(1) It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up – why can’t Obama manage to deliver a clear answer about his relationship with Ayers? It has long been reported that they both sat on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago. We now also know that Ayers helped found the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Fund, with Obama as the first Chairman of the Board. We also know that Obama, Thomas Ayers (Bill Ayers father) and John Ayers (Bill’s brother) all served on the Leadership Council of the Chicago Public Schools Education Fund (described here as “the successor” to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge project).That is a lot more of a connection than Obama has admitted in two recent appearances on national television or at his websites “Fact Check“. At the Philadelphia debate, Ayers was described as… a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.In Philadelphia, it was left to Hillary to mention the Woods Fund board overlap.And on Fox News, Obama seemed utterly hazy as to what board he was on with Ayers, [snip](2) The second emerging theme in this Ayers drama is, what about shared values? OK, so Barack was eight years old when Ayers was blowing things up. But Ayers brings a very, hmm, progressive mindset to his educational agenda, or so I glean from the Ayers website (or this panel presentation). So, does Barack share these views? Seems like a fair question, since Ayers helped found a group Barack promptly chaired.
A New Environmentalism
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | 4/28/2008
Tuesday was Earth Day, and it reminded us how environmentalism has helped to preserve the natural habitat of the United States — reducing the manmade pollution of our soils, air and water that is a byproduct of comfortable modern industrial life.
But now we are in a new phase of global environmental challenges, as billions of people across an interconnected and resource-scarce world seek an affluent lifestyle once confined to Europe and the United States.
No longer are the old environmental questions of pollution versus conservation so simply framed. Instead, the choices facing us, at least for the next few decades, are not between bad and good, but between bad and far worse — and involve wider questions of global security, fairness and growing scarcity.
One example of where these diverse and often complex concerns meet is the debate over transportation. Until hydrogen fuel cells or electric batteries can power cars economically and safely, we will continue relying on gasoline or similar combustible fuels. But none of our current ways of addressing the problem of transportation fuel are without some sort of danger.
We can, for example, keep importing a growing share of our petroleum needs. That will ensure the global oil supply remains tight and expensive. Less-developed, authoritarian countries like Russia, Sudan and Venezuela will welcome the financial windfall, and keep polluting their tundra, coasts, deserts and lakes to pump as much as they can.
Rising world oil prices ensure that Vladimir Putin, or his handpicked successor, can continue to bully Europe; that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez can intimidate his neighbors; that Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can promise Israel’s destruction; and that al Qaeda and its affiliates can be funded by sympathetic Middle East sheiks. Such regional strongmen and terrorists cease being mere thugs and evolve into strategic threats once they have billions of petrodollars.
The United States, in taking advantage of a cheap dollar, may set records in exporting American goods and services this year. But we will still end up with massive trade deficits, given that we import every day more than 12 million barrels of oil, now at a cost of over $100 each on the world market. It takes a lot of American wheat, machinery and computer software to pay a nearly half-trillion-dollar annual tab for imported oil.
An alternative is to concentrate more on biofuels. American farmers now are planting the largest acreage of corn in more than 60 years. But the result is that fuel now competes with food production — and not just here, as Europe and South America likewise turn to ethanols.
One result is higher corn prices, which means climbing food bills for cattle, pigs and poultry, and thus skyrocketing meat, pork, chicken and turkey prices. Plus, with more acreage devoted to corn, there is less for other crops like cotton, wheat, rice and soy — and the prices of those commodities are soaring as well.
Americans’ increasing use of homegrown ethanol seems to be raising the price of food for the world’s poor, just as our importation of oil enriches the world’s already wealthy and dangerous.
What, then, is the least pernicious alternative — and the most environmentally, financially and ethically sound?
Unfortunately, for a while longer it is not just to trust in promising new technologies like wind and solar power. For decades to come, these will only provide a fraction of our energy needs.
Instead, aside from greater conservation, we must develop more traditional energy resources at home. That would mean building more nuclear power plants, intensifying efforts at mining and burning coal more cleanly — and developing more domestic oil, while retooling our vehicles to be even lighter and more fuel-efficient.
Nuclear power poses risks of proper disposal of radioactive wastes. Coal heats the atmosphere. But both can also cut our need to import fossil fuels to run our generators, while offering electrical energy to charge efficient and clean cars of the not-too-distant future.
No one wants a nuclear plant in his county. But, then, no one wants to leave the country bankrupt paying for imported fuel, or vulnerable by empowering hostile foreign oil producers, or insensitive to the price of food for the poor.
It is also time to re-evaluate domestic oil production in environmental — and moral — terms. The question is no longer simply whether we want to drill in the Alaskan wilderness or off the Florida or California coasts. Rather, the dilemma is whether by doing so, we can mitigate the world’s ecological risks beyond our shores, deny dictators financial clout, get America out of debt and help the poor afford food.
We may not like oil platforms off the beach or mega-tankers in Arctic waters, but the alternatives for now are far worse — in both environmental and ethical terms.
Our purpose is to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society.
Faced with a lot of debts following his unsuccessful bid for the US House in 2000, an angel in the form of a company run by one of his supporters stepped in and supplied Barack Obama with a little extra cash for some “legal consulting” – $8.000 a month to be exact.
What happened next is politics “The Chicago Way:”
After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year.
Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client — a longtime political supporter. Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell’s firm that eventually totaled $112,000.
A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.
Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions. With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.
The day after Obama wrote the letter, the his campaign for US Senate received a check from Mr. Blackwell in the amount of $1,000.
The Obama campaign points out that the candidate only advocated the single grant of $50,000 – which was reduced to $20,000. That may be true. But does anyone doubt that once Blackwell got his foot in the door – thanks to his former “consultant” – that the grants became easier to acquire?
As with every other ethical breach, the Obama campaign dismisses the apperance of impropriety:
Obama’s presidential campaign rejects any suggestion that there was a connection between the legal work, the campaign contribution and the help with the grant. “Any implication that Sen. Obama would risk an ethical breach in order to secure a small grant for a pingpong tournament is nuts,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political advisor.
Note Mr. Axelrod responding to what the grant was for, not the candidate’s actions. The LA Times gets to the crux of Obama’s problem with this matter:
Business relationships between lawmakers and people with government interests are not illegal or uncommon in Illinois or other states with a part-time Legislature, where lawmakers supplement their state salaries with income from the private sector.
But Obama portrays himself as a lawmaker dedicated to transparency and sensitive to even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Recently, Obama expressed regret over a property deal with Illinois power broker Tony Rezko after Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. In an interview this spring with the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama said his regret was not just because the real estate and restaurant entrepreneur was under criminal scrutiny, but because he was “a contributor and someone doing business before the state.”
The weird thing is that Obama’s campaign at first made basically the same excuse regarding Rezko as they do now for Mr. Blackwell.- that he did “nothing wrong acting on behalf of Killerspin,” and that he was just helping out a constituent.
Just a little more evidence – if any is needed – that Obama plays the game of politics the old fashioned way. And that any claim to the contrary is pure hypocrisy.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky