Just post a comment, one word is enough. i am trying to find out if anyone actually reads this blog, or am i wasting my time.
Just post a comment, one word is enough. i am trying to find out if anyone actually reads this blog, or am i wasting my time.
Dinesh D'Souza, 09.09.10, 05:40 PM EDT
Forbes Magazine dated September 27, 2010
Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history. Thanks to him the era of big government is back. Obama runs up taxpayer debt not in the billions but in the trillions. He has expanded the federal government's control over home mortgages, investment banking, health care, autos and energy. The Weekly Standard summarizes Obama's approach as omnipotence at home, impotence abroad.
The President's actions are so bizarre that they mystify his critics and supporters alike. Consider this headline from the Aug. 18, 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal: "Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling." Did you read that correctly? You did. The Administration supports offshore drilling--but drilling off the shores of Brazil. With Obama's backing, the U.S. Export-Import Bank offered $2 billion in loans and guarantees to Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras to finance exploration in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro--not so the oil ends up in the U.S. He is funding Brazilian exploration so that the oil can stay in Brazil.
More strange behavior: Obama's June 15, 2010 speech in response to the Gulf oil spill focused not on cleanup strategies but rather on the fact that Americans "consume more than 20% of the world's oil but have less than 2% of the world's resources." Obama railed on about "America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels." What does any of this have to do with the oil spill? Would the calamity have been less of a problem if America consumed a mere 10% of the world's resources?
The oddities go on and on. Obama's Administration has declared that even banks that want to repay their bailout money may be refused permission to do so. Only after the Obama team cleared a bank through the Fed's "stress test" was it eligible to give taxpayers their money back. Even then, declared Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the Administration might force banks to keep the money.
The President continues to push for stimulus even though hundreds of billions of dollars in such funds seem to have done little. The unemployment rate when Obama took office in January 2009 was 7.7%; now it is 9.5%. Yet he wants to spend even more and is determined to foist the entire bill on Americans making $250,000 a year or more. The rich, Obama insists, aren't paying their "fair share." This by itself seems odd given that the top 1% of Americans pay 40% of all federal income taxes; the next 9% of income earners pay another 30%. So the top 10% pays 70% of the taxes; the bottom 40% pays close to nothing. This does indeed seem unfair--to the rich.
Obama's foreign policy is no less strange. He supports a $100 million mosque scheduled to be built near the site where terrorists in the name of Islam brought down the World Trade Center. Obama's rationale, that "our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable," seems utterly irrelevant to the issue of why the proposed Cordoba House should be constructed at Ground Zero.
Recently the London Times reported that the Obama Administration supported the conditional release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber convicted in connection with the deaths of 270 people, mostly Americans. This was an eye-opener because when Scotland released Megrahi from prison and sent him home to Libya in August 2009, the Obama Administration publicly and appropriately complained. The Times, however, obtained a letter the Obama Administration sent to Scotland a week before the event in which it said that releasing Megrahi on "compassionate grounds" was acceptable as long as he was kept in Scotland and would be "far preferable" to sending him back to Libya. Scottish officials interpreted this to mean that U.S. objections to Megrahi's release were "half-hearted." They released him to his home country, where he lives today as a free man.
One more anomaly: A few months ago nasa Chief Charles Bolden announced that from now on the primary mission of America's space agency would be to improve relations with the Muslim world. Come again? Bolden said he got the word directly from the President. "He wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering." Bolden added that the International Space Station was a model for nasa's future, since it was not just a U.S. operation but included the Russians and the Chinese. Obama's redirection of the agency caused consternation among former astronauts like Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, and even among the President's supporters: Most people think of nasa's job as one of landing on the moon and Mars and exploring other faraway destinations. Sure, we are for Islamic self-esteem, but what on earth was Obama up to here?
Theories abound to explain the President's goals and actions. Critics in the business community--including some Obama voters who now have buyer's remorse--tend to focus on two main themes. The first is that Obama is clueless about business. The second is that Obama is a socialist--not an out-and-out Marxist, but something of a European-style socialist, with a penchant for leveling and government redistribution.
These theories aren't wrong so much as they are inadequate. Even if they could account for Obama's domestic policy, they cannot explain his foreign policy. The real problem with Obama is worse--much worse. But we have been blinded to his real agenda because, across the political spectrum, we all seek to fit him into some version of American history. In the process, we ignore Obama's own history. Here is a man who spent his formative years--the first 17 years of his life--off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa.
A good way to discern what motivates Obama is to ask a simple question: What is his dream? Is it the American dream? Is it Martin Luther King's dream? Or something else?
It is certainly not the American dream as conceived by the founders. They believed the nation was a "new order for the ages." A half-century later Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of America as creating "a distinct species of mankind." This is known as American exceptionalism. But when asked at a 2009 press conference whether he believed in this ideal, Obama said no. America, he suggested, is no more unique or exceptional than Britain or Greece or any other country.
Perhaps, then, Obama shares Martin Luther King's dream of a color-blind society. The President has benefited from that dream; he campaigned as a nonracial candidate, and many Americans voted for him because he represents the color-blind ideal. Even so, King's dream is not Obama's: The President never champions the idea of color-blindness or race-neutrality. This inaction is not merely tactical; the race issue simply isn't what drives Obama.
What then is Obama's dream? We don't have to speculate because the President tells us himself in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. According to Obama, his dream is his father's dream. Notice that his title is not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father. Obama isn't writing about his father's dreams; he is writing about the dreams he received from his father.
So who was Barack Obama Sr.? He was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard. He was a polygamist who had, over the course of his lifetime, four wives and eight children. One of his sons, Mark Obama, has accused him of abuse and wife-beating. He was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk at a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself.
An odd choice, certainly, as an inspirational hero. But to his son, the elder Obama represented a great and noble cause, the cause of anticolonialism. Obama Sr. grew up during Africa's struggle to be free of European rule, and he was one of the early generation of Africans chosen to study in America and then to shape his country's future.
I know a great deal about anticolonialism, because I am a native of Mumbai, India. I am part of the first Indian generation to be born after my country's independence from the British. Anticolonialism was the rallying cry of Third World politics for much of the second half of the 20th century. To most Americans, however, anticolonialism is an unfamiliar idea, so let me explain it.
Anticolonialism is the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America. As one of Obama's acknowledged intellectual influences, Frantz Fanon, wrote in The Wretched of the Earth, "The well-being and progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs, Indians and the yellow races."
Anticolonialists hold that even when countries secure political independence they remain economically dependent on their former captors. This dependence is called neocolonialism, a term defined by the African statesman Kwame Nkrumah (1909--72) in his book Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, writes that poor countries may be nominally free, but they continue to be manipulated from abroad by powerful corporate and plutocratic elites. These forces of neocolonialism oppress not only Third World people but also citizens in their own countries. Obviously the solution is to resist and overthrow the oppressors. This was the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. and many in his generation, including many of my own relatives in India.
Obama Sr. was an economist, and in 1965 he published an important article in the East Africa Journal called "Problems Facing Our Socialism." Obama Sr. wasn't a doctrinaire socialist; rather, he saw state appropriation of wealth as a necessary means to achieve the anticolonial objective of taking resources away from the foreign looters and restoring them to the people of Africa. For Obama Sr. this was an issue of national autonomy. "Is it the African who owns this country? If he does, then why should he not control the economic means of growth in this country?"
As he put it, "We need to eliminate power structures that have been built through excessive accumulation so that not only a few individuals shall control a vast magnitude of resources as is the case now." The senior Obama proposed that the state confiscate private land and raise taxes with no upper limit. In fact, he insisted that "theoretically there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed."
Remarkably, President Obama, who knows his father's history very well, has never mentioned his father's article. Even more remarkably, there has been virtually no reporting on a document that seems directly relevant to what the junior Obama is doing in the White House.
While the senior Obama called for Africa to free itself from the neocolonial influence of Europe and specifically Britain, he knew when he came to America in 1959 that the global balance of power was shifting. Even then, he recognized what has become a new tenet of anticolonialist ideology: Today's neocolonial leader is not Europe but America. As the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said--who was one of Obama's teachers at Columbia University--wrote in Culture and Imperialism, "The United States has replaced the earlier great empires and is the dominant outside force."
From the anticolonial perspective, American imperialism is on a rampage. For a while, U.S. power was checked by the Soviet Union, but since the end of the Cold War, America has been the sole superpower. Moreover, 9/11 provided the occasion for America to invade and occupy two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and also to seek political and economic domination in the same way the French and the British empires once did. So in the anticolonial view, America is now the rogue elephant that subjugates and tramples the people of the world.
It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.
For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for.
Why support oil drilling off the coast of Brazil but not in America? Obama believes that the West uses a disproportionate share of the world's energy resources, so he wants neocolonial America to have less and the former colonized countries to have more. More broadly, his proposal for carbon taxes has little to do with whether the planet is getting warmer or colder; it is simply a way to penalize, and therefore reduce, America's carbon consumption. Both as a U.S. Senator and in his speech, as President, to the United Nations, Obama has proposed that the West massively subsidize energy production in the developing world.
Rejecting the socialist formula, Obama has shown no intention to nationalize the investment banks or the health sector. Rather, he seeks to decolonize these institutions, and this means bringing them under the government's leash. That's why Obama retains the right to refuse bailout paybacks--so that he can maintain his control. For Obama, health insurance companies on their own are oppressive racketeers, but once they submitted to federal oversight he was happy to do business with them. He even promised them expanded business as a result of his law forcing every American to buy health insurance.
If Obama shares his father's anticolonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more. The anticolonialist believes that since the rich have prospered at the expense of others, their wealth doesn't really belong to them; therefore whatever can be extracted from them is automatically just. Recall what Obama Sr. said in his 1965 paper: There is no tax rate too high, and even a 100% rate is justified under certain circumstances.
Obama supports the Ground Zero mosque because to him 9/11 is the event that unleashed the American bogey and pushed us into Iraq and Afghanistan. He views some of the Muslims who are fighting against America abroad as resisters of U.S. imperialism. Certainly that is the way the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi portrayed himself at his trial. Obama's perception of him as an anticolonial resister would explain why he gave tacit approval for this murderer of hundreds of Americans to be released from captivity.
Finally, nasa. No explanation other than anticolonialism makes sense of Obama's curious mandate to convert a space agency into a Muslim and international outreach. We can see how well our theory works by recalling the moon landing of Apollo 11 in 1969. "One small step for man," Neil Armstrong said. "One giant leap for mankind."
But that's not how the rest of the world saw it. I was 8 years old at the time and living in my native India. I remember my grandfather telling me about the great race between America and Russia to put a man on the moon. Clearly America had won, and this was one giant leap not for mankind but for the U.S. If Obama shares this view, it's no wonder he wants to blunt nasa's space program, to divert it from a symbol of American greatness into a more modest public relations program.
Clearly the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. goes a long way to explain the actions and policies of his son in the Oval Office. And we can be doubly sure about his father's influence because those who know Obama well testify to it. His "granny" Sarah Obama (not his real grandmother but one of his grandfather's other wives) told Newsweek, "I look at him and I see all the same things--he has taken everything from his father. The son is realizing everything the father wanted. The dreams of the father are still alive in the son."
In his own writings Obama stresses the centrality of his father not only to his beliefs and values but to his very identity. He calls his memoir "the record of a personal, interior journey--a boy's search for his father and through that search a workable meaning for his life as a black American." And again, "It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself." Even though his father was absent for virtually all his life, Obama writes, "My father's voice had nevertheless remained untainted, inspiring, rebuking, granting or withholding approval. You do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people's struggle. Wake up, black man!"
The climax of Obama's narrative is when he goes to Kenya and weeps at his father's grave. It is riveting: "When my tears were finally spent," he writes, "I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America--the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed in Chicago--all of it was connected with this small piece of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain that I felt was my father's pain."
In an eerie conclusion, Obama writes that "I sat at my father's grave and spoke to him through Africa's red soil." In a sense, through the earth itself, he communes with his father and receives his father's spirit. Obama takes on his father's struggle, not by recovering his body but by embracing his cause. He decides that where Obama Sr. failed, he will succeed. Obama Sr.'s hatred of the colonial system becomes Obama Jr.'s hatred; his botched attempt to set the world right defines his son's objective. Through a kind of sacramental rite at the family tomb, the father's struggle becomes the son's birthright.
Colonialism today is a dead issue. No one cares about it except the man in the White House. He is the last anticolonial. Emerging market economies such as China, India, Chile and Indonesia have solved the problem of backwardness; they are exploiting their labor advantage and growing much faster than the U.S. If America is going to remain on top, we have to compete in an increasingly tough environment.
But instead of readying us for the challenge, our President is trapped in his father's time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.
Dinesh D'Souza, the president of the King's College in New York City, is the author of the forthcoming book The Roots of Obama's Rage (Regnery Publishing).
Call it hilarious, offensive, or dangerous, but any way you slice it there will be controversy over a new school named after Al Gore that's opening for the first time next week.
It's named after environmental activist Rachel Carson, and bloated Nobel Peace Prize thief Al Gore. Apparently neither of them had any idea that a school was being named after them.
What's interesting is that this $75.5 million facility was built on top of toxic soil. The ground it's built on used to house a whole bunch of storage tanks filled with toxic material. It's also right next to an oil well and near a groundwater source that is contaminated by an oil field. So it's basically the kind of stuff that Al Gore would really hate.
Before building the school, trucks full of clean soil was packed on top of the toxic material, but environmental groups are still crying foul. The Los Angeles Times reports that one group wrote to the school's district with a letter that read, "Renaming this terribly contaminated school after famous environmental advocates is an affront to the great work that these individuals have done to protect the public's health from harm."
The school, though, will be a legitimate place to study environmental issues. So it'll be kind of tough for Al Gore to actually come out against it. Then again, he's probably too busy burning fuel in his private jet to even notice the school in the first place.
A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a
preacher baptizing people in the river. The drunk walks into the water and
bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is almost overcome
by the smell of booze. Whereupon he asks the drunk, 'Are you ready to find
Jesus?' 'Yes I am,' replies the drunk, so the preacher grabs him
and dunks him in the river. He pulls him up and asks the drunk, 'Brother
have you found Jesus?'
The drunk replies, 'No, I haven't.' The preacher, shocked at the answer,
dunks him into the water again, but for a bit longer this time. He pulls
him out of the water and asks again, 'Have you found Jesus, my brother?'
The drunk again answers, 'No, I have not found Jesus.'
By this time the preacher is at his wits end so he dunks the drunk in the
water again, but this time he holds him down for about 30 seconds.
When the drunk begins kicking his arms and legs, the preacher pulls him
up. The preacher asks the drunk again, 'For the love of God, have you
found Jesus?' The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and
says to the preacher, 'Are you sure this is where he fell in?
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY
TO THE NAACP NATIONAL CONVENTION
Kansas City convention Center
Kansas City, Missouri
11:38 A.M. CDT
MRS. OBAMA: Wow. Oh, my goodness. (Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you so, so much. Everyone, please, please, please take your seats.
Thank you so much. It is such a pleasure and it is an honor to be here today for the 101st NAACP Convention. Yes! (Applause.)
I want to start by thanking Chairman Roslyn Brock, beautiful woman, for that very kind introduction. (Applause.) And I mentioned to her, I said, her mother's hot. She's gorgeous. Good genes. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank both her and your President and CEO Ben Jealous for their inspired leadership of this organization. Give them a round of applause. (Applause.)
I want to thank a few other people as well who are here. I want to thank Governor Nixon and the First Lady, Georgeanne Nixon, who are here. (Applause.) I want to thank Senator McCaskill, who was here, who's no longer here, but I wanted to say hello to her. Representatives Cleaver, Moore and Scott, who are here. (Applause.) And Mayor Funkhouser for all the outstanding work that all of you are doing for the people of this city and for this great state and for taking time to join us today. So let's give them all a round of applause. (Applause.)
And finally, I want to thank all of you. I want to thank you for a few things. First of all, thank you for being here today and thank you for the outstanding work that you've done in making this a great American institution. And also, I have to thank you for your prayers, for your support. I cannot tell you how much that means to me and my girls and my mom, and then my husband as well. (Applause.) Thank you all so, so much. It really keeps us going, and I am just thrilled to be here.
One hundred and one years ago, the NAACP was established in pursuit of a simple goal, and that was to spur this nation to live up to the founding ideals, to secure those blessings of liberty, to fulfill that promise of equality.
And since then, the work of this organization has been guided by a simple belief: that while we might not fully live out that promise or those blessings for ourselves, if we worked hard enough, and fought long enough, and believed strongly enough, that we could secure them for our children and for our grandchildren, and give them opportunities that we never dreamed of for ourselves. (Applause.)
So, for more than a century, the men and women of the NAACP have marched and protested. You have lobbied Presidents and fought unjust laws. You've stood up and sat in and risked life and limb so that African Americans could take their rightful places not just at lunch counters and on buses, but at universities and on battlefields -- (applause) -- and in hospitals and boardrooms; in Congress, the Supreme Court; and, yes, even the White House. (Applause.) Think about it -- even the White House.
So I know that I stand here today, and I know that my husband stands where he is today, because of this organization -- (applause) -- and because of the struggles and the sacrifices of all those who came before us.
But I also know that their legacy isn't an entitlement to be taken for granted. And I know it is not simply a gift to be enjoyed. Instead, it is an obligation to be fulfilled.
And when so many of our children still attend crumbling schools, and a black child is still far more likely to go to prison than a white child, I think the founders of this organization would agree that our work is not yet done. (Applause.)
When African American communities are still hit harder than just about anywhere by this economic downturn, and so many families are just barely scraping by, I think the founders would tell us that now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
When stubborn inequalities still persist -- in education and health, in income and wealth -- I think those founders would urge us to increase our intensity, and to increase our discipline and our focus and keep fighting for a better future for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.)
And that's why I really wanted to come here today -- because I wanted to talk with you about an issue that I believe cries out for our attention -- one that is of particular concern to me, not just as First Lady, but as a mother who believes that we owe it to our kids to prepare them for the challenges that we know lie ahead. And that issue is the epidemic of childhood obesity in America today.
Now, right now in America, one in three children is overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of obesity-related conditions like diabetes and cancer, heart disease, asthma.
And we're already spending billions of dollars in this country a year to treat these conditions, and that number is only going to go up when these unhealthy children reach adulthood.
But it's important to be clear that this issue isn't about how our kids look. It's not about that. It's about how our kids feel. It's about their health and the health of our nation and the health of our economy.
And there's no doubt that this is a serious problem. It's one that is affecting every community across this country. But just like with so many other challenges that we face as a nation, the African American community is being hit even harder by this issue. (Applause.)
We are living today in a time where we're decades beyond slavery, we are decades beyond Jim Crow; when one of the greatest risks to our children's future is their own health.
African American children are significantly more likely to be obese than are white children. Nearly half of African American children will develop diabetes at some point in their lives. People, that's half of our children.
And if we don't do something to reverse this trend right now, our kids won't be in any shape to continue the work begun by the founders of this great organization. (Applause.) They won't be in any condition to confront all those challenges that we know still remain.
So we need to take this issue seriously, as seriously as improving under-achieving schools, as seriously as eliminating youth violence or stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS or any of the other issues that we know are devastating our communities.
But in order to address this challenge, we also need to be honest with ourselves about how we got here, because we know that it wasn't always like this for our kids and our communities.
The way we live today is very different from even when I was growing up. And I like to tell my kids I'm not that old. (Laughter.) They don't agree. (Laughter.)
Many of you probably grew up like I did -- in a community that wasn't rich, not even middle class, but where people knew their neighbors, and they looked out for each other's kids.
In these kind of strong African American communities, we went to neighborhood schools around the corner. So many of us had to walk to and from school every day, rain or shine. I know you've told that story. (Laughter.) And in Chicago, where I was raised, we did it in the dead of winter. (Laughter.) No shoes on our feet -- it was hard, but we walked! (Applause.)
And in school, we had recess twice a day and gym class twice a week, like it or not. (Applause.) And then when we got home in the afternoon, after school or in the summer, there was no way we'd be allowed to lie around the house watching TV. (Applause.) First of all, there wasn't that many channels. (Laughter.)
Our parents made us get up and play outside. Had to get up, get out, didn't have to -- just couldn't be inside. And we would spend hours riding bikes, playing softball, freeze tag, jumping double-dutch. Kids nowadays don't even know how to jump double-dutch! (Laughter and applause.)
We were constantly on the move, only stopping to eat or what? When the streetlights came on, right? (Applause.)
And eating was a totally different experience back then. In my house, we rarely ate out -- rarely. Even when both parents worked outside of the home, most families in my neighborhood sat down at the table together as a family for a meal. (Applause.) And in my house, Marian Robinson's house, we ate what we were served. (Laughter and applause.) My mother never cared whether me or my brother liked what was on our plates. (Laughter.) We either ate what was there or we didn't eat. It was as simple as that. (Laughter.)
We never ate anything fancy, but the portion sizes were reasonable and there were rarely seconds -- maybe for your father, but not for you. (Laughter.) And there was always a vegetable on the plate. (Applause.)
And many of our grandparents tended their own gardens or they relied on, as my father told me, "The Vegetable Man" who brought fresh produce. That was how people got by back then -- they had fresh fruits and vegetables in their own backyards, and in jars in their cellar during the winter. And that wasn't just being thrifty -- that was healthy too, little did we know.
And unless it was Sunday, or somebody's birthday, there was no expectation of dessert after our meals. And we didn't dream of asking for soda or pop. That was for special occasions.
Now, if you were lucky, you might get a quarter or two to take to the corner store and get some penny candy. But you did not eat it all at once because you never knew when you'd see another piece of candy. (Laughter.) So you saved it in that little brown bag under your bed. (Laughter and applause.) That bag would be all worn out and sweaty. (Laughter.) You'd hold on to that bag, take out a half a piece of candy every other day. (Laughter.)
Back then, without any expert advice and without spending too much money, we managed to lead pretty healthy lives. But things are a little different today, and many kids these days aren't so fortunate.
So many kids can't attend neighborhood schools or don't, so instead of walking to school, they ride in a car or they're in a bus. And in too many schools, recess and gym class have been slashed because of budget cuts.
Fears about safety mean that those afternoons outside have been replaced by afternoons inside with TV, video games, the Internet.
In fact, studies have found that African American children spend an average of nearly six hours a day watching TV -- and that every extra hour of TV they watch is associated with the consumption of an additional 167 calories.
For many folks, those nutritious family meals are a thing of the past, because a lot of people today are living in communities without a single grocery store, so they have to take two, three buses, a taxi, walk for miles just to buy a head of lettuce for a salad or to get some fresh fruit for their kids.
Most folks don't grow their own food the way many of our parents and grandparents did. A lot of folks also just don't have the time to cook at home on a regular basis. So instead, they wind up grabbing fast food or something from the corner store or the mini-mart -- places that have few, if any, healthy options.
And we've seen how kids in our communities regularly stop by these stores on their way to school -- buying themselves sodas and pop and chips for breakfast. And we've seen how they come right back to those same stores after school to buy their afternoon snack of candy and sugary drinks.
According to one study, on average, a trip to the corner store, a child will walk out of that store with more than 350 calories worth of food and beverage -- this is on average. So if they're going two and three times a day, that can really add up.
And taken together, all of these things have made for a perfect storm of bad habits and unhealthy choices -- a lifestyle that's dooming too many of our children to a lifetime of poor health and undermining our best efforts to build them a better future.
See, we can build our kids the best schools on earth, but if they don't have the basic nutrition they need to concentrate, they're still going to have a challenge learning. (Applause.) And we can create the best jobs in the world -- we must -- but that won't mean that folks will have the energy and the stamina to actually do those jobs.
We can offer people the best health care money can buy, but if they're still leading unhealthy lives, then we'll still just be treating those diseases and conditions once they've developed rather than keeping people from getting sick in the first place. (Applause.)
See, and the thing is, is that none of us wants that kind of future for our kids or for our country.
And surely the men and women of the NAACP haven't spent a century organizing and advocating and working day and night only to raise the first generation in history that might be on track to live shorter lives than their parents.
And that's why I've made improving the quality of our children's health one of my top priorities.
As many of you may know, my efforts began with the planting of a garden on the South Lawn of the White House. (Applause.) But it's important to understand that this garden symbolizes so much more than just watching beautiful things grow. It's become a way to spark a broader conversation about the health and well-being not just of our kids but of our communities.
And in an effort to elevate that conversation nationally, we launched "Let's Move." It's a nationwide campaign to rally this country around a single, ambitious goal, and that is to solve childhood obesity in a generation so that children born today reach adulthood at a healthy weight.
And through this initiative, we are bringing together governors and mayors, businesses and community groups, educators, parents, athletes, health professionals, you name it, because it is going to take all of us, working together, to help our kids lead healthier lives right from the beginning.
"Let's Move," the campaign, has four components.
The first, we're working to give parents the information they need to make healthy decisions for their families.
For example, we're working with the FDA and the food industry to provide better labeling, something simple, so folks don't have to spend hours squinting at labels, trying to figure out whether the food they're buying is healthy or not.
Our new health care legislation requires chain restaurants to post the calories in the food they serve so that parents have the information they need to make healthy choices for their kids in restaurants. (Applause.)
And we're working with doctors and pediatricians to ensure that they routinely screen our children for obesity. And I can personally attest to the value of these screenings based on my own personal experiences, because it wasn't that long ago when the Obamas weren't exactly eating as healthy as we should have been. And it was our daughters' pediatrician who actually pulled us aside and suggested that I think about making some changes to our family's diet. And it made a world of differences.
But we also know that giving better information to parents is not enough, because with 31 million American children participating in federal school meal programs, many of our kids are consuming as many as half their daily calories at school.
That's why the second part of "Let's Move" is to get healthier food into our schools. (Applause.)
And we're working to reauthorize our child nutrition legislation that will make significant new investments to revamp our school meals and improve the food that we offer in those school vending machines, so that we're serving our kids less sugar, salt and fat, and more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
This is bipartisan legislation and it is critically important for the health and success of our children, and we are hoping that Congress will act swiftly to get this passed. (Applause.)
But we also know that healthy eating is only half the battle. Experts recommend at least 60 minutes a day of activity. That's at least the bare minimum, and many of our kids aren't even close.
So the third part of "Let's Move" is to help our kids get moving, to find new ways for them to get and stay active and fit. And we're working to get more kids participating in daily physical education classes and to get more schools offering recess for their students.
We've set a goal of increasing the number of kids who walk or ride their bikes to school by 50 percent in the next five years.
And we've recruited professional athletes -- they've been fantastic -- from different sports leagues to inspire our kids to get up off that couch and to get moving.
But we know that even if we offer the most nutritious school meals, and we give kids every opportunity to be fit, and we give parents the information they need to prepare healthy food for their families, all that won't mean much if our families still live in communities where that healthy food simply isn't available in the first place.
And that brings me to the fourth and final component of the campaign, and that is to ensure that all families have access to fresh, affordable food in their communities where they live. (Applause.)
And one of the most shocking statistics for me in all of this is that right now, 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in what we call "food deserts" -- areas without a single supermarket.
This is particularly serious in African American communities where folks wind up buying their groceries at places like gas stations and bodegas and corner stores where they often pay higher prices for lower-quality food. (Applause.)
But the good news is that we know that this trend is reversible, because when healthier options are available in our community, we know that folks will actually take advantage of those options.
One study found that African Americans ate 32 percent more fruits and vegetables for each additional supermarket in their community. So we know the kind of difference that we can make with some changes. We know that when we provide the right incentives -- things like grants and tax credits, and help securing permits and zoning -- businesses are willing to invest and lay down roots in our communities.
And many grocers are finding that when they set up shop in high-need areas, they can actually make a decent profit. They're learning that they can do well by doing good.
So as part of "Let's Move," we've proposed a Healthy Food Financing Initiative -- a $400 million a year fund that we'll use to attract hundreds of millions of more dollars from the private and non-profit sectors to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved areas across the country.
And our goal is ambitious -- we want to eliminate food deserts in this country within seven years, and create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods along the way. (Applause.)
So, I know these goals are ambitious, and there are many, many more. And as First Lady, I am going to do everything that I can to ensure that we meet them.
But I also know that at the end of the day, government can only do so much.
I have spoken to so many experts about this issue, and not a single one of them said that the solution is to have government tell people what to do. It's not going to work. Instead, this is about families taking responsibility and making manageable changes that fit with their budgets and their needs and their tastes. That's the only way it's going to work.
It's about making those little changes that can really add up -- simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of riding in a car or bus, even something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your children in the middle of your living room for hours. That will work up a sweat. (Applause.)
How about replacing all of that soda and those sugary drinks with water? (Applause.) Kids won't like it at first, trust me. But they'll grow to like it. Or deciding that they don't get dessert with every meal. As I tell my kids, dessert is not a right. (Laughter.) Or they don't get it every day.
Or just being more thoughtful about how we prepare our food -- baking instead of frying. I know. (Laughter.) Don't shoot me. (Applause.) And cutting back on those portion sizes.
Look, no one wants to give up Sunday meal. No one wants to say goodbye to mac and cheese and fried chicken and mashed potatoes -- oh, I'm getting hungry -- (laughter) -- forever. No one wants to do that. Not even the Obamas, trust me.
But chefs across the country are showing us that with a few simple changes and substitutions, we can find healthy, creative solutions that work for our families and our communities.
And that's why I am excited about our new "Let's Cook" video series, which we're launching on our "Let's Move" website at letsmove.gov.
This is a great series featuring Sam Kass, who a lot of people think is cute -- I don't know if that helps. (Laughter.) But this series features some of the country's top chefs, who will be demonstrating how folks can prepare simple, affordable, nutritious meals for their families.
The first guest chef is a guy by the names of Marvin Woods, who's known for his cuisine based in North Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the Low Country. He's demonstrating how to prepare a week of healthy and tasty dinners for a family of four on a tight budget. And he provides recipes, shopping lists, so that folks can do it all themselves at home.
And finally, it's one thing we can think about, is working to make sure that our kids get a healthy start from the beginning, by promoting breastfeeding in our communities. (Applause.) One thing we do know is that babies that are breastfed are less likely to be obese as children, but 40 percent of African American babies are never breastfed at all, not even during the first weeks of their lives.
And we know this isn't possible or practical for some moms, but we've got a WIC program that's providing new support to low-income moms who want to try so that they get the support they need.
And under the new health care legislation, businesses will now have to accommodate mothers who want to continue breastfeeding once they get back to work. (Applause.) Now, the men, you may not understand how important that is. (Laughter.) But trust me, it's important to have a place to go.
But let's be clear, this isn't just about changing what our kids are eating and the lifestyles they're leading -- it's also about changing our own habits as well. Because believe it or not, if you're obese, there's a 40 percent chance that your kids will be obese as well. And if you both you and the child's other parent are obese, that number jumps to 80 percent.
And this is more than just genetics at work. The fact is, we all know we are our children's first and best teachers and role models. We teach them healthy habits not just by what we say but by how we live. Shoot, I can't tell Malia and Sasha to eat their vegetables if I'm sitting around eating French fries -- trust me, they will not let that happen. And I can't tell them to go run around outside if I'm spending all my free time on the couch watching TV.
And this isn't just about the example that we set as individuals and as families, but about the lifestyle we're promoting in our communities as well.
It's about the example we set in our schools. It's about schools like the Kelly Edwards Elementary School in Williston, South Carolina. It's a Bronze Award winner in our USDA Healthier U.S. School Challenge. This is a school where students have planted their own garden so that they can taste all kinds of fresh vegetables, they can stay active because they've got their own dance team.
And it's about establishing strong community partnerships that involve folks from every sector and every background.
There's a Fresh Food Financing Initiative in Pennsylvania -- it's a great example. This initiative is a collaboration between business, non-profit and government that's funded more than 80 supermarket projects, bringing nutritious food to hundreds of thousands of people in underserved communities.
These are just a couple of the thousands of programs and projects that are making a difference in communities across the country already.
So if there's anybody here, after all this talking I've done, who feels a little overwhelmed by this challenge -- because it can be overwhelming -- if there is anyone here who might even already be losing hope thinking about how hard it will be to get going, or giving up, I just want you to take a look around at all the things that are already being accomplished, because I want folks to learn from each other and to be inspired by each other, because that's what we've always done.
That is exactly what happened here in this city half a century ago. See, because back in 1958, folks right here in Kansas City saw what folks down in Montgomery had achieved with their bus boycott. So they were inspired by all those men and women who walked miles -- walked miles home each day on aching feet because they knew there was a principle at stake.
So folks here organized their own boycott of department stores that refused to serve African Americans. (Applause.) Handbills publicizing their meetings stated, and this is a quote: "They stopped riding in Montgomery, so let's stop buying in Kansas City." (Applause.)
A local music teacher even composed a song that became the anthem for their efforts. It was entitled "Let's take the walk that counts."
And then, as you know, a few years later, in April of 1964, folks turned out in droves to pass a public accommodations law mandating that all residents, regardless of their skin color, be served in restaurants, hotels and other public places. Even folks who were too sick to walk showed up to vote. (Applause.)
One organizer recalled that they used wheelchairs to get people to the polls and even brought one man in on a stretcher. So think about that -- being carried to the ballot box on a stretcher. (Applause.) Those folks didn't do all that just for themselves. They did it because they wanted something better for their children and for their grandchildren. That's why they did it.
And in the end, that's what has driven this organization since its founding.
It is why Daisy Bates endured hate mail and death threats to guide those nine young men and women who would walk through those schoolhouse doors in Little Rock.
It is why Thurgood Marshall fought so hard to ensure that children like Linda Brown, and children like my daughters and your sons and daughters, would never again know the cruel inequality of separate but equal.
It is why so many men and women -- legends and icons and ordinary folks -- have faced down their doubts, their cynicism and their fears, and they've taken that walk that counts.
So we owe it to all those who've come before us to ensure that all those who come after us -- our children and our grandchildren -- that they have the strength and the energy and the enduring good health that they need to continue and complete that journey. (Applause.)
So I'm asking you, NAACP, will you move with me? (Applause.) Let's move! I'm going to need you, NAACP. (Applause.) This is not an endeavor that I can do by myself. We cannot change the health of our community alone. I'm going to need each and every single one of you to work together for this campaign for our children's future. If we do this together, we can change the way our children think about their health forever.
So I want to thank you all in advance, again, for your prayers and your thoughts and your support. The struggle continues.
Thank you all. God bless you, God bless this organization, and God bless America. Thank you all so much. (Applause.)
God and Saint Peter are standing at the Pearly Gates looking down on earth.
God says: "I really should go down and visit my people."
St Peter replies "I don't think that's a good idea, they still haven't gotten over the last time you went down. Why don't I go down instead?"
So God sends St. Peter for a week. After the week is over St Peter comes back almost frantic.
"God! The people are in terrible shape!" St. Peter exclaims. "In fact, more than 90% of the people engage in oral sex!!"
God thinks about it for a few minutes and then says "Maybe I should wipe them all off the face of the earth and start over."
St. Peter replies that that's a little much, and maybe God should reward the people who have been good.
God decides that's a great idea, and immediately sends a certificate to all those people. Do you know what it said?
Yeah, I didn't get one either.
In case any of you were wondering how Grandpa funds all his road trips around the US - his secret has been discovered!!
by Don Irvine
Sarah Palin came out swinging today against the liberal media’s coverage of the Gaza flotilla raid by Israel.
From her Facebook page
The media, as usual, seems to be reporting only one side of the Israeli Flotilla incident. Don’t trust the mainstream media to give you both sides of a story fairly… you must seek out fair reporting to ensure you have all the information.
As far too many in the media, and in various governments, rush to condemn Israel, we must put the recent events off Israel’s coast into the right perspective. This “relief” convoy was not about humanitarian aid, as the liberal mainstream media keeps reporting. The whole operation was designed to provoke Israel, not to provide supplies to Palestinians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Anyone who sees the video of Israeli commandos being attacked as they land on that ship knows the people aboard were vicious thugs, not “peace activists.” The media insults our intelligence with their outright mischaracterization of who these enemies are.
Israel delivers thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies every week to Gaza. These ships could have offloaded their cargoes at a nearby Israeli port if they really wanted to help the people of Gaza. Instead, they chose to incite confrontation and violence. Israel has a right to prevent arms shipments to Gaza that will be used to target innocent Israelis, so they were legitimately checking the cargo on the flotilla. Turkey has chosen to condemn Israel but we should be asking some serious questions about Turkey’s role in this whole affair. Why is a fellow member of NATO sponsoring such a dangerous publicity stunt? As one expert points out: “Three ships of that six-ship pro-terror convoy flew Turkish flags and were crowded with Turkish citizens. The Ankara government – led by Islamists these days – sponsored the ‘aid’ operation in a move to position itself as the new champion of the Palestinians. And Turkish decision-makers knew Israel would have to react – and were waiting to exploit the inevitable clash. The provocation was as cynical as it was carefully orchestrated.”
We can only hope the Obama Administration does not join the anti-Israel chorus in the aftermath of this staged confrontation. Please, Mr. President, we need to let Israelis know we stand with them in their fight against terrorists and those who arm and support them. America and her ally, Israel, stand by waiting for your response.
- Sarah Palin
And here is the Obama administration’s response.
Below is a video which is interesting, although I doubt it will be enlightening to anyone here. The ending where the woman makes the statement that Israel has no right to exist is simply bizarre.
by Jason Mattera
Okay, so we keep hearing Barack and the toadies in his administration argue that they were on the scene from day one to minimize the oil spill's damaging impact.
While the "all-hands-on-deck" line sounds nice, it's hardly the truth. In fact, it's patently false. The Obama regime has moved at a snail's pace in providing the millions of feet of needed "boom" (sort of like a foam "curtain") to block the oil from reaching shore. And if that weren't bad enough, the feds are also delaying Louisiana from obtaining a permit to build artificial barriers off the coast (meant to protect the wetlands from the oil) because "environmental" studies of the construction needs to take place first.
On the scene from day one? Ha! Take it away, Gov. Jindal:
Notice how Obama's goons can only offer us bromides, whereas Jindal speaks with clear specificity and authority. Funny how that works, eh?
I can never get video to embed properly so if you can't see it go to the following address to watch. It's worthwhile.