Sunday, April 30, 2006

News you probably missed: Lithuania may send troops to Afghanistan

Since my wife is a native of Latvia, I try to check in at the Baltic Times web site. This evening I found a very interesting story that's gone unnoticed. The little nation of Lithuania might be sending troops to Afghanistan.

From that publication:

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, says he would not hesitate to send servicemen of the Lithuanian Special Operations Force to a future counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan, (Baltic News Service) reported.

"We will without a doubt meet international commitments of our armed forces," Adamkus told journalists on April 27.

A squadron of the Lithuanian Special Operations Force might be sent to the US-led anti-terrorist operation Enduring Freedom in eastern Afghanistan in the second half of this year. Lithuanian commandos already participated in the operation in 2002-2004.

"We live in times when terrorism may emerge any day in any place, and preparations are timely. Judging from assessments that I have heard, special units have been prepared perfectly," Adamkus said. "Coordination with other countries is necessary, and results are good," he added.

If Lithuania's president announced he was pulling troops out of Afghanistan, surely the mainstream media would have taken interest in that story.

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The word on tomorrow's immigration rally in Chicago: US flags only

Immigrant rights groups and the open borders crowd must be cruising the blogs, because as least in regards to the Chicago rally on Monday, the word has been put forward. Old Glory should be the only flag waved.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Freedom Folks' man in Washington, had this to say:

A journey in which we're going to make sure we help them learn English, learn civics class, in which they are all given an American flag today, because this is the country they want to belong to.

Turnout for the Chicago rally may be lighter than the organizers are hoping for tomorrow. It's been raining almost constantly here since yesterday evening, and it's supposed to rain all day Monday.

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Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review #1 audio blog

As of 11:23AM on April 29, PJM’s Blog Week in Review is #1 on the Audio Blogs chart on iTunes!

What are you waiting for? Download and get your free weekly subcription now.

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Economist John Kenneth Galbraith dies

Influential author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith died yesterday at the age of 97.

He wrote a whole bunch of books, I read excerpts from them in college in some of my economics classes.

His politics were liberal, Galbraith was a very early opponent of the Vietnam War.

However, politics aside, he was a very close friend of William F. Buckley.

Buckley wrote about his friendship with Galbraith in his "literal autobiography," Miles Gone By:

He consistently writes pleasant tributes to my own books, inevitably advising the reader that my political opinions should be ignored, my fiction or accounts of life at sea appreciated.

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Nationwide immigration rallies tomorrow

Pajamas Media bloggers will be in Los Angeles covering the big immigrants, or should I say, illegal immigrants rally there on Monday.

There will be similar rallies in cities all across the United States on Monday, May 1.

Closer to home, for me, in Chicago, the Second City rally will kick off Monday morning just west of the Loop, and the demonstrators will march two miles to Grant Park.

Traffic tip: Don't even think of driving a car anywhere near this area midday Monday. If you live in another city, check to see if there's a rally in your burg.

You've been warned.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

I'm back from Irshad Manji's presentation

Light blogging today? Yes. Two reasons. One, I had to attend an all-day meeting at my workplace. The second? I attended a presentation this evening by author Irshad Manji, aka the Muslim Refusenik, at a synagogue in Northfield, Illinois, about 10 miles from my home.

It was a fascinating lecture--Ms. Manji is an exellent speaker with a lot to say that needs to be said.

Next week I'll have a longer post about the event. And yes, Kathleen Parker, some bloggers do their own reporting.

During the question and answer session, I asked her if she was familar with the Thomas Klocek case at DePaul University. She wasn't, but she responded that the atmosphere within academia is filled with fear on the subject of non-Muslims trying to discuss issues within Islam.

Quite true.

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Chief Illiniwek's last dance?

My alma mater, the University of Illinois, may have be saying good bye to its mascot, Chief Illiniwek. The forces of political-correctness may have finally prevailed over 80 years of tradition.

AP has more:

The NCAA's executive committee on Friday rejected an appeal by the University of Illinois to continue using its Chief Illiniwek athletic mascot but removed Bradley from a list of schools with imagery the organization deems "hostile" and "abusive."

The ruling means Illinois will not be allowed to host NCAA championship events unless the school drops its long-debated Indian mascot, a fixture at the Urbana-Champaign campus since 1926. School officials criticized the ruling and said they would explore what to do next.

On the positive side, Peoria's Bradley University will be able keep their "Braves" nickname.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

New Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review podcast is up

Last week the first Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review came out. This week's edition is available here on the Pajamas web site.

Oh, the podcast is free!

I just got finished listening. High gasoline prices is the first topic of discussion, and the panelists agree that the partisan posturing over symbolic gestures is doing nothing to lower gas prices.

Tammy Bruce gets in the best line about high energy costs; she decries the "Jimmy Carter requirement being the answer... of putting on a sweater and putting up a solar panel."

Iraq, Iran, Tony Snow's new job, and the new film Flight 93 are also talked about in week two's show.

Austin Bay moderates: Michael Ledeen (filling in for Glenn Reynolds), and Eric Umansky are the other panelists. And Ed Driscoll is at the control board again. Ed sacrificed his own blogging time to get the podcast ready.

Did I mention the podcast is free?

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Web server Hosting Matters under attack

I saw Little Green Footballs' story on the Pajamas site earlier today. It appears the web server Hosting Matters is under attack by hackers from Saudi Arabia. The first wave came this afternoon, and there appears to be a second assault this evening.

What they've apparently succeeded with is a denial of service attack.

Powerline and Captain's Quarters have been afflicted, according to LGF. I noticed that Instapundit is down, and Wizbang is reporting the Hugh Hewitt site is off line.

Saudi Arabia. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

UPDATE 9:05PM CDT: For now, at least, the sites are back up.

UPDATE 11:15PM CDT: Ed Driscoll's site is down. I've been trying to access it for 15 minutes.

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Vandals continue to hit military recruiting offices

Michelle Malkin has been doing a superb job keeping up (not an easy task) with the recent upswing in vandalism by Leftists at military recruiting centers.

There have been three moonbat attacks this week: The University of California-Santa Cruz, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the latest, at the University of Minnesota.

Click here and keep scrolling down.

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News from Centcom: What extremists say

Sgt. Garth Gehlen of US Central Command e-mailed me the that a translation of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's recent video tape message to his followers, both real and imagined, is up on the Centcom site.

It's the usual type of demented verbage that his mentor, Osama bin Laden, has spews out. A sample:

To the American administration, and at its head the Crusader Bush, and those who surround him from the Jews, the Crusaders, the rejectionists, the apostates and others, we say you will not lead a life of ease in the land of Islam. By God, you will not enjoy your life for as long we still have a beating vein and a blinking eye.

Notice he says a blinking eye, not blinking eyes. Is this a coded message to the world's most famous one-eyed Taliban, Mullah Omar?

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Sharon Stone to speak at Cong. Jan Schakowsky's Ultimate Women's Power Lunch

The event starts in about 30 minutes. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill, is one of Congress' most liberal members. Sharon Stone is the guest speaker for this year's women's power lunch. Last year Jane Fonda had the honor.

Schakowsky is Marathon Pundit's rep in Washington.

No word on if her recently convicted check-kiting husband Robert Creamer will be in attendance.

Wow man, Lollapalooza organizers give out rolling papers at press conference

Reporters attending a Lollapalooza press conference yesterday were offered rolling papers promoting the alternative music festival. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The event took place on Chicago Park District property. Earlier this year, Chicago passed a stringent anti-smoking ordinance.

I suppose a few people out there still roll their own cigarettes, but of course, rolling papers are made--and marketed--to marijuana smokers.

Charlie Jones is Lollapalooza's producer, and as the Sun-Times points out, Charlie didn't know what the fuss was about when a reporter questioned the appropriateness of the freebie-doobie papers.

Is there something wrong with them?

Then he cleaned the cobwebs out of his brain:

Later, Jones phoned the Chicago Sun-Times with a mea culpa, calling the rolling papers "a horrible mistake.''

"It's not the way we want to be represented,'' said Jones, adding that the papers were created as "a joke." Lollapalooza is "very family friendly. . . . This is not what we're about.''

Well, now that he explained things, I'm bringing my nine year-old to Lollapaloooza.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Huge wind farm coming to Scotland, Kennedy works to block one in Massachusetts

The largest on-land wind farm in Europe will soon be built in Scotland. The development will be near Glasgow, and once completed, it will supply Scots with 2 percent of their power needs. At a time of soaring energy costs, every little bit helps.

West of Scotland, in Nantucket Sound off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a similar sized offshore wind farm has been proposed for several years.

And in a classic case of liberal two-faceness, Senator Teddy Kennedy and his protect-the-environment family opposes it.

Here is a passage from Peter Schweizer's Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy:

But from the moment the Kennedy family got wind of these plans (so to speak), they came out in strong opposition. Their complaint: The wind turbines would be built in Nantucket Sound, about six miles off the coast from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis. The problem was not aesthetic; the Kennedys wouldn't be able to actually see the turbines from their home. Instead Robert Kennedy Jr., who had been beating the drum for alternative sources of energy for more than a decade, complained the project would be built in one of the family's favorite sailing and yachting areas. (My note: You can't make this stuff up!) The Kennedys were quickly joined by other affluent environmentalists with homes in the area, including newscaster Walter Cronkite and historian David McCollough, and the media war began.

Cronkite, as Schweizer points out a couple of paragraphs later, switched his position to "neutral." The sting of being called a hypocrite got to the man who was once called "the most trusted man in America."

Kennedy, as the Boston Globe reported today, is apparently losing the battle over his beloved patch of blue yachting water, so he's resorting to back room wheeling-and-dealing with Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens to stop the Nantucket Sound wind farm.

It must be a great place for yachting. If I ever get a yacht, I'm taking it to Nantucket Sound.

But it's also an ideal place for a wind farm, and as Mr. Spock so eloquently phrased it in the second Star Trek movie, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Even if they are Kennedys." Okay, I made up that last sentence, but you get my point, I hope.

Yeah, there's some griping in Scotland about their wind farm, but it's going to be built. Here's what one Scottish official said about the project:

(It) is the largest single onshore wind farm to be consented in Europe and is a significant milestone towards achieving our renewable energy and climate change targets. We are strongly committed to the continued development of a diverse renewable energy portfolio in this country." - Allan Wilson, Deputy Enterprise Minister.

Glenn Reynolds over at Intapundit has more on the Cape Cod wind farm project.

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Welcome Pajamas Media readers

The Air America post is below. Michelle Malkin has more, including an Air America summary on her site.

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Air America losing NYC flagship station

Maybe this is why Al Franken moved to Minnesota. Did he know he was going to lose his Manhattan studio?

New York of course is a very liberal town, and Air America has never enjoyed good ratings there. But as Media Week reports, Air America's New York ratings may soon register as a "zero," because its flagship station, WLIB, is pulling the plug on the liberal talk network.

Air America Radio will lose its New York flagship station, WLIB-AM, on Aug. 31. While the left-leaning radio network’s original lease for the Inner City station ran out March 31, AAR managed to get an extension which only lasts until Aug. 31, according to an informed source.

Through an agreement with ICBC, WLIB will be operated as a joint venture and programmed by P1, a company run by former Clear Channel and Jacor Communications executive Randy Michaels. Michaels is expected to program a progressive-talk format, but replace AAR’s network programming with more local programming. A likely addition to the new lineup: Ed Schultz, the left-of-center talker syndicated by P1.

“To be clear, Air America will not go silent on the New York City airwaves. We do not, however, comment on hypothetical speculation,” said an AAR spokesperson.

If you're in New York's Grand Central Station beginning in September, look for some screaming nuts with a portable sound system. That may end up being New York's Air America outlet.

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On Holocaust Remembrance Day in Illinois, media remembers Nation of Islam member on state hate crimes panel

Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Flashback to last summer: Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed Sister Claudette Muhammad, the minister of protocol for Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, to the Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

Her membership in the group only became widely known when she invited her fellow panel members to Louis Farrakhan's annual "Saviour's Day" speech in February.

Calypso Louie was in top-form that day, as this snippet from that speech shows:

"These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral's the wicked Jews, the false Jews that are promoting Lesbianism, homosexuality. It's wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!

Blagojevich, a Democrat, refuses to fire Sister Muhammad, and the minister of protocol refuses to quit. Five Jewish members of the hate crimes panel did resign from the panel to protest Muhammad's presence on it.

Outside the commission, besides Jews, gays have expressed outrage over the Nation of Islam member being on that panel

Blagojevich was in Springfield yesterday (a story in itself, Blago refuses to live in the governor's mansion, preferring his Northwest Side Chicago home), for a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony. And reporters hammered Blagojevich over the hate crimes panel controversy. Blagojevich answered in predictable Blago fashion.

From the Springfield State Journal-Register:

"We're making real progress there, and we're just going to keep doing that," he said. "It's working well, and it's been sort of below the radar screen, and I think, frankly, that's probably the right way to do it as some of the wounds from what happened before heal."

Although Muhammad has remained on the commission, Blagojevich said it's important to condemn Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments.

"There were maybe some voices in the hate crimes commission who should have stepped up and done that," Blagojevich said.

Hey Gov, uh, some did that--then they quit.

As far as I know, there are two gays on the panel, Rick Garcia and Larry McKeon.

I believe State Senator Carol Ronen of Chicago is the only Jewish member left on the panel. As far as can gather, she's on the committee for the long haul--if she leaves, then the panel could be Judenrein, that is, free of Jews.

Oh, click on Carol's link, you'll notice a rainbow flag in the background.

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Forgotten fact about Todd Beamer of Flight 93

Although it's a struggle to find any university recognition of it, Todd Beamer, the passenger on doomed Flight 93 who yelled out the call, "Let's roll," was a DePaul University alumnus.

DePaul paid Ward Churchill, who called the World Trade Center victims "Little Eichmanns," an estimated $5,000 to speak there last fall.

DePaul's complete acknoledgement of Beamer's sacrifice, as far as I know, consisted of his picture being placed in a 2002 DePaul graduation program.

Strange priorities at DePaul.

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Blogaholics Anonymous may be coming

Of course, a person can spend too much time online and too much time reading blogs. (Marathon Pundit being an exception, of course.)

Catherine Ellsworth in the Daily Telegraph writes on this probably-soon-to-be-on-Oprah affliction.

Some of my friends with self-diagnosed "blog issues" worry they devour too many "bad" and not enough "good" blogs and put themselves on corrective (ie "celebrity-free") diets to weed out the junk. Others fear they spend too much time reading blogs full stop and try to work somewhere without internet connection, though this can prove counterproductive when so much of modern work requires access to email and the web.

According to health professionals, there is such as thing as too much blog time. Speaking to experts recently about so-called internet addiction, it was interesting to hear "onlineaholism" described as being as dangerous as drug dependency or alcoholism. Many net addicts were risking their health, careers and relationships, experts such as Dr Hilarie Cash, founder of Internet/Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, Washington, told me.

And as James Thurber once wrote, yes, you could look it up. There really is such a thing as Internet/Computer Addiction Services.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Milwaukee Dem tire slashers get jail time

On election day morning, November 2, 2004, Milwaukee Republicans discovered slashed tires on the vans they had rented for that days get-out-the-vote drive.

Coincidence? No!

From AP, hat tip to Michelle Malkin:

Four Democratic presidential campaign workers were sentenced to jail time ranging from four months to six months Wednesday for puncturing the tires of Republican vehicles on Election Day 2004.

The men had pleaded no contest in January to misdemeanor property damage. A fifth worker was found not guilty.

Those who pleaded no contest were Sowande A. Omokunde, the son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee; Michael Pratt, the son of former acting Milwaukee Mayor Marvin Pratt; and Lewis Caldwell and Lavelle Mohammad, both from Milwaukee.

They originally were charged with felony property damage but accepted plea deals on the lesser charge.

Malkin of course is the author of the book, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, , which documents cases like these about the peace-loving Democrats going overboard in pursuit of their goals. Winning elections would achieve that end, of course, something the Democratic Party has been having trouble achieving lately.

If you missed it, here is a post of mine from last night that fits the theme, Convicted vote thief joined by top local Dems at his pre-prison going away party. Michelle Malkin was not one of the guests.

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A second attempt at a Whorehouse Days festival in Minnesota

Clinton Township, Minnesota is an obscure place located in Minnesota's Iron Range. It has a chance to lose the obscurity label--all it has to do is host the Whorehouse Days Festival this summer.

But don't count on it.

From AP:

Another Iron Range town has answered with a chorus of nays against Whorehouse Days -- a festival that would hark back to the area's Prohibition and prostitution past.

Organizer Darcie Novak had hoped to hold the event in Clinton Township, Minn., but ran into opposition last week at the Clinton Town Board meeting. Last year, Novak and others sought to hold Whorehouse Days in Gilbert, Minn., but the proposal was quashed by opponents.

Doris Abramson of Zim feels the festival would be offensive to women. "Why they are trivializing something that was so harsh and brutal for many women. It's not something to be taken lightly," she said.

Novak, of Clinton Township, passed out a flyer at the meeting describing the festival as a "chance for grownups to get dressed up in flapper dresses and gangster hats" and experience bed races, the world's longest bar and a madame contest.

If the festival organizers manage to get approval for Whorehouse Days, it'll be held August 18-19.

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"Muslim-Refusenik" coming to a synagogue near me

Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith,, will be speaking at the Temple Jeremiah synagogue in Northfield, Illinois this Saturday evening. More details here.

The event is open to the public and free. It starts at 8pm. I'm planning to be there.

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Autonomist Blog: Why the anti-war movement is failing

Rocco DiPippo over at the Autonomist Blog has a great post up about the anti-war movement. Here is a tasty morsel:

Hardly an antiwar rally is held that does not feature a smorgasbord of radical-Left and Communist speakers praising dictators like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez while comparing Bush to Hitler and America to an oppressive, unjust gulag. The only people who appreciate those views are brainwashed college students, failed '60s "revolutionaries" and terminally miserable people desperately looking for purpose -- any purpose -- in life.

Well phrased.

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Funeral protest bill passed by Ill. legislature, gov to sign it into law

The Let Them Rest in Peace Act will soon be law.

What is the Let Them Rest in Peace Act?

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The state Legislature sent a message Tuesday to a fundamentalist Kansas church fond of picketing soldiers' funerals: Don't come to Illinois.

The House unanimously approved the Let them Rest in Peace bill prohibiting loud and disruptive protests within 200 feet of a funeral.

"Every funeral should be conducted with reverence," said Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who spearheaded the initiative.

The legislation is aimed at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. Members have disrupted Illinois military funerals with signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers."

Governor Rod Blagojevich says he will sign the bill into law.

The Sun-Times article is a little misleading; Phelps and his whackos travel the length of the country to protest soldiers' funerals.

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Blogroll addition: Reverse Spin

I add sites to my blogroll all the time, but this one is special.

My good friend Dan Curry recently started a blog, Reverse Spin. Dan's a political consultant who has worked for several well-known Illinois political figures. He's still in the game, so you may see his name pop up here and there. He's a former reporter, and possesses a brilliant political mind and a near photographic memory.

Dan helped me out immeasurably in 2004 as I worked to expose John Kerry's Boston Marathon lie for my predecessor site, Blue States for Bush.

Reverse Spin's been operating for about a month; Dan wanted to do a "soft opening" as he got his feet wet in the blogging world.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sen. Burns hires a lawyer

Republican Conrad Burns of Montana earlier this year looked like a shoe-in for re-election this fall. A Republican in a red state with already one Democratic senator in Max Baucus, well, the guy can't lose, right?

Wrong. Mr. Burns is deeply entangled in the Jack Abramoff scandal, which is not "excellent" for the three term senator.

From AP:

Montana Sen. Conrad Burns has retained a lawyer who specializes in white-collar crime and congressional investigations, his campaign confirmed Tuesday.

Campaign spokesman Jason Klindt said Burns has hired Ralph Caccia, a Washington partner with the law firm Powell Goldstein.

Montana Democrats have played up Burns links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty as part of a federal corruption investigation earlier this year. Abramoff is cooperating with prosecutors investigating influence-peddling on Capitol Hill.

Burns received about $150,000 in campaign donations from Abramoff and his associates, which he has since donated or returned. In March, Abramoff told Vanity Fair magazine that his lobbying firm got "every appropriation we wanted" from Burns' Senate committee, adding that his staff members were "as close as they could be" with the Montana Republican's staff.

Burns' Democratic opponent hasn't even been chosen, but the longtime Montana senator is vulnerable.

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Convicted vote thief joined by top local Dems at his pre-prison going away party

"Having been there -- I repeat, having been there -- I do not wish jail for any person." Former Ill. Governor Dan Walker, discussing last week's conviction of George Ryan.

Earlier this month, as Cal Skinner reminded me, there was a pre-prison going away party for ex-East St. Louis Democratic Chairman Charlie Powell. By no means am I claiming Powell is completely naive about what occurs in prison, but having such a party, and worse, the growing tolerance of corruption in Illinois, is troubling. The event was billed as a birthday party, but since Powell will be in the "house with many doors" when his birthday rolls around, the party-organizers put together a "two-fer" celebration.

Last week, Powell began serving his 21 month sentence in federal prison for his role in a vote buying scandal.

From the Belleville News-Democrat last week:

St. Clair County Circuit Judges John Baricevic and Milton Wharton attended on the evening of April 7 at Club Illusion in East St. Louis as did Associate Judge Laninya Cason and an estimated 250 other party-goers.

They had come to wish a happy birthday to a politician who, even after being convicted of vote fraud, was able to influence county politics. St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and his wife, Erin, also were at the party as was Assessor Gordon Bush and prominent Belleville attorney Bruce Cook, who defended Powell during his June trial for conspiracy to commit vote fraud.

Wharton said that while he was not a friend of Powell's, he attended the celebration because Powell "has done significant things for the community." Wharton mentioned neighborhood improvement projects and Powell's boarding house for destitute men.

Powell is living at a different kind of boarding house now.

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Moron on Cong. Bobby Rush--Christian minister voted against House Christmas resolution

I almost forgot about this one. Congressman Bobby Rush (see previous post), is an ordained minister. But that didn't override his moonbattiness.

From NewsMax last December:

On December 15 the House of Representatives passed a resolution "protecting the symbols and traditions of Christmas" by an overwhelming 401-22 vote.

Representative JoAnn Davis (R-VA), the resolution's sponsor, said the resolution was necessary to counter "political correctness run amok."

"No one," she said, "should feel like they have done something wrong by wishing someone a Merry Christmas."

Twenty-two Democrats played Scrooge and disagreed.

Including Illinois' Bobby Rush.

This can't be good...Sudanese president in Iran

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the president of thug-state Sudan, arrived in Tehran earlier today for "talks with high-ranking Iranian officials," the Tehran Times is reporting.

More from the same article:

Al-Bashir’s visit to Tehran indicates the significance both Iran and Sudan attach to solving the problems of the Islamic world.

It gets worse...

Although the United States and Britain have attempted to exaggerate the Darfur crisis, the problem can be managed through humanitarian efforts, without the interference of Western powers.

The Sudanese government has spared no effort to solve the Darfur crisis, but the European Union and the U.S. have exacerbated the regional crisis through their illogical interference.

Earlier this year, FrontPage Magazine's Frederick W. Stakelbeck wrote about the emerging Iran-Cuba Axis.

This Christian Science Monitor article from February discusses the growing coziness between Venezuela and Iran.

Did someone say Belarus?

Last week there was an article, Belarusian leader Lukashenko wants to boost trade with Iran, that appeared in the Russian News and Information Agency site.

An excerpt:

The president of Belarus said Friday the former Soviet republic was seeking to expand trade ties with Iran, while Tehran said the two countries had much in common in many areas.

Iran seems to be gathering its friends. Kind of like what Jimmy Neutron's nemesis, King Goobot, did when he formed The League of Villains.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Ill. state legislator pushing for an impeach Bush resolution

State Rep. Karen Yarbrough of Maywood, Illinois, has too much time on her hands. Clearly she's not willing to fix a state budget that for years has been held together by tape and strings, Yarbrough thinks the Ill. State Legislature should start the process of impeaching President Bush.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

To support her legislation, Yarbrough is relying on a provision from Jefferson's Manual, a procedural handbook written by Thomas Jefferson as a supplement to U.S. House rules.

Jefferson wrote that there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion, including "charges transmitted from the legislature of a State."

Jefferson wrote a lot of stuff. Maybe too much, because his writings have inspired French Revolutionaries, as well as (link not safe for work) Neo-Nazis.

Jefferson was in France when the constitution was written, and his "Jefferson's Manual" isn't in the US constitution.

More from the Sun-Times:

It would be the first state legislature to pass such a resolution, though the measure faces a dim future in a Republican-controlled Congress.

"This is absolutely ridiculous," said John McGovern, a spokesman for U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Only the U.S. House can formally initiate impeachment proceedings.

I did some research on Rep. Karen Yarbrough. According to her statehouse biography, she has an M.A. degree from Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Inner City Sudies. The center is a moonbat's heaven: Its director is Conrad Worrill, a longtime slavery reparations proponent and racebaiter. The last link is courtesy of the Nation of Islam's "The Final Call."

As for this Illinois impeachment resolution, well, consider the source of it. Then laugh.

UPDATE: April 26, 10:34pm CDT Pat over at Brainster has his take on this silly caper in Illinois. He goes over some of the legal technicalities of Yarbrough's maneuver.

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A trillium from a light blogging day

My hectic morning turned into a hectic day, hence the paucity of posts. On the way home from work, I took this photo, once again from my Motorola V3 RAZR phone, at Harms Woods in Skokie, Illinois.

The flower is a trillium. Everything in trillium comes in threes. Three petals upon three sepals upon three leaves, hence the "tri" in trillium.

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Name that highway--for a price

For the last fifteen years, corporations have been allowed--for hefty fees--to name sports stadiums after themselves. In Chicago, the perpetually money-losing Chicago Skyway, which connects Chicago's South Side with the Indiana Tollway, is a highway in search of a naming sponsor.

Chicago has the United (as in United Airlines) Center, the Allstate Arena, and US Cellular Field.

Soon the Skyway may have a similar appellation. The road is a tollway, so namers, be prepared for hate mail.

More details on this story are available from the Chicago Tribune, free registration required.

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Daniel Pipes on Bill Hobbs and Belmont University

The post below this one has more information on the the Bill Hobbs sitution in regards to his former employer, Belmont University.

Here is a Daniel Pipes article from FrontPage Magazine.

Who would have thought that Belmont University of Nashville, Tennessee, would apply the Islamic law to its staff? But just that happened earlier this month.

Bill Hobbs, a Republican political advisor, blogger, and news writer for Belmont, which bills itself as "the largest Christian university in Tennessee," was upset in February 2006 about the cowardice of the American media in not publishing the Danish cartoons. So he drew a primitive cartoon of his own and posted it on his personal site. It sat in obscurity until April 5, when a Democratic political operative, Mike Kopp, wrote about it, calling it:

a bizzare page with the heading Draw Mohammed that spotlights a stick drawing of the Prophet Mohammed holding a bomb. The cartoon is entitled "Mohammend Blows." Under the cartoon Hobbs issues an invite to "exercise your right to free expression by drawing pictures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed". He ends the post with the phrase "Here’s my first mo-toon." All this was posted at 12:40 pm, on Friday, February 24, 2006.

Hobbs responded within a few hours on Kopp’s website, writing (spelling mistakes uncorrected):

I live in America, and am blessed to have the First Amendment, and am angry that the American media is too cowardly in the face of Islamofacists to run the cartoons. I posted that cartoon, and invited others to draw their own cartoons, as a way of protesting both American media cowardice and Islamist attempts to suppress free speech via threats of bombs and bullets and burning and beheading. But then I never publicized the site and, quite frankly, forgot is was up until today.

P.S. I am insensitve toward religions that have a large number of adherents who are running around blowing stuff up and threatening to kill non-believers over cartoons. Yes, I plead insensitivity. I would prefer my children not grow up in a world governed by Islamofacists.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Blogger Bill Hobbs is back

Ten days ago I reported on Nashville blogger Bill Hobbs being for pushed out of his job apparently because of a cartoon he drew about the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoon, was in response to the uproar over the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

Bill's part of Pajamas Media, just like me.

In January, Hobbs took a job with Nashville's Belmont University. He suspended operation of his blog, which forced me to, sadly, take Bill off the Marathon Pundit blogroll.

He's blogging again, and he's back on the blogroll. Here is his second post after his interregnum ended:

Hello. Anything happen while I have been away?

Hey, even though he's going through a tough time, it's nice to know he still has a sense of humor.

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From a rare evening run

Once again I ran with my Motorola V3 RAZR camera phone, and early on in my 10 mile run, I took this photo of two white tail deer in Morton Grove's Linne Woods.

I zoomed a bit to get a fairly decent shot, hence the bit of graininess.

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35 years ago: John Kerry's "Jen-jiss Khan" Senate testimony

John Kerry foisted himself upon the public consciousness thirty five years ago Saturday with his treacherous testimony in front of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the Vietnam War, as Rocco DiPippo reminds today in the Autonomist Blog.

In his pompous Brahmin accent, this is what John Kerry said to members of the US Senate on April 22, 1971:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made
them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis (My note: Kerry pronounced it "Jen-jiss") Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage (My note: Kerry pronounced it "rah-vage") of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

Historians have "rah-vaged" Kerry's testimony.

Yesterday in Boston's Faneuil Hall, where perhaps not coincidentally Nuance-boy gave his 2004 concession speech the day after the presidential election, Kerry gave another speech, this time about that '71 Senate testimony.

He makes no apologies for his scandalous conduct while a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And like many from the "Sixties Generation," John Kerry still is mired in the late-1960s and the pre-Nixon resignation 1970s.

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New Bin Laden audio tape

Alleged tough guy, terrorist Osama bin Laden, apparently released another audio tape to al-Jazeera earlier today. I've lost track of the last time the terror-mastermind, who sends others on suicide missions, showed his face on film or videotape.


In his first new message in three months, bin Laden said the West’s decision to cut off funds to the Palestinians because their Hamas leaders refuse to recognize Israel proved that the United States and Europe were conducting "a Zionist crusader war on Islam."

It sure sounds like the stuff UBL spews out. Crusaders...Zionists...bizarre rants..

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Subscribe to the free Pajamas Media "Blog Week in Review" podcast

Many years ago I attended a sales seminar where the presenter told us what he thought were the 10 most persuasive sales words in the English language. "Free" was one of them, I've forgotten the rest.

And you can subscribe to by clicking on the finding the link on the bottom of this Pajamas Media post.

The first edition of Blog Week in Review was good. The panelists--all with superb radio voices--were Austin Bay, Tammy Bruce, Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit), and Eric Umansky.

Ed Driscoll does an excellent job twiddling the production knobs.

What are you waiting for? Besides, it's free!

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Islamist extremists acting extreme

I found this in my e-mail box from Daniel Pipes.

Courtesy of Steven Emerson's Counterterrorism blog.

A Queens based group, the Islamic Thinkers Society, gave this "salute" to America at a protest last week in front of the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan.

No wonder they call you sons of apes and pigs because that’s what you are.

We know many government services are watching us
Such as the FBI…CIA…Mossad, Homeland Security…
We know we are getting on their nerves
And so are you….
So we say the hell with you!
May the FBI burn in Hell
CIA burn in Hell
Mossad burn in Hell
Homeland Security burn in hell!!

Islam will dominate the world
Islam is the only solution
Islam will dominate the world
Islam is the only solution
La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur Rasool Allah

The ITS extremists were in Manhattan to protest Israel, here is a portion of what they had to say about the Jewish state:

Israeli Zionists, What do you say?
How many women have you raped today?
Israeli Zionists, What do you say?
How many children have you killed today?

Zionists, Zionists You will pay! The Wrath of Allah is on its way!
Israeli Zionists You shall pay! The Wrath of Allah is on its way!
The mushroom cloud is on its way! The real Holocaust is on its way!

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Baseball blogging, Chicago White Sox are the hottest team in baseball

The defending World Series Champion Chicago White Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins tonight--it was their seventh straight win.

The biggest surprise early on in the 2006 Major League Baseball season is the opening run by the New York Mets; they're enjoying their best start ever.

And the reverse side, no one, not even the players' mothers, thought the Kansas City Royals would be any good. But KC is 3-13 and 8 1/2 games out of first. The season isn't even a month old.

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Carol Moseley-Braun goes into the organic food business

Former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, (D-IL), had a senatorial career that even her onetime ardent supporters referred to as an embarrassment. She mostly stayed out of trouble as the Bill Clinton-appointed US ambassador to New Zealand after her she was defeated in her Senate re-election bid.

In 2004, Carol ran for president, but disappointed dozens when she dropped out of the running even before the Iowa caucuses were held. Braun endorsed Howard Dean after withdrawing. Like Al Gore, Tom Harkin, and other prominent Dems, Moseley-Braun didn't forsee the bursting of the Dean bubble.

Carol better hope she has better business sense that political, she's going to be selling organic food, under the banner Ambassador Organics. If she doesn't, she'll soon be broke.

From AP:

I see it (Ambassador Organics) as a continuing of my public service and my commitment to public service," Braun, the first black woman elected to the Senate, told the Chicago Tribune. "If I can help people to eat healthier, if I can help Americans' diets to improve, if by my company I can help build the infrastructure that expands the availability of healthy foods, then I will have served in my retirement from electoral politics."

The line of spices, teas and produce is named Ambassador Organics -- an apparent nod to Braun's time as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Braun has an 80 percent controlling interest in the new company, which still has to work out details including an exact product line and which grocery stores will sell the products.

"We haven't gotten that far," said Braun, who plans to formally introduce the brand at a Chicago trade show in May and launch the line in September. "We have not concluded contractual agreements with them (the stores)."

So, she doesn't know what she's going to sell, nor where she's going to sell it.

It's a bad start.

This press release, courtesy of Pajamas Media, has more information on Carol's career change.

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Mr. Right has a new caption contest up

In the last one, I ended up in fourteenth place.

This week's contest features Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

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Ex-con and ex-Governor Dan Walker talks about George Ryan

Earlier this week, former Ill. Governor George Ryan was found guilty on various corruption charges.

The Illinois Republican's lawyers are certainly going to appeal, the turmoil within the Ryan jury gives them a little more to meat to chew on than in most cases. As things stand now, Ryan is going to prison. He's likely headed to a so-called "Club Fed" prison, but it will be no vacation. One of Ryan's predecessors, Democrat Dan Walker, spent time in prison as well.

As for what Ryan can expect, Walker knows best. He served his sentence at the Duluth minimum security prison.

From AP:

In prison, Walker scrubbed toilets and picked up cigarette butts, using a wooden rod that had the words "Governor's Stick" burnt into it.

He was also threatened by fellow inmates and forced to stand outside in the cold while waiting for meals, but Walker said the most humiliating part of the ordeal was being subjected to random searches where prison guards would bark out "strip, squat and spread."

Walker, 83, served 17 months in a minimum security prison after pleading guilty in 1987 to bank fraud, perjury and other charges related to his ownership of a suburban Chicago bank. None of the crimes were linked to his term as governor, which he served from 1973 to 1977.

"Having been there -- I repeat, having been there -- I do not wish jail for any person," Walker told the Chicago Sun-Times in a phone interview from his home near San Diego. "I really feel sorry for George and his family. ... I wish no man to have that and no man to have that disgrace that I had."

Not "Club Fed."

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Profile-aphopia update: Washington Post displays symptoms

Here is headline I found on the online edition of the Washington Post:

2 U.S. Citizens Met Extremists To Talk About Attacks, FBI Says

Here are the first two paragraphs from the article, free registration may be required.

A U.S. citizen whose family came from Bangladesh was being flown to New York on Friday to face charges he lied to federal investigators about his meetings with suspected terrorists, officials said.

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, who had been living in Roswell, Ga., could be arraigned as early as Saturday in Brooklyn federal court on charges he gave numerous false statements to the FBI when questioned about his travels abroad, according to an arrest warrant unsealed Friday.

Syed Haris Ahmed was the other man arrested by the FBI.

More from the Post:

Ahmed told agents that he traveled to Canada with Sadequee in March 2005 to meet with "like-minded Islamic extremists" at which time the group "discussed strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike, to include oil refineries and military bases," according to the affidavit. Ahmed said that Sadequee did not stay with his aunt but rather a person he and Ahmed wanted to accompany to terrorist camps for training, according to investigators.

Ah, but at least they're US citizens, as the Washington Post points out in the headline, so there is no need to worry. (Sarcasm off.)

Which brings to mind this Marathon Pundit post from last week, New phobia discovered: Profile-aphopia.

Here is what I wrote:

Profile-aphobia--an irrational fear, usually possessed by the mainstream media, of being labeled a bigot. Best exemplified by this April 10 AP headline in the San Diego Union-Tribune, U.S. citizen gets five years in drugs-for-missiles plot. This phobia is especially commonplace in news stories about Muslims who've been charged with terrorism related crimes. All criminologists agree that US citizens commit most of the crimes in the United States, and they are puzzled when mainstream reporters feel compelled to overemphasize the American citizenship of a US Muslim accused in a terror plot. Symptoms among mainstream media reporters become more severe when a Muslim is convicted of such crimes.

Treatment: Common sense, and a new writing-style book.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Rachel Corrie play will be performed at an undisclosed location in Toronto

The American martyr for the cause of Palestinian terrorism, Rachel Corrie, is back in the news today, courtesy of Brainster.

Rachel Corrie was an anti-American extremist and member of the radical International Solidarity Movement. She was killed when an Israeli Defense Force D-9 Caterpillar bulldozer ran her over, yes, accidentally, as she tried to prevent the destruction of a Gaza home with a handy tunnel connected to a weapons cache.

The play My Name is Rachel Corrie, which is enjoying a long run in London, will have its North American debut in Toronto. Actually, according to the Toronto Star, it'll be just a script reading. On Sunday, at a location not made public, the script reading will commence somewhere in Canada's largest city. After plans for the play were cancelled in New York--after a public outcry--the Canadians are taking a lower key approach.

There is also a Rachel Corrie musical piece that gets performed on occasion, a cantata entitled The Skies are Weeping.

Tom Gross of the British magazine The Spectator wrote an article about lesser-known Rachels, Israeli Rachels killed by terrorists during the intifata.
There are no plays or cantatas about them.

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George Ryan trial...not over till it's over

Fireworks in the juror room is what CBS 2 Chicago's Mike Flannery is calling what went occurred among the 12, make that 14 jurors, on the George Ryan panel.

One of the jurors, Elizabeth Ezell, somehow managed to serve eight months on the Ryan jury without her status as a fugitive on an arrest warrant remaining unknown for six months--until deliberations in the trial had already begun.

From CBS 2 Chicago:

(Ezell) "Do I have to accept being called derogatory names, shouting profanity, and personal attacks?"

Days later, several jurors fired off their own three-page letter to the judge (Rebecca Pallmeyer), about Ezell, saying, "Evelyn is either intellectually incompetent to handle the task, or she has ulterior motives behind her actions and gets physically aggressive."

Attorneys bickered for hours over whether a wallet with a private investigator's identification card found near a juror's home would scare her into thinking defense attorneys were spying on her -- or whether asking her how she felt about it would only frighten her more.

How could a fugitive like Ezell sit for six months as a juror in such a high-profile trial? Unlike in state court, potential jurors in federal court are trusted to tell the truth about their criminal records.

Fran O'Brien's update: There's a stench in Washington

Third Wave Dave is guest blogging over at Lucky Dawg News.

A very brief summary: For the last couple of years, Fran O'Brien's Steakhouse, which leases space from the Capitol Hilton in Washington, has been hosting weekly dinners for recuperating soldiers from nearby Walter Reed Hospital. O'Brien's picks up the tab.

Their lease is not being renewed by the Hilton Corporation.

The Hilton people, including Capitol Hilton General Manager, have not been forthright in explaining why Fran O'Brien's lease is being pulled.

Indepundit posted an e-mail from fellow milblogger Buzz Patterson about controversy:

I just had a long chat with Hal Koster. Our worst fears are not only well founded but grossly understated. It's a complete and thorough cluster @#$%. (Sorry, my words not his). I haven't been this pissed about anything in a very long time.

Andi, Kelleher's responses to our questions were blatant lies. Despite what Kelleher says, Hilton has done nothing to support the dinners... never met a bus, never contributed a cent, never negotiated for changes to bring the restaurant into ADA compliance, never advertised the restaurant or the dinners within their own hotel, never provided logistical support... in a word, they've done absolutely zip. In fact, Kelleher hides out in his office and has had no contact with Fran's owners. Hilton Corporate hasn't returned phone calls or e-mails. Hal has never spoken with a rep from Hilton about a future. This O'Boyle guy who is supposedly in charge of Hilton's leases has been MIA for years. Not only unprofessional in my opinion but grossly negligent. Fran's has been profitable every year in spite of the fact that Hilton won't even live up to their responsibilities for facilities management. They've had some plumbing issues... Hal and Marty now call their own plumber. Hilton wanted Fran's to re-upholster the booths and change the carpet, Hal and Marty asked for ADA compliance in return. When negotiations ceased, Hilton doubled their rent last month (doubled!). And then issued an eviction notice two weeks later.

Hal and Marty have retained lawyers and, as mentioned before, have the support of several influential organizations and people...

This is complete bullshit. Hilton has every right to make their business decisions. But our wounded vets are being kicked to the curb. When media show up now to document the process, Hilton's security team denies them access to the loading dock, the service elevator and the inhuman conditions our troops in wheelchairs have to endure to get to the frikkin restaurant.

It's not about the few thousand bucks it would cost to make this thing work... hell, I'll kick that in. This is about a bunch of numbskulls with no understanding of civil service, patriotism or, for that matter, good business sense. And I'm no hotel management major.

CBS and CNN are doing pieces tomorrow. As much as I despise MSM, I welcome this. Hannity & Colmes are doing a live hit Friday night. What's Alan gonna say? It's a right wing conspiracy? How can anyone argue in opposition to ADA especially when it's vets?

This, quite frankly, reeks. I'll be on my best behavior Saturday at the conference but this sucks. Pushing the throttles up...unarmed and unafraid. Feel free to quote me.


Op-For weighs in:

This is turning out to be a major black eye for the Hilton Hotel chain, which is starting to look absolutely sleazy. With milbloggers nationwide converging on DC this weekend, they simply could not have picked a worse time to pull a stunt like this. Keep your eyes on the milbloggers, Foxnews, CBS, and CNN for updates.

If you'd like to help save Fran O'Brien's, you can bypass the Capitol Hilton and go straight for their corporate comm chief:

Lisa Cole, Director of Communications:

Previous Fran O'Brien's posts:

Hilton Corp. not renewing lease of pro-troops restaurant

Fran O'Brien's update

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Pajamas Media podcast is up

Pajamas Media's Blog Week in Review, discussed in the previous post, is up.

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Later today ...A Pajamas Media podcast, The Blog Week in Review

A PJM podcast. Hear Pajamas panelists Glenn Reynolds, Tammy Bruce, and Eric Umansky. Moderator: Austin Bay. Producer: Ed Driscoll. The Pajamas staff is promising more of these in the fuature. The podcast will be available this morning on the Pajamas home page.

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"Free speech" and The Vagina Monologues

Yikes! This is still going on? Yes, there is still controversy about the play the Vagina Monologues. As for myself, I don't care if the play is performing across the street from me. I don't get riled up about this kind of stuff.

A confession: I've never seen the play. But from what I heard, it involves three women sitting on bar stools yelling out the "C" word. And they pretend to have orgasms---just like in When Harry Met Sally--man, is that original.

There is a move within Catholic circles--the more conservative, or if you prefer, the Catholic part of the Catholic church, to not have the play performed on Catholic university campuses.

That would fit in with Pope John Paul II's Ex Corde Eccliesiae (On Catholic Universities), the late Pope's statement on what a Catholic university should be.

Steven Plaut has a good post about The Vagina Monologues and Notre Dame here.

In my opinion, those that view The Vagina Monologues as a free speech issue are over-reaching. Simply put, the compulsion of universities--not just Catholic ones--to perform The Vagina Monologues is about one thing: shock value. And a quick buck, since the set for the Vagina Monologues consists of three bar stools.

To say putting on the play is about free speech just doesn't carry much water.

Of course try telling that to DePaul University's President Dennis Holtschneider. When he attempted to (inaccurately) portray DePaul as a champion of free speech after the school's disgraceful conduct in the Thomas Klocek affair became widely known, Father Holtschneider said this:

Recently, I have found myself as president standing up for this academic freedom when the university withstood a nationally organized campaign against a production of The Vagina Monologues on campus.

DePaul performances of the play date back to 2003. That year, in the same Lincoln Park neighborhood where that DePaul performance took place, the Apollo Theater had an extended run of the same play. The Apollo is less than a mile from DePaul's Lincoln Park campus. It's not there anymore, but The Vagina Monologues pops here and there in the Chicago area on a pretty regular basis.

Other campuses and cities aren't that much different in regards to Vagina Monologues accessibility. In short, if a Catholic university isn't allowed to stage a production of The Vagina Monologues, students and faculty should be able to, with little difficulty, find a nearby production of the play and view the three ladies on their bar stools yelling out the "C" word again and again and again.

The "nationally organized campaign" Holtschneider alluded to comes from the Cardinal Newman Society.

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