OPINION

Nepotism, carbon neutrality, Stone Mountain

Lloyd Omdahl
Local Columnist

Though President wasn’t involved in the nepotism of his leading administrators, newspaper headlines looked very incriminating. Under the circumstances, he should be reminded of previous innocent presidents whose administrations went down in history because of corrupt friends.

General Grant’s friends produced the Whiskey Ring in which 100 were convicted of bribery, the Indian Ring in which the secretary of war took bribes, Black Friday in which brothers-in-law rigged the price of gold, and Credit Mobilier that bilked the government and United Pacific of millions.

 President Warren Harding brought with him the Ohio Gang that managed a number of scandals, in addition to the Tea Pot Dome leasing of reserves to oil tycoons by the secretary of the interior.

In his defense, Harding said that he was glad he wasn’t a woman because he just couldn’t say “no”.

According to Walter Shaub, the government ethics guy 2013-2017 observed that the Biden situation “... may not be as bad as appointing your son or daughter to a top government post as Trump did with Jared and Ivanka, it is still bad. ‘Not as bad as trump’ cannot be a new standard.”

Carbon Neutral by 2030?

Adam Willis, writing in the Fargo News Service, has pointed out that ”the state energy sector has recently registered the second most carbon dioxide emissions per capita.”

When Governor Doug Burgum said that North Dakota would slash carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2030, it became the most ambition goal for any state – and that only eight years from today.

The goal will be reached through “innovation, not regulation.”  The goal is hanging on a two-pronged paradigm: expanding renewable energy and capturing carbon dioxide.

In the legislature and some counties, the temperature for renewable energy sources has been cool, with all of the disposable dollars going to subsidize the coal industry. The legislative mind will need reorientation – quickly with only three legislative sessions to go.

Carbon capture ventures have attracted $1.5 billion in a crash effort to find a method for capturing and rechanneling carbon. Anybody who has been tracking the carbon problem knows that the state and its research agencies have been looking without success for over 50 years.

As for a voluntary program, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford has already had to convince North Dakota companies that the goal will not interfere with their current business. There will be resistance.

The Art on Stone Mountain

Carved on Stone Mountain in Georgia is a magnificent sculpture of General Robert E. Lee and his associates started by Gutzon Borglum of Mt. Rushmore fame in 1924 and completed by Roy Faulkner in 1972. It is 42 feet into the mountain, nine stories high and 190 feet wide, all 400 feet above ground.

Unfortunately, its magnificence is tainted by its relationship to the KKK, the organization of white supremacists that drew much of its inspiration from meetings on the mountain. Klan members were active in monument fundraising.

KKKs patronage of the sculpture is probably enough to condemn it along with statues of prominent confederate military heroes.

While the majesty of the art may not be enough to save it from its evil beginning, plans to destroy it should be tempered with some serious questions about destroying an important part of our history.  How far are we going to go?

Beyond the statues and artifacts are Southern songs, paintings, poetry, books and other creative works. How far do we go in snuffing the Confederacy out of our history?  Who will decide where and when the red line will be drawn.

Lest these comments be misinterpreted, I believe our debt to African-Americans is immense. They are entitled to reparations through free education for any field they choose.  They have every right to be angry, but moderation may be advisable in these testy times.