Free Markets, Free People

Big Brother Has Such A Nice Smile!

Is anyone else even slightly creeped out by this upcoming presidential address to our kids and grandkids?

Maybe its just me but there’s something just not quite right about it all. Oh, I suspect he’ll be very careful about what he has to say and probably keep it pretty general in tone and nature. But there’s just something about a politician addressing young children without an alternate or dissenting voice that smacks of, oh I don’t know, some novel I read years and years ago.

Its "for the childern"

It's "for the children"

In fact, I’m pretty sure they made a movie of that book.

You know, it’s one thing for a teacher to use a politician’s words or deeds in class as an example of some point they’re trying to make in a lesson. But it is quite another to have a captive audience with no choice as to whether they listen or watch sitting in front of TVs because a politician decided that would be a good idea.

Maybe it’s my cynical nature that’s coming to the fore. Who knows, this may be nothing but a “hey youngsters, good luck in school and try to do your best” speech. But then I wonder why, if that’s so, he assumes the right to make such a speech best left to moms and dads. Of course he did tell us this week to make sure we wash our hands, sneeze in our sleeve and stay home if we’re sick. So addressing real children after treating us all like children isn’t a real stretch.

The real reason there’s a growing creep factor to all of this is that not only does he presume to have the right to address our kids, his speech has a lesson plan. It’s one thing to have a politician give a speech and everyone go, “ok, that’s nice” and get back to work. But it is entirely creepy when that politician has a lesson plan sent out to accompany the speech. For the pre-K to 6th grade group the plan suggests pre-speech questions like: “Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?”

Now that doesn’t tend to border on indoctrination or anything does it? “Obey you young skulls full of mush. Elected officials are good. Listen to them. Question authority? Not till you get to the 7th grade.”

7th – 12th graders get a little more sophisticated lesson plan than do the little guys. And guess who it is all about?

Short readings. Notable quotes excerpted (and posted in large print on board) from President Obama’s speeches about education. Teacher might ask students to think alone, compare ideas with a partner, and share their collaborations with the class (Think/Pair/Share) about the following: What are our interpretations of these excerpts? Based on these excerpts, what can we infer the President believes is important to be successful educationally?

Yeah, you see, this seems to be more than “hey youngsters, good luck in school and try to do your best”, doesn’t it?

After the speech, the 7-12 crew will have a “guided discussion” in which questions like, “What is President Obama inspiring you to do? What is he challenging you to do?”, will be pondered.

And the poor little tykes in preK to 6 (preK?)? Well they get the full cult of personality treatment:

Students could discuss their responses to the following questions:

What do you think the President wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?
Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?
What would you like to tell the President?

Boy, you know what I’d like to tell the President if I was in one of those classes?

Leave our freakin’ kids alone. And don’t ever assume you have either the right or privilege of addressing them about anything ever again without our permission.

But, you know, that’d probably be some sort of overreaction or something. After all, I’m sure his intentions are sweet and pure and good and he only want’s to be our national daddy. And anyway, I don’t even have a lesson plan.



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49 Responses to Big Brother Has Such A Nice Smile!

  • It’s a bit creepy (think/share/pair ??!!) but probably harmless. And how are all the kids going to see this anyway? It’s not like all the classrooms in America have television sets. And are the schools being forced to show it?

    • “Creepy yet harmless” is my take as well, though I have to wonder what they’re trying to accomplish? With all of the things that are on his plate, this presents an easy opportunity for his political opposition to paint him as clueless and distracted when the nation is in the midst of heated debate on a critically important topic.

      • Or maybe this? (Gateway Pundit)

      • He believes in his own legend, and thinks that his powers of persuasion are so great that, by making such a speech, he will instantly create an army of little Obambots who will charge home and DEMAND that their parents storm the Congress to pass health care immediately and string up anybody who gets in the way.

        I also think it’s an exhibition of total narcissism: he just loves to be on TV and hear the sound of his own voice. The most important thing to remember about The Annointed One is that, ultimately, EVERYTHING is about him.

        • When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already. . . . What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.” — Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), Speech, 6 Nov. 1933. Quoted in: William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, ch. 8, “Education in the Third Reich” (1959).

    • Actually from what I understand a good number have live video feeds.

      But if they don’t, there’s videotape and even back in the 70’s we had enough TVs and players to get something like this seen in a day or two.

      As for being force, perhaps not. But considering the makeup of school teachers, especially for the younger age group, I’m guessing at least half of the teachers will make the effort to have their students watch the video. That’s a minimum.

    • “It’s a bit creepy (think/share/pair ??!!)”

      I work at a high school in Los Angeles. Stuff like think/share/pair is perfectly normal edu-speak (which should give you an idea some of why our educational system is in the sorry state it’s in). Edu-speak comes from consultants — 99% of whom have never taught children in their lives — who are paid great sums of money to take actual working teachers out of the classroom for several days each year for ‘professional development.’

      Amusingly enough, September 8 is a pupil free day in LAUSD, except for the year-round schools, and a third of the year round students will be off track. First day of instruction is the 9th.

  • The stench of Bill Ayers is clinging all over this…

  • I’m not sure which is worse: that TAO is going to make such a Big Brother speech… or that there are plenty of people who think that it’s a great idea.

    [I]n the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, blackmoustachio’d, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:




    But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone’s eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandyhaired woman had flung herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that sounded like ‘My Saviour!’ she extended her arms towards the screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was apparent that she was uttering a prayer.

    George Orwell

  • What would you like to tell the President?

    If the President can’t do his job, perhaps he should let somebody else do that job.

    • Yeah, I can’t wait to hear my 7th grader’s answer to that question. Boy, will she rip him a new one! The girl decorates her room with Tea Party protest signs.

  • Hmmm, where was George W. Bush when the attacks of 9-11 occurred.

    In a school! Addressing children! Ah, I see why it’s creepy. Does it risk another attack?

    • In a school!

      Emphasis on the word “a”. There’s a big difference between reading a book to some children and giving an address to all the children in the nation.

    • Let’s see. Reading a children’s book to one grade school class vs. delivering a political lecture aimed at every child in the country between the ages of 4 and 18, complete with pre-made follow up materials to hammer the indoctrination home. Do you honestly not see the difference, Scott? I mean seriously? Are you that completely lost in your partisan delusions?

      • Wow. It’s so blindly obvious how ridiculous Erb’s comparison is that Achillea and I came up with practically the same comment at the same time.

        • What’s ridiculous is getting worked up over the President of a country talking to that country’s children in an address. So partisan are some of you that you forget that the Presidency is an office that gets respect and children need to learn about it. But I’ll give you a bit of a pass — the left showed that kind of ignorance about the office of the Presidency when Bush was President. Ignorance by partisans is bi-partisan.

          • So partisan are some of you that you forget that the Presidency is an office that gets respect


            Not from the left for the previous 8 years….

          • If the speech is really some sort of civics lesson, then why is the accompanying lesson plan about devotion and obedience to the President? A speech about the presidency would be accompanied by a lesson plan with questions about the role of the President, the role of Congress, etc., especially for the 7th-12th crowd. The 1st through 6th crowd might have a lesson plan that’s like the old “community helpers” standby but with politicians instead of policemen.

            Surely the lesson plan was written with some sort of knowledge of the topic of the speech. If not, why is a generic lesson plan being distributed at all?

          • “So partisan are some of you that you forget that the Presidency is an office that gets respect and children need to learn about it.”

            The OFFICE, not the OCCUPANT.

            If the education had some sembelence of rationality, I don’t think too many would have a problem. Given it’s usage as a major tool of political indoctrination, we’re correct in being skeptical.

            Given Erb’s history, we’re even more justified.

            Given his inability to differentiate between Bush on 9/11 and this case, I’d say the schools can’t stand any more Erb Jugen.

    • Ridiculously stupid.

    • This is something of a non-sequitor. If you reduce the context to “the President addressed schoolchildren, then I guess Bush reading a children’s book to a class is the same as Obama’s speech. When you consider the details of each, they are very different.

  • By the way, I also know people on the left creeped out when kids write letters to soldiers — how dare the school force our children to write and honor “paid killers of the state.” I have no problem with such letter writing, any more than I have a problem with a President addressing children. It’s all about learning about the country and how it operates. Partisan paranoia here is misplaced.

    • “paid killers of the state”

      Safe bet here, Erb, but I would wager a truckload of dough that 1) you have never served this country, or have been related or even knew someone who did, and 2) you enjoy basking under the glow of liberty provided by those “paid killers” while criticizing them and calling them names for providing you the right to have a thick skull.

      I am right, ain’t I?

      • –> you have never served this country

        on his knees –> yes

      • I serve as an educator. It is bizarre to think only those who are in the military serve their country.

        • I serve as an educator





        • No, you are paid to be an educator, and risk nothing, and the only cause you serve is your own. You have no honor, and your current code and creed are anathema to the founding principles of the Republic.

          Yet another tremendous difference you cannot perceive.

        • Erb;
          Let’s get something perfectly clear. Many people can and do serve as educators. Anyone that has read your work knows that you don’t. You serve yourself, through unsupported opinions and outright lies that are offered up as historical information to your students. Twisting history in order to gain supporters for your personal view is neither service or education.

  • I have no problem with such letter writing, any more than I have a problem with a President addressing children.

    Only in your bizarre world is there any equivalence between doing something nice for the people defending your freedom and being forced to listen to an authority figure explain why you should obey authority.

    Do really still pretend to have any libertarian instincts at all, or was that just a passing BDS fad?

  • You know something? I really think that things have turned. I saw something on CNN today – that’s right: CNN – that I thought I would never see…a headline after The Clown™ announced that he was delivering another silly speech on health care, this time a national address before Congress:

    Desperation Drives the President to Address Health Care

    Desperation? Can you imagine anyone – sans Fox News – saying that The Clown™ was “desperate”? I nearly choked on my sandwich when I saw that one go by.

    So, in that vein, I believe that things have changed, and that The Clown™ has irreparably harmed himself. No longer is a saint, no longer does he walk on water, no longer do people wait on his every word. Now, he gives speeches and his approval ratings go down. One Democrat pollster, Doug Schoen, said that he thinks that this Congressional speech next week is a huge waste of time. When word leaked out that the public option was being thrown under the bus (like so many of his former friends and ideas that can’t stand the light of day), Democrats rushed to their favorite liberal talkers and denounced any such thing. Some even whispered the potential that if The Clown™ takes on the Left, they might stay home next year and in 2012 and cut the party’s throats.

    Yes, it is September 2009, and I know there is plenty of time before November 2010, not to mention November 2012. But never before, especially in this media-driven age, has a President gone down so far, so fast. I do not think that anything he gets out of it, if it is anything, will make much of a difference. You can shine a turd, they say, but in the end you are still stuck with a turd. The MSM put a shine on The Clown™, and now that the American people have decided that the shine was all fake, they realize that all they truly voted for last November was a turd in the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    That’s my take on things. Call me out if you think I am wrong.

  • I don’t know Scott. How do you tell your kids to not talk to strangers but listen to your elected officals, especially the 6 grade and under set?

    And he’s suppose to be listening to, you know, we the people, the kids should be listening to their parents, not him.

    And Bush was reading “My Pet Goat,” not asking “What do you think the President wants us to do? Does the speech make you want to do anything?
    Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us? What would you like to tell the President?”

  • I don’t think that a little speech about working hard and doing well in school is creepy. The nation-wide simultaneous broadcast to a captive audience is slightly creepy in a dystopic-vibe sort of way.

    The proposed lesson plans are beyond creepy but either won’t be done or else the kids will see the President as someone who gives them more assignments.

    Meeting with school children and reading a book is done a whole lot. Obama has met with school children before.

  • What could he have to say to children that would be of any consequence or even stick? The education budget? Their curriculum?

    And why would he talk to the children about those things anyway. Those are issues to discuss with parents and taxpayers.

    He is talking to the children for a combination of two reasons.

    1) his need for public adoration. By talking to the children all at once he’ll leave a memorable imprint that will be with that generation for life.

    2) A symbolic event that establishes that there’s a relationship between the state, children and what children learn that bypasses the parents.

    How much of each, idk. The first reason is just pathetic. The second reason is downright foreboding. And if anything comes of it, there will be a ‘come to Jesus’ moment between the people and the state that may not end well that I wee see in my lifetime.

  • Did George W. Bush ever address our nation’s schoolchildren in this way? If so, did it represent the same existential threat that Obama’s address does?

  • I don’t like Obama speaking to my high school kids, but I’m not worried. They already think Obama is a total jacka$$. All the kids will probably be texting each other about how this is great cause they get to miss biology,or english, or whatever.

    Regardless, I keep thinking of Lenin and his belief that if you give the state your kids for a few years you will have them for life.

    Put me down as “creepy by probably harmless”, IF it is only a one time thing.

  • Let me pass on an experienced point of view. My father-in-law called today to ask us not to let our daughter go to school the day of the speech. My wife called the school and the Superintendent of Education, a family friend, and our district isn’t carrying the speech.

    My father-in-law defected from a Soviet-occupied country decades ago. His family smuggled him out when he was in university. In the US, he worked toward his BA, MS, and PhD at different colleges including Yale. He was a tenured college professor until retiring recently, while also working for a federal science agency. His opinion on this school speech is more qualified than any other I’ve heard, and his opinion is a warning. He has seen this type of thing before. “Creepy” isn’t the right word to him. “Dangerous” is. He isn’t speaking to Obama’s motivations, he is speaking to the precedent. It does not matter what Obama is is trying to do – it is wrong for him to do it.

    The school is a place of authority. Children are taught that what they learn in school is important and true. There are many subjects a President might speak on in this venue, but the role of government and citizens is not one of them.

    The left can excuse and explain with dismissal, indifference, and moral equivalence on this issue but it will not sway me. They enjoy appealing to authority, so I present to you an authority, more experienced and learned on this issue, and more concerned, than anyone I’ve encountered so far.

  • I don’t like this either, but let’s have a little faith in our kids. I looked at the lesson plans… pure BS. The questions are so generic the kids are just gonna laugh – at least some of them – but it’s more likely to cause frustration for most of them, which is why I bet you that most teachers won’t make a big deal out of the questions – if they hand them out at all. Questions that can’t be answered. Two pages of questions on… on what? Nobody knows, it’s a “secret”. I showed the questions to my daughter (10th grade). I wanted to go over them with her… she just rolled her eyes and said, “Dad, nobody is going to answer those questions. We’ll watch the stupid video then go back to the useless stuff we were doing before.” BTW, my daughter is one of the top in her class. She has an intuitive insight into her teachers’ thinking that intimidates them. I know it intimidates them when she proves them wrong ;-). I can promise you they won’t give the kids a chance to say what they think about Obama’s speech – not with my daughter in the class.

    You know, you guys give Scott a lot of flak here – but he handles it really well. It makes some of you look pretty silly, LOL. Here’s a thought… try “logic”. It’s tough I know, but give it try.

    • You know, you guys give Scott a lot of flak here – but he handles it really well. It makes some of you look pretty silly, LOL. Here’s a thought… try “logic”. It’s tough I know, but give it try.


      There is no logic when dealing with Erb. I have been dealing with him for about 5 years now, others on this board go back into the 90’s in dealing with him. When you try the logical angle with Scott, you get 1 of two outcomes –

      1. Scott changes the argument every few paragraphs until you get so frustrated trying to keep up with his changes that you walk away


      2. you stay on point and build a valid, logical refutation of his point, but he never, ever, ever returns to that post to address it. In fact, I watched someone last year follow Scott to at least 4 new comments on different topics and ask him to return to the post and address the logical argument. And of course, crickets…

      Scott should consider himself lucky he only gets what he gets here. If I typed half of what I think when I read him, Bruce would have to kick me off the site. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

      • Thanks for the reasonable explanation – obviously I’m new here ;-). But I think Scott is just having a little fun. So just see the fact that he posts here as a testimony to the quality of this blog (which I think is excellent). Since I don’t really identify with the left nor right I can say that I think Scott has an excellent blog too. I don’t feel comfortable in any of the pigeon holes – except maybe the pure ZAP pigeon hole. On the left there are too many socialists and marxists, on the right there are too many war-mongers and corporate-fascists (but to be honest, it’s getting harder and harder to see any difference at all between the “leaders” of the left and right).

        I’m a Southerner – many of my ancestors were Confederates. I admit that it has a great influence on my thinking. I think the war was, and still is, about a limited federal gov offset by powerful state govs as opposed to an all-powerful national gov with subservient states. IMO *all* liberty-minded people lost that war, not just Southerners – and we are still losing it.

        But I guess I tend to identify with the right more than the left because I see a fundamental flaw in all the left’s “compassionate humanism” arguments – and that is: how is it compassionate or humane to steal from me? If they use what they steal from me for what they think is a worthy cause, does that justify stealing from me? I think not. Scott, I would be interested in seeing you blog on this topic.

        I’ve gotten really off-topic so I’ll end it 🙂

        • Welcome to the blog Mike – and trust me, you’re no different than literally hundreds who first had the same opinion you hold of Erb and were forced by his writings here to change their minds. Maybe you’ll be the exception. But I’m betting, based on the few things you’ve written here, that you’ll be in that latter category sooner than you imagine.

  • In the the early afternoon hours of November 14, 1988, President Reagan, seated in the White House State Dining Room, proclaimed that he was “particularly pleased t…o be talking to American students” in a speech that was broadcast live via C-Span to classrooms across America. Bush Sr. did the same. Why was that OK?
    Reagan Full Speech Here
    You can bet that Obama won’t be discussing gun control, The Federal Deficit or line item veto with today’s students.
    Bush’s Here

    • Got the lesson plan distributed by the Reagan White House?
      How bout the Bush White House lesson plan?
      Any documentation on how the kiddies are going to be asked to write up how they can ‘help’ the President?

      No? hmmmmmmmm.

      Obama taking questions like Reagan did?
      There’s a reason he won’t be talking gun control, Deficit or line item veto. He doesn’t like surprise question very much and those items aren’t on his agenda. I guess he can handle it if he’s got the right kid pre-loaded with the right question, that’s his style.
      Otherwise how can Mr. Teleprompter possibly provide the answer?