Michelle Obama

Utopians of the Left and the Right

In a recent column in this month’s issue of National Review (which I still read, due to a complimentary subscribtion, despite my anger with the tossing aside of Christopher Buckley for his audacious Obama endorsement) the eloquent Mark Steyn argues for citizens who give little more than “stilted cheers” for their political leadership. He illustrates the Soviet-style cult following that Barack Obama has benefited greatly from as being counter to the ideals America was founded on.

Hopes for an Obama Presidency

Over the past few months,  I have been highly critical of the agenda and prospects of an Obama presidency. In the despair of the post-election depression among conservatives,  I had hopes that maybe, just maybe, the Obama Presidency will not move quickly toward a socialistic state. Here’s looking for a few signs that the Obama Administration may result in some positives.

Michelle Obama’s war on school lunches backfires as lunch ladies switch sides

Chris Farley Lunch Lady

Public school children are starving and rebelling against Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, and they just picked up an important ally against the First Lady’s war on school lunches.

The ubiquitous cafeteria lunch lady, catapulted to fame in the mid-90s by a Saturday Night Live musical skit starring Adam Sandler and Chris Farley, has switched sides, abandoning Michelle Obama to fight alongside millions of famished children

But a POLITICO report says the move could be politically-motivated:

Fast-forward to today: [the School Nutrition Association] is standing shoulder to shoulder with House Republicans, pushing to grant schools waivers from the requirements if they are losing money and aiming to relax the standards when the law is reauthorized next year.

“The current direction is very isolationist,” said Kevin Concannon, the Agriculture Department’s undersecretary for food and nutrition, in an interview. “It’s inexplicable and very unfortunate. Somehow their leadership decided that they’re just going to swing for the fences.”

The story behind the school lunch flip-flop is a complicated web of lobbying change-ups, industry influence and partisan posturing inside the Beltway. It also casts a spotlight on how difficult it is to make the economics of school meals work — and just how much resistance there can be to Washington directing nationwide change.

Michelle Obama lectures Americans on education in inner cities, sends her kids to private school

Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama made some comments about race recently. These comments coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that effectively ended school segregation. The decision is, today, almost universally applauded as the right move. It’s a rare moment of real bipartisanship.

Mrs. Obama, however, did as most people do when talking and didn’t realize there was a point when she should have stopped talking:

“[O]ur laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but nothing in the Constitution says we have to eat together in the lunchroom, or live together in the same neighborhoods,” she said. “There’s no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny.”

To address these limitations in the law, Obama asked students to take steps to “drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you” in the fight against racism.

“Maybe that starts simply in your own family, when grandpa tells that off-colored joke at Thanksgiving, or you’ve got an aunt [that] talks about ‘those people,’” she said. “Well, you can politely inform them that they’re talking about your friends.

“Or maybe it’s when you go off to college and you decide to join a sorority or fraternity, and you ask the question, how can we get more diversity in our next pledge class?” she added. “Or maybe it’s years from now, when you’re on the job and you’re the one who asks, do we really have all the voices and viewpoints we need at this table?

Spare us the “hashtag diplomacy” and feigned outrage, Mrs. Obama

Michelle Obama has made waves in recent days over the kidnapping of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. The First Lady tweeted a photo last week of herself holding a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which has since been retweeted more than 57,100 times.

Because “hashtag diplomacy,” or something.

Mrs. Obama is reportedly “outraged and heartbroken” over the kidnappings. “In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” she said in her weekly address. “We see their hopes, their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

The kidnapping of these innocent children is certainly outrageous and deserving of condemnation. There is no justification for it. At the same time, however, the United States lacks the moral authority and standing to express indignation, the reason for which is best explained in this tweet:

Poor Michelle Obama: Living in the White House like a “really nice prison”

Michelle Obama

That personal chef, staff tending to their every need, and taxpayer-funded vacations are apparently unsatisfying to Michelle Obama. During a forum in Tanzania with former First Lady Laura Bush, Mrs. Obama compared life in the White House to living in a “really nice prison”:

Obama’s comment came during her discussion with former First Lady Laura Bush at the African First Ladies Summit in Tanzania during an interview moderated by journalist Cokie Roberts.
Obama said she loved her job and found it liberating in some respects, but confining in others.

“There are some prison elements to it,” she joked. “But it’s a really nice prison.”

Former first lady Laura Bush reminded the crowd that First Ladies had a chef.

“You can’t complain,” Michelle Obama admitted. “But there is definitely elements that are confining.”

As true as it may be, given the amount of security that a president and his family requires, that was not a smart choice of words. With a $1.4 billion dollar budget for the White House — even in the time of the sequester — and concerts with famous artists, the Obamas are living a comfortable lifestyle.

White House Ends Tours, Will Throw Birthday Bash for the First Lady

White House

Last week, the White House announced that it would end its tour program due to spending cuts — known as the sequester — that took effect earlier this month. While the White House claims that ending the tours will save some $74,000 per week, ABC News recently noted that the figure is closer to $18,000 per week.

It’s hard for the White House to talk about these draconian cuts that are going to shut down White House tours, which are difficult to get in the first place, when they’re throwing a birthday party extravaganza for First Lady Michelle Obama that will feature Adele and Beyonce:

Preparations are already underway for Michelle Obama’s big 50th birthday next January, and two of music’s biggest acts have reportedly been booked for the occasion.

An unnamed (and potentially questionable) source told the UK’s Daily Mail that the first lady has asked Beyonce and Adele to perform at her party.

Gibson Saga continues

It’s been supposed by many that, just perhaps, Gibson Guitars was targetted for political reasons.  Well, it turns out that there’s some evidence to increase the ponderings.

Commenters yesterday wondered whether Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is a Republican donor. Yep, he is. It also turns out that Chris Martin IV, the CEO of Gibson competitor, C.F. Martin and Company, is a long-time donor to Democrats. C.F. Martin uses the same “questionable” Indian rosewood in its guitars, but has the federal government raided a C.F. Martin factory? Didn’t think so. Juszkiewicz said yesterday he feels like this is a personal attack. Could it be because it is?

The plot thickens. Of course, I still wonder if Michelle Obama will be prosecuted for obtaining a Gibson for French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. After all, anyone who obtains the wood is just as culpable

Mike Huckabee: Nanny-Statist

Over at the Washington Examiner, Mark Hemingway reminds us that Tax Hike Mike Huckabee believes in a very active nanny-state as the likely-candidate for president is defending First Lady Michelle Obama’s support of regulations to combat childhood obesity:

Just as a reminder, Mike Huckabee is no conservative when it comes to using the federal government to regulate what we eat. Here’s what he wrote on page 64 of his book, From Hope to Higher Ground:

There are those who believe that America cannot break or shake its addiction to fried, sugary or over-salted foods. These people believe that we are incapable of shifting our unhealthy culture, which is making us fatter, unhealthier, and more likely to die prematurely. History shows that we can, in fact, help Americans to change, not by force-feeding them government restrictions or requirements but by first changing the attitudes and atmosphere in which we live. Eventually, having shifted public opinion, we can solidify the attitude and atmospheric changes with government actions that define the will of the majority.

Emphasis added. I don’t know how one can say that we shouldn’t “force-feed” restrictions and then claim we need “government actions that define the will of the majority” in the same breath. Either way, I think Huck’s thinking here about the role of goverment is awfully muddled and certainly won’t instill confidence among conservatives.

Can the First Lady Make Schools Healthy?

From Politico comes an overview of First Lady Michelle Obama’s counter-obesity plan:

The first lady is undeterred and describes childhood obesity as an “imminently solvable” problem. Her ambitious plan is designed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals, get children to exercise more, provide healthier, affordable food to rural areas and the inner city and help people make healthier choices.

While there’s alot of good-intention government intervention going on here, of the sort that creates new problems for each one it “solves,” there’s one aspect here that is a common sense proposal.

I went to public schools for the duration of my upbringing. I can say from personal experience that the choice of food is deplorable. It never made any sense why the Seattle Public School District’s exclusive contract with Coca-Cola Corp. resulted in an abundance of soda machines with the closest “healthy” option being the sport drink Powerade. Pressure on companies to put healthier options (which a trip to their corporate website will show are available) in public schools is not unreasonable intrusion. After all, those companies are there with the consent of a public institution.

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