Saturday, September 12, 2009
Froma Harrop, Truthout: "In their tireless efforts to kill health care reform, right-wingers have fanned fears that it would attract illegal aliens. This sideshow is rather twisted because, actually, the reforms would do the opposite. They would help curb illegal immigration. Start with Canada to see how this works. Canadians have universal coverage, a big immigration program and almost no undocumented workers. These things are not unrelated. Government-guaranteed medical care is a big reason why Canada doesn't tolerate illegal immigration. No country can long afford a large subclass of poor workers that pays little in taxes and collects full benefits."
Friday, September 11, 2009
Top Democrats are calling for an official censure of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) after his unprecedented heckling of President Obama during a nationally televised speech to the joint chambers of Congress.
Joe Wilson’s flat refusal to apologize to the entire House for heckling President Barack Obama rekindled a push by some top Democrats to introduce a censure resolution — despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to consider the idea on Thursday. Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are considering the move after Wilson adamantly refused to offer a mea culpa in the well of the House. Clyburn buttonholed him on the floor and asked him three times to publicly renounce his “You lie!” outburst, according to my colleague Victoria McGrane. “If he had just said he was sorry, nobody would be considering any of this,” added a senior Democratic aide. The aide said it was too late to push for a resolution this week — and that any resolution would hit the floor next week, giving Wilson more time to reconsider his decision.Wilson apologized to the president almost immediately after his outburst, drawing howls of betrayal from wingnuts who were already canonizing him as the new leader of the GOP. Since then, Wilson has retreated on his apology somewhat. Meanwhile, Rob Miller, Wilson's 2010 Democratic opponent, has benefited from an avalanche of donations, raising his election fund from $20K to almost $800,000 in less than 36 hours.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Republicans responded by heckling, booing, and hissing. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) screamed out "You lie!" as the President defended his health care plan against false right-wing attacks.
We can't afford to let conservative extremists like Joe Wilson hold health care reform hostage. As Obama put it, "the time for games has passed. Now is the season for action."
I just signed a petition to Congress demanding swift action to pass real health care reform. Can you join me at the link below?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stupider, schools across the nation decided to censor President Barack Obama’s speech urging kids to work hard because “being successful is hard.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the terribly scary bit of propaganda that prompted certain Americans to cry “socialism” and “indoctrination,” and force some schools to opt out of hearing the president’s message Tuesday.
When and how did we become so ridiculous? As it turns out, we’ve been this way for a while now. Such protests aren’t new, a review of which follows shortly. The difference is that now, the masses are technologically enabled, amplified by a twillion tweets. Everybody’s got a megaphone, bless democracy’s heart.
read the est at http://www.sacbee.com/1190/story/2168501.html
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Anybody who knows me knows that I am a bit of a freak for anything Frank Lloyd Wright ever built, so I was pleased that Kathy and her daughter Ally took Spencer, Nikki and I by Wayfarer's Chapel, in Palos Verdes on our way to brunch on Sunday in San Pedro. A very pleasant place. Tho it is notaFLW, but a LW (the architect is Lloyd Wright the son of Frank Lloyd Wright) nonetheless its grand, and really special.
At any rate, we, the entire staff of one, at On Being Notorious, as well as our subsidiary Revoked, are honored to be linked, to The Moderate Voice, which makes me wonder how moderate their voice is if they include the likes me there...
The Afternoon Buzz: Indoctrinate or Inspire? Reagan Told Students to Embrace Guns & Tax Cuts, While GOP Tells Kids They Can't Think for Themselves
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
President Barack Obama spoke before what I'd posit was one of his toughest audiences in his presidency so far: American high school students. President Obama's speech Tuesday at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA was met with a screaming, standing ovation and copious handshakes and thank-yous in the rope line on his way out.
Listening to the reaction from listeners who called into C-SPAN, not one person had a negative comment about the speech, except to criticize the prejudgment of some conservative parents who threatened to keep their kids home from school so as not to allow their indoctrination by the president's words.
You can always count on first ladies to stand up for education and children. In an interview on CNN this weekend, former First Lady Laura Bush came to the defense of President Obama's plan to speak to schoolchildren on this first day back to school for many students across the country.
Bush also noted that it was the socialist lesson plan, not the potential words of encouragement our president planned to give to America's schoolchildren, that had everyone all riled up. Of course, when a person can easily read the speech online beforehand and see that there's absolutely nothing indoctrinating or political about it, it's pretty tough to describe it as propaganda.
However, even the charges of a politicized lesson plan ring hollow after watching the speech. Every person who called in within the first few minutes of the discussion on C-SPAN immediately following the speech used some iteration of the word "inspiration" to describe the speech. After over a half-dozen people in a row used this word, one wonders about the widespread negative reaction to the lesson plan question, "What is President Obama inspiring you to do?"
Let's consider these questions instead: Would President Obama ever venture to think he could get away with saying anything that could in any way be construed as political or -- gasp -- socialist? Would he hawk his economic theories or push his religion on innocent students?
Now that the speech is over and safely squirreled away in the C-SPAN archives, we can safely say that Obama will have to leave that kind of craven politicking to his rivals, opponents and previous occupants of the White House.
The ringleader of the anti-Obama school speech crowd could be considered to be Florida's Jim Greer. I'll let Mona Gable, a journalist specializing in parenting, introduce you:
Greer, the chairman of Florida's Republican Party, has been the most vocal, if not the most literate, opponent of Obama's speech. (An aside here: Notice how it is always Florida and Texas that cause such a political ruckus?)
If you didn't have the pleasure of seeing the Senate hopeful on the news, here's what Greer said in a press release:
As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology. President Obama has turned to the American's [sic] children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American's [sic] youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves.
Asked repeatedly where he got the notion that Obama was going to talk about health care and other policy matters when he hadn't actually read the text, Greer strangely couldn't answer.
This is just my take, but it appears that Greer is comfortable using his children as a political football by depriving them of their education for a day to perpetuate a myth about the president and to get some free press ahead of his Senate run.
Oh, wait; after he saw the text of the speech, Greer said he'd let his kids watch it. I wonder if he would have been OK with another U.S. president's speech containing propaganda over what the tax code should be, the role of government and the idea that students should study moral precepts alongside science and English.
He probably would, but only because that president was Ronald Reagan. In November 1988, just after the election that determined his successor, Reagan trucked in kids from a handful of different high schools to the White House and held a kind of press conference in which he gave a speech and answered a few questions from the students.
At the establishment of American Education Week, he told them to study the religious foundations upon which our great country was founded.
"We will also need to reaffirm our traditional moral values, because these values are the foundation on which everything we do is built," Reagan said in his prepared remarks. "It's also a moral vision, grounded in the reverence and faith of those who believe that with God's help, they could create a free and democratic nation."
Talk about indoctrination! Reagan also redefined American freedom in economic terms (emphasis mine):
But America's world leadership goes well beyond the tide toward democracy. We also find that more countries than ever before are following America's revolutionary economic message of free enterprise, low taxes and open world trade. These days whenever I see foreign leaders they tell me about their plans for reducing taxes and other economic reforms that they're using, copying what we've done in this country. I wonder if they realize that this vision of economic freedom, the freedom to work, to create, to produce, to own, and use property without the interference of the state, was central to the American revolution.
(Hmm, I wonder! Let's ask the Contras, shall we?)
Here Reagan expertly uses the founding fathers myth Republicans love so well to justify his current economic policies. Can you imagine if President Obama's prepared remarks to schoolchildren contained, say, a justification of the stimulus package using the New Deal as an example of the Americans' historical commitment to investing in their country's future?
But instead, Obama's vision of how the past relates to the future of this country was quite different that the self-serving city-on-a-hill rhetoric often employed by Reagan. From Obama's prepared remarks today:
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
In contrast, Reagan took the time to "inspire" students to support the ability of presidents to have line-item veto power and to be required by the Constitution to balance the budget each year.
But, just as I'm sure today's students won't buy every word of President Obama's speech, a few challenged Reagan in the Q&A after his speech. One asked if future generations wouldn't be saddled by the debt created by tax cuts. Another asked Reagan what he thought about the gun ban, to which the president replied with a complaint that he'd have to wait a whole five days to get a gun, even though he's the president of the United States. How unfair!
But ultimately what Greer and other conservatives fail to do here is give American students credit. Kids have opinions and are truly free-thinkers in the sense that do not come preset ideologically. Though the teaching of critical thinking skills has fallen off from what it once was, kids can see when an argument doesn't make sense, and they're excellent at detecting and decrying inequality and injustice.
Thing is, you have to actually be interested in what they think to know that. If you tell kids they're going to be brainwashed by listening to the president speak, you're only going to succeed in insulting their intelligence or making them feel powerless.
If you tell kids it doesn't matter what they think or whether they go to school or not, they're probably not going to chime in with their thoughts, nor are they going to care much what you think. But more than anything else, they're not going to be motivated to work hard in school or think for themselves.
The difference between Reagan's speech more than 20 years ago and Obama's speech today is that Reagan told kids what he believed about American government and Obama galvanized them to work harder. In all likelihood, neither of them were written with the purpose of indoctrination. But only one of them truly inspired.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
NOTE: The following quotations have been collected from a variety of
sources ... from e-mail notes and signatures, bulletin boards, the
ASCD SmartBrief and from other sources, as well, over some time.
"And that's the way it is."
(Walter Cronkite, American journalist)
"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have,
(Franklin P. Jones) [Sent by Michael Matthews]
"It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on
(Ornette Coleman) [Sent by Michael Matthews
"I know but one freedom, and that is the freedom of the mind."
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer and aviator)
"Laughter is by definition healthy."
(Doris Lessing, Nobel Prize in Literature recipient)
"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."
(Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet)
"A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the
bricks that others throw at him or her."
(David Brinkley, American TV newscaster)
"If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his/her office at
one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't
want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or
dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional
excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the
classroom teacher's job."
(Donald D. Quinn) [Sent by Michael Matthews]
"A classroom cannot foster the development of autonomy in the
intellectual realm while suppressing it in the social and moral
(Constance Kamii - professor of early childhood education, University
of Alabama at Birmingham)
"If the child at home wonders whether he is loved, the pupil wonders
whether he is a worthwhile person. In both settings he can find some
kind of answer by observing how others treat him."
(Robert Dreeben, On What is Learned in School)
"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly
making exciting discoveries."
(A. A. Milne, author of "Winnie-the-Pooh")
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world."
(John le Carre, English author)
"You don't need a parachute to skydive. You only need one to skydive twice."
(Unknown) [From our secretary, Karen Stotlar]
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
(Uknown) [Sent by Jo Dill]
"Life itself is the proper binge."
(Julia Child, American chef)
"Be careful what you swallow. Chew!
(Gwendolyn Brooks, American writer)
"In seeking wisdom the first step is silence; the second: listening,
the third: remembering, the fourth: practicing, the fifth: teaching
(Rabbi Shlomo ibn-Gaviro) [Sent by both Maureen Zack and Connie Kelly]
"Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win."
(Jonathan Kozol) [Sent by Joan Cotton]
"A cartoonist is someone who draws the same thing day after day
without repeating himself."
(Charles M. Schultz, cartoonist)
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't
matter and those who matter don't mind."
(Dr. Seuss) [From Jon Bean]
"Happiness is never an accident. It is the prize we get when we
choose wisely from life's great stores."
(Irene Dunne) [From Mitch Lazarus signature]
"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any
use to oneself."
(Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, novelist and poet)
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
(Eleanor Roosevelt, former U.S. first lady)
"To know how to do something well is to enjoy it"
(Pearl S. Buck) [From Otis Taylor's signature]
"I don't like that man. I must get to know him better."
"Happiness is never an accident. It is the prize we get when we
choose wisely from life's great stores."
(Irene Dunne) [From Mitchell Lazarus' signature]
"My friends are my estate."
(Emily Dickinson, American poet)
"No physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit."
(President Obama - on the death of Special Olympics founder Eunice
"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
(Special Olympics motto)
"No legacy is so rich as honesty."