November 5, 2009

"Hello, Madison!" says Barack Obama. "Good to be back in Madison.... Now, it's great to be back in Madison, great to be back in Wisconsin."

Barack Obama laid down the gigantic carbon footprint that is Air Force 1 to go to a middle school in the midwest to give a speech. Was it worth it? Are kids made more intelligent by the real-life appearance of the President? Surely, some must become more confused. What is the President's job?

I remember one time, back in the 1950s — when I was a Brownie — I was  taught how to make a hat out of artificial flowers and set up to demonstrate this minuscule skill at some sort of vast public exposition. The Governor showed up. "This is Governor Boggs," I was told. For some reason, he was very interested in how to make a crappy lady's hat out of cloth-and-wire flowers. I understood that the man was very important. And I understood that he cared about my hat-making. And that was what you call "Governor." It puzzled me for a long, long time.

So some kids in Madison got to witness the President in person. How edifying was it? He began with introduction and praise for various Democrats — "I want to first of all just say that Jim Doyle is not only one of the finest governors we have in the country, but is also a great friend, a great supporter; his entire family has been wonderful" —which was 100% not useful to kids. He continued:
You know, one year ago, Americans all across this country went to the polls and cast ballots for the future they wanted to see. (Applause.)
Gah. Campaigning.
Election Day was a day of hope...

Facing this reality, my administration had two fundamental obligations. The first was to rescue the economy from imminent collapse... We acted boldly and swiftly...

We've put a tax cut into the pockets of 95 percent of hardworking families. We created or saved over one million jobs...
This is campaign swill. At least it's showing kids what a President does. No flowered hats. No books about fuzzy animals. Just flat-out political speech.
... we've taken steps to unlock our frozen credit markets...
He's not taking any notice that he's talking to children. Here kids, look. This is a President. Wind him up and he talks President. I'm cutting a lot of generic stuff — puffery about his achievements and so forth. At some point, he gets to the topic of education:
The United States, a nation that has always led the way in innovation, is now being outpaced in math and science education. A handful of states have even gone in the wrong direction, lowering their standards at the very moment that they should be raising them. We used to rank number one in the number of college graduates and advanced degrees. That's not the case anymore. Meanwhile, African American and Latino students continue to lag behind their white classmates -- an achievement gap that will ultimately cost us hundreds of billions of dollars because that's our future workforce.
Should you really stand in front of a big group of middle schoolers and brutally inform that that the minority kids are doing worse? What does that sound like to a kid? It's especially harsh since he's expressing concern not for the personal fulfillment of the individual but for the fact that it's costing some amorphous "us" a whole lot of money. Students matter not because they are human beings but because — as a group — they are "our future workforce." They aren't even workers. They are to be merged into a mass called The Workforce.

When I was a teenager, talk like that stirred rebellion in me. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if I were not doing well in school and I were a member of a group the President stigmatized as lagging. I've got to assume I'd feel more rebellious.
Of course, these problems aren't new. We've heard about them for years....
Everything is new to kids! Why isn't he speaking to the kids?

He's got a big spending plan to tout. Of course, if there is to be federal involvement in education, it will need to draw on the spending power and it will necessarily require throwing out amounts of money that will be sufficient to tempt state and local government away from their independent educational policymaking.
... In the coming weeks, states will be able to compete for what we're calling a Race to the Top award. We're putting over $4 billion on the table -- $4 billion with a "b" -- one of the largest investments that the federal government has ever made in education reform. But we're not just handing it out to states because they want it. We're not just handing it out based on population. It's not just going through the usual political formulas. We're challenging states to compete for it....
The details of how to compete — how to impress federal officials that you've got the right ideas — are far beyond what children can understand. The children are really, therefore, just a backdrop for a speech to the country generally.
Now, before a state is even eligible to compete, they'll have to take an important first step. And this has caused some controversy in some places, but it shouldn't be controversial. Any state that has a so-called firewall law will have to remove them. Now, here's what a firewall law is: It basically says that you can't factor in the performance of students when you're evaluating teachers. That is not a good message in terms of accountability. So we said, if you've got one of those laws, if you want to compete for these grants you got to get rid of that law....
Wisconsin is a state that has that firewall law. We have it because we as a state want it. And we have excellent education here. But who wants to be excluded from a distribution of billions — that's billions with a "b" — of dollars in federal money? If we want to "race" for the money, we've got to tie teachers' salaries to student performance. The hypothetical rebellious student that I would become would be devilishly pleased to know that my refusal to jump through the government's educational hoops would cost my oppressor-teacher money.

There is much more to the speech, and some of the ideas are good. Yes, please support young people who want to become teachers, especially as they take on the work of educating disadvantaged children. There is an amazing section of the speech where he totally violates his daughter's privacy for the greater good:
So Malia came home the other day. She had gotten a 73 on her science test. Now, she's a 6th grader. There was a time a couple years ago when she came home with like an 80-something and she said, "I did pretty well." And I said, "No, no, no. That's" -- I said, "Our goal is" -- "Our goal is 90 percent and up." (Applause.)

Here is the interesting thing. She started internalizing that. So she came and she was depressed, "I got a 73." And I said, "Well, what happened?" "Well, the teacher -- the study guide didn't match up with what was on the test." "So what's your idea here?" "Well, I'm going to start -- I've got to read the whole chapter. I'm going to change how I study, how I approach it." So she came home yesterday, she was -- "I got a 95" -- right? -- so she's high-fiving. (Applause.)

But here's the point. She said -- she said, "I just like having knowledge." That's what she said. And what was happening was she had started wanting it more than us. Now, once you get to that point, our kids are on our [sic] way. But the only way they get to that point is if we're helping them get to that point.
It's hard to see just what it was that made Malia feel that she just liked "having knowledge." Was it the harsh slap of a bad grade? There's a long section of Obama's speech about testing. Is a lot of standardized testing good or bad? He dances all around that point and gathers some applause, but in the end, I think he's saying that we need the standardized tests and we will continue to require them — and hinge teachers' salaries to them. That's not going to end. That's going to be more powerfully incentivized.

And what can possibly inspire the valiant stepping up to the task of being a functioning component of The Workforce the love of knowledge? Is it billions — that's billions with a "b" — of dollars in tax money? Is it a President giving a speech with future components of The Workforce school kids in the background? It's a very great mystery. How does the government manipulate the great mass of young brain? Fortunately, it's a very great mystery.

136 comments:

former law student said...

The professor is really harping on the Presidential travel theme. Did Obama criticize her modest trip to GW Law School or something?

Obama is the President of all America, not just the part inside the Beltway. (In fact, why burden DC, NoVa, and MD residents alone, with the constant disruption local Presidential movement causes?) Further, as leader of the world's only superpower, he'll have to travel overseas as well.

Sofa King said...

I find it hard to believe the teachers unions will permit this. Scratch that, I find it impossible to belive.

traditionalguy said...

You just watched a Fidel Castro type speech. Young future voters are being told that all good comes into everyone's life because of the Smiling Leader whom they are priviledged to obey without asking questions asked like those bad older people do on Fox News. There is always the next Five Year Plan to give us hope until the next Five Year Plan is issued.

Roger Sweeny said...

When Dwayne Johnson was wrestling superstar The Rock, he would begin all his matches by telling the audience, "Finally The Rock has come back to _______________."

Andrea said...

When I was a kid in junior high, I would have been immensely flattered and thrilled if the president -- the actual president! -- spoke at my school and I got to go. That being said...

If I got a speech like that, I'd be puzzled and depressed at the very least. Political pabulum that was obviously meant for adults, plus some hey-welcome-to-your-future-as-a-cog-in-the-system plus condescending "make better grades so grownups can get more money" tacked on at the end for kids would have indicated to me that the president was just another tone-deaf adult controlling us. Fail!

AllenS said...

Once Obama quit blowing hot air, did the kids sing to him?

prairie wind said...

Four billion dollars. With a B.
Said the moron. With an M.

Is there anything he won't spend billions on? More standardized testing because...oh, I'm sure it's W's fault...the standardized tests we use now are so effective?

ricpic said...

No kid in the history of the universe ever said "I just like having knowledge."

Roger Sweeny said...

Sofa King,

The teachers' unions may not only permit it but encourage it, if they can get the plans to include lots of other things too, so there is the appearance of "reform" without actually making teachers more responsible.

See e.g
http://www.joannejacobs.com/2009/10/unionized-reform/#comments

Roger J. said...

Ummmm--Professor Althouse. What precisely did you expect from President Obama? (or for that matter any president). They make PR visits in what their staff tells them is the friendliest venue available to hawk their current half baked scheme. I can't believe you were expecting anything more profound!

Presidents, particularly this one, are like Billy Mayes--except he was better at it.

Richard Dolan said...

"Why isn't he speaking to the kids?
"

They're just props in the show. Since when does the leading man talk to the furniture or the scenery?

miller said...

"Four billion dollars. With a B.
Said the moron. With an M.


Prairie Wind wins the thread. And so early, too.

Synova said...

I think that teachers should be evaluated on performance... theirs.

Not all students are the same, not all have the same home support, and not all solutions are the same.

I'm convinced that the problem is made worse every time a "rule" is applied to a larger and larger system because the rule gets less and less able to be applied effectively.

I don't think that teachers at my very small school were better than other teachers... and we never so much as *heard* of the concept of AP classes... and at least some of the teachers were true stinkers. But we had vocational classes for those not academically inclined and those who were got a solid education and a whole lot of personal attention. All I can see with exchanging a k-12 school with a grand total of about 500 students with a monstrosity with (I looked it up) "Total Students Pre Kindergarten - 12 Grade: 90537." in the school district I now live in is a multiplication of those problems present in any school. Same... just BIGGER.

phosphorious said...

Wow. . . this evil Obama guy just doesn't know when to quit, does he?

Wasn't his recent humiliating defeat message enough that the country despises him?

And now he's making an UNPRECEDENTED speech to schoolchildren, and BURNING FUEL to make the trip.

George Washington is weeping bitter tears in heaven over the mockery that this communist baby-killer is making of the presidency.

Synova said...

Hey, Phos.

It's the hypocrisy.

k*thy said...

I am buoyed by the reaction of the students from interviews after the speech. They appeared engaged, articulate and mature. It’s good to know there’s some great things coming down the pike.

Synova said...

In any case... Althouse reminds me of my sister who was the only person in her class to absolutely refuse to sign some MADD or SADD or DARE "contract".

Not everyone is so rebellious, though I imagine some of the rebels internalize their anger and sign anyway.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Talk about not judging his audience.

You don't have to talk down to kids. But Presidential speeches to kids probably should be vaguely uplifting boilerplate punctuated by amusing anecdotes, not campaigning and policy wonkery.

That's the thing-he's not actually talking to the kids. He's talking to the media who's going to report on his speech.

The Improver said...

Wow. You just intimated that there's something wrong with children having the incredible opportunity of meeting the President of the United States.

Do you think you might be stretching your hatred just a little thin?

I am so thankful that you and those like you have just become white noise in the background of true reform based on intelligence, reason and fact.

traditionalguy said...

Still no word from the One about what a middle school student sent to Afghanistan five years from now should expect from his leadership that has put his ass on the line for nothing important enough to make a hard decision about at the Golf Club House, I mean White House, where the Barak and the Czars are all working so hard with George Soros to destroy what is left of the American economy that funds the military.

The Improver said...

Oh...I almost forgot.

I seem to remember President Bush sitting in a classroom, completely immobilized by fear, during some type of big event that took place in New York City and at the Pentagon.

Now what was that again...?

And coming in a close second place has to be the photo of President Bush reading a book upside down in yet another classroom.

At least our current President wasn't in over his head around 5th graders.

Schorsch said...

I teach college kids. In my short time with them, I have to try to convert a "learn for the test" attitude back to a love of knowledge. Ann, you had better hope I'm successful before they get to your class.

bearbee said...

Obama is the President of all America,...

He is president of the United States of America.

-----

Wait 'til they grow up and have to pay the tax bill.

gary myers said...

Your "Governor Boggs" was governor of Delaware from 1952 until he went to the US Senate in 1960. In 1972, J. Caleb Boggs was upset in his effort for a 3rd US Senate term by a young, upstart lawyer named Joe Biden.

Ann Althouse said...

@The Improver Try clicking on the links in the post you think you are successfully critiquing. Then come back, abase yourself at my feet, and apologize.

AJ Lynch said...

It's a very great mystery....and I believe the key to solving it is PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT not federal billions.

How does Obama think he himself succeeded? The answer, IMO, is his grandparents gave a shit about his schooling and his future, that is how!

Ann Althouse said...

@gary myers Yeah, I know. It's a small world. I've got one degree of separation from Joe Biden.

6p00e54ede81388833 said...

Why does he want to remind you, at the beginning of the speech, of last year's election? For you: remember back to the height of his popularity. For him: remember the high point of his life.

bagoh20 said...

"When I was a teenager, talk like that stirred rebellion in me."

Now it get's your vote.

AJ Lynch said...

That reminds me....When Joe Biden joined the Senate, the maximum soc sec medicare tax was about $1,100 per year.

When he left the Senate 36 years later, the max had increased to more than $16,000! How is that for a successful career in the Senate?

Maybe we would have been better off with Boggs' dead corpse in the Delaware Senate seat? Hell maybe we'd be better off with 100 dead corpses in the Senate? They could not do any more damage to the country.

garage mahal said...

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The hypothetical rebellious student that I would become would be devilishly pleased to know that my refusal to jump through the government's educational hoops would cost my oppressor-teacher money.

Last year my daughter's class intentionally bombed the state's standardized test. This was done just to protest the fact that the school did not provide free breakfast for the students on the days of the test. ( Breakfast had been provided in years past. )

While our teacher's pay is not specifically tied to student performance, the district-wide teacher's contract was due for renewal this past year. The town residents, many of whom did not know that the test-bombing was intentional, voted against the contract. So now our teachers are working without a contract.

victoria said...

Phosphorious, are you Florida in disguise? Wow, vitriol and anger, didn't you get your proper dosage today?

Improver, finally a rational person on this blog, talks calmly and rationally and actually makes sense. This baby killer communist stuff is all crap.

Want war crimes? Let's talk about the THOUSANDS of Iraqi civilians killed over the last 6 years in a war we should have never, never been involved in. Not to mention the forgotten war, Afghanistan, where we promised much 8 years ago and delivered NOTHING.


Think about that and then start on your tirades. They are hot air. Full of heat and bluster, signifying nothing

Nomilk said...

We now know more about Malia's grades than we do about the POTUS's.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?

Yes. If he unleashed hell on the people responsible, like Bush in a matter of weeks in a war that leftists denounced as for a natural gas pipeline.

Afghanistan didn't become the good war until Iraq. Michael Moore, for example.

Paul Zrimsek said...

And coming in a close second place has to be the

photoshop

of President Bush reading a book upside down in yet another classroom.

The Improver said...

George...can you just imagine that scenario? For once and for all the entire "America First" rhetoric would be put to bed and we'd hear what it's really been all along.
"My America First."

An America of white, uneducated, fearful, religious zealots.

Reason #23 I'm all for Texas seceding. Just move them all down there, fence it up and let them have at it. This country is moving forward and I would be all to happy to let them move backwards together.

Of course, they'd all end up killing each other with their automatic weapons because it wouldn't take long for them to identify the 'enemy' amongst themselves. For as we know, without an enemy their impotent.

gaywrites said...

"I teach college kids. In my short time with them, I have to try to convert a "learn for the test" attitude back to a love of knowledge. Ann, you had better hope I'm successful before they get to your class."

I'm in law school. Like it or not, I don't have time to love what I'm learning (though the optimist in me says I went to law school because I wanted to love what I was learning). The truth is, my entire future (career) is contingent upon my ability to "learn for the test." Law school exams, like most exams, don't require or value love of learning. Getting an A in a class (as I've learned) requires knowing what the teacher values, how THEY structure their arguments, and what THEY find important/interesting/etc. Most exams I've taken in law school ask between 2-5 questions, none of which have tested more than about 1/3 of the material, with the exception of MAYBE Tax Law which was brutally comprehensive.

garage mahal said...

Yes. If he unleashed hell on the people responsible, like Bush in a matter of weeks in a war that leftists denounced as for a natural gas pipeline..

What if he invaded a country that didn't have anything do with it. Say, Turkey.

Schorsch said...

gaywrites: "I'm in law school. Like it or not, I don't have time to love what I'm learning."

Really? I'm not familiar with law school beyond a few friends there, and the few exam questions I see on this blog and elsewhere. From what I've seen, they require quite a bit more critical thinking than standardized tests. Critical thinking is utterly absent in many kids in my classes. Love of learning fosters critical thinking, and hence the connection I made.

bagoh20 said...

I've never had any special respect for politicians, even as a kid. I think I was a prodigy or something. I think it was the short hair. Politician never have long enough hair anymore. I liked them powdered wigs.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Yes. If he unleashed hell on the people responsible, like Bush in a matter of weeks in a war that leftists denounced as for a natural gas pipeline..

What if he invaded a country that didn't have anything do with it. Say, Turkey.


You mean like when FDR invaded Tunisia instead of Japan or Germany? You know, they never hanged Hirohito! He dies on the throne in the 1990's.

According to Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and all the other Congressional Democrats who authorized the Iraq War, the reason was here:

http://hnn.us/articles/1282.html

garage mahal said...

Gabriel
I guess I was asking you, not FDR, congressional Democrats, Hillary, John Kerry, etc

Freeman Hunt said...

If Obama manages to crush the teachers' unions' blocks on incorporating student performance into evaluations, I will think he is Mr. Awesome for at least a week.

Freeman Hunt said...

In fact, I pledge that if Obama gets merit incorporated into teacher pay, I will write a nice, little poem about him and post it as a comment in an open post on this blog.

traditionalguy said...

Victoria...Let's have a contest between Wingers and Liberals to quote Shakespeare's best lines against each other. I'll begin with, "Now is the winter of our discontent made wondrous summer by this Daughter of Palin..."

Meade said...

Obama: "We've put a tax cut into the pockets of 95 percent of hardworking families."

And the lucky 5 percent, you've stayed out of their pockets altogether?

gaywrites said...

@Schorsch:

Good point. Obviously law school exams require critical thinking, something standardized tests probably lack. I just don't think the critical thinking required for a law school exam manifests itself from the exam-takers' love of the subject. It comes from the fact that if you don't learn to think critically fairly quickly in your law school tenure, you're not going to do well (not get a high-paying firm job). Love of learning is mostly absent from law school. Though, you know who loves the subject matter and loves learning in law school? Law professors.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Okay. I supported the war in Iraq, and Bush for prosecuting that war, for a list of reasons very similar to those given by Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, et. al in 2003.

If North Korea or Iran is judged by the President to be too much of a threat to be ignored, then I will support military action by the President.

If he decides he needs to escalate in Afghanistan, he has my support.

I am afraid he'll waffle and dither, though.

AJ Lynch said...

Freeman:

You are too fair & reasonable. Now wake up since you have to be dreaming.

The Improver said...

Yeah George! Those damn Turks need to be taken on.

And while we're at it. You know who who I've never trusted? Canada. They're all too nice, happy and healthy. We should have taken them out when we had the chance and 9/11 was the perfect opportunity. We could have increased our land mass as well as expanding Alaska. The whole damn thing could have been called Alaska and I know the PERFECT person who could have been the Governor.

Instead we go over to a desert to kill our soldiers and innocents Iraqi's. We really blew that one.

Sofa King said...

I seem to remember President Bush sitting in a classroom, completely immobilized by fear, during some type of big event that took place in New York City and at the Pentagon.

Doesn't it strike you as at all incongruous that Bush would go to schools and actually read to the children and have conversations with them? Talk to them like they were real people? Whereas, so far as I know, Obama has only ever gone to schools to have children witness the event of him giving a speech to other people. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am.

prairie wind said...

I dunno. The teachers' unions may go for it if they can control the process...and they will. I'm guessing that "merit" will mean another kind of certification that teachers will need to go back to school for. The unions do love extra certification.

Alex said...

The Improver - there are no such thing as innocent Iraqis. Besides what's a few thousand among friends? Talk to me when we've opened up some death camps, pffft Lozah.

Alex said...

BTW is Hillary Clintong going to be charged for war crimes too? She supported the Iraq War.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

..... but in the end, I think he's saying that we need the standardized tests and we will continue to require them — and hinge teachers' salaries to them. That's not going to end

And this is significantly different from No Child Left Behind....how?

The Improver said...

Sofa...I seem to remember that just recently the President visited a school to discuss the importance of education with children. Remember? It was simulcast to other schools? Ringing a bell?

I also seem to remember screams of 'indoctrination' and 'mind control."

Remember?

Yeah...who wants the President of the United States encouraging children to get a good education? Damn Socialist!

Monkeyboy said...

Also missing in the "My Pet Goat" snark is that the Secret Service asked him to stay in the classroom until they could secure an exit.

Paul, you beat me to the photoshop comment, but simple facts won't hurt a troll, any D&D player knows you have to kill it with fire.

Agree it wasn't a trip to visit the kids, but a campaign stop.

(wv) "tronr" the cosplay tron guy.

rhhardin said...

Today's low achievement in dogs is another problem.

Can the President speak to dog owners?

Vicki Hearne spots the cause of the decline.

So I quibble with the AKC for insisting [in obedience competitions] that "lack of willingness or enjoyment on the part of the dog must be penalized," for the same reason that I become irritable with people who want to penalize Wittgenstein or Beethoven, take off moral points, for their lack of "enjoyment." Either this sport is serious or it is not. If it is serious, then the dog who does the best job should win, and if a dog who is tense about the show situation, or excessively worried or conscientious about the jumps, triumphs over fear and turns in the most correct performance, that dog should be honored.

If this sport is not serious, then each dog should come out and romp with the handler for ninety seconds, and the one who gives the most romp should win.

bagoh20 said...

Teachers unions exist to protect teachers from the marketplace and competition (excellence). They will never allow merit on the plantation.

Clyde said...

I hate to agree with Obama, but on the macro scale, he's right on this particular thing: The main purpose of education is to give students the skills they will need to make a decent (or better) living as adults.

The message that adults should be giving kids is that if they don't work hard and learn the subjects being taught to them, their lives are probably going to suck when they get out of school. If you don't have marketable job skills, you're probably going to be stuck doing menial, low-wage jobs for the rest of your life.

I was talking about this last night with my brother. My niece is studying civil engineering at Kansas State, and my brother said that he told her all along growing up that times were going to get hard, and that there would be two kinds of people, the Haves and the Have-Nots, because the middle class was going to be savaged by the spending and taxes of our congressional criminal class. She took the message to heart and is a good, hard-working student who is going to do something with her life when she gets out of school.

The purpose of education is not self-actualization, although if that's a side effect, so much the better. The purpose of education is to get a leg up in the competition that is Real Life once you leave Academia.

WV: lizes, the opposite of truthzes.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I also seem to remember screams of 'indoctrination' and 'mind control."

Remember?


No. I don't. Perhaps if you could find a few links that we could peruse? Take your time.

Also. Why does every thread have to devolve into a Bush/Iraq etc boring and toally irrelevant conversation. Can't you people/lefties stay on topic even one time? What is wrong with you people that you can't focus.

Joan said...

Tour de force of a post, Ann -- and thank you, too, for watching the speech so I don't have to.

I'd like to suggest an "Obama is not like Bush" tag. Obama goes to schools and makes campaign speeches with kiddie backdrops; Bush goes to schools and interacts with the kids at their level, reading to them a story they could understand, with no political undertones. Obama goes to the airport to welcome home fallen soldiers from Afghanistan, but makes sure the cameras are there to document it; Bush visits the wounded in the VA hospital countless times but keeps it out of the media almost entirely.

I know which behaviors I prefer.

Freeman Hunt said...

See, if I'd been in high school, and President Obama had come to visit, I don't think I'd react at all to his speech.

Mostly because I would probably be cutting and not be there for it.

Original Mike said...

We've put a tax cut into the pockets of 95 percent of hardworking families.

Anybody know what he's referring to?

The Improver said...

Are you serious Dust Bunny? I mean, are you really serious?

I could post thousands of links but here's two to get you started. Went with one of those lying, mainstream media sources (CNN) and another that you may relate a little better to.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/04/obama.schools/index.html

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=108653

And you're right. The rehashing of the whole Bush/Iraq thing is just a complete waste of time. I mean, it's not like we're still in Iraq or anything. And of course, there's no connection between most everything that the current Administration is facing and the previous 8 years of Republican rule. You're right...let's just move on. I mean, it's not as if those who don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it or anything like that.

Let's stay on topic. Obama is a foreign-born, Muslim Socialist who wants to take away your guns while taking over the health care system. Damn..I feel better having everything so crystallized. This fringe Right thing actually makes life a lot easier! THANKS!

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe The Improver should get to work on his comments.

Iapetus said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again: this President has political ADHD and can't focus on any one thing, no matter how trivial or important.

John Lynch said...

If we had a monarchy, the king or queen could do this stuff.

There's a "head of state" function independent of the "head of government." In the US we've combined the two, probably a bad idea.

Adam said...

A year ago in the WSJ Stanley Kurtz told us what Obama's priorities were for education spending the last time he had any say in it:

"Instead of funding schools directly, it [the Chicago Annenberg Challenge] required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn)."

Math and science may have their place, but our first priority is the proper socialization of the citizens of the future.

Original Mike said...

No kid in the history of the universe ever said "I just like having knowledge."

Oh, I probably did. But then, I spent my summers in the library.

k*thy said...

Joan - he did meet with group of students before yesterday's speech and I believe he was given permission by the family of the fallen soldier for that picture. Isn't it their call? To me, it's a shame Bush didn't ever go.

fls - I guess he could have taken the bus or have been video-conferenced in. Or maybe we could move the capital to St. Louis...

rocketeer67 said...

Anybody know what he's referring to?

I think by "tax cut" President Peter Principle means "ticking deficit time-bomb."

k*thy said...

Original Mike - I think I've heard my daughter (a self-proclaimed nerd) say it, too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

What if he invaded a country that didn't have anything do with it. Say, Turkey.

Actually garage, I could see Obama invading a NATO ally just to show Putin whose side he's really on.

bagoh20 said...

I just like having nullage.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Want war crimes? Let's talk about the THOUSANDS of Iraqi civilians killed over the last 6 years in a war we should have never, never been involved in.

Well considering that the majority of Iraqi civilians were killed by...well other Iraqi civilians as well as Islamofascist terrorists I will support your efforts in bringing the Islamofascist terrorists to justice.

Let me know when you round them up.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If North Korea or Iran is judged by the President to be too much of a threat to be ignored, then I will support military action by the President.

Which will probably be right around the time the fallout settles over NYC or Honolulu.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Improviser.. I mean Improver...

Sorry I thought you were referring to screams about Bush and mind control, which I certainly don't remember. Not the current administration and its obvious indoctrination of students.

Let's stay on topic. Obama is a foreign-born, Muslim Socialist who wants to take away your guns while taking over the health care system. Damn..I feel better having everything so crystallized. This fringe Right thing actually makes life a lot easier! THANKS!

Seriously...why can't you stay on topic? Maybe you should be posting in the Aspergers/ADD thread. No one is discussing Obama's birthplace, religion, guns or even health care in this thread except you.

Can't you focus even a little bit? The discussion is about education/teacher's unions/Obama's speech to the children or press and government in education.

It's like trying to have a conversation with a three year old.

garage mahal said...

Well considering that the majority of Iraqi civilians were killed by...well other Iraqi civilians as well as Islamofascist terrorists I will support your efforts in bringing the Islamofascist terrorists to justice.

Hope you're not getting your stats from that whacked out far left Lancet outfit. Curious though where you did get your stats?

Robin said...

Just move them all down there [Texas], fence it up and let them have at it.

You'd be left wandering a vast wasteland, populated only by tenured Womyn's Studies professors and state and federal employees.

Original Mike said...

We've put a tax cut into the pockets of 95 percent of hardworking families.

Really, I'm wracking my brain to figure out what this means. This was a [bogus] campaign promise of his, but has he mixed up in his head a campaign promise with reality?

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

The Governor showed up. "This is Governor Boggs," I was told. For some reason, he was very interested in how to make a crappy lady's hat out of cloth-and-wire flowers.

I'm sure the hat was perfectly lovely. Don't beat yourself up.

@gary myers Yeah, I know. It's a small world. I've got one degree of separation from Joe Biden.

Always a scary thought.

garage mahal said...

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?

But would Bambi keep his cool until he left the classroom and not turn a hair to keep from scaring the Hell out of the little kids?

Doubt it.

PS The teacher was doing the reading that day. For Christ's sake, try to get the facts occasionally.

Scott M said...

Reason #23 I'm all for Texas seceding.

I've been looking into transplanting to TX for a while now for completely apolotical reasons. However, I've been very surprised by some fairly recent trends. Texas, for whatever reason, seems to be overtaking California as the center of innovation and growth.

Another nice tidbit I recently found out (and admittedly haven't checked up on) is that there are three main power grids in this country. East, West, and Texas. There's a lot of that in other sectors as well, most of which benefits Texans directly.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Really, I'm wracking my brain to figure out what this means. This was a [bogus] campaign promise of his, but has he mixed up in his head a campaign promise with reality?


May as well quit Mike. His entire campaign was bogus as evidenced by the fact that he's pandering to the childrens rather then busting heads in his own party to get his health care bill passed.

Wait and see, if it doesn't pass this year he'll be whining in some school gymnasium about Bush.

Original Mike said...

It's just that I find this claim particularily egregious, Hoosier.

And I'm ready to admit I'm a dunce if someone can point out this tax cut he got passed.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's just that I find this claim particularily egregious, Hoosier.

I agree although since no one in the media has a brass pair to actually call him out on it, its quite easy to spew this kind of crap.

That's probably why Wilson was pilloried for speaking truth to power during Obama's speech. First time someone had the nerve to call the guy out on his lies.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hope you're not getting your stats from that whacked out far left Lancet outfit. Curious though where you did get your stats?

Oh I was kidding garage. Everyone knows that the thousands of innocent Iraqis were killed by American war criminals planting bombs in those marketplaces, mosques, police recruiting centers, etc.

You just can't kill as many innocent Iraqis with smart bombs.

prairie wind said...

You're not a dunce, Original Mike.

Original Mike said...

You're not a dunce, Original Mike.

Damn. I coulda used the money to pay for my share of health care "reform".

Bob said...

And poor Gen McChrystal waits by his phone for a decision...

What was that label for Obama again - "dithering"...

Shanna said...

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?

I really would hope that they wouldn’t criticism him endlessly and irrelevantly (even after he was out of office!) for having a very human moment of shock and sadness. Honestly.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?

The book would most likely be Das Kapital.

TosaGuy said...

The dead tree version of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran its headline today about fake Stimulus employment numbers in Wisconsin rather than this visit by the president.

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

School is boring a big part of the time. You would hope that Obama would say something not boring when he is standing directly before schoolchildren. Instead he delivers a snoozer.

MadisonMan said...

People in Milwaukee are probably miffed he came to Madison.

The State Journal had 4 commemorative pages! Whee!

My son was in 4th grade with the young lady who sang the National Anthem -- even back in 4th grade she had a big big voice. (They sang with Lee Stanley at the Overture Center and this young lady had a solo).

I think any middle schooler would be pretty psyched to have the President come to school. It means no regular classes, and lots of TV coverage.

Shanna said...

And I'm ready to admit I'm a dunce if someone can point out this tax cut he got passed.

I think he’s talking about the 400 dollar tax credit where they just changed people’s withholding, and I think it doesn’t apply to everyone.

Shanna said...

The only politician I remember coming to school was the Mayor and he came to introduce Miss America when I was in high school. Then she talked about school to work programs (which I didn't really care about, since I was just waiting for high school to be over so I could start college). So, the mayor first told Miss America that there was some rule that when miss america came to town she had to kiss the mayor. He said it twice, and she was a little flustered. He also told her he was rooting for the girl from Akransas (who was second runner up or something that year).

Kirby Olson said...

He needs to dither over Afghanistan instead of getting his homework done. So he flies around to distract himself, and to get more money for his baby-killing fund.

Still, I think it would be pretty cool if a president had ever come to my elementary school!

I'll bet the kids were psyched. It would have been neat to hear interviews with them.

Original Mike said...

I think he’s talking about the 400 dollar tax credit where they just changed people’s withholding, and I think it doesn’t apply to everyone.

Huh? I got a tax cut and didn't even notice? It's possible, I suppose.

raf said...

I believe the "tax cut" he is referring to was the adjustment of the withholding schedules which reduced the amount taken out of each paycheck. That was hyped as a "tax cut" at the time. Of course, it does nothing to reduce total tax liability and will reduce the refund or increase the amount due in April. The assumption seems to be that the general populace has the attention span of a gnat and will not connect the April surprise with the withholding reduction. Or that something else disruptive will happen in the interim so noone can make the connection.

wv: imblogen. No, actually imcommenten. Annblogen.

Shanna said...

raf, it was my understanding at the time that there was some kind of 400 dollar credit linked to changing the withholding. Who knows what really happened, but I thought that was the intent.

Shanna said...

Ah, found it. The "making work pay" (gah,, these names!) credit. Doesn't apply above a certain income level and probably only made 10 or 20 bucks difference in your check. Yippee!

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204447,00.html

Scott M said...

I propose a 1990 page document of a bill that would replace our annual withholding scheme with a simple month bill that you have to pay like any other bill. You get all of your money each paycheck, but have to write a check or EFT each month to state, federal and local. I’d even post it only before the vote like the President promised.

That should dispel any cognitive dissonance in the populace regarding their taxes and make the average American an overnight active voter. At the same time, it ends the withholding plan that was never supposed to be a permanent fixture of American life.

Scott M said...

d'oh

that was supposed to be "post it for 72 hours before the vote"

ugh

TosaGuy said...

"People in Milwaukee are probably miffed he came to Madison"

We have real traffic problems without the president jacking it all up further.

The Milwaukee J-S usually slobbers all over itself covering the president whenever he is in the state. It's an interesting and drastically different choice by the layout editor.

Original Mike said...

So I guess I'm a dunce, after all.

Actually, looking at this, I'm sure I had to give it back on April 15th. Last year, I used the "opportunity" presented by the value of my IRA falling by 50% to convert the IRA to a Roth. So last year I was "rich" and had the privilege of paying a whopping large tax bill.

Joan said...

k*thy:I believe he was given permission by the family of the fallen soldier for that picture. Isn't it their call? To me, it's a shame Bush didn't ever go.

You've missed the point. I think it's wonderful that Obama went, but why did he need cameras there at all? He did it for the photo-op. If he did it because he cared, he wouldn't have had to have his staff call around until they found a family that would agree to let him be photographed.

And how do you know Bush never went? We don't know that. We know very little about how Bush dealt with the wounded, and the dead's families, because the Bush administration did not parade their policies and practices on those issues in front of the cameras. They had some decency about it.

Original Mike said...

Oh, wait! Double dunce! This would be for the 2009 tax year. So I might get to keep the $400. Wu-who!!!

former law student said...

but why did he need cameras there at all?

Because whatever the President does is news. People who think shutting out Fox News restricts freedom of the press cannot turn around and suggest that Obama should turn away the media.

Shanna -- according to a recent comment, "Miss America" should more properly be called "Miss United States of America." Please make a note of this.

Regarding the Chicago Annenberg Challenge: The Annenberg foundation rightly could not see how simply pouring more money on them could improve failing schools. Chicago elementary schools already get a base of $5,075 per student; high schools get $6,075.

So they gave money to pilot projects that were quite different from the typical government schooling, hoping that one or more would be a marked improvement.

Sofa King said...

People who think shutting out Fox News restricts freedom of the press cannot turn around and suggest that Obama should turn away the media.

Why not? Isn't media/no media a different issue than disparate treatment? One would think a former law student of all people should understand the difference. It doesn't strike me as at all inconsistent to argue that the President should be able to decide when and where the media have access to him (assuming he isn't out in public of course) while simultaneously arguing that when granting media access, restrictions should not be made based on viewpoint.

Q said...

I know there is at least one kid who has been/will be profoundly affected by the President's visit.

jeff said...

"I seem to remember President Bush sitting in a classroom, completely immobilized by fear, during some type of big event that took place in New York City and at the Pentagon."

No you don't.

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?"

Of course. Right up to the moment he apologized to the people who created that 9/11 moment.

knox said...

No kid in the history of the universe ever said "I just like having knowledge."

Yes, this made me think of Hillary saying she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary. Obvious lie and stupid to say it (because every parent knows it's B.S.)

Bill said...

Hoosier Daddy:

Das Kapital? Would he read it in translation or in the original Austrian?

Roger J. said...

The Lancet study on Iraqi deaths--ah yes--it stands a model of bad disaster epidemiology. Now I am perfectly able to critque it but I would love to hear its defenders support it. Hint: a study that does not control for a mobile population confounds randomness, and randomness is the sine qua non for epidemiology. But please--lets hear those that choose to use the Lancet's study defend it.

AC245 said...

I'm sure if a 9/11 happened while Obama was reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren conservatives would rally around him in support. Wouldn't they?

Well, today, we got to see how Obama reacts.

Obama took the time to thank the people organizing his conference, give a "shout out", and praise the attending politicians.

After he took a few minutes to get all the important hellos, thank yous, and applause lines out, then he remembered to mention that "oh, and by the way, there was just a terrorist attack at Fort Hood."

How noble of Obama to have the presence of mind to remember to keep campaigning even in the face of this "man-made catastrophe."

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier Daddy:

Das Kapital? Would he read it in translation or in the original Austrian?


Touche.

I'm working on my Obamaisms calendar. I'm already halfway through 2011.

I was going to work on one for Biden but rough estimates had it going out to Sol going supernova.

garage mahal said...

How noble of Obama to have the presence of mind to remember to keep campaigning even in the face of this "man-made catastrophe.".

Did he break out a guitar and crack some jokes?

Synova said...

"It doesn't strike me as at all inconsistent to argue that the President should be able to decide when and where the media have access to him (assuming he isn't out in public of course) while simultaneously arguing that when granting media access, restrictions should not be made based on viewpoint."

The President absolutely *does* do that. Reporters aren't allowed in private spaces. They don't get to wander the White House and bother the First Family. They don't get to sit in on meetings when the President is doing business.

We know that Bush met with many families of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the media was not allowed, the meetings were kept as quiet as possible to the extent they were hardly reported. Probably he didn't go to Dover and his explanation was that he didn't want to turn something respectful into a media event. The same reason he never went to a funeral.

Because, yes, the media follows the President and it becomes an *event*.

So, as far as we know, Bush chose not to go. Or else he went without informing the media on the same basis of privacy that keeps the media out of the Presidential business, meetings, briefings of his own staff, and his bedroom.

Synova said...

The facts of the shooting at Ft. Hood aren't known yet. I would expect the President to say something about being with those who are injured and the families of those who were killed. Very generic.

The criticism of Bush for not making a scene and frightening children has always seemed opportunistic to me. I don't think anyone is serious about that... I think they're lying. It was still up to first responders and to all of those people, all of them on the job doing their job, who were responsible for finding out everything that could be known and preparing to brief the President. Nothing Bush did could have rushed that. What he did so was the right thing. If not the *only* right thing, remaining calm and finishing the book and not frightening the children was *just* as right as any other choice he could have made.

Obama isn't excitable either, and his supporters seem to think that's a *good* thing.

prairie wind said...

Thanks for the link AC245. That was appalling. All that smooth grinning and back-slapping crap, leaving his thoughts about Fort Hood until after a jovial shout-out... Gives me the creeps.

yashu said...

Prairie Wind beat me to it.

Yeah, the thing with with Obama's demeanor here isn't one of temperament or excitability-- after all, these were prepared remarks, not an in-the-moment reaction. It's rather, as AC245 notes, one of priority and tone-deafness: the creepy, insincere tonal shift... like a Ted Baxter newscaster... from the grinning 'shout-out' (unpresidential rhetoric in itself, but whatever), the usual self-regarding campaign-mode prattle, *and then* the switch to solemn face/ tone (see Ted Baxter here) to address the tragedy. (Shows he really cares about those massacred soldiers and their families, eh? At least when Clinton 'felt your pain', he was so much more convincing...)

It's not a big deal (there's so much more about Obama that dismays me, and the left's obsession with Pet Goat was so petty), but it's yet another of those many episodes so characteristic of Obama's personality. And you know if it was Bush, that cheery "shout-out"/ insincere tonal shift in the face of tragedy would become an irresistible meme for ongoing parody, on SNL etc.

prairie wind said...

And you know if it was Bush, he would have recognized a grave situation for what it was instead of using it as an opportunity for any cheery shout-outs.

First things first, and we see--again and again--what comes first for Obama.

Photog714 said...

Middle school kids don't care about the content of his speech. They don't know a frozen credit market from a frozen halibut, and they really don't give a shit.

And everybody else can plainly see that BO was in campaign mode again (has he ever been out of campaign mode?) and showing his ass.

It was a waste of jet fuel. The kids should have been diagramming sentences.

Penny said...

Those who said that critical thinking is one of the most important things a student should learn in school are missing an opportunity to show that they, themselves, have learned that skill.

Forget about who made this speech. What is your opinion of the content and his major points to improve education in this country?

Remember this, Obama will be GONE in another three to seven years, but our education challenges will not be.

No one here is worried about the state of education in our country, and what the long term impact of that will be?

Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...

Better he would have just read to them passages from "My Pet Goat".

Clearly young minds need to be assuaged, reminded that they can take life as unseriously as that scion of the New England aristocracy, George W. Bush, took it.

Especially with 4 airliners hijacked by box-cutters as they're crashed into the country's financial center and military headquarters, killing thousands.

Let's pretend that debacle left no impact on young minds. Yep, let's sell the youth short. The same youth who turned out to vote Obama into office in 2008 after no indoctrination by the man years ago, but rather after witnessing the obscene spectacle that was the eight years of the Bush presidency.

The presidency of a man who did The Good People of Althousania the favor of patronizing the youth. And the world. And the rest of the electorate.

Penny said...

I think this speech, for all its weaknesses, was long overdue. It's nice that he visited the midwest to make this speech, but wouldn't it have been more impactful had he made it at some inner city school in Newark NJ or LA?

The black and Hispanic populations are increasing at a rate that exceeds that of white people, and that's just fine, except that these groups historically do poorer on any educational scale.

Given that the world's requirement for MORE knowledge workers is a given, we are going to be in a helluva mess soon enough.

Kansas City said...

I saw the speech live and had the same reaction as Ann about why was he making a standard partisan political speech to a bunch of middle schoolers.

I am not a fan of Obama's policies, but my conclusion was that he was just performing a role at the schoool - spewing out the speech that someone else had written - that there was no there there. He seemed like a robot (with good delivery) reading off a teleprompter.

It was strange and disconcerting.

Why do he and his advisors think that it is helpful to them to go to a school and to simply read partisan political speeches? Who even decides this is good thing to do? How can they decide that, when there are such pressing issues like Afghanistan, health care, and the economy?

I always thought Obama was too liberal and slightly more dishonest than the typical politician, but I also thought he was a smart and serious guy who would grow up once in the White House. Instead, he seems full of himself and inclined to continue to campaign and play the role of president. And he has surrounded himself with all these political hacks in the White House.

I think the best scenario is that dems become too scared to do anything before the 2010 elections, then get thrown out in the mid-terms, and nothing too serious happens before 2012.

Obama is a great American story. Too bad it is unlikely to end well.

Shanna said...

Obama took the time to thank the people organizing his conference, give a "shout out", and praise the attending politicians.

Gosh that was bad. We were watching at work and they were reporting on Fort Hood and then it was all "breaking news, the president is going to speak on this" and he's guffawing and giving shout outs and talking about native americans...I'm not sure if the camera wasn't supposed to cut to him yet or what but it did not look good. I certainly hope he didn't realize the camera's were on him for his statement on Fort Hood.

Shanna said...

I saw the speech live and had the same reaction as Ann about why was he making a standard partisan political speech to a bunch of middle schoolers.

I don't know why he doesn't make these more adult/wonky speeches to high schoolers. That would be more age appropriate.

PatCA said...

"What is the President's job?

The president's job is the president.

Jane said...

And to think . . . today I was fantasizing about school choice.

I thought, hey, what if I could send my kids to the fancy private school in town . . .

But I can't, so I went downstairs and we opened our grammar books together.

I wonder how my teacher evaluation will go, or how much federal money I'll get . . . or not.

Nomilk said...

Obama took the time to thank the people organizing his conference, give a "shout out", and praise the attending politicians.


My one hope for Obama was that the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy would put an end to all of this hip-hop putrescence. But noooo, we still get the fist bumps and the "shout outs."

We. Are. So. Screwed.

el polacko said...

i never really gave much thought to what it means to 'act presidential' but when barack goes into his gangsta-lean, starts bobbing and weaving, drops the endings off of words, and throws around slang expressions, i know that that's not it.
i swear that the movie 'idiocracy' is looking less like a comedy and more like a documentary with every passing day.