September 5, 2009

The NYT gives me the last word...

... on Obama, education, and what I dare to call "child abuse."

106 comments:

John Althouse Cohen said...

Even the liberal New York Times...!

Ann Althouse said...

I think I sound like a radical in this one...

traditionalguy said...

That was actually a brilliant intellectual performance by the pit bull from Wisconsin. I suspect that the NYT must be having some doubts of its own as to Obama's governence game now claiming a traditional right to bring in the school children when the adults start leaving his side.

ricpic said...

It seems traditional to Olopade for presidents' images to be beamed into classrooms?! What's the use. Lefties are on another planet.

David Walser said...

Althouse,

That was very well done. You argued your point clearly, forcefully, and civilly. Your conclusion flowed directly from your predicate: children are forced to attend school and we have an ethical duty not to waste their time.

If your students learn such rhetorical skills, they should do very well.

Jason (the commenter) said...

It's almost as if Obama is irritated about not having a big audience for his televised speeches, so he's turned to giving speeches to people who can't tune him out, schoolchildren.

The "young people" are supposed to love Obama; now they get to see him as an authority figure. Disillusionment, it's a childhood tradition!

Chip Ahoy said...

Earth to Dayo Olopade … chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhhh Earth to Dayo Olopade … chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhhh Are you there Dayo Olopade? chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhh Do you have your earpiece on Dayo Oopade? chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhh "Bush did that" is tu quoque fallacious reasoning, Dayo Olopade chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhhh, But you're beautiful anyway chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhh So we'll let it go this time, Dayo Olopade chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhhh Plus we love saying your wonderful name … chhhh-chhhhh-chhhhhhhh


For the record, ha ha -- record, I'm for Obama speaking to all the little children. Why? Because if we must have the piss bored out of us, they should too.

O.T. → My dinner party last night was wonderful. Everybody was so gracious! Here's what my cake looked like on the inside.

ricpic said...

That cake is indecent. INDECENT! INDECENT!!








And I want a bite.

somefeller said...

In another posting on this topic, Althouse said (initially quoting Joe Klein): Michelle Cottle reports that there are Republican-sanctioned efforts afoot to have parents not send their children to school on September 8 because the President is scheduled to address the nation's school-children that day and they are afraid that he will fill their little heads with socialist propaganda. That is somewhere well beyond disgraceful.
No, Joe. Because they are disgusted at the melding of partisan political power and education and the prospect of a child made to accept compulsory school in the form of gazing upon the face of our leader.


Actually, no, Althouse, the Republicans who are attacking this speech aren't doing so on some sort of a process argument, they are claiming exactly what Cottle/Klein said they were - that Obama is using this to spread socialist propaganda. If you want to see a prime example, look at this press release from the Chairman of the Florida GOP: http://www.rpof.org/article.php?id=754

Key quote from there: As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology. The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power. While I support educating our children to respect both the office of the American President and the value of community service, I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda.

There are no shortage of other examples of this sort of commentary. Obama's opponents aren't making a process argument or general argument against Presidents making speeches to schoolchildren. (As mentioned elsewhere, GOP Presidents have made such speeches.) This is just a partisan attack on Obama, nothing more, and to claim otherwise is at best naive and at worst dishonest.

Alex said...

You know what I got from this? The other lady basically was implying that because Althouse dares disagree about the federal role in education, that somehow makes her a Bush-bot. That's how it works in the fevered mind of left-winger. It's all so binary. Never mind that Althouse voted for Obama, if you aren't totally 100% on board with the left-wing agenda at ALL times, you are defacto Bush/Rush-bots. There is no room for compromise or debate. This is what our trolls routinely say anyways.

Alex said...

You know another thing that gets me about left wingers? They claim to be the masters of nuance. Yet they routinely accuse Althouse of being things that she isn't, based on their lack of research or lack of paying attention. They are the opposite of being nuanced, they are simpletons. Not that right-wingers are nuanced folks either. I think libertarians(see Megan Mcardle) tend to get over-nuanced and not assert themselves enough.

Althouse, are you listening?

blake said...

So, somefeller, because some are attacking it on the "spreading propaganda" front, NONE are attacking it on the process front?

Big Mike said...

Nice piece of work, Professor. If you ever get into litigation the opposing lawyer will have his (or her) hands full.

@Chip, that cake couldn't be better if it was sprinkled with bacon bits.

Alex said...

Bottom line here, is that it's ok for Obama to spread propaganda to the kiddies because he's a left-winger and left-wingers love him like a God. Somehow I had a bad feeling about this guy when I first heard of him in 2004. He already had the cult of personality thing going. It's truly sickening. Glad to hear Althouse finds it sickening as well.

Maguro said...

This is just a partisan attack on Obama, nothing more, and to claim otherwise is at best naive and at worst dishonest.

Well, you would certainly expect the Chairman of the Florida GOP to approah the issue in a partisan manner. Partisan politics is his job, after all, but that doesn't mean all opponents of the speech are motivated solely by partisan point-scoring.

But can you honestly say you wouldn't have found it somewhat disquieting if GWB had beamed himself into the nations classrooms with an accompanying study guide asking the little tykes how they could best help President Bush "accomplish his goals"?

I think that might've bothered you a bit.

Alex said...

But can you honestly say you wouldn't have found it somewhat disquieting if GWB had beamed himself into the nations classrooms with an accompanying study guide asking the little tykes how they could best help President Bush "accomplish his goals"?

Of course they'd scream bloody murder if Bush did it. But Obama is their messiah, their God and he is infallible. Notice how these people talk about him in hushed, reverential tones...

somefeller said...

So, somefeller, because some are attacking it on the "spreading propaganda" front, NONE are attacking it on the process front?

Most, if not all, of the passionate (and I'm using a nicer word than is deserved here) opposition to this speech isn't based on a process argument, it's based on a general anti-Obama argument. You can see that from the rhetoric being used, such as the example I cited. Also, many of the people using the process argument are using it as a politically correct cover for the anti-Obama argument anyway, so I don't give that a lot of credit anyway.

somefeller said...

And would I have been bothered if George W. Bush made a speech to schoolchildren? It would depend on what he said. I generally would think it isn't the best use of a President's time (which is actually what I would have said if I was in the Oval Office and being consulted on this question), but a lot of what Presidents do would fall into that category for me, so I wouldn't be screaming and yelling about it, or telling people to pull their kids out of school on the day of the speech, as the passionate (I'm so generous in my terminology) opponents of this are.

traditionalguy said...

Somefeller...Those beliefs about Obama's strategy that you quote The Gop Chairman with are indeed the beliefs of all Americans today. Partisanship is a legitimate claim only in so far as the Dems do heartily approve of that new Obama strategy and the GOP is suddenly sounding an alarm about that strategy. You do believe that don't you.

rhhardin said...

Age of consent is necessary for this compulsive liar.

blake said...

Well, that's magnanimous of you, somefeller.

But had W done this, the outcry would've drowned out the oceans.

somefeller said...

Those beliefs about Obama's strategy that you quote The Gop Chairman with are indeed the beliefs of all Americans today.

Rank nonsense. All Americans don't think "that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology". That's the core of the argument - that this is socialist propagandizing. All Americans don't think that, and I suspect those that do are in the noisy minority.

somefeller said...

Well, that's magnanimous of you, somefeller.

Thank you. I am a man of many virtues, and magnanimity is one of them.

daubiere said...

the thing I find really disturbing is that I've heard both school-age children and college students refer to the president as "Barack". Barack?? i hate this "the prez is cool and one of your buds" thing. its deliberate, manipulative and scares the hell out of me. children are often used by politicians and evil people (think child killers in africa) because they are easy to program, don't have strongly developed moral beliefs, act instinctual rather than with reason and wisdom. why do you think people like Ayers go for "education" as their jobs?? why do you think so many angry inept socialists and other miscreants work in education?? easy prey...

daubiere said...

"All Americans don't think that, and I suspect those that do are in the noisy minority."

socialists and leftists only like the "majority of Americans" when they agree with them and follow along. any other time, like when they elected George W Bush or Reagan twice, they are stupid brainless "sheeple". patriotism and good feelings about fellow countrymen only tend to arise when lefty bunnies get their way. human nature, I know but then lefties like to think they're sooper geniuses in the "reality based" community, above such base and animal things as selfish human nature.

Um YEAH RIGHT.

Big Mike said...

As I said before, bottom line, we don't trust him alone with our kids.

Alex said...

As I said before, bottom line, we don't trust him alone with our kids.

The average teacher isn't to be trusted either...

Randy said...

Chip:

That birthday cake looks delicious. (Belated happy birthday if it was your own.) Any chance of sharing the recipe? ;-)

JAL said...

Nice job Professor.

somefeller, think you're a little late to the party, at least on this blog.

Besides the way this was done, it was the:
"Menu of Classroom Activities
President Obama’s Address to Students Across America

(PreK‐6)" [another set of activities for Grades 7-12]

which has the students discuss this "historic" (THEIR word) speech.
President Obama was the point of many of the questions. THAT was a major problem for many of us.

I call a Boundary Violation.

wv = ticksich
No s*** {blush}

Cedarford said...

I'll wait and see what Obama says. Too much conjecture exists now.

However, all the garbage that Algore said about global warming and children saving the planet WAS taught as a belief system...with the same concept of "teacher-led discussions of how each student could get more active and help." And handed out graded assignments. Some schools made watching Algore's movie obligatory, handed out his and other Green activists "global warming, polar bears threatened with extinction" speeches.

Obama follows this bad Gore precedent. It really isn't the Reagan and Bush I examples that worry. All Bush I and Reagan's people did was say that they were going to do speeches, part of it was about kids and school, and classes that wanted to should see it on C-Span.

What Gore did was get powerful people telling teachers - via the NEA, Dem Party, Leftist Front groups - that Gore was an oracle and he should be heeded. And because the fate of the planet was at stake, teachers should ensure the kids knew what they could do to help save the planet..and they should pay attention because teachers would later assign them work based on Gore's wisdom.

There was too much of that hinted at in the buildup to Obama...messages from the White House, Education SEcretary, NEA union bosses...that The One would talk to "all the children" ...and teachers would later have discussions and other follow-ups to assess "what the students learned from Barack's teachable moment".

But, we don't really know today what was planned in the speech and what will be covered (no doubt Obama's TelePrompter script writers made some revisions.)

I do find the cult of personality stuff disturbing. Articles in which teachers and students refer to President Obama as "Barack". Too reminescent of other cult of personality figures of the past. Fidel, Great Father Kim il-Sung, Papa Joe, Uncle Adolf..

dick said...

I just find it strange that the lesson plans were sent out direct to the principals without checking with those responsible for the schools. Then after the lesson plans are sent out they start to write the speech. How can you have lesson plans without the basis for them. The other part is that the lesson plans as displayed on the Dept of Ed website changed once people started complaining about what the lesson plans were saying. Yet no indication on the website that the lesson plans were changed. This whole thing is a mess of what he thinks he can get away with and the libs are all for it. I think the schools should not bother tuning in at all.

Freeman Hunt said...

somefeller: Actually A LOT of us have been arguing on process grounds. I don't think any politician should be allowed to pipe himself into classrooms nationwide, left or right. I think it's outrageous for a politician to have that power.

AJ Lynch said...

Any politcian is right Freeman!
I asked the other day, if the President can do this, why not a Senator or a mayor or the local city council critter to their own constituent school districts?

You know Bush & Cheney became tone-deaf after while. Prez Obama already is because the American people are tired of govt buttinskys and he does not recognize that yet.

former law student said...

is that it's ok for Obama to spread propaganda to the kiddies because he's a left-winger and left-wingers love him like a God.

It's OK for Obama to speak to our nation's young people because he is their President.

For those who consider Obama's being the President of all Americans somehow weird, consider further that Obama was named Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America, as have all US Presidents since Taft.

This attitude reminds me of a trifecta of Republicans' remarks last October. All three publically backpedaled, but obviously these beliefs die hard:

First, Palin singled out small towns as the "real America," and the "pro-America areas of this great nation." Second, Rep. Michelle Bachman questioned Obama's patriotism and suggested that Congressmen who disagree with her are "unAmerican" Third, Rep. Robin Hayes told a crowd that "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."

blake said...

Oh, well, kayo, FLS. Obama can do whatever because of some stuff that Reps said. Sure.

garage mahal said...

If Bush was giving this speech Althouse and the rest of the right wouldn't say a friggin word about it. Nothing. Except defend it. The only reason they are saying something about it now is involves Conservative Rule #1. It's not about ME!!!!!!! WHAAAAAA!!

Alex said...

If Bush was giving this speech Althouse and the rest of the right wouldn't say a friggin word about it. Nothing. Except defend it. The only reason they are saying something about it now is involves Conservative Rule #1. It's not about ME!!!!!!!

You realize this applies equally to Democrats and Obama.

Joe Veenstra said...

Professor Althouse:

I think your argument is a bunch of hooey. Especially since you haven't even heard the speech.

The Milwaukee Public Schools delinquency rate is approximately 46 percent for high schoolers. It might actually be a great thing for the students to hear from the President to advise them of the importance of staying in school and what it did for him (among other positive influences). Your "The Leader" meme is frankly tiresome.

Is saying the pledge every day child abuse? If the president talking to kids about school and civic duties is "child abuse" then you must agree that the recitation of the pledge is also?

I really think you just enjoy pimping whomever is in power whether your rhetoric is true or completely unbalanced, as this latest is.

Synova said...

"All Americans don't think "that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology". That's the core of the argument - that this is socialist propagandizing. All Americans don't think that, and I suspect those that do are in the noisy minority."

What are the chances that even the most watered down version of Obama's speech will include platitudes that are essentially socialist in nature? 100%?

The only difference between the minority that expect socialism in the speech and the majority that doesn't expect socialism is that the majority either thinks it's a *good* thing or doesn't call it socialism.

Joe Veenstra said...

I might add that I really see no great reason for a federal role in public education (or family law for that matter), but the President giving a yearly speech is, in my opinion, a net positive, as long as it is overtly political - and that would be a political blunder.

JAL said...

What's the president going to say?

No one knows yet, except you betcha it isn't what they wrote the classroom questions for.

wv = upentio
Hot new board game

Kathy said...

Joe, those Milwaukee students don't stay in school because their schools suck and they see no need to spend their time that way. Having Obama or anyone else tell them (yet again--they've heard it a million times already) that they should stay in school is not going to make a lick of difference. Have you ever spent any time in any of these troubled schools? I used to teach high school, in a school not quite at the level of Milwaukee's, and that four years was almost totally wasted for the majority of the students. They had been so ill-served by the previous years of schooling as that they were incapable of benefitting even from the well taught classes, of which there were not too many because so many teachers were completely burned out by all the years of administrative neglect and student apathy.

Messages telling students to "stay in school" and "stay away from drugs" are useless and so common as to be completely ignored. Give them something worthwile to do and they will stay in school and away from drugs without being told. (And mandatory "volunteer" work doesn't count!)

somefeller said...

Freeman Hunt says: somefeller: Actually A LOT of us have been arguing on process grounds. I don't think any politician should be allowed to pipe himself into classrooms nationwide, left or right. I think it's outrageous for a politician to have that power.

A lot of you may be arguing on process grounds, and as I said above, most if not all the people arguing on process grounds are doing that merely as a cover for their objections to Obama. It sounds better to argue process rather than show the world one's affliction with Obama Derangement Syndrome, but that's the real reason for all this sturm and drang. Process arguments don't bring that sort of passion, and the examples of people screaming about socialist indoctrination prove the point about where the real action is here. Also, Barack Obama isn't just "a politician", he's the President of the United States. That gives him a special role in this country. If you hate your country and your government so much that you don't understand that or have a problem with that, that's your problem. As Dan Ackroyd's rendition of Joe Friday said in "Dragnet", don't drag me into your private hell.

Synova says: What are the chances that even the most watered down version of Obama's speech will include platitudes that are essentially socialist in nature? 100%? The only difference between the minority that expect socialism in the speech and the majority that doesn't expect socialism is that the majority either thinks it's a *good* thing or doesn't call it socialism.

No, the difference is that the noisy minority that calls anything that Obama says "socialist" either (a) doesn't know what socialism means, (b) defines socialism as "anything I don't like" or (c) all of the above.

Joe Veenstra said...

Oops! In prior post, I meant to say "As long as the speech is NOT overtly political." My public education bites me in the butt again! ha

blake said...

No, the difference is that the noisy minority that calls anything that Obama says "socialist" either (a) doesn't know what socialism means, (b) defines socialism as "anything I don't like" or (c) all of the above.

True, he mostly talks like a Marxist/fascist.

Maguro said...

This speech is going to be unbelievably lame. I hope Althouse can live-blog it somehow.

OhioAnne said...

I am having a hard time being bothered by Obama talking to the schoolchildren because everytime I hear Obama speak, he sounds as if he thinks he is talking to schoolchildren.

There isn't a president I can name that has earned the right to a "teachable moment" on any subject. Their job is to inform the electorate - and can, as part of that process, convey their own opinion on the topic. But winning an election doesn't make them my moral compass.

"Teachable moments" are reserved for valued relatives and other person in our private lives who have earned our trust.

Of course whatever he says will be platitudes - and thereby innocuous.

Synova said...

"Process arguments don't bring that sort of passion, and the examples of people screaming about socialist indoctrination prove the point about where the real action is here."

Only if you don't care about process or don't think it matters.

The things that bother me *most* about Obama are purely "process" issues.

He continues, over and over, to attempt to go *around* the expected process, keeping his campaign organization around by another name and spending his time to motivate these volunteers to collect pledges and get petitions signed for one thing or another. What is the harm in getting people to sign something that amounts to allegiance to you? What is the harm in asking your foot soldiers to report those who are "lying" to the government? What is the harm?

This is just smarter politics?

Maybe, except that we are STILL trying to force Honduras to destroy their own Constitution in the name of "democracy" and the right of the mob to disregard anything in the name of rule by the *people*. Right and wrong are defined by one thing only and it is NOT the law, not the rules set in place to define a government and powers, but the wonder of the people rising up and voting for the dissolution of the law... which would not be acceptable even IF there were not pre-certified votes putting Zelaya in power indefinately present even before the vote was scheduled to be taken.

EVEN IF that had not been blatant fraud (though that has not stopped Obama's administration and MY country from supporting the destruction of another nation's constitution) it would be dangerous and wrong. It's a PROCESS issue entire... HOW are the rights of the minority secured in a Democracy?

Does Obama not know, or does he simply not care?

If the PROCESS was so innocuous and independent of the ideology why do we wee the PROCESS invoked by Obama concerning Honduras reflected here in this country?

I am passionate about process questions and what they mean and I am comforted ONLY by the fact that in OUR country we have TERM LIMITS and there is a corresponding limit to just how much damage someone determined to pursue these sorts of processes can do.

bagoh20 said...

He talks to us all too much already. He needs to listen for a while.

If the President addresses the entire nation's kids in school, it should be important and nonpolitical like: "Duck and Cover!"

Alex said...

You know what gets me the most? It's whenever Dubya made a speech the lefties were had some insulting thing to say the entire 8 years. Now whenever Obumminator opens his mouth, we're all supposed to listen like rapt schoolchildren and nod our heads to his infinite wisdom.

Alex said...

somefeller:

you guys bashed Bush for 8 years without mercy. Now you reap the whirlwind. You really have a lot of nerve telling us that we have to shut up and be nice to Obama.

Synova said...

So, what does "socialist" mean?

Though Blake has it right... it's more Marxist/fascist than socialist. More like communist. Or in the realm of the economic theory of Unicorn Farts, but that's not a technical term.

It's got to be called *something* and "socialist" will do. In Europe don't they call it "Democratic Socialism"? How is that NOT what Obama is about? How is socialism not a reasonable term to use?

We've got Green-economy Czars that are going to think happy thoughts and get economic recovery and expansion by vilifying anyone and anything that contributes to economic health, and a President who thinks that being "fair" is more important than rewarding producers for their hard work and innovation and that will improve the economy, and we're destroying cars so that people buy new cars to "stimulate" the economy when anyone who bought a car would have spent that money on *something* so the total gain is zero and we've destroyed functional used "beater" vehicles that someone who can't afford a new car could have used to drive to work. But other concerns, the moral things we're supposed to care about, the environment, being our "brother's keeper", putting our efforts into morally superior "service" careers, all of those things, aspiring to VIRTUE is supposed to magically make the economy and government work.

It's truly magical thinking.

Call it what you will, but let's hope that our children grow up with a better understanding than that.

Alex said...

Synova - it's like wrestling with pigs in the mud. They love it, and you end up filthy.

ricpic said...

Evil Addresses Innocence

To all you children: black, brown and white: Forget America!
Barak will be your comfort. Barak will be your light.

Alex said...

to our leftist colleagues:

I am not the one obligated to come halfway to Obama. He is the one who has to convince me. Get it? That's how our Republic works - he's supposed to work for the American people. Not constantly lecture us. He's coming off more like Jimmy Carter every day. Sarah Palin is emerging like the new Ronaldus Magnus figure and 2012 = 1980.

kentuckyliz said...

I hope some kids are sassy enough to be outspoken if he pulls any inappropriate crap.

I predict most kids will see this as lame.

Teach your kids the 13th amendment...so if The Big O brings up some new mandatory volunteer service scheme for schoolchildren, they can discuss its unconstitutionality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

AC245 said...

A lot of you may be arguing on process grounds, and as I said above, most if not all the people arguing on process grounds are doing that merely as a cover for their objections to Obama.

I guess when you can read people's minds, you can make your arguments without having to worry about whether it contradicts the available objective facts!

(And given how very, very badly you botched the objective facts in the lefty finger-biter thread, it's not surprising to see you rely on a "The facts are against me but I JUST KNOW I'M RIGHT ANYWAY!" defense.)

BJM said...

While many see Dear Leader, I see President Headroom.

The whole idea is a little creepy and tone deaf given the anti-government mood of the country.

Some one better check the WH basement for pods as this bunch of boneheads can't be the team that won the election.

amba said...

Chip: WANT. BAD.

Synova said...

BJM, the guest of honor at our local science fiction convention last weekend was Michael Cassut, who had some significant involvement with Max Headroom that I never quite figured out. It was fascinating hearing him and George RR Martin banter about the ins and outs of it (and I never was quite sure if Martin wrote episodes that were *filmed* or only episodes that were rejected!)

Anyhow! So Max has been on my mind some and the ubiquitous televisions that were apparently such a PITA to film ;-) and were an essential element of imparting a feeling of dread and loss of privacy and freedom DID in fact, come to mind in relation to Obama's super cool nationwide universal address.

The freedom to not listen... this is not something we should disparage.

Chase said...

This Just In:

New York Times:

Van Jones resigns.

Alex said...

Chase - it's those eviiiiil right wingers who forced the goodie Van Jones to resign....

Freeman Hunt said...

most if not all the people arguing on process grounds are doing that merely as a cover for their objections to Obama.

So your argument is that you don't have to argue process because in your imaginings people are only lying when they say that care about it?

Darn the luck. Turns out that we really do care about it, so I guess we have to argue it anyway.

Also, yes, the President is "a politician." You don't owe him your special attention on issues of whether or not you should stay in school or study hard or eat your vegetables or ride your bike or whatever other decision that falls within the personal realm of your life. And no, he should not have the power to pipe himself into every classroom in the country to address a young, captive audience.

He is not your frigging king.

Freeman Hunt said...

Here, somefeller, try this thought experiment:

Say we have President Hannity, and he wants to pipe his face into all of the nation's classrooms to talk about the importance of personal responsibility. You okay with that? I'm not. It's wrong. It's outrageous overreach.

Kurt said...

Chip, that cake looks very good, indeed.

I can imagine that if I were a kid in school and I had to listen to the President give a speech on TV, I would probably be bored and start doodling, all while thinking about how I wished I could have some of that cake!

Kurt said...

Chase, the news about Van Jones certainly amuses me because the mainstream networks and publications won't know how to report it--seeing as how they've ignored the developing story all week.

I can just imagine the mainstream network anchors announcing "Van Jones resigned," and then most of their audience will say, "What? Who is Van Jones?"

blake said...

Kurt--

Already handled! It was the sheer ferocity of GOP attacks that forced him to step down.

Ferocious Republicans who pushed through legislation when they were in the majority! The ultimate sin!

Alex said...

Amazing. The MSM continues to use the GOP like an Emmanuel Goldstein scapegoat. So why would the mighty MSM which is 99% liberal Democrat care about an out of power hapless GOP? Unless of course they're trying to distract us from a floundering Obama and the fact that the Blue Dog Dems still won't budge on the public option.

Steven said...

The potential danger in having someone address those whose critical faculties are undeveloped is directly proportional to the degree to which the person making the address is personally "inspiring" or "charismatic" or the like. George H. W. Bush wasn't even remotely those, and so his 1991 speech was utterly safe, whether or not it was appropriate.

Obama, according to his supporters, is charismatic and inspirational. If he is, it inherently makes him dangerous to democracy in one specific way that uninspiring, uncharismatic leaders are not.

It is accordingly a natural and healthy reaction for people to wish to shield impressionable youth from him, especially given his much-ballyhooed popularity with "youth", whether or not a President addressing schoolkids is appropriate.

Now, since Obama's charisma is excessively feared by his opponents, the reaction to Obama has been disproportionate. But that excessive fear is a natural response to how much his charisma has been overhyped by his supporters. So, it's a bit rich for those same supporters to turn around and complain about the fears their excessive enthusiasm stoked.

Penny said...

Althouse, it isn't often that I disagree with you, but to label a presidential address to students as child abuse seems totally overwrought.

I do understand political differences, and also a bit of hyperbole in the name of making a compelling argument in a point-counterpoint venue like Bloggingheads, but frankly, I think you did a disservice to children who suffer real child abuse by anyone's standards.

Penny said...

"I do find the cult of personality stuff disturbing."

Me too, Cedarford. Most successful businesses are smart enough to not allow one person to define all that their company stands for, no matter how great the upside for riding that single person to the top. Chaos ensues if that person is removed from the picture. Stocks tumble in a free fall, and the potential for disaster is entirely too high.

Martha Stewart's prison term and Steve Jobs' health crises might have changed the face forever of two companies.

I don't like that the same could be true for my country because we absolutely have a "cult of personality" President.

The good news is that we have vigorous debates, even debasements, going on to to see that some sort of perspective prevails.

miller said...

Here's the deal:

It's just stupid. This is a PSA which could simply be filmed in advance & then sent to schools.

Instead, it's going to be live, and yet it had a curriculum attached. What kind of deal is that? "You won't know what I'm going to say, but here are the talking points to follow."

Plus, the curriculum is all about TEH ONE™.

I especially liked the part about "why should we listen to mayors and governors?"

Hey, here's an idea: how about the mayors and governors listen to us, the citizens? We are not subjects of the government. It's We the People. Not We the Followers or even We the Listeners.

I miss the "Speak Truth to Power" of the 2000-2008. It was such a pleasnt time. Now it's "shut up and get out of the way," and "I don't want to hear you talking," and "the Prexy is on--hear him!"

WV: latpulci, the side effects of eating too much pulci.

Penny said...

"I especially liked the part about "why should we listen to mayors and governors?""

I thought that part was good too, but maybe for a different reason. We SHOULD listen to our local pols. There are way too few of us who do.

Those of us who listen to daily or weekly sound bytes from elected representatives, usually by way of our local newspapers, know all too well that what we are hearing is just plain crap.

Voters may be slow to anger, but when they get pissed off about lost jobs, higher taxes and an ever shrinking pocketbook, watch out.

ethan said...

Shorter Althouse: "I hate the darkies!"

Stay classy, Ann. Find any tits to criticize lately?

How's that public university job treating you?

AllenS said...

If your children are unfortunate enough to have to watch Obama's pitch to your child, take the time to point out the fact that he's spending money he doesn't have, and that it's the children who will have to pay it back. This is a teachable moment.

DaveW said...

The professor's argument is not predicated on the content of the speech. Listen to her argument for Pete's sake.

I think I sound like a radical in this one...

Having watched the other clips it seems like you were growing impatient (I know I was) with Ms. Olopade and felt you had to force your point.

But yeah, this isn't going to help you with your lefty friends.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, and the governor?

For the same reason that we keep registies of sex offenders. So that we know what they are up to.

miller said...

IAB, that's unfortunately both true and subtle. I fear its import is lost on the librul mind.

WF: libbek, kibble for dyslexic dogs.

garage mahal said...

"Van Jones resigns"

Oh good! Glenn Beck now only has 29 crank conspiracy theories to juggle inside his head. I'm so glad Obama realizes people voted to placate Glenn Beck and his fellow crazies, not anything he talked about on that exhaustive campaign trail.

Chip Ahoy said...

ethan said...
Shorter Althouse: "I hate the darkies!"


Well then, faced with reasoning cogent as that what else is left to do but fold?

Keep the race wars alive, ethan with a small e, it's all you've got.

As to tits, ethan, we already know because we paid attention to what we saw and read, as you apparently don't, Althouse never criticized anybody's tits, your link notwithstanding. That indicates to us you read into things what you wish. She remarked on the decidedly un-feminist use of breasts, the obvious popping out of the chest while sidling up next to proven philanderer while wearing a low-cut sweater in that "here-Mr. President-look-at-my-breasts" sort of way we all find so adorable.

Thanks for playing, though. Given a few years even you may be league material.

AJ Lynch said...

Garage:

Oh boy- that is not good. Now Prez Obama, has to reduce, by one, his tally of jobs created or saved. :)

miller said...

I agree with garage on this.

It's crazy to post the actual, literal words and videos of someone in Teh One™'s administration. Only crack-head lunatics would do that.

WV: racrain, the downpour of raccoons.

Old Dad said...

What strikes me about the school kerfluffle is the utter incompetence and political tone deafness that it demonstrates on behalf of the administration. How simple would it have been to invite parents, school boards, administrators, and teachers to have a say in the plan? How hard would it have been to release a script of the speech. The administrqation turned what could have been a political winner (and maybe even helpful to kids) into another joke.

What were they thinking.

miller said...

And, for the record, while I think the actual hiring decision was hilariously inept, I agree that the smart thing to do was (a) to let him go and (b) to announce the "resignation" late at night on a long holiday weekend.

Teh One™ may be learning a thing or too. Finally.

WV: nonspop, an unceasing supply of soda.

miller said...

The administration is losing control of the discussion. Where they would get a pass before (hiring tax cheaters to be tax administrators, for example), they are starting to receive the merciless glare of an unsympathetic media.

I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. For me politically and personally, it's a good thing if the media finally gets its integrity back. For me as a person with feelings and sympathy, it's a bad thing to see a helpless child surrounded by snarling pitbulls. I want to help the poor thing.

WV: uncen, as in "I don't know what you were thinking about that last clearly stated thought - it was ver uncen of you."

somefeller said...

Freeman Hunt asks: Say we have President Hannity, and he wants to pipe his face into all of the nation's classrooms to talk about the importance of personal responsibility. You okay with that? I'm not. It's wrong. It's outrageous overreach.

I wouldn't have a problem with that. If Sean Hannity were to become the duly elected President of the United States, while I wouldn't support him politically, I would respect the office and I wouldn't have a problem with him giving a non-partisan speech about personal responsibility to schoolchildren. Actually, it might be a good one, something along the lines of - if a schmuck like me can become President, the world is your oyster!

Oh, and AC245, none of the factual points (which were pretty narrow and specific) in my comments about the finger-biting incident were disproven. But, I guess it's easier to declare victory than create one, especially if you're the type of guy whose level of political knowledge and sophistication is limited to two-minute Wikipedia searches.

And congratulations to the Republicans for taking down Van Jones! I guess when you have a guy like Glenn Beck serve as your intellectual leader, sooner or later something you throw against the wall will stick.

Pogo said...

Excellent discussion, Althouse.

It's passing strange that Dayo Olopade cites Bush and NCLB as evidence in support of Obama's intrusion into public schools.

The Democratic Party union organization, the American Federation of Teachers announced last July that they were "no longer in favor of tinkering with the federal "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law and called for the abolition of NCLB.".

A similar typical critique of NCLB is at HuffPo in Jan '08, calling it a "a well-meaning but ill-conceived federal law".

somefeller said...

And in the case of Van Jones, it was a clean hit. He shouldn't have been appointed to the job he had. But, in the context of the "everything Obama does is just so EEVIL" dreck we here from Beck and company (including many here), it was just a matter of a broken clock being right twice a day, make no mistake about that.

Chip Ahoy said...

"snarling pitbulls", Ha! That's a good one. We'll know the media lapdogs are beginning to get their groove back when they start reporting unemployment figures accurately and stop referring to it as funemployment.

We just experienced four straight years of reporting "recession around the corner" that didn't cease until it could be reported as present fact, and even then the causes of that recession are reported ineptly distorted in accordance with recalcitrant biases so fully that understanding is totally obliterated and natural correction even more remote.

That same bias causes the still fawning media to eagerly report the present recession ended. The so-called honeymoon may be over but they're far from snarling pitbulls.

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

somefeller, it was increasingly difficult for Obama to support Van Jones once his self-proclaimed radical, Maoist, and communist past became widely discussed.

Why would you consider an avowed communist an acceptable Czar in the US government?

miller said...

We accept your congratulations, of course, but we are puzzled why you think it's a Republican deal.

Some people apparently used this tool called "Google" to find and post the actual words and video of Van Jones.

That's what led to his resignation.

I'm not sure if you understand the concept of cause:effect, but this is how it works:

Crazy man says crazy things caught on video
Crazy man writes crazy things published in newspapers
Crazy man sings crazy songs recorded on CDs

Non-crazy people find these things and publish them.

Result: Crazy man's boss (who was uncurious about him while hiring him) finally "requests" crazy man's resignation; said resignation announced quietly at midnight at the beginning of a long holiday weekend so as not to disturb the media bath when the crazy man's boss speaks before a compliant Congress next week.

WV: antrecu, an apertif after the bon mot.

somefeller said...

Why would you consider an avowed communist an acceptable Czar in the US government?

I wouldn't, and that's why I said this was a clean hit. However, this assumes he is an "avowed communist", and the quotes I've seen just far don't say he is a self-described communist, rather that he was in a group in school that described itself as "anti-capitalist". While that would be a deal-killer for me (absent some evidence of repentance), that term isn't limited to communists. There are some religious types (Catholic Worker movement, etc.) who might use that term to describe themselves, who aren't communists. But that's nitpicking at this point, and like I said, he shouldn't have been hired for the job he had. And if there is such a direct and undeniable "I am a communist" line that he has said, then game over and I won't fight that point.

former law student said...

How simple would it have been to invite parents, school boards, administrators, and teachers to have a say in the plan?

What plan? A Presidential peptalk is a plan nowadays? Next you'll want Obama to obtain a consensus before he can fart.

How hard would it have been to release a script of the speech.

To dispel what little drama still remained? Do you read the screenplay before you see the movie?

garage mahal said...

If I hear "fawning media" once more, I'll have to hurl. There is no liberal media bias, and never has been. What a crock of shit! One quarter of this country still thinks Saddam Hussein planned 9/11. A completely insane, mentally ill wingnut, who 57 corporate sponsors even ditched, still drives this country's discourse. "Death Panels" is discussed as if it's a legitimate topic. All you have to do in this country to get noticed, is be fucking crazy, be part of the right, and have a bullhorn and scream in people's face.

miller said...

perhaps you can explain the leap from "the MSM isn't a liberal lapdog" to "25% of Americans think Hussein was connected to 911."

I'm not sure I understand.

But I appreciate your leap into profanity. You sound, like, really mad! I love your passion! You might try to ratchet it up a bit, because the more profane you are, the more reasonable you sound and the more people you will surely convert to your way of thinking!

WV: culaysio, yodeling for St. Bernards

garage mahal said...

perhaps you can explain the leap from "the MSM isn't a liberal lapdog" to "25% of Americans think Hussein was connected to 911.".

If we had a functioning media in this country 25% of it would know better than to believe such an obvious, scientifically proven lie.

miller said...

so you agree the media is dysfunctional, but how does that mean it is not liberal?

WV: extem, as is "Van Jones was not a confirmed appointment to his position, and now he no longer holds that position."

AllenS said...

fawning media fawning media fawning media fawning media fawning media

WV: sycare

A form of I don't care

Ralph L said...

A completely insane, mentally ill wingnut, who 57 corporate sponsors even ditched
What, the Kerry's have split? That's so disheartening.

pelgicko - the disease which felled the GEICO lizard.

Chip Ahoy said...

I don't know from whose bum you pull your 25% figure but it sounds ridiculous to me. I know of nobody who believes that.

But do, go ahead and hurl.

Synova said...

It's the nuance.

Actually, a whole lot of people don't pay attention and get questions wrong like if Space Shuttles landed on the moon or not. 25% is, in all probability, the standard deviation.

In fact, when it comes to Saddam and 9-11 there are connections of various sorts, relations concerning the whole, larger, context that does tie them together. There are those who believe themselves cognizant of the complexity of the world that would insist to us that contrary to all expectations the events of 9-11 and subsequent to that exist in distinct and unrelated isolation... nothing has anything to do with anything else at all.

That is at least as brain dead stupid as the claim that Saddam was behind the 9-11 attack or directly and personally involved with Al Qaida.

But real life in the real world is not based on a binary toggle switch. Real life is a web of connections and influences of varying degree and importance.

Joseph said...

I think perhaps because of your long experience teaching law that you have a false impression of what goes on in American elementary and secondary classrooms. Plenty of time is devoted to random activities of much more dubious value than an inspirational speech from the president. If you're really concerned about things badly impacting American education, I'd consider smaller classes, more teachers to be a more obvious source of problems.

Alex said...

Joseph - or blast the entire thing altogether and put your kid in a private school where they get the 3 Rs and none of the political bullshit. Yes, I realize this discriminates against families who don't have the means. Tough.

AC245 said...

Oh, and AC245, none of the factual points (which were pretty narrow and specific) in my comments about the finger-biting incident were disproven.

Wrong.

But, I guess it's easier to declare victory than create one, especially if you're the type of guy whose level of political knowledge and sophistication is limited to two-minute Wikipedia searches.

Well, I'll grant that I'm nowhere near as devoted to following Larouche as you seem to be, but as I pointed out in the earlier thread, the 2 minutes I spent skimming the Wikipedia article on him was all it took to demolish your bullshit claims that Larouche wasn't really a Democrat, and that Democrats had never supported him.

I recommend you maintain your defense that your ability to read people's minds over the internet trumps their ability to demonstrate and document your ignorance and the inaccuracies in your claims. It looks like your best hope.

Synova said...

Smaller *schools*, not just smaller classes, Joseph.

Our city school district is enormous and extends outward to gobble up the countryside. The budget is obscene. The salary of the superintendent is nearly 200K and then you've got all the other administrators and everything else before finally reaching the classroom and teachers and students who try to muddle on as best they can.

Do we really believe that competent decisions can't be made by teachers and "school" level administrators? There are drawbacks to small schools yes,... mine was approx 40 students for each grade and k-12 in one (admittedly large) building. So we didn't get AP calculus and we didn't have an olympic swimming pool. Our sports teams played all the other little schools, anyone could get on the teams if they wanted, and our teachers taught English and Math and Science, Agriculture and Shop. The special ed students were well known to the special ed teachers and the PTA had bake sales.

Though I'm with Alex on ending public schooling all together, a whole lot could be done by abandoning the idea that bigger is better and figuring out that maybe, just *maybe* a school with 88,000 students and 12,000 employees... maybe that's not a *good* idea.