The Many Faces of Rand Paul

Honestly, I can’t keep up with this guy.

He wants next-to-no government, but does not approve of same-sex marriage.

See if you can reconcile the following, from Kentucky.com:

Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul told a group of Christian home schoolers in Kentucky on Friday that he favors a separation of church and state, saying allowing the government into religious institutions "scares" him.

Yet he does not approve of same-sex marriage. That means he does not approve of GOVERNMENT PERMITTING same-sex marriage. As a candidate for the United States Senate, that’s the only possible interpretation of that position.

The tea party favorite also voiced his opposition to government faith-based initiatives that have been used to funnel federal and state funds into religious organizations.

"The faith-based initiative was getting government involved in churches basically, and that scares me a little bit, because there are things that you can say in the church that we think are sinful, and that should be something we can say," the Bowling Green eye surgeon told about 300 people in the sanctuary of Valley View Church in suburban Louisville. "But the second this church starts taking government money, then they’re going to say you can’t say these things are sinful."

Paul, a Presbyterian layman, campaigned at a Christian Home Educators of Kentucky convention where he was peppered with questions about his religious beliefs, brushing aside one about the age of the earth that he later described as ridiculous.

"I’m not running for minister," Paul said later. "I’m more than willing to stand up and say I’m a Christian, but I don’t think I have to go into every detail of what my religious beliefs are. If I were going to be the minister of their church, they’d have a right to ask me that."

No, not running for minister, but apparently hung up on a few issues. He’s not running for minster, but

Andrew Willis of Elizabethtown, who teaches his four children at home, said he hoped Paul’s answer would jibe with his own belief that the earth is about 6,000 years old.

"I’m not at all surprised that he didn’t want to answer that question," Willis said shortly after posing it. "I know that is hugely controversial."

Yes, that’s because the earth is actually a little over 4.5 billion years old. No, that’s not a matter of opion, religious or otherwise. "That’s the way it is," as Walter Cronkite used to say.

But science apparently doesn’t win many votes in Kentucky.

Free Outdoor Shakespeare This Weekend in Park Forest

From the Illinois Theater Center:

The Illinois Theatre Center, with the sponsorship of the Village of Park Forest, will present William Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET for three free outdoor performances, June 25, 26 and 27 on the Village Green stage in Downtown Park Forest.

This classic tragedy of “starcrossed lovers” has been called “the world’s best loved play.” It is certainly one of Shakespeare’s most performed works. The lines spoken by the title characters are among the most exquisite words of love ever spoken. The play’s eternal popularity has inspired several film adaptations, as well as the serving as the basis for the hit Broadway musical and Oscar winning movie WEST SIDE STORY.

Featured in the ITC cast are Byron Mitchell, Jessica Wilson, Chandler Lowe, Christopher Underwood, Justin Longnecker, Tracy Shaw, Bria Shaw, Rebekah Haynes, Andrew Wlos, Kyle Brown, Joe Gaudio, John Bird, Colin Kirchner, Bradfield Donaldson, Matthew David, Albert Clark and Ernest Ray. The play is directed by Etel Billig with stage combat sequences directed by Ernest Ray.

Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 25, 26 &27 at 7:30 PM. The Village Green is located in the center of Downtown Park Forest, at Main Street and Cunningham Drive. Audiences are encouraged to come early and bring blankets and picnic supers. In the event of inclement weather, the performance will move indoors to the Illinois Theatre Center, directly adjacent to the Village Green. For more information, call 708-481-3510.

These performances are always awesome.

Hold Those Poll Numbers – Obama Produces Results, Not Theater

President Barack Obama

First, word from the latest CBS poll:

Most Americans do not believe President Obama has a clear plan to deal with the oil spill in the Gulf, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

Just 32 percent say Mr. Obama has a clear plan to deal with the oil leak, while 59 percent (including 64 percent of Gulf coast residents) say he does not.

The numbers are not much better among those who watched the president’s Oval Office speech on the spill last week, with 35 percent of that group saying he has a clear plan and 56 percent saying he does not.

The spill isn’t the only issue on which the president is seen as lacking a plan of action: Just 41 percent say Mr. Obama has a clear plan for developing new sources of energy, while 45 percent say he has no clear plan. And when it comes to creating jobs, just 34 percent say he has a clear plan; 54 percent say he does not.

A majority of Americans – 61 percent – says the president’s response to the oil spill was too slow. Just 31 percent say they have “a lot” of confidence in his ability to handle a crisis, though a majority has at least some confidence that he can do so. Since January, the percentage who says Mr. Obama has strong qualities of leadership has fallen from 70 percent to 62 percent.

Overall, 43 percent approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of the oil spill, while 47 percent disapprove.

I remember listening to Cokie Roberts speak at a luncheon of the Inland Press Association a few years ago. I was actually looking forward to her presentation. The 2008 Presidential Election was still before us, and I was hoping for some insider wisdom from one of America’s most popular journalists.

When she opened her mouth, she graced us with poll numbers, the absolute “latest ABC poll results.” She presented us a good 20 minutes of meaningless drivel, letting us in on which way the winds had most recently blown.

It was rather sad. Cokie tried to prognosticate, didn’t even try to elucidate.

I was critical of President Obama after his speech last Tuesday evening. I wrote that I did not feel reassured by what the President said. I thought he sounded weak, and concluded with higher expectations for the morrow:

At any rate, I hope the President shows more spark tomorrow when he meets with BP execs. behind closed doors. If BP’s royalty don’t emerge from their meeting with POTUS looking like they just had a “Come-to-Jesus” moment, well, shame on President Obama.

The next day came the big announcement:

President Barack Obama wrested a $20 billion compensation guarantee and an apology to the nation from British oil giant BP Wednesday, announcing the company would set up a major claims fund for shrimpers, restaurateurs and others whose lives and livelihoods are being wrecked by the oil flooding into the Gulf of Mexico.

Applause broke out during a community meeting in Orange Beach, Ala., on the news.

“We asked for that two weeks ago and they laughed at us,” Mayor Tony Kennon said. “Thank you, President Obama, for taking a bunch of rednecks’ suggestion and making it happen.”

That floored me. Yes, $20 billion might be pocket change for BP in the long run, but it’s quite a bit for the people suffering loss – financial and otherwise – from the oil spill. Some members of the GOBP, like good old Joe Barton, criticized the agreement, calling it a “shakedown” and worse. Yes, Barton later apologized for that “misconstrued misconstruction,” or whatever. Members of the far right shuddered that there was no “due process,” as if every wrong can only be made right in this country by lengthy and extremely costly litigation.

President Obama simply cut through the red tape. If BP wanted to, they could certainly, even now, seek remedy in the courts — but that isn’t likely.

The President has resisted doing theater as Commander in Chief. Those moments are for campaigns, perhaps. A $20 billion (so far) agreement between a private corporation responsible for the worst environmental disaster ever in the Unted States and the highest elected official representing the people of this country — that’s incredible.

Put away the poll numbers. The media wants theater at every turn.

“No-Drama Obama” gets results.

Mark Kirk Makes Like Bunny, Flees From Press

Illinois politics takes us down the rabbit hole once again.

From Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business:

The Democratic and Republican nominees for the U.S. Senate, Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk, gave their views on planning and environmental issues at a Metropolitan Planning Council lunch on Monday.

But the news was what happened afterward: Mr. Kirk literally ran out the hotel door rather than answer questions about a host of recent reports that he repeatedly has exaggerated his experience and credentials.

The Peter Cottontail moment happened at the downtown Hyatt Regency, where about 1,000 folks were on hand for MPC’s annual big do.

Mr. Giannoulias, on the way in, stopped for a couple of minutes to chat with reporters. He left quickly after speaking but had a good reason: a fundraiser with Vice-president Joe Biden. Lunch then was served.

Mr. Kirk arrived after lunch, coming in via a side door.

He spoke for about 20 minutes, than walked down from the dais to have his picture taken with MPC President MarySue Barrett.

As soon as that was done — with a swarm of TV cameras and reporters moving toward the front of the ballroom — Mr. Kirk bolted for a back door.

With media in hot pursuit, he raced through a Hyatt kitchen and into the back seat of a black SUV — I believe it was a Cadillac Escalade — which instantly peeled out.

I know what you’re thinking.  Crain’s Chicago Business is the fountain of liberalism in Chicago, much more so than Boy’s Town.

Not quite.

Running away like Peter Cottontail won’t cut it with liberals, moderates, or conservatives in Illinois.

More here.

Video: Jonas Brothers Trapped in and Elevator

Here you go: the terrifying, riveting video all Jonas Brothers fans have been waiting for. Yes, this heart-stopping moment is brought to you by AOL News.

No, this isn’t ‘Love in an Elevator.’ This is the Jonas Brothers, after all.

Enjoy these meaningless few minutes as you watch the brothers elude danger, certain death…, well, none of that, really. If you’re here, just enjoy.

Colorado Town of Black Hawk, Pop. 100, Bans Cyclists

From the world of, "You have got to be kidding!"

No, they’re not kidding. One hundred people in Black Hawk, Colorado, believe their village would be safer without bicicyles on the streets.

This one comes to us from across the pond:

A town in the US has banned cyclists on most of its streets, punishing anyone who gets caught with a $68 (£46) fine. Black Hawk in Colorado, which has a population of just above 100, is thought to be the first town in the US to make cycling illegal after a change in civic law.

The curious decree has been introduced for "health and safety" reasons, said administrators of the former goldmining town, which in the 1990s decided to develop gambling to prevent the place vanishing altogether.

Michael Copp, Black Hawk’s city manager, the equivalent of chief executive of a local council in the UK, admitted there had not been any accidents to prompt the ban, just concern over potential collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles on 19th-century streets that were designed for horses and carriages.

The town started enforcing the ban on 5 June, five months after it passed the law requiring cyclists to dismount and wheel their bikes through the town. So far eight tickets have been issued, said Copp.

Copp, who does not cycle himself, said the council passed the ordinance after the town experienced a surge in traffic – buses, delivery trucks, and motorists – following a law that increased the maximum betting limits from $5 to $100 once it chose gambling as its raison d’etre.

No accidents. And this gamble-happy hamlet apparently consulted no experts, no national studies. Just did away with two-wheelers.

Oy.

GLBT Movie Series Opens Saturday At The Park Forest Holiday Star

From ENEWSPF:

As part of its ongoing effort to provide entertainment for each of its members, The Holiday Star will begin showing the first in a series of gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgendered (GLBT) movies this Saturday night, June 19th at 7 p.m.

The feature “Were the World Mine,” a story of gay empowerment, inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Theater owner Kenny Yochelson says Park Forest is a unique community with a diverse group of people and cultures, "Our responsibility as an entertainment venue is to fulfill the needs of our community. What separates us from other theaters, is our ability to listen and react. The GLBT Movie Series is a direct reaction to the needs of an underserved GLBT community here in Park Forest and we’re happy to fill that void. We like to keep things constantly moving and fun. The patron’s needs aside, if it weren’t for our special events and the wonderful folks who attend…I’d get bored!"

Yochelson says costumes are welcome and encouraged.

Sounds like a blast.

Pres. Obama Comments on the BP Oil Spill Sounding Calm, Reasonable, Unclear, Weak

I did not feel reassured this evening as President Obama gave his first speech from the Oval Office. His topic, the BP oil spill, a crisis of incredible and ever-growing magnitude. His response, after 56 days of oil gushing into the Gulf and numerous flaccid responses from oil executives awash in ignorance?

Calm, cool and collected. Okay, I get that. This is “No drama Obama.” But I felt nothing from the President tonight. Worse yet, I’m unclear as to whether his administration has a plan for dealing with the oil spill. There was no call to arms, no rally cry. There were no specifics, no call to Congress, no fire in his belly at all.

It’s obvious that BP doesn’t have a clue, but it still appears that BP is in charge. Given the lack of care with which they approached the Deepwater Horizon project

Tonight, we did not hear the strong voice from the presidential campaign, full of promise and hope.

Enough. Below are some of the President’s thoughts from this evening, and some response.

Because there has never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That’s why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

Spare us any more chatter about Steven Chu’s Nobel Prize, Mr. President. While certainly laudable, and while I have no doubt he’s qualified for his Cabinet position, the prize was for past accomplishments. Unless the medal he won can be used to plug the leak in the Gulf, forget about it.

As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that’s expected to stop the leak completely.

What exactly does that mean? What exactly were your directives to BP, Mr. President? Does this mean, up to this point, BP was not doing all it could? Is it possible BP is cutting corners again?

Tonight I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we’re doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.

First, the cleanup. From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation’s history — an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost 40 years of experience responding to disasters. We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and clean up the oil. Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I’ve authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, they’re ready to help clean the beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims — and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming and other collection methods. Over five and a half million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil. We’ve approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try to stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we’re working with Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.

As the cleanup continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need. Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.

But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife. And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

These are more specific, but they weren’t delivered with much confidence, and his later drift to talking about a new energy policy — well, we get that. That’s old news. Now is not the time to lobby. We need to clean up this mess, resisting every GOP urge (John Boehner) to give BP a pass.

Perhaps he was simply tired Tuesday night.  At any rate, I hope the President shows more spark tomorrow when he meets with BP execs. behind closed doors. If BP’s royalty don’t emerge from their meeting with POTUS looking like they just had a “Come-to-Jesus” moment, well, shame on President Obama.

Remarks by President Obama to the Nation on the BP Oil Spill, June 15, 2010 (Video/Text)

Washington, D.C.–June 15, 2010 – 8:01 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.

Because there has never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That’s why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that’s expected to stop the leak completely.

Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it’s not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.

But make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.

Tonight I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we’re doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.

First, the cleanup. From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation’s history — an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost 40 years of experience responding to disasters. We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and clean up the oil. Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I’ve authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, they’re ready to help clean the beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims — and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming and other collection methods. Over five and a half million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil. We’ve approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try to stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we’re working with Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.

As the cleanup continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need. Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.

But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife. And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

You know, for generations, men and women who call this region home have made their living from the water. That living is now in jeopardy. I’ve talked to shrimpers and fishermen who don’t know how they’re going to support their families this year. I’ve seen empty docks and restaurants with fewer customers -– even in areas where the beaches are not yet affected. I’ve talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists might start coming back. The sadness and the anger they feel is not just about the money they’ve lost. It’s about a wrenching anxiety that their way of life may be lost.

I refuse to let that happen. Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party.

Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that’s already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats. And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That’s why we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.

I make that commitment tonight. Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, who is also a former governor of Mississippi and a son of the Gulf Coast, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region.

The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again. A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe –- that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.

That obviously was not the case in the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why. The American people deserve to know why. The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion — these families deserve to know why. And so I’ve established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place. Already, I’ve issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue. And while I urge the Commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.

One place we’ve already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility — a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.

When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency. But it’s now clear that the problem there ran much deeper, and the pace of reform was just too slow. And so Secretary Salazar and I are bringing in new leadership at the agency — Michael Bromwich, who was a tough federal prosecutor and Inspector General. And his charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry’s watchdog — not its partner.

So one of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked — not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation –- workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.
When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill –- a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.

Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And there are some who believe that we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy -– because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.

So I’m happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party -– as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development -– and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

All of these approaches have merit, and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet. You know, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon. And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is the capacity to shape our destiny -– our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how we’re going to get there. We know we’ll get there.

It’s a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now.

Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea -– some for weeks at a time.
The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago –- at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.

And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always,” a blessing that’s granted “even in the midst of the storm.”

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through -– what has always seen us through –- is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.

Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

END
8:18 P.M. EDT

Source: whitehouse.gov