Sunday, December 31, 2006

Staying home on New Year's Eve

Mrs. Marathon Pundit is working tonight, and I'm home with Little Marathon Pundit and one of her friends. So I'm staying home on New Year's Eve.

That's not a problem--I'm watching the Bears Packers game, and I'm missing the aggravation I dealt with last year on New Year's Eve.

LMP and I went to First Night Evanston. As you'll read on this New Year's Day post, I was greeted by North Shore anti-war protesters ensconced on a table adjacent to the spot where I purchased tickets to the event. As we left with our tickets, we were "serenaded" by those World Can't Wait Drive Out the Bush Regime idiots. (Couldn't they let it rest one day?)

The happenings for First Night were sprawled across downtown Evanston, so shuttle buses were provided to ticket holders. Little Marathon Pundit and I got on one, but we had to quickly disembark--because a woman in a wheelchair blocked the because the vehicle didn't have handicapped accessibility.

It's good to be home.

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Worst piece of MSM writing in 2006

My award for the worst journalistic prose of 2006--at least that I've come across--goes to columnist Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times.

And wouldn't you know it involves Illinois' junior senator, Barack Obama.

From her December 17 column:

Now, it seems, time has chosen Obama as his clock ticks toward a January date with destiny. And no group of people is more excited than those of us who will cover the election. We like the fact that we knew him when. Long before folks in Iowa or New Hampshire stuck out their hands to press his flesh, we actually rubbed shoulders. He's our homey and we are his. As hometown press, we're wild about this story. A politician from Chicago tearing down a barrier of race. One of our own ready to make history.

Fair and balanced.

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Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review with Claudia Rosett

Austin Bay interviews Pajamas Media's Claudia Rosett for the 29th Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review.

Rosett discusses the one organization in the world that is more corrupt than Cook County government: The United Nations. Kofi Annan, who leaves office today, is given a fitting send off. Russia, China, and North Korea are also discussed.

Ed Driscoll produces the podcast, which is sponsored by Volvo Cars US.

Listen or download here. Free subcriptions to Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review are available from iTunes.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sen. Boxer pulls award given to CAIR activist

Today's a bad end of the year for CAIR, whose Capitol Hill headquarters is pictured on the left.

A Joe Kaufman article from a couple of weeks ago on FrontPage Magazine caught the eye of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Here's an excerpt:

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) likes to give out what her staff calls "Certificates of Accomplishment." These are presented to community leaders who have exhibited qualities worthy of receiving such praise as comes from this recognition. Unfortunately, this month, one of these – an "Outstanding Service" award – was granted to none other than the Executive Director of CAIR-Sacramento, Basim Elkarra.

As stated previously, CAIR is connected to Islamic extremism. Four officials from CAIR have been charged with terrorist activity, two convicted and two deported. CAIR is currently the defendant in a lawsuit put forward by the family of FBI Agent John O'Neill for the group’s role in the 9/11 attacks. CAIR solicited funds for two "charities" whose accounts were frozen by the Department of Treasury for financing Hamas and Al-Qaeda. And CAIR’s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), was shut down, shortly after it was found liable for the Hamas murder of an American teenager.

There is evidence to suggest that Elkarra, himself, is a radical, apart from his connection to CAIR. Elkarra has described Israel as an "apartheid" and a "racist" state. He has defended someone that trained for jihad in a Pakistani terrorist camp; he has defended an imam that urged a Pakistani crowd to wage attacks on America; and he has defended an imam that was attempting to build an Islamic school for the purpose of teaching children how to commit violent acts against Americans. As well, he has moderated a pro-terror, anti-Israel event that featured a Hamas operative who spent five years in an Israeli prison.

And Boxer did the decent thing: She rescinded the award to CAIR's Elkarra.

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek write:

In a highly unusual move, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has rescinded an award to an Islamic activist in her home state because of the man’s connections to a major American Muslim organization that recently has been courted by leading political figures and even the FBI.

Boxer’s office confirmed to NEWSWEEK that she has withdrawn a "certificate of accomplishment" to Sacramento activist Basim Elkarra after learning that he serves as an official with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). After directing her staff to look into CAIR, Boxer "expressed concern" about some past statements and actions by the group, as well as assertions by some law enforcement officials that it "gives aid to international terrorist groups," according to Natalie Ravitz, the senator’s press spokeswoman.

FrontPage Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, David Horowitz, adds the final words to the Newsweek article:

I'm pleased that Boxer listened to us. The fact that Democrats are finally waking up is good.

Related posts: CAIR-Chicago recommended that DePaul fire Klocek

David Horowitz and Thomas Klocek to speak at DePaul on academic freedom in January

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The execution of Saddam: "Now, he is in the garbage of history"

This is the best observation I've come found regarding Saddam Hussein's execution:

"Now, he is in the garbage of history," said Jawad Abdul-Aziz, who lost his father, three brothers and 22 cousins in the reprisal killings that followed a botched 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Shiite town of Dujail.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Al Arabiya: Saddam is dead by hanging

According to an on air Fox News' reporter, Al-Arabiya is telling its viewers that Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging.

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Saddam execution Q & A

The Times of London has a collection of good questions--and answers--about tonight's execution of Saddam Hussein.

Here are a couple:

What will happen to Saddam’s body?

Initially, it is likely to be buried in secret at an undisclosed location. One possibility is that it will be placed next to the corpse of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda terrorist killed by US troops this year. It is rumoured that he is buried in the green zone. Saddam’s family may eventually be given possession of his body. Saddam could then join his sons Uday and Qusay in the family cemetery near their former stronghold of Tikrit.

What about his final hours?

A special "waiting room" is set aside for condemned men to prepare for death. They can pray, drink water and smoke cigarettes. Guards bring a final meal, which the prisoner can order to his choice. They are led to the gallows wearing an orange uniform, their head covered by a cone-shaped black hood.

As for the final resting spot for Saddam's body, Reeuters is reporting that a daughter of Hussein is requesting that her dad's corpse be buried in Yemen, until Iraq is "liberated."

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Buh-bye Saddam...

Well, there's not much time left for Saddam Hussein. And the quick hanging spares us the scenes such as this one of the candlelight vigil crowd bemoaning another execution.

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Saddam: One more day?

Time is running out for the "Butcher of Baghdad." It looks like he'll be the last entry in for the "Notable Deaths of 2006" section of the world's newspapers.

According to AP, Saturday may be Saddam's last day on Earth.

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Obama presidential announcement on Oprah Show?

Obama mania has taken hold in the senator's native Hawaii. Yesterday a group of Hawaiians held a press conference urging the Illinois Democrat to run for president.

Among those who took part was Congressman Neil Abercrombie.

From the Honolulu Advertiser:

If Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama decides to seek the Democratic Party nomination for president, he will likely make the announcement soon on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," according to U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii.

He said Obama had indicated during an earlier appearance with Winfrey that he would be announce his candidacy on the program if he decides to run in 2008.

"If that takes place, it will be the most-watched daytime television show in American history," said Abercrombie, who held a press conference yesterday with a small group of other Hawaii-based Obama supporters to urge that he join the race.

Abercrombie said he had spoken with Obama during his visit here but was not in daily contact with him, and that Obama's supporters had made it a point not to pester him.

Well, there's a precedent. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his political intentions on the Tonight Show a few years ago.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tony Blair's Miami Beach stay at Robin Gibb's house not free says Gibb's bisexual-Druid wife

If you can't trust the bisexual wife of a pop has-been who also happens to be a bisexual Druid priestess, then there is no one you can believe in.

From London's Times newspaper:

The riddle over Tony Blair’s controversial winter vacation deepened yesterday as Downing Street tried to fight off accusations that the Prime Minister had accepted a free holiday at the palatial Miami home of the pop star Robin Gibb.

The latest Blair family holiday rumpus descended into near-farce as Downing Street and the former Bee Gees star’s wife, Dwina, gave very different accounts of who was paying for the holiday.

Downing Street insisted that the Blairs were paying their way, while Mrs Gibb, a bisexual Druid priestess from Northern Ireland, undermined their defence by insisting that no money was changing hands. "It’s a friendly arrangement," she told one newspaper.

The mystery intensified further as Downing Street hinted that Mrs Gibb didn't know what she was talking about, and that a "private commercial agreement" had in fact been made with Mr Gibb’s manager, John Campbell.

I'm backing the priestess' account.

The last words belong to Robin Gibb, who says his marriage is "totally open. We like to cruise and we like to watch."

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Saddam won't be hanging around long

Well, it looks like the "Butcher of Baghdad" won't be around to see 2007, as NBC News is reporting the Saddam Hussein will be hanged for his crimes by Sunday at the latest.

His executioners will be more merciful than he was with his victims.

Yesterday former US Attorney General turned whacko Ramsey Clark, a member of Saddams's defense team, urged President Bush to spare the former Iraqi dictator's life.

That won't be happening.

Besides, there is a jurisdictional issue here. Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court.

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Reinstate Prof. Thomas Klocek at DePaul petition gets a bunch of new signatures

Thanks to Third Wave Dave and The Radio Patriots, we've got a bunch of new signatures on the Reinstate Thomas Klocek at DePaul petition.

Don't forget to add your name and right this wrong.

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Bob Woodward interview with Ford: Late president against Iraq invasion

From Bob Woodward and the Washington Post:

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

Hey, Ford at least had the class not to be a Jimmy Carter about things. Via Pajamas Media, Blue Crab Boulevard adds some insight:

Could we at least pay our respects and give a decent man a decent burial before we start again with the endless attacks?

Yes, I am talking to you, Bob Woodward. And to a number of left wing bloggers as well.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pope pulls into lead at Islam Online's Person of the Year poll

Thanks once again to Cliff May of National Review's Corner blog for drawing attention to the Islam Online Person of the Year Internet poll.

When I posted last night about the early tally of the balloting. At that time, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had a commanding lead over the other nominees with 69 percent of the vote, with Hamas leader Ismael Haniya (15 percent) and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (7 percent).

Things look much better tonight. My choice, Pope Benedict XVI has pulled into the lead with 32 percent of the vote. Trailing closely behind the Holy Father is Hezbollah's Nasrallah with 30 percent. Haniya has just 18 percent now, and Ahmadinejad is holding steady with 7 percent.

As they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often.

Related post: Bad guys dominate voting in Islam Online's Person of the Year tally

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Bush signs bill banning protests at military funerals

I heard about this story on the O'Reilly Factor--guest hosted by John Kasich--that President Bush signed legislation into law a bill that effectively bans the type of funeral protests used by Fred Phelps' vile Westboro Baptist Church.

The deluded Phelps and his followers have somehow convinced themselves that God is punishing America for it's acceptance of gays.

One of the co-sponsors of the bill is someone I'm usually pretty rough on: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

I blogged about Westboro and Phelps a lot last year, but as state after state--including my own, enacted similar legislation, I viewed that battle as maybe not won, but close to it, hence my drop-off in posts on Phelps. Additionally, the mainstream media began to blow the whistle on their "church." But again, bloggers beat them to it.

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Internet error moves Edwards announcement up one day

It seems to me that John Edwards has trouble hiring quality staff. Last month, an apparently errant staffer tried to pull some strings with a North Carolina Wal-Mart to cut-in-line and get a just-released PlayStation3 for Edwards kids--on the same day the former senator along with Barack Obama participated in a conference call with the anti Wal-Mart group Wake Up Wal-Mart.

Too-early uploading of news is a common problem among bloggers and mainstream media sites. To date haven't made that error, but it's bound to happen to me one day. I receive quarantined press releases, and I've been quite diligent about posting them at the agreed-upon-time. Just last week I had one of those, and a big-deal Chicago paper had in on their site hours beforehand.

Back to Edwards and his webmaster. Making a mistake like this one--posting a day early a summary of Edwards announcement that he'll be running for president--that is, the announcement--is an inexcusable mess-up.

What the webmaster can fall back on is this fact: Everyone already knew Edwards was running.

Related posts: John Edwards wakes up to Wal-Mart nightmare

Edwards, Clark, still have unpaid 2004 debt

John Edwards' odd choice to run his campaign: David Bonior

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Welcome National Review Online Corner Readers!

Thank you Cliff May of National Review Online for linking to my earlier post about the Islam Online poll.

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A check on Obama mania

Syndicated columnist Froma Harrop has a good critique of presumed presidential candidate Barack Obama and Obama mania.

From that column:

What was Obama saying that other centrists would not have? Absolutely nothing.

Obama talked about ending the nastiness in Washington and taking personal responsibility, and that government can't solve all problems — platitudes emptied of all controversy. If anything, his colleagues from Indiana would surely have offered more exciting commentary.

Obama's appeal comes not from the things he says, but from who is saying them. He scores as an exotic who talks of barbershops and church socials in the flat tones you'd expect from any son of the prairie.

Had (Indiana Senator Evan) Bayh been half-Kenyan and raised in Hawaii by white grandparents from Kansas, he too would have become a political star, at least for the month of December. But he is a conventional white man. When Bayh speaks in the quiet Midwestern way, he gets tarred as lackluster.

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Little known facts about Gerald Ford

The late Gerald Ford was the only president born in Nebraska. Because of a couple of well-publicized falls, Ford gained a reputation as a klutz. In fact, he was probably the best athlete ever to serve as president. He started at center for the University of Michigan football team and was offered an NFL contract after he graduated.

Just as the Gingrich "Class of '94" was viewed as an beginning-of-an-era Congress, so was the post-war "Class of '46." Three presidents were alumni from that group: Ford, Richard Nixon, and John F. Kennedy. Unlike Ford, Nixon and Kennedy quickly moved on to the Senate.

CORRECTION 7:10PM: Although Nixon and Ford worked closely together while both were in the House, Ford was first elected to the House in 1948.

Gerald Ford passes away

Just as Harry Truman died in 1972, former President Gerald R. Ford passed away on the day after Christmas.

A Midwesterner as well, Ford died in his adopted hometown of Rancho Mirage, California last night.

Ford inherited the presidency at a miserable time: the Nixon Watergate Scandal put our nation through it's worse crisis since the Civil War. The Vietnam war--sans US troops--hadn't ended yet, and Nixon left Ford with a bad economy as well

Ford did a great job as president during a very tough time. Rest in peace.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bad guys dominate voting in Islam Online's Person of the Year tally

In a list dominated by villains, brigands, and cut-throats, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is leading early voting in Islam Online's Person of the Year Internet poll.

Nasrallah has collected an astonishing 69 percent of the votes so far. In a very distant second is Hamas leader Ismael Haniya with 15 percent. In third is the world's most prominent Holocaust denier, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a paltry 7 percent.

Yes, I'm aware there could be some Freeping going on here organized by the more strident followers of Islam.

Here are the other Islam Online Person of the Year candidates: Hugo Chavez, Donald Rumsfeld, (Malaysian President) Abdullah Ahmed Badawi, (Lebanese Prime Minister) Fuad el Siniora, Pope Benedict XVI, (Bangladeshi financier) Muhammad Yunus, Ayatollah Sistani, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong Il.

I voted for the Pope--he's at 1.5 percent.

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Judicial Watch cites Obama and Hillary on its "Corrupt Politicians" list

Two Democratic presidential hopefuls, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were cited by the watchdog group Judicial Watch in its annual list of corrupt politicians. Hillary Rodham Clinton made JW's list of "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" of 2006.

Here is HRC's entry:

January 2006, Hillary Clinton’s fundraising operation was fined $35,000 by the Federal Election Commission for failing to accurately report more than $700,000 in contributions to Clinton’s Senate 2000 campaign. New information also surfaced in 2006 raising more questions about Hillary and her brother Anthony Rodham’s connection to the Clinton Pardongate scandal, where presidential pardons were allegedly traded in exchange for cash and other favors.

And Barack Obama made the list of "Dishonorable Mentions."

News reports surfaced in 2006 that Illinois Senator Barak Obama entered into an unusual land deal with a now-indicted political fundraiser, Tony Rezko. The complicated real estate transaction occurred when it was widely known that Rezko was under federal investigation in a political corruption scandal.

For those of you who view Judicial Watch as a "right-wing attack" dog, several Republicans were "honored" by JW this year.

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Biden's presidential hopes may not extend beyond his dreams

A relic from the Democrats' 1988 presidential race debacle, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, let's anyone who's listening know why he thinks he should be the nation's next chief executive.

Gary Hart has yet to be heard from regarding his 2008 plans.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Slow news day: Obama may put '08 HQ in Chicago

Likely Democratic candidate for president, Sen. Barack Obama, may place his presidential campaign headquarters in his hometown of Chicago, according to Lynn Sweet's Christmas Day column.

Sweet's reasoning is that this will place at Obama's disposal plenty of locals that can be quickly dispatched to Iowa for the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Listen to me: Barring an implosion of his campaign, Obama's people will able to marshall up plenty of Obama mania-struck Illinoisans to hop on Interstate 80 for a quick trip to the Hawkeye State to drum up support for St. Barack.

Perhaps Obama is looking to separate himself from Washington by placing his campaign headquarters in Chicago, making one of those symbolic moves so popular with liberals. I can't remember if it was in 1999 or early 2000, but the Gore campaign made a big deal when they moved their 2000 headquarters from DC to Nashville--in his home state of Tennessee. But not only did Gore lose the election, he lost the Volunteer State too.

If he makes it that far, Obama is in no danger of losing Illinois in the 2008 general election. But a couple of Novembers from now, few voters will care where his campaign headquarters is.

The best choice for Obama's presidential campaign headquarters in my opinion? Washington. Then he'll be on Capitol Hill more often, so he can work on adding to his lean legislative record--which currently consists of one co-sponsored bill that's been enacted into law. But he's got another bill that may soon become law, co-sponsored by Indiana Republican Richard Lugar--this one seeks to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of terrorists.

Still, Obama works much faster than John Kerry.

Oh, yes I know Obama has been a low-seniority member in the minority party in the senate and is not expected to have a plethora of bills attached to his name. But since he's almost certainly running for president, the bar has to be set high.

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White Christmas celebrated by troops in Afghanistan

It may not be peaceful in Afghanistan, but our troops our celebrating a White Christmas there today.

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15 Christmases ago: The Soviet Union ends

On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union officially died when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR.

Two Christmases prior, after a less-than-fair trial, brutal communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu of Romania, along with his Elena, were executed by a firing squad after being tried by a military tribunal.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

First record of Christmas trees comes from Latvia

Most historical sources attribute the Christmas tree tradition to the Germans, although the first record of such a tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510. What are now the nations of Estonia and Latvia were ruled by the German Teutonic Knights.

Pictured above is Riga at Christmas time.

Related post: News you probably missed: Latvian president addressed joint session of Congress

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Merry Christmas!

To all the readers, visitors, and lurkers of Marathon Pundit: Merry Christmas!!!!

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Mark Steyn on the collapse of humanity

The declining birth rate among most of the world's nations is the somber subject of the latest column by Mark Steyn.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Funeral for great leader of Turkmenistan set for Sunday

Most of the mainstream media have no respect for the legacy of Serdar Turkmenbashi. His name translates roughly into "Great Leader of the Turkmen," and this inspirational man led Turkmenistan for 21 years.

Rather than properly preserving the memory of the late president of Tukemenistan, the MSM insists on referring to the fallen leader by his birth name, Saparmurat Niyazov.

Turkmenabashi died of a heart attack last week at the too-young age of 66.

But consider this man's greatness:

He renamed the month of January after himself. April is named for his mother. Turkmenbashi wrote a spiritual book about himself, Ruhnama. All children read it.

Pictures of Turkmenbashi are on every street corner in the central Asian nation.

Who can deny the greatness of this man? Besides, just name one other person you've heard of from Turkmenistan?

So long, Turkmenbashi, We'll miss you.

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UPDATED! More problems for Obama: Senator hired intern with ties to Tony Rezko

Most of the analyses of the controversial Rezko-Obama deal focus on one conclusion: Obama's reputation hasn't taken a major hit from the disclosure of the complicated real estate transactions. However, further revelations of shady deals with Rezko, the pundits agrees, could damage Obama's presidential hopes.

This Chicago Tribune story may not crack the Barack Obama aura, but it's bad news for the Illinois Democrat, who is currently six time zones away from Chicago visiting family in Hawaii.

From the Chicago "free registration required" Tribune:

Rezko recommended a 20-year-old student from Glenview for one of the coveted summer internships in Obama's Capitol Hill office.

The student got the job and spent five weeks in Washington, answering Obama's front office phone and logging constituent mail. The student was paid an $804 stipend--about $160 a week--for a position valued mostly for the experience it provides.


As the internship drew to a close in August 2005, the intern's father was cited in court records as an unnamed, unindicted co-conspirator in an alleged state government bribery scheme linked to Rezko. A news report about the court records identified him by name.

Obama's spokesman said Obama would not comment on the internship because he is spending the holidays with his family. But spokesman Robert Gibbs said the internship in no way contradicts Obama's previous statements that he has never done any favors for Rezko, given jobs to Rezko associates or been involved with Rezko "in any government activities of any sort."

The father of the intern is Joseph Aramanda, who, according to the Chicago Sun-Times in October, was implicated as an individual "D" in Rezko's indictment.

From the October 12 Chicago Sun-Times:

C. Sheldon Pekin: Consultant who allegedly agreed to kick back $250,000 in fees in return for getting TRS business.

D. Joseph Aramanda: Rezko associate who allegedly got $250,000 from Pekin "in substantial part for the benefit of Rezko."

UPDATE 5:30PM CST: The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama's campaigns since 2000. Also, in the same article, the Sun-Times notes that since 1990, indicted fundraiser Tony Rezko has raised as much as $60,000 for various Obama campaigns. Rezko wrote checks for $11,500 to Obama's senate campaign, that money was donated to charity.

Related posts: More Obama and Rezko

Obama watch: More Tony Rezko

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Another burning man political protest

I'm wondering if we have a disturbing trend on our hands. Last month I blogged about the fiery suicide of Chicagoan Malachi Ritscher, an anti war activist.

In a story largely ignored by even the local media, Ritscher set fire on himself to draw attention to the anti-war cause. Ritscher's suicide has been a hot topic on the blogs, however.

Yesterday, a central California man set himself on fire--he survived after a police officer put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

His reason? To protest the renaming of winter and spring vacation to Christmas and Easter breaks.

Just as with the Chicago incident, mental illness of the self-immolater has to figure in as a contributing cause for the California man's suicide attempt.

Related post: Glenn & Helen Show podcast: Suicide is painful

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CNN Headline: "Romney's likeliest backers think his religion is a cult"

Certainly there has been a lot of discussion of Gov. Mitt Romney's faith--he's a Mormon--and that many evangelical Christians, particularly in the South, currently don't feel comfortable with the religion formally known as the Church of Latter Day Saints.

However, I think the CNN headline that accompanies the story, Romney's likeliest backers think his religion is a cult goes a little too far.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Glenn & Helen Show podcast: A Martha Stewart and Sarbanes Oxely Christmas

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit and his wife, Dr. Helen Smith, interview Joan Hemingway, editor of the book Martha Stewart's Legal Troubles. Calling in is an author of one of the chapters in the book, Ellen Podgor.

The four talk about the uniqueness and possible unfairness of the prosecution of the home-perfection diva. They also openly question the soundness of the Sarbanes-Oxely bill, a law that is generally despised in the business world--auditors excluded--and how the tone of Sarbox and similar laws is that it seems to criminalize everything.

At the end of the podcast there is a great, politically correct, but tongue in cheek holiday song by Audra and the Antidote.

The podcast is sponsored by Volvo Cars US.

Free subscriptions to the Glenn & Helen Show are available at the iTunes web site.

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Reinstate Prof. Thomas Klocek at DePaul petition reaches 1800 signatures

Marathon Pundit has been covering the unhappy saga of fired DePaul Professor Thomas Klocek since early last year.

Since I've noticed my blog hit count is up of late--thank you Senator Obama--there are a lot of new visitors to Marathon Pundit. So I'm reposting the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East petition to get Klocek's job back at Chicago's DePaul University.

Recently, the benchmark of 1,800 signatures was reached. The goal for this petition is for 2,000 people to sign it.

So we've got some work to do. Here's the petition, the link to it is at the bottom of this post.

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D., President and Susanne M. Dumbleton, Ph.D., Dean of the School for New Learning, DePaul University

We, the undersigned faculty members from around the world, stand solidly with Professor Thomas Klocek, a Roman Catholic, who was dismissed by DePaul University for allegedly offending Muslim students when discussing Christian interests in Israel, disputing that Israeli treatment of Palestinians was akin to the Nazi treatment of the Jews and then terminating the discussion when it appeared that the students were more interested in Israel-bashing than discussing the issues.

We believe this case sheds serious questions on the commitment to academic freedom and civility in academic discussion with this egregious termination. We further believe that this action by administration has separated DePaul from the academic community.

It is our understanding that Prof. Klocek alleges:

1) He was never allowed to meet with his accusers.

2) He was never presented with a written list of the complaints or charges against him.

3) He was suspended by the Dean of the School for New Learning in clear violation of the University's own stated Faculty Handbook procedures.

4) He was never given a hearing.

5) A vote by the DePaul Faculty Council affirmed that the same rules that apply for a formal academic hearing apply to all professors, full-time and adjuncts alike.

As a result, we believe that Professor Klocek, a faculty member with a 15-year history of excellent evaluations and no prior complaints, was dismissed without due process and should be reinstated without penalty or prejudice and with back pay, restitution of benefits and compensation for his legal and other expenses incurred as a result of his being improperly terminated.


The Undersigned

Click here to sign.

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John Kass on Obama mania and the Daleys

The Chicago Tribune's excellent columnist John Kass has his latest take on Obama mania, tying it in to the fortunes of the Daley family. Mayor Richard M. Daley has already endorsed a Barack Obama presidential run, and his brother and former Al Gore campaign chairman, William Daley, has signed on to Team Obama as a senior advisor.

Kass wonders if the Daley brothers will rename the senator "O'Bama."

In my opinion, that would serve two purposes. First, a lot of people in Chicago pronounce "Obama" in a way the that rhymes with "Alabama." Secondly, even in the 21st century--after wave upon wave of newer immigrants have arrived here--Irish or Irish sounding names tend to do well on Cook County ballots.

Kass and other members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board met with Illinois' junior senator last week. Kass asked if Obama--if he's elected president--would reappoint US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald?

Now outside of the state, Fitzgerald is best known for his role in the "Plamegate" investigation. Here, Fitzgerald's name is associated with prosecutions that touch near the nerve center of the Daley political machine, as well as the administration of his fellow Democrat, Governor Rod Blagojevich. Fitzgerald goes after Republicans too, his office, pending appeals, successfully prosecuted former Governor George Ryan.

And what about Obama's property neighbor Tony Rezko? Fitzgerald's office is handling that case too.

Kass reports that Obama hedged on whether he'd re-appoint Fitzgerald. Of course, Mayor Daley, whose administration has been pummelled by Fitzgerald, wants Fitzgerald out yesterday.

The Kass column is available here. Free registration may be required.

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Pam of Blogmeister USA has an exchange with the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle

Friend of the blog Pam of Blogmeister USA has a little bit of interactation with Mick LaSalle of, the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here is Pam's entry. And you'll find Mick's here.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Sanity Squad podcast on Obama mania and Palestinian civil war

Who better than four mental health professional to investigate the phenomenon known as Obama mania? This week's edition has a cold-stricken Neo-Neo Con joined by Siggy, ShrinkWrapped, and Dr. Sanity.

Shrinkwrapped compares Obama to a backup quarterback on a losing football team, since he's always the most popular player on that team--until he gets in a game.

Citing a recent Clarence Page column, Dr. Sanity views Illinois' junior senator as a flesh-and-blood Rorschach ink-blot test. Democrats see in Obama what they want to see in a presidential contender.

Siggy as always is the most outspoken, he compares Barack to "a good looking girl sitting at the end of the bar with a low-cut dress," when all around are "faded whores"--retread candidates. But Siggy adds, "The Republicans have the same problem."

Although, I have one complaint with Siggy. He thinks the politics in Chicago are corrupt. Where did he get that idea?

Oh, not by name, but the Rezko deal is briefly referred to in the podcast.

The four also discuss the mess of what can only loosely be called Palestinian government, and the possibility of civil war among the Palestinians.

Listen or download here. Free subscriptions are available at the iTunes web site.

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Free podcasts from Roger McGuinn

I ran into a relative of former Byrd Roger McGuinn at work--McGuinn is a Chicago native--who informed me that Roger has free podcast performances available at the iTunes web site.

I'm a huge Byrds fan, by the way.

Subcribe to the Roger McGuinn's Folk Den here.

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Bloggers paid to write about products must 'fess up

Sadly, I am not one of these bloggers who gets paid to write about products or companies, despite my plethora of Treo posts.

From AP:

A company that helps advertisers connect with bloggers willing to write about their products for payment will now require disclosures amid criticism and a regulatory threat.

Before this week, advertisers were barred by PayPerPost Inc. from telling bloggers they can't disclose the sponsorship, but bloggers were able to decide on their own whether or not to do so. Under the new policy, bloggers must disclose that they are accepting payment, either in the write-up or in a general disclosure policy on the blogger's Web journal.

"Ever since we launched, there's been a lot of controversy about disclosure," said Ted Murphy, PayPerPost's chief executive.

Besides other bloggers questioning the ethics of receiving payments without disclosure, the Federal Trade Commission said in a Dec. 7 staff opinion that failure to disclose could, in some cases, violate consumer-protection laws on deception. The FTC did not single out PayPerPost or say whether it would launch any investigation.

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Obama: Not black enough? Or free from the legacy of slavery?

There are reasons, in my opinion, to support--or not support-- Illinois Senator Barack Obama in his presumed run for the presidency.

His race--or races--or his "cultural legacy" shouldn't matter. But to some, maybe just a few African-Americans, it does.

From AFP:

In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history.

"Obama did not -- does not -- share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves," wrote African-American newspaper columnist Stanley Crouch last month in an article entitled "Barack Obama -- Not Black Like Me."

On the flipside, African-American author and NPR commentator Steven Barnes presents a different view point:

(He) argues that one of the reasons Sen. Barack Obama could be such an appealing candidate is that he doesn't carry the cultural baggage of slavery,since his father was an immigrant to the United States.

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Foie gras rebellion in Chicago

Earlier this year, Chicago Alderman Joe Moore gained national attention for his drive to impose "living wages" on big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowes. Moore's bill passed Chicago's City Council. That led some of these retailers to put their Chicago expansion drives on hold, until Mayor Richard Daley vetoed the ordinance.

In a lesser way, Moore got some national press for his bill--this one passed and wasn't vetoed--that banned the duck liver delicacy foie gras. Moore and others view the treatment of ducks being prepared for later foie gras treats as being cruel to the birds.

In today's Chicago "free registration required" Tribune, the paper reports that many restaurants are openly serving foie gras--ignoring the new law.

Chicago's City Council needs to focus on "nuts and bolts" issues, like streets and keeping taxes low. However, the city is now considering a trans fat ban.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I could have told them that for free

From Australia:

The Australian weightlifting community has been linked to the organised distribution and supply of prohibited drugs including steroids and human growth hormone, a report has found.

The report by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) was commissioned earlier this year.

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George S. Patton died on Dec. 21, 1945

Third Wave Dave has a terrific post up honoring the 61st anniversary of the death of General George S. Patton, Jr. Visit his site here. And another friend of the blog, The Radio Patriots, has also created a great online tribute to the greatest American general of World War II.

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Mayor Daley will endorse Obama for president in '08

For only the second time in Mayor Richard M. Daley's long tenure as Chicago's chief executive, he will make an early endorsement of a Democratic hopeful for president.

In 1998, Daley was quick to endorse Al Gore in his run for the top job. Now Daley says he'll back Obama in his presumed quest for the White House.

There is a common thread between these endorsements: Daley's brother Bill, the former commerce secretary. Bill Daley later became the campaign chairman for Gore's ill-fated 2000 campaign. And earlier this week, brother Bill signed on as a senior adviser for the unofficial Obama campaign.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Here you have not only an Illinoisan, but a Chicagoan who is a major contender for the highest office in the land. . . . When in our history have we ever had a favorite son this close to [the White House]? Why not get on board early?" said a Daley confidant, who asked to remain unnamed. "Hillary Clinton has been a great senator, a wonderful civic leader. But logic dictates that a Chicago mayor would be behind the Chicagoan who has taken the world by storm. Beyond that, this man has tremendous potential. The world sees that. It stands to reason that the mayor sees it."

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A headline Barack Obama doesn't want to see....

Iraqi with ties to Rezko escapes Baghdad jail

Now of course, Sen. Barack Obama probably hasn't even heard of Aiham Alsammarae, the escapee who is the former Iraqi electricity minister. Alsammarae was being held in an Iraqi jail on corruption charges.

Here's the problem for Barack Obama. Tony Rezko, an indicted Democratic fundraiser and real estate developer, has tentacles seemingly everywhere. So there won't be any shortage of new Tony Rezko material.

Here's a rough run-down of Obama's controversial land deal with Tony Rezko.

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"The Nativity Story" preview now playing in Chicago

As I noted on Marathon Pundit a couple of times this month, a German-American group organized its annual Christkindlmarket, a Christmas celebration, in downtown Chicago.

One of the sponsors of this year's event is the film "The Nativity Story."
A trailer of the film was being shown at Christkindlmarket, until the City of Chicago Department of Special Events told the festival organizers to stop playing it. First, the department said the trailer was "insensitive to the many people of different faiths." Its explanation shifted to this retort: the film is "too commercial." The latter stand didn't prevent the McDonalds Thanksgiving Parade from taking place in Chicago last month.

But at today 11:00 am Chicago time, the trailer will return.

From a TC Public Relations press release.

City Reverses Position on Showing of Religious Movie Trailer at Annual Christmas Market

(Chicago...Media reports around the world have covered statements by Jim Law, Chicago’s executive director of special events, where he said that a trailer for the movie The Nativity Story could not be shown at a Christmas festival in downtown Chicago. Law stated that the trailer would be "insensitive to the many people of different faiths." Now to show that the cinematic version of Jesus’ birth is welcomed in Chicago, a group of Christians that see the trailer as religious expression have convinced the City of Chicago to allow them to show the trailer. The Christian supporters are Jim Finnegan, one of the sponsors of the manger on Daley Plaza , and Civil Liberties for Urban Believers (CLUB) an association of Chicago churches. The trailer will run from 11 am Wednesday, December 20 through Christmas Day on Daley Plaza located at 50 West Washington Street in Chicago. Press conference at 11 am on Wednesday, December 20th.

"For years I’ve had the privilege of being involved in presentation of Chicago nativity scene that displayed at Daley Plaza. Showing The Nativity Story trailer after Chicago officials had first declared that there was no room at "Daley Plaza Inn" represents a victory for all civil liberties and a welcomed accommodation that brings the message of the Messiah’s birth to life," said Jim Finnegan.

"While the City of Chicago certainly should not endorse religious speech, the Constitution and a number of Supreme Court decisions make clear that citizens and private organizations have a right to religious expression in the public square," said John Mauck with Mauck & Baker, whose firm worked with Finnegan, CLUB, and the Chicago-based Thomas More Society to file for the permits to show the trailer, "Ironically, this past summer, despite many people being offended by the governmental endorsement of the Gay Games, the City of Chicago promoted that event enthusiastically. In contrast we had to work hard and threaten litigation to overcome the City's initial prohibition against a private group showing people the Savior of the world in a public place. Hopefully Chicago will stop discriminating against religious speech."

The right to show this trailer was settled in 1989 when Jennifer Neubauer, then a private lawyer and now chairman of Thomas More Society, filed a federal lawsuit and won a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction from Chief Judge James B. Parsons of the U.S.District Court in Chicago, prohibiting any discrimination against private religious expression on Daley Center Plaza, a traditional public forum. The court granted permission to erect religious displays on public property without discrimination against expression on account of religious content. "The reason we can now see a manger with Jesus, an Islamic Crescent and a Jewish Menorah is because of that court case back in the 1980's. Freedom of religious expression in the public square is protected as one of our most fundamental rights under the First Amendment," said Tom Brejcha, Chief Counsel, Thomas More Society of Chicago.

Earlier posts: City of Chicago statement on Christkindlmarket and The Nativity Story film

Christmas Scrooges in Chicago

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Only in Chicago: Four convicted felons seek to regain their aldermanic seats

In most places, politicians run for office and then get convicted on corruption charges, never to be heard from, politically at least, ever again.

(Yes, I'm aware of Marion Barry's achievement.)

Four former Chicago alderman, Percy Giles, Ambrosio Medrano, Wallace Davis, and Virgil Jones, have filed petitions to reclaim their council seats. As former felons, Illinois law is unclear if they have forfeited the right to run for public office.

However, as part of their platform, the four men can tell voters, "I've served my time already."

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

2008: Gilmore set to explore

I was thinking the cupboard of Republican candidates for president, especially on the conservative end of the table, was getting a bit empty. But out of the Old Dominion, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is forming a presidential exploratory committee.

The November mid-term elections sank the presidential prospects of Gilmore's fellow Virginian George Allen and his Senate colleague Bill Frist. Both men were viewed as strong contenders to win the 2008 Republican nomination for president and could both boast of strong conservative credentials.

They're out, but Gilmore may be in.

From AP:

"There is not a committed conservative in the field who can put together a national campaign. I am and I can. I have people on the ground right now in Iowa and in South Carolina," Gilmore, 57, said in a telephone interview from New York.

His comments were directed not only at others preparing for a GOP presidential run, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and departing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. It's also yet another of his many slaps at lavish federal spending by the current Republican administration and Congress.

"I am not someone who has to evolve as a conservative. I don't have to evolve my position," he said.

Just like that other self-described "true-conservative" Sam Brownback, Gilmore has little name recognition outside of the population of political junkies.

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"Jewish cabal" comment from O.J. publisher draws ire

O.J. Simpson, not Jewish.... Adam Sandler, The Hanukkah Song.

Judith Regan, became the former publisher at HarperCollins after she claimed that a "Jewish cabal" was out to get her.

Regan was the "brainchild" behind the almost-publication of the book, "written" by the semi-literate O.J. Simpson, "If I Did It."

"It" of course being the murders of his former wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.

From AP:

If Ms. Regan did make the charge that a Jewish cabal was conspiring against her, she clearly stepped over the line by employing the age-old anti-Semitic canard that Jews conspire against non-Jews," ADL (Anti-Defamation League) National Director Abraham H. Foxman said. "She also gives credence to the conspiracy theory that Jews control the media.

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More Obama and Rezko

Friend of the blog, Republican strategist, and former newspaper reporter Dan Curry of Reverse Spin has a take on Obama-Rezko controversy.

From his blog, Reverse Spin:

First, it's a bit silly to suggest that he didn't know Tony Rezko was in the crosshairs of newspapers and investigators. Rezko was front page news throughout 2005, even in the early months. It is part of a larger pattern of Obama not speaking out about corruption in his own party. He endorsed the ethically challenged Alexi Giannoulias for state treasurer and stuck by him after it was revealed he was responsible for bank loans to mobsters. Then he stood silently by at the Illinois State Fair in August, refusing to say a word about nine state and federal corruption investigations of Governor Rod Blagojevich. Then, a few weeks later, he had the Audacity to lecture Kenya about corruption.

I'm getting really local here, but I think it's important to bring up Obama's endorsement of Democrat Todd Stroger for President of the Cook County Board. (Cook has a population larger than most states.)

From Eric Zorn's Chicago Tribune blog:

Obama's staff released a profoundly disheartening letter to voters this week in which Obama, joined by Sen. Dick Durbin, endorsed Cook County Board presidential candidate Todd Stroger.

The letter, which puffs lots of hot air into the saggy balloon of Stroger's legislative resume, refers to him as "a good progressive Democrat" who will "lead us into a new era of Cook County government."

Todd Stroger was a "strong voice" in Springfield, the letter says. He has "worked assiduously" for the poor as an alderman. Yet, of course, the record reveals that Stroger is an unimaginative legislative drone whose reform credentials are wholly imaginary--an unlikely trailblazer to a new era.

In a back room deal that shocked even Illinois residents, Stroger was foisted on Cook County voters after his father, who created the mess that is known as Cook County government, suffered a stroke shortly before the senior Stroger's primary victory.

Sadly, Todd Stroger was victorious in November.

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Jesse Jackson Jr's wife running for alderman in Chicago

The nepotism practices of the Rev. Jesse Jackson are well documented. Now his son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., is helping out the family. His wife is running for alderman in Chicago.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Persian Gulf may get a little more crowded

The mullahs and Holocaust-deniers in Iran may have some new folks prowling their neighborhood.

From The Australian:

The US will position an aircraft carrier group in the Gulf after the new year as a warning to Iran, CBS news has reported.

The US TV network said the Pentagon was deploying "a major buildup of naval forces in and around the Persian Gulf" in response to what the US considered "increasingly provocative acts".

CBS noted Iranian naval exercises, support of Shiite militias in Iraq and its enrichment of nuclear fuel as reasons for US concern.

The network stressed, however, that the US does not intend to attack Iran but rather, "discourage its leaders from spreading their Shiite revolution."

Quick, send David Duke back to Tehran!

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Tehran Times interviews madman and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson

One of the vilest people on the planet is Robert Faurisson, a French Holocaust denier. He was one of the speakers at last week's shameless "Holocaust Conference."

Here are is an excerpt of some recent spewings, courtesy of the Tehran Times:

This conference is a big and nice surprise. I had never thought that there could be such a thing. I was really pessimistic. When for the first time I heard that President Ahmadinejad said that the Holocaust was a myth, I was so surprised. I wondered if Iran would exist anymore. I thought that the U.S. or Western countries would try to destroy this country because the belief in the Holocaust is the central pillar of the West and the world. To say that it is a myth is something extremely dangerous. I, as a researcher, might say that it is a myth, but for the head of a state it is extremely dangerous. But he did it.

Can I say something more?

I think that the year 2006 will be counted in history as a very important year because a country called Iran said no to Bush and yes to revisionists. It is marvelous.

He goes on to say...

President Ahmadinejad has used the right word. The alleged Holocaust of the Jews is a myth. That is a belief maintained by credulity or ignorance. It does not mean that the people who believe it are liars. They are not liars, but they are believers.

Prior to 9/11, Noam Chomsky's involvement in defending Faurisson was helpful in achieving the almost-happy ending of marginalizing Chomsky into a 1960s relic. (Chomsky's rosy views on post-Vietnam War Indo-China were admittedly a bigger factor in the linguist's temporary fall from grace.) But Faurisson is still vomiting nonsense, and Chomsky's relevance is once again a burden upon humanity.

What a sick world we live in.

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Hillary and Obama like each other

The two Democratic candidates with Illinois connections--one grew up here, the other lives here, have come out and declared they like each other--at least publicly.

This is what Sen. Hillary Clinton said today about Sen. Barack Obama on NBC's today show, according to AP:

She sidestepped an opinion on whether Obama would make a good president. But the former first lady praised him as an exciting personality with "a lot to contribute to the national dialogue."

And from Newsweek, here's Obama:

I have tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton. She's an outstanding leader in the Democratic Party. She's earned her stripes.

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