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I despise the left wing liberal attempts to change America. I support FREEDOM, freedom of speech, right to bear arms, religious freedom and protecting the rights of Americans, including the unborn. Close the border, round up illegals and send them home. Welcome them back with a green card. I believe in preserving the visions of our founding fathers which did not include Socialism or Sharia Law. This IS STILL America.....at least for now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hey Obama....Leave the Kids Alone!

Our county has decided today that they are going to show the children of our county the Obama broadcast to the students of our nation. Earlier in the day it was decided by my daughters teacher NOT to show it. Sadly, the seem to have overruled our teacher.

I have made it clear that my children will not view the broadcast. The school is very cooperative in the matter, thankfully. I have included in this post my email to the school administration regarding this broadcast. If you have children and do not want them to view it either, feel free to use my letter in part or whole:

I am very saddened by the decision to allow this broadcast. I am assuming it will be shown to all grades?

President Obama has goals for our communities and our country that are in direct conflict with the Constitution of The United States of America, and the political and religious beliefs of our family. The idea of using government schools to force students to bond or unite with the country's highest leader might be appropriate for North Korea, China or Cuba, but it has no place in The United States of America, a Constitutional Republic. The President of the United States will not use my children to move forward his goals for community and country to "come more readily".

From the teachers lesson plan provided by The White House:

"It might make sense to focus on personal and
academic so community and country goals come more readily."

If you plan to use the teachers planning form provided by The White House for activities following the broadcast, I would like to know if this will be a graded activity? If so, will our children be given alternative activities to do for the grades.

I do appreciate being informed of this change in plans. I will try to get appointments for the dentist made for all three children. If that is not possible at this point, we can figure something else out to make it so that it is not a burden for our teachers. I have no problem sitting with the children in a school location where there is no audio or video of the broadcast during that time and then having them return to class after this event and any activities or discussion that follows.

I guess by now you have guessed that we are a very conservative, Christian family. I cannot apologize for that, but I will apologize for any trouble this situation creates for our teachers. They are wonderful, we appreciate them and we certainly do not want to create any extra hassles for them.

Thank You,


  1. Tammy,

    While I do not agree with all the statements you make in support of your opposition to the President's broadcast, I agree totally with your right to object to the broadcast and your right to protect your children from exposure to it. But I hope that you will agree that parents with other views have a right to allow their children to hear what the President has to say.

    In the region where I live, some city and county school systems will allow the broadcast to be viewed in their classrooms - while others will not. Those that will have promised to make alternate accommodations for those children whose parents object to the broadcast.

    I'm not sure that the broadcast is or is not a good idea, but I hope we can, at least, have a rational discussion on the merits of the broadcast - after we have seen and heard it. Since you have posted the E-mail which you sent the administrators of the school which your children attend, I hope you will post their response, if they send one. I am particularly interested in their response to your question:

    "If you plan to use the teachers planning form provided by The White House for activities following the broadcast, I would like to know if this will be a graded activity? If so, will our children be given alternative activities to do for the grades?"

  2. The teachers reply:

    "I will not be taking a grade on anything."

    Admistrators reply was by telephone. They will make alternative arrangements for our children. She called because she said they were making a list. Apparently, we are not alone. She was calling all the parents who did not want their children to view it....and letting them know they would respect their wishes and provide an alternative to viewing the President's address.

    Absolutely, parents who want their children to see it have that right. You know, Bob, it is about freedom. Freedom of choice. I support that in every instance....cannot think of single thing I would not agree with that sentiment on other than abortion as a means of birth control.

    Taking abortion a step further...I TOTALLY support freedom for physicians to choose whether or not to perform abortions. They will be losing that choice with the repeal of the conscience clause.

  3. I wonder if you might consider an alternate approach of keeping them at home and watching the broadcast with them. That way, if he says something with which you disagree (though I doubt he's going to say anything very controversial to school children), you can explain to them what you believe. It's good for children to know that people have different opinions.

    It's like drugs--if you shield them and pretend like they don't exist, your child is more likely to try them later. If you let them know that they're around and they could really harm them, then they're more likely to stay away.

    But I think it's likely that Obama comes out and says, "be good to other people and stay in school," and whatever you think of him it's probably good for a child to hear that message from the President of the United States.

  4. Andrew, these are my children, not the governments. I can help my own children set goals and achieve them....I don't need the government to do it for me.

    There are plenty of wonderful examples I can show my children. Bill Cosby, Oprah, and even some local people we know who beat the odds and became very successful.

    I do not need a socialist, thanks anyway.

  5. Just a note, G. H. W Bush gave a speech to schools in 1991. (Link 1: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/09/03/flashback-1991-gephardt-called-bushs-speech-students-paid-political-a) (Link 2: http://volokh.com/posts/1252117357.shtml)

    Apparently in the speech, Bush requested students write to him with their ideas on how they could "help us achieve our goals".

  6. I found an interesting post that is in response to the President's speech to school kids. It's by Richard Esenberg and is over at PrawfsBlawg:

    "Thanks to Dan for another stint at Prawfs. Paul Horowitz raises the interesting question of the reaction to the President's upcoming speech to school children. I see it a bit differently.

    I am certainly a political conservative, but I have no objection to the President addressing school children and talking about the importance of education. Indeed, I think that an African American President addressing poor and minority children on the value of education could be a powerful and positive message. I have no problem with the President using his bully pulpit for that.

    But, in a world in which the next campaign begins as soon as the last vote is counted, it does not surprise me that a President's unprecedented choice to address a captive audience of millions of school children would create controversy. I think there would be have been much the same reaction if George W. Bush (who a number of people seemed to consider a theocratic fascist war criminal) had proposed the same thing. In fact, when George H.W. Bush addressed students at a D.C. school in a live broadcast that schools across the nation were encouraged to show to students, Democrats cried foul.

    In our country, the President is the head of state but he is also a politician. When he wishes to invoke his status as the head of state and ask the rest of us to put politics aside, he must put it aside as well. In the context of a speech to school children, this means avoiding references to disputed matters of policy and the President's agenda - even at the simple level that one would use to speak to school children. It means avoiding the slogans of his campaign. It means that the speech cannot be about the President himself.

    Many conservatives don't trust the President to do this. Part of the reason for that is our political culture in which we routinely assume either bad faith or ignorance on the part of our opponents. (We see that in one response to Paul's post calling reaction to the President's speech "racist.") Part of it is that conservatives, fairly or not, have come to see the President's eternal campaign (and all Presidents have them) as rooted more in personality and the elevation of the person of the candidate than has generally been the case in American politics. We can, depending on our perspective, lament, dispute or sympathize with these reasons for the negative reaction of many to the proposed speech.

    But part of the reason is the administration's own fault. Lesson plans that called on children to write to the President about how they could "help him" either played into the hands of conservative critics or created anxiety in the minds of those who would otherwise not have been concerned."

  7. You know, Christie, that is a great article. Certainly shows both sides of the situtation. I do not think I would have objected to a commercial played on television...but it is that captive audience thing. I just hvae fundamental political and religious differences with this President. I am sure that if we had a president that was conservative and as controversial as the current president....you might object to having your children see him speak.

    The absolute great part of it all....is that we are still free to speak our opinions.

    There is, however, a trend to restrict our freedom of choice. Case in point, in Alameda, California the school board just voted to make it mandatory to start teaching from Kindergarten about gays, lesbians, transgender...etc....lifestyles. This is not the schools job and in this district there is no option to opt your children out. I saw a man on TV who had to move his kids to his parents and give them temporary custody because he did not want his children being taught this is an acceptable lifestyle.

    Put yourself on the flip side. If it were a teaching showing that it was okay for your daughter to marry a man who already had four wives....I am sure you would not be okay with that.

    I will never teach my children this is okay. I will, however, continue to teach my children to be kind and respectful to ALL people. You can love a person without loving what they do. My "brother: is gay. I love him dearly. I quote the brother....because in reality he is not my brother...but my Mom loved him as a son, and he was so good to my Mom. My Mom died not quiet two years ago, and he is and always will be considered my family.

    My largest concern is that there is a movement to limit freedom of choice from so many things.

    While you and others may agree with your children being taught these things in school. What if it were something you did not agree with and you could not opt your children out? I just cannot believe any parent would be okay with that sort of governmental intrusion into YOUR parenting YOUR children.

    I really do appreciate your posting that article. It was a very fair perspective.


  8. Happy to oblige. I thought the article was pretty good, too.

    I have considered the flip side. I find myself doing that often. It wasn't that long ago that there was a president in office who I didn't feel represented me or my beliefs very well, and who I disagreed with on almost everything his administration attempt to do. My son is not yet two so I haven't had to deal with school issues, and I'm sure I would have complained (quite a lot) to my husband if G.W. had tried to do the same thing - speaking to kids in school - but I don't think I would have pulled my kids out of school or refused to let them listen to what the president had to say because ultimately I feel being exposed to different ideas is a good thing. I can say, however, that there would be one vigorous discussion after the event so I could present my ideas and/or explain where I stand on issues (this assumes that such things would be brought up in the Pres's speech, and I'm not sure that is the case).

    It's weird because I, too, feel like our freedoms are being limited. For instance, if gay people want to get married, I think that option should be available to them. Whether or not they do does not affect my own marriage. I'm proud to live in a state that allows terminally ill people to make a choice about how they wish to leave this world. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think soldiers who can fight and die for their country should have the option to legally consume a beer at the end of a long day. ...

    On the other hand, the government should not be able to wiretap my home or cell phone without obtaining a warrant. They should not be able to force me to vaccinate my son (or myself). When we're talking about choice, you have to let the individual make the decision for him-/herself, even if that means he/she might make the "wrong"* choice.

    As for polygamy, I used to think it was a no-brainer and then I started watching Big Love, which presents a VERY different view from how I had always envisioned it. Let's assume I have a daughter and that somehow she finds herself in love with a man who happens to have another wife (or two wives or three or...). Ultimately, I would support and respect her decision. For me, the ick factor with polygamy comes in when I envision some 70 year old husband of five nabbing himself a fifteen year old child bride.

    *Wrong meaning not the choice we would like them to make.

    Anyway, as always I appreciate you putting up my posts. Hope you have a good labor day.

  9. I believe that gays have the right to equal protection that is provided by heterosexuals with marriage. I not believe that it should be called marriage...but still....whatever it is called...it should afford them the same rights. Marriage is an institution described in the Bible as sacred. Forget the old testament for this matter...look at the new.

    I believe a woman has a right to choose too. That being said, I do not believe in abortion as a means of birth control. Abortion is murder. There is no other way to look at it if you see that abortion terminates a life.

    I agree with you on everything else.

    My family will not be taking the Swine Flu vaccine unless they are holding a gun to my head. And it may well come down to that.

  10. Obama's Black Widow


    Now the White House is using permanent tracking cookies on their website. All direct email addresses have been closed...and the only way to email the white house now is to go to their website.

    A permanent tracking cookie supposedly self destructs in about a year if you do not go back to their site....but for every visit to their site....that cookie is good for another year.

    Oddly enough, I did find one on my computer....and you cannot even delete them. I will not be going back to that website. I do not care what they have posted...and they are keeping us running to the site...for information on things like the Speech for the students.


  11. Here's the speech, by the way: http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/

    And honestly, just about every website will put permanent cookies in your web browser. They do that for a variety of reasons, but primarily to remember your preferences or to determine whether you are a new or repeat visitor for statistical purposes. You should be able to get rid of them by clearing your browser history (or turn them off in your preferences, but many sites won't work without them)...

  12. It was against the law for the gov't. to use tracking cookies of any kind until last month. Obama changed all that.

  13. Andrew, I perfectly understand cookies, tracking cookies etc. I worked for AOL for a good many years.

  14. Folks,

    For you who may not wish to link to the whitehouse source for the President's school children speech, I have a copy of the speech at my personal web site (where I have no hidden agenda). I ran it through MS Word before I posted it, and the paragraph separators were removed. Click the link below and you'll see the link to the speech on my home page.


  15. Sorry Tammy. I assumed you didn't know what a cookie was because you seemed to think they were such a big deal. The government can't do anything more with them than AOL was doing with them when you worked there. They can still get your IP address, locale, etc without a cookie. It seems like allowing cookies now could just be about a quality of service thing rather than for some sinister tracking purposes.

  16. These cookies are not session cookies. You almost always cannot delete them unless you know what program to use to do it. Youtube uses adobe and there is a special site you can visit to remove them. It does not work for the White House ones. Yes, they can be sinister. Permanent cookies can track and report all the websites (not just pages on their site) you visit to the owner of the cookie. Do a little more research on this.

  17. I think you're wrong on how the technology works. A website cannot set or view cookies from domains other than their own. Whitehouse.gov won't be able to see cookies from the websites where you're shopping or reading your news.

    The way a website shares your information with other websites is by loading ads with information about where you are, and letting them set cookies. So, for instance, go to ebay.com, right-click on the ad that appears on the front page, and view properties. You'll see a bunch of parameters being passed to the URL. That's all info about how you got to that ad. It's ebay telling the ad what you're looking at.

    Since the company that advertises on ebay also advertises on other sites, it can compile the information that it gets from many sites all over the internet to compile a profile of you. But the government can't see that information because it can't see the domain from which the ads originate.

    It's not that sites can spy on the cookies that you get from other sites, it's that certain sites share information when including content from other sites. So...yes, the government site is probably sending you cookies. But unless you start seeing content on their site from other sites, they're not getting info from other sites. They could be subscribing to information that those ad sites are compiling, but they don't need cookies to do that.

    Netscape, Microsoft, Firefox, Safari...these browsers don't put in special code to accomodate special government cookies. The government site is just another site as far as the web browsers are concerned. The government still adheres to the same technical limitations--they can set and see cookies that originate from their own domain. If you start seeing content from one of the ad networks on whitehouse.gov, you should be concerned. Otherwise, you're no more at risk with no cookies than you are with cookies.

    Note...I build web applications for a living. If I could see other websites' cookies, I would know that.

  18. Sorry...two more points on cookies. If you start seeing government content showing up where ads usually show up on other sites, then they could be tracking in the same way as those ad sites do. So that would be a red flag. And if you wanted to have a really clear picture of what was being sent to the government sites, download a packet sniffer like ethereal. That will watch every piece of information that goes between your computer and another site. You would see the cookies in the headers of the request your browser is making and the response being sent back. That should tell you exhaustively whether you're sending info to the government that you aren't intending to send. Who knows...maybe it would prove me wrong.

    (Note - the packet sniffer won't work on secure sites because all of the info is encrypted, but the government sites should be http unless you're submitting a form or something)

  19. Reference my earlier comment:

    "I'm not sure that the broadcast is or is not a good idea, but I hope we can, at least, have a rational discussion on the merits of the broadcast - after we have seen and heard it."

    The President's school speech has been revealed and delieverd in a respectful, non-political way. I believe it was a fine inspiring pep talk that challenges America's school children to stay in school, to study hard, to respect their teachers, and to take some responsibility for their own destinies.

    If you have heard or read the speech - do you have any comments about it? If you have not read or heard it, do you have any comments about what others have said about it? And finally, will you not allow your children to hear or see the speech in the near future?

  20. I expected the speech itself to be nothing short of wonderful. My main issue came with the follow up activites and/or discussions that were included in the lesson plan. By and large the educational field is very liberal. There are classrooms all over the school with Obama plastered on the walls....and I think that having the teachers build up a man that I have so many fundamental differences with would not be in the best interests of my children.

    My children did not view the broadcast.

  21. Thank you; fair enough. This morning some members of the legendary 101st Airborne Division parachuted onto the Woodlands Golf Course where I play golf. I have posted photos and comments of that exciting jump at my web site:


  22. We live in one of the most liberal cities in the US and our kids have been in public school for several years now. I can assure you, that even in left-leaning Portland, Oregon, Obama is not the first president that's been "plastered on the walls." Like it or not, he is our nation's president and so his picture is probably up on the wall of most public school classrooms in the country. All the teachers we have ever had have "built up" every president, even ones they presumably did not agree with politically. I don't think most teachers are using their job to try and steer our kids' political beliefs.

    I fully respect our apparent differences in opinions, but I can't figure out how watching this speech and exploring further what each of us can do to help the president and country (I gather this is the part you object to the most) is not in the best interest of your children.

  23. I can respect a single photo of the President in any classroom. What I cannot accept is when teachers...and yes some at our school...have him plastered all over the classrooms. Oddly enough...the majority...but not all..just the majority are black teachers.

    Why would I want my children to explore how they can help a President with totally different goals for our country than we have. We believe in The Constitution of The United States of America and the freedom it has provided for Americans. This President has trashed the Constitution by far more than any other. We not only have political differences with Obama....but fundamental religious differences as well.

    For now, I still have the right to keep my children from seeing him speak...or seeing or listening to anything that goes against what WE believe in. Whether it is the President or anyone else.

    Would liberals and those who are pro-choice find it offensive to have their YOUNG children watch a video on why abortion is murder? Or do you prefer to insill the morals you find acceptable in your family? You may not have an objection, I have no idea...but would you object if President Bush made them watch it?

    Until my children are old enough to figure out the world for themselves....I choose to raise them with Christian values and morals. My children, my choice. At least for now.

    I fully respect our differences too. I give you my word on that. But when differences with others have a direct impact on my life, my choice and my freedom.....I stand my ground. Especially, when it involves my children.

  24. You can build up the office of the President....without building up the President. Yes, teachers do use their political positions in the classroom...although many may not realize it. Politics have no place in the classroom.

  25. Bob, GREAT photos! That must have been very cool!

  26. Of course I wouldn't let my kids watch a video on why abortion is murder. The subject matter is completely inappropriate for any child, regardless of what our family's personal beliefs are on the topic. I get where you're going with that example, but I'm hopeful that you're not trying to directly compare Obama's speech from yesterday with a video about abortion. The subject matter in his speech was completely non-controversial. He was talking about responsibility and encouraging them to stay in school... both huge issues at the moment, and presumably both issues we can agree are important.

    Reminds me of a random story from when I was in grade school. I had a chance to be a part of a small group from my school to go see Nancy Reagan (first lady at the time) speak as part of a "Just Say No (to drugs)" club that I was in. I wasn't sure how my parents would feel about it since they were not exactly President Reagan's biggest fans. Thankfully, they were thrilled that I was given that opportunity and even let me borrow their camera so I could get a photo taken with Mrs. Reagan. Despite the vast political differences there, the message was a no-brainer. No matter who was speaking it.

    I understand your angst... it is an awful feeling to have a president that you don't trust or agree with, especially when you're raising children. It's a tough conversation to explain to your kids why you disagree with the nation's leader. But it's an important conversation and actually can give you a huge opportunity to instill the values and lessons you wish to instill. I guess I just don't see the point in trying to ignore him for the next 3-7 years or trying to keep your kids from hearing him speak.

  27. We have that conversation with our kids all the time. Three out of four....are proud recipients of the Principals Honor Roll. Then we have a fourth...the only boy...and he struggles to learn. He knows he learns differently...and we also recognize that if ever there was a child at risk...he would be one. Still, we are responsible for our child...we motivate him...and in fact we are always seeking new ways to help him fight his frustration. We did not ask for nor do we need governement assistance with motivating or encouraging our children. We want less intrusion into our lives from the government...not more.

    As for explaining why we disagree with the President....sometimes even young children can grasp fundamental differences when you clearly show why it is not constitutional. My eight year old can almost always cite the bill of rights to back up her answers if she is questioned.

    We are heading into a a new America. I do not like it....and I will not go down quietly.

  28. One more thing...America is a Republic...yes, a form of democracy...but there are differences. The schools here never teach that we are a Republic....just democracy. I love it when my daughter corrects them. Now when I say that....she is not a mean spirited child...she is the absolute sweetest child you could imagine. She has never been disrespectful to me or anyone else in her entire life...not even once. But even with her sweetness and meek mannered personality....she knows the difference and will very respectfully state her opinion.

  29. If you could, please expand on what you think it means that we are a republic. You mention that often and so I did a quick search to see if I understood the differences. (I sort of did.) I learned one of the founding fathers (James Madison) defined republic in the U.S. in terms of representative democracy. How I read this is that we have a republic - a form of government that is not headed up by a monarch and in which the people (or a part of the people in the case of representative democracy) have an impact on the government - that is run via representational democracy. Is this your understanding?

    I also learned that republics aren't necessarily sovereign. For instance, the Soviet Union was comprised of distinct Soviet Socialist Republics, which I found interesting given that I usually associate "republic" ideas with conservative, right-leaning folk and they are usually very against anything socialist. But I digress...

  30. In a true democracy....anything goes so long as the majority is in favor. Hell, the majority could even vote in communism. A Constitutional Republic has specific rights given to the citizens....and these overrule the "wishes" of the majority because the majority could essentially vote out every freedom we have. Our founding fathers gave us rights..to keep us free.

    There is an old quote....

    "A democracy is where 51% of the people vote to take away the rights of the other 49." Thomas Jefferson

  31. No, Tammy; the distinction between a Republic and a Democracy has nothing to do with majorities. Our government is a democratic form of government in that all power is vested in the people. However, ours is a special form of democracy (a Republic) in that the people use that power to elect representatives to make laws and decisions and to run the country. In a so-called true democracy, the people act directly to make laws and decisions and to run the country. In either type of government majorities can make unfair and abusive laws, and in our government, all kinds of rules have been put in place to protect minorities from abusive rule by majorities.

  32. And to the Republic for which it stands....

    I undertand totally what you are saying. However, we are not a pure democracy.

  33. Bob...we are a Constitutional Republic. Everything else falls under that.

  34. Tammy, Look at my quote above:

    "However, ours is a special form of democracy (a Republic) in that the people use that power to elect representatives to make laws and decisions and to run the country."

    Of course we're a constitutional republic because our constitution defines our government as that - a government that vests its power in a body of leaders and representatives to do its bidding. And in most cases, the majority does rule. Most of our representatives are elected by simple majority and most of our laws are enacted by simple majority. These facts make our government no more or less a true or pure (you've used both adjectives) democracy.