Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Senator Obama Pal Bill Ayers 'Just Neighborhood Guy' - Like Ken Hansen.

If domestic terrorist Billy Ayers can be equated to Senator Tom Coburn, does it follow that Billy Ayers can be equated to child murderer and Helen Brach conspirator Ken Hansen? University of Chicago Professor Cass Sunstein poses the root neighborhood gambit - we meet all kinds in our neighborhoods.

The New Republic gave University of Chicago's Cass Sunstein an opportunity to talk about Billy Ayers, domestic terrorist and UICC tenured professor of Education, as a neighborhood guy. The neighborhood is Hyde Park, nestled along the strip of land detailed and designed with parks and the fabulous Midway by Daniel Burnham and home to Rockefeller largess planted University of Chicago - where intellectual nativism the American Protective Association flourished at the start of the last century. Academic Arcadia. Mors -et in Arcadia ego!

Doc Sunstein has this to say about the neighborhood bomber and Senator Obama's relationship:

Ayers is one of numerous people, in the Chicago area, whom Barack Obama has run across. Obama has much closer relationships with numerous conservatives on the University of Chicago faculty, many of whom have given money to Obama's campaign, and many of whom have talked to him at length and been at social occasions with him.

I know for a fact that Obama has actually played basketball with Richard Epstein, a libertarian on the law school faculty who has written some pretty controversial things on property rights and government regulation. I also know that Obama has had a number of conversations with former law school dean Daniel Fischel, a Reagan Republican who has written some pretty controversial things on corporations and government regulation.

True, Ayers apparently had a small party for Obama back in 1995; true, Ayers gave some small sum of money to one of Obama's campaigns; and true, Ayers and Obama simultaneously served, for a time, on a board of a local organization, the Woods Fund, which helps disadvantaged children. But there was nothing even vaguely like a close relationship between them; and it would be easy to identify countless people, since 1995, with whom Obama has had much closer associations.

Now, Let's say that an ambitious young politician from Mount Greenwood neighborhood in Chicago, made a bid for the Illinois Senate in the early 1990's and was invited to a meet and greet at the home of . . . let's say Ken Hansen*. Impressed the aging and reclusive man and accepted a $200 campaign contribution; later, served on a Mount Greenwood Park Board with Old Ken and had his picture taken with Old Ken and learned that Ken was friendly with the horsey set up in Gurnee - fabulous Jayne Brothers e. g.. Old Ken went underground, but, unlike Billy Ayers, didn't have friends in Philanthropy or Academia.

Oh, I suppose that some folks might have raised an eyebrow or two. That might have been the subject of a series of news accounts: unless, of course, Ken Hansen had been named a Distinguished Professor of Pop Culture at some Hansen Endowed University.

I wonder how many Nazi rocket scientists who helped Werner Von Braun develop the Buzz Bombs and V-2s that dropped on London got comfortable and neighborly in an insulated Academic 'Hood? Or do they call them NeighborCowls over there?

In the summer of 1994, Mr. Hansen sensed the investigation was closing in on him, Mr. Rotunno said.

“He was asking a neighbor, ‘Are there any police around watching my house?’ ” recalled Mr. Rotunno, adding that Mr. Hansen had even packed a suitcase to leave town when Mr. Grady arrested him in August of that year.

He was arrested on an arson charge in a 1972 fire at a suburban Chicago stable and charged later the same day with killing the boys.

During Mr. Hansen’s trial, prosecutors contended that the three boys were hitchhiking when they were picked up by Mr. Hansen, 22 at the time, who took them to the stable where he worked. They said he sexually abused at least one of them and strangled them all.

Mr. Hansen was convicted in 1995, but the Illinois Appellate Court overturned the conviction five years later after determining that the jury should not have heard evidence that Mr. Hansen had cruised the streets, picking up boys for sexual relations.

Mr. Hansen went on trial again in 2002 and, after deliberating a little more than two hours, a jury found him guilty again. Mr. Hansen was sentenced to 200 to 300 years in prison.

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