Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Extreme Extremism

The notion that a presidential address could turn students into socialists or communists is absurd. Far too many people need to get a grip on reality. Paranoia is run amuck. Reality has taken a back seat to reality.

The outcry to the President's address is unprecedented in American history. When Bush-1 (who I was big fan of for lots of reasons) and Reagan (who I liked for his economic polices, though who I cared little for with respect to his Supreme Court appointments) made similar addresses, it was viewed as a President reaching out to kids to motivate them. Why is it viewed so differently now? It should not be. We ought to all be encouraging the message he seeks to send to the youth of this county.

Repeat after me: Bush was not Hitler and Obama is not a socialist or a communist. People need to get over their extremist views. People need to stop listening to sound bites and start availing themselves of the masses of information the Internet makes available to them.

My best guess is that this is as good as its gets evidence wise on the extremes of divergent views in this country. Sadly. The negative visceral reactions are far too telling. Too few people care about the merits. Instead, it is about sound-bite driven reactions.

I am not a fan of what appears to be Obama's economic policies, but much of this reaction smacks of overreaction if not some latent racism. Whatever happened to opposing ideas we disagreed with, but not opposing something just because of the person proposing it?

I do not like the idea of more government entitlements on top of the existing ones we can already cannot afford (social security, medicare, and medicaid), but this has little to nothing to do with messages to our kids to stay in school and strive to succeed.

We loathe extremism when it comes from foreign sources. Should we embrace it domestically? I say no. This smacks of McCarthyism and I oppose it -- dispute my disagreement with many of Obama's proposed polices.

We need a little more reasoned law4luch and less extremism.

10 comments:

  1. Troy, no one opposed Obama speaking to school children. What they opposed was the materials that the NEA sent out to schools that students were to complete before, during and after the speech. Included in those materials were suggestions for children to write letters about how they could help Obama achieve his goals. Not their goals, but Obama's goals. Also included in the materials were suggestions that the children write about how they could use Obama's speech to influence their parents. Some lesson plans called for children to read books about Obama before the speech and then write about how he inspired them. Most parents really don't want their children involved in a cult of personality about Obama or anyone else. When Reagan and Bush spoke to kids, they gave a speech and that was the end of it. There were no lesson plans for almost an entire day of instruction about the president. Furthermore, when Bush 1 spoke to school kids in 1991, Democrats launched an investigation into the event, which included a probe into the production of the speech, legality, and how much taxpayer money was spent on it. The Democrat controlled congress summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for a hearing. "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 (Liberal - MO.), then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"

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  2. "no one opposed Obama speaking to school children."

    Huh????? I do not know what nation you were living in for the time between when the speech was announced and the time it happened, but in this city, county, State and country there were millions of people who did oppose (and quite vehemently) Obama speaking to school children - especially "their" kids.

    The reactions to Bush-1's speech, which I do not recall but will take your word for it for the purpose of this discussion, were just as inane and insane as those to Obama's speech. Surely you are not suggesting that the intemperate response to Bush-1 justifies the same or worse reaction to Obama's speech.

    Far too many people need to get a grip on reality. It is really disheartening that we have become so politically polarized that people think they need to protect their children from listening to the democratically elected president -- regardless of what party he is from.

    I will grant you that there were also people who were opposed to some or all of the suggested or proposed lesson plans prepared by the administration, and in some respects for good reasons, but since when do parents have a veto right over school curriculum. Ever tried to convince a teacher to leave out division because you disagreed with it?

    We elect school boards and hire teachers to make these decisions daily. I want no part of the slippery slope that comes with parents being able to directly opt out of portions of what is taught in schools. If you do not like the curriculum chosen by the education professionals, elect different Board members who will set different policies for the school district. Let the schools and school districts know that you do not like their choices. Getting to opt out of specific portions of a lesson plan because you do not like it or disagree with it for political reasons ought to be off limits.

    The outcry is a sad commentary on the state of tolerance in this country.

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  3. The law in the State of Texas is that parents can opt their children out of any curriculum not required to graduate. You can opt your kids out of extra curricular activities, sex ed, speakers, including but not limited to the President, and anything else you choose, except core courses required to graduate. People do it every single day in this state. The opposition was to Obama trying to indoctrinate children, which was evidenced by the NEA curriculum that accompanied the scheduling of the speech. It was the curriculum that generated the outcry. When Obama released the text of his speech, no one opposed him speaking, just the curriculum that went along with it.

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  4. Now I understand why some of my friends with Blogs do not allow anonymous comments. You are wrong about the law, the educational system in this state, and reality -- all without any accountability for the truth of your comments.

    Some districts give parents the option of opting out of some things, but it is far from the law.

    Here is a challenge: find and post the "law" you claim allows parents to opt their kids out of "any curriculum not required to graduate."

    I am not going to hold my breath waiting for hell to freeze over. Go get a little law4lunch.

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  5. Texas Education Code

    § 26.010. EXEMPTION FROM INSTRUCTION. (a) A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity. A parent is not entitled to remove the parent's child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester.
    (b) This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

    Now see, you didn't really need to hold your breath, did you? Since this sort of proves that you don't know everything, I doubt you will have the guts to post it.

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  6. My, my, 3 days and you haven't published the law I quoted. You are another gutless wonder, just as I suspected.

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  7. I address things on this blog as I have time to do so. This Blog runs well back in the pack when it comes to my time commitments. If you do not like that, then do not post. If it rankles you to the point of personal attacks to have to wait for me to have the time to pay attention to the Blog, then post somewhere else.

    You are correct: the Education Code does contain the statute you listed, but that has little to do with the point I was making and it does not support your claims. I will also grant you that I did not know about that statute [nor do I nor have I ever claimed to know everything about the law or anything else], but, again, it has little to do with what we were discussing. My original point was:

    "since when do parents have a veto right over school curriculum. Ever tried to convince a teacher to leave out division because you disagreed with it? .... Getting to opt out of specific portions of a lesson plan because you do not like it or disagree with it for political reasons ought to be off limits."

    Your response was:

    "The law in the State of Texas is that parents can opt their children out of any curriculum not required to graduate. You can opt your kids out of extra curricular activities, sex ed, speakers, including but not limited to the President, and anything else you choose, except core courses required to graduate."

    I replied:

    "You are wrong about the law, the educational system in this state, and reality -- all without any accountability for the truth of your comments. Some districts give parents the option of opting out of some things, but it is far from the law. Here is a challenge: find and post the "law" you claim allows parents to opt their kids out of "any curriculum not required to graduate."

    The statute provides:

    "(a) A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs .... This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency."

    Your claim is wrong. My claim was and remains correct. This statute does not give parents a veto over school curriculum. It does not allow parents to remove kids from curriculum "because you do not like it or disagree with it for political reasons," which was my claim. It allows parents to opt their kids out of specific portions, "temporarily," when it "conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs." Disagreeing with a President's politics is neither a religious nor a moral belief -- though that kind of confusion sure does make these kinds of discussions much more difficult. I do not see the words "political reasons" in that statute. Those parents who opted their kids out for political reasons either violated the statute [by falsely claiming it was for moral or religious reasons] or took advantage of a local option opt-out which did not require a reason.

    I stick by what I said: "The outcry is a sad commentary on the state of [in]tolerance in this country."

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  8. As to the remainder of you comments in your subsequent posts, I will not allow anonymous attacks on other people. I will however, set out your attempted posts here with the identity of the third party removed: If you want to complain about a third party, go to that person: I do not want to hear it and do not want my blog to become a place where folks can make ad hominem attacks anonymously.

    "And btw Troy, you just answered the question about why people post on these blogs anonymously. Being the good lib that you are, you automatically assumed that since I posted something that didn't agree with your world view that I was wrong about everything, including reality. Now think about that for a second. Without any research, because you would have found it if you researched, being the good lawyer that you are, you reflexively became sarcastic and insulting. That's what liberals like you and XXX do. XXX likes to go further though, and engage in name calling, threatening, and trying to dig up dirt on anyone who opposes or disagrees with him. Such behavior is also classic liberalism at work. Don't reason with your opponent, destroy him. Don't allow any other point of view, don't let facts get in the way, only the liberal point of view is acceptable. Anything else and you are wrong about reality. As a result, some of us who would like our voices heard but don't want the name calling and attempted character assassination that is sure to follow should we identify ourselves, choose to post anonymously. So when you wonder why we post anonymously, look at people like XXX. I hope you don't follow his path until the point that you need to look in the mirror. I always thought you were better than that. "

    1. My reactions to your comments were solely related to your content. I could care less if you are liberal, conservative, a genius or an idiot.
    2. I am far from liberal. Funny and telling that you assume that with little more than my disagreement with you in part on this issue. You, whoever you are, obviously do not know me very well.
    3. Your view of reality was, in my opinion, skewed. It was, in my opinion, not accurate. It was spun to make an invalid point, but it was not accurate. Turning my assessment of the merits of your arguments into a personal attack is just as telling as your assumptions about my political beliefs.
    4. Those who will not sign their name and take accountability for what they say and for what they claim to believe in, ought to just keep quiet. Either put yourself out there or don't: just do not hide behind the curtain. I think you need to take a closer look in the gutless wonder mirror.

    If you want to post in the future or continue this discussion sign your name. Otherwise, this discussion is over.

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  9. Troy we know each other from Channelview. I have to say this is the first time I have visited your Post and will do so more often. I compliment Bennett & Murray for all the time they put into theirs and I can see from reading your interaction with certain post you DO give people their money's worth. Bottom Line as to why I like your Post: 1)m It is a combination of Mark & Murray's. You allow people to speak ANONYMOUSLY you keep a close eye on editing so as to not allow cowardly defamation or allowing inaccurate information. And lastly, you actively interact with the comments made. Keep it up, but I know you're time is precious. Come by and visit sometime.

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