Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Blago's Budget, lacking in "testicular virility"

Marathon Pundit received this e-mail from the Joe Birkett people about Rod Blagogevich's pension-fund raiding budget that will foul up Illinois for decades.

"Somebody should have put money in this budget to find Rod Blagojevich's self-proclaimed testicular virility because what he engineered is hundreds of pages of weak-kneed leadership.

He simply tucked his fortitude in his pocket and took the easy way out
-- passing along billions of dollars in burdens to future generations of Illinoisans.
We elected a governor to lead us through tough economic times. He let us down again."

And this comes to us from a Sunday Daily Herald editorial:

As a way to fix the current budget problems, the Democratic leadership is ready to push through a proposal to pass as much as $1.1 billion in pension debt onto future generations. The state would skip part of next year’s payment into its employee pension system and use the money to fill a $1.2 billion hole in the budget.

More on Governor Rod Blagojevich's "testicular virility" here.

Update on the runner who died Saturday at the Soldier Field 10

As posted here Saturday night, a runner died after finishing the Soldier Field 1o mile race. He seemed like a great guy. From ABC 7 Chicago:

Students, faculty and family members gathered at a high school on Chicago's North Side Tuesday to remember a teacher who died unexpectedly over the holiday weekend. Andrew Engle, 28, collapsed while running a race Saturday in downtown Chicago. Engle was a respected teacher and the vice principal at St. Gregory High School.

Chicago's Lakeshore Marathon, 27 miles, instead of 26

Marathon Pundit has heard from two participants in yesterday's Lakeshore Marathon in Chicago that the race organizer of yesterday's event botched the course and added about a mile to the "26.2" mile race. According to one e-mail I received:

There were virtually no mile markers between 15 and 25, so I figured I must have slowed down somewhere. Turns out, per peoples GPS, the darn thing was 27.3 (miles) or so

This message board poster on Runner's World.com agreed:

People who measured the marathon with a GPS all agreed it was at least a mile long (the full marathon).

As with any large group of people, it's difficult to encapsulate what the needs are of "the typical runner." However-- to a person--all runners demand that if they sign up for a 26.2 mile race, the event organizers should get the race distance down right. Exactly right. I'll be keeping an eye on this story, and will post further updates as they become available.

More Moonbat Central on Norman Finkelstein, plus Arthur Butz

Moonbat Central's Steven Plaut, as noted Sunday, has been quite supportive of Thomas Klocek's free speech struggle with Chicago's DePaul University. He takes a close Norman Finkelstein's course syllablus for Israel-Palestine Conflict in Historical Perspective. Among the course materials, according to Plaut, "...not a single pro-Israel voice of dissent is permitted to be aired. Where are the rights of DePaul students to hear all sides of an issue? Why are they not being defended against Finkelstein's podium bullying?'

About a dozen miles north of DePaul's Lincoln Park campus lies Northwestern University, where, noted on a separate Sunday post, admitted Holocaust denier Arthur Butz is an engineering professor. Plaut discovered that Butz--who is not allowed by NU to discuss holocaust denial in the classroom--touts his Holocaust denial book here, on a Northwestern University web site.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Quote of the day from Steve Prefontaine

Today of course is Memorial Day, and it's also the 30th anniversary of the death of track and field great Steve Prefontaine, who died at age 24 in an automobile accident.

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift."

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Memorial Day, 2005

Memorial Day greetings and blessings to all of our troops, both past and present!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Chicago Jewish Star's editorial on Klocek, DePaul, and Finkelstein

Under the title of "DePaul's predicament: The choice--Stop--or stop justifying--anti-Israel sentiment," the Chicago Jewish Star returns to the issues haunting Chicago's DePaul University.

In its previous edition, the Star summarized Thomas Klocek's free speech struggle against DePaul, and it included this quote from Klocek, "I stood for Israel, because it is in the right. I paid the price at a Christian University."

The Chicago Jewish Star is not available online, it's a free weekly. If you're in Chicago's Loop, look for a Jewish Star newspaper box and pick up a copy to see the entire editorial.

Here are some excerpts:

During the past few years, Chicago's DePaul University, the largest Catholic institution of its kind in America, has been careening towards securing a reputation as a safe haven for promoters of anti-Israel sentiment on campus.

Three separate, unrelated developments incline an observer to that conclusion. They are worth reviewing in order to understand how DePaul got into this predicament. '

That first development is the recent art show at DePaul's Lincoln Park campus, written about here in the DePaulia, Subject of Palestine: a Vincentian Masterpiece, and on Jewish United Fund Online, DePaul faces criticism over Palestinian art exhibit.

Like the JUF article, the Star challenges the fiction in the introductory text of the exhibit's program, that in 1948 Israel occupation ended Palestinian independence. The truth of course, is the Arab nations surrounding Israel attacked it, in a futile attempt to destroy the then-hours old nation of Israel. As for those Arab "allies" of the Palestinians, rather that creating a Palestinian state, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip, and Jordan did the same in the area now know as the West Bank.

The Star scolds two DePaul history professors, Warren Schultz and Daniel Goffman, for giving this talking-out-of-both-sides-the-mouth explanation of their opinion of The Subject of Palestine:

According to Professor Schultz, "Dan and I are in agreement that this is not a statement we would have made about the events in 1948, but I recognize that what this statement does reflect is a view of a at least some Palestinians, and as such, it helps people to understand the art that is being produced."

The Jewish Star gives an "F" to those "obfuscating, invertebrate responses."

The second development is the suspension of DePaul professor Thomas Klocek, the Jewish Star specifically takes Dean Susanne Dumbleton to task, when she "set the tone in her abject, fawning and pathetic explanation" which can be found here in the October 8, 2004 DePaulia.

Klocek, of course, was offended by Palestinian student claims that Israelis treat the Palestinians the same way the Nazis treated the Jews.

Again, quoting from the Star:

While there are conflicting accounts of what took place at this encounter, DePaul's handing of it makes it clear that--at least when it comes to pro-Palestinian students--publicly contesting false claims is not what that institution of higher learning is all about.

As for the third development, the Chicago Jewish Star is troubled by the presence on DePaul's faculty of Professor Norman G. Finkelstein. As the Star notes:

When the university first hired Mr. Finkelstein in 2001, his reputation as an out-of-control, unbalanced analyst who mixes vile and vitriolic attacks on his critics with a gleeful exhibitionism was firmly established.

With so many credible, intelligent, informed scholars of Middle Eastern studies available from which to select, why in the world did DePaul decide to bring this man on its staff?

The Star juxtaposes DePaul's hiring choice of Finkelstein with the predicament Evanston's Northwestern University continues to face in having holocaust-denier Arthur Butz as a tenured member on its faculty. Northwestern found out after it gave Butz tenure that he was a holocaust- denier. As noted above, with Finkelstein, DePaul knew what it was getting into by hiring this man, who if he is not a holocaust-denier, is definitely a holocaust-minimizer.

I'd like to add that what's worse for DePaul, is that Finkelstein is on the faculty of DePaul's political science department, where Israeli-Arab relations are bound to come up within the context of his classroom responsibilities. This does not by any means get Arthur Butz off the hook, but Butz is a professor of electrical engineering, an academic discipline where Middle Eastern politics don't matter much--if at all Still, Northwestern has been trying various methods to relieve Arthur Butz of his duties for decades, most recently, according to the Jewish Star, by buying out his contract, an offer Butz refused.

Butz remains an engineering professor at Northwestern, but he's forbidden from bringing up holocaust-denial in the classroom.

Finkelstein in the winter quarter of 2002 taught this class at DePaul, Israel-Palestine Conflict in Historical Perspective.

The final paragraphs are once again from the Chicago Jewish Star editorial.

DePaul administrators do not have to allow the university to become, or used as, a safe haven for Israel bashers.

The administration needs to take control of the university to monitor what goes on in its space, and to replace the political correctness that has filtered into the system with Catholic convictions about right and wrong, truth and falsehood.

We are hopeful that, once aware how it has drifted from these moorings, DePaul can now recover its bearings.

Moonbat Central on Alexander Cockburn

Moonbat Central, the latest link added to this blog, has a great post by Steven Plaut on far-leftist Alexander Cockburn, part of the anti-Israel three-way attack team against Alan Dershowitz. The post is here.

The other two members of this tag-team are Noam Chomsky and DePaul's Norman Finkelstein, as I noted in this Marathon Pundit post from Thursday. That posting was inspired by Alan Dershowitz' latest essay, The Hazards of Making The Case for Israel.

Moonbat Central's Plaut has been a strong supporter of Professor Thomas Klocek's free speech struggle with DePaul, and among his comments on Alexander Cockburn are:

In his article, Dershowitz reveals that Cockburn was fired from the Village Voice for hiding a $10,000 "grant" he received from an anti-Israel organization. He cites the article, "Village Voice Suspends Alexander Cockburn Over $10,000 Grant" (Wall Street Journal, January 18,1984, p. 12). Dershowitz also notes how Cockburn granted credence to "reports" by neo-nazis that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks and that Jews were involved in anthrax attacks, citing Franklin Foer, "Relativity Theory; Alexander Cockburn’s Dubious Theories" (New Republic, April 22, 2002, p. 12). Dershowitz also cites columnist Jon Margolis, who - after exposing several false charges made by Cockburn - asserted that "Cockburn has been abusing reality for decades" and that "as an accuser, Joe McCarthy was more responsible."

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Thomas Klocek tells the DePaulia his side of the story

I'm posting this one in its entirety, although I'll add a comment or link here and there. Suspended Professor Klocek's letter-to-the-editor is in the latest issue of the DePaul school newspaper, The DePaulia.

"I would like to clarify some points regarding an incident on Sept. 15, 2004, between me and the Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP), at a Student Activities Fair on the Loop campus.

1. There was no shouting, throwing of papers, nor threats made by anyone.
2. I did not identify myself as a faculty member until one of the SJP students asked me as I was leaving.
3. I did not make an obscene gesture at any time.
4. The University has denied me due process as outlined in the Faculty Handbook by allowing Dean Susanne Dumbleton to suspend me without any hearing or written charges. She also insisted I not meet with the students, despite my offer to conciliate with them following the incident. 5. The University has insisted my case concerns conduct, not content. Yet Dean Dumbleton's letter to The DePaulia (Oct. 8, 2004) cites 'erroneous assertion' as being sufficient reason to take action against me."

(My note: that letter from Dean Dumbleton can be found here.)

"To which of these assertions, then, does she take exception?

a) My disagreement with a SJP student's statement comparing treatment of Palestinians by Israel with Hitler's treatment of the Jews;
b) My assertion that Christians in the Middle East have a right to live there in peace;
c) The term Palestinian, prior to 1948, referred to anyone living in those territories, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew, and that only later did that term become associated with Arabs alone.

6. The president of the DePaul stated that I have hired a publicist because I am seeking a great deal of money from the University. The truth is that I have retained an attorney, John Mauck, to represent my interests. The amount of restitution sought is modest in light of my being called a racist and a religious bigot in print, with attendant adverse consequences for my academic career.

7. SJP was first to bring this matter beyond the University through an e-mail sent by its president, Salma Nassar, on Oct. 5, 2004, to various universities and student groups throughout the country."

(My comment: This is what known as an organized e-mail "hit job." The goal is this: Cram administrators' Outlook inboxes with nasty letters, compelling the addresses to think the worst of a situation, especially when the dreaded "R" word is brought into the fray.)

"8. The University now demands (but has not always done so) an apology as a pre-condition to further employment. My question: For what specifically? To date, I have received no written charges. An apology for the content of my speech? For what I said? It would be wrong indeed to censor the students for their ideas and beliefs. However, the University administration, realizing that apologizing for my opinions would amount to an unwarranted censorship of ideas, now asks me to apologize for conduct in which I have not engaged.
9. The draconian penalties to which I have been subjected are deeply distressing in light of the central issue here: free speech.

Thomas E. Klocek
Adjunct Professor- School of New Learning"

(My final comment: Thank you to the DePaulia for printing Professor Klocek's letter.)

Runner dies at Chicago's Soldier Field 10 miler

Very sad. From ABC 7 Chicago:

Runner collapses, dies during 10-mile race

May 28, 2005 — A runner collapsed and died during a race to honor the country's veterans.

More than than 3,000 runners paid tribute to veterans and soldiers this morning at the 2nd Annual Fleet Feet Memorial Day Race.

Authorities say 28-year-old Andrew Angle died after the 10-mile run that began at Soldier Field. The cause of death has not been determined.

The event raised money for the Cook County Veteran.s Assistance Association.

Jim Lampley's latest...

Jim Lampley has his latest Huffington Post scribbling here, as with most liberal writers, he feels the need to compare theIraq conflict and War on Terror to Vietnam.

This noxious sentence stands out: "It was 1975 before the last evacuating American helicopter finally paid proper and poignant tribute to the reality of Vietnam's internal politics."

Were you happy we left in defeat, Jim?

The article's title is "The Worst and the Dumbest."

Chicago Indy Media back up

No explanation, but lefty web site Chicago Indy Media up and running and again. Look for a post relating to the Klocek-DePaul case later today, with a link to them.

Chicago Indy Media site down.

A few days ago I linked to his press release on Chicago Indy Media where July 4th was being touted as "Flag Burning Day." Since I need to track down a different press release from last fall on that site, I had to drop in again, and I've not been able to access this leftist propaganda site since last night. Could be too much traffic, down for maintenace, or they p*ssed someone off who crashed it. (No, I don't do that stuff.)

NYC Indy Media is still up, and still promoting flag burning.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Iraqi Kurdish students choose English over Arabic

Now here is a stunner! According to Islam Online and Middle East Online, more students prefer to learn English over Arabic, the official language of Iraq as well as the language of the Koran.

Opression under Saddam Hussein has something to with it, according to Arbil High School director Hany Khoder saying the students "prefer English, because, to them, Arabic is the language of oppression and the atrocities of the former regime."

At Salaheddin University in Kurdish northern Iraq, of the students there, 999 study in English, 555 study in Kurdish and just 350 choose to study in Arabic.

"Those who study in Arabic do so because they did not have good enough grades in the baccalaureate to study in English, or for religious reasons," said Taher Mustafa, 42, who is one of only four Arabic language lecturers at the university.

Amazing story.

Marquette University nickname update, no "Warriors" no "Jumpin' Jesuits."

Well, at least they have a sense of humor in Milwaukee. A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the PC nickname farce going on at Marquette university.

Students, faculty, and alumni are being directed to this web site to choose a new nickname for the Marquette University athletic teams. Once again, those choices are: Blue and Gold, Explorers, Saints, Golden Knights, Golden Eagles (the nickame for the last ten years until last month), Wolves, Golden Avalanche, Hilltoppers, and Spirit.

Write in votes will be accepted, from the Marquette nickname web page:

To be counted, write-in nicknames must be consistent with the University's Catholic, Jesuit mission and the Board of Trustees' resolution forbidding Native American imagery and references. Additionally, write-in suggestions of nicknames that are intended to embarrass the university will not be counted. Any nicknames under review by the NCAA for their relationship to Native American imagery will not be counted. Examples of nicknames that will not be counted include Warriors (or any variation of the word, i.e., war) and Jumpin' Jesuits.

No "Jumpin' Jesuits?" Must be the grammatical error. How 'bout JUMPING Jesuits?

Pat Curley of Brainster makes the Washington Post

Pat Curley of Brainster has been exceptionally supportive of this blog and its predecessor, Blue States for Bush. Congrats are due to Pat, as he made it into yesterday's Howard Kurtz column in the Washington Post. (Free registration required).

Hat tip to Ankle Biting Pundits.

Cook County, IL drops punch card ballots

Not sure what to make of this yet, but suburban Cook County, Illinois is dropping punch card ballots and switching to the optical-scan method. The article from AP, is a bit vague, as it appears to cover only the suburbs of Cook. Popluation-wise, roughly one-third of Cook County will be switching to the new ballots, Chicago--also in Cook but it has its own election authority--may drop the punch cards too.

As mentioned above, I may not be sure what to make of this, but I'm sure noted election and statistician expert Jim Lampley can quickly clarify matters for us.

Rainbow/Push, Jesse Jackson fined by FEC

Michelle Malkin had this on her blog yesterday, meant to post it then, but I got sidetracked by other things.

But Chicago Sun-Times has caught up to AP and Michelle with this article in today's edition.

From that article, by Lynn Sweet:

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Democratic National Committee and another Jackson entity will pay $200,000 in fines for campaign finance law violations in the 2000 presidential election stemming from a complaint by a prominent conservative lobbying organization.

The civil penalties were announced Thursday by the Federal Election Commission in a case filed by the American Conservative Union. The complaint followed a speaking tour in which Jackson stumped for Democrats at more than 120 events between September and November 2000. The FEC found Jackson's travels, officially nonpartisan, were actually done on behalf of Democratic candidates.

Sweet goes on to write that as a nonprofit, tax exempt organization, these payments violated the law.

Flashforward to 2007: The Reverend Jackson's son, Jesse Jr., may be a candidate for mayor of Chicago.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Horowitz discusses Brooklyn College professor on O'Reilly Factor, prof called religious people "moral retards"

I can't remember who said it, but in the classic film The Music Man--either Marcellus Washburn (Buddy Hackett) or lovable rascal Henry Hill (Robert Preston) referred to Brooklyn as the "City of Churches." The Music Man was set in 1912, years before the arrival of Timothy Shortell.

As touted in the previous post, David Horowitz appeared on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor tonight, the guest host was John Kasich.

Horowitz talked mainly about Timothy Shortell a Brooklyn College professor who's just been elected to head the college's sociology department.

This appeared in the New York Daily News earlier this week:

"Shortell has written in an online academic publication that the devout "are an ugly, violent lot. In the name of their faith, these moral retards are running around pointing fingers."

Horowitz mentioned that as a department head, Professor Shortell will have a strong say in which professors get hired in the sociology department at Brooklyn.

What this means to me is that the loony left will perpetuate itself there. And Brooklyn College is not unique, Horowitz warned.

Brooklyn College can't be all bad, they had the sense, according to Alan Dershowitz, to fire Norman Finkelstein.

In addition to Front Page Magazine, Horowitz maintains another site worth visiting, Students for Academic Freedom.

Front Page Magazine's David Horowitz on O'Reilly Factor tonight

David Horowitz' online Front Page Magazine has been very supportive of suspended professor Thomas Klocek's free speech struggle with DePaul University. Horowitz will be a guest on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor tonight at 8PM eastern time.

Alan Dershowitz denounces Norman Finkelstein, DePaul's holocaust minimizer

If you're visiting this site, you very likely know who Alan Dershowitz is: defense attorney for OJ Simpson and Claus von Bulow, among others. He's also a best-selling author, and an ardent supporter of Israel.

As a man who takes on controversial causes, he's going to attract enemies. One of those enemies is DePaul professor Norman Finkelstein, who's been called a holocaust minimizer and an anti-Semitic Jew.

But Norman Finkelstein's free speech rights are safe at DePaul, unlike those of DePaul's suspended pro-Israel professor, Thomas Klocek.

Professor Finkelstein has a new book coming out next month, Beyond Chutzpah : On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. The title is a backhanded slap at Alan Dershowitz's "Chutzpah."

Earlier this week, the web site Jbooks.com published an essay by Dershowitz, available here.

Below is an excerpt. I omitted Dershowitz's footnotes in the interest of readability:

Finkelstein has said that he “can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo” and asserted that Israel’s human rights record is “interchangeable with Iraq’s” when it was ruled by Saddam Hussein. He has said that most alleged Holocaust survivors—including Elie Wiesel—have fabricated their past, are “bogus,” and that those seeking reparations are “cheats” and “greedy.” Because of my support of Israel, he has compared me to “Adolf Eichman [sic],” and accused me of expressing “Nazi moral judgments.” When challenged to defend his frequent comparison between Jews and Nazis, he has responded, “Nazis never like to hear they’re being Nazis.” He is a popular speaker among German neo-Nazis; one, Ingrid Rimland, whose husband, the notorious Ernst Zuendel, wrote The Hitler We Loved And Why, even referred to him admiringly as the “Jewish David Irving” (“Jüdischer David Irving”)—a reference to the British Holocaust denier and Hitler admirer. The comparison is apt because Finkelstein has reportedly praised the Holocaust-denying Irving as “a good historian!” and as having “made an indispensable” contribution to our knowledge of World War II.”

A German writer has observed that “seldom has a Jew been more celebrated by brown propaganda that Finkelstein.” Another writer aptly described him as a Jew who “supports anti-Semitism.” Gabriel Schoenfeld has labeled his views as “crackpot ideas, some of them mirrored almost verbatim in the propaganda put out by neo-Nazis around the world.” His books do not sell in America, but they are best-sellers among the growing number of neo-Nazis in Germany.

(Added 3:30pm CDT) I forgot one important detail about Finkelstein: He's a big pal of Noam Chomsky.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Thomas Klocek Interviewed!

Bobby Maddex of the Crux Project interviewed suspended DePaul professor Thomas Klocek recently. The interview is here, and well worth your time to read about Klocek free speech struggle from the professor himself

Here is my favorite paragraph:

I think a cultural shift has taken place at all American universities. Some time ago, the purpose of a university was the free and unfettered exchange of ideas, no matter how controversial or contrary those ideas were to your own. And I think that in that kind of free interplay, we tried to get at that slippery slope called truth. And then we tried to go beyond truth to wisdom. The wise person is supposed to be the ultimate product of a university education. Starting in the Sixties, however, this situation was replaced by agenda groups and political correctness. Instead of a common American agenda here with common values, we have espoused in the name of diversity a great deal of misinformation. We now have competing ethnic and racial agendas in this country that are dangerously close to creating disunity. We have encouraged a misguided political correctness in which groups become victims, in which people become aggrieved instead of true individuals and adults.

Very well thought out and very right on the mark. In my conversations with Professor Klocek, I came up with one great word to describe him: erudite.

Amnesty International's annual report: America is bad

Amnesty International's annual report came out today and although the report does not give out grades, a quick read of it will tell the reader that America deserves an "F" in human rights, at least in AI's opinion.

Other countries? If you dig around within the report, you do find in-passing scoldings of North Korea and Saudi Arabia in the regional summaries. As for Cuba, the only reference to be found regarding that unhappy island in the Americas regional summary is (surprise!) the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.

You have to dig deep, but select Cuba among the list of countries pull-down selection, to ascertain what's happening there. Pretty much the same deal for Saudi Arabia and North Korea, too.

Naturally, most people who do venture to the Amnesty International web site aren't going to do all that--they're more likely to read the what's on the home page, or the foreword.

That foreword, written by Irene Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, can be found here. Below is an interesting excerpt.

Despite the near-universal outrage generated by the photographs coming out of Abu Ghraib, and the evidence suggesting that such practices are being applied to other prisoners held by the USA in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and elsewhere, neither the US administration nor the US Congress has called for a full and independent investigation.

Instead, the US government has gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Conventions and to “re-define” torture. It has sought to justify the use of coercive interrogation techniques, the practice of holding “ghost detainees” (people in unacknowledged incommunicado detention) and the "rendering" or handing over of prisoners to third countries known to practise torture. The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law. Trials by military commissions have made a mockery of justice and due process.

The USA, as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power, sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide. When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity. From Israel to Uzbekistan, Egypt to Nepal, governments have openly defied human rights and international humanitarian law in the name of national security and “counter-terrorism”.

I don't see the point in picking apart each sentence, but what occurred at Abu Ghraib was wrong. Everyone knows that, and there have been plenty of investigations--hard hitting ones--in the US about Abu Ghraib. Despite the ongoing violence, Iraq is a better and more humane country since Saddam's overthrow. There is a nascent Arab Spring in the Middle East (Lebanon and Egypt) that likely has drawn at least some inspiration from the January elections in Iraq). Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia might as well be part of that list, even though it is not an Arab state.

Oh, I almost forgot. Israel is bad too.

This July 4th is Flag Burning Day!

From Chicago Indymedia. File under "mental illness." For the record, I don't drink, and I probably eat two or three hot dogs a year.

Hat tip to Brainster (again).

Every summer good Americans don their best red white and blue, and gorge themselves on beer and hotdogs to celebrate our independence from England, but from its very beginnings this country has been built on illegitimacies. The Indians helped the first few pilgrims to survive on thanksgiving and in return the colonialist settlers massacred the natives, stole their land and declared themselves sovereign.

The “Fore Fathers” were the colonial American elite; they were among the richest men in the new country. The British King restricted them from taking some Indian land, so they revolted promising many of the soldiers large parcels of land in payment for fighting. Perhaps the slave holding founders had noble intentions when they constructed a system of governance that limited its own power, but even before its independence the state was just the strong-arm of big business. And since then the government has only grown more and more coercive in its aim of imposing American corporate interests everywhere it can around the world, so when the leaders talk about how “Independence Day” is all about freedom and democracy it reeks of hypocrisy.

July 4th has only ever symbolized the independence of the New World royalty. So on this Fourth of July we call on you to express your feelings on their “Independence Day” by burning a flag in a nationally coordinated action. Together we will show the elite that we are everywhere and that we completely reject the false principals this holiday is based on.

That's their press release. What a bunch of goofs.

Skokie, IL man possibly killed by terrorists

Reports from various international media are reporting claims from an al-Zarqawi group that Skokie businessman Neenus Khoshaba was been executed.

Personal note: Skokie borders my hometown of Morton Grove.

It appears Khoshaba has no ties to the US military, he's a more likely just a guy trying to set up various business deals in Iraq. If he has been killed, it seems to be that he was murdered for being an American citizen.

In a related story, there are reports that not only has Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi been wounded, but that he also has left Iraq for treatment. A note of caution: reports of al-Zarqawi's capture or death have been almost daily media fodder. None so far have turned out to be true. The latest news does come from a web site that in the past has posted announcements from al-Qaeda, but it's a good idea for everyone to remain skeptical about this latest news.

Blagojevich administration hit on air travel costs

After running a "no more business as usual" campaign for Illinois' governor, Rod Blagojevich, the maestro of phony reform, did break precedent by deciding not to move into the governor's mansion in Springfield. He chose instead to continue living on Chicago's northwest side.

The state capital is still in Springfield, so Rod does have to travel down there occasionally.

In an article by Mary Tallon of the AP, courtesy of the Daily Southtown:

An Associated Press analysis found the Blagojevich administration used state aircraft 27 percent more than former Gov. George Ryan's did, with the vast majority of those flights being between Springfield and Chicago.

Overall, according to the AP, the state has decreased frequency of air travel.

But Blagojevich's decision to live in Chicago has some troubling ramifications.

From that same AP article:

Members of the House State Government Administration Committee complained Tuesday that Blagojevich's decision to base department heads and even midlevel managers in Chicago could needlessly cost taxpayer money.

"We have real concerns, I believe, that the capital — I guess the seat of government of the state of Illinois — has been moved to Chicago instead of being here in Springfield," said Rep. Jack Franks, a Woodstock Democrat who chairs the committee.

Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, argued that government operations are less efficient when top officials and their agencies are in two different cities.

"It presents a logistic problem to the running of state government," Mitchell said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New National Review is out!

And what's on the cover? A toilet, and what's printed on the toilet lid? "Insert Mainstream Media Credibility Here." Subtitle is "On Newsweek, The New York Times, CBS, et. al."

National Review has a great online presence, here.

ALF terrorist pleads not guilty in Wisconsin

Al Qaeda is a terrible threat, but we do have domestic terrorists who pose a serious danger to our well being, such as the Animal Liberation Front, better known as ALF.

From AP via CBS 2 Chicago, an excerpt:

An animal rights activist pleaded not guilty Tuesday to domestic terrorism charges that he freed mink from Midwestern farms in 1997, causing thousands of dollars in damage and spreading fear through the nation's fur farmers.

Peter Daniel Young, 27, made the plea in U.S. District Court in Madison as he appeared for the first time on the charges after eluding authorities for more than seven years.

The rest of the article was surprisingly easy on ALF.

For a better view, this Fox News article portrays ALF more realistically, at least in my view.

An excerpt from that article:

Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are "way out in front" in terms of damage and number of crimes, said John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism.

"There is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions," Lewis said.

Kerry signs for SF-180, authorizing the release of his military records?

I wrote about this about this two weeks ago. It appears that John Kerry, who boasted about his storied four and a half months in Vietnam on a regular basis during last year's presidential campaign, finally has signed standard for SF-180. authorizing the release to the public all of his military records. I think. As with everything with John Kerry, there is equivocation and doubt. Hat tip Brainster and GOP in the City.

Arnold in Chicago, greeted by protesters

Pension reform for public employees is going to become a bigger issue as the baby-boomers reach retirement age. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California is exploring ways to lessen the burden taxpapers, including various privitatization options. In this "where's mine" society, of course the future pensioners will immediatlely object with a knee-jerk reaction.

Arnold was in Chicago last night for a fundraiser, and has been encountered by protesters from the Amerian Nurses Association at each stop of the fundraising tour, according to NBC 5 Chicago.

The protesters really need to put this issue in perspective, or at least this nurse does:

"'We really want to send Arnold a message. You might terminate in the movies, but you can't terminate the United States' Chicago nurse Martese Chisolm said."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Filibuster compromise

Well, for now at least, looks like there will be no "nuclear" option. My opinion? Frist should've stuck to his guns and, if necessary, should've called the Dems' bluff.

PC nickname squabbles at Marquette University

As regular readers of this blog know, Marathon Pundit has been hitting Chicago's DePaul University hard over the Thomas Klocek free speech battle.

Meanwhile, 90 miles north of Chicago, DePaul's Big East conference mate, Milwaukee's Marquette University, is for the second time this year looking for a new nickname.

Marquette used to be known as the Warriors. These warriors were the Native American type. By 1974 or so the Warriors name was still in use, but the Native American connections to the name were dropped. That wasn't good enough for the PC police, so by 1994, Marquette's new sports nickname was the Golden Eagles. Last year, two Marquette trustees each offered the university $1 million if the school went back to being the Warriors (without the Native American tie-ins.)

This maneuver instead inspired the full Marquette board of trustees last month to choose a completely different, but unspirational nickname: The Gold.

Surprising no one but the board of trustees, the Gold nickname went over about as well as a Pauly Shore movie would at the Sundance Film Festival

So once again, the nickname battle is on again in Milwaukee. The school president, the Reverend Robert Wild, did what university honchos do best, he formed a committee. This committee came up with these new team names to be voted on. (I'm not sure by whom.)

According to the AP, via CBS 2 Chicago, these potential nicknames will be on the ballot: Blue and Gold, Explorers, Golden Avalanche, Golden Eagles, Golden Knights, Hilltoppers, Saints, Spirit, Voyagers and Wolves.

The same source spells out that write-in votes will be accepted, except for Warriors.

Which brings to mind this post from last week, courtesy of George Orwell.

Gov's wife, Patti Blagojevich, enjoys Illinois' "culture of sleaze"

Blair Hull, multi-million dollar commodities trader, ran unsuccessfully last year in the Democratic primary for the senate seat that eventually went to Barack Obama. Hull was leading in the polls, until allegations of wifebeating derailed his effort.

Blair is selling his home in the fashionable Lincoln Park neighborhood on Chicago's north side.

Dave McKinney of the Chicago Sun-Times has the details on Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich, and her sister, Deborah Mell, who are the listing agents for this home. The asking price is $3.05 million. Patti is a licensed real estate agent, according to McKinney, but that's where the good news ends for the embattled Blagojevich administration.

McKinney points out:

Blair Hull is the largest individual donor to Rod Blagojevich--over the years, he's donated $460,000 to Governor Rod.

Blagojevich made no endorsement in the 2004 Democratic senate primary, but according to McKinney, "the governor encouraged him to run and covertly worked on his behalf. "

Hull's ex-wife, Brenda Sexton, was--at Hull's persuasion--hired by the state to run Illinois' film office.

Patti's realty agency, River Realty, would likely earn a $60,000 commission if Hull's home is sold for the asking price.

Again, click here for the entire article.

Taking over in Springfield from the since-indicted Governor George Ryan, Blagovejich promised Illinoisans he would "end business as usual in Illinois." He lied.

Sox-Cubs crosstown rivarly: Even the vendors don't like each other

Name calling, fist fights and the like are nothing new at Cubs-White Sox games since interleague play began in the late 1990s. This story comes to us from NBC 5 Chicago.

CHICAGO -- Chicago police used a Taser gun to break up a bloody fight between vendors following the Crosstown Classic Sunday in Wrigleyville.

One of the vendors involved in the fight sold Cubs gear and the other sold White Sox shirts, NBC5 reported.

An officer suffered minor injuries while trying to break up the fight, and that's when the Taser gun was used, police said.

The individual who was the victim of the Taser shot was taken to a local hospital complaining of chest pains.

Three people were taken into custody.

Oh, the White Sox, still with the best record in baseball, took two of three from the Cubs.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Cleveland Marathon Rocks

Yes, the Cleveland Marathon rocks, and for the matter, Cleveland itself rocks. Now about my race performance. Mediocre to bad, although a lot of runners would kill for my time: 3 hours, 50 minutes. A tight calf slowed me up, which led to sharp knee pain. I placed 644th out of 1600 finishers--it was the 26th time I've run a 26 mile race.

It's a very well run race, and Cleveland is a greatly underrated city. Yes, I did visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; if you're a rock fan, you must make a pilgrimage there. As a huge Who fan from way back, I was thrilled to discover the current special exhibit is dedicated to The Who and their rock opera Tommy.

As for running, I'll take a couple of days off, and begin training for my 27th 26.2 mile race, the Chicago Marathon in October. Last year, I ran a 3:13, a Boston Marathon qualifier. I'm looking to run faster than that this fall.

Check back later this week for more on Cleveland, the city.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Marathon Pundit to run the Cleveland Marathon Sunday

I'm taking a couple of days off from blogging, because I will be in Cleveland to run the marathon there.

As for my conditioning, I'm not in the best shape, but I'm looking forward to the race all the same.

For those interested, my bib number is #1704, and by late Sunday you should be able to see how I finished (or if I finished) here.

Crosstown classic: White Sox vs. Cubs

The first place Chicago White Sox play the Cubs this weekend, and I'll be in Ohio. General perceptions of those living outside the Chicago area are incorrect: Not everyone here is a Cubs fan.

The Daily Southtown has a good article about the rivalry, and this paragraph sums up my beliefs on the difference between Sox and Cubs fans perfectly.

The White Sox call working-class Bridgeport home, while the Cubbies reside in trendy 20-something hub Wrigleyville. South Siders see themselves as real sports fans. They believe the average Cubs fan is preppy and disconnected. On the South Side, baseball's a passion. On the North Side, baseball is an amusement and Wrigley is an amusement park.

Go White Sox!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Governor Blagojevich and "pay to play"

This comes our way from Dave McKinney and the Chicago Sun-Times. An excerpt:

2 state officials say gov's fund-raiser helped get jobs

Two members of Gov. Blagojevich's Cabinet acknowledged Wednesday that one of the governor's controversial fund-raisers subpoenaed in a jobs-for-contributions probe helped them land their appointments.

Michael Rumman, director of the troubled Department of Central Management Services, and Brenda Russell, Department of Employment Security director, both said Antoin "Tony'' Rezko urged Blagojevich to hire them.

And that's just the latest from the Maestro of Phony Reform.

Faculty from Michigan college buys $2600 ad complaining about Bush commencement speech

Over on the right side of the political spectrum, President Bush is scheduled to be the commencement speaker at tiny Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Not everyone is happy with this news. Via the Flynn Files, who got the article from the Detroit Free Press.

One-third of the faculty members have signed a letter of protest that will appear in a half-page ad in the Grand Rapids Press on Saturday, the day Bush is to deliver the commencement address to 900 graduating seniors at Calvin. The ad cost $2,600.

Couldn't they have given the money to charity? Or started a blog?

Pro-Klocek letter back on DePaulia online

I've heard thru back channels that Professor Jonathan Cohen's letter to the DePaulia editor supporting Thomas Klocek was taken offline accidentally. It's back up and you can find it here.

For the unabridged letter--the DePaulia did some editing--you can find that on Marathon Pundit.

Quote of today is from George Orwell

Once in a while, I put post a quote from a famous person. Today it's from George Orwell, courtesy of Bugimus.com, and this pretty much sums up my feeling of academia since I began chronicling the problems within "higher" education:

"Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them." George Orwell

Cardinal Newman Society opposes some local Catholic college grad speakers, mentions DePaul prof's stripper book

The Cardinal Newman Society is a watchdog group keeping an eye on Catholic universities. Essentially, it asks Catholic colleges to, well, be Catholic.

They've gotten a decent amount of press as they've raised objections to various commencement speakers at Catholic universities who oppose the Vatican's stance on issues such as abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage and the like. Among the graduation speakers they've opposed include Hillary Clinton and Rudy Guiliani, both over their abortion views.

The Chicago Tribune (free registration required) has an article with a local angle, as Loyola University and St. Xavier university, both in Chicago, will have commencement speakers who hold views opposite of those of the Catholic Church, according to Patrick Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society.

DePaul, as if they needed more bad news, gets yet another demerit (at least according to Reilly), this is in the Tribune article.

"The protests aimed at Loyola and St. Xavier are not the first time the Cardinal Newman Society has criticized activity at local Catholic schools. In January the society lambasted Rachel Shteir, an associate professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at DePaul University, for authoring a book titled "Strippers: The Untold History of the Girlie Show."

This is from a January Cardinal Newman Society e-mail alert.

"[Catholic Campus News]
This is NOT why DePaul University is a respected research institution:Rachel Shteir, associate professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism,has authored a new book, Strippers: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. Shteir's research on female vaudevillians of the early 20th century ledher to admire the theatricality of the striptease, Shteir told the Chronicle of Higher Education (12/10/04): "The stripper had a walk, and had to learn how to do that. And take off her clothes in a particular way." The book comes complete with photos of topless women.

Oh, about that previous post on the V-Monologues (I'm trying to not use that word for three reasons. My mother reads this blog, and I don't see the need to offend others besides my mother, and also, I don't want search engines find the "V" word and bring bizarros to Marathon Pundit.) I'm aware that DePaul has a drama department, and they will (and should) put on plays, but there are plenty of other scripts out there. Secondly, that play has been performed consistently somewhere in the Chicago area for several years. If you want to see it, you can. But I honestly don't understand the compulsion of having to HAVE TO put on "The Monologues." Unless it's for the shock value.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

FIRE scolds DePaul on Klocek case, DePaul Prez say school supports free speech, citing "Vagina Monologues"

FIRE is the acronym for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

It's mission, according to its web site is to:

"... defend and sustain individual rights at America's increasingly repressive and partisan colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience -- the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE's core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them. "

Naturally, the FIRE is troubled by what has occurred at Chicago's DePaul University. This press release came out late this afternoon.

DePaul Professor Suspended Without a Hearing After Arguing with Students on Middle East Issues

CHICAGO, May 18, 2005 DePaul University administrators have suspended Professor Thomas Klocek without a hearing after he engaged in an out-of-class argument with pro-Palestinian students at a student activities fair. When the students complained to administrators, Klocek was denied the rights that DePaul guarantees to professors accused of wrongdoing and immediately suspended. Statements from DePaul administrators indicate that Klocek was disciplined because of his harsh criticism of the students' viewpoint, despite DePaul's stated commitments to free speech and academic freedom.

"DePaul has unquestionably violated Professor Klocek's due process rights, and the university did so because his statements were allegedly offensive," commented David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which wrote to DePaul on Klocek's behalf.

The incident in question occurred on September 15, 2004, when Professor Klocek engaged in conversation with students representing Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA). According to the DePaulia student newspaper and other sources, during the debate, Klocek cited a Chicago Sun-Times article that quoted the general manager of the Al-Arabiya television network as saying, "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims." A heated but strictly verbal argument ensued during which Klocek argued that a Christian viewpoint, in addition to Muslim or Jewish ones, should be considered in discussing Israel and Palestine. According to Klocek, SJP and UMMA students (several of whom had gathered around Professor Klocek) made their own controversial statements comparing Israeli Jews to Nazis. The argument concluded when Klocek walked away from the SJP and UMMA tables and thumbed his chin at the students in what he believed to be an Italian hand gesture meaning "I'm outta here."

To read the entire press release, click here.

For the Neil Steinberg Chicago Sun-Times article (excerpted) click here.

For the DePaul president's response, and the V-Monologues explanation, click here.

"Testicular virility" comment defended by Blagojevich

Okay, I'm not a prude, so the fact that the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, bragged about his" testicular virilitiy" isn't really a problem for me. But it is troubling that we have a governor who seemingly so dense that he think he can make quip like that and not having it offend people

I've learned, or I think I have, not to make comments that make myself look stupid. Blago needs to learn that lesson.

Here is Rod, courtesy of AP and ABC 7 Chicago, trying to spin himself out of this:

Governor Rod Blagojevich is defending his use of the phrase "testicular virility" to describe his determination to make tough decisions.

Blagojevich said today that the people of Illinois know what he meant. He calls it -- quote -- "baloney" to suggest the phrase excludes women or is inappropriate for a governor to use.

The Democratic governor says he used the phrase to mean political courage that both men and women can exhibit.

Couldn't he have just said "I've got guts?"

Blago's inspector general quits, lllinois lottery ad agency under investigation

More troubles for Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. From AP via CBS 2 Chicago:

An excerpt:

The inspector general appointed two years ago by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to watch out for governmental misconduct is resigning, while Attorney General Lisa Madigan has launched another review of the administration.

Zaldwaynaka ``Z'' Scott said Tuesday she would leave in July to become a partner at a private law firm. She said that her decision to leave was unrelated to allegations of mismanagement and cronyism leveled against the administration that are being investigated by Madigan's office.

On Tuesday, Madigan said she was looking into the results of a state audit that found the Illinois State Lottery paid for advertising and promotion without proper documentation.
A state audit found that Illinois paid R.J. Dale Advertising & Public Relations of Chicago $7.1 million to promote the lottery, but the firm could demonstrate only $2 million worth of work.
Madigan said she wanted the working papers Auditor General William Holland used in his review.

``We have reached out to the auditor general and will be talking to him about the lottery audit,'' Madigan said.

This may have been a good time for Zaldwaynaka ''Z'' Scott to leave. It's only going to get worse in the inspector general's office.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Thomas Klocek case makes it to Huffington Post

Huffington Post is being touted as a new left wing blog, with celebrity (but mainly non-journalist) regular writers. It was started by Arianna Huffington, left leaning newspaper columnist. They have conservatives writing for it too, but the site--really more of a Hollywood political message board--is definitely read more in Massachusetts than Oklahoma.

So, imagine my surprise when a tipster let me know that Nicole Dizon's Klocek/DePaul article appeared on Huffington Post. There was some back-and-forth on who, liberals or conservative, are the better supporters of free speech, but all-in-all, I'm definitely glad it was posted. Thanks!

Now, the bad news, Arianna. The site isn't laid out well, the font is too small, and it's hard to find stuff (I had to do a "Yahoo" search to find the Klocek article). So if my little blog can manage having an internal search engine on it, so can yours. Good luck and Godspeed all the same.

Oh, Arianna, your Permalinks don't link!

Blagojevich the "Maestro of Phony Reform"

Last week, Governor Rod "Testicular Virility" Blagojevich proposed a campaign/lobbying reform measure, that among other things, would limit individual and political action committee donations to just $2,000 per primary or general election cycle, this comes from Cal Skinner of the Illinois Leader.

Yesterday, Cal and the Leader disclosed that just the day before Blago's reform proposal was announced, there was a Blagojevich fundraiser on Rush Street that cost each attendee $5,000.

That brings to mind this press release from Joe Birkett, a potential Republican candidate for Illinois governor, which Marathon Pundit received last week.

"Illinois' maestro of phony reform is at it again.

Rod Blagojevich told us three years ago he was going to clean up state government and today the Chicago Tribune describes him as "Governor Pay to Play."

Rod Blagojevich told us three years ago he was going to change the way we do business in Illinois and today the St. Louis Post Dispatch says his administration represents "business as usual ad nauseam."

Now, backed into a corner by article after article about his pay-to-play administration, and federal and state investigations, he stealthily issues a press release with an ethics proposal.
Rod Blagojevich had his chance to clean up the state and already has demonstrated by his actions he's not interested.

Some of the laws he is proposing today can stay -- but he needs to go."

Blagojevich says he has 'testicular virility'

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, facing plummeting approval ratings and an ongoing feud with his father-in-law and onetime mentor, Alderman Richard Mell, tried to assure Illinoisans he is a strong governor by stating:

"This is the kind of thing that I think, frankly, separates the men from the boys in leadership," Blagojevich said. "Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that, knowing what's coming your way?''

This comes from the Maureen O'Donnell of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rod was responding to queries about the feud, and what seems to have ignited it: Rod's closing of a Joliet landfill owned by a distant relation of the Mell clan.

Oh, Blagojevich said this at an elementary school. Okay, no kids were present, but at a school?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek retracts Quran desecration story

If you're visiting this blog, odds are you're a newshound and know all about Newsweek's since-retracted story that Gitmo interrogators flushed a copy of the Quran down a toilet to emotionally torment the terror suspects being held there.

It's too big of a story for Marathon Pundit to overlook. But if you'd like to learn more about Newsweek's blunder, I recommend friend-of-the-blog Michelle Malkin's site.

Appalling DePaulia anti-Klocek Op-Ed writer a member of UMMA

As I've blogged before, a couple of issues back there was an awful and unfair op-ed piece in the DePaul school newspaper, The DePaulia, entitled Goodbye, Klocek. Thanks, DPU by Michael Gallo, who is listed as a staff writer for the paper.

Professor Klocek disputes much of what Gallo claims in that op-ed. In a letter-to-the editor that appeared in the following issue, Jonathan Cohen, a DePaul math professor, spelled out Klocek's side of the story. DePaulia sharply edited Cohen's letter, luckily the entire letter is available here on Marathon Pundit.

But mysteriously, Cohen's letter to the editor is no longer available online, whereas Gallo's op-ed is.

The DePaulia first covered Klocek story on October 1, 2004: Loop professor takes heat for conduct. As with Michael Gallo's op-ed, Professor Klocek strongly challenges many of the details in that initial write up in the DePaulia

One of the offended groups, according to first article, was United Muslims Moving Ahead, better known as UMMA.

Looking around the UMMA DePaul website, a visitor will find the link to the UMMA Board, or Shura.

Click here, and the reader will discover that the treasusuer of UMMA is none other than Michael Gallo, DePaulia staff writer and author of Goodbye Klocek, Thanks DPU.

Mysteriously, nowhere in that op-ed does Michael Gallo bother to inform the reader that he's an UMMA board member. As a member of that group, of course he has the right to write almost anything he wants, but Gallo, in a serious breach of of journalistic ethics, neglected to mention his ties to UMMA as he presented his views on the Klocek case.

And did The DePaulia know Michael Gallo was on the UMMA board?

(Edited 6:15pm 5/16/05. I'm not sure what style book they use, but it has come to my attention that although Michael Gallo is listed in the Goodbye Klocek, Thanks DPU article as a "staff writer," Gallo is probably not actually on the DePaulia staff. Apparently, anyone that gets anything published in the DePaulia, is listed as a "staff writer." Weird. It's my firm opinion that this by no means gets Michael Gallo off the hook for not disclosing his membership on the board of UMMA.)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What led Marathon Pundit to the Klocek story

Welcome once again AP readers. I've gotten a few e-mails asking how I came across the Klocek free speech story. While leaving work on March 1, I saw the tail-end of an ABC 7 Chicago news story showing a middle-aged man bound and gagged. That intrigued me, so I went on line to the Channel 7 web site and read this story by Theresa Guitierrez, which I blogged right away on Marathon Pundit.

I forwarded it on to some of my blogger friends, and it just kept building.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Welcome Associated Press readers!

Thanks for clicking on the AP link to get to Marathon Pundit. Just scroll down to learn more about Professor Klocek's free speech battle at Chicago's DePaul University. Blog archives are on the left, the first post about this story goes back to March 1.

AP runs story on blogs,DePaul, Klocek and Marathon Pundit

From AP via CBS 2 Chicago Reprinted in its entirety.

Blogs buzz of DePaul instructor's removal after dispute with Muslim students

Saturday May 14, 2005

By NICOLE ZIEGLER DIZON, Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP) A longtime DePaul University instructor who argued with pro-Palestinian students at a campus activities fair last fall no longer works for the school. That much is not in dispute.

But why Thomas Klocek lost his job while other professors under fire for their statements, including the University of Colorado's Ward Churchill, kept theirs has created a buzz among conservative-leaning Internet blogs about free speech rights at campuses across the country.

``This case fits within a disturbing pattern we see nationally ... of punishing and disciplining professors who offend other individuals,'' said David French, president of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that takes on campus free speech cases.
DePaul officials maintain that it was Klocek's ``belligerent and menacing'' behavior not his views that got him in trouble.

Klocek, a part-time, untenured instructor who taught critical thinking, writing and research for 14 years, could still have his job if he agreed to apologize to the students for behavior that included throwing papers and shouting, said DePaul spokeswoman Denise Mattson.
``We emphatically reject that this is at all a matter of academic freedom,'' Mattson said. ``For DePaul, it was about his conduct, not his content.''

The dispute began Sept. 15 during a campus activity fair. Students for Justice in Palestine and United Muslims Moving Ahead were among about two dozen student groups with tables in the cafeteria of DePaul's downtown Chicago campus.

Klocek says he picked up a controversial flier from one of the groups and then argued with students over whether Palestinians truly exist, the Christian stake in the Middle East and other topics without mentioning that he was a teacher until he was asked.

The students say Klocek immediately identified himself as a professor, stayed when he was asked to leave and tried to use his position to press his points.
After about a half-hour, other groups called faculty advisers to intervene, and Klocek left flipping his thumb under his chin.

``He basically told me my religion was a religion of terror,'' said Ahmad Zahdan, a DePaul senior on the board of United Muslims Moving Ahead.

Salma Nassar, president of Students for Justice in Palestine, said the students were deeply offended by what they considered Klocek's demeaning comments.

The students, aided by a Chicago Islamic advocacy group, complained to the university, and Klocek ended up giving up his teaching assignment for that quarter with pay. He has not worked at the university since.

Klocek insists he is being punished for his opinions and is considering suing DePaul.
He and supporters cite a letter the dean of Klocek's department wrote to the DePaulia student newspaper soon after the incident that said, in part, ``no one should ever use the role of teacher to demean the ideas of others'' or to ``press erroneous assertions.''

``This had nothing to do with religion. It had nothing to do with ethnicity. My side is that it has everything to do with free speech,'' Klocek said.

Meanwhile, the dispute has taken on a life of its own in cyberspace.

John Ruberry, who writes the Marathon Pundit blog, started following the case after Klocek staged a news conference gagged in front of Chicago TV cameras.

Other bloggers also picked up on the story, and newspaper columnist Jay Ambrose described it as an example of political correctness run amok on college campuses.
``There seems to be kind of a double standard as far as free speech,'' Ruberry said, noting the case of Churchill, who came under fire for comparing some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis. Churchill has kept his job but is under investigation by the university for other issues.

Mattson said DePaul officials met with Klocek many times after the incident and offered to let him continue teaching if he apologized and submitted to classroom monitoring. He refused.
Klocek maintains that he was let go without a hearing and that the university's comments about his behavior have made it difficult to get other teaching work. He said does not regret his actions.

``A university is not bricks and mortar. It is great because of the intellectual reputation that they have,'' Klocek said. ``You cannot have a university that acts like a preschool.''

On the Web:
DePaul University: http://www.depaul.edu/

Marathon Pundit: http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/

Students for Justice in Palestine: http://www.sjpdepaul.org

Friday, May 13, 2005

Judge dismisses some charges against Schakowsky's husband

From CBS2 Chicago and the AP wire:

"A federal judge has dismissed some tax fraud charges against political consultant Robert Creamer, the husband of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

Judge James B. Moran also said prosecutors should try separately the two alleged schemes for which Creamer is charged: one for three alleged check-kiting schemes and the other for the tax fraud counts the judge did not dismiss.

``Neither allegations nor evidence binds the two alleged schemes together, and the two groups of charges are not logically related to each other,'' Moran wrote in an April opinion. Moran wrote that to keep the two cases together could prejudice the jury."

It goes on...

"Creamer, a prominent Chicago political consultant, was accused last year of bank fraud for allegedly swindling nine financial institutions while he ran a public interest group in the 1990s. He was also charged with several counts of bank fraud.

The indictment alleges Creamer caused a series of insufficiently funded checks and wire transfers to be drawn on accounts he controlled as executive director of the Illinois Public Action Fund. According to the indictment, he allegedly used the inflated balances to pay the group's expenses and own salary and discretionary expenses.

Schakowsky has not been accused of any wrongdoing."

True on the last one, but Jan Schakowsky was on the Illinois Public Action Fund's board of directors while hubby was its executive director, a detail the mainstream media usually fails to mention when reporting on the Roger Creamer case.

Personal note: Schakowsky, easily one of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives, represents Illinois' ninth district. I'm one of her unfortunate constituents.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Chicago Jewish Star reports on Klocek, the "instructor who stood up for Israel"

The Chicago Jewish Star is a free bi-weekly newspaper which does not have an online edition. A tipster faxed me a copy of the article from the May 12-25 edition, penned by Gila Wertheimer, the Star's associate editor.

It does a good job summarizing the story, but it adds a few new details. Among them, it quotes Professor Thomas Klocek's attorney, John Mauck, who told the Jewish Star "We are definitely going ahead" with the lawsuit against DePaul, adding he hoped to do that "in a week or so."

In what seems to be a dismissive sneer against the impending lawsuit, DePaul Assistant VP for Public Relations Denise Mattson, according to the Jewish Star, claimed the Mauck has threatening DePaul since early March with the suit.

The "spin" from the DePaul PR machine is rehashed in that article, in other words Mattson's claim that Klocek "displayed threatening and unprofessional behavior." But DePaul Math professor Jonathan Cohen--Klocek's biggest on-campus supporter--is quoted extensively.

Cohen wrote this pro-Klocek letter to the DePaulia, the unedited letter is here on Marathon Pundit.

The final words belong to Professor Klocek, again quoted from the Chicago Jewish Star.

"I stood for Israel, because it is in the right. I paid the price at a Christian University."

DePaul gets hit hard again by Frontpage Magazine

We're familiar with Thomas Ryan, who wrote eloquently about the PC battle that faced Southern Illinois University history professor Jonathan Bean last month.

This time Ryan fires away at DePaul, and surprisingly, there is not so much about Thomas Klocek in the article.

Here is an excerpt, and a pretty frightening one, too. The entire article, Teaching and Terror at DePaul, is here.

DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the nation, has recently taken strides in embracing the anti-Israel fringe that has infiltrated its faculty and student body. In September of 2004, professor Thomas Klocek, after 14 years of service to the school, was suspended for verbally engaging members of the pro-Palestinian extremist group Students for Justice in Palestine, a group whose 2002 national conference was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine, an organization that raises money for the families of suicide bombers. In September of 2003, DePaul hired notorious Holocaust Denier and Hezbollah defender Norman Finkelstein as a full-time assistant professor in its political science department. Now DePaul has made a strategic decision to become one of the leading universities in the country for Islamic Studies, filling the program’s faculty with professors resolved to spreading the word of anti-Israel zealots.

In September of 2004, DePaul launched its Islamic World Studies Program, offering students of the University both a major and minor in the subject of Islamic religion and culture. The program notes that “the core course work in Islam, language study, fieldwork, as well as opportunities for study abroad, and service learning would afford students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the Islamic world from local as well as international perspectives. This approach to the study of Islam is currently unmatched anywhere else in the United States and perhaps the world.” What the program’s boilerplate doesn’t mention to prospective students is its overt pro-Palestinian slant, which encompasses both the faculty and course material.

Serving as the Director of the Islamic World Studies Program is Aminah Beverly McCloud, a follower of Louis Farrakhan who helped DePaul launch the department in response to what she
believes is mass ignorance among Americans about the general Islamic world. McCloud has contended “that Islam was the core of civilization and a worldwide religion is absent from undergraduate study. The only thing talked about worldwide is Muslim terrorists.” Although McCloud insists that she seeks to teach students about facets of Islam removed from fundamentalist militancy, McCloud’s connections to, and use of books in favor of, Islamic extremism prove otherwise.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Marathon Pundit exclusive: Unedited letter to the DePaulia supporting Professor Klocek

In the aftermath of the appalling DePaulia op-ed trashing suspended professor Thomas Klocek, the latest edition of the DePaul school newspaper has a published letter-to-the-editor supporting Professor Klocek's version of the events. Good news, and what's better is that this letter was written by a fellow DePaul professor.

As is common with such letters, the DePaulia edited the letter a bit. This is what the DePaulia printed.

Marathon Pundit has received the unabridged letter. Just keep scrolling down:

Dear editor

I am troubled by last weeks opinion piece "KLOCEK MUST GO, THANK YOU DPU" that once again ignores Tom Klocek’s side of the story.

I first learned of the incident in the DePaulia where it was reported that Klocek, an instructor in the School for New Learning, had been suspended after students complained about their argument with him at a student activities fair. As I read the article, I looked for the offending remarks. There were a lot of quotes indicating sharp political differences over a number of hotly disputed issues but nothing to indicate that it involved ethnic or religious prejudice.

Concerned that the school had overreacted, I got in touch with Professor Klocek to hear his side of the story and not surprisingly Tom’s version differed from the students. He said he never identified himself as a faculty member until just before leaving, denied making an obscene gesture, denied throwing leaflets at them, and most important denied insulting the students on the basis of religion or ethnicity. He did question the one sidedness of the leaflet they were handing out that claimed Israel had deliberately run over Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer, a deliberate murder rather than a tragic accident. He responded angrily to one of the student’s claim that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians was like the Nazis treatment of the Jews and he got in a heated argument about comparing Israeli civilians killed by suicide bombers and Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli army in self-defense operations..

In the course of the argument Tom quoted the director of Al Aribya TV as saying that "while not all Muslims are terrorists, it is a sad fact that almost all terrorist are Muslims". This statement and the ensuing argument appears to be the basis of the students’ claim that they were the victims of a racist incident.

The student’s complained about the incident and the administrations reaction was swift and harsh. According to the SNL dean’s letter to the DePaulia, "Our college reacted immediately by removing the instructor from the classroom. This is a part-time faculty member, whom the university contracts for individual courses. He has no further responsibilities with the university."

Her justification for such a severe action was that "No students anywhere should ever have to be concerned that they will be verbally attacked for their religious belief or ethnicity. No one should ever use the role of teacher to demean the ideas of others or insist on the absoluteness of an opinion, much less press erroneous assertions."

If you accept Tom’s versions of events, however, he couldn’t have abused his role as a teacher since he didn’t identify himself as one. Furthermore, if you look at what was actually said, Tom did not attack the student’s religion or ethnicity. And nothing he said was as offensive as equating Israelis with Nazis.

Given the differing accounts of the incident, the university should have had a process to sort out the conflicting narratives. The perceptions of both parties were clearly influenced by the emotion of the moment and neither honesty nor fairness was served by simply taking the students’ side.

The administration has claimed that as a part-time faculty member, Tom was not subject to the same protections afforded permanent faculty members by the faculty handbook. But both Faculty Council and the EVP are on record that fairness demands that adjuncts be given the same rights as regular faculty members in matters such as these.

Part-timers are a financial bonanza for the university. They receive about $3000 for a course for which students pay $2000 each. Tom Klocek worked as a part-timer at DePaul for fourteen years and was by all accounts a fine teacher with an unblemished record. When asked, he taught a night course at the Naperville campus even though it meant getting home well after midnight. He did this without complaint.

There is nothing in his background that indicates that he was a prejudiced person. In my conversations with him I never detected bias against Muslims or any other group. He had the misfortune of getting into a heated argument with a group of students passing out anti-Israel literature. For that he was removed from the classroom, deprived of his livelihood, publicly branded a racist, and a fourteen year career of service to DePaul was abruptly suspended, all without being given a reasonable opportunity to present his side of the story.

DePaul should have tried reconciliation rather than recrimination. The students are not terrorists, Tom Klocek is not a bigot and the Dean of SNL is not an ogre. But because of the way this whole mess was mishandled a lot of people will end up believing they are.

Thank you Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin has an excellent blog, and was very helpful in getting the John Kerry Boston Marathon fraud story publicized last fall. She linked to Marathon Pundit yesterday, to this post, really driving up traffic here. Thanks!!!!

Bob Thomas, ex-Chicago Bears kicker, will be the new Illinois Chief Justice

Early September is when the NFL season starts. It will also be when Bob Thomas becomes the new Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Thomas was the placekicker for the Chicago Bears in the mid and late 1970s, until Mike Ditka cut him. So there is life after a Ditka roster cut. Bob's also a Notre Dame grad. This story comes to us from the Daily Herald.

Bob's also a Notre Dame grad.

The article points out that Bob Thomas is not unique in his ascension from NFL player to state Chief Justice. Alan Page, one of the "Purple People Eaters" of the 1970s Minnesota Vikings, later went on to become Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Page is a Notre Dame alumnus too.

What the article missed, is that Alan Page ended is Hall of Fame career as a Chicago Bear.

Chicago Tribune libel trial, still buried in the Trib's business section

As blogged here and here, the Chicago Tribune is facing it's first libel trial since 1968. The Trib is still hiding its coverage of itself in the business section.

Here's today's article, free registration may be required.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dave Matthews appears on Chicago radio, talks about dumping incident for first time

Dave Matthews was interviewed on legendary Chicago radio rocker WXRT this afternoon, and the DMB leader talked about the dumping incident last August, when a Dave Matthews Band bus driver dumped 800 pounds of liquid human waste on 100 unlucky tourists on a sightseeing cruise. The driver was apparently aiming for the Chicago River while driving across the Kinzie Street bridge--the bridge is grated--and the boat passengers were clearly in the wrong place at the worst possible time.

ABC 7 Chicago's web site (video link available) has a story on the Matthews WXRT interview.

An excerpt:

"We're just so embarrassed, and we're truly, truly, truly sorry about what happened in Chicago, and we will keep doing things to help keep that river clean. We will keep doing things to help out Chicago," said Dave Matthews.

WXRT DJ Bobby Skafish interviewed the band members and says he was surprised at their willingness to talk about it.

"I've never heard him speak more passionately than he did on the subject of the Chicago River. He was relieved to get it out there, I thought, for his fans," said Bobby Skafish, WXRT.
The band has paid a $200,000 fine to the state and made a $50,000 dollar donation to the Friends of the Chicago River, even though none of them were even on the bus at the time of the incident.

"The thing that kind of kills me about it is that if someone else had done it I'd be furious, and if I was in Chicago, I'd be furious about it," Matthews said.

Matthews says the band takes full responsibility for what happened. They fired the bus driver, Stefan Wohl. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and 150 hours of community service. There are however still several civil suits pending.

Matthews seems sincere. Apology accepted.

Forget who "stole" Ohio, who stole Wisconsin?

Now that Air America is on the air again here in Chicago, I can listen up on how Bush "stole" Ohio from Kerry last November.

But what went on in another midwestern state won't come up a lot on either Jerry Springer's or Al Franken's Air America rants. Or at all.

From AP via CBS 2 Chicago:

Investigators said Tuesday they found about 4,500 more ballots were cast in the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee than people who registered to vote in the city.

Investigators also said they found more than 100 instances of suspected double-voting and more than 200 felons who voted improperly in Milwaukee.

It goes on:

Democrat John Kerry received more than 71 percent of the 277,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee in the presidential race. Kerry won Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes by about 11,000 votes.

Vote fraud was not the only mischief going on in Milwaukee on election day, as two adult children of prominent Wisconsin Democrats, as well as some other overly-eager Dems, were involved in slashing the tires of vans rented by the Wisconsin Republican Party for its get-out-the-vote effort.

100 days ago, John Kerry promised to sign form SF-180

Hat tip: Kerry Haters. 100 days ago, John Kerry promised on national TV, to sign form SF-180 and release his military records. He has yet to do so.

The successor site to Kerry Haters is Brainster.

Blagojevich may face Dem primary challenge

This comes from the Chicago Tribune, registration required, but is free.

Unlike the Ditka balloon, there may be something to this draft movement in regards to next year's governor's race in Illinois. Democrat Paul Vallas ran a strong campaign in 2002, but his effort fell short and the party's nomination went to Rod Blagojevich, who ended up winning the race for the governor's mansion. Of course, Governor Rod never moved into that mansion, something that will be remembered among downstate voters when election time comes next year.

Paul Vallas was once in charge of the Chicago Public Schools and received widespread praise while he was the top guy there; he now holds the same position in Philadelphia.

As to why there may be more than hot air to this "draft of wind" from the east? Paul's brother Dean is behind this effort. Dean Vallas is confident that he can work around the residency requirement; Paul of course now lives in Philadelphia.

But this we're talking about Illinois. Miracles can happen.

The real issue of course is this: If Vallas does run, who will Blagojevich's father-in-law, Dick Mell support? Richard Mell is to Rod Blagojevich, what Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was to William Shatner. The latters would be complete unknowns were it not for the formers.

But Mell and his creation have been publicly feuding for months.

Monday, May 09, 2005

URGENT NEED: DePaul students who support Klocek

Please e-mail me at klocekbacker@yahoo.com if you are a current DePaul student who'd like to go "on the record" in support of suspended Professor Thomas Klocek. I will e-mail you back with the details. Thanks!!!!

Speech given at Columbia mentions Klocek and DePaul

This speech was given in March by Brigitte Gabriel a Lebanese Christian woman now living in Israel. She gave the speech at Columbia University, a place where there are plenty of free speech problems.

Here is the relevant passage, which was appeared today on Aish.com.

"In the case of Professor Thomas Klocek at DePaul University you are suspended without due process for challenging lies about Israelis being Nazi occupiers by a Students for Justice in Palestine campus group."

The atmosphere at Columbia is not pleasant, if you are a supporter of Israel. Much more can be learned in the video Columbia Unbecoming, produced by The David Project.

Bush in Latvia postscript

Marathon Pundit's wife is a native of Latvia, and his mother-in-law lives in Riga, where President Bush spoke Saturday. According to my wife, on the Latvian news sites and message boards, there was big talk about massive protests against Bush in the days leading up to his visit.

Well, according to my mother in-law (who told this to my wife, I don't speak Latvian), there were just 20 protesters. They were camped out at the Hotel Latvija, where Bush was staying.
All of them were arrested, but my mother-in-law didn't know what the charges were.

The information my mother in-law got came from Latvian news radio.

As for Bush's speech in Latvia, I think it's safe to say this, it can be called "historic."

(Added 5/10/05. I learned from my wife's best friend--who still lives in Latvia--that the first family actually stayed at the Radisson in Riga, on the south bank of the Daugava River. The Old City, where Bush spoke, is on the north bank, as is the Hotel Latvija. But the arrests of the protesters did occur at the Hotel Latvija. The Secret Service, because of it's relative remoteness, undoubtedly chose the Radisson as the "Latvian White House" for a day.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

David Limbaugh: Student feels the heat of academic "diversity"

From David Limbaugh's web site, an excerpt:

"False Promises Of Academic Freedom

If you want to get a real glimpse of the thought-tyranny of the academic Left, you should look at the case of Scott McConnell, who was recently expelled from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., because his personal beliefs didn't fit within the school's indoctrination grid.
The Left, through an extraordinary process of self-deception, routinely congratulates itself for its enlightenment and open-mindedness, but the slightest scrutiny of its behavior in academia alone puts the lie to its claims. Sadly, the Left has even sunk its tentacles into Jesuit colleges like Le Moyne.

McConnell was pursuing a masters in education at Le Moyne. He achieved a 3.78 grade-point average for the fall semester and an "excellent" evaluation for his outside classroom work at a Syracuse elementary school when he made the mistake of relying on the university's promise to honor students' academic liberty and due process.

In its handbook, Le Moyne boasts, "As a comprehensive college, accredited by the State of New York and the Middle States Association, Le Moyne shares the ideals of academic freedom found in American institutions of higher education."

Among McConnell's unforgivable sins were his audacious dissent from the university's dogma extolling multicultural education and his gross insubordination in asserting in a paper that "corporal punishment has a place in the classroom."

Notably, McConnell received an A- on his blasphemous paper from Prof. Mark J. Trabucco, who also wrote him a note saying his ideas were "interesting." But when Trabucco forwarded the paper to the department chair, Cathy Leogrande, McConnell got his academic head served to him on a platter.

On Jan. 13, 2005, in an act of compassion that liberals are so famous for, Leogrande sent McConnell a terse letter summarily ejecting him from the graduate program. In the introductory paragraph, Leogrande reminded McConnell, conveniently, that he had been "accepted to the Le Moyne College Graduate Education program on a conditional basis.'"
Hopefully, LeMoyne, will feel start feeling "the heat" on this issue. Soon.

LeMoyne, a Catholic university, has gotten more unwanted attention. From the Cardinal Newman Society web site:

"Former New York Times reporter Peter Steinfels and former Commonweal editor Margaret O’Brien Steinfels will deliver the commencement address and receive honorary degrees on May 22 at Le Moyne College in New York. Both are seasoned defenders of dissent within the Catholic Church. Both have been outspoken about their dissent from the encyclical Humanae Vitae and its teaching on contraception. Both also have publicly opposed Catholic teaching on women’s ordination"

"CONTACT: Rev. Charles J. Beirne, S.J., President, LeMoyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, NY 13214; Phone: (315) 445-4120; E-mail:
beirnecj@lemoyne.edu "

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is working on this case. FIRE is also putting the pressure on DePaul for the its wrongs against Thomas Klocek in his free speech battle.

There is much to report in academia. Very little good news, but there is so much material out there.