, remember when?"
posted by cortex at 9:03 AM on September 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


Screw you, MJB. I am so sick of people claiming that anyone who doesn't approve of Obama must be motivated by racism.

I don't think anyone is claiming that every single person who opposes Obama is motivated by racism. Maybe there are some obnoxious people making that argument, but there are lots of liberal criticisms of Obama. But it's the seething, seemingly irrational hatred of the guy that people are pointing too. I mean seriously, why would most people who oppose the president be upset with their kids seeing them as 'the president' on TV in class? I doubt many liberals would have had a problem with during the Bush administration.

One thing that this crazy opposition is doing, I think, is delegitimizing people with legitimate criticisms of things like the bailouts, since one of the big criticisms of the teabaggers are those bailouts (which they lump in with good things like the stimulus). And, unfortunately, I think people do pick their policy positions as a sort of personal identifier or cultural signifier, the same way many people pick movies and books. So people without a lot of political information will just think something like "Complain about bailouts? Isn't that something that the teabaggers do?" and of course they won't do it.

But anyway, claiming that people say, "everyone who doesn't approve of Obama is a racist" is just a complete strawman.
posted by delmoi at 9:07 AM on September 5, 2009


"If there weren't questions like, "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" or suggestions that children could, "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

I'm sorry, that's dumb. Think about it with the context dropped in: "Are we able to STAY IN SCHOOL?" or children "writing letters to themselves about what they can do to STAY IN SCHOOL."

I mean, seriously, you're talking about "buying in" to the message that kids should stay in school? I never thought I'd see the day when people would pretend that being pro drop-out was a legitimate position, especially as couched as some sort of anti-authoritarian concern about presidential overreach.

That's why people are assuming racism, because otherwise that position is just so mind-bogglingly stupid that calling folks racist is giving them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by klangklangston at 9:56 AM on September 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


Today's Lesson: Undermining A Black Man's Authority in 2009
"The Birthers, the Deathers, and now the Schoolers all have one thing in common. They have found ways to undermine the President, creating an alternate universe where Obama is not the Commander in Chief. These anti-Obama groups know that they will not be taken seriously if they discredit President Obama merely because of his race. Instead, they mask their antagonism toward America's first Black President as partisan differences. They have not accepted that President Obama is our President."
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


"I think we've reached a little bit of the silly season when the President of the United States can't tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school."

-- Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary
posted by ericb at 10:07 AM on September 5, 2009 [4 favorites]




Politics of fear are still with us
"But the opposition, which is anything but loyal, seems to have decided that scaring the socks off its followers is the best way to battle the president's 'socialist' agenda."
posted by ericb at 10:10 AM on September 5, 2009


Obama to release school speech
"White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said that President Obama will release the text of his school address to students.

The transcript of Obama's school speech will be available [online] on Monday, so parents and teachers can review it. Monday is also Labor Day, and school is not in session on that day."
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on September 5, 2009


Oooh, surprised this hasn't been posted here. He's usually something of a milquetoast, but John Harwood actually called it like it is on MSNBC yesterday.

"Let's face it, in a country of 300 million people, there are a lot of stupid people." AND
"If you think this is a bad idea, you're stupid."

We need more WTF have you no decency sir moments like this.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:15 AM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ten-year-old Damon Weaver interviewed President Obama last month.

From the interview:
WEAVER: I've learned that your mom always made sure that you were doing well at school. What should parents do to make sure their child's education is better?

OBAMA: Parents are the most important thing to any child's ability to do well in school, so making sure you're reading to your child, especially when they're young, even before they get to school so they start being used to reading, they know their alphabet, they know the basics, so even when they get to kindergarten they're already a leg up. I think it's important to make sure that kids are doing their homework and that they're not just turning on the TV all day or playing video games. I think talking to teachers and finding out from teachers directly what can be done to improve their child's performance, I think that's important, and setting a high standard, that's important. Saying if you get a B, you can do better, you can get an A. Making sure we have high expectations for all children because I think all children can do well as long as they have the support that they need....

WEAVER: What can kids to do make our country better?

OBAMA: I think the things that kids can do best is just work really hard in school and succeed. If young people like yourself are reading at high levels, doing their homework, doing math and science and ending up going to college, that makes everyone better off, so the most important thing young people can do is just do well at school, but also when they have some spare time, try to help out people, your church or your religious community, or out in the neighborhood, or helping an elderly person carry their grocery bags or being helping out a younger person with their schoolwork, those kind of things that's also really helpful to the country.
Damn, that man gunna likely be teaching preaching some dangerous shit come this Tuesday.
posted by ericb at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be even clearer, the case you are actually making is that, in his 15 minutes of speaking to students, Obama is going to inculcate them with some questionable message, and the only evidence you have for it is some ambiguously worded text -- that has already been rewritten -- from some optional supplemental material, which is almost word for word what Bush said in an actual speech to students.

You're either making things up or failing at reading comprehension. Liar or idiot, indeed. I am not making the above case at all. The case I'm making is that the White House blundered in providing supplementary educational material, particularly in their suggestion that teachers give assignments for students to respond in accordance with the goals of the President. It doesn't matter that the goal is "Stay in School", many parents are going to bristle at their children being addressed as though they were automatically aligned with the President. It doesn't matter that the material has been changed, the parents are creeped out and the door has been opened to all the opportunists among his opponents.

You might think that's an unreasonable objection to hold at this point or that I believe this continues to be a valid objection. But I'm not addressing the critics' reasonableness, and I do not have a problem with the material in its revised form. I'm describing what got this going to begin with. If you think that was never a serious factor, well then we have an actual disagreement about something. But the quote above is horseshit and has little to do with anything I've said.

-----

I never thought I'd see the day when people would pretend that being pro drop-out was a legitimate position, especially as couched as some sort of anti-authoritarian concern about presidential overreach.

I don't think being pro drop-out is any kind of legitimate position. Just writing it is ridiculous enough. But I have little doubt that the tone of the above questions is in large part what set people off. I find them a little distasteful myself.
posted by BigSky at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Racism might factor into it in some cases. Then again, racism is just one of the many things that conservatives have toward the president.

This combines their anti-intellectualism, their fear of things they know nothing about, and their batshit ideas about the president all into one ugly action.

It's hilarious that as soon as they're proven wrong on one thing, they jump to another thing to go batshit about.

We sane, rational people have to come down harder about the idiots' bullshit.
posted by kldickson at 10:28 AM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


It would be easier to buy this argument if you could point to such questions on the educational handout accompanying a previous presidential speech.


Here it is Bigsky:
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10582301/President-Obama
posted by newpotato at 10:29 AM on September 5, 2009


Oops. Misread your sentence.
posted by newpotato at 10:30 AM on September 5, 2009


i just saw the clip of the msnbc guy calling the parents stupid. i think it's time to call a spade a spade...when someone from the opposition says something ridiculous we need to retort with "you're not very bright are you?"
posted by camdan at 10:37 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"It doesn't matter that the goal is "Stay in School", many parents are going to bristle at their children being addressed as though they were automatically aligned with the President."

But when all rational people are automatically aligned with the president, bristling is stupid. We are in this together, we are aligned with the president on this—no matter what other disagreements we may have—we do believe that kids STAYING IN SCHOOL is GOOD, which is what he's saying. If the kids aren't automatically aligned with the president on this, or really, the parents, since that's who we're talking about here, then let's take that moment to think through what not being aligned would mean. That would mean disagreeing with the message STAY IN SCHOOL. Which would mean being pro drop-out. WHICH IS STUPID.

So yes, when you "bristle" at this, recognize that this is your stupid gland acting up and that you need to say, no, wait, I do agree with the president on this—STAYING IN SCHOOL is an important and valid statement, and no real harm can come from it.

I know that it hurts your feelings and makes you angry to be called stupid, but guess what? There's a remedy! All you have to do is not be stupid! This is a small, tiny step toward not being reflexively stupid. And not being stupid is almost halfway to being smart.
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 AM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


Limbaugh and Beck are college dropouts? No wonder they're morons. They're uneducated rubes.
posted by kldickson at 11:01 AM on September 5, 2009


many parents are going to bristle at their children being addressed as though they were automatically aligned with the President
If the public schools weren't considered part and parcel of a institution specifically dedicated to teaching children national songs, pledges, and civics instruction, along with things like the "Presidential Physical Fitness Test", then I'd at least consider that what you have to say might be grounded in genuine concern.
Most of the uproar was sparked by the questions in the supplemental material
No, BigSky. There was a demand for an uproar, and making stuff up about the supplemental material provided a convenient basis from which to justify and uproar. This strikes me as a bunch of excuse making on your part or, at the very least, a very very naive willingness to give credence to claims that are merely right wing attempts to drive public hissy fits and kerfluffles for the purpose of controlling their followers. It seems to me that it is you who currently has a serious problem with respect to being skeptical of authority. The right wing invented a kerfluffle out of whole cloth, and you obediently took them at their word and defended them.

There is a set of moving goalposts here that you rather credulously assume are a bunch of good-faith objections. Instead they are a concerted effort to simply keep the right-wing public in a consistent state of agitation and anger in an effort to keep them controlled and distracted. The explanation is much more simple: The president is a Democrat, and thus an interloper in an office which rightfully belongs to a Republican, and so any effort to use such an office to address the public is considered akin to a coup. And that's really what it is. If it weren't one thing, it would be another... this is, after all, spearheaded by a political party which engaged in mindless support of the Iraq war, supports torture, and believes, according to its senators, that climate change is a hoax. That you automatically and uncritically grant them credence in what is transparently an exercise in throwing a dishonest hissy fit does not speak well of your critical thinking abilities.
posted by deanc at 11:11 AM on September 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


Limbaugh and Beck are college dropouts? No wonder they're morons. They're uneducated rubes.
You know, one of the smartest people I know dropped out of college. Sure, ultimately he finished his degree, but until he was well into his 30s, he was technically a college dropout.
posted by deanc at 11:12 AM on September 5, 2009


I understand the fear, really I do.

If kids stay in school and learn to think critically, there goes the base.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:29 AM on September 5, 2009 [21 favorites]


Limbaugh and Beck are college dropouts? No wonder they're morons. They're uneducated rubes.

This here moron is rightin' pissed you'd make such'n argumentative and ign'ant statement concernin' such a wide-rangin' group of individuals and the relationship between edumacashun and intelligence. Then again, I'm just an uneducated rube, apparently.
posted by carsonb at 11:32 AM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


The explanation is much more simple: The president is a Democrat, and thus an interloper in an office which rightfully belongs to a Republican, and so any effort to use such an office to address the public is considered akin to a coup.

It's such a bitch when the guy who gets the most votes actually gets to be the president!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:37 AM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


I did not realize that some "schoolers" (as good as any way to describe this group of dissenters) are actually calling for parents to keep their children home from school that entire day in protest. Wasn't there another event recently when Republican leaders (shit-stirrers really) were calling on parents to take the kids out of school for the day? Is this the new Republican method of protesting? Every time you don't like something your government does, make your kids stay home? Because I think this might be a bad idea-- little Bobby helps you "protest" a few too many times and ...whoops...suddenly his "C" grade is slipping into "F" territory and he is starts thinking "Hell, skool ain't so important. The folks don't rightly think so anyways." Then he doesn't have a high school diploma and your hopes for a better future for your kids gets a bit dimmer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:57 AM on September 5, 2009


I live in north Texas and my 4th grade daughter's school sent out a memo yesterday. It's long so I'm going to just quote a bit:

Our district, like many others, has received considerable input from parents and patrons regarding this planned address. This input has been both supportive and non-supportive of this effort, which leaves the school district in a quandary.....While everyone has been addressing the philosophical/political issues involved with the planned address, our campus level and technology staff have shared some practical issues that must be considered as well. First, the planned address is scheduled when many of our campuses are engaged in lunch activities. Altering these schedules is no easy task and many students who might be interested in the address might miss it. Second, the planned address is a video stream and we do not know what impact, if any, this might have on our ability to handle the address through our own technology systems if every classroom were to access the site.....the district has decided not to view the address in a live format. Rather, we will tape and archive the address...This format allows our parents and students to make individual choices related to the viewing of the broadcast.


It seems to me like they are trying really hard to make this about lunch timing and technology rather than parental opinion. I don't buy it for a second. Every lunchroom in every school in this district has a tv. Every school also has a lunchroom/auditorium/cafeterium that they could herd the students into and have one feed per school instead of worrying about individual classrooms streaming.
Is this going to be on the internet or on tv on Tuesday? Because I am seriously thinking about keeping my kiddo home on Tuesday and spending the day talking about politics and racism and censorship. And letting her watch the President live.
posted by shmurley at 12:09 PM on September 5, 2009


September 8, 2009 National Keep Your Children at Home Day
I shutter to think how many schools would have prevented a similar address by President Bush. Shouldn’t the same rationale apply? If not then clearly there is an agenda at play. Children are not a pawn in your political games, and certainly not a tool to enhance your political dominance.

Take control of your children and the values you hold dear. Consider celebrating National Keep Your Child at Home Day on September 8, 2009.
Hmmm celebrate? Like with a cake and some fireworks? And "Take control of your children" makes them sound like a car. As for "shutter"...I think perhaps this person "celebrated" a bit too much.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


FOX News interviews a woman who will not be allowing her 5 year old daughter to listen to the speech. She is concerned about "the slippery slope" i.e. that by allowing The President to speak to the children we will be setting a precedent to allow all sorts of politicians to address the classrooms of America.
I know a guy who is concerned -- no shit -- that the current health care reform will lead to a law against drinking more than one glass of soda per week.
posted by Flunkie at 12:28 PM on September 5, 2009


Is this going to be on the internet or on tv on Tuesday?

Both. It is being broadcast on CSPAN. Among other outlets MSNBC and CNN will be also be carrying it live at 12:00 noon (Eastern).

A live stream will be provided from the White House website.
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I shutter to think ...

*shudder*
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on September 5, 2009


How many teabagger parties were there before a black man became president, while George W. Bush blew a hole the size of Texas through the Fed's budget (formerly a surplus), incarcerated American citizens without due process, started and failed to win two different wars, and drove the US economy into the shitter?

Honestly, that's all I need to know.

Fuck the GOP. Fuck the American right. Fuck "conservatives."

Either it's OK when a Republican president bails out Wall Street, or it's OK when a white one does. Somehow it's a problem when a black one does. Either way, you guys are beneath contempt.

Have fun trying to frame Sarah Palin as something other than the racist bimbo that she is come 2012.
posted by bardic at 12:36 PM on September 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


particularly in their suggestion that teachers give assignments for students to respond in accordance with the goals of the President

What is wrong with your brain?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 PM on September 5, 2009


If nothing else, this kerfuffle has surely advertised broadly Obama's speech on Tuesday. Many students and adults will be tuning in.

After the broadcast, I'm sure many people will scratch their heads and ask themselves "What were these 'schoolers' objecting to?"

The right-wing is once again showing its stupidity and ignorance.

Independents and centrists are likely repulsed by the crazy antics, behavior and rhetoric coming from this lunatic fringe over these past few months.
posted by ericb at 12:42 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am not making the above case at all. The case I'm making is that the White House blundered in providing supplementary educational material, particularly in their suggestion that teachers give assignments for students to respond in accordance with the goals of the President. It doesn't matter that the goal is "Stay in School", many parents are going to bristle at their children being addressed as though they were automatically aligned with the President. It doesn't matter that the material has been changed, the parents are creeped out and the door has been opened to all the opportunists among his opponents.

My reading comprehension is fine. Your making a false distinction. Once again, the issue a single sentence in supplemental material, substantially similar to what a previous president said in an actual speech to students, that has already been revised and clarified. Claiming that this somehow opened the door to legitimate paranoia is hogwash, and, frankly, I think the whole "cult of personality" nonsense is just a pretty way of saying "We can't stand that anybody might like him."

Just because you're not saying things clearly, but instead busying up a slur campaign by pretending it's rooted in actual concerns, instead of manufactured ones, doesn't mean I don't know how to read.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:47 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I shutter to think how many schools would have prevented a similar address by President Bush.

Hey guy, the fact that you are "shuttering" seems to underscore the imperative for your kid to be in school.

Shuttering, that's quite the freudian slip. Sort of a good word for what's going on.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:51 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks ericb.
posted by shmurley at 12:51 PM on September 5, 2009


Independents and centrists are likely repulsed by the crazy antics, behavior and rhetoric coming from this lunatic fringe over these past few months.
I hope that's true, but I'm not convinced.

First, I'm pretty sure that polls have shown support for health care reform among self-described independents has gone down since the live-and-in-person nutjob fests of August.

Second, I'm not sure that "independent" and "centrist" mean the same thing as they did, say, a decade ago. Admittedly, this is nonscientific, and perhaps suffers from confirmation bias, but whenever I see one of my friends post something political to Facebook, and then see the responses from his or her friends, the ones who describe themselves using words such as "centrist" invariably seem to do so by saying things such as "Sorry Joe, just because you think it's silly to demand to see whether Obama is circumcised or not doesn't mean that the Democrats don't suck too! I'm a CENTRIST! We need BALANCE! So we have to see Obama's penis!"
posted by Flunkie at 12:52 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG the letters from the National Keep Your Children at Home link are feverishly hysterical.

HIS ARROGANCE IS OVERWHELMING!!!! THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.
Ok, so we need a law that prevents the President from speaking to our children. Or maybe we should just pass a law making it illegal for the President to speak?

speak out PATRIOTS!! THE TIME IS NOW.
I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Keep rousing us to anger and when we’ve finally awoke, say goodbye to your little utopian socialist dreams!

Wait. So you've been sleeping all this time? So all that tea bagging and birthing stuff was just my imagination? And hey! My socialist dreams aren't little. They are as big as the sky!

This does not sound like Hitler. It sounds like Stalin.Even more like Mao and Pol Pot.
Phew! At least we are making progress-- he no longer sounds like Hitler.

My guess is that MOST parents will not allow Obama to molest their children. This idea of using schools to access innocent children is obscene, repugnant
Oh dear one step forward two steps back. He isn't Hitler but he is a child molester.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:01 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know you people are all going to look pretty silly when your dead-eyed, brainwashed children come home on Sept 8th and start executing 'traitors to the glorious revolution' in the neighbourhood. Real silly.
posted by PenDevil at 1:07 PM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


God, I am sick of this fucking shit.
posted by zzazazz at 1:10 PM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


jsavimbi: "I have no idea of what you mean by that. Have you never seen a gypsy palace?"

Sorry, jsavimbi -- I wasn't accusing you of anything, just pointing out that it's been kind of a hot-button term here the last couple of days.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:11 PM on September 5, 2009


I've stopped singing "Gypsy Woman" on the off-chance that there might be a MeFite around.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:13 PM on September 5, 2009


I wonder what the intersection is of parents who are going batshit at the thought of Obama addressing their kids and of parents who send their kids to "Jesus Camps" where they pray for cardboard cutouts of GW Bush.
posted by PenDevil at 1:17 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


My upthread refusal to take refuge in patriotism in no way conflicts with my belief that these people are batshit loonballs. Wow, what amazing batshit loonballs.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:24 PM on September 5, 2009


You know you people are all going to look pretty silly when your dead-eyed, brainwashed children come home on Sept 8th and start executing 'traitors to the glorious revolution' in the neighbourhood. Real silly.

You talk too much Comrade, perhaps a brief spell of reeducation is in order? Just follow the hidden markers on the back of the highway signs to the FEMA camp, I'll deal with you there.
posted by MikeMc at 1:34 PM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


Second, I'm not sure that "independent" and "centrist" mean the same thing as they did, say, a decade ago.
To expand upon this a little, it really seems as if, in recent years, the meanings of "Republican" versus "Democrat" have been making serious moves towards "insane, stupid, and/or hateful" versus "the alternative".

Being a "centrist" between these two, and seeking "balance" between them, doesn't really strike me as being on particularly firm footing; certainly much less so than years ago.
posted by Flunkie at 1:38 PM on September 5, 2009


I've stopped singing "Black Magic Woman" because I'm an atheist.
posted by box at 1:49 PM on September 5, 2009


When I first came to mefi, the userbase was collectively a lot more... not necessarily intelligent, but certainly more thoughtful than this. It was definitely less partisan.

I try to stay away from comments on most news sites/forums, etc., as there's no conversation worth having between the trolls and the angry partisans.

I thought about replying to some of you, but you're just not worth it.

It used to be that the good ol' blue was a refuge for intelligent and reasoned/reasonable debate. Sad to see that gone...
posted by krash2fast at 8:15 PM on September 4


You ended your first comment with "fuck you," you refused to reply to the reasonable responses to that comment, you ended by saying "Mefi sucks now" and you continue to refuse to reasonable replies.

The problem is not with MetaFilter and its political leaning. The problem is with you. You are not thoughtful enough or bright enough to succeed here. You do not participate here. You're clearly unhappy with this state of affairs. I suggest you disable your account instead of whining like a baby.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:18 PM on September 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


I love the smell of ad hominem. Smells like stabbiness.
posted by hippybear at 2:30 PM on September 5, 2009


I'm an American living in the UK on a student visa. Does anyone know where I can get hold of a fake British passport so I don't have to return to the roiling cauldron of idiocy that my country has become?

I am not fucking kidding.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:47 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


That sounds more like an AskMe question, Mr. Bad Example...
posted by hippybear at 2:51 PM on September 5, 2009


Does anyone know where I can get hold of a fake British passport so I don't have to return to the roiling cauldron of idiocy that my country has become?

Marry a local?
posted by acb at 3:02 PM on September 5, 2009


Yes, some of these folks are racist. But I think the majority are just plain scared, don't have an idea where this country is headed in a lot of areas, and at this point are so sick of both sides of the aisle they are ready to explode.

OK, but seems to me the Right Thing To Do is to be passionate about your choices but allow your children to be participants in the world. Stirring up a shitstorm about any president addressing the nation's children and advising them to stay in school is without a doubt disrespectful to the Office of the President, and is more insidiously teaching our children that refusing to participate in benign civic events and to generally distrust authority is honorable. You are teaching them cynicism. Sure, we all become cynical eventually, but it is better to teach children to be respectful, because refusing to participate with your fellow neighbors and citizens in positive, non-partisan efforts does not make a better world for anyone. I wouldn't want my children to grow up hating or distrusting the president for saying they should stay in school, be it Obama, Bush or whomever.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:13 PM on September 5, 2009


I am not fucking kidding.

The US (and Australia, NZ, Canada, South Africa, etc.) all trace their provincialism back to Mother England. It's true that tribalism, provincialism, racism, xenophobia are not unique to the British Empire, but it was ascending and descending as the world became much smaller and these tendencies began to be rebuked by its victims. I would say without a doubt that the US is not quite as far along, but each of the Empire's wayward children have checkered histories, to be charitable, and each has a surprisingly resilient tendency to rediscover these fears.

I am concerned about the amount of vitriol right now, but each time we undergo a tangible societal advance the fear of change, the fear of the unknown starts to spread easily, creating an irrational fight-or-flight response (which, honestly, a lot of people don't understand about themselves), and it's always exploited by politicians. This is nothing new. It's disturbing, but in a way, it's encouraging, because it means what we're going through right now might well result in something changing for the better, a permanent societal shift, though we will have to endure some people reacting badly to it.

We have to make sure this irrational fear is still condemned by most people, because these top-down, corporate driven campaigns based on nothing but flimsy fear-driven propaganda are the seeds of genuine authoritarian movements. It's hard to believe, but given the right set of circumstances, someone like Palin starts to look attractive as a candidate, and nobody wants that ...
posted by krinklyfig at 3:38 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


In a sense, the dispute over the upcoming speech is content-free. It's just another GOP Two-Minute Hate.

The instructive thing is that it points out the GOP's two big advantages:

1) A mass-market messaging structure with an entertainment ethos, that broadcasts every day, day after day, without requiring audience participation or effort;

2) A communications model built on war rather than governance, i.e., the question of "how to win", rather than that of "how to make the best of a difficult situation". Conservatives, historically, have sold themselves as the guardians of a Tragic Vision-- that humans are not infinitely perfectible, that the Poor Will Always Be With Us, it's okay if I'm lucky and you're not because someone has to be, etc.

Interestingly, the modern GOP has none of that sense of limitation when it comes to promoting their message of limitation-- instead, it's manic, hyperbolic, and maximal. And given its sense that government is illegitimate-- is designed for theft-- its m.o. becomes using government as a vehicle for theft; the symptom, if exacerbated, becomes the cure.

At any rate, relentless repetition combined with hot-button messaging is remarkably potent; Obama can't rely on the same strategy for governance as he used during the election, which to some extent was a matter of Throw the Bums Out. At this point, the GOP media machine is making the point, day after day, that he is the bum. I've argued in the past that, for example, the birther thing was approaching a high-water mark; that, though, was a particular (and utterly absurd) issue. This school speech thing is less insane more substantial, but more even more ephemeral.

The health care fight is another matter; Obama really needs to stop Rose Gardening it and start pushing aggressively.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:42 PM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


LA Times: Those who are whipping up hysteria over the president's address are playing a dangerous game with an unhinged segment of public opinion ...

But there is no similar way to rationalize the bizarre controversy now raging over President Obama's plan to deliver a brief televised address on Tuesday to the nation's grammar school children.

posted by Astro Zombie at 4:21 PM on September 5, 2009


Independents and centrists are likely repulsed by the crazy antics, behavior and rhetoric coming from this lunatic fringe over these past few months.
On one hand, I've heard it's not that difficult to get permanent residence in the UK after you've been there long enough for school and then with a job. On the other hand, the truth is that there's plenty of racism in Europe, as well. The teabag crazies don't represent our America. They might represent some creepy e-mail forwarding relatives of yours, but a well-thought-out move to the right American metro area will ensure that you won't have to put up with the loons. The teabag crazies only seem to have any currency and credibility within their isolated flyover small towns and exurbs, newspaper columnists convinced that this represents the "real America" they themselves are too insecure to believe they are part of, and creepy Republican politicians in Washington, DC. So don't bail out on us yet. You really think you'll feel better in a country that hosts the BNP and wants to ban excessively long kitchen knives?

Let me say something about the "independents" and the "centrists." They really don't know what they believe, otherwise they'd pick a side. The other group is the ones that feel their political views are such unique and precious snowflakes that they feel that calling themselves liberal/conservative/Republican/Democrat is insufficient to contain their multitudes. In both cases, however, they are swayed by intangibles like "leadership" and "strength." Ironically, the more free reign right-wingers have to become crazy and unhinged, the more they feel like the president is "weak." They might not actively believe the claims of the crazies, but they're thinking, "I'm an independent. I just don't really know about Obama. I mean, people are saying all these things. It's clear he's not good for the country." The only option for Obama is to turn the independents against the crazies by fighting back. Without that, the crazies only serve to plant the seeds of doubt in the "centrists" who will choose the "center path" between that ultra-leftist Obama guy and the right wing crazies. Which will just so happen to be a nice tall republican with good hair and a nice suit.
posted by deanc at 4:33 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


but a well-thought-out move to the right American metro area will ensure that you won't have to put up with the loons

After some of the comments in this thread, and the full-on onslaught against anything that isn't a Coastal Urban Area which took place in here, I think I'm declaring full-on jihad against any and all MeFites who are spending their time in the wonderful community denegrating everything that isn't part of their own personal Urban Utopian Dream and painting the rest of the country as ignorant, unschooled, backwater idiots who don't even deserve to belong in the same country with them.

It's bigotry, pure and simple. Somehow the massive metropolitan elite crowd has convinced themselves that it is okay to discount everyone who does not live in the same sort of situation as they do, and are quite outspoken with their opinion that anyone who has not picked up and moved to some kind of coastal population center is uneducated, ill-thinking, incapable of quality discussion, and should be removed from the decision making process of the U. S. of A. It's disgusting, loathsome, and need to fucking END. NOW.
posted by hippybear at 4:41 PM on September 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


hippybear, you know, I'm sure there are plenty of nice, even liberal, people who live in small towns and conservative areas. The truth is, however, that if you don't want to put up with them, if you don't want to be surrounded by a bunch of coworkers who are forwarding anti-Obama scare-e-mails and if you want to avoid ending up in a school district where people are going to take this kind of bullshit seriously, you're better off moving to a place where you don't need to put up with it. And, honestly, you've got a better shot of finding such a place if you move to the right place of the USA rather than fantasizing that it's going to be better off in a European country, which is not the utopia you might erroneously think it is.
Somehow the massive metropolitan elite crowd has convinced themselves that it is okay to discount everyone who does not live in the same sort of situation as they do
It is, in fact, perfectly ok for me to discount the crazy right-wingers who are unhinged by the existence of Obama as president. They are in a fucked up environment and part of a fucked up political culture, and people are under no obligation to surround themselves by it and both can and should go in search of of cultural opportunities, of which the USA offers many.
posted by deanc at 4:48 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Justification of bigotry based on erroneous geographical assumptions does not make it any more correct than when it is based on erroneous genetic assumptions.

Just stop it.
posted by hippybear at 4:50 PM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


It is, in fact, perfectly ok for me to discount the crazy right-wingers who are unhinged by the existence of Obama as president.

That doesn't address the point. Living outside of "the right American metro area" doesn't make one an idiot, racist reactionary. In fact there is no such thing as "the right American metro area". If you think there is just remember that Michael Savage works out of San Francisco and New York is the home of the infamous "Guido".
posted by MikeMc at 5:21 PM on September 5, 2009


That doesn't address the point. Living outside of "the right American metro area" doesn't make one an idiot, racist reactionary. In fact there is no such thing as "the right American metro area".
I think it is naive to think that there aren't certain areas, states, and towns where you are more likely to find a group of peers, coworkers, and a general environment you are comfortable with than others. Most people who have lived in many different areas would agree. I think it is perfectly ok for Mr. Bad Example to ask himself, "where can I live where I would be most culturally comfortable?" It is perfectly rational to decide that you would prefer to live someplace where you are much less likely to have your local schoolboard attempt to ban evolution and start saying crazy things about Obama. I fail to see why this is even a question. We are a free people. This allows us to live wherever we choose in whatever environment will make us most comfortable and it behooves us to seek those places out.
If you think there is just remember that Michael Savage works out of San Francisco and New York is the home of the infamous "Guido".
Actually, New Jersey is the home of the infamous Guido. I would hate my home state to be denied its proper credit.
posted by deanc at 5:28 PM on September 5, 2009


This allows us to live wherever we choose in whatever environment will make us most comfortable and it behooves us to seek those places out.

I think the Fair Housing Act might have something to say about that... Anyway, I guess that would be political equivalent of "White Flight". "Those people aren't like me so I'm going to move somewhere that I can be surrounded by people just like me."

Actually, New Jersey is the home of the infamous Guido.

My bad, I thought the Guido was spawned on Staten Island.
posted by MikeMc at 5:36 PM on September 5, 2009


Sorry, hippybear, but the fact of the matter is that the stupid is not evenly distributed across the country, and tends to be especially concentrated in the areas that are neither coastal, nor urban.

(Also, if you want to rail against erroneous geographical assumptions, then you might also want to refrain from equating 'metropolitan' with 'elitist').
posted by bashos_frog at 6:00 PM on September 5, 2009


For what it's worth, some of the urban-vs-rural coasts-vs-flyover stuff is being discussed in this Metatalk thread.
posted by cortex at 6:03 PM on September 5, 2009


I just looked at the website for my former school district and they reversed their decision - they will be showing the speech after all (although parents can opt out). GOOD.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:33 PM on September 5, 2009


Conservatism=Mental Illness
The sheer impossiblity of maintaining conservative beliefs in the face of facts causes the brain cells of conservatives to commit suicide out of despair.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:49 PM on September 5, 2009


Sorry, jsavimbi -- I wasn't accusing you of anything, just pointing out that it's been kind of a hot-button term here the last couple of days.

Oh, no worries Rhaomi. I actually didn't know what the reference was to. I'm busy beyong MeFi believe it or not.

That being said, gypsies, er Roma people, do build some of the most outlandish McMansions you can lay your eyes upon. Where that particular style originated is beyond me, but they do exist and they're gaudy beyond belief.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:18 PM on September 5, 2009


I freely admit that many people who call themselves conservative are loons.

But I refuse to concede that that makes all conservative viewpoints or ideas crazy, or that if I refuse to agree with liberals-even if they are smart people -that that makes me an idiot.

What I would like to see is the end to national namecalling-on both sides and in both directions. I'd like to see a country that knows how to debate and discuss and look at viewpoints from all angles-and, (because Lord knows I am a dreamer) a country that knows how to look at another person's view and understand it even if disagreeing with it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:20 PM on September 5, 2009


more insidiously teaching our children that refusing to participate in benign civic events and to generally distrust authority is honorable

Now I KNOW I'm old. Because back when I was a kid that's how the hippies looked at things.....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:22 PM on September 5, 2009


Because back when I was a kid that's how the hippies looked at things

That's a pretty blanket way to look at the values of the hippies without really understanding it. I'm sure, to an outsider, it looked as though they were simply refusing and distrustful as a group. But generally, the ones who were actually thinking hippies and not merely followers or posers were more likely to participate in social structures which increased the love, and more likely to deplore and avoid those which were simply there to reinforce the status quo.

But I know what you're saying, and understand why you're saying it.
posted by hippybear at 8:17 PM on September 5, 2009


Oooh, surprised this hasn't been posted here..

*cough*

Now to read the rest of this dispiriting, infuriating thread. What the hell, America?
posted by jokeefe at 10:19 PM on September 5, 2009


It would be easier to buy this argument if you could point to such questions on the educational handout accompanying a previous presidential speech. In fact, has there ever been an educational supplement from the White House on the occasion of a President's speech to school children? I did a quick search and was unable to find even a record of the White House having provided educational material to the schools, let alone a copy of suggestions to schools and/or teachers. If either is out there, post a link.

Here you go, BigSky:

http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/kids/guide/
posted by jokeefe at 10:39 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


And just to save you copying and pasting the link:
Freedom Timeline


Teacher's Guide

Objective
Students will be able to identify stories and vocabulary words on the freedom timeline.

Lesson
The lesson will begin with the students exploring the stories on the freedom timeline.
The class will identify the characteristics associated with each story, such as diplomacy, intelligence, liberty, giving and humanitarian aid.

Extension Activity One
The teacher will lead the class in discussing these characteristics and how they relate to today's efforts to preserve freedom.

Extension Activity Two
Students will create their own freedom timeline and choose other stories from history that show America's quest for freedom.

Parent's Guide
After your child explores the stories on the freedom timeline, use the following questions to extend his/her thinking:
What is the meaning of diplomacy, intelligence, liberty, giving and humanitarian aid?
What are some modern-day examples illustrating these terms?
What is another story or lesson of liberty that could be part of a freedom timeline? Perhaps you and your child could create your own freedom timeline.
Is there someone in your family who went to extraordinary efforts to preserve America's freedom?

Biographies of the President, Mrs. Bush, the Vice President and Mrs. Cheney


Teacher's Guide

Objective
The students will be able to identify the elements of a biography.

Lesson
The lesson will begin with the students exploring the biographies of the President, Mrs. Bush, Vice President, and Mrs. Cheney.
The class will identify examples of elements found in a biography.
Once students have identified the elements, a classroom chart listing the characteristics will be created.

Extension Activity One
The teacher will lead the class in distinguishing between 'biography' and 'autobiography'. The students will create their autobiography utilizing the elements identified on the classroom chart.

Extension Activity Two
Students will select and read a biography/autobiography of a famous American. Biographies of presidents are available at www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/. Biographies of first ladies are available at www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/.

Parent's Guide

After your child explores the biographies of the President, Mrs. Bush, Vice President, and Mrs. Cheney, use the following example questions to extend his/her thinking:
What are some examples of elements you found in the biographies?
Where did the President (Mrs. Bush, the Vice President or Mrs. Cheney) attend elementary school? Why is completing elementary school important?
Name a children's book mentioned on one of the biographies. Why is it important to read?
The word 'biography' means the story of a person's life. What do you think 'autobiography' means?
If someone wanted to write a biography about you, what would you want them to include?
posted by jokeefe at 10:41 PM on September 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here, you can also read the transcript of a teleconference done by President Bush back in 1991 with schoolchildren. He talks, to a student who identifies him/herself as being the fourth grade, about the demand for cocaine in America:

I just met with the President of Peru before I came over here. And they grow something like 40, 60 percent of the coca leaf, and we're working with them to try to eliminate this. And they say to us, ``Hey, you help us eliminate this coca leaf.'' That's where the cocaine comes from. ``But you use 80 percent of the narcotics in the world. The demand in your country, Mr. Bush, is 80 percent.''

Reading this transcript brought about a peculiar feeling for me: it was such an article of faith to, you know, dislike Bush and stuff, back in the day. But in comparison with his son, he seems sane, intelligent, and not such a bad guy, in the context of this transcript. Check this out-- in response to a question about dropping out of school to be an artist:

[T]o be a full human being you need a wide array of knowledge. And so my advice to somebody that fit that description -- really good in art, maybe good enough to start selling paintings or doing sculpture, or whatever it is, is a grade school or a high school student -- finish your education. That's only a part of your life, a vital part of your life. But you need to be a whole person, a whole man, a whole woman. And you can't do it if you are less than fully educated.

Look at the damage that Bush, his son, and the political discourse of the last decade has done to America. Nixon, who once was considered an abuser of power and an all round shady character has become, in comparison, a statesman. It is to weep.
posted by jokeefe at 10:53 PM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


By the way, the first link, to the Bush lesson plans, took me something like twenty seconds to find on Google. Just saying.
posted by jokeefe at 10:54 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you jokeefe.
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:14 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Obama plays his speech correctly he really can make the loons look like complete idiots. After all unlike things like Healtchcare Reform this speech has a clear tangible result that can be judged pretty much immediately. All he has to do is keep 'controversial' policy to a minimum and tell them they must work hard, take their vitamins, say their prayers and listen to their parents who love them and want the best for them. And immediately after that the media should be blasting all these idiots as loons who don't want to promote good ol' wholesome American values.
posted by PenDevil at 1:10 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I realise that education in the US is a state-run thing rather than a national thing, but in general, are parents usually allowed to pull their kids out of school on any occasion?
posted by Megami at 1:12 AM on September 6, 2009


My favourite thing from that parent/teacher's guide link is this:

After your child explores White House Historical ABC's, use the following example questions to extend his/her thinking:

* Name one of the President's pets.

Now I don't really have anything against the odd regurgitation question, but it seems disingenuous to claim that that question really extends a child's thinking.
posted by lwb at 2:46 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I refuse to concede that that makes all conservative viewpoints or ideas crazy

"Conservatism" appears to be conducting a purge of all things sane. People like David Frum get drummed out of the group for being reasonable. Audiences hiss at McCain for suggesting that the man who won the last election is not a horrible monster.

The leadership of American conservatism caused this. Don't blame non-conservatives for pointing out what's happening. Don't shoot the messenger (a phrase that has an unusually ominous overtone in this context, is it not?).

What I would like to see is the end to national namecalling-on both sides and in both directions.

person 1: GLEEBLE BLEEBLE COMMIE LIBERAL JEW BANKERS PUT OBAMA MICROCHIPS IN THE VACCINES, WE NEED TO WATER THE FLAG POLE WITH TRAITOR BLOOD

person 2: hey, that's crazy.

St. Alia: You are both equally guilty of name-calling.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:02 AM on September 6, 2009 [11 favorites]


No offense, but WTF is wrong with the USA?

Seriously. I'm not being a smart-ass here. From the outside it looks like the world's largest failed state. I know plenty of folks from the US, and they all seem level-headed, smart people. Why, in the aggregate, does the US citizenry behave in this perverse manner?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:13 AM on September 6, 2009


Fleetmouse, I was talking about conservative principles themselves, not about the actions of people who claim to hold them.

I myself am dismayed at the directions this country is taking, led by a man who no matter what you think of him personally, still is incredibly inexperienced for the type of job he now has, while I watch bailout money sail out of the Treasury and our national debt go crazy nuts (and before you bring it up, I know Bush's sins in that area-which now look petty compared to the present administration.) I am incredibly frustrated that we don't have statesmen in office-on either side of the aisle-but instead have politicians who are so hell bent on demonizing the other side and/or keeping their own butts in office that never mind what's good for the nation, let's keep the mindless sheep voting for us by promising all sorts of things but then-woops, can't do what we promised, too bad.....

Forgive my stream of consciousness rant, but I despair for my nation at this point, and I doubt seriously I'd be feeling any better if McCain had won, fwiw.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:16 AM on September 6, 2009


And as for the nation's public schools....many of us live in areas where if you want your kid to have a decent education, you darn well better consider private school or home schooling.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:22 AM on September 6, 2009


led by a man who no matter what you think of him personally, still is incredibly inexperienced for the type of job he now has

You'll be saying this even after he has eight years in office and it's frankly hilarious that you have the chutzpah to talk shit about someone who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, coming from nothing to go to college and then law school, and then become a successful lawyer and community organizer and then a state senator and then a senator and then President of the Motherfucking United States.

I know that it's pretty lame for people to cry racism every time Obama is criticized, but seriously, think about what you're saying - you thought a know-nothing like Bush, who did nothing but fail for his entire life was just fine and dandy - in fact, you thought he was a great President - and the only thing he did before taking office was run a dozen businesses into the ground and be the governor of a state where the governor has no power and no responsibilities. Your critique is hypocritical at best, and I'm a little sick of all the false witness being thrown around.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:49 AM on September 6, 2009 [28 favorites]


conservative principles themselves

Principles like fiscal responsibility, that were utterly abandoned while Bush II was in office and rediscovered when that Kenyan muslim NWO commie-terrorist took office?

Principles are only as good as the people who claim to hold them.

Principles don't walk into churches and shoot unitarian congregations. Principles don't walk into churches and shoot doctors. Principles don't walk into the holocaust museum and shoot security guards. Principles don't blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Principles don't threaten to secede from the country when their guy doesn't win an election. Principles don't describe the outcome of a free and fair election as a coup.

People do those things.

Is this what your conservative principles do to the people who hold them?
posted by fleetmouse at 6:44 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


led by a man who no matter what you think of him personally, still is incredibly inexperienced for the type of job he now has

You're still on about that? After 8 years of George Fucking W. Bush?
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:09 AM on September 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Look, for the purposes of this thread it wouldn't matter if Bush was a freaking court jester or the Second Coming, he's not the one in office now!

And no matter how good one's theoretical ideas are, there is absolutely no substitute for solid experience.

coming from nothing to go to college and then law school, and then become a successful lawyer and community organizer and then a state senator and then a senator and then President of the Motherfucking United States.

Yes, he is brilliant at getting elected. That is a totally different subset of skills than governing a nation in an executive position.

What I don't understand is why people like Obama and John Edwards are considered viable candidates by the Dems for the highest office in the land when the bald truth is they are/were wet behind the ears-you cannot tell me that there weren't vastly more qualified individuals in the Democratic Party that could have run.

Maybe this is why so many people are disturbed about Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren. This seems like the equivalent of a photo op or an attempt to "look Presidential" more than a straightforward thing-I mean, with the economic crisis and the war and the health care debate one would think the man would have slightly different priorities at the moment????

Again-the man is a freaking genius at getting elected. You can't tell me he is equally a freaking genius at being the Chief Executive-not yet.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:18 AM on September 6, 2009


Name one of the President's pets.

LENIN!!

do i win something?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:18 AM on September 6, 2009


Principles like fiscal responsibility, that were utterly abandoned while Bush II was in office

Yes, those. Many of us weren't paying attention to the economic situation till the housing market went blooie.


Principles are only as good as the people who claim to hold them.

Not a correct statement. The principles of fiscal responsibility are still worth holding even if (invoking Godwin) Hitler held them. The fact that Hitler was a monster doesn't make those particular principals unsound.

Although I do daily feel like tearing my hair out at other professed conservatives. This past year has been quite the eyeopener for me....ugh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:23 AM on September 6, 2009


If Obama plays his speech correctly he really can make the loons look like complete idiots.

He really can't, though. That's the (perverse) beauty of the strategy. They'll just claim that thanks to them and their eternal vigilance Obama was forced to change the content of his speech. Or, more likely, they'll seize on some innocuous phrase and act like he was doing a reading from The Satanic Bible.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:41 AM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


...the economic crisis and the war and the health care debate one would think the man would have slightly different priorities at the moment????

Yeah taking 15 minutes out of his day takes him away from the "important issues." I just hope he doesn't need to take a crap tomorrow. Lost time. Lost opportunity.
posted by ericb at 8:05 AM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, ericb, it might be fifteen minutes, but you know and I know how scripted and uberplanned a Presidential day is. Why this now? It's not really just because he wants to give the kiddies a "stay in school" pep talk. Let's not be naive here. He's doing it because he saw some benefit to his administration in it. I'd rather the focus stay on the economy, the war and the health crisis instead of being diverted to this "schoolhouse rock" speech.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:11 AM on September 6, 2009


Yeah -- Obama has done nothing of impact or importance since taking office 9 months ago!

Forget the social, foreign policy, economic, national security and environmental achievements (among others) he's accomplished since being in office.
posted by ericb at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama has always said that education is one of his top priorities. By directly addressing students, teachers and parents on Tuesday he broadcasts that commitment. Good for him to kick-off the new school year by speaking to America's students, encouraging them to stay in school and study.

As has been mentioned above, Obama is a grand example of someone exceeding at the American dream by way of our educational system -- public and private. He made it on his own merits, unlike his predecessor who squeaked through every phase of his life based on his name, his family wealth and connections. Bush squandered any and all opportunities he found himself in. Everything he touched failed.
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on September 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


We live in stupid times.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:22 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is why so many people are disturbed about Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren. This seems like the equivalent of a photo op or an attempt to "look Presidential" more than a straightforward thing-I mean, with the economic crisis and the war and the health care debate one would think the man would have slightly different priorities at the moment????

Obama--as opposed to GWB--really doesn't need an "attempt" to look presidential; the guy already looks presidential.

And I realize that there's a war and a health care debate and an economic crisis going on, but to say that he should have different priorities is truly absurd. Education is a priority.

That supercilious statement, of one would think the man would have slightly different priories at the moment really torques my jaw. You don't actually mean that the man should do absolutely nothing other than concentrate on those things, do you? "There's a war going on and he takes time out to floss his teeth???" "The economy is tanking and he sits around helping his kids with homework???" "There's a health care debate and he's reading books and talking to school kids about staying in school???"

Yeah, I suspect that he can take a few hours out of his life to talk to kids about the importance of education. I mean, it's not as though he's just sitting around reading "My Pet Goat" or anything, is it?
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, ericb, it might be fifteen minutes, but you know and I know how scripted and uberplanned a Presidential day is. Why this now?

Look, I know you're asking ericb to answer this, but as Captain of the Obvious Squad it is my duty to point out that the first day of school after Labor Day is the first day that all US students are in school. If one chooses to give a 'Stay in School, kids!' message to kids in school, one should select a date for which all students are in school. Makes sense, no?
posted by carsonb at 8:30 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here you go, BigSky:

http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/kids/guide/


I said it would be easier to believe if there was a handout accompanying a speech delivered by the President to the nation's children. And to be an appropriate analogue the handout should concern itself with the subject of that speech. I'm not seeing that in the link you posted. It is, as titled, "Parents and Teachers Guide for WhiteHouse.gov". That's not even close to the same thing.
posted by BigSky at 8:45 AM on September 6, 2009




It would have taken a lot less time out of his day if the outcry over this wasn't so large...
posted by agregoli at 9:02 AM on September 6, 2009


Look, for the purposes of this thread it wouldn't matter if Bush was a freaking court jester or the Second Coming, he's not the one in office now!

It matters if we're discussing the motivations behind the objections to this entirely innocuous event.

And no matter how good one's theoretical ideas are, there is absolutely no substitute for solid experience.

Nobody who voted for George Bush in 2000 over the vastly more experienced Al Gore gets to say this. Or, rather, the fact that you voted for Bush over Gore in 2000 shows, clearly and distinctly, that you don't actually believe in any way that matters that experience is an important qualification for the presidency, and that you're just regurgitating talking points created by Republican elites entirely out of short-term political expedience.

Maybe this is why so many people are disturbed about Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren.

No, it's not. We can discount that immediately, because we know that the righties who are objecting now did not object to similar innocuous do-good events under Bush II.

Why this now? It's not really just because he wants to give the kiddies a "stay in school" pep talk. Let's not be naive here.

The inability of nominal conservatives to accept that Obama might be just trying to encourage kids to stay in school is exactly the point.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:35 AM on September 6, 2009 [10 favorites]


WTF
posted by PenDevil at 10:05 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


The clip posted by PenDevil was heartbreaking--not for the reason that the weeping woman thinks, however. It's heartbreaking to think that there are people like her out there breeding.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:25 AM on September 6, 2009


Maybe this is why so many people are disturbed about Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren.

I skimmed around the Web a bit yesterday to see what reasons various people were giving for not wanting their kids to see the president's message. There were a lot of "Oh, he's a Socialist" spreading propaganda-type comments, but also quite a few concerned that he is personally spreading mind-controlling messages like "I pledge to be a servant of the President of the United States." (Somehow I'd managed not to see this video until now.) Obama was not behind the "Pledge" video (as far as I know), but that's not preventing a lot of Americans from thinking that he is.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:46 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is why so many people are disturbed about Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren. This seems like the equivalent of a photo op or an attempt to "look Presidential" more than a straightforward thing-I mean, with the economic crisis and the war and the health care debate one would think the man would have slightly different priorities at the moment?

No, it isn't why many people are disturbed about Obama's speech, or else they would have been flipping the fuck out every time George W. Bush visited a school. Stop grasping at straws to justify this madness, because there simply is no rational justification for it.

The reason they are so upset is because the right wing media smear machine is running full bore to spread fear about what the big bad Obama might do. It's not even what Obama will do, but what he might do in some paranoid right wing nightmare/fantasy. Their goal is to whip up the base and get them upset enough to take up pitchforks and torches, resulting in gridlock and the status quo until the Republicans can fool people into voting for them again.

The Republican Party cannot put forward a positive agenda for at least two years, so all they can do is pull out all the stops to prevent the Democratic majority from getting anything done, and the Republicans, led by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, have absolutely no problem lying, cheating and pulling the country to the brink of a civil war as long as it means they might hold some scrap of power in the future.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:36 AM on September 6, 2009


I'd never seen the pledge video before either. It seems pretty innocuous ("I pledge to use fewer plastic water bottles." "I pledge never to give other drivers the finger any more.") except the "service to Obama" part. It made me cringe because I just know that it's going to sound like "service to Satan" to certain segments of the population.
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:44 AM on September 6, 2009




the economic crisis and the war and the health care debate one would think the man would have slightly different priorities at the moment

Christ, this is such a disingenuous argument, and for reasons are so simple. Whenever someone says this, you know they're just being willfully difficult (or incredibly naive, but let's not kid ourselves about the person making the claim). It's a seemingly innocent-sounding claim that's used as a distraction from actual conversation, and as a way to put off the claimant's having to admit to themselves and everyone else that she just doesn't like the president because he's not part of her little conservative club. I'm going to refute it just because I think it's important to keep knocking down these Pins of Stupid as soon as the conservative movement sets them up:

Having the job of President of the United States means you have a big list of shit to do. That's why there are platform planks and white papers and policy papers. Because you're in charge of dealing with a very broad spectrum of national issues.

Because of this ridiculously long laundry list of shit to do, the president has a staff. He has a cabinet. He has advisers. He's not "taking time out" from X to "focus on" Y, because during the fifteen minutes he's focusing on Y, some other very smart person is focusing on X, and then briefing him on it when they're done. Someone advised him to make a speech to schoolchildren, he agreed, someone else set up the logistics, someone else probably wrote the speech, someone else approved it. Maybe Obama sat down at 2 AM with the speechwriter or someone else from the White House communications office to go over the outline before heading to the residence to get four hours of sleep. While he slept, someone revised the speech some more. All told, Obama himself will probably have spent three and a half hours out of the last month working on this very important educational initiative. And this is a guy who works 12-hour days.

Obama has people he trusts to do stuff for him. He's not shooting a student film. It's not like he's setting up lights while Michelle goes on a pad thai run for the crew. And whenever you say "You'd think he'd spend his time focusing on the economy!" what you really mean is "I think that the people I am talking to are so stupid as to believe that the President of the United States has the same resources as a middle manager at Staples, so I'll use that to muddy the water instead of making a coherent argument, since, as a movement conservative, I am ultimately incapable of having a rational discussion that does not involve rhetorical obfuscation, distracting claims of victimization, and outright lies."

Oh, and while we're at it, please stop claiming that you don't like Bush, or that you think we'd be in just as deep water if McCain were in office. Regardless of whether it's true, you're doing it merely to try to get us to think you're an independent thinker and not just another movement conservative, and it's not working.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:12 PM on September 6, 2009 [21 favorites]


If Bush II had wanted to give this kind of speech at the same time in his presidency as Obama wants to give his then I probably would have been fine with it. At that time I hadn't developed such negative feelings for the man. I think if there were to be a consensus from liberals on Metafilter it would have been "that's nice, but there's no way this guy got to where he was through hard work in school so his words just don't carry much weight with me". I don't know, in all honesty, what I would really think if he'd done this in 2005. I hope I'd be all "good for him", but it's possible my anger at the man would leak into his every action trying to find fault with it.
posted by Green With You at 1:14 PM on September 6, 2009


What I don't understand is why people like Obama and John Edwards are considered viable candidates by the Dems for the highest office in the land when the bald truth is they are/were wet behind the ears-you cannot tell me that there weren't vastly more qualified individuals in the Democratic Party that could have run.

I repeat: you say this after your preferred party gave us 8 years of George W. Bush?

In no respect was John McCain "more qualified" to be president, in any case. Nor were any of the other Republican choices. There is no list of qualifications beyond citizenship and reaching the age of 35. But after the GOP gave us George Bush, no Republican has any business snarking about the qualifications of any Democrat. The man was singularly unqualified. You don't get to complain about something if you haven't got any record of doing a better job.

If you seriously believe we'd be better off after 9 months of John and Sarah, you're smoking better weed than me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:16 PM on September 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


If Bush II had wanted to give this kind of speech at the same time in his presidency as Obama wants to give his then I probably would have been fine with it.

It's worthwhile to note, Bush II was in a classroom demonstrating the importance of reading to a group of school children at exactly this point in his presidency. Actually, it was three calendar days later into September, but there he was, modeling quality reading skills for a group of emergent readers. And while he was there, those planes ran into those buildings in New York.
posted by hippybear at 1:22 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and while we're at it, please stop claiming that you don't like Bush, or that you think we'd be in just as deep water if McCain were in office.

Yep. One need only delve into St. Alia of the Bunnies' posts and comments, as well as those made under her previous MeFi handle (konolia) to see her enthusiastic support of Bush, McCain, Palin, etc.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on September 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


The inability of nominal conservatives to accept that Obama might be just trying to encourage kids to stay in school is exactly the point

On the other hand, maybe we are just so cynical that we believe that everythng a politician does pretty much has an ulterior motive.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:29 PM on September 6, 2009


...we believe that everythng a politician does pretty much has an ulterior motive.

So, pray tell, what do you think were the motivations of Bush/Cheney during their 8 years? What about McCain/Palin during the electoral season?
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The inability of nominal conservatives to accept that Obama might be just trying to encourage kids to stay in school is exactly the point
On the other hand, maybe we are just so cynical that we believe that everythng a politician does pretty much has an ulterior motive.
Yeah, that explains why you (claimed to have) accepted the idea that Sarah Palin would be a great president, and that she was highly qualified, and that she was chosen for McCain's running mate because of her "executive experience" rather than due to any blatantly obvious cynical ploy by the Republican Party, with complete credulity.
posted by Flunkie at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Erichb, please note that in the last few months my political stances have been....evolving....case in point I am now horrified I swallowed the Palin koolade, and that move alone(of selectng her) should have made me wake up and know McCain had no business anywhere near the Oval Office.

That having been said, I'm still a conservative but more and more feel like I am surrounded by idiots.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


But it wasn't just you. Conservatives in general went rapturous for the completely obvious cynical ploy of Palin's nomination. But now you're claiming that conservatives in general are highly cynical of all politicians.
posted by Flunkie at 1:37 PM on September 6, 2009


I'm claiming that regular people are highly cynical. I'm pretty regular myself.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:38 PM on September 6, 2009


No you're not. You're claiming conservatives are. Or at least you were a moment ago.

In any case, if you're now claiming that "regular people" are highly cynical, and that you are "pretty regular", then we're back to the original question: How come you couldn't see the incredibly obvious Palin ploy for what it was?
posted by Flunkie at 1:40 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Desperation, honestly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:42 PM on September 6, 2009


So you knew it was a cynical ploy, but desperation drove you to bear false witness?
posted by Flunkie at 1:43 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's just say when one is desperate one sees what one wants to see and believes what one wants to believe. I believed what I wanted to believe. Truthfully there was not one single Republican candidate that I liked so I had to make myself believe I liked the one we had.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:47 PM on September 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


one sees what one wants to see and believes what one wants to believe
Which is pretty much the opposite of a cynic.
posted by Flunkie at 1:48 PM on September 6, 2009


one sees what one wants to see and believes what one wants to believe

In related news: blind faith.
posted by ericb at 1:52 PM on September 6, 2009


Which is pretty much the opposite of a cynic.

And the opposite of critical thinking.
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Please let's not turn this into an Alia pile-on, okay?
posted by jokeefe at 1:57 PM on September 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


So you knew it was a cynical ploy, but desperation drove you to bear false witness?

you know, when a person is admitting she may have been wrong about some things and is reconsidering her political philosophy, it's probably not a good idea to be snarky and act like everything she ever said and did can't be changed

you what the real problem in this country is? - when the self-righteous on the right and left can't find anyone to fight, they make someone up - they're doing it with obama and his eeeeevil socialist indoctrination of the kiddies and you're doing it with a person who is trying to rethink her ideas

knock it off
posted by pyramid termite at 2:01 PM on September 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Please. She's here spouting that conservatives are only doing this because conservatives are cynical about politicians in general; this is quite obviously a fair point to bring up.
posted by Flunkie at 2:03 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please let's not turn this into an Alia pile-on, okay?

I don't see our conversation in this thread as a pile on of St. Alia> I see some of our posts as a refutation of the right-wing "talking points" and "smoke-screen" she mimics and regurgitates.

We aren't attacking/piling-on St. Alia (I'm sure she's delightful over tea and scones), as much as we are addressing her misguided (in my personal opinion) world-view.
posted by ericb at 2:05 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


She's here spouting that conservatives are only doing this because conservatives are cynical about politicians in general

and liberals aren't? what did you do, take a time machine back to the 50s?

--

one sees what one wants to see and believes what one wants to believe

In related news: blind faith.

of course, no one could ever say that about people who've voted for obama

the irony, it burns
posted by pyramid termite at 2:14 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


That having been said, I'm still a conservative but more and more feel like I am surrounded by idiots.

I'm proud that you are evolving your political perspective -- and, likely (hopefully?) recognizing that the extreme "far right" does not necessarily define the opinions and philosophy of the entire conservative movement.

I was encouraged early on to ignore anyone's "talking points;" to delve into the "meat" of an issue on my own. I hope you are on a similar path.

I abhor the Becks, Coulters and Limbaughs for their rhetoric and "sound bite" demagoguery. However, there are many conservatives -- Andrew Sullivan, David Frum, George Will (among others) -- whom I admire, as they offer principled and reasoned positions for their stances and perspectives. While I often disagree, they demonstrate true thought and conviction for their beliefs.
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on September 6, 2009


She's here spouting that conservatives are only doing this because conservatives are cynical about politicians in general
and liberals aren't? what did you do, take a time machine back to the 50s?
I honestly have no idea what you think this has to do with anything. In fact, I am struggling to find a single level of it that makes any sense.

I said that "She claims that X are Y". You responded "As if Z aren't Y?"

What? I'm disagreeing with her claim that X are Y; I didn't say anything at all about Z, let alone saying that Z are Y.

And even ignoring that Z have nothing to do with the crux of this, your "Z are Y too" in response to my implied "X are not Y"? Not even a semblence of reasoning present there. But let's pretend there is, and continue:

From your "Z are Y too", it seems as though you think that my argument is that "X are bad because X are Y and being Y is bad". I suggest you go back and re-read. I'm not saying Y is good or Y is bad. I'm saying that the claim that X are Y is false.

And to remind you, that false claim was used in an attempt to explain why conservatives are disallowing their children from attending school and so forth.

Let's take it all back a step. She's claiming that conservatives are disallowing their children from watching this speech because conservatives view all politicians cynically.

Do you think that's why conservatives are disallowing their children from watching this speech?
posted by Flunkie at 2:45 PM on September 6, 2009


Well, apparently a lot of parents do not trust Obama, and rightly or wrongly they fear his agenda in speaking to their children. Now to many folks that seems downright silly, but parents do tend to be rather touchy.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2009


please note that in the last few months my political stances have been....evolving....case in point I am now horrified I swallowed the Palin koolade

I get this, and I really don't mean to pick on you, but I hope that you can / will be able to see that the furor over a president exhorting kids to stay in and do well at school is also a prepackaged sugary noncarbonated beverage.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:05 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm disagreeing with her claim that X are Y; I didn't say anything at all about Z, let alone saying that Z are Y.

you shouldn't try to eat alphabet soup and post at the same time

Do you think that's why conservatives are disallowing their children from watching this speech?

it's quite possible - but of course you're willfully missing the point that there's plenty of cynicism to be found on all points of the political spectrum and it's hardly some kind of rebuttal for anyone to call another faction cynical, or some kind of shocking revelation that some in any faction may be motivated by cynicism

so, you're shocked, shocked to find out that there's cynicism in american politics

tell me another
posted by pyramid termite at 3:13 PM on September 6, 2009


The school systems of two very conservative Indianapolis suburbs have declared they will not be showing the speech live. One says they will record it and, maybe, show it later, if it fits within the class schedules. Big maybe.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:19 PM on September 6, 2009


please note that in the last few months my political stances have been....evolving

OK, Alia, I'll take back my tinytext addendum re: your feelings on Bush and McCain, but I'll note that while your political stances may have been evolving, you're still offering some pretty weak sauce here. There really isn't any defensible reason for anyone to be freaking out over Obama talking to kids, and to defend those who are doing so is to get in bed with some pretty unsavory characters.

a person who is trying to rethink her ideas

I get you, termite, but she's only told us she's trying to rethink her ideas, while continuing to use these concern-trolly rhetoric (there isn't enough class time available for something like this, Obama should focus on the economy, et cetera) that attempt to put a serious face on the lunatic rightist fringe's goals. I appreciate that she's trying to explore her options politically, but ultimately what she's done in this thread is damaging, and I can't get too pissed at people for flipping out a bit over it.

This may be better taken to MeTa, I dunno.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:26 PM on September 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


this concern-trolly rhetoric, not these
posted by hifiparasol at 3:27 PM on September 6, 2009


I'm split about this.

On one hand I don't want my children taught to spy on me and to report any of my anti-communist actions or views to the state.

On the other hand, I understand men and women will be forced to produce more communist offspring and I'm all for that.
posted by mazola at 3:36 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


you shouldn't try to eat alphabet soup and post at the same time
Cogent rebuttal.
Do you think that's why conservatives are disallowing their children from watching this speech?
it's quite possible
You're claiming that it's "quite possible" that the reason for this is that conservatives in general think that politicians in general have cynical motives for what they do?

Not, mind you, that conservatives in general think that relatively liberal politicians in general have cynical motives for what they do? Or that Obama has cynical motives for what they do? Because neither of those are what she was claiming.
but of course you're willfully missing the point that there's plenty of cynicism to be found on all points of the political spectrum and it's hardly some kind of rebuttal for anyone to call another faction cynical, or some kind of shocking revelation that some in any faction may be motivated by cynicism
What? Again, what on earth does that have to do with anything?

I'm "wilfully missing" that "there's plenty of cynicism to be found on all points of the political spectrum"?

Where did I say, or even imply, that there was no cynicism at some -- any -- point on the political spectrum?

And even assuming I did say or imply that (which I didn't), what does it have to do with my claim that she's wrong that this protest is because conservatives view politicians in general cynically?

And I'm "wilfully missing" that "it's hardly some kind of rebuttal for anyone to call another faction cynical"?

What? Where did I call anyone cynical? She called someone cynical.

And I think it's a "shocking relevation that some in any faction may be motivated by cynicism"?

What? Where did I say that? I neither said nor implied that conservatives view Obama cynically, and whether they do or not has little to do with her claim that I'm arguing against - to wit, that conservatives are doing this because they view politicians in general cynically. Not "Obama". "Politicians in general".
so, you're shocked, shocked to find out that there's cynicism in american politics
What? When did I say or imply that? Specifically when?

What I said was that her claim that conservatives view politicians in general cynically does not hold up to scrutiny. I even gave an example of why it doesn't.

Whether they view Obama cynically has nothing to do with this. I don't understand what you think that it has to do with it, and I don't understand why you think I'm claiming they don't view Obama cynically, or why you think I'm claiming that liberals are not cynical, or why you think that I don't think anyone is cynical, or whatever the hell else you incomprehensibly pulled out of what I wrote.

She claims conservatives aren't letting their kids watch this speech because they're cynical about politicians in general. I claim that conservatives are not cynical about politicians in general, and that's certainly not why they're not letting their kids watch this speech.

Whether or not they're cynical about Obama, and whether or not cynicism about Obama is why they're not letting their kids watch, has nothing to do with what I'm claiming. I'm sorry if you can't understand that these things have nothing to do with what I'm claiming, but they don't.
posted by Flunkie at 3:40 PM on September 6, 2009


What I said was that her claim that conservatives view politicians in general cynically does not hold up to scrutiny.

i'll make it simple for you - you're wrong

the amount of cynicism out there is at an all time high - maybe if you'd read or listen to people who disagree with your viewpoints you'd know that

in fact the very conspiracy laden viewpoint of many is the ultimate expression of cynicism

fish - meet water

and it has everything to do with what we're discussing, whether you're able to understand it or not
posted by pyramid termite at 4:40 PM on September 6, 2009


It could be that the questioning about the cynicism was based on the apparent total flip-flop from complete credulity and acceptance of the former President, compared to the total cynicism which is greeting this current one.

That contrast is what leads ME to be cynical about most who are making all the fuss about this school speech.
posted by hippybear at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, apparently a lot of parents do not trust Obama, and rightly or wrongly they fear his agenda in speaking to their children. Now to many folks that seems downright silly, but parents do tend to be rather touchy.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies


You learned that trick off Fox News, didn't you? The use of all those qualifiers so that later on you can say that you were just telling us what other folks think--caring parents who might overreact because they have such concern for their kids. It's not your opinion, mind you--it's a lot of parents who feel this way rightly or wrongly.

You're good.
posted by leftcoastbob at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's not your opinion, mind you--it's a lot of parents who feel this way rightly or wrongly.

Akin to the old rhetorical trick employed by Cicero et al.: "There are those who say/claim..."
posted by ericb at 4:47 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's just say when one is desperate one sees what one wants to see and believes what one wants to believe. I believed what I wanted to believe. Truthfully there was not one single Republican candidate that I liked so I had to make myself believe I liked the one we had.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:47 PM on September 6 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]

This is an important comment, so I want to bring attention to it.

It's important because I think it explains the thinking process of many -- and not just conservatives. (It's also important because I any beginning to worry that many Obama supporters, like myself, may be finding occasion to say the same about the choices we had in "our" candidates.)
posted by orthogonality at 5:48 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


OK pyramid termite. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you're trolling.

If you're not trolling, then I suggest that the next time that you feel like butting in to tell someone to "knock it off", you might want to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you have no comprehension of what "it" is.

Goodbye.
posted by Flunkie at 6:08 PM on September 6, 2009


OK pyramid termite. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you're trolling.

why does the idea that conservatives could be cynical seem so threatening to you?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2009


Well, apparently a lot of parents do not trust Obama, and rightly or wrongly they fear his agenda in speaking to their children.

Well, I'm sure that back when Bush Sr. gave a similar speech to children under the same conditions -- almost word-for-word the same, in fact -- there were other parents who didn't trust him, and also feared he had an agenda in speaking to their children.

But they didn't raise a cry to the heavens about it. Bush just went on and gave his speech because that's what presidents do.

Why is this issue raising such a hue and cry, when no one has ever raised this degree of a hue and cry before?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The National Student Walkout to Prayer

Stay awesome America.
posted by PenDevil at 5:50 AM on September 7, 2009


Well, apparently a lot of parents do not trust Obama

This is what angers/puzzles me. Americans do not trust the man elected to be their President after he has been in office for 8 months. What has he done in that time to deserve their unease? Has he started a war? Has he ignored a National catastrophe? Has he screwed up international relationships? What has he done exactly?

We trust him with nuclear bombs. We trust him with international diplomacy. We trust him to act as commander of our armed forces. The fact that he is in charge of this huge country with our vast resources yet some parents don't trust him to speak for 15 minutes to their children speaks volumes about what shape our country is in today. The fracture lines run so deep that there is not a single action-- no matter how small or how innocuous-- that cannot be viewed through partisanship glasses.

This is the state of Patriotism today: I can think of no event short of a full blown invasion by the enemy that will unite us.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:59 AM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


She's re-evaluating her positions because SHE and HER SIDE LOST THE ELECTION.

Guarantee you that if we were talking about President McCain and VP Palin right now, we'd be hearing how they could do no wrong and how experienced they were even as we watched the world descend deeper into war and misery and watched the right wing strangle our last remaining progressive cultural efforts.

You must understand this about conservatives, including people like Alia who will come back and tell us how they have black friends and how their daughter married a black man.

This is about race and racism. They cannot stand the idea of a progressive, educated, BLACK man in the ("their") White House. No matter what they say, or how they dissemble, or what excuses they make ("I'm just cynical about all politics now" being one of the best), that's what this is about.

As a Daily Kos diarist said the other day, why don't they just say the N-word and get it fucking over with.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:08 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, apparently a lot of parents do not trust Obama, and rightly or wrongly they fear his agenda in speaking to their children. Now to many folks that seems downright silly, but parents do tend to be rather touchy.

The most disingenuous thing I've heard today, although I haven't turned on Fox lately.

Being downright silly is not an excuse for being an ignoramus.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:15 AM on September 7, 2009


It's not about race. It's about the perception of leftism headed to socialism. The Left would love to make this about race and racism.

It's about MONEY. Our money, tax money, money going to corporations, money money money......if it's about color, the color is green.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:03 AM on September 7, 2009


Lockheed-Martin, Colt, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Hughes, Rockwell, Textron. These are some of the companies that spend your money. Good investment, yeah?
posted by longbaugh at 7:27 AM on September 7, 2009


When Obama begins to speak about nationalizing industries and then assigning citizens of the US the output of those industries in order to make them more productive members of society, THEN you can start spouting about socialism. Until then, it is taxation for services rendered, and nothing more.
posted by hippybear at 7:35 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's about MONEY. Our money, tax money, money going to corporations, money money money......if it's about color, the color is green.

You realize Obama has already given you a significantly larger tax cut than the one Senator McCain promised you, right?
posted by EarBucket at 7:37 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Remember the Bush administration shipping billions of dollars to Iraq on cargo pallets and then not being able to account for 3/4 of it? Totally not a waste of money.
posted by PenDevil at 7:43 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, it is so not about money. Because I didn't hear any complaining about the money spent on wars to kill innocent people for our own country's monetary benefit. I guess that's totally cool and moral, but making sure that all of our citizens have health care is shockingly forward?
posted by agregoli at 8:00 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's not about race. It's about the perception of leftism headed to socialism. The Left would love to make this about race and racism.

we can't - the right's already done that for us

again, what other president has had to put up with the kind of birther crap obama has?

It's about MONEY. Our money, tax money, money going to corporations, money money money......if it's about color, the color is green.

the love of money is the root of all evil

it burns me - i take the trouble to defend you a little and then you come up with something like this that doesn't even agree with your own professed values

or the fact that you and people like you aren't getting anywhere near the MONEY that the republican and corporate leadership gets

you'd rather cry over the few dollars you MIGHT have to pay in taxes rather than the many dollars you'll never SEE because the people that run things are too busy grabbing it all for themselves - taking money from the undernourished, the underemployed, the uninsured

yeah, it's all about MONEY

what a christian has to do with all that is utterly beyond me
posted by pyramid termite at 8:06 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it's fine for Obama to tell kids to stay in school, but I do hope he doesn't tell them to suck on his titties like they wanted him.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 8:09 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why is this issue raising such a hue and cry, when no one has ever raised this degree of a hue and cry before?

It probably has a lot to do with The Republican Death Spiral:

Thus the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base -- but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.

All that's left are the crazies, who suddenly are able to take advantage of the party infrastructure without the moderates (who have long since given up or gone crazy themselves) getting in the way.

It's about the perception of leftism headed to socialism.

A perception which is created and maintained by (a) professional political operatives, (b) lobbyists masquerading as grassroots organizations, and (b) asshole media types like Hannity and Beck who know that rallying the crazies is an easy path to a paychech (green, indeed).

As a member of the left, I would absolutely not love for this to be about race and racism, and you deserve our derision for saying so. I would absolutely adore this to be about reasonable opposition to the president's policies. But since before he was elected, a bunch of people are claiming that (a) the president can't possibly be American because he's of African descent, and (b) his middle name is Hussein, therefore he must be The Enemy. These same people are clamoring to lambaste the president for bowing to the corporations, after sitting by for eight years while Bush worked harder and harder to create a corporatist nation, and pretty much succeeded in handing over our entire foreign policy to corporations. But now suddenly you guys care about corporations and corporate welfare.

But you know what? I don't think it's entirely about racism either. I think it's just about the fact that he's not in your little club, and he doesn't use the meaningless dogwhistles ("culture of life," "real America," et cetera) that you've come to demand from your politicians. It's about the fact that there's a president who's willing to face the reality that Leave it to Beaver was in fact a fictional television show and not a documentary, and that there are people who like it that way.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:15 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I tried to warn y'all upthread.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's about MONEY. Our money, tax money, money going to corporations, money money money......if it's about color, the color is green.

So these good folks are keeping their kids out of school because of money going to corporations???? HAH!! I knew it! Ralph Nader is behind this in his attempt to bring down the Democratic party!
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:58 AM on September 7, 2009


I would respect the right's complaints about socialism if they were able to articulate an accurate view both of socialism and why socialism is undesirable.

Instead, it's all slippery-slope fallacy and a bunch of jibber-jabber about Communist Russia. Not only that, but we've been a mixed economy for nearly ever, public utilities are widely accepted (and in my experience function much better than private utilities or quasi-utilities). We have public schools, public roads, public hospitals, public universities… The government is the public, and the public is us.

It's another one of those "Idiot or liar?" moments.
posted by klangklangston at 9:18 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]




But since before he was elected, a bunch of people are claiming that (a) the president can't possibly be American because he's of African descent...

Only 51 percent of Kentucky residents believe Obama was born in U.S.
posted by ericb at 9:32 AM on September 7, 2009


Yikes, it's some kind of bizarro, "opposite day" kind of world when we have reached a point that Gingrich is the voice of reason in the Republican party.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:55 AM on September 7, 2009


FULL TEXT: Obama's speech to students -- released in advance of tomorrow's noon-time broadcast.
posted by ericb at 9:56 AM on September 7, 2009


"When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years..."

Uh-oh. Watch the crazies latch onto that in 3-2-1...
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on September 7, 2009


Did you catch this at the end of the speech? WTF?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

fromeachaccordingtohisabilitytoeachaccordingtohisneed

'K thanks bye!
posted by mazola at 10:00 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Strong presence of islamic extremists in Indonesia. Some Iraqi insurgent had Indonesians.
posted by freshundz at 10:02 AM on September 7, 2009


Only 51 percent of Kentucky residents believe Obama was born in U.S.

Heh. Well, to be fair - past polls I have read say that 5-10% of the birthers don't know Hawaii is a state so there's that.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:02 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh so true.
posted by Megami at 10:05 AM on September 7, 2009




(Ugh... Should've previewed.)
posted by parilous at 10:19 AM on September 7, 2009


The Freeper reax is fun if you are really bored and have a strong stomach. Basically, they are taking credit for forcing him to "scrub" the speech. In between posting Hitler jpgs, of course.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:24 AM on September 7, 2009


Wow. Now people are REALLY going to freak out.
posted by agregoli at 10:24 AM on September 7, 2009


(Because it's a good speech that doesn't say a ton of nothing).
posted by agregoli at 10:25 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the speech:
...Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
Subtext: Suck it, nativists.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:41 AM on September 7, 2009


From the speech:

...Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

Subtext: Suck it, nativists.


Well that's affirmative action for you, if she was a white guy she never would have gotten a scholarship with the same grades. What do you call someone who finishes last in her class at medical school? Doctor.

Subtext: Suck it, Socialists.

It's a joke people, lighten up.
posted by MikeMc at 10:49 AM on September 7, 2009


PUBLIC health ?!?

OMG WTF BBQ !! !
posted by mazola at 10:50 AM on September 7, 2009




Somebody wake me up when Glenn Beck is no longer quoted in the mainstream.
posted by freshundz at 11:12 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, I love it.

From CunningLinguist's hyperlink:
"... the message about serving country is hidden deep beneath another one: Each child has an individual responsibility to succeed, to accomplish something, even to make lots of money, by working hard at school. Not quite Vladamir Lenin. More like Glenn Beck, from this 2008 interview with then Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
BECK: It's time for some personal responsibility. It is time for people to take on the responsibility that they have for themselves. Why don't we talk about personal responsibility anymore? Why don't we reach out to the American people and say, 'Hey, government is not the answer. Nine out of ten times government's the problem.'

GOVERNOR PALIN: I know. Let us preach, reaching people when they know there is a candidate willing to talk about this."
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on September 7, 2009


Somebody wake me up when Glenn Beck is no longer quoted in the mainstream.

You're going to be asleep for a long, long time, Mr. Rip Van Winkle.
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on September 7, 2009


From the Time magazine link:
Well it is a much improved speech to the school children of this Nation. The theme of "what you need to do in school" is so much better than the original version "what you can do for me, for the President of the United States".
Did I miss a link to the "original text" of this speech someplace? It would be nice to do some comparison between the two versions.

Or am I just buying into right-wing rumor mongering by believing there was ever another text to this speech to begin with?
posted by hippybear at 11:31 AM on September 7, 2009


As far as I've read and heard, the other "version" of the speech was just a delusion.
posted by Orb at 11:37 AM on September 7, 2009


Yeah, it's somewhere in a drawer along with the "long form birth certificate."
posted by hifiparasol at 11:40 AM on September 7, 2009


That's a fine speech, and I would have found it inspiring if I'd heard it when I was 10 or 11. He's pitched it nicely for the times, and I definitely like the bit about the fantasy of sudden and unearned fame-- something I wish my youngest niece had been told years ago. Grace: A
posted by jokeefe at 11:41 AM on September 7, 2009


^^ Whoops. "Grade"
posted by jokeefe at 11:42 AM on September 7, 2009


Somebody wake me up when Glenn Beck is no longer quoted in the mainstream.

Meanwhile in crazy Wackadoodle Land, Sarah Palin has issued an invitation on facebook:
FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House.

Monday night he asked us to invite one friend to watch; tonight I invite all my friends to watch.
Who IS actually running the White House? Michelle? Satan? The Puppetmaster?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:52 AM on September 7, 2009


SLoG that was last week - she propelled him up in the ratings past O'Reilly.



I wonder if Greer will now retract amusing comments like: "The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President's agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates."
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:57 AM on September 7, 2009


Look at the bright side: Perhaps as a result of this, 5th graders everywhere will be engaging in stimulating debates about the benefits of laissiez-faire as compare to centralized authority and market regulation.
posted by freshundz at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2009


Who IS actually running the White House?

dick cheney

what, you thought that election meant something?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:13 PM on September 7, 2009


It's about MONEY. Our money, tax money, money going to corporations, money money money......if it's about color, the color is green.

I'm going to say something right here, right now --

St. Alia, I hereby promise you actual, honest-to-God sexual favors if you can point out to me at ANY POINT within the past 100 years when there hasn't been controversy over the use of our tax money going to corporations before this.

I'm perfectly serious. Actual sexual favors.

(goes to pick up a Barry White CD just in case)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on September 7, 2009


The good news is, with all this press, probably a fair number of people who otherwise wouldn't have even heard of the speech now have a chance to read it.

Hopefully, some of those people will actually be, you know, schoolchildren. Who could use encouragement. From the most powerful man in the world. About how they, too, can succeed.
posted by Ms. Saint at 12:21 PM on September 7, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, I expressed myself poorly-it isn't just about the tax money going to corporations-it's about individuals freaking out about their own bank accounts and employment....I meant in total, everyone in this political scenario-and I do mean EVERYONE, has as a main concern money. Whether they are secretly pocketing it, or worrying they won't have any when they lose a job, or concerned what passing cap and trade would do to utility bills, or a politician needing funds to finance that upcoming campaign.

It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

(Oh, and I'm very, VERY happily married(wink wink) and hate Barry White but I can appreciate the sentiment. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:23 PM on September 7, 2009


It's about MONEY. Our money, tax money, money going to corporations, money money money......if it's about color, the color is green.


A North Carolinian has no reason to be upset about this. While not in the top 10, NC gets back more federal money than its citizens pay in federal taxes, as is true for nearly every "red" state (I know, NC was blue this time) and untrue for nearly every "blue" state.* In addition, the Bush administration set new records for corporate giveaways of taxpayer funds, and the initial TARP bailout was proposed and approved by Bush. Hundreds of billions wasted on a phony war for nothing but more federal giveaways to the oil companies and military contractors.

But heaven forfend any if "our money" (as I said, as a New Yorker, it's more my money than St. Alia's or any other red-stater's) should be spent so that people have decent medical care. Or to create a new generation of jobs. Or to save crucial manufacturing industries that employ thousands of blue collar Americans teetering on bankruptcy's edge! Outrageous!

So in fact, this is disingenuous bullshit too, and it's not about money. It's about the president being black. Some people think that's un-American. A lot of those people are Republicans. And un-American themselves.


*According to the Tax Foundation:

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:26 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


(I do need to remind everyone that I have been totally neutral about this speech. Please don't lump me in with the crazies this time.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:27 PM on September 7, 2009


Guys, I keep feeling like you all are missing one of my points....the average person, with kids, with a mortgage or with rent to pay, the economy tanking, uncertainty about their own jobs, perhaps freaking out about the national debt while simeultaneously freaking out about how to pay for health care, either fearing they lose their good insurance or freaking out because they have none and are afraid they'll be required to pay for something they cannot afford....meanwhile the average politician knows they have to go back and face the electorate-and raise some $$$$-with the political climate being as roiling as I've ever seen it...meanwhile, yes, we've done the cash for clunkers (and a lot of dealers haven't gotten their $$ back yet and are complaining) and we've done the bailout and a lot of folks are afraid that it didn't work and now our grandkids are under this immense burden....and the silent people who actually come up with the big contributions make sure their own interests are taken care of....yep, nobody gives money at that level for nothing. Nobody.

(And as for the Republican ranting-some of it has grains of truth, and some of it rakes in a lot of bucks for campaigns and makes talk shows profitable.)

All about the benjamins. Love of money is absolutely, ABSOLUTELY the root of all evil.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:33 PM on September 7, 2009




I just read the speech thanks to the link.

It was good.

Heck, if I still had kids at home and I was homeschooling, I'd park their butts in front of the tube and we'd watch it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:44 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read the speech. It's good to me now. If I'd have been in high school when he delivered it, I probably would have cried in happiness and felt like I could do anything. You need that in high school - to be inspired.

Anybody who deliberately prevents kids from being inspired by that message from the president under the auspices that it is some evil and dangerous message is seriously warped in one way or another.
posted by cashman at 1:50 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


It isn't good, however, to confused the "bailout" with the "stimulus". One was to prop up the banking industry, and the other was to try to create jobs and get money flowing. As far as I know, neither have had all their funds dispersed yet, and if either is going to make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of most people, it will be the stimulus package, not the banking bailout.

/derail
posted by hippybear at 1:52 PM on September 7, 2009


grrrr. confuse confuse. no +d.
posted by hippybear at 1:52 PM on September 7, 2009


.the average person, with kids, with a mortgage or with rent to pay, the economy tanking, uncertainty about their own jobs, perhaps freaking out about the national debt while simeultaneously freaking out about how to pay for health care . . .

Funny, no one freaked out about the national debt while it was growing at around 500 billion a year -- record levels -- under G. W. Bush. What, were people just not paying attention and suddenly realized we've debt financed two wars and a housing bubble and a spending spree at Beds, Bongs, and Behinds? Suddenly, a black dude is president, inherits a near-market-collapse situation and an impending depression, and now all of a sudden all those Joe six pack real Amurricans out there suddenly realize, holy shit, it's all been on credit? Blame the black guy! He's a socialist!

This is disingenuous reasoning, St. Alia. I bet you the average person opposed to this speech being broadcast in schools *cannot define* the difference between the debt and the deficit, between the bailout(s), and the stimulus, and has no real sense of the amounts of money involved, let alone real concern for saddling "grandchildren" with debt -- fuck, we're saddling our grandchildren with global ecological catastrophe and the right wing attitude is "who cares?" Little Ashley's kids will owe the farm, but the farm will be underwater anyway.

I watch these arguments -- online, on TV, and in person, though less so -- and see so much special pleading, excuse making, just plain making shit up, coming up with bizarre and strained objections to gloss over the fact that the far right and its minions are being irrational and dishonest.

Just because y'all don't believe in the possibilities for an honest, life-improving politics and social contract doesn't mean those of us who do are as cynical as y'all were when you were in power.

And in any case, hypocrisy undermines your credibility. If these sorts of things were really offensive and scary to you -- and here I mean the generic "you," since you in particular have taken to occupying the "some say" faux middle ground as a rhetorical strategy (are you sure you don't watch cable news? ) -- then why the f***ing hell didn't they bother you before you lost the election?

Patriotism was ever the last refuge of scoundrels.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:06 PM on September 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Funny, no one freaked out about the national debt while it was growing at around 500 billion a year -- record levels -- under G. W. Bush

BECAUSE people were still getting mortgages, houses were selling, home values were going up, people had jobs, etc. etc....I venture to say the average American didn't even know or wasn't paying attention.

The difference is? We are paying attention now.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:18 PM on September 7, 2009


I can put it another way, in simple terms:

We spent on the credit cards to the max under 8 years of GOP rule. Now the bills are due. And we don't have the money. We didn't invest all that capital we burned; we consumed it or blew up cities with it or handed it out to crony industries. We didn't build a working healthcare system. We didn't convert to a greener infrastructure. We still have to do that stuff in order to get out of debt at any point in the future.

Sometimes you have to borrow money to get out of debt. Nations do it all the time.

But the party to blame is the one that was in power when we were blowing our capital on bullcrap. If the Bush administration had been conservative stewards of the national treasure, if they had applied even market-based solutions to key problems, if they had managed a modicum of social investment beyond lip-service, if they had united rather than divided the people, if they had even responded competently to crises, these efforts to blame the Obama administration for spending too much money would make some kind of sense (they'd still be wrong).

So the real question is, why are people so "scared?" Where have we seen fear used as a political tool before lately? What party is it that has specialized in demonizing the poor and minorities by scaring middle class whites? How is it that people with 40K in credit card debt and upside down on their mortgage and facing a layoff can be "afraid" of the government spending money to try to stave off such situations?

To me, the underlying question is, what kind of moral community does the American right believe in that it is willing to engage in the kinds of cynical, disingenuous, fear-based politics we are seeing from the mainstream of the Republican party these days? The President, duly elected, wanted to give an inspirational speech to kids, as several Republican presidents have done. What possible sincere objection could there be to that? The answer is, it isn't sincere. This isn't about Obama's policies. This is about irrational fear.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and again, I DON'T have cable. We spend our money on high speed internet and on Netflix.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:19 PM on September 7, 2009


Oh, and most of us who went to the average "government school" got little to know education in economics.

Why are people scared? Because they can't pay their morgages. Because their home values are dropping and people aren't buying homes. Because the stock market wiped out a lot of $$. These are things that have concretely affected people I KNOW.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:22 PM on September 7, 2009


The difference is? We are paying attention now.

Then you're still being fooled. It's as if you left the stove on, fell asleep, woke up in a burning house and blamed the fireman trying to save you for having set the fire.

It makes no sense.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


"no" not "know"....gah, posting with a fever...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2009


Don't believe for a second that I don't KNOW people affected by the recession. That and a buck will get you a candy bar at the kiosk outside the London School of Economics.

How can I say it more simply: it's not Obama's fault your friends are going bankrupt. His policies, the ones supposedly "scaring" people, are their best hope of coming out of this with a job and a future. You profess to no knowledge of economics, so you'll need to do some reading here, maybe. You can't save a tottering economy by cutting spending. You can't do it. Can't. Never been done.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:28 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I'm done. It's been fun reconnecting.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:29 PM on September 7, 2009


it's as if a bunch of people were scared of man-eating tigers and decided to hire some tigers to protect them
posted by pyramid termite at 2:32 PM on September 7, 2009


Whether the american PEOPLE are paying attention to the current economic situation, this all leads back to the earlier claims of cynicism.

When the elected officials were working under Bush to line the pockets of BushCo & Cronies with the war profiteering contracts, and were acting in cahoots with the industries to remove regulations which have resulted in increased near-monopoly powers in many of the sectors which control the flow of information into our lives, the gift of credulity was granted to those in power by all those who are now screaming about the current administration. Worse still, they worked to socially ostracize and politically silence anyone who might have expressed doubt and cynicism about the policies which were being enacted.

Now, however, the winners are expected to kowtow to the supposed cynicism of those whose party is out of power as they scream and shout that things are happening which they don't agree with. Meanwhile, the party which is currently in power continues to be a bunch of spineless equivocators who will not step up to the plate and ram through the needed policy changes in the same manner which was done to them for the preceding near-decade.

Please, choose a reason for being against Obama and stick with it. Right now, it's like you are flinging mud at a wall, hoping something will stick well enough to create stucco. Those of us who WERE paying attention all these years find that to be disingenuous.

And if you have a fever, stop posting. We get enough blood-boiling rhetoric here without having someone with actually boiling innards contributing! I hope you feel better soon!
posted by hippybear at 2:41 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and most of us who went to the average "government school" got little to know education in economics.

Nor, I gather (once again) in proper spelling.
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on September 7, 2009


I have excellent spelling as long as I'm not typing and I'm not sick. *sigh*
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:00 PM on September 7, 2009


You can't save a tottering economy by cutting spending. You can't do it. Can't. Never been done.

That might be so, but I remember the Carter years and I remember galloping inflation and the recession....spending is a good thing but GOVERNMENT spending is the problem. If the government is spending it then I don't have it to spend myself.


We have the goose on the operating table, and the golden eggs are gonna be history.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:06 PM on September 7, 2009


I have one of the news channels on in the other room, and here's what Jim Greer had to say about Obama's school speech:

“My kids will be watching the speech, as I hope all kids will. I don’t advocate children not watching this President’s speech with THIS text. Now who knows what last week’s speech might have looked like.”
–Jim Greer, Chairman Florida GOP

Yeah, see THIS speech is just fine. It's the other speech that was going to turn our children into mindless socialist robots.
posted by Orb at 3:06 PM on September 7, 2009


The other speech which was the same speech.
posted by agregoli at 3:10 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course it was, but that's not going to stop them from yapping about how it wasn't is it? Just like there's a new Kenyan birth certificate every month and a new lawsuit by Orly Taitz, people who see socialists and socialism around every corner aren't going stop making stuff up to "prove" their point.
posted by Orb at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, yeah...so we agree on how this will be framed.
posted by agregoli at 3:13 PM on September 7, 2009


We have the goose on the operating table, and the golden eggs are gonna be history.

What on earth are you talking about? If you're going to post analogies while you're feverish, please at least make clear what they mean.
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had to run to the other room and rewind Jim Greer's little talk about the "new" speech just to be sure I'd heard him correctly. I had already heard someone I know saying the same thing earlier today, and yes, it does seem to be the way the framing is going: Obama wrote a new speech.

Ugh.
posted by Orb at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2009


It's fascinating -- they can claim victory in getting Obama to change the speech (which he didn't) and still appear reasonable by allowing their children to view the speech when it is given tomorrow.

I wish I could come up with tactics like that to use in real life. I'd be one of those hated wall street fat cats by now if I were nearly that clever.
posted by hippybear at 3:20 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Former first lady Laura Bush speaks!
[she] is defending President Obama's decision to address the nation's school children, telling CNN Monday that it is "really important for everyone to respect the President of the United States.

If parents are opposed to the address, said Bush, "That's their right. You know that certainly is the right of parents to choose what they want their children to hear in school… (But) I think it's also really important for everyone to respect the President of the United States."</blockquote.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:42 PM on September 7, 2009


I read Jim Greer was planning to rape and murder a woman in 1990. Then he didn't.
posted by PenDevil at 3:45 PM on September 7, 2009




Why are people scared? Because they can't pay their morgages. Because their home values are dropping and people aren't buying homes. Because the stock market wiped out a lot of $$. These are things that have concretely affected people I KNOW.

But....what connection is there between any of that and a presidential speech encouraging kids to "stay in school"?

I know that people are scared about their mortgages and the economy, but can you explain why, if that's what they are afraid of, they aren't trying to stop Wall STreet Executives rather than trying to stop the president?

It's like if I had a fear of being mugged, but instead of handling the problem by pressuring my local police department to set up a patrol, I instead started a campaign against the monthly Square Dancing And Banjo Contest down at the VFW.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:57 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why are people scared? Because they can't pay their morgages. Because their home values are dropping and people aren't buying homes. Because the stock market wiped out a lot of $$. These are things that have concretely affected people I KNOW.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies


Sure, these things scare a lot of us. But some of us are trying to figure out how to make things better and others of us are wasting their time and effort making up lies about how Obama is going to kill Gramma, demanding to see a birth certificate, and keeping their kids out of school--not to make the country a better place, but BECAUSE THEY HATE PRESIDENT OBAMA. This has nothing to do with economic fear and everything to do with anger, hatred, and xenophobia.

Put that in your church and smoke it.
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not that it was a difficult call, but I called it.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:27 PM on September 7, 2009


So I've been reading the comments over at American Grand Jury where a copy of the latest Kenyan Birth Certificate has been posted, and it is truly bizzaro world there. They have this little fantasy all worked out that while Obama (who is "destoying our country, the minds of kids and the economy") is speaking to the children on Tuesday, he is going to be arrested (on air!) along with Biden, H. Clinton, Pelosi, Reid, and Feinstein and tried for Treason, Terrorism, and Sedition. And then several statues will be erected to Lucas Smith, the man who has signed an affidavit as to the authenticity of the birth certificate, as a true American Hero.

Many of the comments refer to God & prayer: "Our Prayers have been answered." "Prayer works." "God is stronger than Satan." "May God protect him" (him being Lucas Smith not Obama.)

What is very interesting to me is how many of the commenters refer to their intuition or their gut instinct. "My intuition tells me this is real, and my intuition is never wrong." I, on the other hand, have a feeling that it is the color of his skin that is causing this strong, visceral reaction.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:01 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Secret Life of Gravy: That is, indeed, a strange alternate dimension of a website. The desperation of people is palpable. I find it hard to calculate a response to anything like that, because their disconnection with reality is a pretty large barrier to overcome.

I wonder how long before someone dissects this one like they did the last one. I'm sure those who have fun doing that kind of thing have already begun their work.
posted by hippybear at 6:17 PM on September 7, 2009


Here's another take on that "disconnection with reality". It's called, Meet the Stupids.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:28 PM on September 7, 2009


SLoG - that's amazing. Thanks for posting. I hadn't seen that site before.

How many Kenyan birth certificates of various types can they swallow in a row?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2009


Put that in your church and smoke it

We have people at my church who voted for Obama, fwiw. The church as a whole kinda stayed out of the fray. So, can we leave them out of it?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:30 PM on September 7, 2009


Oh this, from World Net Daily of all places, is GOLD. The guy who produced this new birth certificate apparently tried to sell it on ebay, losing WND in the process. When WND thinks you are a charlatan.........


"Smith, whose background includes a lengthy criminal record and a reported attempt to sell his kidney to a man in need of organ transplant, nonetheless insists that his motives are above board, even if his past looks dubious.
"I do have a background. I've made mistakes in my life," Smith told WND in an e-mail. "It took a guy like me to go and get tangible proof about Obama. I don't mind breaking a few laws or policies here and there. I don't mind paying the military in foreign countries to look the other way ... The military [in Africa] will grant you access to anything for just a few dollars. People are starving. So yes, it takes a guy like me to get things done once in a while.""
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:37 PM on September 7, 2009


I, on the other hand, have a feeling that it is the color of his skin that is causing this strong, visceral reaction.

On the other hand, someone I know from work dragged me over to a computer and made me watch this video of a black man (supposedly this gentleman both had a PhD and was also a minister-not sure who he was) who was ranting and raving about Obama and calling him a "mack daddy" whatever the heck that is. I may not have mentioned I met a black couple during the election who were selling a book the man had written aimed at telling the black community why they shouldn't vote for Obama. And I know another Christian minister (also African American ) who shows up at some of the meetings my husband drags me to and also rants about Obama to anyone who will listen.

I'm telling you that whatever is going on it isn't race, or at the very least it isn't also race.

Honestly, I think if you analyzed one hundred people who were NOT Obama supporters, you'd probably find one hundred reasons why this would be so. Some would be racist, some would see him as way too leftist for their taste, some would not like the company he kept over the years, some would believe the crap about the birth certificate, some would be upset about his stance on abortion, etc. etc. and so on. Some objections would have some validity to them, others would be batcrap crazy (the birth certificate kerfluffle for example. )

FWIW plenty of folks were just as rabidly antiBush altho I concede the rabidity this time around has definitely kicked up a notch. At this point I don't know if it would be possible to find and elect anyone who at least half the country would be freaked out about.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:39 PM on September 7, 2009


Oh, don't worry--when Obama and Pelosi repeal the 22nd Amendment and their buddy Bill Clinton is running for a third term against Sarah Palin, we'll see what the country is freaked out about.
posted by box at 6:44 PM on September 7, 2009


supposedly this gentleman both had a PhD and was also a minister-not sure who he was

Yeah, this fool. Yeah, no race issues there. He seems perfectly rational to me. You can watch 90 seconds and see that this goofball has race issues, calling people "white trash".
posted by cashman at 6:57 PM on September 7, 2009


St. Alia, you don't think the birther stuff is about race?
posted by lalex at 7:04 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I've been reading the comments over at American Grand Jury where a copy of the latest Kenyan Birth Certificate has been posted

not that people like us really need it, but here's the debunking of that

it was the dominion of kenya in 1961 and "Mombasa was a part of Zanzibar until December 12, 1963, when it became part of the newly independent Kenya."

i note that this article is debunking another birth certificate than the one on american grand jury, but let's face it, with photoshop and ms word and whatever, these babies are a dime a dozen

wait until you see the one i'm cooking up proving that obama was really born in paraguay and an elderly adolf hitler was his father
posted by pyramid termite at 7:17 PM on September 7, 2009


No, no. It's cool. Some of my best anecdotes involve black people known by others. wut?
posted by joe lisboa at 7:28 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Gingritch is in favor of the speech being shown to kids now.
posted by empath at 7:30 PM on September 7, 2009


St. Alia, you don't think the birther stuff is about race?

I lump birthers in the category of my brain where I also store Larouche supporters and Scientologists. You know, the place where I don't take them seriously.....so, heck if I know.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:34 PM on September 7, 2009


No, no. It's cool. Some of my best anecdotes involve black people known by others. wut?

hey now...data is the plural of anecdote, dontcha know?
posted by lalex at 7:43 PM on September 7, 2009


pyramid termite: thanks for that. I knew there was something going on with that document which would prove it to be false. That whomever made it was too foolish to look up the errors with the first fake one before making the new fake one is pretty amazing. I bet the sworn affidavit documents on that page are also faked. Is there a penalty for faking court documents?
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on September 7, 2009


Perjury, so it seems. But dude's already been in jail, so he's probably like screw it. Or maybe smith can bail himself out long enough to bail out of the country. Maybe the crazy Orly owl has a spare chamber in the Cuckoo clock he can hide in until the hour strikes and one of these nuts is launched out with more insanity.
posted by cashman at 9:18 PM on September 7, 2009


Salon has an article on the newest birth certificate as well.
posted by Orb at 9:31 PM on September 7, 2009


I bet the sworn affidavit documents on that page are also faked.

all you need is a lawyer or a notary public and you can make a "sworn affidavit" that the pope is hiding in your closet eating carrots - the details depend on the state you're in

you don't have to turn the affidavit in to a court to claim you've made a sworn affidavit or to put it on the web

it means very little unless it's presented in the context of a case and that's not going to happen
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 PM on September 7, 2009


"Honestly, I think if you analyzed one hundred people who were NOT Obama supporters, you'd probably find one hundred reasons why this would be so. Some would be racist, some would see him as way too leftist for their taste, some would not like the company he kept over the years, some would believe the crap about the birth certificate, some would be upset about his stance on abortion, etc. etc. and so on. Some objections would have some validity to them, others would be batcrap crazy (the birth certificate kerfluffle for example. )"

Here's the problem: Not one of those "reasons" is reasonable. Racism is irrational. "Leftist" is meaningless. "The company he kept" is first an attempt to smear by association, and second always falls apart by any moderate reading. The birth certificate thing is absurd (if not openly racist). The policies he endorses will reduce the number of abortions.

So, no, they don't have real validity to them. They're all manufactured bits of inane chatter that people think is important because it's the loudest. I could get into a lecture about how to parse media, and teach you to discern legitimate criticism from hyperbole, bloviation and the game of telephone that happens as a news report gets sent through a million people who really aren't all that canny regarding the media to begin with, but to do it well would be really hard. It's a complicated topic.
posted by klangklangston at 9:42 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh, well if one is conservative one could certainly object to some of his policies-you might disagree but that would be on the level of honest disagreement, not because the conservative viewpoint is crazy.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:17 AM on September 8, 2009


Uh, well, if you can't win a single rational debating point you can keep changing the question, the context, and the relevant facts all you want.

Just because some conservatives claim to disagree with the Obama administration on "honest" matters of policy doesn't mean that disagreement is itself an honest dissent. Anyway, name one major issue about which the right is so upset where the Obama policy is significantly different than the Bush policy. Let me remind you that Bush did not end or even impede legal abortion (other than the ridiculous stem cell bullshit and preventing contraceptive counseling, his admin did nothing for you anti-choicers other than pay you 8 years worth of lip service); he did not give you (if you're middle class) much of a tax cut; he engaged in huge deficit spending and ran up the debt; he engaged in rampant military adventurism and nation building despite running on a pledge not to do this. In no real sense was the Bush administration classically "conservative" at all. It was a militaristic administration, one that used conservative themes to sell two bogus wars and to run the nation's economy into the ground in the service of the super rich and corporations.

In almost all respects, the Obama administration is more traditionally "conservative," in fact.

And it doesn't even matter. Ask the rank-and-file Obama-hating average republican idiot and chances are good s/he won't even know any policy specifics, won't accurately characterize anything the current administration is doing, and has no coherent understanding of macroeconomics (as you have yourself demonstrated).

All of this is smokescreen bullshit, special pleading, excuse making, and disingenuous debate. You hate Obama because he's black, young, educated, technocratic, and because he's called your party on the carpet for the damage it's done to the United States of America's civil society, economy, and international standing.

Y'all lost the election. Big time. It's time for you to shut up and learn how proper governance is done. We listened to your bullshit for 8 years; had it shoved down our throats, in fact. We were called unAmerican and unpatriotic for opposing two senseless wars that are the real reason this country is mired in debt. We were called traitors for dissenting at all, and told we had to shut up and support the office and institution of the presidency because "we were at war."

So fuck the GOP. Now it's your turn to shut up or be called unpatriotic sore-loser crybabies. We're at war you know. Why don't you support the legitimately elected commander in chief? What are you, some kind of un-American traitor? You can always move.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:27 AM on September 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


And I'm going to keep repeating this for emphasis: President Obama won the election in St. Alia's home county in North Carolina by a far larger margin than he won nationally (or statewide): 18 percent. She doesn't speak for her own county, for North Carolina, for "regular" or "real" Americans, any more than anyone else does. She speaks for a minority of Americans, the ones who lost the election.

Why was that, Alia? Was it all those black folks in Fayetteville voting for him? Is that why you and your churchy friends are so "scared" all of a sudden?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:31 AM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


for opposing two senseless wars that are the real reason this country is mired in debt.

Uh, no. They matter, sure -- a trillion dollars down the shitter is never a good idea -- but we're mired in debt primarily because we've been stealing the Social Security money, because of the Medicare drug benefit, and because of the giant bailout programs in which we nationalized what's arguably the core of the finance system, the main mortgage issuers and the insurer that makes those mortgages "safe". (ha!)

In aggregate, those liabilities are at least fifty times the size of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and possibly a hell of a lot bigger.

If our only debt was the headline number that they give you with cash-basis accounting, we wouldn't be in toooo bad a shape; we could still recover okay. It's the giant liabilities that are COMING that have us mired in debt.
posted by Malor at 7:15 AM on September 8, 2009


Fair enough, Malor, but now we're arguing over about a trillion bucks total over a decade for health care reform. I wonder, honestly asked, how many Americans would choose a functional health care system over the sinkholes in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as an either/or decision.

But if we're going to stop spending money we don't have, I suspect you'd agree this is not the exact moment to do it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:36 AM on September 8, 2009


Headline: More and more schools not showing Obama's stay-in-school speech.

Stay classy stupid, America.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:02 AM on September 8, 2009


With all due....er, I'm not sure I can call it "respect," fourcheesemac, St. Alia has said a few times in this thread that she is starting to disagree with other Conservatives about Obama, has written off Birthers as nuts, and that several people in her church supported Obama.

Perhaps you may want to dial the umbrage back just a tad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:21 AM on September 8, 2009


Actually, I'm vehemently against the healthcare thing for exactly the same reason I was vehemently against Medicare in 2004 -- no damn money.

Just because we've been idiots in the past is no reason to continue being idiots in the future. It is, in fact, a strong reason to be LESS idiotic in the future. That trillion dollars every ten years is money that could be used to pay down debt. We need to use that tax money to pay for the incredibly dumb stuff we've already done.

Basically, by going into debt even further to fund healthcare now, we're stealing the money our kids will need to use for THEIR healthcare. That's blatantly unfair. We'll eat the giant meal, and leave our kids with the bill.... how are they supposed to feed themselves?

I've seen a number of smart suggestions for things we could do to contain systemic costs, without putting the government on the hook for trillions. We can improve things a whole bunch without going even further into debt, or at least only by very small amounts, relatively speaking (tens of millions for regulatory enforcement, instead of trillions for healthcare.)

But as far as "this not being the exact moment" to return to fiscal sanity: the only time you can ever be smart about money is right now. I wish to hell we'd had a clue in 2001, 2002, and 2004, but we didn't. That's not an excuse to deliberately remain clueless in 2009.
posted by Malor at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'm vehemently against the healthcare thing for exactly the same reason I was vehemently against Medicare in 2004 -- no damn money.

but we had money to bail out the banks and start a war in iraq - funny how that works

and we still have the money to continue the world's biggest military program

we HAVE the money - we're just spending it on the wrong things

That trillion dollars every ten years is money that could be used to pay down debt.

we paid 613 billion dollars on the defense budget in 2008 alone

we HAVE the money

Basically, by going into debt even further to fund healthcare now, we're stealing the money our kids will need to use for THEIR healthcare.

no, because they need THEIR healthcare NOW, not just 30 years down the road

But as far as "this not being the exact moment" to return to fiscal sanity: the only time you can ever be smart about money is right now.

fine - let's start with what we're spending it on
posted by pyramid termite at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2009


Speech is on now. I'm letting the indoctrination wash over me. I feel buoyantly socialist, brimming with take your money fervor. The azure hues in his tie and the background and the text is mesmerizing, turning my eyes into rotating spirals, my brain into inspired mush. I am struggling to type because my arms are raising rigid before me and I am called poltergeist like into my telev
posted by cashman at 9:16 AM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD BARACK OBAMA.
posted by EarBucket at 9:24 AM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


... aaaand, that made anyone critical of the speech look like the petulant fools they really are. You kidding me? Indoctrination? For the protesteth-too-much crowd:

"Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything." - Molly Ivins
posted by joe lisboa at 9:32 AM on September 8, 2009


Goddamnit, I didn't vote for a black nationalist muslim communist so he could indoctrinate our kids with that mainstream capitalist propaganda.
posted by empath at 9:37 AM on September 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


I have MSNBC on in the background. They had a "tea-bagger" on. He was prattling on about how the lesson plans that the Department of Education provided were illegal. He stated that asking kids to talk or write about what they want to be when they grow up, etc. is tantamount to soliciting personal information -- and "THAT IS ILLEGAL UNDER STATE AND FEDERAL LAW." He actually started to cite some reference from a federal statute ... and Dr. Nancy Schneiderman (the host) said: "What are you talking about?" He kept on... She quickly turned to another guest ... and the "tea-bagger's" remote feed never appeared on-screen. Oh my. The whack-a-doodles are doodling all over the place. They do indeed look damn silly, as many have noted.
posted by ericb at 9:42 AM on September 8, 2009


*never appeared on-screen again*
posted by ericb at 9:43 AM on September 8, 2009


I texted my teenager to watch if possible and also set it to record, because it was airing during her lunch. Then I caught the opening on CNN featuring some of our stellar citizens here in NC. Way to represent.

This morning, I read The Children's Charter and wonder what what the public had to say about it.
posted by auntbunny at 9:45 AM on September 8, 2009


I've never really listened to Rush Limbaugh before, so I thought I'd tune in on the way back from watching the speech at lunch today.

Does that man really represent modern conservative thought in the United States? He is vacuous, illogical, loud, stupid, offensive, and just plain wrong on the facts. Really? That's what the republican party looks/sounds like? People willingly tune in to be talked to like that for hours a day?
posted by jbickers at 9:52 AM on September 8, 2009


Beware the HypnObama ...
posted by madamjujujive at 10:13 AM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Republican strategist Joe Watkins commented on MSNBC that his -- and many others' -- concern with Obama addressing school kids is that the President is a charasmatic speaker and that the kids may end up liking him. This could be "a challenge" to those parents who have issues with Obama and his presidency. Watkins actually stated that there's a "slippery slope" here. "What happens when the President and the Democrats push to overturn DOMA? How will parents deal with their children on such subjects?" Huh? Crzay talk.
posted by ericb at 10:26 AM on September 8, 2009


*charismatic* *crazy*
posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on September 8, 2009


Jbickers: I have a feeling that Rush Limbaugh is kind of like that one weird relative that you've got in every family, who's loud, crude, bawdy, gets drunk and tells the kids crazy stories.

When the kids are little, they all think he's awesome and cool and funny and not like the other grownups so they fawn all over him. But then eventually the kids grow up and realize, "wow, Uncle Sid is...is kind of a dick."

For a while, after then, Uncle Sid is still toddling along being loud, weird old Uncle Sid, and everyone else in the family shifts uncomfortably and tenses whenever they hear him talk, all of them quietly wishing to themselves that GOD they wish he would shut up already, but they are too afraid to say anything to shut him up because he's family, after all, and the kids think he's a hoot...and the growing-up kids are sitting there quietly fuming because WOW Uncle Sid is a dick, but hey, maybe they're the only ones who think so, and they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings...so no one says anything for a while because they think they're the only ones who think so, and he's family and they don't want to be rude...

Then maybe after a couple years a couple of the family members start talking to each other privately ("Don't tell anyone I asked you, but....what do you think about Uncle Sid?" "Oh, my God, I thought I was the only one...") but they still think they're the minority. And so it takes another while for someone to finally snap over Thanksgiving and finally say "My GOD Sid, just can it!"

Rush is like Uncle Sid. The Republican Party is the rest of the family, and they are only just NOW getting to the point where people are talking to each other in twos and threes and finding out that they're not the only ones who think Uncle Sid's nuts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:56 AM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


An Army of Joe McCarthys
posted by homunculus at 11:16 AM on September 8, 2009


"Uh, well if one is conservative one could certainly object to some of his policies-you might disagree but that would be on the level of honest disagreement, not because the conservative viewpoint is crazy."

Uh, well, not really. "Conservative" follows policy disagreements. If you're starting out with the statement, "I'm a conservative, so I object," you're doing it wrong. And that's exactly what many of the people who have "objections" are doing. They may be honest in their feelings, but that doesn't make their objections legitimate. If you want to start disagreeing with Obama's policies on reasonable grounds, you're going to have to both understand Obama's policies and debate them in an evidence-based framework.

I realize this is kind of hard, in that it first strips you of many of your allies—the current Republican party has no interest in evidence -based frameworks—and it makes the very act of criticism much harder, since you're actually being tasked with a moderate amount of understanding of politics, economics, statistics and so on. There's also the unfortunate grasping of the nettle where you realize that Obama's policies, for the most part, are incredibly modest and reasonable, so many disagreements are put forth just to disagree with him, which is, as alluded to before, unreasonable.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on September 8, 2009


concern with Obama addressing school kids is that the President is a charasmatic speaker and that the kids may end up liking him.

Charismatic is code for 'antichrist"
posted by empath at 11:58 AM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Has anyone here actually seen the text of Obama's original, unedited speech??

I, for one, am glad we dodged that bullet!
posted by triggerfinger at 12:31 PM on September 8, 2009


I also resent that this speech is (intentionally) being given at a time when parents are unavailable.
Heaven forbid that your daughter be in the hands of people that are more experienced and capable of seeing the whole picture while watching this.

There was nothing I enjoyed more as a child -- your daughter's age -- than listening to my father shout back at the evening news with his stereotypical prejudices, knowing full well how ignorant and stupid he was being. Here's hoping your little girl is laughing at you, too.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:17 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just feel sorry for all the kids that now have to get their "stay in school" messages on the streets.
posted by Eumachia L F at 1:49 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


we HAVE the money - we're just spending it on the wrong things

We do not have the money. We are borrowing it. The Chinese and Japanese, mostly, have the money, and we're using their lendings to pay for our consumption. They're going to want it back, plus interest.

And now we're starting to print money, which is even worse. Money-printing was a central feature of the banana republics, and it won't work any better for us than it did for them.
posted by Malor at 1:51 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Charismatic is code for 'antichrist"

What's frightening, empath, is that you're not far off the mark, even if you're joking around. I have several family members who are just shy of declaring him the Actual Antichrist, Holy Jesus Rapture Us Now, PLZ. Their absolute disconnect from reason, logic, and hell, actual biblical scholarship on the subject would be hilarious if it weren't so goddamned depressing.

Here's hoping your little girl is laughing at you, too.

Wow. That was unnecessarily nasty.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:52 PM on September 8, 2009


Y'all lost the election. Big time. It's time for you to shut up and learn how proper governance is done.

Unfortunately I was around for Jimmy Carter. So I'm not as sanguine about the probability of that as you seem to be. (For one thing, Malor is absolutely right.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:47 PM on September 8, 2009


What's frightening, empath, is that you're not far off the mark, even if you're joking around.

I wasn't.
posted by empath at 4:37 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


"(For one thing, Malor is absolutely right.)"

Well, no, actually, he's not. He's a bit of a stopped clock. His criticisms of monetary policy seem superficially correct until you realize that his objections are both broader and deeper than any mainstream economist, and his proposed solutions are wildly outside of any practical application. He fundamentally fails to grasp the abstract nature of money, so attempts to tie it to something real (the gold standard), irrespective of the gold standard's own fictive underpinnings.

If he was simply saying that current borrowing levels are unsustainable, you could make a reasonable case for that opinion. But he's not—he's against borrowing in general, and uses specious arguments pulled from William Jennings Bryan (you'd like him—he was on your side in the Scopes Monkey trial) to argue against an unfixed currency.

He's a nice person, and he's totally right about a lot of other things, but his complaints regarding monetary policy should be taken with a healthy does of salt.

Also, Carter wasn't nearly the disaster as president as he's sometimes made out to be—that's mostly Reagan propaganda, and Reagan was a pretty mediocre president on the whole.
posted by klangklangston at 4:44 PM on September 8, 2009


I have several family members who are just shy of declaring him the Actual Antichrist, Holy Jesus Rapture Us Now, PLZ.

When I was 11 or 12 or so, I was remember avidly watching televangelist shows on Sunday mornings about the coming Rapture, and the anti-christ and the book of revelation, etc. They were absolutely convinced that the Ayatollah was the Anti-Christ and we were on the brink of nuclear armageddon. I believed every word, because I had spent 7 years in Catholic Schoo, believed the bible was true, and my parents were Reagan Republicans, so it was all re-inforced at home.

I grew out of it, but even if I hadn't, the second round during Gulf War I where they were all saying that Saddam was the anti-christ, and nuclear armageddon was immanent would have. I guess my question is are these people gullible enough to just go along with these preachers every time they switch their prophecies up? Or do they go, well that guy was a fucking con-artist, but THIS guy is the real deal. Or do they get out of the whole rapture thing after 2 or 3 times and these preachers find more people to sucker, or what?

I'm genuinely fascinated by people who believe in this kind of stuff, but I don't meet enough of them in real life to be able to pick their brains.
posted by empath at 4:45 PM on September 8, 2009


If he was simply saying that current borrowing levels are unsustainable, you could make a reasonable case for that opinion. But he's not—he's against borrowing in general,

I am saying that current borrowing levels are unsustainable. I am not, however, saying that borrowing is always bad -- far from it. Borrowing, and credit in general, is just abstracted cooperation, and it's what makes modern economies (post-1860 or so) work.

But borrowing for investment and borrowing for consumption are very, very different things. Buying a power tool on credit for your construction job is probably a good decision, since it will pay for itself. Buying a flatscreen TV on credit probably isn't. The vast majority of existing US debt, and most of the future enormous deficits, are all consumptive debt, which will not pay for itself. Some of it actually is investment, like Obama's putting money into broadband and alternative energy, but most of it is just burned up and gone.

I further assert that we're so wildly indebted because of the constant interventions by the Federal Reserve, but that's kind of irrelevant to this particular discussion, which is: we can't afford this. We can't even vaguely afford this. We can't pay for our EXISTING liabilities, much less new ones.
posted by Malor at 4:55 PM on September 8, 2009


Ronald Wilson Reagan. 6-6-6.
posted by rokusan at 4:59 PM on September 8, 2009


But borrowing for investment and borrowing for consumption are very, very different things. Buying a power tool on credit for your construction job is probably a good decision, since it will pay for itself. Buying a flatscreen TV on credit probably isn't. The vast majority of existing US debt, and most of the future enormous deficits, are all consumptive debt, which will not pay for itself. Some of it actually is investment, like Obama's putting money into broadband and alternative energy, but most of it is just burned up and gone.

What about borrowing so that sick people can receive the medical care they need in order to stay alive? Does that fit into your power tool analogy or the flatscreen TV one?
posted by leftcoastbob at 5:00 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, Carter wasn't nearly the disaster as president as he's sometimes made out to be—that's mostly Reagan propaganda, and Reagan was a pretty mediocre president on the whole.

And now you've totally lost me. Our economy was in a freaking shambles, respect for the presidency was in the crapper, totally, and Ronald Wilson Reagan came in and did the impossible. Under his administration inflation was tamed, jobs came back, and so did respect for the Oval Office. For those of you who were still playing with legos or just a gleam in daddy's eye at the time, you may have a hard time believing this. For those of us who lived thru that (And Nixon too-people hated him way worse than they did Bush. Oh boy...) it is laughable that anyone would be praising Carter and calling Reagan mediocre.

I am proudly a Reagan Republican. (Pun intended.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:40 PM on September 8, 2009


What about borrowing so that sick people can receive the medical care they need in order to stay alive? Does that fit into your power tool analogy or the flatscreen TV one?

How about figuring out how it was that health care AND insurance were both affordable in, say, the 60's and figuring out how to get back to that? Because if we keep up this insane borrowing, those of you too young to remember the inflation cycle of the 70's will get the chance to experience just how fun it was for yourselves.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:43 PM on September 8, 2009


You know, someone over at The Lifeboat just pointed out how much better the nut-jobs' signs were back in the fifties, with nice lettering, proper spelling and everything. Funny to contrast with some of the recent anti-healthcare signage. I think maybe America needs a "stay in school" message now more than ever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:57 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Under his administration inflation was tamed

Actually, that was Volcker, who was appointed by... Carter. The only thing Reagan did was eventually fire him for having done the things that tamed it.

those of you too young to remember the inflation cycle of the 70's will get the chance to experience just how fun it was for yourselves

Speaking as someone who owns a house and has a union job funded by taxes: YES PLEASE! MOAR!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:03 PM on September 8, 2009


When the groceries are higher and higher EVERY WEEK you may feel differently.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:09 PM on September 8, 2009


Reagan was the architect of so much misery and death in Central America that there's not much forgiveness I can muster, even if we had an economic expansion during his presidency. Either he was a bumbling buffoon who didn't know what North, Poindexter, et al were up to, or he was every bit as much of a criminal as them -- take your pick -- but they're both pretty unforgivable choices.

The milquetoasty way in which they were sorta semi-brought to justice just opened the doors for their rehabilitation by Bush the Idiot Child, who then proceeded to let these same shit-heels run wild in Iraq. the amount of damage Reagan did with his "realpolitik" philosophy on the international stage is near incalculable because it's still being done.

His economic expansion only seems to have helped the wealthy anyway, as that was when the gap between rich and poor really started to take off into the stratosphere, while real wages remained pretty stagnant. I get fighty when I even think about the way the son of a bitch explained "Trickle-down" theory with all his condescension.

I like the part about how when we cut taxes at the top income brackets, then the rich will have so much money that they simply can't contain it, and it starts bubbling out of their guilded cups and just falling out of their wallets and us normal folk get to pick it up off the ground, like dogs chasing scraps.

grar. I needed a good rant.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:25 PM on September 8, 2009 [11 favorites]


How about figuring out how it was that health care AND insurance were both affordable in, say, the 60's and figuring out how to get back to that?

It's not that hard to figure out:

"Percentage change since 2002 in average premiums paid to large US health-insurance companies: +87%
Percentage change in the profits of the top ten insurance companies: +428%
Chances that an American bankrupted by medical bills has health insurance: 7 in 10" - Harper’s Index, September 2009

posted by leftcoastbob at 8:15 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Our economy was in a freaking shambles

due to the decisions of foreign oil ministers and domestic job cutters - who voted republican

respect for the presidency was in the crapper

and what president started that? - nixon, of course - a republican

and Ronald Wilson Reagan came in and did the impossible. Under his administration inflation was tamed,

which wasn't something that was within his power

jobs came back,

at lower wages

and so did respect for the Oval Office.

not among those who knew they were being manipulated and lied to

For those of you who were still playing with legos or just a gleam in daddy's eye at the time, you may have a hard time believing this. For those of us who lived thru that

there isn't a chance in hell we're ever going to believe it - after years of others trying, he established the mean-spirited, know-nothing, suburban "to hell with everyone else" right in national office and our country has been the worse for it since

it is laughable that anyone would be praising Carter and calling Reagan mediocre.

it's laughable that you love the politicians who abuse you and your country

hmm - no, actually, it's sick

---

When the groceries are higher and higher EVERY WEEK you may feel differently.

for pete's sake, they were not and you know it - and they kept going up after reagan was elected and you know it, too - reagan and his buddies were the ones who started fudging the numbers so they would look better

and if it's the businessmen who are jacking up the prices, why would i want to vote for a man who's a member of the businessman's party?

---

We do not have the money.

malor, we are not borrowing for ALL our expenditures, and we have enough tax revenue that we could choose to fund health care by changing the expenditures we actually have money to spend on

they're taking real money from me and from you, so your insistence that they don't have ANY money is flat out "fedder" propaganda
posted by pyramid termite at 8:49 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, y'all who around here enough to know me and know Pyramid Termite, you know that we don't always agree, but the man gets a high five there.

I mean, the bad faith and memory holes regarding Carter and Reagan are insane—Carter was still being hit by an economic crisis fomented by Nixon's dalliance with price controls; he instituted meaningful long-term reforms which Reagan benefited from in addition to the normal business cycle. Reagan gutted infrastructure and still raised taxes; Bush I took the fall for the folly of Reaganomics. He gets credit for destroying the Soviet Union despite having nearly nothing to do with it (observers of the USSR wildly over-estimated their economic strength and wildly under-estimated the effect that a couple of agriculture officials from the middle of nowhere could have).

You want to know the difference between Carter and Reagan? Carter was a shitty campaigner and an above-average president in a terrible position. Reagan was an excellent campaigner and a barely adequate president who got lucky. All the talk about restoring the office of the presidency was bullshit—Iran-Contra should be enough proof of that.

I know you're rolling your eyes because this just shows me to be a whelp with no memory of Reagan. But your lionization of him just has me muttering, "No fool like an old fool."
posted by klangklangston at 9:21 PM on September 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


How about figuring out how it was that health care AND insurance were both affordable in, say, the 60's and figuring out how to get back to that?

I know how to do that --

Eliminate all the advances in medicine which have happened since the 60's. Things like:

* Organ transplants
* emergency-room triage techniques
* pacemakers
* CAT scans
* certain types of chemotherapy
* certain types of drugs
* certain types of antibiotics

Inflation is only part of the reason for the increase in health care costs. The other reason is that better, fancier health care techniques are available which can save more people who otherwise would have died, and prolonging the lives of more people who otherwise would have died sooner. Now, it's wonderful that we are living longer and saving lives. But -- the medicines and cures which we are using ON those people cost money. If this had been the 60's, those people wouldn't have been alive to spend money on -- and that also had an affect on the cost of health care.

Oh, and we'll also need to wave a magic wand and eliminate HIV. Because that was an entire disease that didn't exist in the 1960's. And since it exists today, that's another added health care cost.

...We're looking for solutions to today's health care costs. Thinking wistfully about the way things were forty years ago is profoundly naive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:17 AM on September 9, 2009


for pete's sake, they were not and you know it

Actually they were. Seriously. My memory is quite clear on that one. As my grocery budget at the time was pretty darn low, it was pretty easy to track the economy using the scale of a can of tuna.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:08 AM on September 9, 2009


As my grocery budget at the time was pretty darn low, it was pretty easy to track the economy using the scale of a can of tuna.

now why didn't arthur burns think of that?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:36 AM on September 9, 2009






The other reason is that better, fancier health care techniques are available which can save more people who otherwise would have died, and prolonging the lives of more people who otherwise would have died sooner. Now, it's wonderful that we are living longer and saving lives. But -- the medicines and cures which we are using ON those people cost money. If this had been the 60's, those people wouldn't have been alive to spend money on -- and that also had an affect on the cost of health care.


I think that what would bring down health care costs in the States-- hugely-- would be the appropriate use of preventative medicine/programs and nutritional education, and making sure that people had a physical examination every year. Basic, small things, such as being able to see a doctor when you first feel ill, and not having to put it off, because you're so scared of the cost, until you're so sick that you're forced to, would save a great deal. The US wastes huge amounts of money on complicated and expensive treatments after the fact; better to catch, for example, diabetes early and have it controlled by diet and exercise than to deal with a patient already far advanced in the disease.
posted by jokeefe at 6:32 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the part about how when we cut taxes at the top income brackets, then the rich will have so much money that they simply can't contain it

That's Reagan's real legacy-- Voodoo economics which does not and will not ever work but which will continue to be espoused by Republicans as the One True Faith: Give the Wealthy more money and it will trickle down to the poor like magic!

History is written by the winners and as we distance ourselves more and more from the 70's it will become obvious which of the two Presidents had a better grasp on which direction to steer the Ship of State. Carter installed solar panels on the roof of the White House and told us to put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat. Reagan ripped the panels off the roof and ushered in the decade of conspicuous consumption. What if the solar panels had remained? What if, instead of investing in designer dresses and McMansions and SUVs, we had invested in cheap energy alternatives and infrastructure and education? How do you suppose America would be different now?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:36 AM on September 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


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