The Lope: Bill Clinton

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bill Clinton

Temporary note for March of 2009:
This post is being accessed largely for pictures of Kathleen Sebelius. In addition to the ones here, see more pictures of the Kansas governor and nominee for secretary of health and human services at The Governor, the Jackalope and More Fair Stuff (2005 Kansas State Fair), October 18 Obama campaign rally and Bushed, a post about George Bush and Governor Sebelius visiting Greensburg, KS, after the tornado. And now, back to the original blog post about Bill Clinton (featuring Kathleen Sebelius, too).

As seen in our last post, we obtained tickets to see Bill Clinton at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS in a speech he gave March 2. We also had tickets for his appearance in Topeka that evening, seen above.

We arrived in Manhattan plenty early, knowing that even though Ace was well-disguised as an ordinary attendee, the Secret Service is very observant. Ace met initial resistance, but did managed to get in.

The speech was part of the Landon Lecture Series and completed their run of lectures by recent presidents. They've had all of them, as far back as Nixon.

About 14,000 tickets were issued for this event at Bramlage Coliseum. For photographers planning to attend events at Bramlage, I am offering the following facts. This is Bramlage's "end stage" configuration and is an uncropped view from section 15, row 19, seat 2. The lens is the equivalent on a 35mm film camera of about a 35mm lens. As you can see between Ace's antlers, Clinton is a spec in the distance. I wouldn't have done much better as a member of the press. See that box of photographers at the bottom of the picture? According to media information released by K-State, they were confined there with no ability to roam; this was a requirement set by Clinton's management.

And to answer the question several of you have emailed to me, no, I didn't get a picture of Clinton with Ace. I applied through numerous channels beforehand to do this, but was met with polite refusals due to Clinton's time constraints. I don't feel too bad, as even the Landon Lecture Series patrons - who pay $300 a year for the privilege of floor seats and the opportunity to meet the guest speaker at a luncheon - did not get to do so with Clinton. There was not even a press conference. I did a little research into what President Clinton has been up to since leaving office, and discovered the Clinton Foundation, on which Ace's shirt is based.

For awhile I thought the best pictures I was going to get would be from the jumbo TV screens in the scoreboard above the court.

I'm going to do something a little different with this post. I'm showing the full text of the President's speech, "Five questions for the 21st Century", as published in the Manhattan Mercury newspaper of Tuesday, March 06, 2007. I'm inserting some of my pictures in the approximate places they belong; they are by no means evenly distributed because I was not photographing the whole time. The Presidents words are in italic, the speech begins after Clinton has been introduced by the president of K-State, hence the "president" reference in the first line:

Thank you. Mr. President, I always like being on platforms with presidents who aren't term limited. Apparently C-SPAN is covering this and did you notice how he used that introduction to shamelessly flack for K-State? Wasn't he great?

I expect Monday morning to be another 5,000 young people here demanding open admission right away. I thank you for having me here. Governor, I'm delighted to see you again. We first met nearly 20 years ago when we were in different positions and I flew home and told my wife after I met you that I had met, I thought, one of the most gifted natural politicians I had met in many a day. I waited a while but you have certainly proved my prognosis right. Thank you for your outstanding service.

I'd like to thank the others on the platform ... Mr. Seaton, Director Reagan, Faculty President Adams. I learned that Mr. Maddie's sister Katie is the elected vice president of the student body and I was glad that you didn't have any anti-nepotism law that interferes with the popular will of the students here.
Whatever their parents raised them on we need to find it and give it to all the non-voters in America. That was very, very impressive. Thank you for your service. I want to thank my old friends, Rep. Moore and Rep. Moran, thank you both for coming so much.

John Carlin and I served as governors together 100 years ago and as you see he looks younger than I do now that his mummifying process is working better than mine. We had a great time and then he was the National Archivist caring for our country's most important records when I was President and he stayed on under President Bush when I left. Thank you for a lifetime of friendship and for your service to Kansas and to America.

(That's Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius on the stage with Clinton.)

In their absence I want to mention three other Kansans. First of all your former Congressman, Dan Glickman, who was my Secretary of Agriculture and did a great job in that position. Secondly, former Senators Dole and Kassebaum. I went to Bob Dole Center to give a speech for him and you know we do a few things together. After 9-11 we raised $110 million to guarantee college scholarships to the children and spouses of all the people killed or disabled on 9-11, from all over the world not just the Americans, everybody who was.

I loved him but in his droll way when I was there, I said Bob, I'm having a good time. He said yeah, but he says, you know how Kansas works now you got to go to K-State. He said, Nancy will get to check that box.

Sen. Kassebaum invited me many years. This is the first time I've been able to come so I'm delighted to be here and particularly honored by the presence of the men and women in uniform from Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth who are here. Let's give them a hand. You all deserve that, thank you. Thank you all very much, thank you. I will get back to them in a moment.

For all the students here especially here's the deal. What we're supposed to do as I understand is I'm supposed to say something halfway profound and then you're supposed to ask questions about it. I'm going to take you on a trip through my mind sort of, it might be scary, to try to help you make up your mind about various things.

Forty-one years ago when Alf Landon gave the first Landon Series lecture, the title of the lecture was New Challenges in International Relations. This, in shorthand, the title of what I'm about to say to you in part at least is, Why There's No Dividing Line Anymore Between International and Domestic Relations. If you're a Kansas farmer worried about the price of wheat you know that in one level. If you're a K-State student and you spend half your time on the Internet you know it at another level.

If you, as I and my wife did, if you know anybody who was on one of those airplanes or in those office buildings on 9-11, you know it at another level. If you saw what happened to the stock market in America this week after it dropped in China you know it in another way.

So the first thing I want to say is I'm here in the heartland of the country with a bunch of people who are far more connected to the world beyond America's borders than students would have been 41 years ago on either coast.

What I want to talk about today in my remarks before we get to questions is how are you supposed to think about this world? I believe that every concerned citizen without regard to party or religion or whether you think you're more conservative or more liberal, everybody needs some sort of framework within which you can evaluate all these issues that are happening all the time and where you can sort out the ones that don't amount to much.

Half the stuff that makes the headlines every day you know instinctively are just fleeting dross. They don't amount to anything. And then some things represent trend lines. They reflect things that show big underlying sweeping changes in society. You need to be able to have a framework that you use to think about all this stuff otherwise when you look at the news or read the paper or scroll up on the internet the day's events it looks like the political equivalent of chaos theory in physics. Looks like just a bunch of stuff unrelated and how are you supposed to remember it all and figure out how to evaluate it?

Now the way I do it, the process that I arrived at, was to ask and answer five simple questions. I think every one of you needs to be able to answer the same questions. Even though I'm not running for anything I'm still enough of a politician to hope you'd get the same answer as I would but I know you won't, not all of you.

It's not nearly as important that your answer is the same as mine as that you have an answer. But if you can answer these five questions then you'll be able to think about where America and the world are going, what you ought to do, how you fit into the larger stream of events, and what your responsibilities are not only to your family and your community but to the future as it unfolds. So here they are.

Question #1: What is the fundamental nature of the twenty-first century world in a word? Most people would say globalization. I prefer interdependence. I prefer interdependence for two reasons. Number one, globalization to most of us is an economic term. This goes way beyond economics. Before World War I the rich countries of the world were as tied together economically as they are today by trade. But now there's more money movement but there's far more information technology movement, more travel, much more interchange going way beyond economics. Number two, there is more internal diversity in America and in all other rich countries than there used to be as people flock to centers of opportunity seeking a better tomorrow. I just look through this crowd and I bet it's more diverse by race, by religion, even by gender than it would have been if we'd had a meeting here 40 years ago. So I like the term interdependence.

Question #2: Is it a good or a bad thing that we're living in an age of global interdependence? My answer is both. It's self-evidently good for most of us, right? We wear reasonably decent clothes and we know how to log on to the Internet and we'll probably get to take a trip or two in our lives and we meet people who are from different places and different backgrounds. We learn things and see things and do things and we are empowered in a way by our being connected to this global economy.

But it doesn't really work today for about half the people. Half the world's people live on less than $2 a day. A billion people live on less than $1 a day. A billion people will go to bed hungry every night. A billion people have no access to clean water. Two-and-a-half billion people have no access to sanitation.

One in four of all the people who perish on earth this year from the wars, the terrorist incidents, the natural disasters, from cancer, from heart attack, from stroke, from you name it, one in four of all deaths will come from four sources that almost no American will die from AIDS, TB, malaria, and infections related to dirty water, cholera, dysentery, diarrhea. Eighty percent in the last category will be children under five years of age. So all those people are not very well connected to the rest of the world. Even in the wealthy countries in most of them a huge percentage of the people are only peripherally benefitted by globalization.

If you look at the United States for example this process has been going for more than 30 years. Median, not average — average includes guys that make a lot of money like me — median, those in the middle, wages have been more or less flat in America from 1973 through 1996.

In my second term they went up again and inequality diminished for the first time in 20 years and then in this decade they've been flat again. It'd been very unusual in this decade because we've had high rates of economic growth, high rates of work or productivity growth, a 40-year high in corporate profits and yet you have in the United States median wages flat, the percentage of working families dropping below the poverty level going up, the percentage of working families without health insurance going up by four percent.

You can see that I'm sure all over small towns and rural areas in Kansas. You can see it in Arkansas, where I grew up and where my library now is and you can see it all throughout New York where I travel a lot now because both my office is there and my wife represents the state in the Senate so I see all this. So is this good or bad? The answer is both.

A lot of people in America were upset when all these kind of left wing guys started winning public office in Latin America — Evo Morales the first native Indian in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, ever elected to his country's presidency. He wasn't married and his sister served as his First Lady and she had to borrow a dress and take a bus from their little village to the capital in order to participate in his inaugural ceremony.

We were all worried because he said he was going to nationalize the mines and all that. I told everybody, I said, if you were a 45-year old Bolivian miner and you had four children and your body was old before its time and you thought your kids would never do any better than you and all you could do for them no matter how hard you worked was put a scrap a food on the table at night you would have voted for Evo Morales.

He was clearly an honorable man, clearly an intelligent man, clearly a person who just wanted to try to make things work for ordinary people. So that's the second question, is it good or bad? I think it's both.

Third question: How should we try to change this world? I think we should try to move from interdependence which is good or bad to integration to a set of integrated communities locally, nationally, and globally. All integrated communities — university sports teams, families, businesses, military units — all integrated communities, successful ones, have three things in common.

They have shared opportunities to participate, shared responsibilities for the welfare of the whole, and a sense of genuine belonging. That is if you're part of one related to all the other members in the unit you think that your differences are interesting but your common humanity, your common membership, matters more. This is very, very important.

Do you remember a year or so ago when they had the terrorist bombings in London? The British were shattered by this because unlike 9-11 when the United States was penetrated by terrorists from other countries the people who pulled off these horrible killings were British citizens who had grown up there, who went to work and lived in neighborhoods and had friendly relations with people at work and in neighborhoods and people that were interviewed afterward were just stunned because they didn't really belong did they?

The people that strapped those bombs on thought their differences were more important than the common humanity they had shared with people some of them for decades. Meals, holidays, playing games down the street, the whole nine yards and still it did not penetrate them. A lot of people died because of that.

But if you look at the modern world we have no choice but to try to move from interdependence to integration cause the world we live in today is we can't keep going this way. We can't keep going with half the people left out of it economically. It's unequal. It's also unstable.

I think it's highly unlikely that this century, for all of you who are younger than me which is nearly everybody these days, I think it's highly unlikely that this century will claim as many innocent lives as the twentieth century did. You just go back and add up sometime when you're feeling really pessimistic about terrorism and really worried about Iraq and Afghanistan and all that, you should be concerned about all this, but go back and look at how many people died in a much smaller world in World War I and World War II in the Soviet Union between the Wars and the Chinese purges and when Pol Pot took over in Cambodia, a country with only eight million people, two million killed, I think that it's unlikely.

On the other hand, unlike the last century we all feel vulnerable all the time. When the news just broke not very long ago about the terrorist groups in England trying to put an explosive into baby bottles to put it on airplanes, everybody who flies an airplane felt a tingle up and down their spine because it meant we were all feeling vulnerable.

And we all feel vulnerable to other things, disease. One of the most interesting things about the news that's changed over the last 10 years is you can now turn on the evening news and if a chicken has been found with avian influenza — this is in the last few months, I watch the news and I've seen a chicken in Romania, a chicken in India, and a chicken in Indonesia they found with avian influenza. I can tell you how many square kilometers in those three countries and they killed every last chicken to make sure that no bird with avian influenza got out here into the human population.

Now we're smiling but this is a good thing because they recognize there is no known cure no known vaccine right now for avian influenza in people and we know that at the end of World War I in three rolling waves the so-called Spanish influenza which actually began on an Army base here in Kansas, killed 25 to 50 million people because there was no known antidote to it. This is an unstable setup.

The third thing I want to say about it is that it is unsustainable because of climate change and because in addition to climate change because of resource depletion. Matthew Simmons, a distinguished petroleum investor who is no liberal Democrat tree-hugger like me, he is one of the Bush family's close friends. He's a conservative Republican. He says we have 35 years of recoverable oil left. The Saudis and Exxon say no, no we've probably got 100 years. Now the oldest city in civilization according to carbon dating that we know about today is Jericho in the Middle East, 10,000 years old. That means that the real happy talk people are saying we have a hundred years out of 10,000, one percent of the whole history of civilization, left to burn oil.

In addition to oil we have serious topsoil erosion around the world, which is going to create food shortages and food refugees. In the last decade only Argentina and Brazil which have about 22 feet of topsoil, still the biggest deposits in the world, only Argentina and Brazil in the last decade had significant increases in food yields.

America and Canada and the bread basket of Europe, they held their own. They continued to produce very well but we didn't have any big breakthroughs.
That only happened in those two countries. The world population is supposed to go to nine billion by the middle of the century from six-and-a-half billion today. How are we going to feed all these people if the soil keeps eroding?
You have water quality erosion, you have biodiversity loss. Ninety percent of the major fishing areas of the world are now understocked. So what we're doing is not sustainable. Good and bad but unequal, unstable, unsustainable but if we went to a set of communities locally, nationally, globally where we had shared opportunities for participation, shared responsibilities for our common welfare, and a genuine sense of belonging because our common humanity is more important than our interesting differences we'd have a chance to overcome all these problems.

Fourth question: How in the world would you do that? These questions get harder as you go along. I could keep you here until tomorrow morning talking about any part of this answer so I'm going to be very brief to get to the questions. How would you do it? You have to have a security policy. We need people in uniform like these people. You've got to have a security policy.
There are people trying to take us down and destroy the enterprise.
But, I just read a stunning essay by a young man that I feel that I helped raise who just retired as a captain in the Marine Corps to pursue the rest of his life. He won the bronze star at Fallujah. His unit lost no men in the battles. His Iraqi unit had no deserters that he trained to fight. He was, in other words, a successful American soldier in the Marine Corps. He wrote an essay because for this study he wants to do to go on with the rest of his life in which he said, we did about as good as you can do over there and what I think is we can't look to our military solution first. The military can only be effective if we also have a diplomatic solution and if we're over there trying to make friends as well as deal with enemies.

He said, with all the problems in the world with unstable circumstances and non-state actors like terrorist groups and organized criminals and drug dealers and all this you've always got to have politics at work with military. There will be very few purely military solutions available, no matter how good we are at what we do. If you look for example at this deal the President just made with North Korea I happen to think it's a pretty good deal and I was delighted to see it happen but it was produced by diplomacy.

So you need a security strategy, a diplomacy strategy, you need thirdly a strategy to make a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. If you remember that whole litany of numbers I gave you showing that half the world is not part of what we are let me give you some good numbers. Bob Dole wrote a book with George McGovern in the last year or two about how he could end hunger. Guess what? It doesn't cost very much money. We know how to get the 130 million children in the world who don't ever go to school into school and it doesn't cost very much money. We know how to achieve the so-called millennium development goals to eradicate extreme poverty on earth by 2015 and it doesn't cost all that much money. We actually know how to do it now.

In my last year as President we put $300 million into a school feeding program that Sen. Dole and Sen. McGovern supported, and we increased enrollment in poor countries by offering them a free student lunch or student breakfast but they had to come to school to get the meal. Enrollment went up with $300 million by 6 million. Cost us 50 bucks a kid to get children in school. How much is it worth if out of those 6 million kids 10 of them would have become terrorists? Just 10? We saved money didn't we? We spent $100 billion in Afghanistan; we spent $400 billion in Iraq.

It is irrelevant whether you support or oppose our policies in either of those places. The point I'm trying to make is we've got to have a security strategy but if you live in an interdependent environment and you can't kill, jail, or occupy all your enemies you've got to have a strategy to make more partners and fewer enemies too. It is always, always cheaper than fighting — the health, the education, the development.

Finally, last question — who's supposed to do all this? This is the most important question of all. Who's supposed to do all this? And the answer is we all are. Are there things that the government has to do? Absolutely. There are things that need doing that you can't do legally unless you put on a uniform and train properly for it and you'd be ineffective if you tried.

There are policies that cannot really change in America effectively unless the government changes its direction. I'm encouraged that we had Wal-Mart, basically a conservative company not unionized and the SEIU one of the most liberal unions in America standing together last week calling for universal health care for all Americans because SEIU wants it for humanitarian reasons and Wal-Mart realizes that we're going to go bankrupt if we won't do something about it. It was really interesting. We all have to do something about it.

That brings me to the second point which is that in America we have a whole history of citizen action too and that's what I do now. When I got out of the White House it was interesting and my wife went to the Senate it's like we changed roles in a play after 30 years cause for 30 years she'd been out there doing those things that non-politicians do — starting advocacy groups for families and children, bringing in free school programs to Arkansas from Israel, worrying about how we built up health care and education in rural areas, doing all this stuff not elected to anything. Traipsing over to Beijing to tell people who were oppressing women and kids to quit.

All just as a person and then all of a sudden I had to do that and I realized I didn't have a clue. I'll never forget that I was shaving one day in early 2001 after I left the White House and I looked in the mirror and I said I have become a non-governmental organization. Who am I? What am I supposed to do? Now I spend lots and lots of time answering that question every day.

I've done a lot of work with people that were otherwise political adversaries of mine. Former President Bush and I, we always had a good relationship and we've become immensely close working on the tsunami relief, working on the Katrina relief, and I've developed a good relationship with the current President and we don't agree on much of anything but I have a good relationship with him.

When he does something I like I take up for him like something that may not be popular here. He wants to speed food aid to poor countries where people are starving quicker by letting us buy 25 percent of the food in the country next door which I think is better than requiring that it all be grown in America even though farmers markets on Kansas don't like it very much. Your tax dollars would go further and more people would live quicker. I try to think about all these issues in a different way now.

I try to say I'm a citizen now. What can a citizen do? Let's answer that question then you identify everything that's left and you say what has to be done at the state or local or national level or what can be done by the business community? Identify that question and sort of in my mind I'm passing out assignments every day.

I want you all to think about that because a big part of building this world is the last point I want to make before we open for questions is what I would call a relentless search for home improvement. I want to end where I began. If Alf Landon were giving the lecture today I guess he'd be 120 years old almost but he wouldn't be able to say trends in international relations cause he was a very smart guy. He would talk about how the line between what is international and national. What is local and global has totally evaporated.

I find I work in a lot of poor countries. I have AIDS projects in 25 countries where we provide the least expensive high quality aids drugs in the world. We sell them in 62 countries; 540 thousand people in the world who are getting aids medicine since 2003 are getting off these contracts we negotiated. We work in 25 countries.

I can tell you I won't go into a country unless the government asked me in and they agree to work with us and we work through them cause if something happens to me I want to know the system, the health care system, is working better. Not just for AIDS but for TB, for malaria, for maternal and child health, for tropical diseases.

I want people to be stronger. If they don't have a good government there's not much the rest of us can do to help them, similarly in America. If half the people in Kansas believe that the world is going darker for them, that they're not part of this new future that's bright and Dennis Moore as a representative in Congress goes out and tries to give a speech in his district about how we should be feeding all these kids in poor countries so we'll get them all in school and then they won't go to madrasahs and they won't be radicalized, then people are going to look at him like he's nuts. They're going to say, Dennis, every third store front in our town is closed. What the heck are you worried about those people for? They can't vote for you. Take care of me.

I guess what I'm trying to tell all of you is I think we have to take care of us too but in the end we can't take full care of America's next generation unless we take care of the world. I leave you with this thought. I think there are three home improvement issues that if we dealt with them they would dramatically increase our ability to deal with the challenges the face. We can't keep going with the health care system we got —we can't.

Of all the new members of the House of Representatives that were elected the one I was closest to, Joe Sestak from Pennsylvania, is a retired three-star admiral, former commander of the George Washington battle carrier group, from a Catholic family of seven siblings and he had six in the district and all their relatives. All he had to do was find 10 non-relatives to vote for him and he got elected.

But Sestak ran for Congress in part because he started a family late in life. He was traveling at sea a lot and his only child got brain cancer. He was told in all probability that she would die. It has a happy ending, this story, she did not. She recovered but he didn't know that.

So he took early retirement so he could be at his daughter's bedside every single day she still had left on this earth. He kept meeting all these people who unlike him had not been in the military and didn't have a good health insurance policy whose kids were sick. He just couldn't take it anymore. It was one of the three reasons he cited at every speech when running for United States Congress. Most over qualified person I used to tell him to go to the Congress. The guy ran a carrier battle group.

We've got to do something. We're spending 16 percent of our income on health care. No other country spends more than 11. That's $800 billion a year we're spending. This is supposed to be a state of fiscal conservatives, prudent people. So if you're going to spend 800 billion dollars more on something than anybody else on earth surely you're going to get something out of it, right? We insure 84 percent. Nobody else insures fewer than 100 percent.

Our overall health outcomes rating is 37th although we do rank as high as 34th in life expectancy. What are we paying for? Well we spend 34 percent of the health care dollar on administration costs from providers and insurers. No one else spends more than 19. That's $300 billion a year that we pay for 2 million Americans to go out and play tug-of-war every day over getting paid for providing health care. One side trying to get the money and the other side trying either to keep from paying or hold on as long as you can and earn interest. In the grinding transaction cost there's more than enough to insure everybody in the country who doesn't have insurance today.

There are other things that we should talk about if we had all day that involve medicine that involve life style. We have enormous rates of obesity. Our diabetes among young people, adult onset diabetes among young people, exploding in America. Emory University said that in the 1990s when I served 27 percent of the increase in health care costs was caused by diabetes and its consequences — more heart attacks, more strokes, more blindness, more amputations.

These members of Congress here will have to spend a lot of your tax money on a Medicaid budget this year. Twenty percent of the Medicaid budget which cares for poor people goes to conditions directly related to the explosion of diabetes in America. There are lots of issues. That's issue number one.

Issue number two is the economy. We can't keep having an economy where people like me in the top one-tenth of one percent get more and more and more money every year and they throw a tax cut at us every year and middle class people's wages don't rise.

Now here's what happens. I promised at the very beginning of the talk to come back to this. I would like to tell you that we got inequality down and wages up in my second term because Bob Rubin and I were utter economic geniuses. I'd love to stand here with a straight face and tell you that. We didn't hurt anything. We had good policies. Our policies were directly responsible for moving 100 times as many people from poverty to the middle class in our 8 years as in the previous 12 but the real reason that all the jobs were created is that America had a source of good new jobs in the 1990s because the jobs in information technology moved out of the companies and the video game companies in Texas and exploded into every aspect of American life.

I could go out when I was governor of Arkansas I remember at the very end I'd go out at harvest season when they were bringing in the rice crop or I'd go to planting season and all my farmer friends all of sudden were in air-conditioned tractor cabs with computers telling them what to plant, when to plant it, and what kind of fertilizer to use. It was the darndest thing I ever saw.

That created millions of jobs. Every work place in America changed in the 90s.

Now, this decade has not seen its source of new jobs, that's the problem. That's why we've got flat wages. Yet it is a bird's nest on the ground. If we made a serious commitment to a clean independent energy future, we would create those jobs in Kansas and across the country.

You do not have to accept my word for this you can look at the evidence. I'll give you two pieces of evidence.

Number one, in Europe the economies that look most like America's, that is the ones that are the most free market oriented, the most unregulated, are probably the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. In Denmark, unlike America, their unemployment rate is almost identical to ours but their growth rate is higher, their wages are going up, inequality is going down.

Why? In the last few years the Danish economy has increased in size by 50 percent. Now at the same time estimate how much their energy use has increased and how much their greenhouse gas emissions have increased. Answer? Zero. Nothing, zero, no increase in energy use, no increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Their greenhouse gas emissions have gone down while their economy has gone up 50 percent because they have also decided to generate 22 percent of the electricity from wind. Let's take the U.K. even more like us. In my last year as President when we negotiated, in '98 not my last year, we negotiated the Kyoto climate change accord which calls for all these countries to cut their greenhouse gas emission down below 1990 level by 2012.

Al Gore and a guy named Stu Eizenstat went to Japan to propose this deal for me and I was signing off on it. They didn't even get off the airplane before the Senate voted against it. One hundred percent of the Republicans and nearly 100 percent of the Democrats voted against it before I could send it to them because they said ... would bankrupt America if we had to reduce our energy consumption and the poison we were spewing into the air. It would be the end of civilization as we knew it.

Then when I gave a speech on climate change it elicited a giant yawn from all but the most fanatic members of the press on the subject. Now look at what the United Kingdom did. United Kingdom said something very different. They said oh we like the Kyoto accord. It's a perfectly nice little piece of paper but the truth is it's a little bit of a weak sister. It's too much compromise it's too weak. We're going to beat our Kyoto targets by 25 to 50 percent.

Guess what? They did and their unemployment rate is as low as ours but their wages are going up and inequality has not gone up and their growth is high because of all the jobs they created in clean energy. The British government has actually put out a list by category of how many new jobs they created by beating their Kyoto targets and they're so excited they're gonna beat them again.

I'm telling you if you look around here the greatest thing about biofuels of any kind is that they don't travel well. That's good. That means no big long pipelines and every 50 or 100 or 200 miles you got to have a new production facility and a new distribution network and we can revitalize rural America.

We can bring back the small towns and the rural areas. Once we get a cost conversion fix on cellulosic ethanol we can do it without having corn prices so high that all the chicken people and the cattle feeders go out of business and everybody goes crazy. We can do it all in a balanced way here.

But it's not just that, it's not just that. My library has 308 solar reflectors. I cut my greenhouse gas emissions 34 percent. Those things were made in America by Americans. I could go on and on and on and on. If we made this a commitment then we could deal with health care, deal with the economy, and deal with the climate change and we would give Americans space — emotional space, financial space, to say okay go out there with your security policy, your diplomacy, your policy to build more partners and fewer terrorists and bring the world together. Bring the world together. Give our children the future they deserve.

So anyway that's how I think. If something happens tomorrow and you want to know how I feel about it you can already figure out my answer cause my answer is always determined by this question. Does this or that or the other course of action help or hurt our efforts to build a world with more shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, and genuine sense of belonging?

If it helps I'm for it, if it hurts I'm against it, and if I don't know I try to figure it out. That's how I deal with emerging events every day. You may not agree with my analysis but you should be able to answer those questions. What's the nature of the twenty-first century world, is it good or bad? How would you like to change it? What steps are necessary to do that? Who's supposed to do it? Finally the answer is whether you're in or out of government, you are.
Thank you very much.

Here are a few pictures I did not place yet. So many of you have asked for Clinton pics that I thought I'd throw everything in, which will make this one of those posts that clogs the front page for awhile, then vindicates itself by being accessed so much afterwards:

If you care to see Clinton's lecture, the Landon Lecture Series website has handily provided both audio and video links at a "past speakers" link on their website.

We missed Clinton's Q&A session because we needed to dash down I-70 to Topeka. Here's a shot of the Kansas State Capital Building, of which I shot a bizillion pictures the next day inside the dome, but that will have to wait.

Our destination was the Ramada Inn, a non-descript building. Yeah, you knew I had to get in a remark about architecture somewhere in this post.

The event was the Kansas Democratic Party's annual Washington Days gathering.

I'd never attended a large political gathering like this one, but I was surprised there were only a few tables set up to promote specific agendas, such as this table. I bet Al would not have been surprised by the winter frog.

I was happy to see a vender of political buttons and stickers. There used to be two women at the Kansas State Fair who sold a variety of these for all sorts of causes, but they retired years ago and political buttons have been a rarity in these parts ever since.

And now, another batch of pictures. The speech, given before about 1,400 people, was somewhat similar to the one at K-State but was more of a rally for the troops, as it were, since Clinton was speaking to his own party. There are way too many pictures here, but I haven't time to thin them out just yet.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius introduces the President.

Clinton played to the press box quite a bit. They saw his front a lot more than we did.

That rim lighting on Clinton is caused by someone else's flash going off during my exposure.

Sorry for the lag in posting, I've been very, very busy. However, I should have a nice post up on or before St Pat's Day that'll feature novel places, neon signs, cool buildings, a tatooed woman, some mushrooms, two graveyards and a jackalope. Oh, and no politicians.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wondered when you would get this done, and I can see that this was a great deal of work. Some cool pictures. I like the way you worked Ace into the picture (in a broader and more general sense) and I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip to sunnier and warmer climate.


Sat Mar 17, 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah....forgot to pinch you. I can see that you're not wearing green!

Sat Mar 17, 02:09:00 PM  

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