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Obama doesn't fear snow

Obama gives chilly reception to canceled school

"Can I make a comment that is unrelated to the economy very quickly?" the new president told reporters at a gathering with business leaders. "And it has to do with Washington. My children's school was canceled today. Because of, what? Some ice?"

The president said he wasn't the only one who was incredulous.

"As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled," Obama said to laughter. "In fact, my 7-year-old pointed out that you'd go outside for recess. You wouldn't even stay indoors. So, I don't know. We're going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness."

Asked if he meant the people of the national's capital are wimps, Obama said: "I'm saying, when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things."

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I think I have a big Gay crush on your new President.

And having lived in the D.C. Area for the second half of my childhood after living in Connecticut for the first half, I can say that they are whimps, there.
There were days I had to SLED to my bus stop as a kid in Connecticut, and still went to school. But in D.C., they would close for a really bad thunderstorm....

But... but... it's FOR THE CHILDREN! If canceling school because of a little ice can save ONE child... it's worth it, right!? ;-)

(He's of course right - they ARE wimps.)

This actually disappoints me. How much does President Obama think that area cities and towns should spend on salt trucks and winter boots for all their children so that the commute is safe? Driving on an inch of ice is no joke and taking a bunch of pedestrians and school buses off the road during such morning hours is a plus.

And is it really true that Chicago schools never close? Here in Rochester, we have three or four snow days a year, when the snow is falling faster than the sidewalk plows can clear them or the wind chill falls below -25. I know Chicago gets this kind of weather too; are they doubleplusgood at winter management or just indifferent to child safety?

I grew up about 150 miles north of Chicago on Lake Michigan, and I think we typically had 1 or 2 snow days in a year. Along the lake you don't get the super-super-cold temperatures you inland people get, and I can't remember school ever being closed due to cold. Despite the lake effect, snow hasn't really been all that heavy in that area for as long as the Obama girls would remember (bet there were some snow days at their old school this winter, though!).

Yeah, there are effectively three reasons to cancel classes: snow, cold, and ice. Snow is extremely rare but you throw in the towel when it starts falling at two inches an hour. The cold is somewhere around -25 wind chill like I say. I mean, we've got kids walking a mile and a half each way to school, and that sucks enough even when you're dressed for it and the sidewalks are clear.

Ice, though. Whoa. If Chicago doesn't get black ice, then Obama should be glad that his current job doesn't require a commute. Holy cow, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. That's why snow days are built into the schedule; I say take 'em and say a prayer for the people who have to be on the road anyways.

I can't speak for Chicago, but my podunk hometown does a pretty good job with ice. Of course, they're prepared for it to happen every year, where DC probably wouldn't be.

When it's still coming down, it's one thing. But canceling for snow that stopped a couple of hours before the first bus has to roll is common and ridiculous.

How much does President Obama think that area cities and towns should spend on salt trucks and winter boots for all their children so that the commute is safe?

I don't know about President Obama, but it seems to me that if the cost of keeping the roads clear is less than the money lost because everything closes, you keep the roads clear. In Chicago, that dollar figure is very, very high.

And is it really true that Chicago schools never close? Here in Rochester, we have three or four snow days a year, when the snow is falling faster than the sidewalk plows can clear them or the wind chill falls below -25.

Pretty much -- Chicago mayors are retained or replaced based largely on whether they manage to keep the streets clear of snow so that the city can function. The day it was -75F in Chicago, I went to work and I think the schools were open.

If spending what Chicago spends on keeping the streets clear when it snows made financial sense for Rochester, they'd do it too.

Maybe if they didn't close at the sign of a few flakes people would learn to deal better.

I agree with cantkeepsilent that this is disappointing. (Well, it's not important enough to be disappointed by, really... but I don't agree with him, anyway.)

Let me tell you and Mr. Obama something. I grew up in New York, where there was snow on the ground maybe 60-90 days out of the year. Everybody there had snow tires and had LOTS of experience driving in snow. Then I moved to Cincinnati, where there's snow on the ground maybe 30 days a year. Nobody owned snow tires, and there were lots of accidents.

So sure, school got canceled in Cincinnati for dustings that wouldn't have fazed New Yorkers... but for a good reason. Same thing here.

Wow. Just wow. I was pretty incredulous when I lived in DC and they'd cancel schools for an inch of snow. Here in Boston, they don't cancel unless there's going to be a foot.

I love my President more and more.

DC drivers are nuts and seriously unpredictable. They also tend to really freak out in bad weather. At least in Boston the drivers a predictably homicidal. Here in Texas, they are just clueless about driving in snow and they haven't figured out the a pickup truck with an empty bed is seriously uncontrollable. So Texas drivers are predictable. Sort of.

DC drivers are nuts and seriously unpredictable ...

The problem with DC drivers is that 95% of them are not from DC. They are from a completely random assortment of other places, with a mix of driving styles that ends up being incredibly dangerous even when the weather is fine. And being in DC, far too many seem to be quite self-important and feel that everybody else should get the hell out of their way.

Kind of like LA, actually. (*spends a minute imagining what would happen if we got 2 inches of snow on the 405*) (*laughs uncontrollably*)

Why did I suspect that responses might break down down where we grew up.

As usual, I am firmly of to minds about this. On one hand, people down there are pantywaists about snowy, icy weather. On the other hand (or OTOH in L33T speak) I've driven down there in a light snow and if I had ids I wouldn't want them on the road with these folks out and about.

It's true. I lived there for a few years and the capital idjuts can't even drive in the rain!

I've lived in the D.C. metro area for some years, and if they didn't cancel school I'd keep my son home.
Here's why:
I agree with your other commenters that the area doesn't invest in snow/ice equipment because they don't get enough to make it worth it, so it takes a long time getting the roads clear
Drivers here come in two flavors - terrified 5mph drivers and insane 80mph tailgaters who think SUVs are the only vehicles with 4-wheel braking. Neither has any practical experience driving in winter conditions. I gave up going to work when it snowed not because of the conditions, but because of the other drivers on the road - it just took me too long to get anywhere, between the wrecks and the creepers.
This area gets more ice than snow, and it's harder to see and much more dangerous.
Add icy falling trees as a winter hazard - here in Loudoun my neighbor says she knew 3 people who were killed by trees falling in the last several years. In all my life I've never had so much use for a chain saw. I won't let my son play outside right now bc of the ice and the danger of trees or big branches coming down.
In this case, I think Obama shot off his mouth without thinking or asking any questions first. Mistake, imo.


I thought you were libertarian and assumed that your post was going to say the opposite.

Isn't there a market-based solution to this problem?

You're mixing me up with happypete!
I'm not sure I see a problem here. What's wrong with kids missing a few days of school? Investing in upstate NY or Chicago level road clearing equipment makes no economic sense around here. Well, maybe if global cooling continues for a few decades.
What would the Libertarian solution be? Hmm, that's interesting. You'd have to start with the schools being privatized, then parents would choose the schools with the best open/close policies. Or choose distance learning - I bet Microsoft and Apple would go into the virtual private school business, with certified solution providers to sell enrichment activities locally...
Have I given you nightmares yet? Are you ready to have children?
Anyway, I wish we could have snow instead of ice here. I want to go out and play.


Cold weather is lame when it doesn't make the kind of snow that's good for sledding or snowballs :-)

Barack Obama doesn't know the meaning of the word fear!

If I were cynical, I'd follow that "He also doesn't know the meaning of...." but I'm not feeling that mean right now.

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