Sunday, July 31, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
From the UK Telegraph (free registration may be required)
Scotland Yard is investigating evidence that the two waves of terrorist attacks on London this month may have been masterminded from Saudi Arabia.
The Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist squad has learnt that Hussain Osman, 27, one of the suspects for the second failed attacks, called a number in Saudi Arabia hours before his arrest in Rome on Friday. He was believed to be making only the most vital calls because he feared his mobile phone was being tracked by investigators.
In an unconfirmed development, the Saudi Arabian authorities are understood to be investigating the possibility that the attacks were planned by extremists there
The entire fatwa is on this PDF document.
Here is the highlight of that fatwa:
Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not “martyrs.”
Specifically mentioning suicide bombing as being forbidden by Islam, well, I'm glad it's been put into such terms.
But, as Judy Hsu of ABC 7 Chicago points out:
Some might question whether the statement made Friday will actually make a difference to sway extremists. Islam has no central authority and the panel that issued the fatwa serves an advisory role for American-Muslims. But it is the most significant statement so far coming from people in charge of interpreting religious law for the Muslim community.
Now, here is what, courtesy of Michelle Malkin's blog, what Steve Emerson's Counterterrorism Blog has to say about what he calls a "bogus fatwa."
This morning a group of American Islamic leaders held a press conference to announce a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against “terrorism and extremism.” An organization called the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) issued the fatwa, and the Council on American - Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized the press conference, stating that several major U.S. Muslim groups endorsed the fatwa.
In fact, the fatwa is bogus. Nowhere does it condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad let alone admit that it has been used to justify Islamic terrorist acts. It does not condemn by name any Islamic group or leader. In short, it is a fake fatwa designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate. In fact, officials of both organizations have been directly linked to and associated with Islamic terrorist groups and Islamic extremist organizations. One of them is an unindicted co-conspirator in a current terrorist case; another previous member was a financier to Al-Qaeda.
Well, you've read this far. Thanks. There's one more post, below, that should be read as well.
That quote comes from Daniel Pipes' website. Pipes, a former history professor but is the director of the Middle East Forum, a think-tank he founded.
I first read this article almost two years ago, but in light of the American Muslim Fatwa against terror, I think others should have a look at Pipes' excellent essay, Telling Friend From Foe: Ferreting out Militant Islam. The entire article is well worth the time, here are some excerpts:
If militant Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution, as I often argue, how does one differentiate between these two forms of Islam? It's a tough question, especially as concerns Muslims who live in Western countries.
Distinguishing between real and phony moderation, obviously, is not a job for amateurs such as American government officials. The best way to discern moderation is by delving into the record -- public and private, Internet and print, domestic and foreign -- of an individual or institution. Such research is most productive with intellectuals, activists, and imams, all of whom have a paper trail. With others who lack a public record, it is necessary to ask questions. These need to be specific, because vague inquiries — such as "Is Islam a religion of peace?" and "Do you condemn terrorism?" — have little value, for they depend on definitions (of peace, of terrorism, etc.).
Useful questions might address subjects such as:
Violence: Do you condone or condemn the Palestinians, Chechens, and Kashmiris who give up their lives to kill enemy civilians? Will you condemn by name as terrorist groups such organizations as Abu Sayyaf, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Groupe Islamique Arm e, Hamas, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and Al Qaeda?
Modernity: Should Muslim women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)? Is jihad, meaning a form of warfare, acceptable in today's world? Do you accept the validity of other religions? Do Muslims have anything to learn from the West?
Secularism: Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims? May Muslims convert to other religions? May Muslim women marry non-Muslim men? Do you accept the laws of a majority non-Muslim government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government?
State Imposition of Religious Observance: What do you think of banning food service during Ramadan? When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for drivers' license photographs), which should give way?
Islamic Pluralism: Are Sufis and Shiites fully legitimate Muslims? Do you think that Muslims who disagree with you have fallen into unbelief? Is takfir (condemning fellow Muslims with whom one has disagreements as unbelievers) an acceptable practice?
Self-criticism: Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam? Who was responsible for the September 11 suicide hijackings?
Defense Against Militant Islam: Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight militant Islam, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security checkpoints)? Do you agree that institutions accused of funding terrorism should be shut down, or do you see this a symptom of bias?
Goals in the West: Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian and secular or do you seek to transform them into majority-Muslim countries ruled by Islamic law?
It would be ideal if these questions were posed publicly — in the press or in front of an audience — thereby reducing the scope for dissimulation.
No single reply establishes a militant Islamic disposition (plenty of non-Muslim Europeans believe the Bush administration itself carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks); and pretence is always a possibility, but these questions offer a good start to the vexing issue of separating enemies from friends.
Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois send Durbin a letter denouncing Durbin's lack of tact.
No one of our faith – or that of any other denomination or religion – should be excluded from public office for his or her religious values. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution unequivocally prohibits such a litmus test: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States.”
“Practicing Catholics need not apply” cannot become a rallying cry of modern day religious bigots who would seek to drive from the public square all federal office candidates of faith. I hope that your question to Judge Roberts, if accurately reported, does not constitute an opening salvo in a process in which the candidate’s faith will constitute sufficient justification for denying him a speedy confirmation.
Hat tip Obiter Dictum.
Oak Park Realtor W. Robert James Jr. didn't believe owning a home in his neighborhood was a part of the American Dream only whites should be entitled to realize.
In the 1960s, Mr. James became the first white Realtor in Oak Park to sell a home to a black buyer, setting the stage for future integration in the western suburb.
"His feeling was anybody who had a desire to live in a village like Oak Park should have an opportunity," said Mr. James' son, W. Robert James III. "To him, it wasn't a question of race, it was a question of what was right."
Friday, July 29, 2005
From the Belleville News-Democrat, (note that the party affiliation IS mentioned in this article):
St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Robert Sprague said the money he distributed before the Nov. 2 election was intended to get out the vote, not buy it.
In a response faxed Wednesday afternoon to the News-Democrat, Sprague wrote: "I was not aware that any of the committeemen that I paid intended to break the law. I paid over 200 committeemen to distribute campaign material, hire drivers and workers for Election Day.
The article goes on to explain that two days before the November general election, $73,000 in checks was passed out by Chairman Sprague to East St. Louis Democratic precinct committeemen. One of those committeeman, now awaiting sentencing, feels Sprage should also face a jury.
I did a little research, and discovered that East St. Louis had just 31,542 residents when the 2000 census was done.
For such a modest-sized community, a traditional--and legal--get out the vote drive wouldn't seem to require such a large amount as $73,000.
How do you respond to that, Chairman Sprague?
UPDATE August 2: Mark in Mexico has uncovered other "hotspots" of Democratic Party vote fraud in 2004
Curiously in this write-up, the party affiliation of the defendants is not mentioned:
Six more people face charges for illegal activity in the May 2003 East Chicago primary election, authorities said, bringing the total number of people charged to 11.
The Indiana State Police, along with the Lake County Prosecutor and Attorney General's joint task force investigating voter fraud and corruption, filed a total of 41 charges.
``The cleansing process continues in East Chicago with these latest charges,'' Attorney General Steve Carter said.
The charges, all felonies, include: receiving ballots from other people, voting outside the precinct where one lives, examining a ballot from another person and inducing others to vote using another person's name.
Hmm...here's another story, from the Gary Post-Tribune, closer to East Chicago, maybe they can help find out which political party was behind this.....
Nope, nothing there...
But luckily, I can tell you that these guys were all Democrats. Surprised?
Quick, get elections expert Jim Lampley on this story.
Oh, Illinois is an employee-at-will state.
From ABC 7 Chicago:
Republican leader Gary Skoien is considering legal action after he was fired from his job. His boss is a friend of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
Skoien has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the mayor's conviction for corruption. With his family at his side, Skoein told reporters his boss had no choice but to fire him, but he is considering a lawsuit to get his job back.
"You cannot fire somebody in the United States of America -- maybe in Chicago -- but you cannot fire somebody in the United States of America for expressing a political belief. You can't do that," said Gary Skoien, Cook County Republican chairman.
The latest from AP is here.
Yes, and as my previous post mentioned, the "New York" guy has been caught. He should trade that sweatshirt in, if they exist, for a Rikers Island one.
I'm watching Sky News feed into Fox, and it appears that the Scotland Yard and the London Police have cornered this guy in the New York sweatshirt (a 7/21 bomber) in London's Notting Hill neighborhood.
Heavily armed police wearing gas masks and apparently using stun grenades raided a west London home Friday seeking suspects in the failed July 21 bombings targeting the capital's transit system, and a British television network reported one arrest.
Police were involved in a standoff with at least one man in an apartment, pointing assault weapons and pistols at the home, a witness said. Police wearing black balaclavas and body armor surrounded the building.
"They're asking him to leave the flat. They've been saying this for 25 minutes to half an hour. By the looks, they're getting a little fed up," a witness identified as Lisa Davis told Sky News.
She added that "it will be very hard for them to get in. Unless he cooperates it will get ugly."
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Cook County GOP chairman fired from day job (after offering $10,000 bounty for Mayor Daley conviction)
This stunt got the beleaguered county Republican organization a great deal of publicity (a rarity), as AP and CNN ran stories about Skoien's offer.
Well, maybe too much publicity. Until late today, Gary was the Chief Operating Officer of The Prime Group,, a big real estate firm. But his boss, Prime Group CEO Mike Reschke, is a supporter of Mayor Daley and has contributed to his campaigns. Reschke fired Skoien today.
From ABC 7 Chicago:
"The mayor has been a friend for 15 years, and I see no reason why I should let someone in my employ personally attack the mayor. Simple as that," said Mike Reschke, The Prime Group, Inc.
Here is the press release: Prime Group Chief Reschke Fires Skoien
Sprague and St. Clair County Chairman Robert Kern (the main beneficiary of the fiduciary vote drive) are claiming they knew nothing of the East St. Louis vote buying, although, in an earlier article from the Belleville News-Democrat, residents interviewed in this hard-luck city acknowledge vote buying has been going on there for many years.
From today's News-Democrat:
"We got into this because they gave us money," Thomas, 31, said about $73,000 passed out in East St. Louis two days before the Nov. 2 election. St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Robert Sprague distributed the funds by giving checks to city Democratic precinct committeemen.
County Democrats have said the money, which is passed out in the city for every election, was intended to get people to the polls, not to pay them to vote.
Some more from the Belleville News-Democrat:
"Bob Sprague is the one who gave us our checks. He gave us the money. He, too, should have been tried.... We all should have been sitting at the same (defense) table. All of us. All the (East St. Louis) precinct committeemen. All the guys in Belleville. Not just the five of us because that wasn't fair," she said.
Wait a minute, you mean the Cook County GOP has $10,000?
This appeared in John Kass' Chicago Tribune column today:
So I called Gary Skoien, the new Cook County Republican chairman to find out about all his hatred for Daley's family. But he's got other problems--his organization doesn't even have the $10,000 it is promising for the snitches.
"We'll get it," he said
The IRA today said it will end its armed campaign and resume disarmament. In a long-awaited statement released at lunchtime, the republican group did not say it would disband.
The order said members were to pursue peaceful means and not to "engage in any other activities whatsoever" - a reference to the low-level paramilitary activities which have angered not just unionists, but the London and Dublin governments.
With press conferences due later today in Dublin, Washington and London from Sinn Féin, the reaction from the unionists, and in particular the hardline Democratic Unionist leader, Rev Ian Paisley, will now be crucial to the future of the currently suspended power-sharing Stormont assembly.
The key passages of the lengthy statement read: " The leadership of [the IRA] has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon. "All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms.
All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means.
"Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever. "
The full text of the IRA statement is here.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
From the CBS 2 website:
Former Illinois Governor George Ryan is speaking out about his federal indictment on corruption charges.
"It's torn at the very fiber of my family, my friends and myself,"Ryan said. The former governor told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine that his eight-year ordeal will end in September when he finally gets his day in court.
George and Lura Lyn Ryan are back home now in the Kankakee neighborhood where they've lived all their lives. Now they are facing the fight of their lives.
Ryan told CBS 2 News that he will not come to some kind of agreement with prosecutors to avoid putting himself and his family through a trial. "You have to have done something wrong to do that. I have done nothing wrong," Ryan said.
"I'm pretty limited to what I can say about the case, but I know that Dan Webb said at the time of the indictment that the federal government can't name one person who gave me a corrupt dollar. And I think that's an important thing for the public to know," he said.
Ryan's lawyers won't let him answer specific questions about the case or the potential witnesses, who could be close aides and advisers, even his children.
"How are you going to be able to handle a trial in which very own children are going to called to testify against you?" Levine asked.
"I just want to say we have a very close family. They'll all be there in spirit and physically," Ryan said. "Our family is very strong and very strong-willed and we are all looking for opportunity for this trial to proceed and conclude."
This will be the big story in Illinois in six weeks, and should get a lot of national attention, too. Outside of Illinois, Ryan is best known as the governor who emptied out the state's death row. Here in the Prairie State, at least among Republicans, he's an embarrasment.
This first one comes from Thursday's Tehran Times, West betrays women in the name of supporting them: Leader. An excerpt:
During the (anniversary of one of Muhammad's daughters) ceremony in Tehran on Wednesday, which was also the birth anniversary of the late Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei (the current Iranian leader) said that the fact that the day has been named Mother’s Day provides an opportunity to reflect upon the lofty status of women in Islam.
Although there are some misunderstandings in this regard, it is essential to recognize the value and dignity of women in Islam, he added.
The Supreme Leader said that women have played the most sensitive, lasting, delicate, and efficient roles over the course of history.
The greatest mistake of Western civilization is that it betrays women in the name of supporting them and actually ignores and diminishes their true role in history, society, and the family, he observed.
Ayatollah Khamenei also pointed out the unique effects of women’s affectionate motherly methods in transferring culture, civilization, and morality to society.
By giving women vain promises, the West is actually preventing women from playing their unique role in the family, and through neglecting their real rights, weakens the family, which is the foundation of every society, he stated.
Okay, we've heard from Tehran and the Shi'ites. Now over to Riyadh and the Sunnis....
From Thursday's Arab News:
Inter-Faith Marriage: Reasons for Restrictions
Q. 1. It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a Christian or a Jewish woman. Why cannot the other way round — a Muslim woman marrying a Christian or Jewish man? It might be for the children’s sake, because children take their father’s name and religion. So, what if the husband agrees that the children will follow their mother’s religion? The mother normally has a greater effect on her children than their father
A: A.1. Islam believes in religious freedom. It does not accept that a man or a woman could or should be pressured into accepting a faith in any way other than personal conviction. Hence it allows marriage between a man and a wife belonging to a faith that is recognized by Islam as divine. When a Muslim man marries a Christian or Jewish woman, he believes in the truth of the messages God revealed to the Prophets Moses and Jesus. He respects his wife’s faith and ensures her freedom of belief and worship. If he does not, he is accountable to God for his omission. How could the same freedom be guaranteed in a reverse case where a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim husband?
(I added the bold for emphasis)
People may profess to accept that men and women are equal, but in practice, a woman is often the weaker party in a family situation. So, why expose a Muslim woman to such a situation by allowing marriage with a man who does not believe in the truth of the message given to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
As for your point about a particular couple who make all sorts of agreements concerning their life together and their children, you have to remember that laws are enacted for general application, not for individual cases. Thus, if in the majority of cases, religious freedom cannot be guaranteed, we cannot say that an individual case may be excepted because we have guarantees or agreement between the two parties.
As you see, I have not referred to the status of the children, because this is a different issue. It is the question of religious freedom, and the fact of the husband’s disbelief in the Prophet of Islam that are more relevant here.
Okay, I do agree on the part about the family being the bedrock of our society.
But both Islamic views of women are shameful.
A few posts down you'll see that I blogged about this yesterday. Hey, it does let people know there is a Cook County Republican Party!
Personally, I think Mayor Daley should've laughed the whole thing off.
Here's the latest on the $10,000 reward being offered by the Cook County GOP for information leading to the conviction of Chicago mayor Richard Daley. From ABC 7 Chicago:
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he is outraged by a $10,000 reward offered by the GOP Tuesday for information leading to the mayor's conviction on corruption charges. The bounty was a hot topic at City Hall Wednesday.
The corruption scandal is definitely taking its toll on the mayor, and Wednesday's city council meeting is a perfect example. Aldermen who supported virtually all of Daley's proposals in the past declared his new hiring plan dead before it is even submitted.
The mayor is grudgingly accepting the new political reality, with the exception of a reward that a local Republican leader offered Tuesday for evidence that daley is personally corrupt.
"That stunt was below the belt and was deeply offensive.
On one of the many threads on Rich Miller's Capitol Fax blog, this poster made a very insightful comment:
Wait a minute, you mean the Cook County GOP has $10,000?
In a surprise change of heart, Mayor Daley has decided to make a serious bid for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, City Hall sources told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday.
Years ago, Daley ruled out an Olympics bid, arguing that the millions of dollars in upfront costs required to make a serious pitch was not worth the longshot chance that Chicago would be awarded the Summer Games.
But that was before the $475 million Millennium Park was completed, and before local business leaders -- eager to further showcase Chicago to the world -- agreed to front the city's bidding costs.
With that guarantee, Daley reportedly has given the go-ahead to officials both inside his administration and business leaders on the outside to pursue a serious Olympics bid.
Sources: It's not a diversion
City Hall sources insisted that the bid has been in the works behind the scenes for months and it is not a diversion from the corruption scandals that have beset the mayor.
As to why some people may think this is a diversion, scroll down a few posts.
This FrontPage Magazine article by Thomas Ryan neatly sums up the Bean controversy.
SIU felt the pressure, as noted in the AP article:
Since then, some professors say they have received nasty e-mails from free-speech advocates and have been the subject of critical newspaper columns. One, written by columnist Cathy Young and published in the Boston Globe Monday, says Bean has been the victim of "a witch hunt that would do the late Joe McCarthy proud."
That AP article came from the Belleville News-Democrat, as does this one.
A group called the Christian Legal Society is no longer a registered group at Southern Illinois University because it's charter violates the school's affirmative action rules.
Here's an excerpt:
A Christian student group filed a federal appeal on Tuesday to be reinstated at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, which revoked the group's registered status because members must pledge to adhere to Christian beliefs.
The law school's Christian Legal Society chapter filed the appeal with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to challenge a federal judge's July 5 decision to deny the chapter's request to have the university to re-establish the its status while its lawsuit goes forward.
SIU claims the Christian Legal Society chapter's requirement that its voting members and leaders adhere to basic Christian beliefs violates the university's affirmative action policy.
Here's the "best" part:
SIU began looking into the chapter's requirements after a member of another student group, who never attended a Christian Legal Society meeting, read about its policies in a law journal and brought its practices to the attention of administrators, Mattox (the attorney for CLS) said. No student was ever denied a membership or leadership position within the group because of his or her religious beliefs, he said.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
From Andy Shaw of ABC 7 Chicago, an excerpt:
Cook County republicans are offering a $10,000 reward to a whistleblower with the information that leads to the indictment and conviction of the mayor on corruption charges.
The $10,000 reward is part of a larger effort to fight corruption at city hall. This comes as mayor Daley is being sued for allegedly violating The Shakman Decree that prohibits political favoritism from playing a role in the hiring of government employees.
The mayor says he didn't know that city hiring and promotion exams were being fixed to reward political allies. But a Chicago attorney who's been fighting political hiring at city hall for decades doesn't believe Daley. And he wants the mayor held in contempt of court. The chairman of the Cook County Republican Party is going a step further. By offering a reward for information that helps put the mayor behind bars.
Yesterday we noted, based on a column by Jonathan Turley, that Senator Durbin appeared to be flirting with the idea of holding John Roberts' deeply held Catholic beliefs against him. Turley reported that, when Roberts met the Senator, Durbin had interrogated Roberts about how he would handle a hypothetical conflict between Catholic principles and the law. The hypothetical is more than a little far-fetched because, to my knowledge, Catholicism doesn't make it a sin to declare bad laws constitutional.
Today, according to the Washington Times, Durbin and his staff are denying that the religious interrorgation took place and that the Senator or anyone on his staff told Turley otherwise. But Turley insists that the information came straight from Durbin, when the two met in the green room at one the Sunday gab shows.
Who is telling the truth, Turley or Durbin? Hugh Hewitt puts his money on the law professor, not the politician, and who can blame him? Says Hugh:
I don't think Professor Turley would make up such a potentially important statement. I think Dick "you'd think I was describing Nazis" Durbin is a double-talking hack who wanted to plant a story but didn't think Turley would quote him. It is pretty clear that Durbin lied to Turley, and that is a warning to the nominee to always have a witness with him when he talks to Democrats.
Durbin is a Roman Catholic, I wonder if his faith is a problem for himself serving as a senator?
UPDATE 9:15AM Wednesday. Powerline has another follow up this morning. If this were a fight they'd have stopped it. Yet more bad news for Durbin.
A Dutch court sentenced the killer of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh to life in prison Tuesday, the harshest sentence possible for a murder that heightened ethnic tensions and raised concerns about homegrown Islamic terrorism.
Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, had mounted no defense at his two-day trial earlier this month for the Nov. 2 slaying of Van Gogh, whom he accused of insulting Islam, and told the court he would do it again if given the chance.
Presiding judge Udo Willem Bentinck said life in prison was the only fitting punishment for a crime that sought to undermine Dutch democracy and the political system. He said the three-judge panel had concluded there was no possibility for Bouyeri to return to society, citing his lack of remorse.
UPDATE: 10:45 AM CDT: Roger L. Simon has a great post about Hollywood's fascination with the Roman Polanski-Vanity Fair trial, but has largely overlooked the murder of filmmaker Van Gogh.
Monday, July 25, 2005
A leading Cuban dissident yesterday accused a "two-faced" French government of putting trade ahead of the suffering of the Cuban people.
The comments by Marta Beatriz Roque, a 60-year-old economist who was arrested during a protest outside the French embassy in Havana on Bastille Day, came after Paris unilaterally ended a European Union diplomatic embargo against the regime of President Fidel Castro, and normalised relations with his government.
Apparently emboldened by the French overture, Cuban authorities responded by launching the largest wave of dissident arrests since 2003, when almost the entire dissident leadership of the Communist-ruled island was rounded up.
In the latest wave of arrests, about 30 democracy activists, including Mrs Roque, were taken into custody after they attempted to protest outside the French embassy on July 14 to denounce the new policy towards Cuba. As many as 19 were still believed to be in custody last night.
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern is "deeply concerned" about East St. Louis voters being given money to vote, and will have a committee research how to convince voters to consolidate elections.
(My note: where was that concern before last year's election?)
In a letter dated Friday -- his first public comment about the problem since five East St. Louis Democratic politicians were convicted of federal vote fraud last month -- Kern stated: "I am informed this practice has been going on for a long time. It is against the law and must stop."
Kern said he asked officials in his county Democratic Party to "... take steps to make sure this practice does not happen again."
During a month-long federal trial in East St. Louis, witnesses testified that before the Nov. 2 election, East St. Louis politicians claimed they needed to pay double, or $10 a vote, to get Kern elected County Board chairman because Kern, who is white, was perceived to be a racist by the largely black community.
No evidence linked Kern to vote buying or to being a racist. He was not charged with any wrongdoing.
Republican County Board member Steve Reeb was not impressed with Kern's plan. Reeb narrowly lost the County Board chairman race to Kern, with the difference being a heavy Democratic vote majority in East St. Louis.
"I cannot express deeply enough what a hypocrite Mark Kern is," he said. "He and the Democrat machine have fought the Republicans for years on the issue of consolidating elections and disbanding the East St. Louis election board. Now Kern finds himself in hot water and does an about-face on the issue."
Reeb said he didn't believe that vote buying was directly connected to the city's election board.
"You don't blame vote buying on the East St. Louis election board. You blame it on the Democrat Party," Reeb said. "Now all of a sudden he's for reform. It's almost too much to expect the public to stomach." Just before the Nov. 2 election, $10,000 was diverted from a Republican state supreme court candidate's coffers and was given to Reeb's political committee. Reeb has said that this money was then used to help get out the vote for him and other Republicans in East St. Louis. County Democrats distributed $73,000 two days before the election.
From the Chicago Tribune, free registration may be required:
A judge's comments in recent months that she would refuse to seat an all-white jury have raised eyebrows at Cook County Criminal Court and questions about whether the judge acted inappropriately.
"Folks, you all know I have a rule; I don't seat all white jurors," Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay said as a jury was being picked to hear a murder trial last month, according to court transcripts.
Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel Jr. said last week that he had recently been made aware of the remarks Clay made.
Clay admitted they were "indelicately stated" and said she regretted being blunt. But it is her view that qualified African-Americans were being left off juries without good reason, she said.
"I try to preside over jury trials in a fair and impartial way--that is always my goal," Clay said.
"I carry out all my duties and responsibilities with that goal."Clay, who is African-American, made the remarks in chambers before three separate trials, according to transcripts reviewed by the Tribune.
The first time was the April 20 trial of a man for unlawful use of a weapon. After eight jurors were picked, Clay indicated she was not satisfied with the makeup of the panel.
"I'm telling you folks, I don't know what you all intend to do, but I have no intention of seating an all-white jury," Clay said, according to transcripts.
The Service Employees International Union, with 1.8 million members, plans to announce Monday that it is leaving the AFL-CIO, said several labor officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the developments.
The Teamsters union was likely to disaffiliate at the same news conference, they said. Two other boycotting unions signaled similar intentions: United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE, a group of textile and hotel workers.
How does that effect the Democratic party?
A divided labor movement worries Democratic leaders who rely on the AFL-CIO's money and manpower on Election Day.
"Anything that sidetracks us from our goals ... is not healthy," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., chairman of the House campaign committee.
In the 2004 campaign, unions ran nearly 260 phone banks and mailed out at least 30 million pieces of political literature in 16 states, mostly on behalf of Democrats.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The case has dragged on since 1983, two other men, Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez, were twice convicted--and twice sentenced to death--for the murder of the 10-year old Jeanine. Both of the convicted men have since been exonerated.
Obviously, this is very unusual case, so the rare--if not unprecedented request--by Birkett to meet with these editorial boards should be understandable.
Not everyone agrees. This passage appeared in the Tribune article:
Bob Cummins, a former chairman of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board who for three decades has lectured on ethics to lawyers and judges, said Birkett's efforts "may be politically savvy, but in my judgment are professionally stupid, if not worse."
"Maybe my ideas are old-fashioned, but aren't we supposed to try cases in the courtroom? Isn't that where you demonstrate the evidence?" said Cummins. "If Joe Birkett were my client, I would tell him to fire the guy who set this up and get a new political advisor."
In addition, Cummins said Birkett, depending on how much he discloses of the evidence he has presented, could be in violation of the law on grand jury secrecy and subject to a contempt of court charge.
Now, this is what the Tribune left out.
Bob Cummins is a partner in a two-person law firm, the other attorney in the firm is Tom Cronin, who was a 1996 primary opponent of Joe Birkett. Their office is at 77 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 4800, in Chicago.
And by some weird coincidence, another Birkett primary opponent, Bob Coleman was able to find space in that tiny office in Suite 4800 to set up his campaign headquarters in 2002.
And finally, one more Tribune omission: Bob Cummins was an attorney who opposed State's Attorney Birkett over the legal battle over whether the public should pay the legal fees of seven DuPage County law enforcement men who were indicted by a special prosecutor over their roles in the Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez convictions. Each of the "DuPage 7" were acquitted.
Cummins lost that case against Birkett, and the DuPage 7 did not have to dig into their personal funds to pay for their legal defense.
Shame on the Chicago Tribune. They didn't do much homework, or perhaps they chose to overlooks things. But they thought enough, as I posted above, to include this bit about Cummins:
Bob Cummins, a former chairman of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board who for three decades has lectured on ethics to lawyers and judges...
Cummins might want to consider talking about ethics to the Tribune. And when he's done with them, he can start lecturing to himself about ethics.
One last time, "The Star-Spangled Banner" rang out over the Champs-Elysees in honor of Lance Armstrong. One last time, on the podium against the backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe, the cancer survivor who became the greatest cyclist in Tour de France history slipped into the leader's yellow jersey Sunday. This time, it was the winner's jersey, for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year in the world's most grueling race.
Long John Baldry died in Vancouver last week. Exactly who was Long John Baldry?
This is what Rod Stewart said about him, in comments posted on the late Mr. Baldry's web site:
'For me, just shaking his hand – knowing all the great musicians whose hand he’d shaken before – was mind-blowing. But so was John. Picture this elegant man with a proper English accent, never without a tie, a towering six-foot-seven. I was a huge fan and I was intimidated by his offer. Rod Stewart wasn’t in demand in those days; no one was interested. I immediately said 'yes'. John had a knack for discovering talent. Ginger Baker, Jeff Beck and Brian Jones all worked with him early on. Elton John played piano in one of his bands, other Rolling Stones too – Charlie, Ron Wood, and Keith. In 1962, when the Rolling Stones were just getting started, they opened for him in London. Eric Clapton has said many times that John was one of the musicians that inspired him to play the blues. And for their internationally televised special in 1964, the Beatles invited John to perform his version of 'I Got My Mojo Working'. In those days the only music we fell in love with was the blues, and John was the first white guy singing it, in his wonderful voice. It was the true blues and everyone looked up to him'. - Rod Stewart
In short, Long John Baldry was the "Where's Waldo" of the early British blues scene, back in fact, as he sung in his only American hit, "Don't Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll," when there was no British blues scene at all.
Yes, as Rod Stewart stated, an unkown named Elton John played in one of Baldry's bands. Long John's influence was strong with Elton; born Reginald Dwight, his adopted surname was chosen by Reg as a tribute to the great Long John Baldry.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Had to run to the local supermarket tonight to pick up a few things, and I came across the Saturday early edition of the Sunday Chicago Sun-Times.
Lynn Sweet's column writes about Senator Joe Biden's (D-DE) visit to Chicago tomorrow and Monday; 100 degree heat is expected tomorrow, so it'll be interesting what effect the extreme heat will have on his hair-transplant plugs.
Biden is considering a presidential run in '08, and he'll be meeting with local politicos to discuss a Biden '08 campaign.
Last fall, Joe called President Bush "brain dead." The line, most likely, was not taken from another speech, a stunt he pulled in his 1988 presidential campaign when he plagiarized a speech from British politician Neil Kinnock.
Like Kerry, Biden is a pro-abortion Catholic politician. He'll have to perform the same dance "Yes, I'm Catholic, but I support a woman's right to choose" John Kerry had to perform in Election 2004. Biden, however, opposes partial-birth abortion.
Still, Biden's chances in 2008 are slim. Stay home in Delaware.
UPDATE 3:01PM Sunday: Here is that Lynn Sweet Chicago Sun-Times column.
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into whether Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Jay Rockefeller and Ron Wyden leaked details about a secret "black ops" CIA satellite program last December in a move that may have seriously compromised national security, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin said on Saturday.
"The CIA made a request to the Justice Department to investigate and possibly bring criminal charges against these three [senators]," Babbin told WABC Radio host Monica Crowley. "My information is that investigation is ongoing."
Mr. Rockefeller is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Mr. Durbin is the number two ranking Democrat in the Senate.
Media reports on the satellite leak last December indicated that the Bush administration was concerned about public comments by Durbin, Rockefeller and Wyden and that the CIA had requested a Justice Department probe.
"The formal request for a leaks investigation would target people who described sensitive details about a new generation of spy satellites to The Washington Post, which published a page-one story about the espionage program Saturday [Dec. 11, 2004]," a Justice Department official told the Associated Press at the time.
But the same official told the AP that Justice "has not decided whether to investigate."
Former Deputy Undersecretary Babbin's comments on Saturday were the first indication that such a probe was actually launched and is ongoing.
CAIR is particularly worrisome because it claims to be nothing but a mild public affairs organization promoting "interest and understanding among the general public with regards to Islam and Muslims in North America," and is widely seen as such. In fact, it is radical to the core; to quote its chairman, Omar M. Ahmad (as reported by the San Ramon Valley Herald in July 1998), "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth."
CAIR's record includes the following unpleasantries:
Apologizing for killers such as Hamas (a group associated with the murder of 7 Americans) and Usama bin Ladin (charged with the devastation of September 11, 2001).
Helping promote terrorism: In the words of Steve Pomerantz, a former Chief of Counterterrorism for the FBI, "CAIR, its leaders, and its activities, effectively give aid to international terrorist groups."
Intimidation of patriotic Muslims who disagree with CAIR's militant agenda: In one case (Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani), the FBI has looked into charges that he received death threats after renouncing the chauvinists. In another (Khalid Dur'¡n), CAIR's attack on a writer led to a death edict against him - which CAIR has never denounced. (For details on this latter case, see http://www.danielpipes.org/article/384.)
- Associating with terrorism: Siraj Wahaj, a potential unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, sits on its advisory board.
Bias against women: When a prosecutor in Cleveland argued that two Muslim men had engaged in the "honor killing" of their female cousin, CAIR accused him of "ethnic and religious stereotyping" and demanded he be investigated.
Sponsorship of blatant antisemitism: At a May 1998 rally at Brooklyn College co-sponsored by CAIR, one speaker referred to Jews as "descendants of the apes."
In short, CAIR represents not the great civilization of Islam but a radical utopian movement originating in the Middle East that seeks to impose its ways on the United States. Americans should consider themselves warned: a new danger exists in their midst.
CAIR also has a history of vituperation and aggressiveness against anyone who opposes its Islamist vision for the United States. In my case, it has sent out nearly a hundred tirades impugning my reputation since July 1999. These have landed everywhere from the op-ed page of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to the hands of street picketers in Washington, D.C. and Cornell University.
Washington DC based CAIR has denounced the recent London bombings.
And on it's web site, it has an "Action Alert/Incitement Watch." Some of these articles and statements listed by CAIR are truly repulsive and deserve to be called to task for fostering hatred.
But yesterday, this article appeared in one of CAIR's hometown newspapers, the Washington Post, via Reuters.
Free registration to the Post may be required to access, you can use this Yahoo News link to get to the same story.
Drudge has had the Post version on his site since yesterday afternoon, so I think it's a safe bet that CAIR knows of its existence.
Here's an excerpt from that Reuters article:
Militant Islamists will continue to attack Britain until the government pulls its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the country's most outspoken Islamic clerics said on Friday.
Speaking 15 days after bombers killed over 50 people in London and a day after a series of failed attacks on the city's transport network, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed said the British capital should expect more violence.
"What happened yesterday confirmed that as long as the cause and the root problem is still there ... we will see the same effect we saw on July 7," Bakri said.
"If the cause is still there the effect will happen again and again," he said, adding he had no information about future attacks or contacts with people planning to carry out attacks.
Bakri, a Syrian-born cleric who has been vilified in Britain since 2001 when he praised the September 11 hijackers, said he did not believe the bombings and attempted attacks on London were carried out by British Muslims.
He condemned the killing of all innocent civilians but described attacks on British and U.S. troops in Muslim countries as "pro-life" and justified.
In an interview with Reuters, Bakri described Osama bin Laden, leader of the radical Islamist network al Qaeda, as "a sincere man who fights against evil forces."
Bakri said he would like Britain to become an Islamic state but feared he would be deported before his dream was realized.
"I would like to see the Islamic flag fly, not only over number 10 Downing Street, but over the whole world," he said.
Okay, CAIR. Are you going to denounce this article? Looks like "incitement" to me.
Important note: If you'd like to e-mail CAIR expressing displeasure with their hypocrisy, do not , I repeat, DO NOT use your work e-mail address. This comes from nemesisis of CAIR, Anti-CAIR:
WARNING: CAIR Will Contact/Attack Your Employer/Cost You Your Job
ACAIR has warned our readers NOT to communicate with the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) using a corporate e-mail account. On many, many occasions, CAIR has contacted corporations to complain about receiving "hate e-mail" from employees using their work e-mail accounts.
A total of 83 people were confirmed dead, said Dr. Saeed Abdel Fattah, manager of the Sharm el-Sheik International Hospital where the victims were taken.
Among the dead were two Britons, two Germans and an Italian, he added, and Czech officials said one Czech tourist was also killed. Rescue workers were still searching for victims at some attack scenes.
Several hours after the attacks, a group claiming ties to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the explosion on an Islamic web site. The group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, Al Qaeda, in Syria and Egypt, was one of two extremist groups that also claimed responsibility for October bombings at the Egyptian resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan that killed 34. The group also claimed responsbility for a Cairo bombing in late April.
The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately verified
Friday, July 22, 2005
But this post is perfect for Marathon Pundit, as of course, I run almost daily.
Anyway, someone named Jonathan Chait in his Los Angeles Times column (he also writes for the lefty rag, The New Republic), has problems with our physically fit commander-in-chief.
A week ago, when President Bush met with Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III to interview him for a potential Supreme Court nomination, the conversation turned to exercise. When asked by the president of the United States how often he exercised, Wilkinson impressively responded that he runs 3 1/2 miles a day. Bush urged him to adopt more cross-training. "He warned me of impending doom," Wilkinson told the New York Times.
Am I the only person who finds this disturbing? I don't mean the fact that Bush would vet his selection for the highest court in the land in part on something utterly trivial. That's expected. What I mean is the fact that Bush has an obsession with exercise that borders on the creepy.
Given the importance of his job, it is astonishing how much time Bush has to exercise. His full schedule is not publicly available. The few peeks we get at Bush's daily routine usually come when some sort of disaster prods the White House Press Office to reveal what the president was doing "at the time." Earlier this year, an airplane wandered into restricted Washington air space. Bush, we learned, was bicycling in Maryland. In 2001, a gunman fired shots at the White House. Bush was inside exercising. When planes struck the World Trade Center in 2001, Bush was reading to schoolchildren, but that morning he had gone for a long run with a reporter. Either this is a series of coincidences or Bush spends an enormous amount of time working out.
Bush's insistence that the entire populace follow his example, and that his staff join him on a Long March — er, Long Run — carries about it the faint whiff of a cult of personality. It also shows how out of touch he is. It's nice for Bush that he can take an hour or two out of every day to run, bike or pump iron. Unfortunately, most of us have more demanding jobs than he does.
Chait's an a-hole. Sometimes I work 12 hour days, but I can somehow get up (most days) for a 10 mile run.
Quite possibly the worst celebrity blog belongs alleged rocker Moby. An excerpt from his July 19 entry.
how ironic...i'm in australia and john howard(aussie pm) is in the u.s.maybe we should trade responsibilities?john howard(we have a similar hairline)could play some old rave classics('go', 'thousand', 'next is the e', etc)and i could give my honest opinion on the war in iraq(a tragically sad, hubris inspired invasion that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths purely in the interest of acquiring the worlds 2nd largest oil reserves).i wonder if john howard and gw bush will kiss slowly and softly or with the ardent passion of long seperated lovers?i vote for the latter, to be honest with you.
The pain in his surgically repaired left ankle is so severe that Frank Thomas has trouble walking out of the clubhouse after games.
"It's a 10 right now, a real 10," Thomas said Friday, rating his pain level.
Struggling at the plate with a .219 average despite hitting 12 homers in 105 at-bats for the Chicago White Sox, Thomas was put back on the 15-day disabled list Friday.
But Thomas has great career statistics, 448 home runs and a .307 batting average.
As for the good news, the White Sox beat the Red Sox 8-4 tonight, John Garland picked up his 15th victory.
From NBC 5 Chicago.
A boatload of radio contest winners on Friday retraced the voyage of an ill-fated tourist boat that got an unexpected surprise from a rock band's tour bus.
Last August, waste tanks from the tour bus of the Dave Matthews Band were emptied out as it was crossing a bridge over the Chicago River, dumping the contents on the passengers of a passing tour boat. The Dave Matthews Band made a gift to the Friends of the Chicago River to make up for the incident. The bus driver pleaded guilty and was fined.
A Dave Matthews Band tribute band, The Tripping Billies, performed on a Wendella boat Friday. The radio show and performance was all a part to promote the Dave Matthews Band show this weekend.
``I urged Judge Roberts, as far as he can legally and within the canon of ethics, to be forthcoming and honest with us at the committee hearings,'' Durbin, the Senate's minority whip and No. 2 ranking Democrat, told reporters after a meeting in which he and Roberts talked about topics ranging from desegregation to heroes.
Two years ago, Durbin was one of three committee Democrats to vote against Roberts' being confirmed as a federal appellate court judge, and Durbin has since repeatedly blamed his lack of support for the former conservative Washington, D.C., attorney on his evasiveness on such matters as abortion rights.
My opinion: He'll vote "no."
Police shot and killed a man wearing a thick coat at a London subway station on Friday, a day after the city was hit by a second wave of terror attacks in two weeks.
There are reports the man was a suspected suicide bomber, says CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth.
British Transport Police said the Northern and Victoria Tube lines, which pass through Stockwell, were suspended because of the shooting.
Passengers said they saw police pursuing a man who appeared to be of Pakistani or Indian descent. Some said police shot him when he tripped.
But one witness told the British Broadcasting Corp. that police "pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him." "He looked like a cornered fox. He looked pertrified," Mark Whitby said.
UPDATE 10PM CDT: News reports everywhere are saying that the man killed was not wearing a bomb.
2nd UPDATE Sat. 7/23 12PM. London police now believe the man shot had nothing to do with the recent London bombings.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Well, despite Dick Durbin's newly found prominence, Obama hasn't gone away. From AP:
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday he hasn't decided whether he will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.
Roberts clearly has the legal background and intellect to serve, Obama said. But the Chicago Democrat said he wonders whether Roberts has the wisdom and balance to be a Supreme Court justice.
``In every walk of life, you know people who are really smart but have no sense,'' Obama said.
As for the last sentence, is Barack talking about his fellow Democrats?
I blogged about this a month ago or so...now there's a lawsuit.
From the Northbrook (IL) Star, excerpted:
A former employee has sued Northbrook-based Allstate Insurance Company for discrimination, maintaining he was fired for writing an Internet-published essay that slams same-sex marriage and homosexual lifestyles.
J. Matt Barber, 35, of Villa Park, said last week his Christian faith led him to write the essay in December 2004, on his own time and at home. His federal lawsuit alleges Allstate officials told him the following month that he was being suspended for writing the piece. He was fired three days later.
Barber's lawsuit claims his dismissal violates his constitutional right to free exercise of religion and seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
"If a secular employer can fire you for what you believe, a lot of citizens better worry about what their employers can do to them," Barber's attorney, Matthew Davis, said Monday.
Davis works for the Gibbs Law Firm of Seminole, Fla., which specializes in religious rights cases. The firm represented Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo, who unsuccessfully sought a court order to prolong her life this year, after a judge ruled she was in a persistent vegetative state and her spouse could order her feeding tube removed.
According to the lawsuit, his new supervisors knew about his off-work writing activities, and neither had "expressed any misgivings or potential disciplinary problems with Mr. Barber's off-work writing activities."
Nevertheless, the lawsuit alleges he was told Jan. 31 that he was being suspended from his job for writing the essay expressing his views on homosexuals and same-sex marriage.
"They slapped down a copy of the article I had written," he said last week. "I was told that 'here at Allstate we have a very diverse community,' those exact words, 'and you know that Allstate does not hold your position."
He said he was escorted from the building, and fired three days later.
Barber said he remains unemployed.
"Intolerance Will Not be Tolerated: The Gay Agenda vs. Family Values," is one of 10 Barber essays carried on mensnewsdaily.com, a conservative Web site. Barber said he never identified himself in biographies attached to his writings as an Allstate employee.
UPDATE 6:30PM CDT, apparently no fatalities. Good news!
UDATE 7:20PM CDT: Two Arrested in London Subway, Bus Blasts
From the Telegraph, free registration required, Imams who praise terrorism to face deportation
Extremist Islamic preachers who glorify terrorism at home and abroad will be subject to new restrictions, deportations and banning orders, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said yesterday.
A day after the Government and mainstream Muslim leaders agreed the need for tougher action against fundamentalist imams who foment hatred of the West, Mr Clarke told MPs he was drawing up a list of "unacceptable" activities.
They would include preaching holy war messages, writing inflammatory articles or running a jihadist website.
They could lead to the ejection or exclusion of firebrand clerics. The Foreign Office also announced a deal with Jordan to allow the repatriation of British-based fanatics.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Sheikh al-Qaradawi, who has denounced the 7/7 attacks, still supports Palestinian suicide bombers.
Here that "leading progressive Muslim," as noted in the earlier post, explains he thoughts on these vile assassins:
Last year he told the BBC's Newsnight: "It is not suicide; it is martyrdom in the name of God.
I consider this type of martyrdom operation as an indication of the justice of Allah almighty. Allah is just."Through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak what the strong do not possess and that is the ability to turn their bodies into bombs as the Palestinians do."
But Red Ken still supports this progressive, here he is courtesy of Islam Online:
Livingstone condemned the vile media campaign against Qaradawi ahead of the August conference, saying that his views were distorted and misunderstood, rejecting that they affected the minds of the London bombers.
"What Sheikh Qaradawi pointed out was, given that the Palestinians do not have jet fighters and do not have tanks, they only have their bodies to use. I do not think he is actually urging people to go out and become suicide bombers," Livingstone said, denouncing media for having "pandered to Islamophobia."
Good news, though. According to Islam Online, the progressive sheikh is not feeling well, and probably will not be traveling to England next month for an Islamic conference in Manchester.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy (he told me he preferred that name) Doohan in 1995 while I was a convention service manager at a downtown Chicago hotel. We were the host of one of those famous Star Trek conventions.
I with worked a few celebrities during my days in the hospitality business, he was by far the friendliest, least egotistical, and get this...he checked into the hotel under his real name and was fine with having the switch board operators transfer calls from fans to his room.
He sat in the bar just like a regular guy. (Clever man, because he knew "Trekkies" would buy him drinks.)
More on Jimmy here from AP.
Live long and prosper!
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. grew up a stone's throw from Lake Michigan in an exclusive community popular among executives from Bethlehem Steel, attending Catholic schools and enjoying summers along the waterfront about 30 miles outside Chicago.
Yet he also did ``nitty gritty'' work during the summers at a nearby steel mill, part of a summer work force made up largely of mill executives' children.
The two experiences helped shape the Harvard-educated lawyer into an unassuming jurist with commonsense values, friends and colleagues said Wednesday.
``To say he came up by the bootstraps, no he didn't,'' said longtime friend Bob MacLaverty, a boarding school roommate who was in Roberts' wedding. ``But he's clearly not an elitist prep school, Ivy League-educated blue blood. He's just a regular Midwest guy.''
Roberts' family settled in Long Beach in the 1960s when his father was transferred to the Bethlehem Steel mill in nearby Burns Harbor from Buffalo, N.Y.
Long Beach was established in the 1920s as a summer getaway for Chicagoans. Today, it has about 1,500 residents, and houses along its prestigious Lakeshore Drive fetch prices of more than $1 million.
The community of lakefront homes and winding, tree-lined streets remains a stark contrast to the steel mills that dotted Indiana's northernmost border and drove the region's economy for decades.
He's had the prerequisite personal life issues that afflict many country/rocker types (drug addiction, six failed marriages), but I'm going to try to stick to Earle's music and his politics.
His otherwise solid 2002 work, "Jerusalem," was sidetracked by a bad note known as "John Walker's Blues," a song about the "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh.
In the song, Earle offers a very sympathetic view of Lindh, neglecting to mention in the song the vile nature of the Taliban government.
Interestingly, music was banned from the Afghan radio by the Taliban, a detail also left out of "John Walker Blues."
Last summer, Steve Earle released "The Revolution Starts Now;" the artwork of the album is prominently graced by a large red communist star. The album isn't very good, and like John Fogerty's "Deja Vu (All Over Again)," Earle's last one seems to have been a rushed affair, released quickly to sway the 2004 election into Kerry's favor.
We know how that ended up.
On "The Revolution Starts Now," there's a song "Warrior," about a family man who joins the army to pay bills (there's no work at home, you see, because "all the jobs have gone to Mexico.") While serving in Afghanistan, "the Warrior's" car is repossessed.
Then there's "Condi Condi," about you know who, this song has has Earle singing some nonsense, with a bastardized reggae beat, about Condi you-know-who..
Then there's the title track.
Courtesy of Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune. (I know only wants excerpted articles, but hey, I'm a subscriber, and via this blog, I've sent many people to the Chicago Tribune site. If the Trib complains, I'll delete or excerpt the post.)
Singer-songwriter Steve Earle and his band the Dukes record their politically charged anti-war, anti-Bush album "The Revolution Starts Now" in a matter of days. "The most important presidential election of our lifetime was less than seven months away and we desperately wanted to weigh in, both as artists and as citizens of a democracy."
Earle wrote on his Web site.The rallying cry of a title track begins and ends the album, featuring lyrics such as: The revolution starts here. Where you work and where you play, Where you lay your money down, What you do and what you say, The revolution starts now
AUG. 24, 2004:
Artemis Records releases "The Revolution Starts Now" to wide-spread acclaim. Milo Miles of Rolling Stone calls it "easily the most potent roar about Iraq so far." The title track wins Earle far more radio play than usual, with the song being played frequently on WXRT-FM 93.1.
NOV. 2, 2004:
George W. Bush is re-elected president of the United States.
DEC. 2, 2004
Earle writes on his blog: "I am suggesting refusing, resisting, organizing and getting out in the streets, and SINGING at the top of our lungs. Richard Nixon began pulling our guys out of Vietnam only when he and his government began to fear chaos in the streets of America. We can do this. We have to.
FEB. 13, 2005:
"The Revolution Starts Now" wins the Grammy Award for best contemporary folk album.
JULY 12, 2005:
A Chevy truck ad plays during the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. The soundtrack: Earle's song "The Revolution Starts Now." Earle's manager Dan Gillis explains: "It's just a business decision we decided to make, and we went with it." Earle is not available for comment
PFAW (People for the American Way) on Roberts: "constitutional catastrophe"
A "catastrophe" to PFAW is a blessing for America:
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Illinois' senior Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Assistant Democrat Leader in the U.S. Senate, has wasted little time in launching against Judge John Roberts, President Bush's choice for the Supreme Court slot being vacated by retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Durbin has said that the President's decision to put forward John Roberts, 50, who he termed a "controversial nominee" guarantees a "controversial nomination process."
Durbin previously clashed with Roberts during the confirmation process for the federal judgeship he now holds. Durbin questioned Roberts characterization of the Rehnquist Court as not necessarily conservative, saying that the the record of the court defied easy labels.
Durbin joined Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in voting against Roberts' ultimately successful appointment to the Appeals Court of the District of Columbia approximately two years ago.
Durbin has previously declared that any nominee that did not respect the Court's 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut that created a person's right to privacy (the precursor to the Roe v. Wade decision) should be filibustered.
No, Al-Qaeda was NOT behind those attacks...According to MEMRI (the level-minded Middle East Media Research Institute) it was, well, the usual people who are blamed for this stuff....
Hat tip to Pat Curley at Brainster.
From the Jerusalem Post:
London Mayor Ken Livingstone, whose city was devastated by Islamic suicide bombings earlier in the month, lashed out at Israel Tuesday, comparing the Likud to Hamas and accusing Israel of "crimes against humanity."
At a London press conference, Livingstone, who has a long record of anti-Israeli diatribes, drew a connection between the London blasts and the Middle East. He said Israel had "done horrendous things which border on crimes against humanity in the way they have indiscriminately slaughtered men, women and children in the West Bank and Gaza for decades."
Livingstone expressed understanding for the motivations of Palestinian suicide bombers, saying that since the "Palestinians don't have jet fighters, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In that unfair balance, that's what people use."
Hey Ken! How 'bout I leave you alone for a few minutes in a room with Rudy Giuliani?
Anyway, it's John Roberts. Demonization of Mr. Roberts by the Left shall commense.
The Senate's most self-satisfied senator, Joseph Biden, has established a website asking citizens to join him in pressuring President Bush to pick a liberal Supreme Court nominee so that a contentious confirmation battle can be averted.
Well, yes, I'll admit he didn't quite put it that way, but if the Left's currently favorite sycophant, Joe Wilson, is entitled to spurts of "literary flair," why shouldn't the rest of us be as well?
Very thoughtful (and humorous) column, the rest of it is here.
Oh, and Biden's Supreme nominee site, well if you must....
Free registration may be required to view the entire Telegraph article.
Because he has links to the extremist group The Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi is banned from the USA.
Ken has been cozy with Palestinian, and more specifically, anti-Israel activists for years. To his credit, since 7/7 he's been sounding a bit more like President Bush of late, the same man the Leftist mayor once called "the greatest threat to life on this planet." It would be interesting to ask Livingstone if he's invite Yusuf back to London.
But many miles north of London, on August 7, Qaradawi is scheduled to speak at an Islamic conference in Manchester. Will the British government, in light of the 7/7 atrocities, let him back into England?
From the Telegraph:
But although Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, has the power to exclude individuals whose presence is judged not to be conducive to the public good, there is no suggestion that the controversial Qatar-based imam is to be banned.
Last Friday the Home Office outlined proposals aimed at restraining militants by making it a crime to glorify or condone terrorism. Ministers said that would cover statements suggesting that suicide bombers were martyrs.
The second paragraph seems quite reasonable. Now, about that first one...
Although Qaradawi's supporters said he had condemned the Tube and bus attacks, he has praised suicide bombings against Israel.
Last year he told the BBC's Newsnight: "It is not suicide; it is martyrdom in the name of God. I consider this type of martyrdom operation as an indication of the justice of Allah almighty. Allah is just.
"Through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak what the strong do not possess and that is the ability to turn their bodies into bombs as the Palestinians do."
The Telegraph finds a Muslim spokesman who belches out the tired apologist line that Qaradawi is a "moderate" and that his comments were, as radicals spewings usually are, "taken out of context."
My advice to Home Secretary Clarke? Have that Qatari plane bypass Manchester and divert it to further north to some God forsaken place such as the Faroe Islands.
And leave him there.