Uploaded: Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 5:34 am
Controversy continues over Obama's 10 a.m. video talk to students today
Pleasanton activist says parents choosing to 'opt out' even though district could lose state aid for absences
Controversy over President Obama's scheduled 10 a.m. address this morning to the nation's school children continued over the Labor Day weekend including here in Pleasanton where parents are still discussing whether to allow their children to participate in classroom activities that will air the program.
In a statement issued Friday, Myla Grasso, spokeswoman for the Pleasanton Unified School District, said district teachers are not required to have their classes participate in the address and/or the accompanying lesson plans developed by the U.S. Department of Education. She said she didn't know how many teachers planned to participate or if students would be able to know if their teacher planned to participate when they left school for the three-day holiday weekend.
However, in a statement issued early today, Bridget Melson, a Pleasanton resident who operates a psychiatric practice in the city and helped organize last April's "Taxed Enough Already" local protest under the auspices of the Pleasanton Tea Party (pleasantonteaparty.com), said many concerned parents are choosing to have their students "opt out" of the Obama speech, lesson plan and/or school all together.
"I do respect that Obama is our president," Melson said. "However, due to inconsistencies that I personally have seen in his character, the company he keeps, among other things, we choose not to have our children participate in (the) event in the schools."
"I personally feel that especially at the elementary school level, children should be taught, reading, writing, arithmetic, and my son's favorite—Recess," she said, adding that she is choosing to keep her 5 and 7-year-old children home for the day.
"I conducted an email poll (Sunday) asking how many parents in Pleasanton, Sunol, and Livermore were keeping their children home," Melson said. "I have been receiving emails all day and they have continued through the night. I think it sends a strong message to the schools that they need to listen to us and if they don't, we will opt out which I know affects the district financially."
The California Republican Assembly, a volunteer organization of conservative Republicans in California, also has recommended that local school boards decline "this highly intrusive federal manipulation of our local school curriculums."
"Matters like this need the local school boards to deliberate in open public session and provide for the ability for our parents to opt in," said Ken Mettler, president of the organization.
"There are questions as to where this falls instructionally, especially with the advent of state standards and the requirement of instructional minutes," Mettler said. "Normally, instructional materials are previewed before they are allowed in the classroom. This broadcast will disrupt the normal timeline of instruction."
According to national media reports, schools across the country are choosing whether to participate in showing the presidential address, leaving it up to the individual school and teacher, or deeming it inappropriate and opting out of both the address and Presidential lesson plans all together.
When asked if the timing of the speech after students are returning from the Labor Day weekend could lead to surprised parents and students, in Pleasanton, Grasso said she didn't think so given the national attention it has received.
The U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said the address would encourage students to "work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for learning."
"I think it's an appropriate thing for the district to show an address from the president to stay in school, set personal goals and demonstrate responsibility," Grasso said, adding that these ideas are in line with the Community of Character and 40 Assets programs currently in place.
As of last Friday, the Pleasanton district had been contacted by about 10 parents via calls and emails expressing concern. Grasso said that parents who would rather their children not watch the address or complete assignments related to it should bring a note to class and there would be alternate activities available during that time.
Responding to talk of pulling children out of the classroom, a statement from the district encouraged parents to "know the facts," which state that the district loses more than $30 per student who is absent (excused or unexcused). Grasso added that students will not be asked to sign any "pledge" related to the speech.
The White House has made the text of the president's remarks available for review on its website, www.whitehouse.gov. The U.S. Department of Education has also posted suggested lesson plans, which are also available online: www.ed.gov.
To watch the address, see it live at www.whitehouse.gov/live or C-SPAN, or download it at www.whitehouse.gov/mediaresources or www.ed.gov.
- Emily West
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Posted by John
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 8, 2009 at 11:48 am
When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings
By: BYRON YORK
Chief Political Correspondent
09/08/09 7:11 AM EDT
The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.
Unlike the Obama speech, in 1991 most of the controversy came after, not before, the president's school appearance. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported.
With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"
Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. "The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC," Ford began. "As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event."
Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly. "The speech itself and the use of the department's funds to support it, including the cost of the production contract, appear to be legal," the GAO wrote in a letter to Chairman Ford. "The speech also does not appear to have violated the restrictions on the use of appropriations for publicity and propaganda."
That didn't stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it "cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers' money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. -- while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters."
Lost in all the denouncing and investigating was the fact that Bush's speech itself, like Obama's today, was entirely unremarkable. "Block out the kids who think it's not cool to be smart," the president told students. "If someone goofs off today, are they cool? Are they still cool years from now, when they're stuck in a dead end job. Don't let peer pressure stand between you and your dreams.
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Posted by Another Pleasanton Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm
Page Printed from: Web Link at
September 01, 2009
The Prince of Lies
By John Griffing
"A lie told often enough becomes truth." - Vladimir Lenin
President Obama's skill as a liar is critical to his success as a Socialist.
Considering the zeal with which President Obama has in a very short time remade America, we can conclude that he will not stop until America is completely socialist. But one building block remains: government-controlled healthcare. As Lenin once said, "Medicine is the keystone in the arch of socialism." To embark upon such an ambitious project that has yet failed at every attempt, President Obama must lie, since it is clear that a sizeable majority opposes his healthcare reform.
And President Obama is a most gifted liar. We're not talking about a new Clintonian era of likeable misinformation. This is not, "I didn't inhale." President Clinton's loveable way of twisting the truth pales in comparison to Obama's brazen boldness in lying even when Obama knows he will be caught.
President Obama is a special breed of liar, employing an array of varying techniques intended to marshal public emotion in his favor. For example, he uses his own grandmother to gain sympathy for a plan that will leave millions of grandmothers without care.
Unlike his predecessors, when caught in the midst of a deception, Obama is not deterred. He lies to cover his lies. Remember confessed terrorist Bill Ayers? First, then-Senator Obama denied knowing Ayers at all. Then, when the evidence was incontrovertible that Obama had indeed not only known Ayers, but also worked with him professionally, Obama changed his defense to one of ignorance, claiming that he was only a child when Ayers committed his crimes, and assumed that Ayers had been rehabilitated. Obama has continued and applied this pattern to a host of crucial national questions.
Obama is a Socialist. And the authentic Socialist is not driven by morality or truth, but by the end that justifies the means.
This philosophy reveals itself quite starkly in President Obama's patent fabrications regarding his healthcare reform plans. Observe the consistent mismatch between the facts and what Obama says:
Obama says that he does not support a "single-payer system" even though his comments in favor of single-payer healthcare are on tape, and his "public option" amounts to a piecemeal takeover of private-sector medical coverage.
Obama says, "You will not be waiting in any lines," but Section 1151 of HR 3200 penalizes hospitals for the costs incurred in readmitting patients, permitting the Health and Human Services Secretary to "reduce" payments to hospitals for readmission, a decision likely to force the sick out into the cold. If a cancer patient has a relapse, they might as well get drunk on morphine, because readmission will be exceedingly difficult.
Obama ridicules the idea of "death panels" as right-wing hysteria, saying that HR 3200 contains no such entity. He is right. The Independent Medicare Advisory Council, the source of the death panel concerns, is the topic of another bill introduced by the Obama Administration. Its job? To cut Medicare payments. And specific sections of his proposed legislation create mechanisms that will result in the loss of care for elderly persons. In addition, Medicare Advantage programs would be ended, a cut of $150 billion. This has not stopped the President from saying, "We are not talking about cutting Medicare benefits."
Obama makes the transparently false claim that private insurance will not be affected by HR 3200, and that those who like their current plans can keep them, despite the fact that individual Americans will only be allowed to obtain private plans for a 5 year grace period, and government plans will become the default should citizens switch employers.
Obama says that "46 million of our fellow citizens have no coverage. They are just vulnerable. If something happens, they go bankrupt, or they don't get the care they need." But everyone can currently obtain care, even if they cannot pay. That is why 60 hospitals in California have closed, because the law requires them to treat everyone. And that 46 million number is known to be bogus, since 9.7 million of this number are illegal aliens. By one estimate, 14 million Americans choose not to obtain coverage. 18 million are under 34 and are either dependents or simply opt not to seek insurance, according to one study. When these numbers are subtracted, only 5 million uninsured remain.
Obama says that "we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care you need," but responding to a Medicare recipient that had been denied the only drug that would alleviate his condition, Obama had this to say, "Look, there may be -- in nine out of 10 cases, the generic might work as well or better than the brand name. And we don't want to just subsidize the drug companies if you've got one that works just as well as another."
Obama says that the healthcare reform measure will not be used to expand federal funding of abortions, knowing that the vaunted Hyde amendment applies only to Medicaid, not the public option, and that the Capps Amendment, as passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, explicitly requires every enrollee of a government-subsidized health insurance plan to be charged an extra fee to cover abortions. Obama can hardly plead ignorance.
Obama makes outrageous claims that his healthcare reform will reduce the deficit and rein in healthcare spending, but the CBO says just the opposite. How can the present healthcare crisis, supposedly a crisis of spending, be solved with more spending, and by an institution known for its reckless disregard for fiscal realities?
At the heart of this barrage of deception and dishonesty is an uncommon genius, innate to only the most devious sort. While Obama's opponents spend their precious time addressing each new lie, Obama will keep the focus off the end-zone, and government healthcare will sail into place. This strategy has a name; it is called "the big lie," and it depends on a fundamental truth of human nature: fatigue.
At some point, citizens grow weary of hearing that their leaders are out for their ill, that political policies are nothing more than grand deceptions. Who wants to believe their President is a serial liar that seeks to impose full Socialism on the land of the free? Some truths are too big to contemplate, an observation that would lead one of the world's most successful propagandists to write:
It would never come into their [the people's] heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.
Obama is counting on this principle. Most Americans are growing tired and are ready for some sort of compromise, but we cannot give in to this impulse. Obama will not give up and neither can we. Be encouraged. Don't lose hope. We must push forward, and keep the heat on the enemies of freedom. Americans must stay alert or the lie of all lies will consume what is left of liberty in America.