September 4, 2009

Four For Friday - The Kid Edition

MikalBabyPic.jpgQ1 - Hair: Which do you like better... the hair you had as a kid or the hair you have now?

Q2 - Talking to Kids: While the President of the United States prepares to deliver a back-to-school speech to the nation's school children on Tuesday, September 8, some parents are convinced he is going to use the opportunity to advance a partisan political agenda on the nation's young minds, and are threatening to keep their children out of school on that particular day. "At a minimum it's disruptive," says Minnesota's Governor, who is a possible future Presidential candidate himself. "Number two, it's uninvited. And number three, if people would like to hear his message they can, on a voluntary basis, go to YouTube or some other source and get it. I don't think he needs to force it upon the nation's school children," the Governor told reporters this week. Taking the issue a step further, the chairman of the GOP for Florida released a statement this week accusing the President of the United States of using taxpayer money to "indoctrinate" children. Background: President George H.W. Bush delivered a nationally televised speech to students from a Washington D.C., school in the fall of 1991, encouraging them to say no to drugs and work hard. And in November 1988, President Ronald Reagan delivered remarks that were made available to students nationwide. Among other things, President Reagan called taxes "such a penalty on people that there's no incentive for them to prosper ... because they have to give so much to the government." The President's talk next Tuesday... It focuses on encouraging students to study hard and stay in school. How do you feel about the President's upcoming address for the nation's school children?

Q3 - Learned: What's the most valuable thing/lesson you learned as a kid?

Q4 - Cash for Kids: Japan's new ruling party is floating a proposal to pay Japanese parents approximately $3,400 a year per child (until the child reaches high school age) as a way of boosting the country's birth rate, which is one of the lowest on Earth and is said to have future negative ramifications on Japan's economic welfare. How do you feel about 'cash for kids'? If you were on the fence about having a child, would an extra $3,400 per year ($283.00/mo.) sway you one way or another?

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Posted by Mikal at September 4, 2009 9:35 PM | TrackBack


1. I had platinum blond hair as a child. Although that would be weird it still would be better than the receding lines I have now.

2. It's simply adults bickering about partisan politics. It's aim has been taken away from kids and put in the pulpit of political bullshitting. Like he's going to turn them into future democrats with a speech about the value of staying in school and working hard to get good grades. Anyway, it's hypocritical and at worse nothing will come of it, at best, it might actually make the president, god forbid, seem like he cares and inspire a few. FDR had fireside chats, which I heard were well received. This is not much different.

3. I can't think of anything significant right now, but I can look back and realize that as a kid the feeling of freedom came a lot easier.

4. I don't really think it would, since kids are way more than that anyway. But money is really at the end of the list when you think of having kids, at least it was for me. - As a side note, my wife is Japanese and we actually got some cash from our first one. But it was one lump sum. Now she got her green card and we don't see a single yen outta this deal.

Posted by: Aaron V at September 4, 2009 9:39 PM

Oh man... I can already tell, somebody's gonna blow a gasket on this one!

Q1 - Hair: I like the hair I have now. I inherited Asian hair from my mother, so it's nice and thick and dark. It got pretty light for awhile, almost blond, when I was a child. I don't like that at all.

Q2 - Talking to Kids: I'm not sure why everybody is throwing a fit. Seems like the President offering up a message for the country's kids is pretty common, and I don't ever remember a time growing up anybody freaking out like they are now. It'd be one thing if he were sending out a partisan message and saying, "Listen to your President. As President, I'm the smartest person in the world. Democrats rule, Republicans drool!" But there's no indication at all that he's going to say anything "harmful" (guess some people think that anything a President they don't support says is harmful though). Let the man speak, then throw a fit if you're still pissed that he's telling your kids education is good... and if he says something that is just off the wall, don't you worry. The media will be all over it. If my FDR-hating grandfather was any indication, FDR caught similar flack during his time. It just didn't seem as wide spread because, you know, they didn't have this internet thing back then.

Q3 - Learned: Everything valuable I learned in life I learned from watching Star Trek. And that is: Doctors are not engineers, bricklayers, or escalators. A captain's blouse is made of thinner material than his subordinates, thus it tears easily whenever you get into a fight. Every alien race you visit comes with a lesson about the wrongs of humanity. Stuff I didn't learn from sci-fi shows included discipline at the end of a thick leather belt. I gotta tell you, I was seriously probably the most disciplined person in my USMC recruit platoon because of those whippings I got. My dad feels guilty about it today, but looking back I think they were good for me.

Q4 - Cash for Kids: There's no way a few hundred dollars would sway me. It would take at least six-figures per kid per year to influence me to have more children, and even then I most likely still wouldn't go for it.

Posted by: Stu the Kid at September 5, 2009 12:11 AM

Q1: I prefer the hair and now.

Q2: I think it's excellent. I'm not a big fan of President Obama or most of his policies, but I do think he's right in trying to change our society's approach to education from the bottom up - students and their parents - rather than exclusively from the top down (through the schools). He's trying to make parents and students more accountable for student success and encouraging parents and students to get unplugged - turn off the TV, put away the video games, stop piddling around on the Internet, and learn something. Bravo, Mr. President!

Q3: I hope mentioning two things is not cheating - acting with integrity and having a strong work ethic.

Q4: I wouldn't base my decision on money. However, I'd like to know whether anyone has any better ideas on how to encourage families to have more kids... not that I think adding to the population of this already stressed planet is a good thing. I suppose you could start a religion and then make it one of the Supreme Creator's rules to produce children, but that's standard operating procedure in most religions.

Posted by: Joe at September 5, 2009 4:28 AM

Oh... and one question for you, Mikal - is that a photo of you now or sometime in the past?

Posted by: Joe at September 5, 2009 4:31 AM

Q1 - I certainly had better hair as a child; my hair now is thin and unruly. I am happy now that 1)I have hair, 2) that I can play Santa with my white hair and beard and 3) that I can donate hair to Locks of Love every couple of years.

Q2 - There is a lot of distrust by the extreme right of him. I expect that he wants to inspire youth, particularly black youth, to excel and education is the only way to excel in modern America. I hope that his better judgment prevails and the message is to excel in education and nothing more.

Q3 - The most valuable lesson that I got from my youth is the value of hard work. Mom was a very hard worker and Dad was very lazy; both of them were examples which guided me.

Q4 - The earth currently has a population approaching 7 billion people. We are well past the carrying capacity of the earth without long lasting, possibly irreversible environmental changes. While it may be in the Japanese Government's economic interest to increase their population even faster, it is not in anybody's interest in the long run.

Posted by: Mike Linn at September 5, 2009 2:55 PM

I'll cop to blowing a gasket. Consider yourself/ves warned.

Posted by: Cat. at September 5, 2009 5:34 PM

1. I liked the white blond hair I had as a kid, but I like how wavy it's become, so I guess it's kind of a wash.

2. I think that it's great that the President would take the time to speak to children since politicians in general use kids as props to prove their family friendly credentials.

3. Life isn't fair.

4. I don't think that the government should be in the business of subsidizing people having children at all but honestly, I don't see how an extra three grand is much of an incentive given how expensive kids are to raise.

Posted by: mike at September 6, 2009 7:51 AM

1. I liked the white blond hair I had as a kid, but I like how wavy it's become, so I guess it's kind of a wash.

2. I think that it's great that the President would take the time to speak to children since politicians in general use kids as props to prove their family friendly credentials.

3. Life isn't fair.

4. I don't think that the government should be in the business of subsidizing people having children at all but honestly, I don't see how an extra three grand is much of an incentive given how expensive kids are to raise.

Posted by: mike at September 6, 2009 7:52 AM

The issue with this Presidential address to students - which has now been taken out of the speech (ironically, after the Administration was 'called' on it) - was an assignment where the President asked students to write up how they/the students could help the President.

I seriously doubt any responding to this posting would have let George W. get away with that kind of an assignment.

Posted by: at September 7, 2009 6:10 AM

you folks would let a man who has appointed 34 Presidential advisory czars, with no vetting process, instruct your kids before you even saw the message?

van jones, who just 'stepped down' this weekend around midnight on a Saturday of a holiday weekend, was a self proclaimed communist with a history of promoting racism. the Prez and his staff actively recruited this guy to be a czar.

i say that if parents want to be involved in preventing their kids from seeing this messahge, they should be.

Posted by: at September 7, 2009 12:24 PM

"I seriously doubt any responding to this posting would have let George W. get away with that kind of an assignment."

Are you saying that you would? I'm right-wing and have voted for a Bush 4x (and myself once). But I sure as hell wouldn't have liked it if Bush gave my kids an assignment of any sort unless they served on his cabinet or in the military. What I would or would not like my President to do doesn't change according to the party affiliation of who's in office.

And frankly, Bush was a major disappointment to me in his last term. It's too bad that Obama is so much like him.

Posted by: Stu the Conservative but Not Crazy at September 8, 2009 12:30 PM

1. My hair is pretty much the same as when I was a kid.

2. What is the big deal? He is the president of the United States. If a parent thinks their kid will be brainwashed by one speech, then those parents have a bigger problem on their hands. And, what child will even remember most of what was said anyway?

3. You can't always have what you want. And if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to get it yourself.

4. I don't need money to decide whether or not to have children. I'm all for having children.

Posted by: Vera at September 8, 2009 3:25 PM

While the anonymous commenter from Sept. 7 portrays the appointment of the current President's special advisers as an inappropriate power grab, the fact remains that these so-called "czars" (a word I despise) have sadly been part of American politics and the modern presidency for decades.

President George W. Bush appointed a number of czars to his administration, including a "cybersecurity czar," "regulatory czar," "AIDS czar," "bird-flu czar," "war czar," and "Katrina czar." This didn't stop Bush adviser Karl Rove -- himself a former "domestic policy czar" -- from attacking Obama's use of czars, casting czars negatively by saying they represent a giant expansion of presidential power.

(Side note: I do think czars represent an inappropriate expansion of power, but either side loses all credibility with me when they attack the other side for doing the exact same thing they do or did; and therein lies the problem with the entire system... it's not about what's right or wrong or in the best interest of tax payers... it's about WHO IS RIGHT and WHO IS WRONG, which is a never ending cycle that gets us nowhere.)

While conservative commenters here are now decrying the Obama administration's use of "czars," the appointment of special advisers is nothing new. Rather, the attacks are indicative of the partisan nature of the use of czars, as evidenced by attributing czars to the current presidency while not saying anything about past presidents using them as well.

If you want to be taken seriously, comment on the problems with the system. You may not like Obama -- that's cool (there's a ton of stuff I don't like about his policies either) -- but you reveal yourself to be bitter and nonsensical when you choose to personalize the criticism. Show us you really care by focusing on the issue more so than the personality.

As to your point about letting the President "instruct your kids before you even saw the message," when was the last time you or any other parent (unless of course you work directly in the field of education and have access to lesson plans) sat down to review your children's teachers lesson plans? If in fact you do... congratulations for being so active in your child's education. But I'd bet dollars to donuts (mmm.... donuts) that you don't and probably never will. Therefore, your logic doesn't hold water (at least with me it doesn't).

Posted by: Mikal at September 9, 2009 10:30 AM

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