Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oklahoma High School Students, George Washington: Can't Name him as First President

What an indictment of our society:

Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today.

The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday.

Brandon Dutcher is with the conservative think tank and said the group wanted to find out how much civic knowledge Oklahoma high school students know.

The Oklahoma City-based think tank enlisted national research firm, Strategic Vision, to access students' basic civic knowledge.

"They're questions taken from the actual exam that you have to take to become a U.S. citizen," Dutcher said.

Obama Speech at University Maryland (Transcript, 9-17-09)

The President gave a speech at the University of Maryland arguing for health care reform. Read the Complete transcript. Excerpt below:

THE PRESIDENT: You know, the last time I was here it was in the heat of a very long and very tough campaign. And in that campaign, I promised to be a President who -- you guys can sit down, by the way. (Laughter and applause.)

In that campaign I promised to be a President who didn’t just clean up yesterday’s crises; I didn’t want to be a President who was just content with standing still. I promised to be a President who would build a better future; who would move this nation forward; who would ensure that this generation -- your generation -- had the same chances and the same opportunities that our parents gave us. (Applause.) That’s what I’m here to do. That's why I ran for President of the United States of America.

I ran for President because of people like Rachel. Did she not do an outstanding job in the introduction? (Applause.)

Part of that promise is an economy that leads the world in science and technology and innovation. Part of that promise is a clean energy revolution that protects our planet, protects our security, creates jobs of the future right here in the United States of America. Part of it is giving every citizen the skills and the education they need to compete with any worker in the world -- just like you’re getting right here at the University of Maryland. And today, we are on the cusp of taking another big step forward towards fulfilling that promise.

A few miles from here, the House of Representatives will soon be voting on a plan that would finally make the student loan process simpler and more affordable for millions of young Americans.

This plan would end the billions upon billions of dollars in unwarranted subsidies that we hand out to banks and financial institutions -- money that doesn’t do anything to make your loans any cheaper. Instead we're going to use that money to guarantee access to low-cost loans no matter what the economy looks like. We'll use it to strengthen Pell Grants and Perkins loans to make college more affordable. We'll shore up our system of community colleges. And we will simplify the complicated, convoluted financial aid forms so it’s easier for you to apply for help and get the finances that you need.

These are reforms that have been talked about for years, but they’re always blocked by special interests and their lobbyists. Well, because you voted for change in November, we're going to bring change in the House of Representatives today. And then we will take this battle for America’s students and America’s working families to the Senate. And then I intend to sign this bill into law. Because that's the change you worked for. That's the change you voted for. That's the change we're going to deliver.

Conservative commentator: Limbaugh's Attacks on Obama are Racist

This is from Americablog:

Rod Dreher used to write for the NY Post (perhaps he still does). He's a pretty big conservative writer - even a tad Christian conservative, as I recall - who sometimes ventures off the reservation when things get too out of hand on the right. This is one of those times.
[N]ow we have Rush Limbaugh blaming Obama for black kids beating up a white kid on a school bus. This is what happens in "Obama's America," he said today on his radio show.

How low will these people go? Look, I think it's important to talk about black male violence, or at least as important as it is to talk about any other important social trend. I don't think we should be squeamish about discussing it in a responsible and fair-minded way, despite what the politically correct say. But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He's plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people?

RNC Chairman Steele: Carter 'Wrongheaded' (Transcript, 9-16-09)

Read the transcript of Michael Steele interview with Greta Van Susteren on FOXNews:

VAN SUSTEREN: I want to -- I want to first start with former president Jimmy Carter. He said...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... that the remark made, the boorish outburst by Congress Wilson, was based on racism. So two-part question. One, whether you believe it was based on racism. And secondly, if you don't think it is, can you tell us how we have a legitimate challenge or -- to any policy of an African-American without getting that tag back?

STEELE: Yes. First -- first question, no, I don't think it's based on racism. I don't know where in that moment you could derive that that's exactly what was in the congressman's heart or his intent. I don't think it was an impression. In fact, I believe the president himself has said it was not an impression he took away from that moment. This was a (INAUDIBLE) disagreement, and he blurted out improperly, has been sanctioned for it, apologized to the president. So that part we can move on.

Having said that, now we have the former president, Jimmy Carter, elevating this to a point where, you know, he's sort of saying, Well, all these people who disagree with President Obama actually have some sinister view of the president based on race. And I think that that is disingenuous and it's just wrongheaded.

We cannot go to a point in this country -- we will not have progressed -- in fact, I believe we will hurt President Obama if every time we find ourselves in disagreement with him, his sycophants and others out there are running to his side and rushing in with charges of racism.

This man is the President of the United States. He is responsible for our national security, our economy, and he's got a lot of pressure and a lot of work to do. He's formulating policies. People will agree with them, people don't agree with them. So when you have members of his own party who come out and say, I don't agree with the president on -- on the public option, are they being racist? I mean, so if you don't want to go down this road, President Carter and others need to be very careful here because this is a debate that's too important to diminish it by silliness like that.

- Related Topic:

U.S. backs away from Missile Shield in Europe

Finally we have a President who understands that the missile shield was a stupid idea that undermined our relations with Russia. Not only that, it helped push the Soviet Union into a dictatorship again by creating the excuse of an external threat. Dictators use the specter of real, or imagined, threat from the U.S. to increase their power (i.e., Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc.).

President Barack Obama has told east European states he is backing away from plans for an anti-missile shield there, in a move that may ease Russian-U.S. ties but fuel fears of resurgent Kremlin influence.

Russia said it would welcome abandonment of the plans, which have been a major source of Russian-U.S. tensions.

Poland said Obama would announce a final decision later on Thursday (1400 GMT) on a project that has raised the prospect of multi-billion dollar contracts for U.S. defense giants.

The shield, involving interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar complex in the Czech republic, was promoted by Obama's predecessor George W. Bush to defend against any missile launches from "rogue" states such as Iran and North Korea.

"Today, shortly after midnight, Barack Obama telephoned me to announce that his government is backing away from the intention of building a missile defense radar on Czech territory," Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer told reporters.

Petrol Bomb Injures 10 In German School Attack

Mass murder has become a sport in Germany too. The reason: media, including the Internet, in Germany now glamorizes killers the way we do in the States. And every time it happens the press has to keep score. They start comparing the latest atrocity with previous mass murders. Whose got the highest score kills.

An axe-wielding 19-year-old man threw a petrol bomb into his own school in Germany Thursday, injuring 10 students, two of them severely, before police shot him in the stomach and arrested him, emergency services said.

Police evacuated the Carolinum secondary school in the southern town Ansbach, a spokesman for rescue services said. It was unclear whether more than one petrol bomb had been used in the attack, he added.

Police said the man was also armed with an axe and was arrested after they shot and seriously wounded him in the stomach.

The incident is the latest in a spate of school attacks in Germany. In March, a 17-year old killed 15 people in a shooting spree at his former school in the southwest town of Winnenden. He later killed himself.

In 2006, a masked man armed with rifles and explosives attacked a school in the western town of Emsdetten, wounding 11 people before killing himself.

Germany suffered its worst school shooting in April 2002 when a gunman killed 17 people, including himself, at a high school in the eastern city of Erfurt.

Was this sick puppy motivated by this story?
The boys, aged 18 and 16, were accused of trying to carry out an atrocity in Britain to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the rampage by two Colorado high school students on April 20, 1999.

But the jury at Manchester Crown Court decided that the “plan” to detonate a series of bombs at Audenshaw School, Manchester, and use high-powered guns to pick off survivors, was no more than a teenage fantasy.

Speaking outside court, McKnight said: "I would like to make it clear that at no time was any person put at risk either at Audenshaw High School or Crown Point North Shopping Centre. This was just a fantasy. This was never a reality."

[...]During their trial the prosecution alleged that in addition to attacking their school the pair would detonate a car bomb at the nearby Centre Point North Shopping Centre.

The two had also considered blowing up an Ikea superstore and attacking the City of Manchester Stadium, it was alleged.

Once they had killed as many people as possible they would turn their weapons on themselves – just as their fantasy heroes, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had done in America a decade earlier, prosecutors had claimed.

The AP has the latest standings:
Here is a glance at some of the worst school violence worldwide in recent years: