September 7, 2009

Obama's speech to kids is nearly 10x as long as the Gettysburg Address (which was given to adults).

The kids will need to sit still for 2540 televised words.
Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Can any speech be good for such wide range of ages? 2540 words should take at least 15 minutes to deliver. Who gives a 15 minute speech to kindergartners?
I’m glad you all could join us today.
Students tuning in? Glad you could join us? It's not voluntary.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
"This is no picnic for me either, buster" is a long-time laugh line for Obama, but it's not exactly comprehensible to kids. Do kindergartners and first graders understand what a foreign country is? Do elementary school students recognize the word "Indonesia"? Will students understand why going to school with people other than Americans is so bad? (Isn't it prejudiced to think that? a bright child might wonder.)

And what sort of mother wakes a kid up before dawn to teach him lessons? (Some parents say "I'll teach you a lesson" as a prelude to punishment.) Frankly, I don't even understand why the mother picked pre-dawn for lesson time. It seems a bit abusive. And I don't see what so funny when the abusers says "This hurts me too." Is a mother calling her child "buster" funny to little kids, or does it seem sad or scary?
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you...
It's not a discussion. He's on television.

Okay, I've got to stop. I'm not going to reprint the whole thing. It's way too long. I'll summarize. As it goes on, he develops the theme of students taking responsibility for their own education, including and especially when they don't have responsible adults in their life watching over them.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America....
Now, that's very nice free market capitalism — not that Obama's policies reflect this spirit.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
So can you "write your own destiny" and "make your own future" or not? It's confusing.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
But I thought we weren't supposed to think we could make it at basketball! That's downright perplexing. And why is rapping an inappropriate goal but being a fiction writer is admirable? Isn't rap a more easily reachable occupation?
... [Y]ou’ve got to do your part... 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.
"I expect"... I have no idea if expressions of expectation motivate children. Personally, I don't react well to a political leader telling me he expects something from me, but I'm not a kid.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
He ends with a double "God." I guess it's okay when Obama invokes the deity in school, but some kids might wonder why God's blessing comes at the end. After all, they were just told to take personal responsibility for themselves. And as for "God bless America," why is it even relevant? This wasn't a patriotic speech. The message to kids in other countries — including Indonesia — would be the same. Maybe some older kids will get it that it's just the conventional ending for a presidential speech, but if you're not familiar with the convention, and you're just trying to understand this speech, it's comes from nowhere.

251 comments:

1 – 200 of 251   Newer›   Newest»
Fred4Pres said...

It would have been more effective if he kept it to be respectfuls to your teachers, wash your hands, and do your homework.

And, oh yeah, , it is actually cool to do well in school rather than mocking those who do.

Fred4Pres said...

Obviously I could use a little more schooling on my "respectfuls".

Synova said...

No need to be nit picky.

rhhardin said...

Give each child a remote.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Obama might spend 15 minutes giving this speech, but how many minutes did you spend writing this blog post about it?

traditionalguy said...

Once again the One plays a role in which he is The Great Teacher and an heroic role model. Just check his two autobiographies if anyone doubts his story of his own greatness. It is written down for all to see...unlike his school transcripts that no one is permitted to read.

AJ Lynch said...

Warrants a lameness tag also.

President Obama drifted from almost sharing a dynamite success story (his own) to mundane, ordinary commencement speaker stuff.

I give it a 'C' because he just mailed it in.

phx said...

I haven't seen a reading like this since A.J. Weberman used to deconstruct Dylan.

Joan said...

I can already hear my kids' reactions: "OMG, that was so booorrringgg!"

Seriously, WTF, Obama? You're having yourself beamed into every school in the nation for this? What a maroon.

Christopher said...

ZPS wrote:

"Obama might spend 15 minutes giving this speech, but how many minutes did you spend writing this blog post about it?"

C'mon, this doesn't even make any sense. Step up your game!

Kirby Olson said...

At the end he's just trying to deflect the potential criticism of Christians.

Earth Girl said...

I've been wondering what he could say that would be appropriate for both kindergartners and seniors.

kathleen said...

TMI, Barry

Penny said...

No matter what each of us thinks, there will be many kids out there who will be personally moved by this address. Hopefully some will take it to heart enough to remember the message.

Synova said...

My eyes glazed half way through, right after the three examples of hard work and success... I expected a wrap-up at that point, on the "see, you can do it!" note.

The first half wasn't too bad. The expected "save the world" stuff was there.

And the don't disappoint me stuff is still really creepy.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Was it that hard to exclude young children from this announcement?

I guess this is what we can expect from Obama's policies; a one-size-fits-all type of solution that is inappropriate to a huge percentage of the people it is supposed to help.

Kirby Olson said...

Children CAN worship two gods, in other words.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Sorry Christopher, but I'm sure Althouse will understand the subtext.

(Hint: A President gives a fine—if not boring—traditional speech to schoolchildren. A non-story if there ever was one. A blogger then spends more time parsing said boring speech than it takes to deliver it, resulting in even more boredom. Oops, guess I just spelled it all out for you Christopher. You're welcome.)

Maguro said...

High school Obama just rolled his eyes at President Obama. Epic lameness.

I sincerely hope this doesn't become a tradition for presidents of either party. School kids put up with enough BS without having to endure 15-minute "The More You Know" videos from the president.

Jennifer said...

Ha, this will play out exactly as I thought it might. My son adores Obama - entirely from things he's heard at school. By the end of this, he's going to think of the dude as just one more boring windbag.

Jason (the commenter) said...

ZPS: A President gives a fine—if not boring—traditional speech to schoolchildren.

A President who shows complete indifference to the individual needs of his listeners is worth noting.

MadisonMan said...

I can already hear my kids' reactions: "OMG, that was so booorrringgg!"

Mine will say that too, if they watch it. I'm still not sure if they're doing that here in Madison (I was out of town last week).

To be fair, though, they'd say that about anyone they'd have to listen to.

vw: teworst. Appropriate.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I've been wondering what he could say that would be appropriate for both kindergartners and seniors.

And it's not just that. What could he say that's relevent for both straight A students and the kids who have been held back twice? What could he say that inspires both the inner-city kid growing up without a father figure, and the kid growing up in a small town with an extended family?

It's the typical big government one-size-fits-all approach.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

So what about all that indoctrination stuff! What happened!? Socialism? Anything? Nothing? Oh...

It's a full time job looking for things to attack the president on. Even criticizing a harmlessly bland speech takes work, but you guys can pull it off, I'm sure!

Remember how the loony left used to jump on Bush for every little thing he did...?

Kirby Olson said...

Penny makes a good comment, and for many people, Obama is THEIR president. It means a lot to them that Obama got to where he is, because it proves what Lincoln said in the first line of the Gettysburg Address:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

It's only a proposition, but it's one that Lincoln thought was worth fighting for, so that relative mediocrities could also be president. I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

Lincoln's schooling wasn't as extensive as Obama's -- he had to learn in inauspicious circumstances, and his college years were not in a place as conducive to learning as Hah-vahd, but it just goes to show you that equality isn't what it used to be.

Jason (the commenter) said...

ZPS :So what about all that indoctrination stuff! What happened!?

A considerable part of the speech is Obama telling students what a great person he is.

Revenant said...

Can any speech be good for such wide range of ages?

No.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

A considerable part of the speech is Obama telling students what a great person he is.
I read it and must have missed that part. Oh, unless you mean that part about how he worked hard to get where he's at. I know, Jesus Christ, so arrogant.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And is Michael Jordan an inspirational figure for today's students? He finally retired 6 years ago, but the truely inspiring part of his career ended when he retired from the Bulls in 1999. When today's seniors were in 1st grade.

I suspect a lot of kids will wonder why the president is turning for inspiration to that guy that sells underware.

Jason (the commenter) said...

ZPS: Oh, unless you mean that part about how he worked hard to get where he's at. I know, Jesus Christ, so arrogant.

You can't deny it's self promotion. And isn't that how Obama has always tried selling himself? Through his story.

rhhardin said...

I'm surprised women's basketball wasn't mentioned.

David said...

Gaaaaaaaaah!

daubiere said...

the speech gives the impression that all school kids in america are black inner city potential gang bangers.

former law student said...

Can any speech be good for such wide range of ages? 2540 words should take at least 15 minutes to deliver. Who gives a 15 minute speech to kindergartners?

Agree 100%. Obama's problem clearly is that he doesn't give enough speeches.

Other observations:
I've been wondering what he could say that would be appropriate for both kindergartners and seniors.

And

It's the typical big government one-size-fits-all approach.

No, it's the Big Jesus one-size-fits-all approach. The same sermon goes out to everyone in the pews, from octogenarians down to even little kids who have no idea where Bethlehem is, and surely could not find it on a map.

Christopher said...

ZPS:

"Sorry Christopher, but I'm sure Althouse will understand the subtext."

PROTIP: Using a semi-technical critical term like "subtext" doesn't make you appear intelligent unless you know what it means and how to use it.

Seriously. What you're referring to as "subtext" is... well... just plain text. And I got it and understood it. That doesn't mean that it makes sense.

Bloggers take things that are of minimal importance outside of their spheres of interest and write about them endlessly. Political bloggers, for example, take things that are of interest to political wonks and partisans (and wannabe wonks and partisans) and write about them. That's what they do. It makes no more sense to take a swipe at an individual political blogger for doing this than it does to take a swipe at water for being wet or ice for being cold.

Like I said, kid: Step up your game. You're not going to last a minute in the high stakes, fast paced world of blog commentary (where the bsns is SRS)if you don't know how the game's played!

daubiere said...

"I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work"

Obama certainly gives that sense, doesn't he? funny that he's giving kids that sense from a tv too.

"-- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things."

...like the chances were that someone with my resume and dubious life experience would become president, prophet, reality tv star and god of the living and the dead. I know kids, I wake up each morning and can't believe it myself.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Seems like Althouse is pedaling a little bit to justify the shameful stand she took on this speech last week. Mountains out of molehills indeed. Well, try as she might to pick nits (btw the speech was NOT COMPULSORY so the first idiotic point is moot), she and the right wing sure made asses out of themselves over this thing.

The right is overplaying its hand. Obama uses the rope a dope again and again. Guess the opposition are a bunch of dopes, so it keeps working.

AJ Lynch said...

Daubiere:

Very funny but I think they caught and edited out that last paragraph of yours.

Synova said...

If the speech was not *compulsory*, MM, then you don't have a problem with prayer in schools?

That's not *compulsory* either.

daubiere said...

"
The right is overplaying its hand. Obama uses the rope a dope again and again. Guess the opposition are a bunch of dopes, so it keeps working."

what are those poll numbers for Mr Obama lately?

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

heh. it's all part of the master plan i guess!!

AJ Lynch said...

The speech was dull and not especially inspiring so WHY THE HECK DID THEY EVEN DO IT?

Smart advisers would have written a dynamic speech BEFOREHAND. Once they agreed the speech was dynamite, they would announce the plan to give a speech to all school kids.

Synova said...

I think that we shouldn't tell children that they have little chance of being rappers or movie stars or president.

They might decide that they don't want to do what it takes to do those things, but *someone* manages it, so why suggest that "movie star" is out?

Kids are sometimes very easily discouraged. Why discourage them?

Montagne Montaigne said...

If you wanted a quick way to make your political movement seem small, petty, shrill and pretty much deranged to a group of people (like independents) who are on the sidelines, you could hardly pick a better way than to attack your opponent's speech of encouragement to children.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

btw the speech was NOT COMPULSORY so the first idiotic point is moot

In what way do you mean it's not compulsory? Are you referring to the fact that the school could choose to not show it? True. Are you referring to the fact that if the school was showing it, a parent could get their child excused? True, probably in all cases.

However, for basically every student watching it, their school decided to show it, and their parents did not get them excused. So in what way was it not compulsory for the students watching it?

daubiere said...

"
Kids are sometimes very easily discouraged. Why discourage them?"

the obama strategy seems to be all about discouragement.

Christopher said...

Montagne Montaigne wrote:

"The right is overplaying its hand. Obama uses the rope a dope again and again. Guess the opposition are a bunch of dopes, so it keeps working."

Hey, I remember back when the Right-wing blogs were saying the exact same thing about President Bush playing rope-a-dope with a Left that was overplaying its hand.

That was right before Bush's approval numbers started to take a nosedive.

bagoh20 said...

"Oh, unless you mean that part about how he worked hard to get where he's at. I know, Jesus Christ, so arrogant."

"Yea kids, I never even had a real job before and look at the one I got. Remember, it's not what you know, but who, and what you actually do don't mean squat."

The speach contained:
* 56 iterations of “I”
* 19 iterations of “school”
* 10 iterations of “education”
* 8 iterations of “responsibility”
* 7 iterations of “country”
* 5 iterations of “parents”
* 5 iterations of “teachers”
* 3 iterations of “nation”

bagoh20 said...

Oh yea, and 107 iterations of "K.H. Marx is da bomb"

ricpic said...

More than five minutes is torture to little kids. It's real cruelty to hold them captive for fifteen. I mean it. Zero is one cold bastard.

former law student said...

The speach contained:
* 56 iterations of “I”

My dad used "I" a lot when he told us about his life growing up. My mom, too, now that I think of it. And hoo, boy, my grandparents did it too. I guess Obama could have replaced "I" with "Your President," but that would have seemed more objectionable to me.

I don't even understand why the mother picked pre-dawn for lesson time.

It just occurred to me that getting up before dawn was the Obama equivalent of walking to school through three feet of snow, uphill both ways. Was it that unusual? Kids in Indonesia do get up before dawn one month a year, during Ramadan, to eat the pre-fast meal with their families. But my guess is that 4:30AM was picked because it was marginally cooler than any other time of day.

David said...

Montagne Montaigne said...
If you wanted a quick way to make your political movement seem small, petty, shrill and pretty much deranged to a group of people (like independents) who are on the sidelines, you could hardly pick a better way than to attack your opponent's speech of encouragement to children.

I'm afraid he's right folks.

bagoh20 said...

"My dad used "I" a lot when he told us about his life growing up."

Did he also write two autobiographies before he made 50 without ever taking the time to find a real job?

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ricpic said...

Born in Micronesia, moved to Indonesia -- King Bam.

AJ Lynch said...

This is still a free country where one can choose to be shrill or petty? Or deranged. I can do deranged too:)

ricpic said...

My mother always called me buster just before delivering such a smack...you wouldn't believe it.

bagoh20 said...

I agree, that this whole speech controversy is overblown, but it only works because of who Obama has turned out to be and how the satire of him is finally formulating.

"Remember how the loony left used to jump on Bush for every little thing he did...?"

Why yes, yes we do. Didn't realize how fun it was.

Of course they were jumping all over the country, it's principles, our troops, etc at a time of war with the intent of creating a disaster.

We're just making fun of narcissism, arrogance and political foolishness in the attempt to snap him out of it.

al said...

Smart advisers would have written a dynamic speech BEFOREHAND.



There was a dynamic speech written beforehand. This one is the one written since this event blew up when the "what you can do to help your President" directive from Duncan became public.

Obama could close with a display of his college transcripts and explain how his hard work led him to the White House.

Rialby said...

I could not care less that Obama is giving a speech to American schoolchildren. I've always thought it was a nice thing to have the picture of the current President hanging in the school somewhere along with a few other notables like Washington and Lincoln. Presidents should be able to address children - remember it was the Left that made such a big deal out of W and too many minutes spent in front of schoolchildren as he tried to digest what had just happened to New York City without freaking the kids out.

There is a minor problem and two major problems with Obama has done in this instance.

Minor Problem: Taking a slot of children's time to do this all at the same time rather than making one speech at one school and having it thrown on a DVD and sent to schools so that they could choose to show it where and when they wanted to. Nobody would have been the wiser. You'd be shocked at the stuff kids are forced to watch - "Insignificant Truth", anyone?

It's the Orwellian telescreen "address to the children"(!!!) quality that even brought it to the forefront.

Major Problem 1: Obama is EVERYWHERE all the time. He cannot stand to be off the television for more than a day. He and his administration believe that his rhetoric has the quality of spun gold. They have not caught up to the fact that a) it doesn't and b) the American people cannot be inundated 24x7 with anything including the mellifluousness of Barack Obama.

Major Problem 2: Obama has lost the trust of many of the American people. Obama has historically associated with Leftist radicals and, since he has come into office, has governed far to the Left of the political center. Anything he does now will be examined and, possibly rejected. This is the same thing that happened to Bush. Unfortunately, it's happened to Obama after just 7 months on the job.

The Vigilante said...

Sure ... lots of platitudes about fulfilling responsibility, hard work, and setting personal goals for achievement. FINE! GOOD! Hat tip to Obama for some great points. But then, rat poison is made up of 99.995% "good" grain and only 0.005% CHLOROPHACINONE. A higher percentage of poison makes it obvious that it's not very palatable.

One paragraph reveals that Obama's "pitch" is based on the philosophy of social justice ... even in education. All of the "good stuff" points to HIS purpose for education (notice that nowhere does he talk about making $$$):

"You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to ... PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT. You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to FIGHT POVERTY and HOMELESSNESS, crime and DISCRIMINATION, and MAKE OUR NATION MORE FAIR and more free."

AJ Lynch said...

Al:

I kinda doubt even the original was dynamic.

Of course, my idea of dynamic is very different from that of a socialist wealth re-distributor.

Alex said...

Zachary - I wonder, has Obama done anything you disapprove of?

Patm said...

Come on now, you don't think this is the actual speech he originally meant to give to these kids, do you? Because nothing about this speech lines up with the original "lesson plan and activities package" that was given to the schools. What in this speech could ever line up with "ask yourself what you can do to help the president."

I suspect this is a sloppy rewrite meant to show how innocuous the speech was meant to be and what "paranoid kooks" the people on the right were to "ever be concerned!"

Except this speech does not read like it was written to be delivered to kids. It's too long, and it is frankly too adult (and way too self-referential; I thought Clinton was bad!). This speech is meant to be consumed by adults, and it is meant to make Obama seem boring and harmless.

Boring, it succeeds at.

AJ Lynch said...

Speaking of social justice and homelessness, I was talking with my nephew,a college senior who is a school coordinator for Habitat for Humanity.

He said you don't call them "homeless person". You are told to say "a person without a home" because that de-emphasizes the "homeless".

Then he said they have also been cautioned about the use of white-collar vs. blue collar jobs! Jeez I should have asked him where "green jobs" get ranked on the social justice PC scale.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Here's a picture of Obama giving his speech to the kids. Just kidding! That illustration is of someone else.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
master cylinder said...

bagoh20 your cutting and pasting is cute.
seen that list all over.
you guys won this one. kudos.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O. said...

These are the sorts of things that will probably bore the great many students, not at all really be understood by a great many (especially the younger ages), but will, no doubt, be something that a small number will listen to, will impact, and might even get them motivated to work hard at the beginning of the year, when momentum might just help them carry on.

It's a bit like the gurus on PBS. For those who need to hear it, you know, it might just lead to better decisions.

I do agree with the suggestions this is the result the brouhaha, and as such is a better overall than it would have been.

Which is precisely why the outrage was probably good, and why the actual results would suggest it was overdone. It seems overdone because it was effective.

And I would think that those on the Left would heartily approve of such a discussion on the speech. They repeatedly insisted that rubber-stamping what the President did or said was wrong.

WV: tagingly

"You're it," Obama said, tagingly.

ricpic said...

Fairness before freedom. Remember that kiddies: fairness first; freedom a distant second.

LoafingOaf said...

Obama's speech to the kids was nice, and I bet there are a few kids out there who will take it to heart and it will do them some good.

I don't see what the controversy is.

And I don't see why anyone should care about how Althouse nitpicks it to please InstaPundit and Meade, seeing as how she had been planning to nitpick it for over a week before she even knew what he'd say. Hey, it'll get her a link from InstaPundit, so mission accomplished.

Althouse bends over backwards to defend everything Sarah Palin says or does, and bends over backwards just as much to attack everything Obama says or does. What's the deal with that??

Can any speech be good for such wide range of ages?

Yes, it's possible to write something that a wide range of ages can take something from. The same way as when I watched Babe: Pig in the City this weekend with a 4 year old, we were both able to enjoy it on different levels.

And why is rapping an inappropriate goal but being a fiction writer is admirable? Isn't rap a more easily reachable occupation?

If you're comparing JK Rowling to rapping, yes, rapping is easier. But it is easier to have a career as a writer than as a rapper, because there are so many jobs for writers where you don't even need much talent and there's a clear track you can get on in school that'll land you jobs at newspapers and so forth. Being able to live on rapping skillz takes real talent plus luck.

The point Obama was making was that education will help a young person discover what he/she is good at, whatever that may be.

There are lots of kids in this country who don't have anyone in their lives telling them the right things and being good role models to them. They live in neighborhoods full of crack dealers and other hustlers, and their parents are messed up. If Obama gets through to a few of them it will be be a good thing, no?

There was nothing controversial about Obama's speech. Some people just wanna attack him for anything he does, because they are hyper-partisans. The speech was well-intentioned and will probably do some good for some kids.

Althouse is now even more partisan and unfair than the right-wing Powerline blog, which wrote this about the Obama speech: "This concern became particularly acute after the Department of Education produced its infamous 'how can you help Obama' package. But with that particular package now inoperative, there is no good reason for Obama not to give his speech. Perhaps it will inspire a few students to perform better or accomplish more than they otherwise would have."

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

"bagoh20 your cutting and pasting is cute.
seen that list all over.
you guys won this one. kudos."


I don't really get how facts are "cute", but I should hat tip Michelle Malkin who created it.

Anyway, we didn't win anything - "it's for the children."

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Since our hostess has not seen fit to open up a Labor Day Cafe for us today (and it is nearly 10PM her time), she is forcing me to go OT to present this little tribute to the working man:

Well, I would not be here if I hadn’t been there
and I wouldn’t ‘a been there if I hadn’t just turned
on Wednesday the third in the late afternoon
got to talking with George who works out in the back
and only because he was getting off early
to go see a man at a Baker Street bookstore
with a rare first edition of Steamboats and Cotton,
a book he would never have sought in the first place
had he not been inspired by a fifth grade replacement school teacher in Kirkwood
who was picked just at random
by some man on a school board that couldn’t care less
and she wouldn’t a been working if not for her husband
who moved two months prior
to work in the office of a man he had met while he served in the army
and only because they were in the same barracks,
an accident caused by a poorly-made roster
mixed up on the desk of a sergeant from Denver
who wouldn’t been in but for being in back
of a car he was riding before he enlisted
that hit a cement truck and killed both his buddies
but a back seat flew up there and spared him from dying
and only because of the fault of a workman
who forgot to turn screws on a line up in Detroit
‘cause he hollered at Sam who was hateful that morning
hung over from drinking alone at a tavern
because of a woman who he wished he’d not married
he’d met long ago at a Jewish Bar Mitzvah
for the son of man who had moved there from Jersey
who managed the drug store that sold the prescription
that cured up the sunburn he caught way last summer.


I Would Not Be Here / John Hartford

Jees, I had not realized what an anti-labor song that was.

LoafingOaf said...

Vigilante: "You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to ... PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT. You'll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to FIGHT POVERTY and HOMELESSNESS, crime and DISCRIMINATION, and MAKE OUR NATION MORE FAIR and more free."

I love how you find controversy in that. The only reasons you'd find controversy in that stuff is if (1) You're evil, or (2) you fear that education will lead people to solutions to these problems that don't fit your ideology.

The speech doesn't get into politics about the evironment, poverty, etc. The speech doesn't try and say what the best solutions to problems are. A libertarian would probably say that free market capitalism lifts more people out of poverty than anything else, and that a free market system will lead to more innovations in technology to help solve our environmental problems.

So, what are you objecting to? That someone is just stating that we have problems with the environment and poverty? Stating a problem doesn't dictate the best way of respnding to the problem.

traditionalguy said...

You do have to give President Obama credit for wisely disappearing from adult discussions about Nationalizing Health Care and beginning progressive medical ethics for eldercare re-set by appointed Panel members. He is smooth enough to go directly instead to the kindergarten thru 7th grade children where he can still get some respect. We may have to rename him President Dangerfield.

Mark said...

FWIW, the Gettysburg Address didn't use the first person singular once. It did use the plural form liberally, especially for such a concise speech.

That's the difference between a leader and a narcissist in a nutshell.

ricpic said...

Did anyone notice that our Shit King scrupulously avoided lauding, or even mentioning, any of those dreaded dead white male prominent Americans in his speech to the children? No Washington. No Jefferson. Not even Lincoln. Our history has been scrubbed. To protect the children from contamination no doubt. God Bless Cacabama.

liz said...

I've heard that he is going to speak for 18 minutes which is waaay too long. My youngest is a senior in hs so I'm not too worried but I am not sure he can listen to an 18 minute speech without his mind wandering. He is in the "smart kid" track too so I wonder what the "probably won't graduate" track kids will take away from it. He goes to a pretty diverse high school. Also, if my senior can't sit through it, I wonder what my first grade niece and fourth grade nephew will get out of it. Hmmm...five minutes would be plenty.

LoafingOaf said...

I said: Hey, it'll get her a link from InstaPundit, so mission accomplished.

And within 30 minutes, she got her link from InstaPundit.

If Sarah Palin had given a similar speech, Althouse would've praised it.

William said...

It's theoretically possible that some kid will hear it and be inspired to do his homework. In any event. the minority kids will get to see a minority figure in a position of authority say inane banalities. It's not the speech; it's the semiotics.....Althouse's criticisms are valid, but pointless. Complaints about this speech create a backdraft fire that extinguishes the blaze surrounding Van Jones' appointment.

Synova said...

It's a speech to kids. I don't expect a great History lesson.

I love how you find controversy in that. The only reasons you'd find controversy in that stuff is if (1) You're evil, or (2) you fear that education will lead people to solutions to these problems that don't fit your ideology."

There is controversy in that stuff because it's got context and baggage and an implicit statement of assumed truth. There is no *question* that the environment is a significant problem, no *question* that life is full of discrimination and no *question* that life is unfair and there is no *question* that poverty is a dreadful problem. AND that these things are not FAIR and that these things are the definition of FREE.

There is implicit negativity, not that good things can be done even better, but that the United States is a dreadful place. Rather than the most free, least poverty stricken, most compassionate... it's a place of dreadful problems.

A person who doesn't buy into this is not EVIL. I'd say that the pushers pushing this are EVIL. They push this because it gives them political power.

There are not only the two reasons you state. I have given a third. I'm sure there are more.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I read the speech earlier today and tried to imagine it being read in George W. Bush's voice, to see if anything jumped out at me as being really out of place.

The part about the father abandoning the family did, of course, and the Indonesia stuff, but only because I was hearing W's voice reading it and that wasn't his story.

Other than that I thought it was a bit preachy for W and went on too long, but that was about it.

montana urban legend said...

Why does Da Prof even bother to pretend to identify as a Democrat?

Is there an affiliation for "Just repeating whatever talking points the Right-Wing overseers want to stuff in my Google Reader"?

Seriously. I'd like to see one, single Democratic Party plank from over the last 25 years that Da Prof supports. And it can't be some blatantly compromised, "Third Way" position.

(Crickets chirping).

LoafingOaf said...

I've heard that he is going to speak for 18 minutes which is waaay too long. My youngest is a senior in hs so I'm not too worried but I am not sure he can listen to an 18 minute speech without his mind wandering. He is in the "smart kid" track too....

Hmm, at the private high school I attended, we were subjected to 15 minute speeches quite often in our morning assemblies. *shrug* Some of them were boring, some of them I remember parts of to this day.

montana urban legend said...

Folks, this is serious stuff. We are debating whether or not the president's speech is too long for kindergartners. (Not "kindergarters").

Maybe, just maybe, it's good to expose kids of any age to a sitting president while speaking about something more important than what he has learned from "My Pet Goat". Just so they get an idea of what a president is really supposed to do, and what sort of intelligence level is required for the job.

Although most of the kids won't catch on - at least they'll have memories that could come in handy later.

Jason said...

Oafing Loaf: Palin would not give a speech like this. That's the whole point.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
montana urban legend said...

Are there Americans that keep pet goats? I think George Bush was pretending he was in Kenya when he read that one.

kcom said...

I thought the "Did they rewrite the speech question?" was interesting so I created a poll about it on one of those online services (my first). If you'd like to give your opinion, here's the link:

Was there a rewrite?

montana urban legend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

I wasn't aware that the Gettysburg Address was the standard by which all Presidential addresses were measured.

MUL: IIRC, Althouse said something about no longer being a Democrat a couple of months ago. I could be wrong.

Local anecdote: In my bastion of conservatism and Republicans (60%+ for McCain), the local school reported Friday that 3 out of 1600 students turned in parental requests to not view the speech.

montana urban legend said...

It's good not to dumb things down too much for kids.

I bet more of them will learn to act in a more mature way if they are treated and spoken to in a more mature way.

Seven Machos said...

Hey Montana -- Most kids don't give a shit about the things you care about. They never will, either.

Sucks to be you, dude. I bet it especially sucked to be you in junior high.

Seven Machos said...

What percentage of kids will skip this assembly to get stoned out of their gourds?

I hope a healthy one.

ricpic said...

Ooh, a backdraft fire. Mah legs startin' in ta tingle.



wv - ompolin: Sarah falls off her diet.

montana urban legend said...

"MUL: IIRC, Althouse said something about no longer being a Democrat a couple of months ago. I could be wrong."

After a while, Glen must have figured that the "double-agent" pose just wasn't achieving anything.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

I was hoping for the speech Bill Murray gave to the private school in "Rushmore", which is much shorter than the Gettysburg Address and speaks more directly to today's schoolchildren. It's on youtube ("rushmore bill murray speech")

"You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country.

Rushmore.

No for some of you, it doesn't matter. You were born rich and you're going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: take dead aim on the rich kids. Get them in the crosshairs, and TAKE THEM DOWN.

Just remember: they can buy everything. But the can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it. Thank you."

Rushmore is one of the great movies of the 90's, before Wes Anderson went all twee. And Bill Murray was brilliant in it.

montana urban legend said...

"I bet it especially sucked to be you in junior high."

At first at a new place it wasn't especially fun. But then I figured out what made the little retards tick.

But I bet that must have been the high point of your life. Right about when the delinquents start standing out, and soon start being thrown out. What a wake-up call that process must have been for you.

newscaper said...

What I disliked the most about the original teacher guidelines was the suggestion that teachers keep the students products (how I can help the president pledges, etc) for later "accountability."

It's not enough that the teacher steers the kiddies in a one-sided direction, and that little Jan and Johnny mouth the PC platitudes back to her ... now she can hold them 'accountable' and harass them about what they have actually been doing to keep their PC promises.

Fuck that.

I'm totally in the camp that says this is a post-backlash watered down version.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

I thought this speech was nice. I could imagine it being inspiring to young people, and it is the first beginning of a school year during his presidency. Also, he might be idolized by young people, particularly young minority students or poor kids, and they might look to him as the ultimate example of what they could become. It's much better for them to look up to him rather than look up to people in hip hop, for instance. The speech will probably have a very positive effect on some kids, maybe change some kids lives, and it will probably also have no effect at all on a large number of kids.

I certainly don't think there's any sane way a person could argue that this speech constitutes child abuse.

Seven Machos said...

Ernst -- The guy who does movie review for National Review posited that had Wes Anderson made all his movies in reverse order, people would be talking about how brilliant these more recent ones are and calling the older ones worse.

I love the first three and find that hard to believe, but it's an interesting thought experiment.

Lem said...

My memories of gatherings at the Gym to listen to someone speak or see a film about WWII on patriotic occasions is that it was an opportunity for some of us to be bullied.

ricpic said...

My dad had an Eisenhower jacket. And I was very impressed with Ike's dome. Also, being a tiny kid at the time I thought he was the president like forever. Those are my Ike membrees.

Seven Machos said...

So it's cool to dis hip hop now? Now that Obama is president?

LoafingOaf said...

Oafing Loaf: Palin would not give a speech like this. That's the whole point.

Jason, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush spoke to kids in schools. Reagan actually got into politics when he did so. And, infamously, Dan Quayle went to a school and confused everyone on how to spell "potato".

Sorry, I don't see what's wrong with Obama's speech. It harms no one and might do some good for some kids. I particularly liked the part where he says how he was often lonely and didn't fit in. That's how a lot of kids feel. Obama means well with the speech and I don't get why he's being attacked for it.

Some of you don't understand that a lot of kids need to hear the things he's saying in this speech, because they come from troubled backrounds where they rarely hear the right things. It may be boring to you, but he's saying things that could help give some kids some inspiration.

BJM said...

Montagne, you're dead wrong about Independents. According to the notorious winger rag The LA Times:

New surveys show steep declines in Obama's approval ratings among whites -- including Democrats and independents -- who were crucial elements of the diverse coalition that helped elect the country's first black president.

Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women -- all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year's midterm elections"


Independents, such as myself, tend question everything and thus far we don't like the answers from either party.

Seven Machos said...

Some of you don't understand that a lot of kids need to hear the things he's saying in this speech, because they come from troubled backrounds where they rarely hear the right things.

If poor kids could only have more hackneyed cliches about working really hard in their lives, the grinding cycle of poverty would surely be broken.

Crimso said...

"They live in neighborhoods full of crack dealers and other hustlers, and their parents are messed up."

Sounds like these communities need to be organized.

"Seriously. I'd like to see one, single Democratic Party plank from over the last 25 years that Da Prof supports. And it can't be some blatantly compromised, "Third Way" position.

(Crickets chirping)."

Terribly, terribly clever of you to ask for something, and then with you're "crickets chirping" cuteness imply you didn't get a response, all in the same comment.

"I wasn't aware that the Gettysburg Address was the standard by which all Presidential addresses were measured."

I think that it arguably is. I'm no expert, but I think it is widely regarded now as one of the greatest speeches of the English language, not just Presidential addresses. Could be wrong though.

MayBee said...

Historic!

I could imagine it being inspiring to young people, and it is the first beginning of a school year during his presidency. Also, he might be idolized by young people, particularly young minority students or poor kids, and they might look to him as the ultimate example of what they could become.

Then by all means, those are the schools that should show this speech. Certainly kids who hear this from their parents everyday and are succeeding quite nicely, thank you, don't need this dose of inspiration.

But I will admit the assumption that he is inspiring (the assumption by him and his staff and the Department of Education, I mean) is just...icky. He thinks he can inspire the whole muslim world, and US school children, and Berlin.

His story is inspiring, but also lucky, with a touch of ruthless thrown in. He's not the man we all want to be, or should be.

montana urban legend said...

"Terribly, terribly clever of you to ask for something, and then with you're "crickets chirping" cuteness imply you didn't get a response, all in the same comment."

Riiiigght. Like a response to that comment would have ever been forthcoming.

Nice high-def avatar, Crimso.

cf said...

Point number 1--
Synova said: "There is controversy in that stuff because...There is implicit negativity, not that good things can be done even better, but that the United States is a dreadful place. Rather than the most free, least poverty stricken, most compassionate... it's a place of dreadful problems."

Exactly right.

Point number two--
Thank God there was a hullabaloo, because without it, who knows how thick with "adore me" and activist propaganda the original was drafted to be. Boring is soooo much better.

Point number three--
A missed opportunity: The nation badly needs him to lecture the boys about pulling up their damn pants!

Seven Machos said...

I wasn't aware that the Gettysburg Address was the standard by which all Presidential addresses were measured.

Yeah. What an absurd comment. I'm sure you weren't aware that the best presidential speech ever given is not the standard by which the quality of presidential speeches is measured. Because that makes no sense to you. Naturally.

Seven Machos said...

It's President Anthony Robbins.

ricpic said...

Abe Lincoln: With malice toward none, with charity for all...

Barry Obama: I won!

Randy said...

I agree that the Gettysburg Address probably the greatest speech ever given by a President. I disagree that it is the standard by which to judge the average speech by any President, including Lincoln himself.

BJM said...

ricpic @9:45

Ha! My pre-smack name was "Missy" and my brother's was "Buster".

Theo @9:05 Bill Clinton's opening night address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention may have been final political stem winder of the century.

MayBee said...

What happened to...learn to do well that what you are passionate about?
Science, math, music, growing, cooking, writing...do your best and don't limit your opportunities at an early age by not taking all aspects of your education and life seriously.

BJM said...

Maybee @ 11:27 ...and Berlin.

LOL!

Jason said...

Loaf,

You didn't grasp my meaning. The fact that Bush I and Reagan made school appearances has exactly zero to do with my assertion that Palin would not make a speech like Obama's.

Obama's speech is an editorial embarrassment. A loose, baggy, elephantine mess of verboseness, humorlessness and self-indulgence, developed without regard for the audience. An embarrassment of self-reference.

Palin's not that full of herself.

Dave said...

Heck, I don't care about the speech. I thought it should be about twice as long. The teachers could have a pool on which kids pass out first.

I just like saying mean, spiteful things about Obama to watch the whiners who ragged on Bush get their panties all in a bunch when Obama gets similar treatment.

I can't decide if Obama is really Bush III or Carter II.

Dave said...

Oh. And a "stemwinder" was not a boring speech, but a rousing one. "A real stemwinder" was a wonder to behold.

Sheesh. find an online dictionary.

This speech is an anesthetic, perhaps, but hardly a stemwinder.

(I tend to read it as demonstrating once more that neither Obama nor his speech writers have any understanding whatsoever of Middle America or average Americans.)

Lem said...

I see this speech to the kids as Obama reverting back to form.

Whenever he has been in trouble Obama makes the discussion (hits back) about himself.

The idea simply being another take of a Clintonian triangulation - the kids, health care and himself.

If he can be perceived to be under attack for wanting to talk to kids then there is a chance that the attacks on his health care are just as "fishi".

I think Obama was counting on the kids address controversy.

LoafingOaf said...

Jason: You didn't grasp my meaning. The fact that Bush I and Reagan made school appearances has exactly zero to do with my assertion that Palin would not make a speech like Obama's.

Obama's speech is an editorial embarrassment. A loose, baggy, elephantine mess of verboseness, humorlessness and self-indulgence, developed without regard for the audience. An embarrassment of self-reference.

Palin's not that full of herself.

With respect to this "self-reference" meme, I already read on right-wing web sites such as Hot Air that this was the attack they planned to push, since they could find no other angle to hit Obama on over it. I guess you got your talking points.

As far as Sarah Palin, this is the woman who spent 60 minutes on the Greta Van Susteran show being interviewed from her kitchen to show us how she makes moose chili and sausages for her family on a daily basis. Oops, except Levi told us the truth about that. Levi states in Vanity Fair that Sarah Palin does not actually cook much at all for her family.

Palin is a phoney.

And Palin can't keep her own kids off oxy contin, btw.

Seven Machos said...

Let's all insult Sarah Palin. Because she's obviously relevant here.

I wager that leftist tools like Loaf will still be piling on Palin in 2026.

Takers?

jayemarr said...

I think it would have been a lot better if he'd let the teachers actually teach the students instead of wasting tax money blathering at our children. But I suppose the adults are getting tired of it by now. Maybe next month he will have a speech prepared for my cat.

Lem said...

As far as Sarah Palin, this is the woman who spent 60 minutes on the Greta Van Susteran show being interviewed from her kitchen to show us how she makes moose chili and sausages for her family on a daily basis. Oops, except Levi told us the truth about that. Levi states in Vanity Fair that Sarah Palin does not actually cook much at all for her family.

Palin is a phoney
.

To that NYT Gail Collins says..

Given the fact that Johnston is a 19-year-old high school dropout whose mother was arrested last year on six felony drug counts, it is conceivable that he is not the perfect arbiter of normal families. But even if he were an Eagle Scout with a scholarship to Harvard, can you imagine anything worse than discovering your daughter’s teenage ex-boyfriend has been given a national platform to discuss his impressions of her mom’s parenting skills?

LoafingOaf said...

Seven, I'm not a left-winger. It's not just left-wingers who realized Sarah Palin was a joke of a VP candidate. But let's see more Palin infomercials from her kitchen on Fox News, even though Levi says she hardly ever cooked for her family.

Jason said...

Loaf:

Newsflash: An interview with Greta Van Susteren != a scripted speech, Einstein. Obama's reach far exceeds his grasp.

No, dipweed, I don't get 'talking points' from anywhere. Just because you do doesn't mean I don't. You libtards are always projecting your more embarrassing tactics onto others.

I wrote what I wrote because it's bloody obvious from the text it's exceedingly self-referential.

But that's predictable, because Obama is a preening narcissist.

Dark Eden said...

>>>Chris Althouse Cohen said: I certainly don't think there's any sane way a person could argue that this speech constitutes child abuse. <<<

Dear Non Liberal,

You have committed the grievous sin of disagreeing with a Liberal, possibly the worst thing any human could do.

I would like to inform you that expressing opinions I disagree with makes you:

[.] Racist
[.] Sexist
[.] Homophobic
[X] Insane
[.] a Nazi
[.] Islamophobic
[.] Anti-Semitic (unless Israel bashing or Muslims were involved, that's fine)
[.] a Redneck
[.] a Tea Bagger

You can make amends by begging Dear Leader Obama for forgiveness and vowing to never think for yourself again.

Signed,

An Insufferable Liberal Douche

Jason said...

And it's not just right-wingers who are discovering that Obama was a joke of a presidential candidate.

bagoh20 said...

"His story is inspiring, but also lucky, with a touch of ruthless thrown in. He's not the man we all want to be, or should be."

I agree, except that I don't even get the inspiring part. I think his personal story is very unimpressive. Middle class upbringing in a white family. His life is mostly a story of being treated as the golden child because of his mixed race. He was hand held through his academic and political careers in order to fulfill the narrative that people in those institutions wanted to create. Black kid does good. Nothing wrong, but nothing impressive either. No military heroism, no business success, no jobs created, no overcoming severe adversity except in the abstract. Not even an attempt to take risks for big things. No demonstration of leadership. He made his money through writing 2 autobiographies. I suspect that he didn't do that well in school since he is suppressing the records.

I would not tell my child his story and say: "Now that's how I want you make it. Imagine a white kid trying that path.

I'm not saying he's evil, just not impressive. He really has done nothing, except get elected and I think he never would have won a single race if he was white. Not to mention his books would have no story leaving him broke. His is an affirmative action life.

I guess to some this sounds like a racist rant, but these are just facts. Without race, there is no Obama. IMHO.

Seven Machos said...

Loaf -- Jesus, dude. You are such an embarrassment. Of course you are a leftist. When all of your positions are left wing, you are a leftist. Think this through.

Second, it's not shocking that this dude isn't happy and is dishing dirt. Nor is it surprising that the governor of Alaska rarely cooked for her family.

Do you think Obama spends a lot of time playing basketball? That politicians in general spend a lot of time walking through fields touching the grain and all that shit -- the way they do in ads?

You are so wrong and prejudiced against politicians you don't like that it's boring, dude.

Cheryl said...

Gah! You didn't even mention the horrible grammar in the written speech, which just kills me! I'm a teacher who has to teach kids NOT to make the grammatical errors with which the text is rife.

I don't like the fact that he tells kids it's their responsibility to their country to do well in school. (The intimation is there that they also need to go on to college.) Because it isn't, even if that weren't a hell of a burden to place on a kindergartner. Some kids just aren't cut out for it. God forbid they're cut out to be a basketball player, or a musician, or to get educated through an alternate route. Also? Kids weren't sitting in compulsory public education 250 years ago before the American Revolution. Come on.

LoafingOaf said...

Given the fact that Johnston is a 19-year-old high school dropout whose mother was arrested last year on six felony drug counts, it is conceivable that he is not the perfect arbiter of normal families. But even if he were an Eagle Scout with a scholarship to Harvard, can you imagine anything worse than discovering your daughter’s teenage ex-boyfriend has been given a national platform to discuss his impressions of her mom’s parenting skills?

If you're gonna talk about LEvi's mom's felony drug arrest, why can we not discuss all the drug problems in Palin's immediate family?

I don't think people should be hit with felony charges for drug problems. Sometimes people get hit with felonies, sometimes they get sent to Iraq like Palin's son to avoid that.

Sometimes they become presidents, such as Bush and Obama, both of whom did hard drugs. Neither of whom would've become president had they gotten hit with drug felonies, as they very well might have been. Obama admits in this very speech to the kids that he was lucky to avoid that downfall, and he's sending the message to the kids that they should avoid situations that might lead them to the downfall he narrowly escaped.

I think that Levi is telling the truth about Sarah Palin. Everything he's said about her fits. You don't have to agree. I'm just relieved she's not a heartbeat away from being Commander in Chief.

AllenS said...

The children are now dumber.

Seven Machos said...

Your obsession with a failed vice presidential candidate is unhealthy and borders on psycho.

miller said...

the original point is of course getting lost.

Why the H*** is a president giving a speech to every single kid in school? Is he the national Father now?

Seven Machos said...

No, no. This is about Sarah Palin. It all is. How many times she cooked dinner and if she was cool enough for the dude who was fucking her daughter.

F said...

Montana Urban Legend: Having read all your comments carefully I have to say I particularly admire the judgment you showed in yours of 11:09. Keep that up!

former law student said...

Palin would not make a speech like Obama's.

true. I find it difficult to picture Obama rambling on as much as Palin did in her farewell speech:

I promsed that we'd lead the charge to forward funding education, and hold schools accountable, and improve opportunities for special needs students and elevate vo-tech training and we paid down pension debt.

I promised that we would manage our fish and wildlife for abundance, and that we would defend the constitution, and we have, though outside special interest groups they still just don't get it on this one. Let me tell you, Alaskans really need to stick together on this with new leadership in this area especially, encouraging new leadership... got to stiffen your spine to do what's right for Alaska when the pressure mounts, because you're going to see anti-hunting, anti-second amendment circuses from Hollywood and here's how they do it.

They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets, they use Alaska as a fundraising tool for their anti-second amendment causes. Stand strong, and remind them patriots will protect our guaranteed, individual right to bear arms, and by the way, Hollywood needs to know, we eat, therefore we hunt.


"We eat, therefore we hunt" -- it's practically Cartesian.

jr565 said...

If Obama wanted to reach more kids he should have cribbed a few more lines from Bob the Builder.
In fact he could use the exact lines from the song:
Time to get busy such a lot to do
Building and fixing till it's good as new
Bob & The gang Make A reall good sound
Working all day till the sun goes down (this of course is referring to his various stimulus packages.

If that's too played out how about some Little Engine That Could. Or how about have the speech set to music and have all the czars and Timmy Geitner and co. do a conga like the do in the video.
I'm just giving Obama some ideas here.


Heres' a good starting point Axelrod. Just change the names of the songs to match the administration:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IWKhYQarJ

AllenS said...

Missing, was what Obama learned in church.

LoafingOaf said...

Seven: You seem to think that anyone who soured on the failed presidency of George W. Bush and didn't buy into Sarah Palin is a "left-winger". To be a left-winger, one has to support left-wing positions more often than not, which I don't. Sure, I might find some common ground with some lefties. For example, I agreed with lefty Glenn Greenwald's assessment of Portugal's decriminalization of drugs and how it hasn't led to the negative results that right-wingers claimed it would. But, hey, the Cato Institute agrees with me on that. Are they left wing?

Nor is it surprising that the governor of Alaska rarely cooked for her family.

She's the one who went on Fox News with Greta and presented herself as someone who cooks meals from scratch for her family every day.

BTW, I notice that Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has been demonized and ostracized by you right-wingers. Why's that? Because he doesn't toe the line of the silly right-wing bloggers? If you got your head out of your ass, you'd realize that the right-wing blogosphere is fucking joke.

Seven Machos said...

Loaf -- Get ahold of yourself. I'm not a right winger. Just as you are not a left winger.

And, yeah, all of America has been waiting with baited breath for the results of Portugal's -- Portugal's! -- legislative changes.

Next up: what impact has Macedonian soybean policy had on the small farmers in rural areas?

jr565 said...

BTW, I notice that Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has been demonized and ostracized by you right-wingers. Why's that? Because he doesn't toe the line of the silly right-wing bloggers? If you got your head out of your ass, you'd realize that the right-wing blogosphere is fucking joke

I don't know who's "demonizing" Charles Johnson, but in fact he's not exactly a right winger. He shared support of the right wing because he was one of the few people on the left who was down with the war on terror. Now his latest bugaboo is to go after all the intelligent designers noones ever heard of and demagog anyone who doesn't toe the line on evolution.

And are you seriously suggesting that you are a conservative Loafing Oaf?

bagoh20 said...

Charles Johnson simply lost it. I was a long-time reader until he started just erasing comments and deleting users just because people disagreed with him. In fact, I simply posted a comment asking him why he was doing it and he deleted me. He's bumped his head or something.

What is this stuff with Palin? You're just admitting Obamas weakness by using her as some kind of comparison. Remember two things: Obama won and so did Biden. So suck it up America - Biden don't cook from scratch either.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

"Christopher": Seriously. What you're referring to as "subtext" is... well... just plain text. And I got it and understood it. That doesn't mean that it makes sense.


LOL. Now that makes sense! Try again, "Christopher." Don't think I don't know who you really are.

Althouse has been bullshitting her readers and commenters, gently and playfully, for over a year now...and that makes perfect sense to me. I call it out when I see it, and you wouldn't have told me to "step up" my "game" (in a sense trying to marginalize me) if what I had said was such nonsense.

Last week, she was all for the speech, but when she got 200+ crazy comments, she flipped the script. Everyone knows this speech "controversy" is a non-story...what's fascinating to me is how Althouse can pose as a wingnut and get everyone commenting. She's good, but I'm not buying it.

Seven Machos said...

Sure you buy it, Zach. Posing is your life. It's all you know.

Slow Joe said...

Obama gets credit from me if this is the total of his speech. We'll know for sure tomorrow.

I feared he wouldn't be able to leave politics out of it, but aside from a few minor things, I'm fine with this. It will probably be good for a black kid to hear from a black president. Our society has problems that speeches can fix, so ... no problem. It's a shame Obama doesn't devote significant time to discussing the deficit... that's the most central aspect of Obama's policies and it's also perhaps the main way Obama will affect these kids' lives.

Charles Johnson used to be a great blogger who presented evidence for arguments that were serious and persuasive.

Now, every single damn thing on his blog is devoted to attacking the 'right wing'. Most posts have insults for conservatives that are free of logic or thought. no one is allowed to argue against Charles's positions, and Obama's administration is never questioned. It's kinda disturbing. Charles was accusing Obama of all kinds of things a year ago, and he was attacking truthers that he now touts as reliable sources. His consistent and unthoughtful aggression at anyone questioning Obama is just plain weird, and his blog is boring and pointless now.

Seven Machos said...

This Charles Johnson fellow sounds a lot like Andrew Sullivan. Any relation?

Chip Ahoy said...

I find it difficult to picture Obama rambling on as much as Palin did in her farewell speech:


Ha ha ha ha ha. You do? Oh my, you haven't been paying attention, have you?

LoafingOaf said...

And, yeah, all of America has been waiting with baited breath for the results of Portugal's -- Portugal's! -- legislative changes.

Actually, it's pretty fucking important for people to pay attention to the results of Portugal's decriminalization experiment, which they're many years into now. I guess you prefer the USA's approach of just putting more and more citizens into cages and hitting them with felonies?

Slow Joe said...

Loafing Oaf,

You accuse Sarah Palin's son, the one serving in Iraq, who has never run for office or done anything to you aside from swear to defend our constitution at personal peril, of having a felony that he got out of by joining them military.

It is against the law to tell a kid to join the military in lieu of prosecution. What you've said was a lie, and it was a particularly disgusting lie. I don't really like Palin as a leader, but the attacks on her family by people like you, usually dishonest and always uncalled for, are the reason Sarah is going to be able to rally funds and voters in close house elections. You should just leave her family alone. Her son is doing a great thing by serving in our military... he hasn't really committed any crimes. You made that up because there's something wrong with you.

As to your promise that the right wing blogosphere is a joke, I've seen most of the right wing blogs I read grow dramatically in readership over the past 6 months, and I've seen left blog readership dwindle. I think you're making that up too.

Seven Machos said...

This Obama speech must be going over like gangbusters if Obama's supporters want to talk about Sarah Palin, Portuguese drug policy, and a website belonging to some dude named Charles Johnson.

BJM said...

ZPS @1:08

but I'm not buying it.

You comment; therefore you buy it.

daniel said...

I don't get this notion of: don't criticize this, don't criticize that, it's distracting or we'll look bad.
If you have an opinion on something you should give it. Sometimes I will agree and sometimes I won't. So what?
I respect honesty and reason. I don't need to have my mind focused by my betters on some pet issue, however important it is. I don't want to read only things I already agree with. I want to read your comments and decide for myself.
So criticize away, and we will respect your frankness.
Don't listen to those who tell you to stop distracting, or to refrain from writing what you think because someone might not like it.

Yes this speech has little significance in the big picture. Yes the speech as it now appears seems to be boring to at least 95 percent of kids, and not controversial. Yes GHW Bush did something very similar.

But yes it is presumptuous to assume that this will be a better use of school time than what is provided by regular activities or even by recess.

And are we sure that if there were no unfavorable publicity, the address would not have been larded with propaganda?

Almost Ali said...

Obama's Kittysburg address sounds a tad targeted to me, like something his wife would deliver to a class on the south side of Chicago. It's not even subliminal, but right out there with rap and Michael Jordan - which is probably where it belongs, actually.

But what about the cheerleaders; how hard did Paris Hilton work?

As for J.K. Rowling, I believe she's British. Why not Joyce Carol Oates? Of course, Ms. Oates didn't write Harry Potter, or "To Kill a Mocking Bird" for that matter. But there's always Toni Morrison.

I'd also like to interrogate Mr Obama on the subject of literary rejections, too. Rowling's twelve seems a gross under count. More to the point, most writers never get published at all - good, bad, or indifferent. Under another name, the New Yorker wouldn't give Ms Rowling the time of day, not now, not then. (Not to imply the New Yorker is the arbiter of anything, but more an aspiration of Sidwell's Friends)

But what really bugs me about Obama's Kittysburg Address is the absence of Affirmative Action. Which now occupies the seat of power.

Beth said...

Charles Johnson used to be a great blogger who presented evidence for arguments that were serious and persuasive.

Translation: Charles Johnson used to agree with conservatives whose positions in which he now finds flaws. He must be being paid - by that Soros guy, no doubt!

LoafingOaf said...

And are you seriously suggesting that you are a conservative Loafing Oaf?

No, I'm not a conservative. But I'm also not a left-winger. There are other places on the spectrum. I realize this is news to the silly political blogosphere (left and right). I thik the political blogosphere (left and right) is just two packs of lying propagandists and the whole promise of the blogosphere has been destroyed by such scummy people dominating it. Scum like Michelle Malkin and Jane Hamsher. Little Green Footballs, however, stands out as an independent-thinking blog managing to swim within the mostly scummy blogosphere.

I take it from your post that you got angry at Charles Johnson because he was calling the "intelligent design" crowd what they are: Morons and liars. Well that's what they are. Truth hurts?

Charles Johnson is disgusted by the "intelligent design" crowd for similar reasons as he dislikes the Islamic fundamnetalists. He is consistant.

Seven Machos said...

I noticed the part about J.K. Rowling and her 12 rejections as well. Anyone who has ever written professionally knows that number to be laughably low.

Beth -- I really expected you to have something better to say than merely to add to this meaningless crap about Charles Johnson. I mean, come on. Why take the short bus?

Penny said...

Over and over again, the President stresses the direct connection between taking personal responsibility, doing well in school and doing well as a country.

As adults, we all know the trick to getting your message across is to state it, state it again, and once more for good measure.

He does this, and he does it well, using the same message, but with different examples. Frankly, I am not sure why a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Independent would have a problem with the President's core message?

Seven Machos said...

Penny -- The issue is federalist. It's simply not the president's place to do this. I make this argument constitutionally. When you take away the pomp and circumstance, what you have is a government official somewhat forcibly taking time from the life of an American citizen.

I could just as easily make this argument practically. We're facing serious problems in this country. You said so yourself, Obama. So, get your shit together and solve them. Don't go giving speeches to eight year olds about how they need to work harder. It's silly.

BJM said...

Dave @ 11:53

You might also look up tongue-in-cheek.

Almost Ali said...

Charles Johnson doesn't like opposing views. In addition, he seems to exhibit certain pathologies, which are triggered by words like "birther" (re people who question Obama's birthplace).

Yet, his resistance to the subject appears contradictory, since he keeps bringing it up, promoting and perpetuating what he believes, or claims to believe, is a myth.

Beth said...

Seven, why? What's wrong with LGF? I used to not read it because I made the mistake of reading the comments first - and it was full of loons, real Free Republic types. But I've gone back over the past year or two occasionally, because it has a big readership and that made me curious. I don't bother reading the comments after my earlier experiences with those, but Johnson's posts are good - even when I disagree with him, I find him reasonable and smart. Still, his posts generate hundreds of comments, over a 1000 on some. So someone's reading him. As for accusations that he's deleting all the comments that disagree with him, anyone can tell that's a lie simply by actually clicking on a comment thread and finding disagreement therein.

Seven Machos said...

Beth -- What I meant was: how come you are joining in this asinine choir (I am a major participant). I was hoping you'd comment on the subject of the original post, or just say something interesting.

Beth said...

Seven, please witness Almost Ali's remark as evidence of Johnson's good blogging. Yes, he ridicules the birthers - as anyone with a brain should.

And he's right about the Obama speech. Althouse went around the bend on this - child abuse? Jesus Christ. I think ZPS may be right - she's a master performance artist, and has to have a vortex going or she'll stop breathing or something. The past couple of days on this blog have been a trainwreck.

sauer38h said...

The President of the US as second-rate cheerleader. Hmmmm. Not Good.

At least it's nice to know that he isn't so busy that he can't waste time and effort on this dross.

Beth said...

Oh, well, I take it as a compliment, then. I'm just over, way over, this topic. I took the Johnson thread as an interesting side story - he's really irritated some folks who apparently used to like him.

I wish I could add something interesting, but I'm about to drift off to sleep. I'll wish you sweet dreams instead, and try to be more creative the next time I see you pop up in a discussion.

WV: "bedrint" - I think "rint" is some sort of Unix term: I'm being programmed to go to bed.

Seven Machos said...

I have something to say, actually, about birthers, and then I'll go to bed.

Here's what I have to say: you birthers need to shut the fuck up. I come at this from an interesting angle. I gave out visas. I had to learn the law in this area. The applicable law is real, real simple. If your biological mother is an American, you're an American. That's it. End of story.

Now, follow me here. Obama's mother is an American. She's his biological mother. Can you connect the dots?

The existence of non-existence of a birth certificate doesn't matter, just like you'd still be married if you didn't have an original marriage license, and you'd still be dead if you didn't have a death certificate.

Now, I don't know much about Charles Johnson, or where he comes down on this issue. But it's real easy. And if any of you reading this are making some big deal out of Obama's citizenship, just stop. You are being really stupid.

Almost Ali said...

RE: "...Yes, he ridicules the birthers - as anyone with a brain should. - Beth

On the subject of birthers, Charles Johnson is not judge and jury. My contention is that he protests too much. And now 25% of those questioned in a recent poll doubt Obama's Hawaiian birthplace, thanks in part to Mr Johnson.

In other words, if you want to meet a birther, meet Charles Johnson.

Seven Machos said...

Ali -- It doesn't matter where Obama was born. He could have been born on the moon. If his mother is an American, he's an American.

Seven Machos said...

Furthermore, though it has never been litigated, the Clause in the Constitution that addresses this issue clearly means that the president needs to be an American from birth. You need not be born in the United States to be president.

Several of our presidents were not born in a country called the United States.

Almost Ali said...

Seven - The only point I wish to make on the subject is that Charles Johnson's attitude has turned people "on" regarding the very question. In other words, he's made the birther's argument plausible - as reflected in recent polls.

Ironic, too, because the question itself is moot, given the grab-bag doctrine of greater good.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...
"Christopher": Seriously. What you're referring to as "subtext" is... well... just plain text. And I got it and understood it. That doesn't mean that it makes sense.


LOL. Now that makes sense! Try again, "Christopher." Don't think I don't know who you really are.




Well if you're thinking that's me, it isn't. Just thought I should make that clear if it wasn't already.

Slow Joe said...

No Beth, when I say Charles Johnson used to present arguments about serious topics, I mean it.

Nothing about bias. He used to show .gifs comparing document formats to prove CBS presented a forgery meant to swing a presidential election. Now he calls the entire right wing blogosphere, whatever that is, hysterical, for discussing the various problems with Obama's administration.

You are right that Charles has absolutely nothing on his blog critical of Obama's administration. It's 100% about bashing people criticizing it, but that in and of itself isn't a big deal. It's that it's just mindless bashing... insults that are just insults, that makes the blog so bland and boring.

Last time I mentioned this decline, you said I 'must be' a birther. for no reason... just that you're insane. Now, I must be saying Soros paid Charles off. Now, the change is stunning and astroturfing is a realistic explanation, but all I know is that Charles used to be serious and less one dimensional.

I can already tell you that more than half of his posts tomorrow will bash 'conservatives' or 'right' a priori, and zero of his posts tomorrow will be critical of any aspect of Obama's administration.

That is indeed a huge shift from the blog before the election, whether you noticed or not. The way you leap to bizarre insults and ridiculous assumptions about anyone critical of Charles, when so many share this view, says you've been spending too much time emulating Charles.

Believe it or not, but this isn't about whether I am a good guy or a bad guy.

Christopher said...

Zachary,

I wasn't trying to marginalize you. Neither you nor what you said are important enough to marginalize.

Let me rephrase what I said earlier:

Bloggers write a lot about shit that nobody actually cares about. That's what they do. Bitching about that fact in a blog comment makes you look like a dufus who doesn't understand how to play internets.

I was just trying to explain the rules of the game. Maybe this dude will have better luck.

PS: I assure you that I am not whoever you think you know who I am.

PPS: Then again, if I was that guy, I'd say the same thing, wouldn't I... Hmmmmm...

Slow Joe said...

Seven Machos, I agree with your analysis that Obama's american because his mom is. It would be unlikely in the extreme that Obama would ever be not eligible no matter what. Natural born citizen is a stupid thing to include in eligibility, not only because it's not relevant, but also because it's such an easily skewed definition. While our teachers have told us for hundreds of years that it meant born in the USA, the idea of a court not ruling more expansively has always been kinda unrealistic.

but that's not really the end of the discussion. If Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, then he's passed off a fraud against our democracy that is extreme and disgusting and he should be impeached for it. Of course, the democrats aren't stupid, and checked this out well in advance. hillary and Mccain and a thousand others have checked. People working for Hawaii have checked. A story like that would get out, and the democrats aren't suicidal.

At the end of the day, it's just that Obama noted he had this document in a memoir, and we the people want to violate his privacy and see it. We want to know more about this guy that has a lot of fucking idiots and traitors for friends, who has hidden so much of his life, and just comes across as a really dishonest person. I don't just want to see his birth certificate, I want to see every document Obama doesn't want me to see. I'm not paranoid enough to think Obama isn't eligible, and that's not really relevant. Let's see these school records, and med records, and even records that predate Obama knowing how to talk. It's unfortunate that Obama doesn't recognize that he's not a private citizen, but then again, I do think he clearly has a lot to hide. This is probably just a red herring on his part to keep the angry folk from looking into the more obvious problems, just as Obama's love affair with monsters, cocaine dealers, and bribery con artists.

Anyway, the issue isn't closed just because Obama's still eligible no matter what his birth certificate says (assuming the mom is American).

Slow Joe said...

That's not a legal argument, of course. I only add that because people on both sides like to get into legal pedantics about a very serious interest the people have in knowing a lot about their presidents... that argument is extralegal.

I wanted to see John Kerry's original DD-214 (the one where he didn't get an honorable discharge?) I wanted to see whatever memos Bush wrote when he ran the Rangers ball team. I want to know the names and criminal records of all the losers who sold cocaine and other drugs to Obama.

I know the court can and should rule the birther thing moot, and I know Obama's eligible, and most folks asking for his certificate know he's be declared eligible no matter what. It's just a normal healthy thing for citizens to want to know a lot about their presidents. I may like this one less than the last one, but the interest level is actually about the same.

Sorry for going way too long in discussing this.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Cut from the first draft:

"I went to a really sweet private school in Hawaii, then another school in Indonesia, an even cooler place. You get to stay in your shitty inner-city school because if I allow school choice the NEA members won't ever vote for me again.

It worked out okay for me, and that's what really matters. I got into Harvard.

Anyhow, enough about me. Now let's do a fun exercise where you write me a letter and tell me what you think about me."

AJ Weberman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LarsPorsena said...

@Weberman: VILE..must be a KOS provocateur.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barlycorn, John said...

"Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. 'The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC,' Ford began. 'As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event.'"

Hee hee. When GHWB did it, Congress investigated. The Washington Post castigated.

Barlycorn, John said...

OOPS, the above quote comes from Bryan York at the Washington Examiner

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/When-Bush-spoke-to-students-Democrats-investigated-held-hearings-57694347.html

Shanna said...

On the speech itself, lame. Often these types of things are either to the Straight A types or the couldn't care less types...I remember a speech in high school from Miss America about how her thing was high school to work programs, which as a senior with college already settled, was pretty much less than useless.

No, it's the Big Jesus one-size-fits-all approach. The same sermon goes out to everyone in the pews, from octogenarians down to even little kids who have no idea where Bethlehem is, and surely could not find it on a map.

Many, many churches have special children's church and other Sunday school geared by age group.

Pogo said...

He might have said a lot of things.

He might have quoted A. A. Milne ("To the uneducated an A is just three sticks") and been done with it.

But whatever potentially controversial nails that stuck up sure got pounded flat, didn't they?

It tells me one thing: Obama lacks courage. Always the easy out for him.

Aaron said...

yeah, i was actually with obama on the basic idea--a beginning of the year pep talk to children--but 15 minutes seems a little long to say some really banal stuff. I think on balance its still a good idea, but it needs alot of editing and a little lyricism.

DLA said...

I just read the speech that Prez Zero is going to give to k - 12 students today and I've got to wonder, why? There is nothing there - zero - what does he hope to achieve - either for himself or for children ages 5 through 18? Is a single non-studying, non-motivated child going to all of a sudden, straighten up and fly right after hearing this piece of nothing? Surely even someone as in love with himself as the Prez is, realizes how totally lame the speech is? So why do it? Why incur the expense (and it is considerable) to do it? Why do the "study aids" have little or nothing to do with the speech? Were they written (and distributed) before the speech was written? Why was the announcement (with accompanying "study aids") of this event sent directly to the teachers' unions (this happened here in Oklahoma - was sent to OKEA) and was NOT sent to Superintendents and School Boards? Is the Prez really trying to speak to teachers? What right does he have to usurp the chain of command and the duly elected by WE THE PEOPLE School Boards? While I'm glad the "what can you do to help President Obama" question was changed, the whole of the package of 'study aids" and its method of delivery from Prez to child stinks. Once again, what was the purpose of this?

AND, slightly off topic, why are so many ads for everything from colleges to car insurance to refi of homes now including phases like "President Obama wants you to.................." These things are appearing on Yahoo, on Facebook - everywhere.

Comrade X said...

So what about all that indoctrination stuff! What happened!? Socialism? Anything? Nothing? Oh...

He folded. He lost. He had to go to rewrite.

Maguro said...

Ali -- It doesn't matter where Obama was born. He could have been born on the moon. If his mother is an American, he's an American.

Actually, no, citizenship isn't automatic for children of U.S. citizens born overseas. You also have to down to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and file the appropriate paperwork.

My son was born overseas, so we had to go through this rigamarole.

AmyKane said...

The 4:30 a.m. thing strikes me as a gratuitous lie.

Did anyone official ever say WHY the President was giving this speech? Who, what, when and where were covered. Not included in the FAQs in the press release from Arne Duncan at ed.gov: Why is the president giving this speech?

Crimso said...

"AND, slightly off topic, why are so many ads for everything from colleges to car insurance to refi of homes now including phases like "President Obama wants you to.................." These things are appearing on Yahoo, on Facebook - everywhere."

I dunno [takes another sip of his Victory gin].

elHombre said...

How sad that the kids did not hear the original speech that went with the lesson plan provided to the teachers.

You know, the one that ended: "Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what you can do for your President."

Doggone those old racist wingnut kooks anyway!

Shanna said...

If your biological mother is an American, you're an American. That's it. End of story.

ITA. His mother is from KANSAS! WTF does it matter where he was born?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So what about all that indoctrination stuff! What happened!? Socialism? Anything? Nothing? Oh...


Yeah ZPS.....they got caught and had to scramble to come up with a sanitized version of the speech.

You know the one that they DIDN'T want to post until the very last minute.

The creepy indoctrination lesson plan has also been scrapped in many school districts as well. Although.....I wouldn't put it past the liberal teachers to continue the indoctrination of students into the mindmeld of liberalism as they have been doing for years and years.

We only caught them at it THIS time. If parents want to keep their children free, they will have to be vigilant. Or homeschool.

garage mahal said...

He had to re-write the first communo-indoctrino speech. I just know it! Thank goodness we caught *this* time11!!

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