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Aides to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) scheduled pricey luncheons, roundtables, readings, VIP receptions and policy dinners with campaign officials and advisers, offering donors a taste of his potential administration. Supporters could eat dinner in Los Angeles with Warren Buffett, an Obama adviser and one of history’s shrewdest investors, for $28,500, the federal limit for donations by an individual to a national party committee. Or they could attend a “VIP reception” with the sage of Omaha for $10,000, or an “economic roundtable” for just $1,000.
The Obama campaign declined to comment on the schedule.
A “Round Table Discussion” in Boston with Robert E. Rubin, who was Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and talked on the phone with Obama as the financial crisis broke out, cost $28,500. And a reception in Boston with former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), a possible chief of staff in an Obama White House, was offered for $500 or $2,500. Tickets to a reception in Boston with Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a possible secretary of defense in an Obama Cabinet, were offered for a bargain-basement $250 or $500.
Hurry up and book your luncheon now. Prices go up after November 4.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”