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Belmont Club

‘Obama Phones,’ ‘Obama Meals,’ and Other Objects

September 27th, 2012 - 4:56 pm

One of the recent minor news storms has been over school lunches:

Students and teachers from a high school in Kansas have created a YouTube video parody protesting the recent lunch restrictions placed on high school menus, USA Today reported. The video — titled “We Are Hungry” — comes just a week after students from a Wisconsin high school boycotted their school lunch over the changes.

The parody is in response to the new federal guidelines funded by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, dictating what is served in school cafeterias during lunch hour. The legislation was promoted by Michelle Obama, and is designed to improve nutrition standards for food served in schools. Some of the changes include age-aligned calorie restrictions of up to 850 calories, serving more whole grains and less sugar, and only allowing low- or non-fat milk.

It may not be long before the unsatisfying and politically correct school lunches are known as Obama Meals. After all, people have a habit of coining phrases to catch the sense of a thing. The phrase “Obama (something)” has been applied to a number of items, such as Obamacare; it may also apply to phones.

The other day a video made the rounds purporting to show a woman saying she would vote for Obama because he would give her a free phone. Here was another of the eponymous articles: the Obama Phone. But first of all, is there really an Obama Phone?

The answer is apparently a qualified “yes” — or “no” if you prefer, but not really. It’s not what people think it is:

There’s a government phone assistance program for low income people. It consists of two parts: “Link-Up,” which helps income-eligible people set up new home phone service, and “Lifeline,” which helps income-eligible people pay their monthly phone charges.

The name “Obama Phone” supposedly comes from an email that has been doing the rounds from 2009. In the email, an unknown but perhaps conservative author complains that Obama is giving away phones paid for by taxpayer money. But the actual program –according to Politifact – is nothing of the kind; it is from a phone assistance program started under Clinton.

The e-mail is correct in saying that tax dollars are being used to support the phone program. Still, it mischaracterizes the program by making it seem as if it were created by the Obama administration. These are not “Obama Phones.” (Clinton Phones?) So we rate the claim Barely True.

However, what liberals are certain of is that featuring the video of a low-income woman pleased about a phone is a racist trope.

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