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Kids Have Choice Words for Obama-Speech Controversy

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The honor of introducing President Barack Obama at Wakefield High School today went to senior Tim Spicer, who has to be one of the most popular kids in school today.

He told Alyson, who called in just a few minutes ago from the school, that not only did he get a presidential seal as a thank-you gift from Obama, but he also got the president to autograph the introductory remarks he had carefully typed out.

Spicer acknowledged, though, that he was far more nervous meeting Obama before the speech than actually standing in front of a televised audience and introducing the president.

As for the all of the hubbub that preceded the speech, Spicer told Alyson the controversy was "pointless."

And 14-year-old Elizabeth Brantley, who was one of 40 9th graders who participated in a round table before the speech with Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, called the controversy "kind of dumb."

Another 14-year-old, Max Rosenberg, had even stronger words in speaking to Alyson, saying people who didn't want Obama to address students are "racist."

The 20-minute round table in the school's library featured these 9th graders—nearly 40 in all—who had all sorts of questions for Obama—none of which focused on the controversy that engulfed Obama before the address. Instead, they wanted to know: How has your life changed? How would your life have been different if your dad had been around when growing up? Why did you pick Wakefield over other schools? How can I become president?

To the last one, Obama advised: Don't post anything on Facebook or YouTube that you'll later regret, work hard in school, and be passionate about something.

The very last question from students involved health care: Why can't the United States have universal health coverage?

And so Obama got to tout his big health-care address to Congress tomorrow.

Read Obama's full answers to these questions and more in this transcript.

By the way, EdSec Duncan was at the round table, too. But Alyson reported that he was not nearly the star of the show, as the students called him the "other guy" in the room.

(Photo: Wakefield High School Senior Tim Spicer and President Obama. Gerald Herbert/AP)

14 Comments

Anybody that teaches kids to view the president as a benign, benevolent role model is either ignorant or a liar. The fact that the vast majority of teachers and their institutuions, never mind just government school types, do just that is indicative of the sorry shape America is in.

A comment for Fallon: Your gross generalizations and innuendo say more about you than I would guess you intended. Obama is the President of the United States and since he was put in that office by a majority of the voters, he should be able to address school children and inspire them to work hard, find their passion, and be responsible citizens. I would feel the same way if Bush were still President--out of respect for the office, certainly not the man.

And, by the way, anyone who values education, which apparently you don't, would consider Obama, who came from a very modest background and was elected head of the Harvard Law Review, by no means an affirmative-action appointment, a true embodiment of the American Dream of success by virtue of intelligence, vision and hard work. What better role model could there be for a child with a dream?

Martha,

What fairy tale land do you come from? The oval office is dead center of the warfare/welfare state. You like the mass killings in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the countless places where the US Empire is involved? And what are the troops, CIA etc etc doing? Not hunting Bin Laden, that is for sure. The excuses keep changing- but that's what the military industrial machine needs to keep the wars going. Obama is the CIC. That means all of the innocents that the US kills are on his hands.

How about the bloody useless Drug War. Talk about a pay off for law enforcement and the drug (alcohol, cigs too) industries. Don't forget the idiot Puritannical types that love it and only make up a small fraction of the populace. The prison industrial complex- and all the people that work in it- live off of incarcerating the hundreds of thousands non-violent offenders.

The Drug War serves the formation of cartels and underworld violence- where, as usual, the innocent are the most numerous of victims. Obama sits at the head of that operation too.

Welfare? Well. Why do you think that Big Pharma has signed on to the Obama healthcare plan?

This US government is essentially a mechanism for some people to forcibly live at the expense of others' labor and sometimes their very lives. Obama presides over this calamity.

I openly advocate disrespecting the corporatist, fascist, bolshevist Leviathan- and all its offices and officers- that DC is. It is the right thing to do.

btw, did Obama actually publish anything in the HLR?

I read all of Presendent Obama's speech to our young people and did not see one thing to disagree with. Young people need encouragement to live and do well, so they won't be ashamed of their actions when they come to the end of their lives. They need encouragement from parents (which too many young people don't get), teachers, and government leaders --- yes, even (or maybe especially) from the President. I applaud his message! America is in the sorry shape it's in because of GREED.

Fallon,
Did you actually read this article before responding with your comments?
The children can figure things out more than we realize: "dumb, racist" in their own assessment.
You want to pin all the "bad" things on the CIC, but deny he equally has the right, responsibilty, and superb qualifications to address our students. And you couldn't resist more bile with your parting comment, "btw did Obama publish anything in the HLR?"
Why don't you try and do that little research? You may just learn more aboout your president in the process.


Love,

I will ask again, where is the evidence of 'racism'? How is Obama different than Bush II?

I suspect the 'racism' charge is a knee-jerk reaction.

The particular person that is president does not matter as much as knowing the system that perpetuates the office. And that office only plunders and kills while wrapping its actions in high-minded goals and propaganda.

Obama may be your president but he is certainly not mine. Where is the contract to sign? There is not one. Even if there was an agreement that could be had between the USA and myself, I would never assent. Knowing the hegemonic motive of the Union and its enslaving Constitution, why would I make a deal with this devil?

Fallon:
Your arguments are irresponsible, unsubstantiated and too goofy to warrant further attention. Really...how can someone be "corporatist," "fascist," and "bolshevist Leviathan" simultaneously--and BTW the last time I checked my dictionary a "Leviathan" was a sea monster. Clearly you don't even know what the words mean, let alone how to apply them to current political issues. It's this very lack of critical reasoning that has people convinced that Obama's going to euthanize our grannies and that a public health option will spell the end of democracy. It really is pathetic.

Martha,

"Democracy" is a euphemism for what amounts to a form of social Darwinism where neighbor is pitted against neighbor at the ballot box. Do you have a description that would prove otherwise?

Martha,

re Health and Care

The Obama proposal to move health care closer to complete socialization is highly influenced by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Here is a snippet from Ezekiel:

“This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”

Here is the source:

http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Where_Civic_Republicanism_and_Deliberative_Democracy_Meet.pdf

Ezekiel’s thoughts are indicative of how ‘democracy’ is utterly problematic from a moral standpoint. Granted, there are control freaks and arrogant know-it-alls in most endeavors in life- but it is the amassing of power in the central government that keeps these lunatics from being accountable. Notice that Ezekiel is using ‘democracy’ as rationalization for his deranged proposals:

“An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”

Surely, Martha, you don’t support eugenic rationing?


Fallon,

Eugenics has to do with who should be permitted to be born or not born, obviously a repulsive pseudo-science; it has nothing to do with those who are demented and well beyond a productive life.

Emmanuel, whom you mischaracterize or are incapable of understanding, is simply making the case that if you have limited funds for health care you choose the very reasonable course of allocating funding for services where it will do the greatest good for those most likely to benefit for the longest time, e.g., vaccinations for children as opposed to heart transplants for the irreversibly demented. I would hope to God my country would choose to allocate funds this way.

The fact is we already have rationed care in this country, but the guiding principle is: what's the least amount of care we can provide and make handsome returns for our shareholders? This is why people are being denied chemotherapy for breast cancer for failing to disclose that they were beating treated for acne.

Fallon--since I'm still scratching my head over your previous post, wondering how someone can simultaneously be a corporatist, fascist, and bolshevik sea monster, this will be my last post. It's silly of me to attempt to respond to your unhinged and unintentionally comic ramblings.

Martha,

Thank you for exemplifying a totalitarian mindset.

Martha,

Even if we were to accept your narrow definition of eugenics, many of those suffering from dementia would indeed be targeted for reproductive control. Thousands of people under the age of 65 in the US alone have a form of dementia.

Emanuel has opted to discriminate against these people; and, given that he is a highly educated elite medical professional: he most likely knows these facts and that many with dementia are capable of engaging in reproductive processes.

Yes, this means that Emanuel is advocating eugenics, even if not directly.

Here is some knowledge on Young Dementia for you:

http://alzheimers.about.com/od/typesofdementia/a/Young_Dementia.htm

http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=44086

http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2008-rst/4753.html

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/specialty_areas/neuropsychiatry/frontotemporal_dementia/

Wow! Hitlerism is alive and well! Reading some of these comments scares me to death!

Kim Green,

It is good to know that there are others, like you, who can see it forming. There is still hope!

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