Monday, September 07, 2009


Last week when the White House announced that President Obama would be giving a little speech to the nation's children, encouraging them to stay in school and study hard so they might go far in life, who in their right mind could have possibly predicted the shit storm of outrage that is now emanating from the extreme right? Actually, I did predict it - but I am of my right mind - honest, I am! It's just that these knuckleheads are so damned predictable. The sun will rise. The moon will set. Republicans will behave like assholes. It is really as simple as that.

I did the research. At the very least, every president since Hoover at one time or another used the classroom as a political prop. In the past, there had only been a hint of disdain from certain political corners for such events. Of course in 2009 things are a little different. In case you haven't noticed, Barack Obama is not Herbert Hoover.

It's things like this that make my job such a joy. The mind-numbing stupidity of these people never ceases to amuse, believe me.
When Ronald Reagan addressed America's school children during his term and went as far as lecturing them on the importance of tax cuts, there was barely a whimper from the Left.Why the big fuss now? What the hell is the big deal? Let's stop kidding ourselves. This is racism at its ugliest. Our darling children must be protected from the socialistic ideas of the Big, Bad Negro. Oh, brother!

Could the basis for their paranoia be that Obama really is the hard core lefty that people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are portraying him to be? To quote Joan Rivers, "Can we talk?" Here's the dirty little secret: He ain't. He isn't even close to being one. If he were, people who lean left-of-center (like yours truly does) wouldn't be as disappointed in his performance thus far as we obviously are.

My only consolation in recent months has been the fact that the guy is not George W. Bush. As I said shortly after last year's election, Bush was such a monumentally awful president, even Obama's failures will look like brilliant statecraft by comparison. Although that has certainly turned out to be true, to be honest with you I was still expecting a bit more from this president
. The good news is that at this writing we're barely eight months into his presidency. We will see where we are a year or two from now. To write Obama off now, as more-than-a-few Progressives seem to be doing, would be a great mistake.

Here is yet another example (as if any more were really needed) of how the Republican party has moved so far to the fringe Right in the last thirty years, they are in serious danger of falling off the face of the earth. How anyone could possibly interpret the president's remarks to read that he is trying to indoctrinate American children in "socialistic ideology" - when those remarks have not even been written yet - is beyond idiotic. We're talkin' full-blown lunacy here! It is also another clear example of the eye-popping stupidity of more than a few Americans.

Is Barack Obama such a clear and present danger to these nitwits that they would feel compelled to protect their children from him by keeping them home when he speaks? Are they that insecure? It would seem to me that we should have turned the corner with regard to our irrational racial fears decades ago. As with Bill Clinton, they are stopping at nothing in order to torpedo this president's agenda. As I've stated on this site more than once the GOP's only hope for political salvation is the complete and utter failure of the Obama administration and, thus, the American people. They want unemployment figures to go into the double digits. At this moment they are doing everything humanly possible to see to it that that happens.

What could the president possibly say in a ten minute chat that would conceivably send these kids head first into the abyss of Communist ideology? It staggers the imagination but let's give it a try, shall we?

"Hello, comrades - uhh, I mean, boys and girls - I'm the president! You know, kids, in this grand and glorious land of ours, we have something called "religious freedom". You know darned well what that means, don'cha? It means that you can worship God in anyway you choose without fear of persecution! Do you know what "persecution" means, kiddies? To be persecuted means to be picked on by mean people for no good reason. A very great man once said, 'It does me no injury for my neighbor to say that there are twenty gods - or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.' Gee! He sure must have been a really smart man! I hope that each and very one of you children grow up to be just as smart - and maybe even smarter - than he was!"

DID YOU HERE THAT, MARTHA??? That black son-of-a-bitch is trying to wash the brains of our good American children! Did'ja hear him? He was quotin' Karl Marx or Emma Goldman or Ed Asner or one of them there evil-doin', Commie Bastards!

Actually, it was Thomas Jefferson but who's keeping score?

Yes, Virginia, there are some jackasses out there who believe that Obama is trying to convert their kids into a new generation of Pravda subscribers. My message to them? Just relax and take a nice, deep breath. As someone recently remarked, this in not a policy speech, it's a pep talk. For all his minor flaws, this president really believes in education. His is the classic American success story in which the education he received plays a crucial role in the plot line. He wants to inspire the littlest of us to climb the highest mountains of achievement. What the hell is wrong with that? What's the matter with you people?

You would think the way some of you have been acting that the president is some kind of pervert stalking the neighborhood school bus stop, ready to expose himself. He means your children no harm. He's not trying to turn the little darlin's into Socialists - or even Democrats for that matter. Hell, for all we know he might even inspire one of them to greatness! It's a fairly safe bet that one day more than one of those kids will grow up to be the president of the United Sates of America! Let them be inspired.

In the spring of 1963, sixteen-ear-old Bill Clinton met John F. Kennedy in the Rose Garden of the White House. Did that now-historic meeting inspire Clinton? More than likely. One day in the late 1880s, James Roosevelt, a gentleman farmer from Dutchess County, New York, bought his five-year-old son, Franklin Delano, to the Executive Mansion (as the White House was then officially called) to meet President Grover Cleveland. Said the president to the boy:

"Little man, I'm going to make a strange wish for you. I wish that you never become president."

Just like FDR to spite the old bastard. Maybe old Grover was onto something there. Franklin D. Roosevelt is remembered today in the same way that Cleveland is all-but-forgotten.

So just sit back and relax, folks. Barack Obama is only performing a routine presidential duty that has been performed by presidents for generations. There's nothing to be afraid of. He's not trying to turn your babies into mini Marxists. This isn't the Trotsky For Toddlers program. The president of the United States merely wants to have a heart to heart talk with the children of America about the importance of a good education, that's all. I promise you, we Progressives do not believe in evil, subliminal messages. Chill out!


Just kidding.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

AFTERTHOUGHT, 8 September 2009, 6:14 PM

President Obama spoke to America's children this afternoon. The world did not come to an end. Everything seems alright tonight.

For more recent postings on "The Rant", please go to the following link:



At 8:39 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Tom I am sick and outraged too!! It is racism no doubt about it! Reagan talked tax cuts and Obama wants to talk responsibility? Give me a friggin break, I have had enough of the shit from the right, they make me ILL!!!

At 9:56 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

The trolls are getting real uppity too, posting mindless crap. One dweeb was positively gleefully giggling as he proudly stated they were going to bring Obama down and to hell with the impact on our country. There was nothing worse than Obama in the White House. Now, come on. The man made a speech once that got a lot of approval. He hasn't done squat since. He's way to the right of someone like Kucinich which almost makes him a Republican. In fact, based on his cleaving to Bush's policies and refusing to indict war criminals, I'm inclined to think of him as a Republican. So why are the whack jobs dissing him? Because it's expected. To compliment him we'd get wary. But suppose he's a mole, a Republicrat pretending to be a President? Why, he'd refuse to prosecute Bush and Cheney, he'd keep troops in Iraq, he'd jack up the war in Afghanistan and he'd pass out trillions of our tax dollars to big CEOs. Oh, wait. He IS doing all that! Well, the crazy thing is, I expected this. He may be dark skinned, but inside he's all blue. The whole thing is a kabuki play for our amusement. Our seats are way up in the balconies where the air is thin. You can just hear Glenn and Rush laughing and laughing...something must be funny.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

You know, W.D., I've got to say something about trolls:

I love 'em!

They're so much fun to read!

Lots and lots of fun!

Why do you think I never delete them? They're almost always barely illiterate, and they always - without exception - shine a glaring spotlight on the idiocy of their cause! To all the trolls I've loved before:

Keep 'em comin'!


Tom Degan

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Kiko said...

Meanwhile, over in South Korea last month we had GW giving a talk to high school students? After he played a few links and gave his 'real' talk to industry leaders and defense contractors about the economic crisis.

Coincidentally, this took place the same week that Clinton went to pick up the released reporters in N. Korea.

I'll just give you the link and you can make sense of it for yourself.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hello Tom,

Well said, and perhaps the best response to this silliness comes from an 11 year old boy. And I quote from

Damon Weaver, the 11-year-old journalist who landed an interview with the president last month, weighed in Monday on the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama's upcoming speech to students. He told MSNBC that the uproar from some parents is "very silly."

"Well in 1991, George Bush made a speech, and they didn't say anything back then," Weaver said. "So why should they say something about President Obama now?"

What is it that Jesus said "And a little child shall lead them?"

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

God love ya, Tom. Fantastic post. Can't wait to see what the unemployed trolls have to sling your way. But you never duck, do you? Good.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to write something clever but W.D. Shirley beat me to it. Screw Obama, I should have cast my vote for Nadar. At least I could have slept well knowing I wasn't a complete fool.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Reno's Blog said...

Tom! Great blog man. Obama's entire speech was released today, proving that all claims of indoctrination are false (as if we needed to see his speech to know that)

I'll give you the link so you can check it out. Just got done blogging about this myself.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Brilliantly written!!!!! What has gotten in to people? I left a LONG comment on my friend Sue's blog in response to some Weirdo's comment! (about being a racist) This whole uproar is NO DOUBT about race. Nothing more!

Donna Marie!

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

If the trolls could only read and would check out the comments from other countries they would discover that the rest of the world is 1) amazed 2) amused and 3) very disgusted with the statements made by the Religious (?) right.

Our country is getting a bad reputation for being one of the most idiotic and uneducated on the planet Earth thanks to their loud screams.

I would bet that those lamebrains who throw around the words "communist' 'Socialist' and 'Marxist' don't have a clue as to the difference. They probably would shout "Pinko Commie" if you informed them that our government is a Republic.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

The best counter for right-wing accusations that Obama is a socialist tool can be found here:

The "card-carrying" socialists hate Obama as much as the right-wing. -- So he isn't a socialist!

Case closed!

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom. Yes, The Village Square is around because - left or right - we're worried too...

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Mem's Political Scrapbook said...

Tom thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I love your writing and was honored that you took the time.

I shall be visiting many times now as I can't seem to get enough. Great post on the "School Situation"!

Thanks for fighting back!

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thank you, Mem! I loved your blog, too, and could not resist making a comment. Count on me visiting your site in the future as well.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 9:50 PM, Blogger jasondylan said...

Tom. Wow! You are on a roll! Put a little mustard on ya and we would have quite the sammich.

The right wing does not want some uppity black man telling them what to do.

The religious right does not want anything good to come out of Obama because the saviour is supposed to be white.

The crazy part is, he is half white, but the problem is that he is identified as black.

I think the main problem is that he "struts" around. He has taken up golf though so it all should even itself out.

I think alot of people are upset that we have a black president at this tumultuous time and that he is really well liked.

It is social and political. Many people don't want to look at a black Jesus, or Superman, or President.

Hopefully future generations will look back at us in dismay and wonder how we could ever be so blind.

Great stuff Tom!


At 10:40 PM, Blogger Rick said...

Sue typifies the ignorance associated with this issue. It has nothing to do with race, but a great deal to do with creating a cult-like following of a perceived messianic president. The pdf sent to teachers in anticipation of the broadcast repeatedly asks teachers to query their students what they can do to help the president. Not help the nation, help their community, or even help the government. But help the president. If Bush had done anything remotely similar I suspect you would be crying "foul" as well.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger jasondylan said...


What you see as a "cult like following of a perceived messianic president" is just a projection of your own inadequacies.

Obama is smart. Obama is charismatic. A black man is president and is going to get some positive things done and the republicans, especially the right wing hate this.

Sorry, you guys hitched your wagon to the star of GW and you have to ride that cowboy all the way home.

Of course Obama is going to look like some cult leader to people who thought Bush was charismatic. Obama must be overwhelming to them.

Whatever. There is no cult. There is no communism. The Democrats are as divided as ever.

Many people are disappointed with Obama, he is not the messiah, just as you are not a harbinger of truth or wisdom.

Good luck.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Rick said...

Hmm. Not messianic? Obama differs with you. I'm still waiting for his prophecy to be fulfilled that the oceans would start receding after his election. After all, in his words, he is "the one we've been waiting for." It should be alarming to any sentient American to have such a narcissist at the helm of state.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Rick said...

Technically you are right about his ideology not being communism. Technically, it's fascism. Under communism the means of production are owned by the state, but under fascism the means of production are controlled by the state. A seemingly small distinction to some, but totalitarian nonetheless.

At 11:37 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Rick is what he obviously is.

"Don't feed the animals."

At 11:45 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Doing my usual research, I found this link through Kiko's post. (THANK YOU!) It is very important that others read this:

At 11:46 PM, Anonymous GRR said...

I seem to remember sometime way back when Baby Bush used a classroom as a prop reading 'My Pet Goat' while the MIC orchestrated a false flag attack on our country.

Like it or not, high treason is staring us in the face, folks.

Coming up on the eighth anniversary it's time to face some facts.

Where's YOUR outrage?

At 12:34 AM, Blogger Rick said...

Ronin, and the relevance of Newt's history program? Reading the post I see nothing in there about inculcating into the students the need to do something to help or support Newt. Again, the relevance?

Grr, we have plenty of outrage, but it's directed at those who are "transforming" the nation into something it was never intended to be.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Joel said...

Rick, your comments are on the mark. Thanks for saving me the time. And I thought I was the only one to see him as a narcissist.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger charles moore said...

A question for Rick and Joel. Was it narcissistic when Ronald Reagan addressed the nation's school children in 1986 or when George H.W. Bush did the same in 1991?

And incidentally, if you haven't seen the news, Laura Bush approves:

President Barack Obama's back to school speech got a thumbs-up from former first lady Laura Bush, who said in an interview ...

... with CNN that it's important that everyone respect the president.

"I think that there is a place for the President of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children, and I think there are a lot of people that should do the same. And that is, encourage their own children to stay in school and to study hard and to try to achieve the dream that they have."

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Rick said...

Charles, no it wasn’t, because they didn’t send to teachers in advance a pdf file of instructions to students that repeatedly prompted teachers to query their students, “What can I do to help the president?” That is either exemplary of narcissism, i.e. it’s all about Obama, or it was ideological, i.e. what can the students to help advance the presidents’ agenda.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Do people even think what they are saying? Especially when they are aping Rush, Sean, and Beck? First, what is wrong with helping the President? A concerned citizen should always help the president. Sometimes it means criticizing him to show he is on the wrong track.

I think Obama's team should have titled the material "Help the Nation" because that is basically what it means. To seize on that one thing to criticize is ridiculous.

I just read the text of the president's speech and wish I had heard it when I was a young student. If this is indoctrination will somebody please explain that to me? It is very inspirational and if he only reaches a few students with his message of self responsibility then it will be worthwhile. I thought that's what the conservatives wanted; people to be responsible for their own fate.

It is truly mind boggling to me that some schools are actually denying their students the opportunity to hear it. There is nothing in the speech that, if they had the brains of a goose, they wouldn't tell their own children.

If one of you trolls would like to become educated here is the link to the speech.

(Sorry, I don't know how to link it in comments - maybe you can do it, Tom)

If you really want to learn something that doesn't come out of the mouth of your radio guru's and read it, please tell me what can possibly be wrong with it.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Dear Darlene,

My pleasure:



Tom Degan

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Joe Markowitz said...

You don't understand the rationale behind the movement to take kids out of school so that they cannot hear the president speak. These parents do not want their children to know that they can get ahead in life by studying hard and doing well in school. If the kids heard that, they might realize that the reason their parents are such losers is that they were high school dropouts. No, what is important is that these kids understand that they should not study hard and they should not do well in school. That way they will end up in dead-end jobs like their parents, and they will be filled with resentment at the success of the Jews, the Asians, the Latinos, and the blacks, who are unfairly taking all of the best jobs and making all the money. And these kids will understand that it is all Barack Obama's fault.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Rick said...

I’m curious. If those of us who ideologically oppose Obama’s agenda are “trolls,” what does that make of his sycophants: “disciples,” “true believers,” “sheep?” Just curious.

The text of his speech, as apparently edited from the original intent, is clearly apolitical. It was the pdf sent in advance of the speech to teachers that raised questions about his objectives. And interestingly, the White House itself provides evidence that they knew they’d gone too far in their political promotion of the president and his agenda. On Wednesday the Department of Education decided to alter the language for one of its suggested activities. The original version of the documents suggested students “Write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” The updated version asked students to “Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.” Clearly they knew they’d overstepped the bounds of propriety.

Just for a little perspective, as reported in the Washington Examiner, there was a great deal of controversy about Bush’s (41) address to school children. But 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.’”

Any bets on the likelihood of congressional hearings regarding the propriety of using Dept. of Ed funds for broadcasting Obama’s message? I’m not holding my breath.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Thanks again Rick.

Tom, I have no desire to listen to the speech and do not particularly care what is in it. I simply don’t trust the man to be speaking directly to the children. There are far too many dots to connect with him and his administration in my mind that give me pause. He already won an election by “talking to the kids”, now he wants to use the younger ones to advance his agenda. His speech today, however innocent, is just the beginning of his ideological march.

And for the record, I have never listened to Rush or Beck, and have watched Sean about the same number of times I’ve watched Olberman. I have better things to do with my time, like run a business so that I can give half of what I make to the government to pay for liberal spending sprees.

Some people need to take a step back and see that the vote they cast was not the best.

Your troll pal, Joel

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous jerry bates said...

Very inspirational speech I loved how he aimed for our kids of today to plan for tomorrow, its not giving them political empowerment or guiding them in the wrong direction as the media portrayed but its giving them hope that through all the struggles and storms you may cross you will come out the hero In the end way to go Mr. President.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"Tom, I have no desire to listen to the speech and do not particularly care what is in it."

Of course you don't, Joel. Do you have any idea how revealing that last sentence was?


At 3:22 PM, Blogger JRD said...


You really should be flattered that these right-wing hacks are taking the time to try and poison the little well of nourishment that is the Rant.

Let them come! Their irrationality is the best evidence of their bad faith.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

What he said today in his speech isn't relevant Tom! I know you’re smart enough to understand that.

It's the indisputable fact that it's all about helping the President advance his agenda, not about helping the kids, regardless of what he said and what you want to believe. If I thought his connecting with the kids was totally altruistic, then fine, but I don’t believe it. He is fostering a relationship with our children, and I don't trust him enough to allow it. I know you love him and hope for the best, but I'm a cynical guy and view him and his administration with suspicion and distrust.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


"Tom, I have no desire to listen to the speech and do not particularly care what is in it."


"What he said today in his speech isn't relevant Tom!"

Am I to take that to mean that you have since heard the speech? I certainly hope that is the case otherwise you would look awfully foolish. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here.

When you say, "I know you love him" am I to take that to mean you believe I have not been critical of him? That I have not been extremely critical of him? If that is the case you haven't read a damned thing I have written.


At 4:37 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Don['t confuse Joel with facts; his mind is made up.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Note to Rick and Joel:

Here’s an excerpt of Obama’s message today: “Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.”

Maybe there is hope for the two of you yet.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Ok Tom, I guess the “I know you love him” was inaccurate. Perhaps I should have said “I know you’re a liberal lunatic”. Ha ha. Yes, you have been critical, but I wouldn’t say extremely critical of him or of the bad apples in his administration; certainly not anywhere close to how you were/are of Bush and his administration. (Please no lecture about the comparison.)

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Why should I be as critical of Obama as I was of Bush?

Joel, what I find so exasperating is the fact that you just can't admit that Dubya was the worst president possibly since Buchanan - maybe in history.

Am I thrilled with Obama's performance? No. But to try to portray him as this radical lefty is so far off the mark, it's laughable. Franklin D. Roosevelt he ain't. It's not even close. The GOP has gone to such an extreme, even wish washy moderates like Clinton and Obama are viewed as radicals. They aren't Joel. If that were the case, I would still be a Democrat.

Even Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon today viewed as a moderates! You've got to put things in their proper historical perspective.

All the best,


At 5:24 PM, Blogger Rick said...

There was one segment of the president’s speech that I thought was superb. He said, “Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.”

He added, “Maybe you could be a good writer…maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor…maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice…You can’t just drop out of school and drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.”

“Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.”

This was outstanding, motivational speech to children, regardless of who it was from. But it’s given much more weight coming from the president. I really think Joel should read it.

By the way, I’m still curious, as no one has clarified for me: if those of us who ideologically oppose Obama’s agenda are “trolls,” what does that make of his followers: “disciples,” “true believers,” “sycophants,” “sheep?” Just curious.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger db said...

another good post, tom degan!

For those who are still patriotic and respect the office of President of the United States, here are the lyrics to the song. For the others – the birthers, the deathers and all those suffering from Obamaphobia in this country, substitute the word “Fail” for “Hail”.

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that’s our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief! *

they played this song for Bush. when Bush was slandered, those people were called unpatriotic or anti-american. the current president has been called every slanderous name in the book and then some. these people are calling themselves patriotic and american. there is something very wrong with this picture. let me be the first to call these people unpatriotic and anti-american.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger db said...

uhhm...disappointed at obama's speech to the children. from all the propaganda the wingnut bullhorns have been screaming about, i fully expected some serious socialst/fascist/marxist doctrines being touted (or was there something to be read between the lines? we'll have to tune in to glenn beck tonight for that, i guess). you see, i'm one of those 'ignorant liberals' that those highly intelligent and astute rightwingnuts keep talking about!! woohoo!

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Yes, it was an excellent speech. Coming from a president I trust, it would be great. I wasn’t expecting anything particularly controversial. It isn’t the content of this particular speech that matters; it’s the relationship he wants to foster with the children. I still believe he plans to promote his agenda by using school children. He wants to promote “change” by getting to the young and impressionable. It has been done before. He will be back in the classroom, and will slowly get the kids to look up to him, and with the help of liberal teachers, will promote his kind of change through the kiddies. I foresee education funding being tied to policy (agenda) changes. Say no to Obama in the classroom.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Tell me, Joel,

Did you trust George W. Bush? Do you trust Obama less than he? I've got to know the answer to this question.


At 7:37 PM, Blogger db said...

that's funny. so because nothing can be made sinister with the speech content now we've moved on to the 'relationship building' with the children. so what were the former presidents' real motives then, i wonder... and why is it now inappropriate for presidents to speak to school children, especially when it's about motivating them to do well in school? yes, wingnuts, remove your children from our schools, teach them yourselves at home because they are bound to be indoctrinated into liberal thinking by those evil liberal teachers. schools are just subversive!

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Tom, I don’t remember exactly how I felt about Bush at this stage in his first term. But after being deceived, I was very distrustful of him, and Cheney in particular. So no, I don’t trust Bush, and no, I don’t trust Obama less than Bush. I don’t believe that Obama is doing anything different than any other politician in being deceitful and misleading when it serves their purpose. My distrust of Obama stems primarily from his past associations, from his recent displays of poor judgment in czar and cabinet picks, and allowing the non-stimulus spending bill and budget to be pushed through, earmarks and all. He has demonstrated his willingness and ability to motivate the youth to his cause, and makes no secret of his belief that the way to change is through education. Change through education can take many forms, and right now, I don’t trust him to directly educate my child on anything.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Reno's Blog said...

Hey Tom, just thought I would keep you updated on what's going on with my side of the tracks.

I spoke with 11 schools today in my district and discovered that the superintendent had a meeting with principals and staff, telling them they could show the Obama speech at their discretion. 3 schools did not show the address, 5 schools did show it, 1 school's secretary was unsure, and 2 schools never answered my call.

Still trying to get a hold of Dr. Hubbard from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to get a more clear answer as to why he barred his schools all together from watching the address.

Whew man, looks like guys like us have a lot of work to do >.<

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

I get - EVERY FUCKING DAY - the GOP talking points du jour.

This morning their message was:

"Focus on Obama's 'Czars'" - as in "Russia, pre-1917." Forget the fact that the "Czar" who was overthrown in 1918 was overthrown by the The Bolsheviks.

This is what makes my job such a joy. The opposition does not have a fucking clue about world history.

Life is good.

Tom Degan

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the children the future of this country and our world? Shouldn't someone be looking after them? I'm grateful our President is paving the way for a better future for them!
Maybe when we're dead and gone there will be a "kinder, gentler" people on earth, those "thousand points of light".
It's a common thread folks. We're all one people on one planet. Do we have be so absolute in our opinions and mindset or can we peak into another's views and ways of making change so we can work together and get something ACCOMPLISHED? Let's not fight over trivial stuff like if Obama is brainwashing our school children, or we'll have to have another dose of Katrina or 911 to wake our sorry asses up again to work together as "civilized" folks!
a Marine Mom

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

While I do believe this is about race, I don't believe this is only about race. It is also about the power of the right, and the talking heads that do their bidding. If Mrs. Clinton had been elected instead of Mr. Obama, they would be trying to discredit her too. They are preying on the ignorance and fear of the uninformed people who listen to them. With Clinton it would have been something about her gender, or something else they could think of to use against her. They work with what they have. I don't think some of these guys really even believe the stuff that they spew. They are intelligent enough to know what they are doing: selling lies to the masses. But they are good at it, and by making Obama out to be "different", or not "like us" they are creating the fear. Since he happens to be black they can appeal the prejudices of their sheep. It's not all about Obama... it's about them trying to steal back power.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Anon: "I should have cast my vote for Nadar. At least I could have slept well knowing I wasn't a complete fool."

Don't feel bad. There were no clear choices. I thought about Nader, too, but realized I'd only be protest voting. Nader would be doing a whole lot worse than Obama OR McCain, right now. I admire what he does -- but he isn't a leader. (Well, he was the worst of possible leaders to choose from, anyway.)

Thankfully, Sarah Palin has ensured that I will never regret voting for Obama -- unless he nukes Canada or something like that...

At 11:42 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Melissa: "It's not all about Obama... it's about them trying to steal back power."

For those who were in power, yes.... You couldn't be more right. (Um, I mean "correct".)

At 11:45 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Marine Mom:

"Do we have be so absolute in our opinions and mindset or can we peak into another's views and ways of making change so we can work together and get something ACCOMPLISHED? Let's not fight over trivial stuff ...!

a Marine Mom"

Absolutely the best idea I've heard on any blog!

At 11:47 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...


"This is what makes my job such a joy. The opposition does not have a fucking clue about world history. "

They don't have to have a dlue about world history -- they only have to convince those who also have no clue about world history, and also don't care about your expertise.

Germany did not fall prey to Fascism for lack of education -- only for a message that people wanted to believe.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

Funny thing that Rush and the rest seem to forget - Barack and Franklin also share a name that Hoover and Reagan and millions of men share in this country - that name would be Dad, Daddy, Father, Pop...whatever - it all adds up to the same thing. Okay, maybe some of these men were better presidents then fathers...but there you go.

Are Malia and Sasha wearing berets adn carrying signs to school this morning - I don't think so. Are they learning reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic - probably.

So I think as a dad and a president, he's doing something admirable. Fireside speeches are for the grown-ups. A little encouragement from the big guy in the White House on the first day of school is...well, I would've found it bizarre also awesome if Johnson, Nixon or Carter had done it during my school years!

Let's not forget one other fact in presidential trivia...beginning with John Adams through Barack Obama - there have been 9 presidents that taught school at some level from one room school houses to the top universities in the country. Interesting!

Also, isn't that part of the description of a good dad? Advisor, protector...teacher? Hmm...

Nuff said...

(I didn't mention the First Ladies who were teachers...FDR's missus being at the top of my list...)

At 12:08 AM, Blogger ralphlake said...

The idea that Obama is a closet Republican deserves some rebuttal. First, the general direction of the nation is not something the president can alter. The US is a capitalist nation with an imperial mission: to control as much of the world's resources as is necessary for its continued expansion. Did anyone seriously think that Obama would upset this particular apple cart? Did anyone think he had any such intentions despite the high sounding call for change? Would he survive a day in office if he tampered with the system on a level this fundamental?

Does Obama represent corporate interests? Could it be otherwise? Is there really another America where corporate powers are not operative? The reality is that Democrats and Republicans are both servants of these powers and like it or not they must dance to the same tune. Democrats attempt to rescue some good from this. Republicans delight in the dance and in the sight of the disadvantaged trampled beneath their feet.

At 12:53 AM, Blogger db said...

facts are irrelevant to those whose minds are blocked by negative emotion towards obama and 'those liberals!'. the white house trying to keep a dignified stance in not defending against all the nonsense and vitriol but it would be refreshing to have someone tell them to put a sock in it already, like what barney frank did! The Mob just plain idiotic and discussion not possible anyway but boy, are they loud. but i guess dismissiveness is not good also. so it's like being stuck between a rock and a hard place! just hoping for the best...

At 12:55 AM, Blogger One Ronin said...


"Tom, I don’t remember exactly how I felt about Bush at this stage in his first term. But after being deceived, I was very distrustful of him, and Cheney in particular."

I see this a lot. I call it "selective memory". I have many right-wing customers who swore by Bush until the economy collapsed. Then suddenly, they didn't vote for him and "always hated him".

Now that Obama is having problems, they're sliding back the other way and saying that "Bush wasn't all that bad. Obama is worse."

I'm not saying you're one of these people, but you might want to be a little more "firm" in your positions -- if you want to have good credibility....

At 1:12 AM, Blogger One Ronin said...


"By the way, I’m still curious, as no one has clarified for me: if those of us who ideologically oppose Obama’s agenda are “trolls,”

The term "troll" is a social networking term from decades ago, that refers to people who sit silently in the background, waiting for an opportunity to anonymously attack someone else's position -- then run away.

A less "geeky" term might be "sniper."

I have violated my own warning about "feeding the animals" because I could see you honestly did not understand. Be careful how you use my generosity.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger One Ronin said...


"Did anyone seriously think that Obama would upset this particular apple cart? "

Excellent point!

And if I might add... "Did anyone think that even if Obama WANTED to upset this applecart, that he could do it cleanly and effectively within his first 8 months in office --- at the heels of the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression?"

At 2:13 AM, Blogger ralphlake said...

One Ronin

"And if I might add... "Did anyone think that even if Obama WANTED to upset this applecart, that he could do it cleanly and effectively within his first 8 months in office --- at the heels of the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression?"

This is the problem with some on the left (?) who expect Obama to effect a miracle. The impatience is irritating. I think we should be satisfied with him if he succeeds in some measure with health care and if he rescues the U.S. from economic collapse. That's miracle enough for me.

At 2:33 AM, Blogger ralphlake said...

One Ronin:

I like your handle. The Ronin were a noble bunch and lived lives of non conformity. Obama, if I understand you correctly, deserves our patience and where appropriate our censure. So far, he's done a remarkable job. But the odds remain stacked against him and there is so much anger and stupidity in the air that many fear for his life. This is the kind of threat posed by a Beck or a Limbaugh. Two very dangerous men.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger B.J. said...

One more comment is probably not going to matter, but I just want to add that I appreciate your abilty to reason and your keen wit.

I thought nothing the right-wing could come up with could shock me, but this episode takes the prize.


At 9:49 AM, Anonymous sharon said...

Why do Republicans hate education?

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The speech the president made yesterday was inspirational and I had my children sit and watch it.
You guys are are implying that the right objected to the speech that Obama gave yesterday and you know perfectly well that the objections were about the original version, so stop your nonsense with that.
How soon you all forget as Rick pointed out, The Washington Post had a lot to say about President Bush after his speech to school children. Tell the entire the story not your watered down version.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger One Ronin said...


Guess where the following quote came from...

"The clever young man who recently made it to the White House is a very fine hypnotist, partly because it is indeed extraordinary to see an African American at the pinnacle of power in the land of slavery.

"However, this is the 21st Century, and race, together with gender and even class, can be very seductive tools of propaganda. For what is so often overlooked and what matters, I believe, above all, is the class one serves.

"George Bush’s inner circle from the State Department to the Supreme Court was, perhaps, the most multiracial in presidential history. It was PC par excellence. Think Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell. It was also the most reactionary.

---John Pilger, Socialist Journalist


If the Right-Wing thinks Obama is a Socialist, and the Socialists think Obama is a Right-Wing "Hypnotist", who DOES Obama really work for?

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

I think Pesident Obama made a valiant attempt to inspire students as they begin a new school year. What is missing from this whole discussion is the fact that students should be PAID for their efforts, not enslaved. Setting up trusts to accummulate some wealth as students go through school would go a long way toward lessening the inequities in our society.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger One Ronin said...

To the Anonymous above:

So far as I can tell, the speech changed very little...

(AP)... "Concern was caused in part by an accompanying administration lesson plan encouraging students to "help the president," which the White House later revised.

"The original speech suggested that students could help the president by writing letters.

"Ronald Reagan got away with saying students could write letters to the president in his speech to students when he was president but not so for Obama.

"But US Education Secretary Arne Duncan also acknowledged on Tuesday that some of the prepared guidance for school officials included a suggestion that students could compose essays stating how they could help support Obama, an idea the Duncan acknowledged was wrong-headed.


You were expecting maybe that he should tell the kids to pay attention to Beck and Limbaugh, and do everything they can to sabotage bipartisanship....?

I think Obama simply intended to encourage kids to get involved with government, REGARDLESS of who's in charge. And he removed the comments without whining or making excuses -- unlike his opponents.

Rick: THIS is an example of a "troll" -- someone who did no research, drops her "little nasty" on us and then departs...

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camille Paglia of Salon had this to say:
An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president's innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to "help" the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare?

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Rick said...

Ronin, thank you for your explanation. I have to admit I was not privy to the term or its contemporary usage.

I've noticed a few times here where posters attribute rejection of Obama's policies as "racist." While I can't speak for what few wackos out there may be who have racial issues to deal with, out here in the "hinterland" racism has absolutely nothing to do with it. For most of us, it's strictly ideologically based on foundational principles of "life, liberty, and property (pursuit of happiness)."

We have concerns with the massive amount of debt being accrued, commitments to more spending that will create generational debt unlikely to ever be paid off, and the continued encroachment on individual liberty. The more powerful government becomes, the less individual freedom we enjoy. We are mostly classical-liberals, founded in Madisonian and Jeffersonian precepts, explicitly stated in the Constitution, that the powers of the federal government are limited to those so enumerated, that all other rights are reserved to the states and the people. These are principles that made America unique and eventually great, and we believe that adherence to these principles will ensure the nations' greatness in perpetuity. While current efforts to engorge the government at the expense of its citizens are heterodox to our founding principles.

I didn't mean for this to be so lengthy, but I thought a clarification was warranted.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Good posting, Rick. You're starting to grow on me.


Tom Degan

At 6:49 PM, Blogger Avram Mirsky said...

Y'know Tom, I think it was Mark Crispen Miller who pointed out how the wingnuts accuse liberals of being everything they they themselves are, and of doing everything that they themselves do. Examples: "Nazi!" "Racist!" "Liar!" "Brainwasher!" I guess the one exception is "socialist" (which many us are after a sort but Obama most certainly ain't). But they get the media attention because anger, obnoxiousness and loudness are sexier than calm, reasoned discourse. But I gotta say, I am badly in need of a Glenn Beck punching bag. Know where I can get one?

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I remember Bush encouraging school children
to go get a freakin' goat.... and that was just fine.
Meanwhile, up in da city........

At 7:56 PM, Blogger wagelaborer said...

Clearly you missed this great article in Harper's magazine about Obama as Herbert Hoover.

At 10:10 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Ok, Rick, I'll bite:

"The more powerful government becomes, the less individual freedom we enjoy. "

Is the above statement in the Constitution? Or do you believe it is implied in the Constitution? Or is it an observation from personal experience/history? (Or a combination of...?)

This is not a "trick" or "trap" question... Just laying some basic groundwork....

At 11:35 PM, Blogger Rick said...

Ronin, excellent question. It obviously isn’t in the constitution but rather based on empirical observation, as well as a lesson inculcated at an early age by my father. He used to always say that whenever the legislature is in session, your freedoms and your wallet are at risk. After thirty years there, I figured his assessment to have some merit.

I genuinely feel that our elected officials expend an honest effort to do what’s best for the country and the people, albeit from obviously divergent perspectives. But with every well-intentioned law, it seems individual freedom is eroded a little more. It can be something as seemingly innocuous as a seat-belt law or a motorcycle helmet law. The desire is to protect people. But that removes the freedom of an individual to make that decision for himself as the “state” makes that decision for him. We who live in flyover country marvel that New York City would ban the use of trans-fats in restaurants there. Granted, there’s probably sufficient justification for concern, but at what point do we completely abrogate our individual liberty, yielding all decisions to be made by the state? I’m reminded of something John Adams once said, “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” I fear the continued encroachment of government and the inexorable loss of individual freedom in this land initially established for “the free.”

Here’s an interesting link that, while made in a different time under different circumstances illustrates how far I fear this can go.

Increased levels of taxation are perhaps the most egregious grabs at our individual freedom. The more of my earnings the government removes from my discretional use, the less freedom I have to provide for my family’s needs and wants. At some level it seems to me that taxation is confiscatory and injurious not only to individuals so heavily taxed, but to the future growth of the nation, since those who are earning most are typically that way because they’re creating, manufacturing, distributing, and cross-selling products or services, and they’re hiring the rest of us to help them do it.

I’m sure you didn’t expect a treatise in response, and for that I apologize. I tried to be brief, so I'm not sure if it makes sense or not.

At 11:47 PM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Avram Mirsky:

"I am badly in need of a Glenn Beck punching bag. Know where I can get one?"

I dunno, but if you find one, please tell me where I can get one, too!

I'm dreading tomorrow -- and the next escalated wave of hysteria and lies from the "Bummer Brothers" in response to Obama's speech tonight.

At 1:41 AM, Blogger One Ronin said...

Rick -- good post!

In order not to clog up Tom's blog with a lengthy response, I've posted it on my own blog. Check it out.

If you visited my blog before and found it did not allow comments, that was a mistake on my part -- didn't realize I had left it set that way. Comments are allowed now...

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I wrote to soon the other day. After reading Obama's healthcare speech I have found my trust and respect for him renewed.

I have been surprised by the amount of energy expended to defeat healthcare reform. I can see where he would have to use his political capital wisely and not try to much too soon. I imagine this is a "Marathon and not a Sprint."

To read his kind words even for his opponents in the Insurance industry was personally inspiring.

God I feel curiously Hopeful!

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Marvin said...

This reaction to Obama speaking about staying in school (how is that political?) is disgusting. It shows how out of touch the far right wing (which is basically the entire Republican party at this point) really is. Until the Republicans start acting like grown-ups they should simply be ignored, just like you ignore any child throwing a tantrum.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Kangaroo Brisbane Australia said...

Excellant site Tom, and right on the mark.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Andrea said...

Well here in Hamilton, AL. our children did not watch the Presidents Address. Nor will they ever. Yes, hate is thick down here in the woods of the South ( or more rightly, rascism).

I remember when Obama was running for President. A very good friend of mine (who is a Christian, and loves to shout it) during a telephone conversation told me she thought Obama was the Anti-Christ. I admit I was shocked and totally and absolutely ashamed of her and for her.
They told her this in her church and she was running with it. I guess I expected better from her.

When did Americans stop using their brains?

A friend was telling me of a post on her Facebook page in regards to Obama's speech to our childern. A local woman was asking everyone to check out their kids before the speech started and meet at the pole to pray.

I was at work a few weeks back when a nurse stated she wished someone would shot him (Obama) dead right before discussing her church plans for the week. Now that's something!!!

Trolls are the majority here.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger jasondylan said...


I am curious, what do you think is the percentage of people there that are truly racist, not that are just a little uncomfortable but who truly just can't stand that we have a black president.

I am also trying to find some information on the 9-12 march on washington. How many people were really there. I hear either 1-2 million or 50,000.

I think it is a big exaggeration on the right but I am not sure.

It is hard for the left to put a big fight on this one because of all the rhetoric against Bush.

The media play the extremes against the middle.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Ying Chen said...

Nice, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post as I have had many an argument on the matter. I honestly can't tell what happened to logic and common sense nowadays. Who in their right mind would believe all this crock about brainwashing, neurolinguistic programming, and hypnosis?


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