Obama’s speech to students: show it live

schoolbadge2I spoke with Northfield Supt. Chris Richardson this morning. He’ll have a statement on the District’s web site around noon, basically stating that the District is leaving it up to the classrooms teachers on whether or not to show President Obama’s speech to students live, recorded, or not at all. I think that’s the best approach, unlike the recommendation from Northfielder Charlie Kyte, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, to show the speech later. I’m hoping teachers show it live, as events are always more compelling when they’re live. I still remember watching President Kennedy’s inaugural address live as an 8th grader. I suppose others remember President George H.W. Bush’s speech to students in 1991.

Strib: Parents, schools wary of Obama back-to-school speech

MPR’s Today’s Question: Should the president have direct access to the nation’s students?

MPR: Minn. schools move to address protests over Obama’s speech

Some districts, like Fergus Falls, are not showing the speech live – but will instead tape it and have administrators review it to see if it’s appropriate to show later. That’s the tactic that the Minnesota Association of School Administrators suggested. The group’s executive director, Charlie Kyte, says most – if not all – districts in Minnesota were probably dealing with this issue Thursday. In an email to schools, Kyte suggested administrators "not change their first day schedules to accommodate this broadcast. Rather make sure it is recorded and available (it will probably remain on the white house website). "It is always appropriate to preview curriculum, movies, videos, etc before using them for instruction," the email continued.

201 thoughts on “Obama’s speech to students: show it live”

  1. Griff, the President’s speech is scheduled for 11 am Tuesday. The school day doesn’t start Tuesday until 12:30 for 10-12th graders. Ninth graders start at 7:51 and they will be participating in activities and being familiarized with the high school by LINK leaders from the junior and senior class all morning. This nixes the “live” approach, at least at the high school.

  2. I appreciate that the President of the United States sees the importance of addressing young citizens on the importance of education.

  3. Aren’t a lot of the people who are howling about Obama’s address pretty much the same people who, just a few short years ago, claimed it was tantamount to treason to dare question the President’s actions?

  4. From Supt. Chris Richardson:

    Here is a copy of the letter we are sharing with staff and community through our website, e-mail and a press release to the media.

    September 4, 2009

    Dear Parents and Community Members,

    In a recent letter to school principals across the country, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, President Barack Obama would deliver a live national address directly to students on the importance of education. The letter indicated that the President’s speech “will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.” Further, the letter stated that he would “call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.”

    The U.S. Department of Education is providing classroom resource materials for K-6 and 7-12 classrooms as part of the address. These can be found at their website http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml

    President Obama’s actions are not without precedent. President George H.W. Bush did something similar in 1991 in a live telecast/radio broadcast to the nation’s students.

    The Northfield Public Schools will provide the opportunity for teachers to access this live presentation on televisions located in individual classrooms on Tuesday. Because this is the busy first day of school in our district, we will not direct schools or staff to view the presentation. The decision to show the address will be an individual classroom decision based on their lesson plans and daily class and lunch schedule. We are confident that our teachers will determine the appropriateness of the presentation and accompanying materials for their students based on Minnesota Educational Standards and the objectives of the curriculum.

    As with any other curriculum, topic or activity, if a parent does not want his or her child participating in this address, a supervised alternative activity will be made available. Parents wishing to opt out of the classroom presentation and discussion should call their school or send a signed note or e-mail to their school on Tuesday morning.

    Respectfully,

    L. Chris Richardson, Ph.D.

    Superintendent

  5. Interesting comment above

    have administrators review it to see
    if it’s appropriate to show later.

    What does that mean? Is this politically motivated? If so, then I think this whole political division has gone too far, and I am a Republican. This is the President of the US, for goodness sake. What could he say that would be inappropriate? Taping it to fit around class schedules seems only necessary.

    1. John,
      I’m with you. Even if it was George Bush Jr., I’d still feel that if the President wants to give a message to students, then the President should get to give that message to students.

      It’s not like he’s declaring war or anything. If he’s out of line, we can complain about the content after the fact, and vote him out of office if we so choose.

      It seems inappropriately politicized for the “administrators [to] review it to see if it’s appropriate to show later.”

      There’s a time and place for political disagreement. This is not it.

    2. I’m with John here, too. With David Brooks, too, who observed on last night’s Lehrer Newshour that (i) you’d think Obama was proposing to read the Communist Manifesto, and (ii) that Republicans hurt their own cause by (I don’t remember Brooks’s exact words) wandering so far off into the weeds.

  6. It’s not often that I agree with the MEA and disagree with Gov. Pawlenty on an education-related issue but this is one of those times. He’s sounding like an extremist on this issue:

    Strib: Pawlenty sides with critics

    “At a minimum it’s disruptive, number two, it’s uninvited and number three, if people would like to hear his message they can, on a voluntary basis, go to YouTube or some other source and get it. I don’t think he needs to force it upon the nation’s school children,” Pawlenty said at the State Fair during a brief interview with members of the media.

    On the radio, Pawlenty said he understood the address would encourage school children to write to the president.

    “There are going to be questions about — well, what are they are going to do with those names and is that for the purpose of a mailing list?” the governor said.

  7. I think the Northfield School District is handling this very well. My only regret is that such an important opportunity for students to listen to and talk about something the president is saying right to them will be lost in the hustle and bustle of first day activities. The timing is unfortunate. On the other hand, I suspect many of our teachers will see this as a ” teachable moment,” and will run the speech later and encourage students to discuss it.

  8. Charlie Kyte was on TPT’s Almanac last night:

    What should teachers do about a
    Presidential Address on Education next
    week?  We hear two perspectives from
    Tom Dooher with Education Minnesota
    and Charlie Kyte with the Minnesota
    Association of School Administrators.

  9. Charlie Kyte is also quoted in today’s Strib editorial: What is Obama flap teaching our kids?

    Meanwhile, the Minnesota Association of School Administrators sent out a less-than-enthusiastic recommendation that schools not disrupt normal activities for the speech but record it and consider using it in classrooms at a later time or date if it passes muster as apolitical and parents don’t object.

    “The [Obama] message is supposed to be about studying hard, to have high aspirations and to be good students,” the association’s executive director, Charlie Kyte, wrote in an e-mail to members. “In a simpler, and less contentious, time this would be a very welcome message. But we live in both a time of instant communications and a deeply divided nation in terms of political values.”

    Reached Friday, Kyte said he was pleased to learn that the White House planned to release the text of the speech on Monday, which will give administrators a chance to review the content.

  10. Just a thought on appropriatness of the President’s speech, I suppose it might be a little boring for the first and second graders. I think the teachers should be able to determine that.

  11. It’ll probably be pretty funny. I think they should go ahead and show it! That is, unless the left suddenly gets all sanctimonious and tries to change the rules for how to criticize the opposition. Will kids be asked to send e-mails to tattletale@whitehouse.gov if they notice their classmates not paying attention, or giggling, or making fun of how the president mis-talks, or his creepy hand jestures, or something?

    I have to admit it takes courage for Obama to stick his neck out like this. Nixon didn’t quite make it to the first day of school in 1974, but if he had, I can just imagine how it would have gone for him if he had pulled a stunt like this. Kids would have been laughing for a week!

    On a more serious note, concerned parents may want to learn something about the role-model-in-chief’s views on child rearing before making plans for September 8.

    1. I watched the YouTube clip. Pretty controversial stuff. Obama suggests: turning off the XBox, sending kids to bed at a decent hour, reading to kids, and attending parent-teacher conferences.

      Then he makes a joke about “whooping” neighborhood kids who are misbehaving. Here’s a hint about how to spot a joke — the President smiled as he said it, and the entire audience laughed.

      Hope this helps.

    2. Jim: Yeah, I know it was supposed to be a joke. And I guess a joke about child abuse is right up there with the one he made about the Special Olympics. You’re right, though, the audience thought it was a hoot. It’s sad, really. Thanks for highlighting the context.

    3. My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

    4. Or Bush’s comedy sketch about not finding WMDs, or McCain singing “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran”?

      I have no idea what your point is. I’ve got a hunch that most of the tea-bag-monauts who are unhinged about the audacity of Obama speaking to school students would stomp their feet and call Obama anti-Christian if he criticized physical discipline (see, e.g., Proverbs 23:13-14.)

      And, this just in, physical discipline of children was the norm in American households while Obama was a child. And when loonie lefties thought there might be a better way to parent, conservatives threw yet another hissy fit.

    5. Yeah, it’s interesting that so many generations of kids who were “whooped” when they disobeyed grew up to be successful businessmen, legislators, educators, astronauts, etc. None of them had to be calmed down with prozac or constantly entertained with passive electronic devices. Pretty much all of them knew how to respect authority and lead others. They didn’t go around terrorizing other people and destroying property out of bordom. Not every idea for raising children that has been implimented in the last 40 years has been a good one.

    6. Jim, does Obama think we should comb our kids hair before or after breakfast? Maybe he should dicuss the role of government in peoples lives turning his television event about not watching television.

    7. its pretty creepy isnt it. oh wait. from the official first lady of mn web site:

      http://www.firstlady.state.mn.us/initiatives_civicseducation.html

      The first lady frequently visits
      elementary schools to teach students
      about our system of democracy. The
      first lady focuses on expanding school
      children’s knowledge and understanding
      of the three branches of government,
      providing a special emphasis on the
      judiciary. The first lady was a
      district court judge for 12 years,
      handling all levels of criminal,
      civil, family and juvenile matters.

      Although her schedule does not permit
      her to visit all interested schools in
      our state, there are many judges,
      including district court, court of
      appeals and supreme justices who work
      to reach out to our community through
      education.

      If your school would like to learn
      more about the third branch of
      government or request a judge to speak
      to your students, please contact the
      Court Information Office at the
      Minnesota Judicial Center.

    8. David- I suppose you could communicate some political leanings as to whether you part their hair on the right or the left. Or you could epresent the current state of American politics by just leaving it all messed up.

    9. As a “victim” of what is described here as “Child Abuse”, (perpetrated by both my parents rarely and the Public School system [corporal punishment] frequently) while growing up in the 60s, I’d like to offer an insight or 2.

      Let me begin by saying that I can count the number of spankings all 3 of my kids received on the fingers of 1 hand with fingers to spare. My youngest (the only 1 still at home) is 16.

      My oldest (23, gainfully employed, self supporting and by any measure a fully productive and taxpaying member of society) to this day argues that I should have spanked him more. Despite what he sees as my failure as a parent, he graduated on the Honor Roll, as did my daughter (currently attending St Thomas on a full academic scholarship). My youngest is also on the honor roll.

      That said, my choice not to spank my kids was NOT based on my inherent liberalism, PC, and MOST OF ALL, not from any trauma still haunting me from such “abuse”.

      Simply put, for me (and my ex wife felt the same) IT DIDN’T WORK!!!

      My Junior High Boy’s vice principal was a highly decorated Marine veteran of WWII who joyfully wielded a 1″ thick, 12″ wide and 30″ long solid oak paddle with holes drilled through it so you could hear it coming.

      Being the student chosen to produce these in 8th Grade wood shop was considered an honor, automatically resulting in an A+ for the class (he went through 4-6 per semester).

      In order to “count coup”, whenever a student received 50 swats from 1 paddle, he required them to sign it. Would anyone like to guess what was considered a “badge of honor” among those of us sent down?

      As a transfer student from the “non white” part of town with no elementary school clique to provide a peer group, as well as being younger, smaller, possessing a speech impediment, and (in many cases) smarter than my classmates, I was an easy target to blame for things like spit-wads hitting the blackboard next to the 8th Grade Spanish teacher’s face while she was writing on it. Did I EVER do that? NO!!!

      Unfortunately, I was marked as a “problem student” on the 1st day of class when I rolled a penny down the aisle while she was talking. Hell, it had worked to distract the 7th Grade Spanish teacher, so I figured I’d give it a try. BAD DECISION!!!!

      The rest of the year, I got sent down for EVERY disruption of the class (INCLUDING when someone filled an eraser with pins and put it on my seat. 5 swats for disrupting class there, even while blood was oozing from my cheek). That year, I signed 8 paddles.

      Did the method of punishment scar me more than the acceptance of false accusations by the school despite my protestations of actual innocence? NO and HELL NO!!!!. The swats were a joke!!! Detention, Suspension, Expulsion would have resulted in an outlook no different than the 1 I was left with.

      In closing, although I READILY acknowledge that I DO NOT earn my living providing counseling services, I DO feel justified in offering a perspective based on MY OWN PERSONAL experience

  12. Kiffi raises (#8) the good question of what Governor Pawlenty’s true nature might be. He used to present himself as a bridge over troubled Republican waters; now he seems to have jumped into the pond with the likes of Palin and Bachmann.

    Which of these personae is the real Tim is hard to say. If he ends up slitting his wrists (as Bachmann recommends) in protest against socialism I guess we’d know the answer. Meanwhile, Tim’s chameleonic character is already clear, and troubling.

    1. Paul Z.- Every time I hear one of these diatribes from one of our politicians, no mastter which side of the aisle, I’m reminded of that scene in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”. The main character (a girl) is walking down the road in her bib overalls carrying a willow-branch fishing pole and a stringer of bullheads. A guy leaning agaisnt his car says, as she walks by, “Well, look at this pretty thing!” She turns to him and asks, “What are you? Some kind of politician? Or, does lyin’ just come natural in your family?” One of the best movie lines I have ever heard, and so true to life.

  13. John, you wrote,

    Yeah, it’s interesting that so many
    generations of kids who were “whooped”
    when they disobeyed grew up to be
    successful businessmen, legislators,
    educators, astronauts, etc. None of
    them had to be calmed down with prozac
    or constantly entertained with passive
    electronic devices. Pretty much all of
    them knew how to respect authority and
    lead others. They didn’t go around
    terrorizing other people and
    destroying property out of bordom. Not
    every idea for raising children that
    has been implimented in the last 40
    years has been a good one.

    John, are you suggesting that you think that it’d be better if we “whooped” our children on an occasional basis – like they did back in the good old days?

    I’m glad to report that I’ve never been “whooped” by a parent. Remarkably – in spite of my “whoop”-deficient upbringing – I don’t “go around terrorizing other people and destroying property out of bordom.”

    Somehow, I suspect that – even if we fail to “whoop” her properly – our little Josephine is unlikely to “go around terrorizing other people and destroying property out of bordom,” either.

    1. Patrick- As you well know, no two children are alike, and what works with one will not always work with another. Two of the scriptures we followed in raising our children are in Proverbs (I can’t find my exact references right now) that says that foolishness is born up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it from him; and bring up a child in the way that he should go and he will continue in it until old age. In Ps. 23, David refers to God’s rod and His staff. A rod was a flexible instrument. A staff was quite substantial and something a person could lean on. Discipline that is inflexible is not discipline, it is punishment. Discipline brings correction and hope. Punishment brings rejection and hopelessness. The “way in which a child should go” refers to the way he/she is wired and how they interract with their environment. When we as parents understand our children, we can tailor the discipline they need to their particular temperament. I do believe there is a difference between spanking and child abuse, and I really don’t care what the current permissive philosophy says about it. You raise your children the way you see best. You don’t have to answer to me. I have already raised mine, and the results speak for themselves.

  14. I believe the opposition to Obama’s speach is based in racism. I wish it were only political divisiveness. It is obvious that there would not be such political polarization if the president were white.

    I was shocked during the time of the election that many people told me that Obama was the anti-Christ–which also comes from racism (and ignorant religious fervor.) No other president has been asked to present his birth certificate to prove he is a citizen.

    Obama is the president of the United States. He wants to address school children on studying hard, staying in school, and setting goals. He is releasing the entire text of the speech in advance. It may be logistically difficult to show it live in all schools, but we should at least show it sometime in all schools. This is not a political speech.

    The opposition party is the party that purposefully designed the measurements in No Child Left Behind to falsely label schools as “failing.”

    1. Jane- How is the conservative reactions to Obama any different than the liberal reactions to Bush? Both seem narrow, intolerant and even spiteful. I don’t think either philosophy has a monopoly on bad behavior. In fact, in Friday’s paper, both the Press & Strib, there was a little filler article about some environmentalist group in Seattle, I believe, that had destroyed two communications towers. Their reasoning? They they thought the towers were a blight on the surroundings and prople had enough electronic intrusions in their lives as it is. Narrow mindedness does not have any religious, political or ethnic boundaries.

    2. john, it took 5 years for the liberal left to get fed up with bush.. after 9/11 katrina iraq politicising of the judicial system. Any one of those is grounds for impeachment.

      it took 1 day for the right to think obama is the antichrist

    3. John,
      The difference is this: left wing fringers who said crazy thingsabout Bush were usually not elected officials – they were outsiders.
      With the Republican crazies, they’re in the House and Senate and State government. The crazy is coming from the (rump) core of the Republican party.

    4. Anthony & Patrick- The whole rift that appears to be occuring in this country is driven by extremists on both sides. I think they are a minority, not a majority. As far as the Dems. being fed up with Bush, this started at the election with Gore’s defeat. 911 had nothing to do with it. And there were a lot of elected officials crying out about the election. I don’t think either pot is blacker than the other.

    5. I think if Obama’s speech were about the branches of government that would be appropriate (but still ineffective PR). I think preaching to people about how much XBox time is “correct” or “how important education is (like they couldn’t predict that opinion)” is empty pandering – in writing, it is the difference between showing and telling. The greater issue being our kids are most likely to die in a car accident – what’s the government going to do about the roads they “manage.” I think there are important issues the president can work on and leave the 3 Rs to the teachers. I know liberals probably do not agree but the thoughts are not “crazy,” I just object to the Oprahization of government.

  15. 1 would be restoring our civil liberties taken during the last 8 years.

    I think there are important issues the
    president can work on and leave the 3
    Rs to the teachers.

    1. Agreed Anthony (except it has been a steady decline beyond 8 years). Which branches of government are the Dems going to cut back on to increase of civil liberties would be a great discussion of riviting interest to school kids – that would get them reading.

  16. Back to my racism comment. How come the black president’s agenda is called the “Oprahization” (David Henson, comment 18.6)–a reference to a black talk show host?

    John George–I think you are absolutely wrong–the Republicans have a patent on the carzy talk and carzy people–they are in congress (like Michelle Bachmann), on TV and radio–Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, the big fat idiot Rush, and running around with guns. They are shooting and killing a black guard at the Holocaust Museum or celebrating the murder of a doctor who performed abortions. The left-wing wing-nuts are pulling down radio towers? How can you call this equal?

    Bush will be reknown as the worst president ever. The Republican glorify another ex-Pres, Reagan,who gave guns to death squads in South America and began the economic failure of our country with his loosy-goosy “Reaganomics.” The Republicans have put incompetants like Clarence Thomas in life time appointments and weakened the government. Bush started an illegal war and lied to congress and the American people. His administration leaked national security information for political purposes, spied on the American people, suspended habeus corpus when they felt like it, and generally played “cowboy” while in office, destroying America’s reputation internationally and leading to some of the worst foreign policy mishaps in our country’s history, especially with North Korea and Iran.

    The difference between “liberals” and “conservatives” comes down to basic life issues–liberals will protest over killing people in war while conservatives will protest helping and saving people (like with single-payer health.)

    David, there is no reason the President of the United States should not address school children about EDUCATION–showing them that he is believes education is important. Just because you think it is just “rhetoric”–well you didn’t get elected, and you should probably take a good look at your own entries to this blog before dissing a talented speaker-the president.

    1. Jane, your comments are way beyond good taste. I spent most of my life living in the city, I purposely sent my kids when young to a mutliracial school, I socialized with a man yestereday whom you would call “black.” And you live in the whitest town in MN. You might be surprised that many blacks are more conservative than you and that few would have your deep emotional support for more government. And yes, Oprah is a “talk show” personality who helped launch Obama’s campaign so calling his “education is important talk” Oprahization is not racist. You needn’t direct comments at me as I find your emotional name calling offensive and if I want your creative opinion then I can look at a talking points memo.

  17. And John George: How can you compare the reaction to Obama trying to help 48 million uninsured people or addressing school children on the importance of education to the reaction to continual abuse-of-power by Bush and his administration? Illegal war, lying about information on WMD, torture, wire-tapping American citizens, constantly suggesting incompetent people for appointment, sending our service men and women to war without proper armour or training or whatever to even secure the country we illegally invaded? The failure to warn about potential terrorist attacks using commercial airliners even though he was briefed on this in August of 2001? His administration’s failure to do anything constructive regarding Hurricane Katrina–to either save people or relieve suffering?

    Granted–Bush showed us for 8 years what a terrible president he was and how incompetent he was–he showed that it is a big mistake to let a millionaire buy the presidency for his son–and we only have 9 months to gather information on Obama–but that only shows you how lopsided the entire approch is–

    I repeat. The opposition to Obama appears to be based in racism. There is no other precedent to such polarized opinions-mostly fueled by false rumours or “crazy talk” of his birth certificate, false links to terrorists or being a Muslim.

    The liberal wackos want peace and love. The conservative wackos want to hoard guns, run around in cammo and shoot people who don’t agree with them.

    I will let you know when we are even. It will take a lot of crazy and stupid actions on the part of the democrats to get even close to Bush.

    1. Jane, why don’t you whine to your own party, as the US is still in Iraq and now has more troops in Afganistan than the Soviets ever had or did the war become ok because Democrats are in charge.

    2. Wow, Jane. Your comments come across as pretty extreme. What have I written in any of my posts that pricipitated your association of me with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck? IMO, it is this type of closed mindedness on both sides that keeps people from coming to agreement and being able to work together. I still beleive there is a majority of realistic people in this country who recognize that they will not always agree on certain principles, but who also recognize that toning down the rhetoric and looking for common ground is the only way to assist the country in moving forward. I would hope that you are one of those people.

      One point of perspective on the terrorist attacks, this same information was available to President Clinton during his term. He even made public speaches about Iraq having WMDs. Why didn’t he do anything to raise public awareness? This is just my opinion, but I think the whole country had slipped into a lethargy about our vunerability to attack. None of us thought any of these extremists groups would actually carry out their plans, even though they had been making these threats for years. And which ones of us would have welcomed the stringent security measures now necessary just to fly to Chicago? Without the events of 911, these measures would not have been allowed. Talk about infringement on personal freedoms and rights! I think it is irrational to blame either the Clinton or the Bush administration for these events. And, I think the sooner this type of finger pointing attitude changes, the better off we will all be.

  18. Another Pawlenty warning: Pawlenty’s comments on CNN about the president’s speech should cause apprehension among even those who consider him a possible candidate for higher office in 2012.

    And I wonder about what I consider to be the really disturbing comments by the MN Assn. of School Administrators that are quoted at the beginning of this thread, and additionally the CYA comments by our school district.
    Go back and read them both again…

    I don’t think it’s a good educational principle to tell kids to just ‘opt out’ of society if they disagree with the leadership to the point that they’re going to be damaged just by hearing the words of the President.

    I frankly don’t care whether it is Bush or President Obama speaking to schoolchildren on the first day of school, I think the speech should be shown, and I think kids should watch, and I think it’s one of those “teachable moments”everyone is so fond of speaking of, no matter who is giving the speech.

    1. John: You have spoken about “toning down the rhetoric”… Maybe it would tone down the rhetoric a bit if you would not liken you and I agreeing about something to an astronomically impossible event !

  19. Agreed Kiffi.

    John, I did not mean to suggest that your views are the same as Rush Limbaugh’s. I was responding to your comment that the mudslinging is the same from both sides. I used the radical hate radio, hate TV (I didn’t even mention that woman with the oversized adams apple, Ann Coulter) who continually promote false information about libersls while the liberals have….I guess we have Jon Stewart, who skewers equally on both sides but is definitely a liberal.

    I continue to be angry that any patriotic American could have supported a snake like Bush. I cannot find middle ground in an illegal war, torture, the suspension of habeaus corpus, outing CIA agents, spying on Americans, etc. etc.

    Clinton may have had the same false information that Bush had about Saddam’s false WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, but the big difference is that he did not act imprudently–like invade a country that had not attacked us (and, in fact, did not have the ability to attack us–which intelligence was available from the British or the Israelis or any number of sources.)

    But Bush did get the security briefing memo in August of 2001 that talked of terrorists using US commercial planes for suicide missions to terrorize the United States–and he did: NOTHING.

    And I, too agree with Kiffi. Even if that idiot Bush had wanted to address school children when he was president, I would not have opposed it. Even though he was appointed by the Supreme Court rather than elected. Even though he could barely speak his native language. Even though he barely made it through school himself but had a rich dad to help him out. Even though he was a terrible student who had the opportunity of the best schools and instead screwed around for 16 years, and then got to be president anyway. Wow. Thats a morality tale for todays students.

    1. Jane: I agree with John. Good legislation and policy is not based upon party affiliation. Deciding whether to broadcast the speech is best left to school boards who know their students.

      I don’t understand your claims of racism or partisanship. There are legitimate, educational reasons not to force kids to listen on school time. Obama’s speech could be inspirational to some students and school districts. But, in a town like Northfield, it is probably a waste of time.

    2. I simply can not conceive of how it could be a waste of time for school children to listen to the President … any president… at the beginning of their school year.
      The seriousness of their educational process should not take second billing to a lot of nit picky organizational school rules; those could be the second , third, and ongoing days of school.
      Let’s get the inspirational, motivational ideas firmly in their heads first; then they can learn about hall passes.
      (That shows how old I am; there’s probably no such thing as hall passes anymore! Cherish your freedoms, kids!)

    3. Kiffi, I find it easy to conceive of a presidential address to children being a waste of kids’ time. There’s a precedent for it two decades ago, when the Great Communicator gave a little lecture on tax policy. There’s a nice review of this at Media Matters (I’m leery of including the link, so copy and paste mediamatters.org/blog/200909030020 to get there). Here’s the opening snippet:

      “Putting aside possible ulterior motives, the conservative freak-out over President Obama’s planned speech to students urging them to stay in school and work hard is due to fears that Obama will use his platform as an opportunity to push his agenda on unsuspecting students. Ironically, that’s exactly what President Reagan did two decades ago.

      “On November 14, 1988, Reagan addressed and took questions from students from four area middle schools in the Old Executive Office Building. According to press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, the speech was broadcast live and rebroadcast by C-Span, and Instructional Television Network fed the program “to schools nationwide on three different days.” Much of Reagan’s speech that day covered the American “vision of self-government” and the need “to keep faith with the unfinished vision of the greatness and wonder of America” but in the middle of the speech, the president went off on a tangent about the importance of low taxes:….”

    4. Barry- I think your example is good. Afterall, this is a Democratic president elected in one of our free elections. What do people think he is going to do? Come out and present a conservative plan to cut taxes? The whole idea that a president, legislator or whomever doesn’t have the freedom to represent his party is absurd. I feel the same way about Reagan. Did anyone think he would not present a conservative message? It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the party or not. It seems we have forgotten how to extend common decency and respect to whomever is in a public office. We are not talking about moral issues here, IMO. Disrespect for authority is just that- disrespect for authority, and I think that is a moral issue. I still think this whole upheavel in public opinion is unfounded. This day and age of instant communication and dispersal of opinions is working against us. I think we are driving a wedge between ourselves that any terrorist extreemist in any country would covet the opportunity to do to bring down our country. I remember the famous line from Pogo years ago- we have seen the enemy and he is us. (Perhaps that was a quote from someone else. I didn’t take time to Google it.)

    5. Barry: I would agree that I would likely find much of the content of a Bush or Reagan speech to be of little worth to ME, but as I said, if we’re so ‘into’ teachable moments, then use it to teach… use it to analyze…

      It’s the attitude that there are more important things on that ‘hectic’ first day of school that annoys me… I don’t think there’s much that’s more important than full engagement in the world we live in, and we live in this country, whether the president is one we would personally have chosen or not.
      It’s never too early to teach about engagement vs. alienation, engagement vs. apathy, and even engagement as a productive form of civil disobedience at times.

  20. If Northfield schoolkids really think their best shot at success is through rapping or playing pro basketball, I guess somebody needs to tell ’em . . .

  21. FYI: President Obama’s dangerous address to the nation’s schoolchildren, in all its socialistic glory, is being broadcast on MPR 91.1 this hour.

  22. FYI: President Obama’s dangerous address to the nation’s schoolchildren, in all its [REDACTED BY GRIFF’S FILTER] glory, is being broadcast on MPR 91.1 this hour.

    1. Who’da thunk that the word formed by combining “social” and “istic” would be moderated on LGN?

      Griff, you’ve gotta get a better system for moderation/filtering.

  23. I think Obama would be better off adressing the teachers.
    Lecture and ask them how they can improve educating our children, so they are on par with the rest of the world.
    Staying in school is important, but most children would stay in school if their parents would made them stay.
    Chidren aren’t the problem. Parents and Educators are.

    I would also like to ask Obama that why his children are not in a public school, aren’t public schools good enough for them?

    This speech is nothing more than a diversion from his own problems and failures. Designed to do nothing more to hold off his falling poll numbers.
    This is nothing more then politics. Just like so many other things we do in the name of education.

    Where is the beef?

  24. Nice to see that Jane is back to her regular offensive rhetoric.
    Any commentator from the right (insert me) would have been censored already here.

    NO Jane diagreeing with a President of the United States of America doesn’t make me a racist…quiet the opposite.
    Questioning your leaders is as American as Apple Pie… I suggest you read up on your own history. This time do not read the revisionist version of it…read the real one.

  25. UH–OH Obama used the “G” word twice in his speech. Aren’t we supposed to keep religion out of schools?

    “G” = GOD

  26. You all know that I’m not a BIG fan of the NFNews, but boy, am I on their side in this one!
    The newspaper was told they couldn’t show faces or use quotes of kids in school?
    (story on Pres. Obama’s speech) …
    WHAT?

    Have we never seen a classroom picture or had a quote from a kid in school?
    What is with that?

    It is SO sick how the whole subject of a President’s speech to school children gets to be a big controversial subject , even to the point of the school district going into some overprotective mode… Weird, weird weird… Has everyone just lost their senses?

  27. I didn’t actually read the text of the speech, but what I saw in the paper this morning indicated it was a pretty ‘tame’ talk. No many should argue with any person that will talk with students about staying in school and getting a good education….in an effort to lead a productive, rewarding life (my sidebar comment: and one that will allow you to address your own needs without overly relying on the government to take care of you)

    However, I do think this was another example of something not handled well by the Obama administration. The whole flop could have been avoided if at the time they decided to talk to the nations school children they also released at least a rough draft of the speech. Waiting until Monday—Labor Day—to release the text was way too late. Schools were closed on Labor Day and no decisions could be made. So it was essentially dumped on the school districts to deal with a bunch of riled up folks wondering if the President was going to ask children to ‘line up behind me’ and help me advance my agenda. Not fair to dump that on the schools.

    1. I think even stating, “you need a good education to compete in the world economy” is a ‘values’ statement which is why this is a bad tradition to start. A better statement would be, “you need a good education to through the democratic process define how you will relate to the world at large.” (Maybe they will decide to be protectionist – I’m not advocated it but all options will be open). I would suggest Obama and future presidents stick to the job description in the constitution.

      Educators were major Obama backers so their cool reception should tell us something.

    2. I think Ray and David are accurate. This issue (whether school districts should show the speech) was non-partisan. The primary opposition to the speech came from educators, who while overwhelmingly Democratic, were still concerned with the possible disruptive nature of the speech.

      All in all, it seems like a good balance was struck.

    3. Ray,

      Sorry this is so much after the fact, but I just stumbled across this thread today. Am I correct in understanding that you feel OUR president, duly elected with a CLEAR MAJORITY sufficient to both negate a need for a Supreme Court decision AND make a moot point of questionable tallies from faulty polling machine software [2000 and 2004 respectively], should be required to have his address to America’s schoolchildren vetted in advance for ulterior motives?

      IF that is correct, do you feel this should apply to ALL elected officials at ALL levels ANY time they speak to children during school hours? Say, members of a local school board or State Representatives addressing a school assembly or maybe a high school government class? Just curious.

    4. Ray,

      Sorry, but I almost forgot my 2nd question.

      You said “I didn’t actually read the text of the speech” and yet you mentioned “folks wondering if the President was going to ask children to ‘line up behind me’ and help me advance my agenda”. Was that based on what you gleaned from the paper AFTER the speech, or from the hue and cry raised based on the preliminary news release when plans for the speech were 1st announced?

      Here is why I ask. THAT phrase (in substance if not word for word) was the rallying cry for the faction of the political spectrum (both elected and in the media) who opposed this speech from day 1. My problem is, when quoting that news release, focusing SPECIFICALLY on that part of the lesson plan suggestions, thsy ALWAYS ended like this “ask the children to email the president about how they can help him.”

      Help him WHAT? Is that where it truly ended? Improve education? Make America better? Quit smoking? DID IT ACTUALLY SAY “‘line up behind me’ and help me advance my agenda”? OBVIOUSLY, based on your very statement, that WAS your impression.

      I am assuming of course that since you chose to not read the transcript of the actual speech the same is true of the initial press release. If I am wrong, please accept my apologies. If not, WHERE exactly did the phrase you quoted come from? If from folks you spoke to, where do you think they got it from?

      If you choose to attribute blame to someone (“I do think this was another example of something not handled well by the Obama administration” and “Not fair to dump that on the schools.”), why not start with those who chose to muddy the waters in order to advance their OWN agenda?

  28. The main issue I have with the speech is simply the time. Our children are in school to learn and I believe our teachers and administrators plan full days of learning for them. When there is something that ‘disrupts’ the daily lesson plan, I can only imagine that some learning is postponed or never takes place. I sincerely hope the teachers were allowed flexibility in showing the program. I have the same concern when the legislature mandates some new task for schools…but doesn’t say what educational program should be discontinued or taught for less time.

    1. When I was in school, we watched the movie “Glory” as a lesson on African-American history in a civil war context, the movie “Romeo and Juliet” (the old version, with boobies!) for a lesson on Shakespeare, the miniseries “Roots” for another diversity lesson and “The Diary of Anne Frank” to learn about the holocaust.

      I also remembering listening to Pres. Reagan’s speech, but that was somewhat overshadowed by watching the Challenger explode live on TV and, let’s not forget, the O.J. Simpson verdict.

      Funny to think that Obama’s speech could be so disruptive to the regularly scheduled TV broadcast…

    2. Britt: When I was in school, Ma and Pa told me that I could study hard or shovel manure the rest of my life. Of course, I have a couple of years on you.

    3. Britt and Anthony: Do we really need the President to tell kids to study hard? Isn’t that what parents and teachers are for? Maybe Obama is inspirational in some places. But, in Northfield, it is a waste of my kid’s time, and frankly, a little too much like hero worship. He’s the President, not the Superintendent.

      P.S. I learned to study hard because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life shoveling shit on the farm.

    4. David L:

      You write:

      Do we really need the President to tell kids to study hard? Isn’t that what parents and teachers are for?

      Sure, parents should do this. Any harm in a President doing so, too?

      And then:

      Maybe Obama is inspirational in some places. But, in Northfield, it is a waste of my kid’s time …

      What benighted “some places” did you have in mind that compare so poorly to Northfield? Might our enlightened local kids’ time be better spent instructing their peers in those other places?

      and, frankly, a little too much like hero worship …

      Just above you dissed the Prez for un-inspiringness to Northfield kids. Now you worry about hero worship. Can both dangers really apply?

    5. So you guys are ok with Michelle Bachmann addressing all the school kids in her district? Should every politican get to do this or just the president?

    6. Paul: This president is clearly at his best when he is acting as the philosopher/king with whom Plato was so enamored. His messages are so powerful that I sent my young adult kids both his acceptance speech and his inaugural speeches.

      But, I still think that is best for each school to decide whether and how to present the message. For some schools the speech may be valuable; for others, like Northfield, we have to be careful that we aren’t just doing it because we adore our king.

    7. she can if she wants. but she has some more blood pacts to make so I dont think she will have time for that.

      So you guys are ok with Michelle
      Bachmann addressing all the school
      kids in her district? Should every
      politican get to do this or just the
      president?

    8. David:

      You say:

      This president is clearly at his best when he is acting as the philosopher/king with whom Plato was so enamored. …

      A lawyerly turn of phrase, but I’d overrule it.

      The undoubted fact that Obama speaks well and inspires many listeners by no means implies that he seeks the coronation or “adoration” that you seem to fear.

      And then:

      … I still think that is best for each school to decide whether and how to present the message.

      Agreed. Was there any indication from the palace to the contrary?

      … we have to be careful that we aren’t just doing it because we adore our king.

      OK, I’ll be on guard, but won’t worry unduly.

    9. Paul: I think everyone involved handled it quite well. The President offered the opportunity to schools. Each district decided how to handle the opportunity.

      I don’t think Obama is seeking kingship or saviourship. I suspect that he knows that he is one of the least qualified executives we have had in the presidency. I congratulate him for sticking to his strong suit – preaching, and for staying above partisan politics in spite of his very liberal tendencies.

  29. Yesterday at the high school, classes were only 15 minutes long to make room for a morning of “getting to know you” activities for freshmen. Ray, how does do you rate the priority of listening to a speech by the President which took 20 minutes vs. 4 hours of non-instructional time?

  30. While ‘you guys’ are arguing in #35, Betsey asks a fact based question in # 36.

    So … what about that?

    Sounds to me like the school district is just into their own ‘lecture time’, rather than being concerned on the basis of lost REAL instructional time.
    Their objections were bogus to begin with, and more so as we hear what actually occurred on the first morning of school.

    1. Kiffi,
      I suspect that there is no good answer to Betsey’s question, because – as you say, the “objections were bogus to begin with.”

    2. And then there’s this: the sight of the President of the United States being heckled by an elected Representative during a joint session of Congress:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/09/AR2009090902298.html?hpid=artslot

      Really? A Congressperson heckling the President during a formal governmental event? Do these people really only respect the institutions and traditions of our country when they are in charge?

      As has been asked before, “Have you no sense of decency?”

    3. Patrick- That is the question I have been asking for a long time, also. It seems decency and respect for an office flew out the window with Nixon. Too bad we associate one person’s reprehensible behavior with an office rather than recognizing that it is a person who has the moral deficiency. If the country had this type of microscopic inspection attitude when JFK was in office, he would not have had a chance. His dalliances were no better than Clinton’s. Also, the Bay of Pigs debacle was really no better than the failed Carter attmpt at rescuing the Iraq hostages, or the WMD mis-intelligence for Bush. I don’t care what political persuasion we are, I just don’t think it is proper to be disrespectful of a person when he/she occupies or has occupied an office. It is one thing to disagree with an ideology. It is quite another to stoop to elementary school level name calling. I think there has been just as much disrespect for Bush expressed here as there has been for Obama, and neither justifies the derogatory comments. I’m unashamedly a Republican, but I don’t condone the “Liar” outburst during Obama’s speech last night, nor the accusation of political opportunism associated with the school speech. As Charlie Brown says, “Good grief!”

  31. John: Agreed. And although nobody in Northfield is a rascist, I believe alot of our country still harbors many and some of them are in congress.

    What other president caused this much hoopla when wanting to address schoolchildren? What other president is heckled by a congress person? I think racism is rampant in the polarized reactions to this administration–and just ’cause you’all aren’t racist, does not make the rest of the country just like you.

    1. Jane- I’m not sure where I said anything about racism in the responses to President Obama. Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t remember making a comment one way or another on race. I will state my stand on that now. I personally do not believe that all the opposition to Obama’s proposals is tied to racism. I think that accusation is unfounded and suppresses discussion of the real reasons there is disagreement about the president’s agenda.

      Here is a link to an intersting analysis in Newsweek, provided it gets through Griff’s spam filter.
      http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2009/09/10/a-defense-of-joe-wilson-the-democractic-right-to-dissent.aspx?GT1=43002
      I’m not sure I agree with the whole article, but I think it is an interesting perspective.

    2. John: I specifically stated that your opposition was NOT RACIST. I believe the rest of the country is not quite as progressive as Minnesota, and I bet you get going south you will find plenty of racism.

      This is not being used by the democrats to suppress discussion–nobody is willing to talk about the facts of racism in our country–or the overwhelming, and often idiotic, opposition statements that come from–what? I think Racism–but maybe Republicans are idiots?

    3. Jane- Accepted. I guess I misunderstood your comment. I know there is racism alive and rampant in this country, and you don’t have to go south to find it. In fact, some of the most racist comments I have heard have come out of the mouths of people of color, re. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I have close relatives that fall within this type of behavior, but I feel your statement about it came across as a blanket condemnation. I still feel that the accusation of racism is a distraction to discussing the underlying ideaological differences. I know there is a lot of hatred toward former President Bush, but I try not to respond to the emotional outbursts. I feel it is divisive and counterproductive to rational discussion and understanding.

  32. Jane,
    I don’t think that even crazy right wingers dislike Obama because of his race. I think that crazy right wingers simply fear anyone that is not a crazy right winger.

    (Sensible right wingers merely disagree with Barack Obama on the basis of facts and reasoned arguments. It’s a shame that there are so few of them left on the national level.)

    1. Agreed Patick–it is not the crazy right wingers but the racists that oppose Obama because of his race. The crazy right wingers are just crazy.

    2. Jane and Patrick: I’m curious. What criteria do you use to determine whether those of us who disagree with you are “racists,” “crazy,” or just “idiots”?

    3. Scott,
      I’d need pretty incontrovertible and consistent, repeated evidence before I’d throw around the word ‘racist’ about a person. I’d sooner use it about a phrase or an idea than about the person who said it. People are complex, often hold contradictory ideas, and are often not entirely one thing or another.

      I also don’t recall ever using the word idiot to refer to many persons, and again, people are not entirely any one thing or another.

      Crazy is easier to define: I’d use it for anyone who persists in a mistaken, delusional thought even after they’ve been presented with ample evidence showing that their delusional thought is simply not connected with reality. For example, I’d apply it to anyone who has given more than a passing thought to the following conspiracy theories, and still persists in belief: Truthers, Birthers, and Death Panel conspiracy theorists.

      Of course, some of the crazies aren’t really crazy; they’re just cynical opportunists using the crazy to advance their own agenda. Problem is, it’s hard to sort out the real crazies from the fakes. So, as a great American philosopher once nearly said, “crazy is as crazy does.”

    4. Nutty folks who don’t want to turn the health care system over to the professionals that gave us Freddie and Fannie. Crazy because they know what Hitler, Stalin and Castro’s government utopias produced. Ubsurd in believing in limited government.

    5. David,
      I agree that the relationship between health insurance reform and the works of mass murderers like Hitler and Stalin is an extraordinarily tenuous one.

    6. Patrick, go back and look at these leaders promises if citizens gave up their liberty. They never offered mass murder of opposition but rather security including government health care.

    7. Google -Hitler promises- ” ‘Hitler’ kept his promises. The social welfare state build in many west European nations was nothing but continuing and improving on what Hitler created He gave people work. Better employment laws. Health care (Hitler himself was vegetarian and the first active non smoker.) A pension, upon was vegetarian and the first active non smoker.) A pension, upon retirement. Social laws in case they got ill. A social organization for the workers (Kraft durch Freude), with holiday resorts, a cruiseship and plans to give the people an affordable car: the KdF wagen, which later became the Volkswagen Beetle. Volkswagen Beetle I’m not in favor of Hitler singing his praise; this is what he did. People did pay a very heavy price for it, but that was at that time in the future

      Blockquote

    8. Goole ‘Stalin Promises’ –

      (Russia) Living standards: these generally rose in the 1930’s despite the obvious problems with food production and shortages elsewhere. Some people did very well out of the system especially party officials and skilled factory workers. Health care was greatly expanded. In the past, the poorer people of Russia could not have expected qualified medical help in times of illness. Now that facility was available though demand for it was extremely high. The number of doctors rose greatly but there is evidence that they were so scared of doing wrong, that they had to go by the rule book and make appointments for operations which people did not require! Housing remained a great problem

    9. Anthony, I never voted for Bush. I am much more interested in what is referred to as the liberty movement. Believe it or not many folks think both Bush and Obama favor to many forced government programs. I liked John’s 10% is enough program. Money and assistance is far more effective and dynamic when voluntary.

  33. Patrick: So do you think Obama’s crazy, or just a cynical opportunist, when he gets up in front of Congress and tries to convince ’em that illegal aliens won’t be able to cash in on his health care plan?

    1. Patrick: Of course there’s evidence to the contrary, at least for the House bill that passed. It contains no mechanism for determining citizenship. The Heller amendment would have accomplished that, but it was rejected by the Democrats.

    2. Scott,
      Citation? My reading of HR 3200 (cited on the other thread) specifically disqualifies subsidies to people in the country without legal status.

    3. Patrick: No, there’s definitely no enforcement provision in H.R. 3200. There is nothing in the bill that would require verification of citizenship. The wording you quoted on the other thread doesn’t specify any verification requirements. Illegal aliens can’t get Medicaid, though. The government checks their status first. The Heller amendment (the link to which keeps causing the reply to be rejected) would have done the trick in H.R. 3200, but Democrats explicitly rejected it. Do you think such language should be added?

  34. Jane- Your concerns about rampant racism in the US may have some roots that are surprising to you. Take a look at this article in Newsweek http://www.newsweek.com/id/214989/page/1
    if Griff’s spam filter alloows it to go through. This study confirms some observations I have had about the whole idea of how and why we differentiate race.

  35. wow. That was really interesting, John. It is quite a long article,–for those that don’t have time to read, it recounts several studies and stories of children’s attitudes about race. Some of the conclusions were that by not talking about and noticing skin color, we reinforce racist attitudes-rather than help our kids develop a “diverse” attitude, we enforce that skin color makes us very different. (One story was similar to the blue-eye, brown-eye seminars and studies–kids were given either blue or red shirts–and revealed specific prejudices based on “them” and “us” after a few weeks wearing “their” color.)

    Anyway, I am not saying that everyone opposed to Obama’s speach to school children are racist–only that there is a very unhealthy, unAmerican, unfriendly response to anything Obama that seems to have a basis in racism. Especially the continual false accusations–in the school speach, that he would brainwash the students or indoctrinate them with his politics. In the case of health care–that he is for death panels and–horrors–would let some one who is not a citizen receive health care in the United States.

    I understand the opposition to big government–but that is not the majority of the opposition. It seems to be sprouting from another source. And after reading that article, I still think it is about race.

    1. Jane- I thought it was interesting, also. Thanks for taking time to read it. My response to the article is that there is a lot of insight into how to really teach our children about race relationships. I used this same approach many years ago with my own children, just going on a gut feeling I had about how they reacted to a lot of other things in life. I even ended up with a Hispanic son-in-law who is just the best husband for my daughter.

  36. The article in # 41 is no news: people today are NOT so far from their origins that they have lost the protective tactics of sorting themselves into like ‘tribes’.

    And that only bolsters the argument of racism that Jane has been pursuing.

    By the way, I’m not respectful of any hierarchal system if it does not warrant respect because of its actions. So even the Presidency, in the end, must earn its respect by its actions and demeanor.

    And now we’re to the point I think should be pursued: President Obama has conducted himself with decency, seriousness, intent of purpose, and even an aura of calm. I consider that to be nearly impossible in this era of political madness. He has been a model of dignity, and I’m not talking about his suits and ties.
    He has not blustered, crowed, or acted like a cowboy leaning over the bar with his cronies. He has restored a measure of dignity to the highest office of this country, to a place where I personally had found it lacking in recent years.

    Again, he has been a model of dignity. Now, some would criticize him for even that, calling him a “preacher”, and the “least qualified executive” we have had.
    I am appalled at that characterization.

    It is almost impossible to see how this country will extricate itself from the divisiveness of its politics, the viciousness of its political rhetoric, and the crippling negative outfall of its narrow vision of the world of which it is a part .

    1. Kiffi: Obama, like Jesse Ventura, won the election on the strength of his preaching, not on the weight of his resume.

      I think everyone wants to reduce political divisiveness. Calling conservatives racists, nuts, and crazies doesn’t help. Remember, liberalism has its own narrow vision of the world. Obama pointed that out in his book, Audacity of Hope and in his address to Congress.

    2. David L. : once again, your logic escapes me as it does not follow a consistent thread of argument … i.e., in the past, you have exhorted us to pay attention to the words of a penultimate ‘preacher’, the Pope.

      Now you eschew the words of someone as being too ‘preacher’like?
      SOME bit of consistency is required…

      I believe President Obama won the election based not on preaching, but on principle…

    3. Kiffi: I love Obama’s preaching. I bought his book, Audacity of Hope, and liked that also. However, he lacks any significant executive experience to make those ideas become a political reality.

      It is my hope that Obama will break through the political power lock that the Democrats and Republicans have on the political process so that we can get back to talking about ideas, and not just jockeying for power.

      On his talk to the students, I think that he handled it masterfully.

  37. David L.- I agree with your assesment, and I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing. This country is so complex that any one person cannot keep up with everything that goes on. The greatest importance to a president, IMO, is whom he surrounds himself with as counselors. I believe Obama has an understanding of this, and I think he has tried to surround himself with people who will give him a realistic assesment of what needs to be done. Given that, his left leaning experiences will certainly color his decisions, but that is only to be expected. I don’t think we can fault the man for being who he is.

  38. Scott,

    Here you go with your pesty details again.

    Of course Obama was lying about illegal immigrants and health care. After all they do represent and important voter block for him.
    He laso lied about the cost of healthcare. Further he lied about that people who had won’t have change it.
    prelimanry numbers show that current healthcare costs for those that are on private insurance will go up by $ 1000 per year on average.

    He also lied about not raising taxes on the middle class..he already did by raising cigarette taxes…and I am taking bets that more tax increases are to come.

    Wilson was maybe inapropiate in calling him a liar before congress..but he did speak the truth.

  39. Scott and Peter,
    Speaking of pesky facts… perhaps we could walk through the following lines of HR 3200.

    The passage numbered 152, alluded to by John George and quoted by John Zorn on the other thread, is purportedly the source of the “illegal aliens will get government-subsidized health insurance” myth:

    SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.
    (a) In General- Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

    (b) Implementation- To implement the requirement set forth in subsection (a), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, promulgate such regulations as are necessary or appropriate to insure that all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act are provided (whether directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements) without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

    I assume that this is the source of concern:
    “SEC. 152. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE.
    (a) Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

    However, people who claim that this means illegal aliens will receive subsidized health care are missing the preceding passage:

    Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.”

    And look – elsewhere in the act, it is explicitly stated:
    SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.
    Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

    So, should HR3200 as presently written be enacted, when the executive branch (in the person of “the Secretary of Health and Human Services”) drafts the rules that implement the new bill, they will be required to draft those rules in accordance with 152(a). Again, 152(a) has that very big “Except” in it, which includes Sec. 246, above.

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

    1. Patrick: What you’ve quoted implies that it would be permitted for the rules to be drafted to exclude illegal aliens, but I don’t see anything there that would require the rules to be drafted in that way. I’m pretty sure a couple of “shall’s” are in the wrong place for that.

    2. Patrick: No, I didn’t ignore that wording, selectively or otherwise. Here it is again, just so you know I’m paying attention: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.” And that’s all there is; nothing about how to verify citizenship, or what to do if you find an illegal alien trying to sneak into the system. So nothing in this subtitle does anything to disallow such payments either. Do you really not get it, or are you just pretending?

      But assuming you’re not just kidding, and we really are on the same page with this one, and you and Obama both want to keep the benefits out of the hands of illegals, would you be OK with adding language similar to what was in the Heller amendment, which would have used the system that already exists for verifying status for Medicaid? House Democrats rejected it.

    3. Scott, you wrote,

      No, I didn’t ignore that wording, selectively or otherwise. Here it is again, just so you know I’m paying attention: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.” And that’s all there is; nothing about how to verify citizenship, or what to do if you find an illegal alien trying to sneak into the system. So nothing in this subtitle does anything to disallow such payments either. Do you really not get it, or are you just pretending?

      Scott, you wrote:

      nothing about… what to do if you find an illegal alien trying to sneak into the system.

      Umm, how about “report them to the INS?” There are already laws – immigration laws – detailing what the government is supposed to do when it finds a non-resident alien. Those laws apply to aliens whether they are shopping for health care, or shopping for a job. There’s no need to create additional laws when there are already perfectly good ones on the books.

      If, by chance you do not feel that current immigration law is inadequate, wouldn’t an immigration reform bill be a better place to refine those laws, rather than burying it deep inside a health care reform bill?

      As far as the health care reform bill goes, the answer is simple: a nonresident alien is not eligible to receive health insurance subsidies.

      So nothing in this subtitle does anything to disallow such payments either.

      …except the part that says “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

      Round and round it goes. I read it – and quote it – and it seems quite obvious what the bill says. You read between its lines, and you see something quite different. There’s no compromise to be had between us on this, since neither of us have the capability to rewrite the bill if we wanted to.

      Clearly, there’s nothing to be gained by continuing this discussion. We’ll both find out what it really means once the final bill is passed.

    4. But Patrick, wouldn’t it be safer to throw in the language that was in the Heller amendment, then, just to be on the safe side? Just to humor folks who are worried? By your reckoning, it wouldn’t add anything, and the verification system is already in place for Medicaid, and it works. Is that the trouble?

    5. Scott,
      According to Secretary Sebelius on one of the talk shows this morning, the administration will make sure that the final bill will have more explicit language on illegal immigrants – to put to rest the fears that persons like you have on this subject.

      So you’ll be able to support the legislation, right?

    6. Patrick: Well, it looks like we’ve proved that sarcasm is now allowed on Locally Grown, so at least something good has come out of all this. (I base this conclusion on your comment: “So you’ll be able to support the legislation, right?”) Umm, or do you really think so?

  40. ALERT! Another Pawlenty warning:

    This morning it was reported on MNPR that good ole’ T-Paw had a conference call with other ultra conservative governors on the possibility of stopping health care reform with a states’ rights movement.

    I don’t think there’s much of a need to do more than report that fact …

    1. You’ve gotta love that our once-“moderate” governor has now espoused the Constitutional heresy of Nullification, which has been discredited ever since South Carolina tried it in 1832 (except for a brief attempted revival in the South in the 1960’s, when people wanted to use it to preempt antidiscrimination Civil Rights laws.

      It’s not easy to get the Republican nomination for President, is it?

    2. What SHOULD be feared is how easy it MIGHT be to get the Republican nomination with that kind of tactic!

      Let’s see if any list of like thinking governors comes out.

      P.S. WHO ever thought T-Paw was “moderate”?

    3. Kiffi,
      Tim Pawlenty thinks that Tim Pawlenty is moderate, of course.

      On the bright side, if the Republicans nominate a candidate spouting 19th century nullification nonsense, it’ll be that much easier to defeat them again.

      On the down side, consider the horrors if such a candidate won.

    4. Patrick- Compared to some of the other conservative talking faces out there right now, I think Pawlenty is moderate, also. Tell me, are there any conservatives out there that you would call moderate?

      Kiffi- I think you know the balance between state governments and the central government that the framers of the constitution tried to achieve. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who was asked, after the Continental Congress, what type of government they had decided on. He said something like, “We have given you a republic. Now, lets see if you can keep it.” Trying to maintain this balance will always result in a struggle between the opposing sides. I think it would be dangerous if either side chose to give up.

    5. John G:

      You say:

      Compared to some of the other conservative talking faces out there right now, I think Pawlenty is moderate …

      If your point is that there is room to the right of Pawlenty, then I agree. (But anyone hoping to occupy that position had better establish a foothold soon, as our Governor is racing fast in that direction.)

      In any event, Governor Pawlenty’s not being among the very right-est of the right could be read more as a damning indictment of those even to his right than as any endorsement of the Governor.

      Then you asked (of Patrick):

      … are there any conservatives out there that you would call moderate?

      I can’t speak for Patrick, but I’d include Arne Carlson and Al Quie — and that’s just among fairly recent Minnesota governors.

    6. Paul Z.- Good points on all you said. You understood my point exactly, and I agree that the Governer is not moving toward the center with some of his statements over the last couple weeks.

      As far as Arne Carlson and Al Quie, these are definitely moderate conservatives and honorable men with past political careers. What I was asking Patrick about is whether he sees any conservatives currently holding national leadership positions that he would consider moderate. Sorry I did not make that distinction clear in my question.

    7. Patrick: It strikes me as counter-productive to demonize the person of Pawlenty rather than discussing the constitutional principle of the 10th Amendment.

    8. David L: with respect to #s 47, 47.2, & 47.5… it is with great regret that I apologize for the “political divisiveness” of reporting the fact of our governor’s actions, and “(name)calling” him by what has become an often used nickname, T-Paw…

      Must have been a little seizure of “intellectual dishonesty” ; I will have to stop reading the reportage of News, and listening to that wildly rebellious MNPublic Radio.

    9. I am not a big T-Paw fan but I like it ! The liberals are correct this is the kind of bold creative thinking that will win independents. Has a David slays Golaith feel to it … TPaw would be jumping out of his foxhole and racing right at the enemy.

    10. David,
      I’m not demonizing Tim Pawlenty. I’m just saying that he’s not a moderate. Many people will no doubt be happy to learn that Mr. Pawlenty has embraced nullification as a response to the very important issue of health care reform.

      I will admit that “consider the horrors” is an entirely subjective concept. Some people would love changes that I would consider to be horrors. If you don’t find any horrors in nullification, then by all means go right ahead and support Tim Pawlenty’s candidacy for President.

  41. David,
    I’m not demonizing Tim Pawlenty. I’m just saying that he’s not a moderate. Many people will no doubt be happy to learn that Mr. Pawlenty has embraced nullification as a response to the very important issue of health care reform.

    I will admit that “consider the horrors” is an entirely subjective concept. Some people would love changes that I would consider to be horrors. If you don’t find any horrors in nullification, then by all means go right ahead and support Tim Pawlenty’s candidacy for President.

  42. David,
    I’m not demonizing Tim Pawlenty. I’m simply reporting that he’s not a moderate. Many people will no doubt be happy to learn that Mr. Pawlenty has embraced nullification as a response to the very important issue of health care reform.

    I will admit that “consider the horrors” is an entirely subjective concept. Some people would love changes that I would consider to be horrors. If you don’t find any horrors in nullification, then by all means go right ahead and support Tim Pawlenty’s candidacy for President.

    1. Patrick- I think your comment here has a lot of truth in it

      Some people would love changes that I
      would consider to be horrors.

      I think what you consider positive progressive changes, many others might consider “horrors.” As long as we all recognize our own subjectivity in our comments, then at least we have some common ground to work from. As far as the health care bill, I think there is a fear among many that the changes being proposed will ultimately not really change the probelms we have right now with our system as far as equitible distribution of care. My thought on the term “single payer” is that it doesn’t communicate to me that this inequity of care provision will really be addressed. I had hope from Obama’s speach the other night that at least he is aware of this. I think the whole concept of how care is actually paid for is secondary to the equitability of availability, if that makes sense.

    2. John, how is the equitable distribution of health care any different than the equitable distribtuion of food, clothing, housing, toys, travel, etc? I think health care is a very vague concept as to where it starts and where it ends which makes it particularly subject to graft and corruption. My own parents went into Abbott NW and Mayo for elective surgeries (which I was against before and obviously after) and my Mom died in the hospital and my Dad was left crippled in a wheelchair. They had private insurance so it was their own choice but should society be obligated to cover this care? I don’t know that their experience is typical but it was an a huge waste all the way around and not worthy of forcing through violence (which is what taxes do) everyones participation.

    3. David H.- I do not see any difference, and herein lies the basic difference between current liberal and conservative philosophies. Liberals believe the most equitable way to distribute services is through a large, central government. Conservatives believe that the best way to do it is through private enterprise. I think the whole locally grown food/ locally produced energy distribution ideas being advanced mainly by liberal camps is a bellweather of change in their thinking. For these ideas to work on a small local basis, then there must be an abandonment of a large central distribution network. There are many who post here who decry “big-box retailers” as being a threat to local enterprise, even though they embody a large central distribution network. It seems a dichotomy to me that these same people advocate a “big-box (read: government)” system for health care distribution. Who knows where we will be in 50 years? It could be that for a lot of these programs to work, we will have to return to strong state/local governments and the national government will only be involved in national defense and establishment of safety and monetary standards. Patrick- Is this what you mean by “nullification?”

    4. John : re 48.3 … for you to equate the philosophy of a govt supported single payer system of health care to the functioning of a for-profit big box merchandiser is ALMOST the most ridiculous thing you have ever said, IMO, excuse me for being incredulous!

      Regardless of what you think of a central gov’t which you fear cannot function in an equable manner, at least it has a motive to do so, and a check and balance system to ATTEMPT to force it to do so.
      There is neither the motive nor the check and balance in a for profit corporation to do either; In fact it would be against their bottom line to do so.
      A for profit corporation would be nuts to do anything but try to GAIN as much market share as possible: a central gov’t for-the-common-good philanthropic program would be nuts to do anything but try to PROVIDE as much SUPPORT as possible.

      DON’T WORRY! as of 2009, the central gov’t of the USofA does not have an agenda of controlling population by stuffing either abortion OR homosexuality down your private personal throat!

      Can you not see the basic difference in the structure of these two systems? this is not a matter of individuals’ POV , they simply are not equatable functionary structures!

    5. John, IMLB opinion you are right on target about WalMart. Kiffi, I think John’s concern is like yours and Victors dislike of government support for big box building – ultimately that government intervention distorts normal human behavior in ways that makes it ends to unpredictable to justify the means.

      (Lucid and brillant – I’m kidding but I am never so sure about this humble crowd)

    6. Kiffi- I really hesitate to try to discuss this issue with you. Your statements like

      ALMOST the most ridiculous thing you
      have ever said

      DON’T WORRY! as of 2009, the central
      gov’t of the USofA does not have an
      agenda of controlling population by
      stuffing either abortion OR
      homosexuality down your private
      personal throat!

      seem more adversarial than objective. As far as your comment

      Can you not see the basic difference
      in the structure of these two systems?

      my question is- Can you tell me the difference?

      It seems to me that your post is addressing the motivations behind the systems, not the structure of the systems, which I am comparing. You are correct on motivations, between profit/non-profit organizations in general, but I don’t think your evaluation is correct on the comparable structure. What I pick up in your post, through this statement

      at least it has a motive to do so

      is that somehow, just because a large central supply system is run by the government, it will be free of greed, graft, and corruption. I simply do not believe this, no matter what party is in the majority. If this were true, then we would not see the history of it in our government over the last couple decades.

    7. Patrick: You’re not reporting when you say that Pawlenty is not a moderate, you are opining.

      Pawlenty raises an excellent point about health care reform when he suggests that states should be permitted latitude in developing health care options for its citizens. When states spend its citizens dollars, the state is usually more prudent than the federal government.

  43. Kiffi- Ok, here it is. This is your quote from post 48.4

    for you to equate the philosophy of a
    govt supported single payer system of
    health care to the functioning of a
    for-profit big box merchandiser is
    ALMOST the most ridiculous thing you
    have ever said, IMO, excuse me for
    being incredulous!

    Now, this is a quote from President Obama’s speech on health care

    Insurance companies will have an
    incentive to participate in this
    exchange because it lets them compete
    for millions of new customers. As one
    big group, these customers will have
    greater leverage to bargain with the
    insurance companies for better prices
    and quality coverage

    This is called volume purchasing power. It is the same economic principle that allows Wal Mart to price its products as it does. If a supplier wants to market its products through Wal Mart, it must cut its prices to do so. It is the same principle that presently allows employers to purchase coverage for their employees at discounted rates. It is the same principle that President Obama is proposing to reduce health care costs to individuals who presently cannot afford it.

    Is this economic principle immoral? If so, then if the government uses it instead of a business, does that somehow make it moral? I’m talking about the system, here, not the motivation behind it.

    1. Kiffi- I forgot to add one thing to my post above-

      Can you not see the basic difference
      in the structure of these two systems?

      And, I will repeat my question- Can you tell me the difference?

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