Just What Is Obama’s Connection to Bill Ayers?

As many people have already discussed, Barack Obama has extensive connections to Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, former members of the terrorist group Weather Underground. Power Line has more details on the topic, thanks to the investigative work of Stanley Kurtz for the National Review.

The most notable paragraph:

The problem of Barack Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers will not go away. Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn were terrorists for the notorious Weather Underground during the turbulent 1960s, turning fugitive when a bomb – designed to kill army officers in New Jersey – accidentally exploded in a New York townhouse. Prior to that, Ayers and his cohorts succeeded in bombing the Pentagon. Ayers and Dohrn remain unrepentant for their terrorist past. Ayers was pictured in a 2001 article for Chicago magazine, stomping on an American flag, and told the New York Times just before 9/11 that the notion of the United States as a just and fair and decent place “makes me want to puke.” Although Obama actually launched his political career at an event at Ayers’s and Dohrn’s home, Obama has dismissed Ayers as just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” and “not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.” For his part, Ayers refuses to discuss his relationship with Obama.

As Kurtz points out, however, Obama served for some time as chairman of the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a group of which Ayers was a co-founder, and worked closely with Ayers during that time. When Kurtz went to investigate the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, this is what ensued:

Just before my plane took off, I received an e-mail from the special-collections librarian informing me that she had “checked our collection file” and determined that “access to the collection is closed.” I would be permitted to view the single CAC-related file from the Office of the Chancellor records, but nothing from the CAC records proper. I quickly wrote back, expressing surprise and disappointment. I noted that I had arranged my trip based on the library’s assurances of access, and followed up with questions about whether access was being denied because I was unaffiliated with UIC. I also asked who had authority over access to the collection, suggesting that I might be able to contact them and request permission to view it.

After arriving in Chicago, I found a message, not from the special-collections librarian, but from Ann C. Weller, professor and head, Special Collections Department. In answer to my question of who had authority over access to the collection, Weller said, that “the decision was made by me” in consultation with the library director. Weller stated that no one currently has access to the collection and added that: “The Collection is closed because it has come to our attention that there is restricted material in the collection. Once the collection has been processed it will be open to any patron interested in viewing it.”

It gets much, much more ridiculous – go read the full article.

My Library of Quotations

As you may realize by now, the “Library of Quotations” that used to appear on this site is no more. It had gotten unwieldy and impossible to maintain without a lot more custom programming, which, frankly, is not high on my list of priorities. So, if you’re looking for Dicky Fox, Dickie Fox, Forrest Gump, or Richard Simmons (apparently, those were my biggest draws…?), you will have to look elsewhere. Godspeed.

Some Grudges Die Hard

I love a good lawsuit connected with history and religion as much as the next person, but I have to say that when the Knights Templar sue the Pope [ed.: link updated to an archived link because the original was broken] perhaps we’re digging a bit far into religious history for a current complaint. In any case, this one is too far up my alley not to mention it.


Apparently, the Knights hope the suit will help improve their reputation, sullied by age-old accusations of worshipping Satan, denying Jesus, and practicing sodomy. It seems more likely that they’ll have a new accusation added to the list: filing frivolous and unsuccessful lawsuits.

Outlook Attachment Reminder

Ever send an email without the attachment? You go on and on about what’s in it, then never send the file. I’ve done that. No more; now there’s the Outlook attachment reminder macro. Easy to install, and I just verified it works.

Hat tip: lifehacker.

Airborne, But Falling Fast

The makers of Airborne, the popular cold remedy, are going to be on the hook for as much as $30 million, after an FTC settlement for another $6.5 million in addition to the $23.5 million settlement of a class action claim earlier in the year.

Some people swear by Airborne. Personally, I think it may have helped me once or twice in staving off a cold; maybe I should have tried some on Saturday night, as I now feel like death warmed over. In any case, this is a fairly devastating settlement. The money is not that bad, actually – annual sales are far higher than the settlement figures – it’s the marketing changes that will hurt the brand.

Airborne Coughs Up Millions to Settle Suit – washingtonpost.com.

Russia Rising (in My Inbox)

The number of Russian-language spams (or at least Cyrillic font) I get has risen dramatically, lately. For a while, I got a lot of Chinese and Korean spams, but now, the Russian stuff reigns supreme, at a bit over 5% of the total.

I’m not sure what this signifies. On the one hand, obviously, a lot of spam still comes from developed countries; a decent chunk of it comes from otherwise legitimate businesses here in the United States with broken unsubscribe forms. On the other hand, tremendous quantities originate from hijacked (or spam-dedicated) servers in underdeveloped countries. See this real-time map of spammer IPs (don’t you love Google Maps?) for a global breakdown of spam detected by SpamShield. I think what it means is this: Russia’s economic incentives and Russian technological infrastructure are finally coming of age; people finally have both the ability and the incentives to sell me garbage, in their language.

On the one hand, the economic development implied is a good thing. On the other, it also means my daily spam total is at or above the 1,000 mark for the sixth month running (it’s actually well over 1,100, but who’s counting?).