Should Presidents Talk to Children?

After the 1988 presidential election and his two terms in office, Ronald Reagan spoke to the nation’s schoolchildren.

I would say that the most important thing you can do is to ground yourself in the ideas and values of the American Revolution. And that is a vision that goes beyond economics and politics. It’s also a moral vision, grounded in the reverence and faith of those who believed that with God’s help they could create a free and democratic nation. They designed a system of limited government that, in John Adams’ words, was suited only to a religious people such as ours.

Well, I don’t have very much of a quarrel with the very cheap weapon and so forth that makes it so easy for the wrong people to have a gun. I would like to see us concentrate on what I described in California: of making sure that anyone who buys a gun is a responsible citizen and not bent on crime.

Two decades later, in his first year as President, Barack Obama planned to address the nation’s student body at the beginning of the new school year. Immediately, controversy ensued. Parents were outraged that the Kenyan Muslim not be allowed to indoctrinate their offspring with his socialist doctrine.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Our current president recently addressed Boy Scouts at their Jamboree.

You know, in the Boy Scouts you learn right from wrong, correct? You learn to contribute to your communities, to take pride in your nation, and to seek out opportunities to serve. You pledge to help other people at all times. In the Scout oath, you pledge on your honor to do your best and to do your duty to God and your country. And by the way, under the Trump administration you’ll be saying “Merry Christmas” again when you go shopping, believe me. Merry Christmas. They’ve been downplaying that little beautiful phrase. You’re going to be saying “Merry Christmas” again, folks. But the words “duty,” “country” and “God” are beautiful words. In other words, basically what you’re doing is you’re pledging to be a great American patriot. By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible massive crowd, record setting, is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? The fake media will say, “President Trump spoke” — you know what is – ‘President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.” That’s some — that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.
Thank you. And I’m honored by that. By the way, all of you people that can’t even see you, so thank you. I hope you can hear. Through scouting you also learned to believe in yourself — so important — to have confidence in your ability and to take responsibility for your own life. When you face down new challenges — and you will have plenty of them — develop talents you never thought possible, and lead your teammates through daring trials, you discover that you can handle anything. And you learn it by being a Scout. It’s great.

Afterwards, the Scout leader apologized for the president’s speech.

That Dump, The White House

Responding to questions about why he spends so many weekends at Trump-branded properties, our president explained he did so because, “That White House is a real dump.” President Harry Truman held the same opinion. He complained that ghosts roaming throughout the building interrupted his sleep. What he heard was moaning and creaking from sagging floors and unreinforced walls.

Continue reading That Dump, The White House

Trump: The Energy Star

Scott Pruitt, newly-appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, made a career out of suing the EPA. When not working to ban abortion and same-sex marriage, Pruitt, as Attorney General of Oklahoma, filed thirteen lawsuits against the EPA. It’s only fitting that our current president put the climate-change denier in charge.

With so many headlines, the proposed change to the Energy Star program has not received much attention. “Proposed change” meaning elimination.

You are probably familiar with the Energy Guide label that tells what it will cost to run your new refrigerator. The program costs about $50 million per year. The EPA estimates that it has saved Americans $362 billion in energy costs since its inception in 1992. The Energy Star program also rates hotels, condominiums and office buildings on energy efficiency, information of interest to prospective buyers and lessees. In 2014 alone, building owners saved $7.6 billion on energy costs.

The Energy Star ratings are on a scale, from bad to good, of 1 to 100. In case you are curious about how Trump-branded properties rate, CNN has put together a handy chart.

610 Park Avenue (formerly the Mayfair Hotel) 1
Trump Park Avenue 7
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago 9
Trump International Hotel & Tower New York 12
Trump Place, 160 Riverside 14
Trump SoHo New York 16
Trump Palace 19
Trump Place, 140 Riverside 22
Trump World Tower 31
Trump Parc 42
Trump Tower 48
Trump Parc East 52
555 California Street (formerly Bank of America Tower) 69
1290 Avenue of the Americas 70
40 Wall Street 90

Earth Day – Then and Now

Gaylord Nelson, Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, originated the first Earth Day in 1970. (Also born in 1970 was Paul Ryan, an Ayn Rand acolyte elected to Congress by Wisconsin voters in 1998.) Nelson wanted a “national teach-in on the environment.” Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman, from California, served as Nelson’s co-chair. What are the chances today of a Democrat and a Republican coming together on environmental issues?

Twenty-million Americans demonstrated on April 22, 1970, sending a message that it was time to address the deterioration of the air, the water and the land. Later that year, President Richard Nixon issued an executive order creating the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress soon after ratified the order. Nixon – yes, that Richard Nixon – also signed the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Forty-seven years later, flanked by coal-company executives, coal miners and the vice-president, along with various administration flunkies, Donald Trump signed an executive order rescinding his predecessor’s “Clean Power Plan.” Just to rub the EPA’s nose in it, the president held the signing ceremony inside the agency’s offices. He finished by telling the deluded coal miners, “C’mon, fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work.” According to the Associated Press, renewable-energy jobs already outnumber coal jobs, and many renewable-energy technologies are on their way to being cheaper than coal.

Obama’s executive order was a plan to reduce carbon emissions. Trump’s EO lifts a moratorium on new coal mining leases on federal land and relaxes limits on new coal power plant construction.

I wonder what our children and grandchildren will think about this.

…and in other news…

In a lawsuit filed against Palm Beach County, Trump demanded $100 million damages, alleging that emissions from the jets flying overhead are “causing substantial destruction of the materials” used to build the club, which include unique and historical items like “porous Dorian stone, antique Spanish tiles and antique Cuban roof tiles.”

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the suit claims noise and fumes from the air traffic have “substantially deprived” Trump and the club’s members the ability to use the property’s outdoor areas and amenities.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

This week our President  hosted Xi Jinping, President of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. What better place to have high-level discussions between world leaders than at an ostentatious, soon-to-be-underwater, private club in Palm Beach Florida that boasts our President’s brand? And where, allegedly, no visitor logs are kept.

Cost estimates of the President’s almost weekly stays at Mar-a-Lago are north of $3 million per visit. The New York Times has put together a handy chart showing how many days since inauguration the President has spent at Trump-branded properties and what he purportedly did there. We taxpayers are paying the Trump organization for lodging, meals, et cetera for these trips.