Throwing money at Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton has released the names of the contributors to his $500 million William Jefferson Clinton Foundation. It is filled with puzzlers. Giving between $10 and $25 million (couldn’t the disclosures be a little more specific) was a Dominican Republic agency that fights AIDS. Wouldn’t that much money be better spent in, you know, fighting AIDS? Actual governments, though, gave much of the money. These include the oil-rich Middle Eastern kingdoms, including Saudi Arabia, but also Norway and Sweden.

What got me in particular is that one of the $10-$25 million donors was the agency that dispenses Australia’s foreign aid! I am willing to concede that maybe America has sunk so low as to need foreign aid from its allies. But, mates, Bill Clinton, contrary to what he led you to believe, is not America!

Click here for the complete list of contributors.

Barack Obama’s other controversial pastor

Barack Obama has asked megachurch pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. This has made gay activists furious, since Rev. Warren supported Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California:

Barack Obama’s choice of a prominent evangelical minister to perform the invocation at his inauguration is a conciliatory gesture toward social conservatives who opposed him in November, but it is drawing fierce challenges from a gay rights movement that – in the wake of a gay marriage ban in California – is looking for a fight.

Rick Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, opposes abortion rights but has taken more liberal stances on the government role in fighting poverty, and backed away from other evangelicals’ staunch support for economic conservatism. But it’s his support for the California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that drew the most heated criticism from Democrats Wednesday.

“Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans,” the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote Obama Wednesday. “[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.”

The rapid, angry reaction from a range of gay activists comes as the gay rights movement looks for an opportunity to flex its political muscle.

I appreciate Mr. Obama’s gesture to social conservatives in inviting Rev. Warren. But it will be interesting to see if Mr. Obama resists the pressure from his base, which will probably also give him grief over Rev. Warren’s pro-life beliefs. Mr. Obama has a history of throwing associates under the bus–to the point of giving us this new cliche–once they attract negative attention. But he is going to be president now, and he doesn’t have to bend to his critics. I will give our new president major credit if he still lets Rick Warren say the prayer.

Caroline Kennedy as Senator

So the New York governor might appoint to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat the daughter of the late president Kennedy, Caroline. I realize that experienced politicians have disgraced their profession, but this still seems no reason to throw out the necessity to be qualified for public offices. Picking candidates according to their celebrity or, much worse, in a reversion to a monarchist sensibility, to their family seems dangerous to democracy. (Yes, I include the Bush dynasty.) If Ms. Kennedy wants to be a senator, let her at least be elected to the office, rather than just being crowned as the dynasty’s rightful heir.

Am I missing something? Is anyone even putting forward a rational reason for her to be given the appointment, something other than sentimental allegiance to a royal family?

Thoughts from a church burning

Sarah Palin’s church, Wasilla Bible, was set on fire, an act of arson that did at least $1 million damage.

I suspect a lot of conservative Christians do not realize how much some people hate us. We are the “other” for a lot of people. We make them feel revulsion, fear, and hatred. We make them feel paranoid. They construct conspiracy theories about how we are taking over the world.

We Christians have been used to being in charge, culturally, and we think our niceness is enough to make people like us. Times and the culture have changed. There may come a day when Christians will be the new oppressed minority group, like American blacks were in the 1950s or like European Jews were in the 1930s. Are we ready for that?

Politics as organized crime

Why and how did the good people of Illinois, a staunch midwestern state, elect Rod Blagojevich to be their governor? Seeing him, he comes across as a young punk mafiosi. Indeed, he seems to have governed his state like a Mafia don. How could someone like him rise to such a high office?

Victor Davis Hanson has some good words on the governor who got wiretapped trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder:

Here in the 21st-century are we back to the 1860s of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall, or the cesspool Chicago of Mayor Big Bill Thompson in the 1920s? All our moral claims about cleaning up government, all our postmodern sophisticated ethics, our vaunted notions of ‘transparency’ are reduced to a two-bit thug in the governorship of a large state like Illinois? For all our high-tech gadgetry, or our angst about situational morality, or self-help pop therapy, we revert to a foul-mouthed, profanity-spouting wretch, trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat the way a corrupt 4th-century AD emperor auctioned off proconsulships in the twilight of the Empire? . . . .

And then there is the Mafioso braggadocio of pure, unadulterated crudity: four-letter words, pomposity, no inhibition about admitting lust for money, gratuitous slurs about everything and everybody, constant threats, an entire family to dine at the table of greed. Blagojevich is something out of Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell, a modern-day Malacoda in the 5th bolgia. One must resort either to Al Capone’s Chicago or the villains of classical literature to match these transcripts.

The Governor’s arrest

So the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, gets ARRESTED by the FBI for trying to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat for the biggest BRIBE. That flabbergasts me. Most corrupt politicians are far more subtle than that. It will be interesting to see what else comes out of this. It’s a crime to solicit a bribe, but it’s also a crime to do the bribing. I wonder who the bidders turn out to be.