Friday, June 30, 2006

Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review with two new guests

Just as with last week's Pajamas Media podcast, this week's edition has two guest panelists. LaShawn Barber and recent Chicago resident Daniel Drezner join Eric Umansky and moderator Austin Bay.

The controversy over the New York Times writing a story about the (up until the Times spilled the beans on it) US government's secret monitoring of the SWIFT banking information exchange group based in Belgium is the first topic.

Privacy in public places is judged to be an oxymoron by the panelists. With camera and video cell phones pretty much everywhere, what you do can be captured by anyone.

Just ask Hong Kong's under-pressure "Bus Uncle."

On a side note, as you can see a couple of posts down, I carry a camera phone or digital camera almost everywhere I go. Having either--preferably both--on hand to me is necessary equipment as a blogger.

Gaza, Hamas, and Israel, and predictions for upcoming stories round up the podcast, which as always, is produced by Pajamas blogger Ed Driscoll.

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Jesse Jackson son still interested in buying Chicago Sun-Times

Yusef Jackson, son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, is co-owner along with his brother Jonathan, of River North Distributorship, the exclusive supplier of Anheuser-Bush products on Chicago's North Side.

Anheuser-Busch, for those with long memories, is a former boycott target of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The ad slogan for its flagship beer, Budweiser, was "This Bud's for You." Jesse quipped, when announcing the boycott, that "This Bud's a Dud."

But a few years later, two of Jesse's sons--with no prior beverage industry experience, end up with that distributorship. Coincidence?

Now, according to the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal, Yusef may be interested in buying Chicago's # 2 newspaper, the Sun-Times and various suburban newspapers.

From the Tribune (free registration required):

But with Radar (a new magazine), Jackson says he's "now firmly in the media," an appetite only whetted a couple years ago by his rejected high bid, reportedly $850 million, for the Sun-Times and its area sister publications.

"I have been interested in the media business for a long time ... so I went after a big one first," said Jackson, 35, a lawyer who is chief executive of River North Sales & Service, an Anheuser-Busch distributorship. "I learned a lot of lessons. I wish they had elected to sell it.

"I'm still very interested in the Sun-Times property," he said. "The Sun-Times is a great publication, a great paper. It's synonymous with Chicago, and I would love to own it."

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Please notice my blog....

...and notice my band. Saw with during my morning run on Lincoln Avenue in Morton Grove. The blog site is Blood Loss is a local heavy metal band, which I wasn't aware of until this morning.

You see, advertising really does work.

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Nature abhors a vacuum--with no towers

Okay, here's another photo from the Linne Woods Prairie in Morton Grove, this time without the power-line towers.

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Northwestern football coach dies suddenly

Wow, this is a shocker. Northwestern head football coach Randy Walker died of a heart attack last night. He was just 52.

Walker did a commendable job as coach; it's difficult to recruit athletes at NU because of the school's stringent academic standards. He inherited a mess--a gambling scandal involving some NU football players--as Gary Barnet sleazily departed for the University of Colorado.

As for Barnett, just like someone else at CU, he finally got his walking papers, but much later than he should have.

As for Walker, he took the Wildcats to three bowl games. RIP.

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Sears Tower terror plotters hoped to use tunnels to bring down skyscraper

New details are emerging about the Miami-based jihad group's plans to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower.

From CBS 2 Chicago:

Prosecutors talked about a plan to take down the Sears Tower with dynamite. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports on how they planned to gain access to the Chicago landmark.

On Thursday, it was revealed the Sears Tower was the centerpiece of the plot to kick-off a holy war by setting off dynamite in tunnels beneath the 110-story skyscraper.

The alleged ringleader, Narseal Batiste, had told an FBI informant that his contacts from a delivery job he once held were going to help his group use tunnels under Chicago to stage an attack, prosecutors said.

Batiste, the former Chicagoan and delivery man, was undoubtedly familiar with the subterranean passages off Lower Wacker Drive leading to the building's lower levels and perhaps the network of tunnels beneath the city -- the ones flooded by the Chicago River years ago.

The network of tunnels below downtown Chicago were built in the 19th century for rail-car coal deliveries. The tunnels are sealed and guarded, so getting the dynamite into the tunnels--presumably more than one trip would be needed, would've been the most difficult part of their plan to bring down America's tallest building.

A side note: One of legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko's alter-ego characters once suggested that those tunnels be turned into dungeons to house our worst criminals. Imagine if President Bush announced that he's closing down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and replacing it with new accomodations in Chicago.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pipes on Gaza and Israel: "Only then will the violence end...."

When Germany agreed to an Armistice to end World War I, it was beaten militarily when the Allied armies began crossed into its borders. But the defeat wasn't cataclysmic enough to prevent the creation of a myth that Germany could've won...should've won....if only....

Enough fanatics believed that nonsense to put Adolf Hitler in power fifteen years later.

After the Second World War ended in Europe, there was no question Germany lost the war as almost the entire Nazi state was overun by Allied forces on the day General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender papers in front of Dwight Eisenhower. With the exception of a few mentally-addled folks who wear their names on their belt-buckles lest they forget it, no "Germany-was-this close'-to-winning" the war myth exists.

And that brings us to this short Daniel Pipes article that was originally was published on National Review Online.

The Bush administration sees the United States at war with Islamic radicalism; has not the time come for it to see other theaters of this same war as Russia's with the Chechen rebels, India's with the Kashmiri insurgents, Israel's with Hamas as as we see our own, and work for the defeat of the Islamists?

Instead, in the Israeli case at least, Washington urges understanding, restraint, compromise, management of the problem, and other half-hearted and doomed remedies. The result is an ever more exhilarated and aggressive Palestinian population that believes victory within reach.

Washington's mistaken approach goes back to the Oslo accords of 1993, when Yasir Arafat seemingly closed the existential conflict in writing to Bill Clinton that "The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." But Arafat's assurances were fraudulent and the Arab effort to eliminate Israel remains very much in place.

Israel, with U.S. support, must defeat this foul ambition. That implies inflicting a sense of defeat on the Palestinians, and winning their resignation to the permanent existence of a Jewish state in the Holy Land. Only then will the violence end.

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Nature abhors a vacuum, cont'd again

I got up late this morning and had a wild day at work, so here is my next installment of my Nature Abhors a Vacuum series. The photos were taken Tuesday afternoon at the restored prairie in the Linne Woods Forest Preserve in Morton Grove.

No high-tension towers tomorrow, I promise.

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Gitmo military trials are goners

The US Supreme Court ruled against the Bush administration in ruling that the government cannot use military trials to prosecute the terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

From AP:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and Geneva conventions.

Of course, that does not mean that the Gitmo prison is closing.

Trans fat next to be banned in Chicago?

The fifty aldermen that make up Chicago's City Council have to be the biggest collection of elected goofs ever assembled.

Two months ago, North Side Chicago Alderman broke away from his anti-Wal-Mart jihad to push through a ban on the liver delicacy foie gras. Until the ban, a whopping dozen or so Chicago restaurants served the goose liver appetizer, clearly we had a crisis at hand in the nation's third largest city.

From the other side of town, South Side Chicago Alderman Ed Burke wants to ban artificial trans fatty acids, better known as trans fat, from Chicago eateries.

Trans fat consumption contributes to obesity and heart disease. Since I'm a runner, I don't eat a lot of the stuff. Not to sound preach-ey, but keeping trans fat intake to a minimum is a good idea for any member of the human race.

Mayor Richard M. Daley opposes the proposed ban. From CBS 2 Chicago:

In April, the City Council approved a measure banning foie gras -- pronounced fwah-GRAH and French for "fat liver" -- on the grounds that it is inhumane to force-feed geese to produce the rich, buttery delicacy.

The mayor felt the issue was a waste of time for the City Council and this is no different.

"Is the City Council going to plan our menus?" he said Wednesday.

Rather than have a government body dictate to restaurants what they should serve, I believe, just as I do with foie gras, that the marketplace should decide what is placed on the plates of restaurant patrons. It's the common sense solution.

Of course, common sense is not an abundant commodity among Chicago City Council members.

Related posts: Chicago's foie gras faux crisis

City of Chicago weighs elephant ban

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The latest from our Saudi allies: Police accuse maid of driving car

Our dear allies the Saudis--well, they're just different from us, as this Arab News story makes clear:

A Saudi man from Al-Laith was left flabbergasted when passport officials told him that his petite Indonesian maid had not only driven massive four-by-fours in the busy streets of Makkah but had also committed a string of motoring offenses over the past two years. The man had gone to the passport office to get a simple exit and re-entry visa for his maid when he was told to pay various fines totaling SR500 (my note, about $135 USD) on his maid's behalf. The man tried explaining to the official that even Saudi women are not allowed to drive in the Kingdom, let alone an Indonesian maid driving a gigantic four-by-four. The passport official wouldn't listen to any whimpering until the fine was paid, forcing the man to promptly take out his wallet.

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More Wal-blogging: Most Americans have favorable view of Wal-Mart

The last few years of negative campaigning by union-funded groups such as Wal-Mart Watch haven't turned the American public against Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer.

Rasmussen, the respected polling firm released the results of a recent poll asking Americans their opinion of Wal-Mart:

  • 69% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Wal-Mart

  • 79% of current or former Wal-Mart employees a favorable opinion of the company

  • 54% of Americans say that Wal-Mart is good for the community

  • And the opponents of Wal-Mart of course go beyond negative campaigning. As you'll read in the below post, according to Ald. Bernard Stone of Chicago, bullying elected officials is a tactic that unions will utilize to further their anti-Wal-Mart agenda.

    Hat tip to Marshall Manson of Edelman for the Rasmussen information. The Stone stuff below I found on my own.

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    Chicago alderman accuses unions of strongarming colleagues over "big box" ordinance

    Ald. Joe "No Foie Gras For Me" Moore is spearheading the Chicago City Council drive to raise the minimum wage for large "big box" retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.

    Moore, whose 49th Ward is not surprisingly lacking in attractive retail outlets, harrumphs that Wal-Mart and the like "can afford" to pay the higher wages.

    Perhaps. But that doesn't make it less likely that these chains will open new stores in Chicago? Stores that aren't built here, won't employ Chicagoans.

    Moore's neighbor to the west is 50th Ward Alderman Bernie Stone.

    Bernie wants to block Moore's bill. And he had some interesting things to say yesterday to the Chicago Sun-Times:

    "The unions have backed aldermen against the wall. They've threatened to fund opponents against them and to solicit opponents to run against" those who dare to oppose the big-box ordinance, Stone said

    "I'm not stupid. I know certain aldermen have been threatened. That's the type of campaign the unions have run. I think it's despicable what's been done. They figure they've got us by the short hairs."

    Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon, who has led the charge for the big-box ordinance, emphatically denied strong-arming aldermen.

    "I can categorically tell you that the Chicago Federation of Labor has not made any threats to any alderman at any time," Gannon said.

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    Attacks on Gaza

    Israel of course is doing the right thing in rooting out terrorists in Gaza--terrorists intent on attacking Israel if not destroying it outright.

    I like Tony Snow's statement on this subject:

    "The hostage taking and the attacks by Hamas last weekend have precipitated the current events in Gaza," Snow said, adding that Hamas should immediately release a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

    Israel has the right to defend itself and the lives of its citizens, in any actions the government of Israel may undertake the United States urges that it ensures that innocent civilians are not harmed," he said.

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    Nature abhors a vacuum, cont'd

    The first entry in this photo series is a few posts below. As you can see in this photo, the restored prairie in Morton Grove's Linne Woods in flourishing under the high-tension lines.

    Photo taken yesterday afternoon with a my Canon PowerShot A20 digital camera.

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    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Ward Churchill statement regarding his firing is online

    Take it from me, this is legit. No one knows Ward Churchill than those Ward Churchill supporters (and Johnny Cash fans) Try Works.

    Here are the first few paragraphs of Ward's very long rebuttal statement to the university:

    It was quite predictable that Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano would recommend that I be fired from my tenured professorship at the University of Colorado/Boulder. After all, he was effectively ordered to find some "legally-defensible" basis for doing so by Colorado Governor Bill Owens.

    In pursuit of this purely political objective, the interim chancellor has at this point expended more than a year and upwards of $250,000 in taxpayer monies.

    For all that, he has failed.

    Churchill goes on to compare the proceedings against him as a "repitition of the Scopes Monkey Trial."

    In short, Ward won't be slipping out of Boulder quietly.

    Hat tip for life to Pirate Ballerina.

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    Pipes has poop on Pew poll of Muslims

    Despite the comical nature of the headline, the article I'm writing about is a serious one. Dr. Daniel Pipes analyzes the distressing results of a recent Pew Research Center poll of Muslims in living in ten countries.

    No one should be surprised that conspiracy theories involving non-Arabs actually being behind the 9/11 terror attacks, support for terrorism, and disassociation from non-Muslims are common attitudes among Muslims, according to the opinion polls of Muslims.

    Pipes has a brilliant mind, and has been regularly writing about Islamic extremism for more than a decade.

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    Klocek video available

    Thomas Klocek, the fired DePaul professor whose cause I've championed since pretty much the first day of this blog, explains how he was trampled by DePaul's politically-correct hammer in a Quicktime video by Grant Crowell.

    Klocek made the mistake of challenging the ossified political beliefs of some Muslim students--who view themselves an a protected class--at a student activities fair in 2004.

    There's a Ward Churchill tie-in, as the professor asks Ward to speak up for his free speech rights, too.

    But Pirate Ballerina (the site where I found the video), has filed this in his "Don't Hold Your Breath Department."

    The video ends with some pretty good Neil Young music.

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    50th anniversary of the Interstate Highway system

    Pajamas Media links to an article mentioning that the 50th anniversary of the nation's Interstate Highway system.

    President Eisenhower was the catalyst for the building of the concrete network that along with national broadcasting networks, did much to transform the United States from a collection of regions where citizens didn't think of themselves as one people, to what we are--warts and all--in the early 21st century, a more united United States.

    Before the Interstate Highway system, driving from Chicago to the nearest point in the South, Kentucky, would take over 12 hours. Now it can be done in just six hours, making a trip to see and talk with Kentuckians---that is, fellow Americans--an easy weekend trip.

    And there is some cross-country celebrating going on. Yesterday in Tiinley Park, Illinois a group of Illinois Department of Transportation officials greeted a convoy consisting of members of the American Association of State Highway Transportation on Interstate 80. That group is commemorating the Army's 1919 across-the-nation trip that young Army officer Dwight Eisenhower was participated in.

    The post World War I American roads were in terrible shape, and it was a memory that stuck in Ike's head. Nazi Germany's version of the Interstates, the Autobahn, was an important tool in mobilizing the German Blitzkrieg that shocked the world the early days of World War II.

    And in the 1950s, President Eisenhower decided that America needed a better road network than what he suffered through in 1919.

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    New Marathon Pundit photo series: Nature abhors a vacuum

    Yes, Kathleen Parker, bloggers can come up with their own material. Although admittedly, this was a lot easier to work on than my Jamaica series.

    In Morton Grove, Illinois, international headquarters of the Marathon Pundit empire, there is a restoration project in the Linne Woods Forest Preserve. A couple of hours ago, with my Canon PowerShot A20 digital camera, I took a whole bunch of photos.

    Much of the prairie, as you see, is located under some high-tension electrical wires, proving, with a little human help, that nature abhors a vacuum.

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    Ditka on White Sox manager: "I like Ozzie"

    In Chicago there is no better endorsement to have than that of "Da Coach," Mike Ditka.

    Twenty years after he led the Chicago Bears to their only Super Bowl victory, Ditka is still a God-King figure in Chicago.

    Ditka spoke to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lacy J. Banks about White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen:

    Mike Ditka and Ozzie Guillen share a bond that stretches from their blue collars to their blue language, endearing them to a working-class city that identifies with their personalities and has celebrated their success.

    Guillen seems to be following in the footsteps of Ditka, who parlayed playing and coaching success in Chicago into local icon status. The path also includes the verbal jabs and pitfalls that punctuated Ditka's career.

    "I like Ozzie," Ditka said Monday. "I really like the guy. He's real people, he's good for baseball and he's really a nice guy, even though he doesn't always say things that are politically correct. But he says what he thinks. He speaks from the heart. And in this day and age, that can be refreshing when people are honest about what they think and feel."

    "But you've got to know what you're getting into when you hire people. And if you can't stand the heat, then maybe it's best to find a job where you won't have to deal with much heat. What people ought to realize -- if they haven't already -- is that Ozzie is going to continue to be himself. That's just the kind of person he is. I don't expect him to change that much. He is who he is."

    Last week Ozzie Guillen called Banks' lazy co-worker Jay Mariotti "a (bleeping) fag."

    It was wrong for the manager of the World Series champs to say that, he should've said that Mariotti is a hack, who can't even bring his precious ass to teams' clubhouse to meet with players, managers, or coaches. I touched on this theme Sunday night in this post.

    Once again, I want to draw upon the talents of Dan Curry of Reverse Spin, who mined these new missives about Mariotti, this time from outside the Chicago area.

    Jay Mariotti is an embarrassment to sports journalism. He’s the quintessential weasel nerd who couldn’t play sports and now spews his frustration out in print every day. The Sun-Times should have fired him years ago.

    His column Sunday about the Ozzie Guillen incident was too painful to read. (My note: Dan's right) He was moralizing about treating people right after a career of cheap shots.

    Here’s what two of the best sports columnists in America have to say about Mariotti’s refusal to face the men he writes about.

    Michael Wilbon, Washington Post (from a Washington Post chat board)

    I’ve avoided this topic publicly, but no more.

    Ozzie shouldn’t have said what he said. He knows better. And I’m glad Kenny Williams, the White Sox GM, has said if he can’t clean up his act he’ll be fired.

    But Ozzie owes no apology to Jay, my friend for 16-plus years and someone I like very much. Jay can say all he wants that he’s not welcome in the White Sox clubhouse…Really? He writes hyper-critical pieces and doesn’t go in the clubhouse for years, then thinks he won’t be resented years later?

    Anybody who reads my column knows I write critically about athletes and coaches. It’s my job. But I learned from Tony, Dave Kindred, Ken Denlinger, my longtime sports editor George Solomon, and of course, the late Shirley Povich, (My note, Maury Povich's father) that if you’re going to throw punches, you’d better be able to take punches. You show up the next day so that the player/coach/manager can take a shot back at you…even if it means a physical confrontation…And I’ve never had one of those because a player can walk right up to me and say, "I think you’re full of …..!" Or whatever. If you know the player/coach/manager/GM and it’s a local situation, it shouldn’t even be a surprise. I’ve called people I know and said, "Listen, I’ve got to light you up for this in the paper." Sometimes they say nothing. Sometimes they say, "Hold on, let me give you my side." Sometimes they say, "I respect you for telling me."

    There are all sorts of ways to deal with this, but not showing up in the clubhouse isn’t one of them. It’s inexcusable.

    When you write tough, critical pieces you show up the next day.

    And Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (from St. Louis Post chat board):

    I do think it is considered honorable to show up soon after writing critical things about a player or a players or a manager. I try to be there the same day the column appears — but at times that isn’t possible, so it may be a day or two later. The point is, the column is still fresh, and as long as you make an appearance, the player or players or the manager have the opportunity to speak to you if they want to.

    Columnist who rip and don’t show up are called hit and run drivers in the bizness.

    I have been threatened, but never in the Cardinals clubhouse. I’ve been hollered at a little, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

    Since Mariotti can't perform his entire job, his editor--assuming he has one--needs to sit him down, point to the White Sox dugout, and say in a fierce Mike Ditka voice, "Get in there and do something."

    If Jay says "No," then it should be "buh-bye" for Mariotti.

    A final note: In April, a new blog was christened, Jay the Joke, which the Chicago Tribune (free registration required) wrote today:

    Lakeview resident and Cubs fan Matt Lynch had two goals in mind when he co-founded the blog.

    "We wanted to have an intelligent voice out there to dispute some of the laughable things Jay writes in his columns," Lynch said.

    And the second: Find something on which Cubs and Sox fans can agree.

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    New marathon training group began last weekend

    I'm on the board of directors of Illinois Runs, a new training and running education group founded by Beth Onines, longtime fixture in the Chicago area running community. Illinois Runs has a several sites for weekly marathon training, I'm the site coordinator for Sunday's at Lincoln Park on Chicago's lakefront.

    It's not too late to sign up, click on the link above to do just that.

    We had a first run Sunday--in the rain. With the exception of lightening, we run in all weather conditions.

    Governor Rod Blagojevich, someone I don't always agree with, sent Beth a letter of congratulations, which I've posted here.

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    Russia seeking more Russians

    Seeking to defuse a demographic time bomb, Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for Russians not living in Russia to come home.

    Putin probably has Russians living in former Soviet republics such as Latvia, Kazakhstan, Estonia in mind for this reverse migration. It's unlikely Russians who've settled in Western countries will want to go back to the lower standard of living they left behind.

    Even if successful, bringing Russians living abroad back home can only be viewed as a temporary solution to the nation's population problems. What Putin and Russia need to do is to improve the Russian economy and make the country a pleasant place to live--so people don't want to leave.

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    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Ward Churchill to be fired

    Less than a year after DePaul University (see previous post) paid Ward Churchill about $5,000 dollars to speak at the DePaul Student Activities Center (pictured), his employer, the University of Colorado, will fire the F-Troop Indian professor.

    As always, Pirate Ballerina has more. This CU statement from CU Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano comes from that site.

    I have carefully reviewed the Report of the Investigative Committee, Professor Churchill's responses to the Committee, and the Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct. I have met with and obtained the separate input of Provost Susan Avery and Todd Gleeson, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. I met with Professor Churchill and his attorney, David Lane. After conducting the due diligence I felt was necessary, I have come to a decision regarding the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct pertaining to Professor Ward Churchill. Today, I issued to Professor Churchill a notice of intent to dismiss him from his faculty position at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

    Drunkablog has excerpts from KHOW Radio's Caplis & Silverman show discussing the upcoming Churchill firing. Nick Hahn, treasurer of the DePaul Conservative Alliance, was interviewed by the pair in October shortly before Churchill spoke at DePaul. Caplis is a DePaul alum and his father was a DePaul basketball player who was coached by legendary Blue Demon coach Ray Meyer.

    Caplis and Silverman have been among Churchill's most vocal opponents.

    Of course, Churchill has made it known he will sue to keep his job, so the story will continue.

    And this is the third time I'm going to bring this up, but my point is--in my opinion--so valid that I have to press it one more time.

    When is DePaul University going to apologize to the DePaul Conservative Alliance for the mistreatment it foisted upon this decent group of students when they tried to protest Churchill's paid appearance at the Chicago Catholic school?

    Related posts: DePaul student's Denver radio interview follow up: A rat is smelled, and does Ward have a Weather Underground link?

    DePaul student's Denver radio interview follow up: A rat is smelled, and does Ward have a Weather Underground link?

    The Weather Underground and Ward Churchill-UPDATED!

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    Reinstate Prof. Klocek at DePaul petition has over 1,000 signatures

    The goal of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East is to reach 2,000 signatures. As of this posting, they need 899 to reach that number.

    From the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East website:

    The SPME petition to reinstate Thomas Klocek, the Roman Catholic faculty member who was fired by DePaul University without due process for challenging Muslim students' assertions of Israeli treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi's treatment of Jews, has already amassed nearly 1000 signatures in three days. The petition, which can be viewed and signed at calls for his complete reinstatement without prejudice or penalty.

    Morry Fiddler, a professor at DePaul University, writes, " If I'm not there for a colleague, then who will be there for me?" Other DePaul professors signing the petition to date are Allan Berele, Gary Siegel, Jonathan Cohen and Jerold Friedland.

    Bernard Arfin of Stanford University asks, " What has happened to freedom of speech?"

    Simon Levy at Boston University calls the incident, " A clear violation of academic standards," while his colleague, Susan Biener Bergman, also at BU, states, " It seems that at DePaul University, there is a climate of intimidation of anyone having pro-Israel views. What a shame. I thought that academic freedom meant just that."

    Nicholas G. Hahn III, Treasurer of the DePaul Conservative Alliance writes, "...Klocek, as a devout Catholic, deserves the same amount of respect as the Middle Eastern students, especially at a University that claims to be the largest Catholic University in America." Mark Mason, a student at DePaul states, " I am a liberal Democrat, and believe that Thomas Klocek had the right to say what he said and should not be penalized for exercising his free speech outside of the classroom...." Richard Kinkead, a 1977 graduate of DePaul goes on to say, " You pay Ward Churchill to come, but you fire this honest professor. And you wonder why I don't send you a check every year...." And Karen Hunstad says, " As I look at colleges for my son, DePaul will not be one of them. What happened to free and open discussion of ideas and thoughts?

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    Pajamas media Blog Week in Review podcast with two guests

    I'm a little behind in my posting, but I wanted to write about the latest Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review. Joining moderator Austin Bay and regular Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit are Neo-neocon and Marc Cooper. Ed Driscoll produces.

    North Korea is discussed, as is one of the most idiotic proposals out there, free wi-fi provided by municipalities. On the latter, I can speak with authority since I work in the telecommunications field. Will cities build their own cell towers, or have hundreds--or thousands--of micro-cells or repeaters?

    The NIMBY crowd already feels there are too many cell towers out there. Micro-cells and repeaters aren't nearly as intrusive, but they don't cover as much ground.

    Since free wi-fi is an expensive proposal, is it needed? Not everyone is hooked into the Internet yet, particularly seniors, and laptop computers greatly trail traditional desktops in usage.

    The panelists decry what that the blogosphere is becoming, in Marc Cooper's words, " right wing noise machine versus a left wing noise machine," marked by "pointless flame wars."

    Glenn mentions there was more cross political civility on the Internet a few years ago. I guess my crossposting with Try Works (see my Little Big Horn post from Sunday) is a step in the right direction.

    Neo-neocon is an analyst and it makes this podcast, well, analytical.

    As for predictions of news for the upcoming days, Marc Cooper zeroes in on the "impending chaos within the Tribune Company" is about to "bust wide open."

    The Tribune Company owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Cubs, and quite a few television stations. The Tribune Company scored a minor victory today (free reg. required) in its battle with the former owners of the LA Times, but this is definitely a story to watch.

    If the Tribune Company is sold off for parts, it will be a media earthquake, and the epicenter will be here in the Chicago area.

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    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    Butterfly Weed in Michigan

    While running yesterday on Hoffman Road near Three Rivers, Michigan, I took this photo with my Motorola V3 RAZR of a Butterfly Weed. According to my source, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers : Eastern Region, the seeds from the plant were used to treat the respiratory ailment pleurisy by Native Americans.

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    Mr. Right's latest photo caption contest features Bill Clinton

    Fellow Chicago White Sox fan Mr. Right has another photo caption contest, featuring an old reliable object of humor, intended or not: Bill Clinton.

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    Ozzie Guillen, a lazy columnist, and the "F" word

    I'm watching the White Sox-Astros game on ESPN. Despite a nine game winning streak, the Sox are in the news because manager Ozzie Guillen called jerk columnist Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times "a fag." It was a stupid thing for him to say.

    He may not be that, but he is an a-hole. Mariotti doesn't write well, so he picks fights with local sports personalities to draw attention to himself and his column.

    Dan Curry of Reverse Spin has an interesting post on this saga, which has so far dominated Jon Miller and Joe Morgan's coverage of tonight's game.

    The most interesting commentary about the Ozzie Guillen-Jay Mariotti saga was made by Tribune sports columnist Rick Morrissey, who said columnists who rip athletes should face them afterwards in person. I agree.

    If you’re a sports columnist, you show up in the clubhouse to face the music. It’s a matter of fairness.

    Let’s say I criticize Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski for something he did in a game. And let’s say I do it in the Sunday Tribune, which has a circulation of about 960,000.

    Isn’t it reasonable for Pierzynski to have an opportunity to lash out at me in front of media and teammates in the clubhouse if I’ve treated him similarly in print? It seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s what I was taught to do. It’s what nearly all of the columnists in the country do. The honorable thing.

    Look, it’s not always fun walking into a locker room. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But it comes with the territory of being a columnist.

    Jay Mariotti travels to games, but doesn't interview the athletes. The Tribune's Morrissey compares him to bloggers, who write whatever they want without interacting with the jocks. There's a big difference though, between Jay and the blogosphere. Most bloggers aren't paid to write, or they receive very little compensation for their efforts. Mariotti is presumably well-paid to do half of his job, and as an additional perk, he has an expense account to draw upon.

    Also, few bloggers have the impeccable press credentials that a reporter for a major metropolitan enjoys.

    I have another "F" word for Mariotti: Fraud.

    Kenny Williams, the White Sox general manager, told ESPN yesterday that if Guillen keeps mouthing off, Ozzie could be fired.

    That's another "F" word that Mariotti should hear.

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    Eric Zorn's Change of Subject goes to print

    Longtime Chicago Tribune columnist, blogger, and friend-of-this-blog Eric Zorn's Change of Subject blog has a print edition available inside Sunday's Tribune Metro section.

    The online version is here, his post announcing the new venue is here.

    Sometime later tonight or early tomorrow, I'll have a post on speculation that the Tribune Company, parent company of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, WGN-TV and a whole bunch of others, may be carved up soon--As I summarize that latest Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review podcast.

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    Back from Michigan

    The Treo blogging from Three Rivers, Michigan didn't work out too well. Although the cell phone portion of my smartphone worked, I couldn't access the Internet from the device.

    As I noted last week, I traveled to Michigan for the Latvian mid-summer festival known as Ligo. June 23, Ligo day, is a national holiday in Latvia. June 24 is St. John's Day in much of the world, Latvians shorten that to "Jani," or John.

    In Latvian folklore, Jani is shown wearing an oak-leaf laurel, such as the one I'm wearing in a photograph taken yesterday afternoon, on Jani.

    Photo taken by Latvian-born Mrs. Marathon Pundit.

    Related posts: More Michigan blogging...Constantine, MI

    Three Rivers, Michigan and Andrew Carnegie

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    June 25, 1876: The Battle of Little Big Horn

    George Armstrong Custer's daring success--some say luck--as a cavalry officer--ended abruptly on a 100 degree day 130 years ago on the plains of eastern Montana near the Little Big Horn River.

    About 6,000 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors killed 263 soldiers from Custer's 7th Cavalry, including Custer.

    I visited the battlefield site in 2001, the photograph is from my personal collection. The inscription on the marker reads "U.S. Soldier 7th Cavalry Fell Here, June 25, 1876."

    The Little Big Horn National Monument and Cemetery is located just a mile or so off of Interstate 90. If you're driving from the Midwest to Seattle, it's a must-see.

    Related post: Summer road trip not to be missed

    UPDATE 4:20 PM CDT: Michelle Malkin reminds her readers that today is the 10th anniversary of the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US airmen.

    UPDATE 6:30pm CST: Try Works, the Ward Churchill supporting blog that's had a few unkind words for me in the last six months, has an MP3 of the Johnny Cash song, Custer, available. It's a pretty good song, although the "Boy General" wouldn't like it.

    Try Works has their purpose.

    In that light I purchased the first posthumous Johnny Cash CD on previously unreleased material, Personal File, which I will review soon.

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    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Treo blogging from Michigan

    My next few posts will be "on the road" entries from my Treo 650. I'm heading to the Latvian cultural center called Garezers near Three Rivers, Michigan for their annual Mid-summer festival known as "Ligo."

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    Nodding thistle

    I took this picture early this afternoon in the Linne Woods restored prairie in Morton Grove during my daily run. It's a Nodding Thistle, a European introduction.

    Once again, taken with my Motorola RAZR V3.

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    Sears Tower: Always attracting attention

    As you've probably heard, a Miami-based alleged terror cell was interested in destroying Chicago's Sears Tower.

    As any tall junior high school kid will tell you, standing above the others will bring all kinds of attention, not all of it wanted.

    The Chicago Tribune, free registration may be required, has more.

    On (Sept. 11, 2001), police charged Roger Ryan of Chicago, a former Boeing Co. security guard, with telling a 911 dispatcher that an airplane was set to crash into the Sears Tower. Ryan pleaded guilty in August 2002 to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 30 months' probation.

    In July 2002, The New York Times reported that Spanish police arrested three men--and later a fourth--suspected of being Al Qaeda operatives. One was accused of having 5-year-old videotapes containing hours of surveillance images of several U.S. landmarks, including the Sears Tower.

    The Times also reported in March 2003 that a classified government document said Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a captured Al Qaeda leader, told interrogators that Osama bin Laden gave Mohamed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, a list of targets that included the Sears Tower.

    In August 2005, a Chicago man pleaded guilty to falsely leading federal and state authorities to think terrorists linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad were plotting to blow up the Sears Tower and other Chicago landmarks.

    Unrelated to the Sept. 11 phone call hoax, the Sears Tower was evacuated after the second jet hit the World Trade Center on that horrible morning.

    On October 8, 2001, the crew and passengers of a Chicago-bound flight subdued a man who tried to storm the cockpit of the plane, while screaming, "Save the Sears Tower."

    On a lighter note, a Frenchman in a Spiderman outfit scaled the tower in 1999.

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    More on the Sears Tower terror plot

    Some more details are creeping in on the group that planned to destroy the Sears Tower, America's tallest building.

    As I posted late Thursday night, the jihadists are based in the Liberty City section of Miami, a predominately African-American neighborhood on the city's northern edge.

    AP has more:

    Benjamin Williams, 17, said the group had young children with them sometimes. Sometimes, he added, the men "would cover their faces. Sometimes they would wear things on their heads, like turbans."

    Xavier Smith, who attends the nearby United Christian Outreach, said the men would often come by the church and ask for water.

    "They were very private," said Smith, 33. "The spoke with like an accent, sort of a Jamaican accent."

    AP quotes Miamian Tashawn Rose, who said of the group, "They seemed brainwashed. They said they had given their lives to Allah."

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    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Anti "big-box" bill fails in New York state legislature

    Last year Maryland enacted into law "Fair Share Health Care" legislation that essentially taxed "big box" retailers such as Wal-Mart to spend a state-sanctioned amount on worker health-care benefits per employee, or pay a specified amount per head into a state insurance fund.

    Emboldened by that victory, the unions and union-funded organization such as Wal-Mart Watch hit the road to lobby for passage of similar legislation in 30 other states.

    Today in New York state, a similar bill died in the state legislature.

    From the Albany Times-Union:

    Known as the Wal-Mart bill because it would affect the giant retailer and other similar companies, Fair Share for Health Care would have forced companies with 100 employees or more to provide health insurance for workers or pay a $3 hourly tax per employee. Supporters such as labor unions and the Working Families Party said it would help ease the state's costs for Medicaid and other publicly funded programs for poor and low-wage workers.

    And they said it was only fair that employers take responsibility for their people.

    The push also was an effective tool around which labor unions, struggling to gain new members, could rally.

    The business community, though, bemoaned the Wal-Mart bill as precisely the kind of costly big government program that drives companies out of New York. While it would provide coverage for an estimated 466,000 people, that's still less than one-third of the state's uninsured. It also could cost businesses up to $9.2 billion and kill up to 100,000 jobs, according to research by the Employment Policies Institute, a nonpartisan group that sides with business on key financial issues.

    Since the Maryland bill was passed, the unions and the anti Wal-Mart crowd have so far failed to pass Fair Share for Health care bills in any other state.

    Hat tip to Marshall Manson of Edelman PR for the story.

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    Chicago's Sears Tower: War on Terror target

    It's news likes this that reminds us that we're at war. A lot more will come out on this story tomorrow.

    On 9/11, the Sears Tower was evacuated shortly after the second plane hit the World Trade Center. The security people at the Sears Tower knows the building is a target.

    From AP:

    Seven people were arrested Thursday in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the U.S., including the FBI office here, a federal law enforcement official said.

    As part of the raids related to the arrests, FBI agents swarmed a warehouse in Miami's Liberty City area, using a blowtorch to take off a metal door.

    The official told The Associated Press the alleged plotters were mainly Americans with no apparent ties to al-Qaida or other foreign terrorist organizations. He spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt news conferences planned for Friday in Washington and Miami.


    Residents living near the warehouse said the men taken into custody described themselves as Mulims and had tried to recruit young people to join their group, which seemed militaristic.

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    Kerry's cut-and-run for Iraq cut-and-run off in the Senate

    John Kerry's proposal to announce to our enemies that US forces will leave Iraq on July 1, 2007 (not sure of the time that day it would happen) was overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate this morning, 86-13.

    A vaguer Democratic proposal regarding leaving Iraq did a little better, but still was voted down, 60-39.

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    WMDs found in Iraq not getting much play

    Pajamas Media has a pretty good round up of posts on Senator Rick Santorum and Representative Peter Hoekstra's announcement that 500 chemical weapons shells were discovered by our troops in 2003.

    Yes, the weapons date from the Iran-Iraq war, but they could have been given to terrorists by Saddam's regime.

    Recently it was reported that al-Qaeda called off a chemical weapons attack in New York City's subways.

    The Washington Post covered the news, but it's been ignored pretty much by the mainstream media. MTV News has a story here, one that you won't find on linked on either congressman's web site.

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    Media bias in action

    Here is the actual headline as of 1:15 AM CDT:

    GOP-run Senate kills minimum wage increase

    And these are the first three paragraphs of AP reporter David Espo's article, which was not posted at "News Analyis."

    The Republican-controlled Senate smothered a proposed election-year increase in the minimum wage Wednesday, rejecting Democratic claims that it was past time to boost the $5.15 hourly pay floor that has been in effect for nearly a decade.

    The 52-46 vote was eight short of the 60 needed for approval under budget rules and came one day after House Republican leaders made clear they do not intend to allow a vote on the issue, fearing it might pass.

    The Senate vote marked the ninth time since 1997 that Democrats there have proposed — and Republicans have blocked — a stand-alone increase in the minimum wage. The debate fell along predictable lines.

    Republicans have controlled the Senate since 2003, so it's hardly "news" to most intelligent readers.

    It looks like an AP headline writer has an axe to grind, as well as the article's author, David Espo.

    And the mainstream media remains dumbfounded on why it keeps losing its audience.

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    Support Thomas Klocek petition online

    Richard Baehr of the American Thinker tipped me off to a petition from the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in support of fired DePaul University Professor Thomas Klocek.

    It reads as follows:

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

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

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

    It is our understanding that Prof. Klocek alleges:

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

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

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

    4) He was never given a hearing.

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

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

    Click here to sign the petition.

    Also, letting the two co-chairs of the DePaul Board of Trustees about the petition probably isn't a bad idea.

    John B. Simon,

    Mary Dempsey,

    (Thanks to a tipster who would like to remain anonymous for Dempsey's e-mail address.)

    In National Review's Phi Beta Cons blog, the petion is noted in a post by John J. Miller, who wrote this superb article about the squelching of free speech on college campuses last year, Miller focused on the Klocek case.

    Previous posts:

    One year anniversary of the Thomas Klocek press conference at DePaul

    Thomas Klocek free speech case going to trial: Very bad news for DePaul University

    Yale, DePaul win "Polly Awards" for squashing free speech

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    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    The missiles of June

    North Korea is doing its best to make the America--and the world--a more dangerous place.

    Of course, Jimmy Carter has negotiated with North Korea on various issues. With the involvement of the worst president of the 20th century, no one should be surprised that there is a missile there on a launch pad that could land in Seattle within minutes.

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    More Technorati problems

    Hmmm...None of my posts from the last 18 hours were picked up by Technorati. The blog search engine had a lot of problems over the weekend as well.

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    Islamophobia critics: They just don't get it

    Criticize Islam and Muslims label you an "Islamophobic."

    The Organization of the Islamic Conference is meeting in Azerbaijan this week. And the herd Islamophobia was a lot a the gathering.

    From the Tehran Times:

    The OIC chief described a "pathological fear" of Islam caused by "cases of total ignorance of Islam and its teachings" in Western public opinion stemming from rivalries between Christians and Muslims that have existed since the Crusades.

    (The Crusades just had to be brought up.)

    He urged Muslim countries to enact a "new media strategy" to highlight the "true image of Islam" and said pro-Islamic television programs should target a Western audience. Ihsanoglu (my note, the OIC chief) also blamed Western media as a "major factor in the formation of collective misperceptions about Islam and Muslims in Europe."

    CAIR is doing just that in America. Scroll down a couple of posts.

    And finally...

    "In some countries, the media have made attempts to compare Islam with terror. We cannot accept that. We can't equate Islam with terror," Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said in remarks to the assembled officials at the start of the conference on Monday.

    Several OIC members called for an agreed definition of the word "terrorist," saying that little distinction was being made between "freedom fighters" and "terrorists" by Western governments since the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

    That's right: Those beheaders are freedom fighters.

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    Wal-Mart helping small businesses

    Last month I had a post based on a New York Times article that about several small businesses benefiting from Wal-Mart.

    Marshall Manson of Edelman sent me this article from the Detroit News that tells a similar story:

    Independent specialty stores, boutiques and cafes are surviving -- and even thriving -- in the shadow of the retail giants through a mix of personal service, specialized skills and unique products. They fend off the mega-stores by catering to a specific clientele or carving out a niche that's small enough to keep the big retailers out.

    A 2005 survey of small-business owners found that 52 percent of those already in business changed their tactics and either retained their market share or actually increased business when a Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's or other "big box" retailer opened nearby, according to DollarDays International Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., an Internet-based wholesaler to small businesses.

    Here's hoping "big box" opponent Joe Moore, a Chicago Alderman and recent Wal-Mart Watch Person of the Week, hears about Wal-Mart helping small businesses.

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    Nutty former congressman teams up with CAIR to improve Islam's image

    Paul Findlay was a central Illinois congressman until from 1961-1982, until future Senator Dick Durbin knocked him off. 1982 was a very bad year for the Republican Party because the country was in the midst of a painful recession--the benefits of Reagan's reforms had yet to bear fruit.

    But it wasn't just a poor economy that hurt Findlay in the ballot box. He hopped on the anti-Israel bandwagon a few years earlier, and outside money and volunteers pushed the tide in Durbin's favor and ended Findlay's career as an elected official.

    Often trotted out as an anti-Bush Republican voice by Bush haters, Findlay has been off-the reservation for years.

    From the Arab News:

    A survey conducted by Cornell University recently found that around half of Americans have a negative view of Islam and would like the US government to curtail the political activity of Muslims in the US.

    Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Paul Findley, a former US Congressman, said that the cancer of anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiments was spreading in American society and requires corrective measures to stamp out this malaise.

    It was also announced that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) would be launching a massive $50 million media campaign involving television, radio and newspapers as part of its five-year program to create a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the US.

    Referring to the anti-Islamic sentiments in the US, Findley said that the campaign was being spearheaded by a tiny but influential section of society, including some politicians, academics and opinion-makers.

    I'm very pleased that American media outlets will get a $50 million dollar windfall from CAIR. But the media effort will be as successful as the Saudi Arabian post-9/11 campaign that bragged about "The People of Saudi Arabia: Allies For Peace." Four years later, the image of Saudi Arabia in the United States is a bad as it was then.

    There is too much violence, cruelty, and barbarity brought upon the world by some Muslims to be countered in the arena of public opinion by CAIR's $50 million public relations campaign. First, Islam needs a reformation.

    And $50 million can't even resuscitate Paul Findlay's reputation.

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    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Lots of 20s as White Sox clobber St. Louis Cardinals 20-6

    The World Series Champion Chicago White Sox scored 20 runs this evening as they pummelled the defending National League Central Division Champion St. Louis Cardinals 20-6 on Chicago's South Side.

    The rout was on when the Sox scored 11 runs in the third inning.

    The White Sox are now 20 games over .500.

    It was a bizarre night for Cards manager Tony LaRussa, whose first managerial position in the big leagues was with the South Siders. Today marked the 20th anniversary of his firing from the White Sox.

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    Purple flower of Illinois

    I'm pretty sure this is a purple coneflower, I'm in haste right now, but I like the photo--taken in the Linne Woods Prairie in Morton Grove--enough to put it up immediately. Taken with a Motorola V3 camera phone.

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    Egyptian blogger Alaa to be free man tomorrow

    Good news from Egypt and the blogosphere. Imprisoned blogger Alaa will be freed tomorrow, Rantings of a Sand Monkey and Big Pharoah are reporting.

    Great work by bloggers in building this story. The MSM? Failed again.

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    Referendum to end affirmative action in Michigan to be on Nov. ballot

    I saw a story about the proposal to end affirmative action in Michigan on Fox News this morning. Similar bans are now law in California and Washington state.

    The Detroit News has more.

    I'll be watching this story very closely. Illinois and Michigan have a lot in common, similar economies, demographics, and political affiliations.

    Socialized medicine nightmare in Scotland

    This sickening story shows that socialized medicine is not a forward-step for a nation.

    From The Scotsman:

    A 36 year-old Scots mother elected to have her breasts removed and a hysterectomy after being told she would have to wait at least two years for the results of genetic tests to discover if she had an increased risk of cancer.

    Oonagh Wilson, who has been waiting now for almost four years to find out if her family faces a greater risk of breast cancer, yesterday spoke of her anger and frustration at the delays.

    A backlog of women waiting for results has been blamed on lack of funding and trained staff, changes to the way services are delivered and delays in getting licences to carry out the tests, which have to be obtained from genetics watchdogs.

    Politicians yesterday described the situation as "inhuman" and "shocking". Mrs Wilson said she has been left in limbo, not knowing whether her two children and other family members were carrying a cancer "timebomb."

    After my last physical, I had a test done because of a slightly irregular reading regarding my liver. I got my results back (I was fine) one week later, paid for in full by my "greedy" insurance company.

    Of course, if Scotland had someone like Hillary Clinton in charge of health care, things would be much better in Caledonia.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Chavez to visit Russia next month

    Venezuela's megalomaniacal president Hugo Chavez will be traveling to Russia next month. He may not come home empty handed--according to AFP he hopes to purchase some civilian and military aircraft from the Russian firm Sukhoi.

    Saudis offered scholarships for aviation courses in US

    Yes, that's the actual headline from the Arab News.

    Qur'an memorization with a score of 90 percent or more is one of the prerequisites for receiving a scholarship.

    Saudis coming to America to take aviation courses. I hate to say it, but that brings back bad memories for me.

    Light blogging, busy day at work

    Just got home from a relaxing 13 1/2 hour day of work. Lots of catching up to do...

    Illinois politicians: Illegal immigration yes, Ill. Freedom Run no

    In Marseilles, Illinois, the annual Illinois Freedom Run took place. The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial is in tiny Marseilles, on Saturday, motorcyclists from across the state converged on the town for the annual memorial ceremony.

    Jake and the Bald Chick from Freedom Folks were there, and noticed only one Illinois public officeholder, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, was in attendance. This contrasts greatly with the huge turnout of Illinois politicians at various pro-illegal immigrant events held here in the last year.

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    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Pajamas Media podcast from Afghanistan

    Well, here's another Pajamas Media podcast with Richard Fernandez from the The Belmont Club.

    Richard once again interviews Bill Roggio of the Counterterrorism Blog. From his vantage point in Kandahar in southeastern Afghanistan, Bill talks about Operation Mountain Thrust, the coalition offensive to neutralize the Taliban in that part of the country.

    The Taliban, Bill reports, are no match for the coalition forces militarily. So naturally one of the goals of the Taliban is do drive up casualties as much as they can--so public opinion, particularly in the Netherlands, Canada, and Great Britain-- turns against the troops' mission.

    The Taliban can't win on the battlefield, but they have hopes they can win on the PR front.

    The podcast is available here.

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