- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First lady’s bid

First lady Michelle Obama pledged to give her all when lobbying members of the International Olympic Committee to choose her hometown of Chicago for the 2016 games, but said she’d be a good sport even if they don’t.

She talked tough in a roundtable meeting with reporters saying, “It’s a battle — we’re going to win — take no prisoners.”

The reason, Mrs. Obama said, that both she and her husband were taking the long flight to Denmark to personally appeal to decision makers is because “our view is, we’re not taking a chance.”

And if the gamble doesn’t pay off? “No matter what the outcome is, we’ll feel as a country, as a team, that we’ve done everything that we can to bring it home,” she said.

Olympic doubts

MSNBC White House reporter Chuck Todd wasn’t as bright-eyed and idealistic about the notion of the Obamas making the Denmark trip, suggesting that old-style Chicago politics were at play during an on-air report Tuesday morning.

“Mayor [Richard] Daley boxed him in on this one,” Mr. Todd said, suggesting the Chicago mayor had used strong-arm tactics to get the president to do his bidding in Copenhagen.

“It has frustrated the folks inside this White House to no end,” he added.

Intent to sue

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Chris Horner is putting pressure on the Treasury Department to give him information blacked out of a previous batch of government records he requested from the agency about cap-and-trade legislation.

The records Mr. Horner obtained from Treasury through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request estimated that President Obama’s plan to auction emissions allowances could cost taxpayers $100 billion to $200 billion annually, but redacted other cost estimates Mr. Horner wants declassified.

CEI notified Treasury that it intends to sue over the matter in an appeal filed with the agency Tuesday.

“Your response fails any reasonable test for compliance with FOIA and constitutes an effective denial of our request,” Mr. Horner said in the appeal.

Although discussion of Democratic cap-and-trade proposals has waned over the last few months owing to the intense push by President Obama for health care reform, it will take center stage again Wednesday when Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California introduce a cap-and-trade bill in the Senate.

The memos Mr. Horner has been given by Treasury discussed the department’s creation of an Office of Environment and Energy, with the task of providing the White House with “informed and credible policy options” about how to generate revenue and regulate emerging markets related to climate-change legislation. One of the proposals discussed by Treasury officials was the creation of a “Carbon Fed” to manage carbon emissions in the same way the Federal Reserve regulates the supply of money.

But Treasury officials warned in the memos that regulating carbon “may result in the loss of domestic and international market shares for U.S. companies, and relocation of U.S. firms abroad, representing both a political problem and an environmental problem.” Some of the industries listed that could be hurt by new carbon laws were, according to Treasury, “energy-intensive sectors, such as the steel, aluminum, paper, chemicals and cement industries, where imports are ready substitutes and lower-carbon technologies are not widely available.”

They “are clearly vulnerable.”

Not ‘rape-rape’

Whoopi Goldberg wants the media to refrain from accusing Roman Polanski of rape and to recognize that other cultures may view 13-year-old girls as sex objects.

At U.S. request, Swiss authorities arrested Polanski, an Oscar-winning movie director, when he arrived in Switzerland to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. He had originally fled the U.S. to escape sentencing after agreeing to plead guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and has remained a fugitive ever since.

Victim Samantha Jane Gailey testified at the time that Polanski persuaded her to go with him to actor Jack Nicholson’s vacated home to take photos. Polanski asked Miss Gailey to undress, drink champagne and take a dose of Quaalude. After he made advances toward her in a Jacuzzi, she asked him to take her home. He refused and then performed sexual acts on her, although she asked him to “stop it.” She testified that she did not resist because “I was afraid.”

The arrest has sparked a firestorm over whether the director should have been detained, which was debated on ABC’s “The View” on Monday.

“I know it wasn’t rape-rape,” Ms. Goldberg said on the program. “It was something else, but I don’t believe it was rape-rape … when we are talking about what someone did and what they are charged with, we have to say what it actually was, not what we think it was.” She argued that it would be more accurate to say that Polanski was charged with rape and pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor.

“I don’t like it when we are passionate about something, and we don’t have all the facts,” Ms. Goldberg lectured.

Ms. Goldberg also said it was important for commentators to take into account of other foreign cultures that think it’s permissible to have sexual relations with 13-year-olds. “We are a different kind of society,” she said. “We see things differently.”

Polanski was born in Poland and holds French citizenship. He has directed many well-known films, such as “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist,” for which he won the Oscar for best director.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com

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